RSS

Category Archives: Teaching Online

The MOOLE section of this post really gets to the heart of my earlier criticism of MOOCs.

EdTechDev

In case the quotes didn’t clue you in, this post doesn’t argue against massive open online courses (MOOCs) such as the ones offered by Udacity, Coursera, and edX.  I think they are very worthy ventures and will serve to progress our system of higher education. I do however agree with some criticisms of these courses, and that there is room for much more progress.  I propose an alternative model for such massive open online learning experiences, or MOOLEs, that focuses on solving “problems,” but first, here’s a sampling of some of the criticisms of MOOCs.

Criticisms of MOOCs

View original post 3,401 more words

Advertisements
 

Live Blogging – David Wiley’s #OCL2 keynote

In medieval days – university classes consisted of students handwriting out the copies of the text from slowly lectured texts.

The printing press was a huge disruptive technology. University educators with “lecture books” where students still had to copy the same lecture-notes .  Not much has changed since then in teaching.  The disruptive technology of books didn’t change school.  Why do we think computers will?

Why Be Open?

The technical argument:

Education is sharing.  Students share with teachers (projects and homework) and teachers share with students (content and ideas).  When there is no sharing, there is no education.

Knowledge is magical:

You give knowledge without giving anything away.  When items are put in a tangible form, I know longer have it in my possession and have to compete for access…the exception is when ideas are stored digitally. Example: paper newspaper vs CNN.com – users don’t have to compete for the resource when it is digital. We have an unprecendented capacity to share digitally. The cost of sharing one $250 page book from $1000 copied by hand to $.000084 for a digital share.  Distribution of digital sharing follows the same pattern.

Sense-making, Meaning-making:

Educationally sharing digital content is about helping users connect with prior knowledge and is “local”. Having the ability to edit or adapt material to help with the sense-making is vital and necessary.  Copyright prohibits this despite the Internet’s ability to help it.  Creative Commons, on the other hand, enforces sharing. What the Internet enables – OER allows.

Buy One, Get One:

You don’t always get one when you buy one – for instance, the public investment in research at universities. $2750 per article with all costs included – yet the public doesn’t have free access to these peer-reviewed articles. All taxpayer-funded educational resources SHOULD be OER.

Financial Argument:

Wiley debunks the theory that if you give it away for free, people stop buying.  Shows examples of students registering for courses after using OER, correlations between free online book sales with strong print sales, and for-profit business being successful using CC licensed textbooks (Flat World Knowledge).

Flat World Knowledge model – use online for free or pay approximately $35 for a print-on-demand text.  Students have saved approximately $39 million.

Project Kaleidoscope – 10 high enrolled courses on 8 campuses – sharing adopted OER texts targeted at specific courses.  97% students rate the text about the same or better.%83 like the format as well or better than traditional texts. 87% would choose or have no preference on their next courses based on the availability of these types of texts.

CK12 – teachers adapt CK12 materials for K-12 in a printed version. The model shows how high schools can pay $5 instead of $80 for textbooks. Expensive books are slow to turn over – content becomes dated over the 7 year adoption cycle.  The $5 model allows students to consume the text, and interact with it, because the schools will revise and reprint the next year. There has been no significant difference using these texts without providing professional development in using this technology – (the cost reduction is significant though!).

Utah takes the lead – Statewide secondary schools will be using open texts starting in 2012.

Openness facilitates the Unexpected

Examples:

Syllabi in a wiki.  Students can change it if they want.  No one touched the wiki (even with permission) at first.  Later, they added assignments – things they wanted to see.

Student work archived on blogs (making optional avoids FERPA). This work becomes searchable artifacts for others outside the course. These pieces get connected to the greater web for comment, sharing, and motivate students to up their game. The work becomes part of the student’s online identity and so they take the time for more quality work.

Open the course online for non-registered students to participate. 75 people participated with 7 graduate students.  The global audience made it richer.  The partipants got a certificate from David with a “good job” on it. See Chronicle article.

Use of badges for grades on courses created using a MORP type format.

Openness:

Easier to use data to fix courses.  There is a relationship between openness and analytics.  Requires permissions to be able to make those fixes.

Speed of Innovation:

Content IS the infrastructure. ‘The physical components of interrelated systems…essential to enable, sustain, or enhance’ societies and enterprises. – wikipedia.  To speed up innovation, increase quality and decrease the cost of the infrastructure. Lower cost and higher quality decreases the risk of innovation.

