Notes from Sloan-C’s Emerging Techs

Notes from Sloan-C’s Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Symposium, which I attended as a live virtual participant:

From Social Media and Enterprise 2.0 as a 21st-century LMS with Linda Wallace of Pepperdine: Idea of Google Apps as a mid-point between an LMS and a PLE was briefly mentioned but I think was a valuable perspective.

From Engaging online dialogue: The pedagogy of annotation-enhanced discussion forums with Cindy Xin of Simon Fraser University, Canada: need to try Marginalia in Moodle, which allows students to add comments and annotations to each other’s forum posts.

From eScholars: Encouraging the Use of Emerging Educational Technologies Through a Collaborative Faculty Development Program, the idea that everyone offering cool faculty development tracks gives stipends to faculty participants and are run by instructional designers instead of faculty. Very depressing.

From Enhancing Moodle to Engage Students; Powerful Teaching that Makes Moodle More Effective, a combination of tools embedded in Moodle for interaction, including free tools like VoiceThread and Xtranormal (and paid-to-adapt WizIQ, AuthorLive) in a great web page to demo these.

From How 2 Lrn W Ur iPod: Using a fully online Moodle course to teach students how to be better learners with technology with the brilliant Kevin Kelly of SFSU: the idea of an “online flex hybrid” where students can choose whether to come to on-site class and participate or view the class live or recorded online and participate asynchronously.

From MERLOT classic award winners on Brief Hybrid Workshops: University of North Carolina, support for the idea we are already developing at POT for faculty development of creating brief under-5-minute learning objects (oh, that term!) surrounded by support materials and synchronous or asynchronous community discussion for various topics. Excellent webpage resource as an example.

From Beyond Grades—Comprehensive Student Assessment Using Common Desktop Tools with Rebecca Peet of UCSC: the old-style workaround gradebook: using Microsoft Excel as a rubric-styled gradebook with a template to fill in the blanks, and Word’s Mail Merge to send individual grade reports to students via email.

Buzzwords and jargon were rampant! This bingo card would have been useful. Also I kept hearing turn key. But some jargon was helpful. Somewhere I picked up the concept/jargon of “iterative development” — I think we need to consider this perspective for both Blackboard and Moodle instead of just “buying” them.

From Educational Networking: Building Models for Social Networking in Education with Steve Hargadon: Social networking + LMS + live collaboration is his future model. Hargadon seemed somewhat enamored of Blackboard’s recent aquisition of Elluminate as fulfilling this model. I don’t like social networking tools (blogs, wikis) inside closed systems that disappear when the class is over — I think this undermines the broader learning goals of those tools. Instead of seeing social networking under an educational umbrella, I’m seeing education happening under a social networking umbrella. Let’s deal with that.

From Where’s My Stuff? Are your students content with your content? with Sherry Lindquist: techniques to control what students see. I agreed with this in terms of preventing confusion and having students feel overwhelmed. I did not agree in terms of controlling release of forum responses until a student has responded. If you have to do that, you’re writing a lousy prompt. Disconnected students will drop if forced to put themselves forward like that. Connected students will contact each other in Facebook. I’d rather see them learn!

My biggest disappointment was the fact that few (if any) emergent technologies were introduced (Voicethread is not at all new), and virtual participants had to rely on Twitter (hashtag #et4online) to participate in real time becauase Mediasite’s commenting was not really that synchronous. Also, many of the cool techniques were based on individualized activities and feedback impossible for me to implement with 200 students each semester.

Connections were great, though. My favorite co-participants included Kelvin Thompson, with whom I hope to be writing an article called “Linking Out and Widgeting In: Leveraging Your LMS with a Crowbar”.

I don’t feel dirty, but I would like an edupunk virtual conference to clear my palate…

2 comments to Notes from Sloan-C’s Emerging Techs

  • Thanks, Lisa for a great (and fast!) set of conference notes! I really appreciated your engaged, critical tweets throughout the conference, and I’m looking forward to collaborating on the article!

    An edupunk conference would be extremely cool! 🙂

    The Excel gradebook w/ integrated Word mail merge sounds intriguing. Did they share an example?


    • I guess it would really have to be an edupunk unconference… or anti-conference. We’ll punk it up in our collaboration.

      She was sharing an example, but I confess that Microsoft products induce sleepiness in me so I moved to another session, just stashing the idea for future reference. She did show a template (” Dear x, you have earned an x thus far this semester. Your portfolio shows x… etc.”). I did a quick search online and there are certainly instructions to do it, from eHow to teacher ed assignments. Has that oldie-but-goodie feel to it.