Do the Right Thing – the moral argument:

If we can push a button that betters the world, wouldn’t you? Shouldn’t you?  Putting materials online with open license is “pusing the easy button” for educational sharing. What is the responsibilities inherent with that. What kind of obligation do we have to push that button since we have the ability to do it?

“The good we can do is constrained only our creativity and commitment.”

http://davidwiley.org/

 

Tags: , , ,

Join Me for Social Media for Academic Professional Development

Ever wished you could choose what would be covered each year during those continuing education seminars? In this webinar, you will learn how to harness social media to build your own Personal Learning Network and expand your personal professional development choices into any and all areas of interest. DIY ProfDev is here!

Thu. Jan. 26, 2012, 2 pm (PT) 3 pm (MT)

Register – It’s free!

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 25, 2012 in miscellaneous, Teaching Online

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Still not on Twitter?

Maybe this will help explain why you should be…oh, and I found this via Twitter…

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 25, 2012 in miscellaneous, Teaching Online

 

Tags:

In Solidarity – I am Saving Universities a Ton of Money

This post is quoted in its entirety from my online colleague Dr. Kay Lehmann‘s blog posting. Since we work together online, and I share the sentiment, I am reposting it in solidarity.

I am saving universities a ton of money as an online adjunct

An Important email message today about sick leave policy from one of the universities I work for starting me thinking. I am saving these universities SOOO much money by working at a distance. As an online adjunct very little is provided to me… thus was borne this open letter…

Open letter to University administrators and human resources personnel who have adjunct instructors working at a distance:

I am the faceless, nearly nameless, person teaching tens, if not hundreds, of students for you each year via your online courses. Since I never set foot on your campus and in fact probably live hundreds or thousands of miles away, I am saving you a lot of money. Clearly I am saving you money when compared to tenured faculty but even compared to the meager existence of a local on-campus adjunct, the saving from my work is substantial.

For clarity’s sake let me define who I am since you probably don’t know me at all. I teach online courses via my own computer from my home. You pay me by course, or by student. This is my full-time job but I work for several universities in order to earn a full-time income. And following this rant about how much I am saving you, I will detail the benefits gained by working as an online adjunct.

Like most adjuncts face-to-face or online you likely do not pay me any benefits. No insurance costs or pension fund contributions must be funded on my behalf. Sick leave doesn’t apply in my world, nor does paid vacations or holidays. My courses do not close because I am laid up with the flu, I cannot close the course site and say ‘take the day off’ and I cannot ask someone to cover my class and teach it for me because of illness or injury. I teach from my sick bed, and while on vacation, and over holidays. In fact graduate students in online courses tend to do more work and ask more questions over holidays, weekends, and during traditional vacation times because they have extra time for their coursework. And I cannot even imagine a scenario where I would file an L and I claim for injuries sustained on the job.

There is no physical classroom to be provided for myself or the students. No utilities to be paid, equipment, furnishings, or physical presence to be maintained. In fairness you do pay for a learning management system where my course is housed. I have no idea what the balance in costs is between a physical classroom and the cost of one course on a learning management system so perhaps this is a fair trade.

No office space, even office space shared with other adjuncts, must be provided. You don’t provide a computer or Internet access for me to do lesson planning, grading, or other teaching functions which require electronics. I provide my own equipment, keep my software up-to-date, use my own phone for calls to students, and pay for my Internet access while at home and on the road. Some universities do offer discounts on software or reimbursement for phone calls and postage. The hassle of filling out your paper forms and mailing them to you with receipts to get reimbursed isn’t worth my time.

You have no costs for meetings or professional development. I have not consumed a cup of coffee brewed by your staff during a meeting because there are no meetings. And rarely is any professional development offered to online adjuncts. A few offers to audit a class are just about the only costs for PD that you have incurred for me.

You may offer technical support to help me with media creation, troubleshooting, and other issues but I usually figure things out on my own with the help of my PLN. To be honest your technical support people often assume a level of digital stupidity that takes so long to dispel it is easier to figure things out on my own. One does not teach online without some level of competency using a computer and Internet-based tools.

To summarize, I earn few, if any, benefits. I don’t get health insurance, take sick leave, or get paid vacation. You don’t have to provide a parking spot, chair, desk, or a light bulb. I don’t eat doughnuts at meetings or run off 20 copies of a 10 page syllabus. I do provide excellent service to your students and take pride in doing so. Perhaps you should thank me for my generosity and willingness to teach online courses in your institution.

Instead, for this excellent customer service, you continue to spam my inbox with email about local face to face meetings, policies, and politics; none of which have ever applied to me. I am your ever-growing future workforce…it is high time you figure out who and where I am.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 28, 2010 in miscellaneous, Teaching Online

 

Tags: , ,

eLearning Instructional Design

My 10 Commandments*

BibleImage via Wonderlane

Thou Shalt:

1. Engage, engage, engage.

eLearning can be a cold, lonely place. Interactivity, graphic images, audio/video, and even themes are fun and motivating, making abstract concepts more concrete and increasing learning. Use of games or game-influenced designs, based on exploration, problem-solving, and trial and error, where students get lost in the fun and forget they are learning, work well even in higher education.

2. Chunk – in bite-sized chunks.

Research shows, time and time again, online students resist long “anything” – long passages of text, long modules, long tests, (long blog posts), etc.

3. Create/use authentic, meaningful, and relevant content.

Even more so than the f2f classroom, online and hybrid courses need to justify the real world application of skills and activities to motivate and engage students. Designing activities so the connection to the real world is integral to the activity (like simulations) is even better.

4. Discuss, with guidance.

Students need open-ended, thought-provoking, relevant prompts to get discussions going. We can do more than post “Discuss Chapter Two”. Gently elicit more from students who simply post “I agree” by replying “Tell me what you specifically agree with and why?” or a similar response.

5. Measure and assess with alignment.

Are your objectives measurable? (Can you visualize someone performing the task stated in the objective – if not, it is due for an upgrade). Does your assessment measure what your task is asking students to do? Alignment between the objective and its assessment is critical to student success. And speaking of assessment – let’s get creative. The real world doesn’t check knowledge in ten question quizzes – it does so through the application of learned concepts. Student engagement goes through the roof when assessments become authentic.

6. Use more than text.

Students score significantly higher with audio and/or visual cues embedded within the content, audio feedback on work turned in, visual feedback (i.e. screenshots) on submitted work or for further explanation, than text alone. Providing formative feedback in an audio format prior to a summatively graded activity is a highly effective method of improving student performance.

7. Know your audience.

Today’s students are mobile (as in phone). And as such, they are less apt to use email as their first or even second line of communication. They text, they chat, they Facebook. They are social. Give them an opportunity to form a community in your course like they would f2f in a class. Provide a “lounge” forum for non-course-related discussion. Incorporate other social media that is course-related like Diigo to have students collaboratively research and share notes across the web. Research consistently shows student perceive courses as more meaningful when authentic, problem-based, collaborative activities involving learner-learner interaction are the norm.

8. Be accessible

Design courses for accessibility from the beginning. It is easy to do it then. It is much more difficult to retrofit a course on the fly. Assistive technologies alone cannot remove all the barriers in a badly designed course site.

9. Provide opportunities for your students and yourself to reflect.

Reflection gives students the opportunity to explore course ideas deeply, make cross-curricular and real life connections, as well as express fears and concerns. It is one way asynchronous courses are able to connect learner to content and learner to instructor effectively. In addition, being a reflective practitioner gives you an opportunity to explore what is and is not working about the course, to generate new ideas while topics are fresh in your mind, and to note areas in which you need to do more research.

10. Eliminate tedium (yawn).

Being an online student is challenging enough. The least we can do is try to make the process more interesting than reading the IRS Tax Code.

*Inspired by The 10 Commandments of eLearning

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 28, 2010 in miscellaneous, Teaching Online

 

Tags: , ,

Dear Professor, Are You ‘Google-able’?

I have three college-aged children (and thank you to those of you who immediately thought she doesn’t look old enough to have three college-aged children). None of them use or own phone books. In fact, none of them have a traditional Ma Bell kind of telephone. They have a cell phone and a laptop…period.If my kids can’t locate you or your business on the web, you don’t exist to them.Period. (If you are a pizza store and lack a website, you are missing a tremendous amount of business from my two boys, by the way). Recent Pew Research results suggest that 93% of all Americans under the age of 30 are cell phone users. Pretty sure most of them have laptops, too.

My kids are not atypical. In fact, they are the norm – and becoming even more normal as the connected generation expands. According to the CTIA end-of-year survey for 2009, a staggering 285,646,191 million Americans have a cell phone connection. This is up 15 million from the same time 2008. And the Pew American Life research reports that young teens are the largest growing demographic of cell phone ownership. But it’s not just about cell phones – it’s about smart phones, wifi-enabled laptops, and even wifi-enabled gaming devices. Students are online all the time. Like it or not.

What does all this have to do with higher education faculty? Well, aside from the Ed Tech departments, very few faculty (adjunct and tenured) make the effort to cull together a web presence searchable by their students.

So what, you say, peering over your use for word-processing-only desktop computer next to your rotary phone? Don’t professors have enough to do between research, writing, teaching, and all those administrative committees? Perhaps, but ultimately, faculty have the responsibility to be available to their students. I believe they also have a responsibility to be transparent – professionally speaking. Future students should be able to check them out, look into current course offerings, current/past writings, current/past research, and how available the instructor made him or herself to student questions and concerns.

In the past, students could use print faculty directories to find office phone numbers and locations – but let’s be realistic. Students don’t use these booklets, faculty in their cubicles do. Students “Google”. Having a faculty directory on the school’s website is a step in the right direction – but often these data bases are not searchable by Internet search engines, and, even if they are, the results are often not much more than a name and phone number with an occasional email address. This is not the kind of background surfing future students want.

This is also not what you as a professor should want because when you lack a web presence, the next stop for most students is sites like RateMyProfessor.com. RateMyProfessor is crowd-sourced ratings and comments about professors from virtually every institution of higher education in the country. It is not normed, and all your students from a particular section are not surveyed. Essentially, it boils down to those students with enough motivation (the gamut from Loved the class! to He sucked!) to go to the website, locate the professor’s name, and add the rating and comment. Average performances do not seem to create this kind of motivation – so often professors can have A ratings alongside F’s. Not very helpful to students looking to know what a particular professor is all about, and certainly not helpful to a professor’s reputation with a myriad of mixed messages.

Higher education faculty need to consciously create a professional web presence. Below are some tips to help make your Google quotient rise:

  1. Create a landing page – and keep it updated! A landing page is a single web page that includes a short bio, contact information (email and office phone and address no home addresses), and a professional looking head shot. You will want the rights to the head shot so you can use it with all your professional web activities. For adjuncts, I suggest creating your landing page on a personal site like GoogleSites or on the space provided by your home ISP – that way you won’t have to backtrack and change your landing page URL on all the websites to which it is linked. Here is my UW-Stout landing page.
  2. Link, link, link. Use the URL landing page link as your link on all professional websites which ask for your own homepage address.
  3. Visual Identity. Use the same headshot. As your image becomes identifiable with your web identity, it will help students instantly know that out of all the search results, you are the Lisa Chamberlin  that works on Open Education issues and not Lisa Chamberlin  that is a Nashville recording artist (Yep, that’s who I compete with for the top 10 Google search results for my name – ouch!).
  4. Multiple Accounts/Similar handles. I teach for a variety of institutions and do contract work for others. As I choose email addresses, Twitter names, etc., I try to always use something similar to chamberlinonline@whatever.edu or a derivative of it. Overtime, students and colleagues begin to expect the “chamberlinonline” portion and makes it easier for them to find me.
  5. Network. Whether you choose to use a resume/contact linking site like LinkedIn.com or build a network of digital colleagues via another tool like Twitter, do build your digital personal learning network and follow the “web presence” standards above when registering for these sites.
  6. Add an RSS Feed (Thanks, Stian, for #’s 6 and 7). Allow interested students, colleagues, and the like to stay up-to-date with your current publications.
  7. Provide links to your research from your landing page. Even better, provide Open Access to your published research when you do provide the links.
  8. Poll your current students. This is one of the most powerful and eye-opening steps of building a web presence. Ask your current students if they Googled you. Ask what they were wanting to find out. Ask what they did find out. Strive to make their search goals and your web presence goals align as closely as is comfortable.

To the students of the connected generation, professors who deny access to technology within their courses or deny being accessed by technology within their profession, are a dying breed. They are seeing these professors as less and less relevant and out of touch with modern society. Like it or not, technology is the next evolution in education – professors must evolve or become extinct.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 11, 2010 in miscellaneous, Teaching Online

 

Tags: , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: