Learning at TCC (and why you shouldn’t clean up your profile)

 

Sessions attended:

Communicating Change
Lee Henrikson

Using Skype in the Online Classroom
Therese Kanai &  Melissa Holmberg

Creative Crossroads: Learning Partners Collaborate
Selia Karsten

Keynote: SMILE (Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment)
Paul Kim

Creative Infusion: When Academia Meets Creativity
Jennifer Harrison & Crystal Hofegartner

Student Attitudes Toward the Addition of a Social Media Tool to Increase Social Presence in an Online Learning Environment
Joan S Leafman & Kathleen Mathieson

Managing Issues of Safety, Privacy, Copyright, and Technological Change in Web 2.0 Instruction: Lessons Learned from Teaching a YouTube Course
Chareen Snelson

Digital Dirt: How to Survive and Thrive in a World with Social Media
Michele Hinto-Riley & Erica Arnold-Wyche

Designing and Evaluating an Online Resource Site for Distance Educators
Billy Meinke

Technology Integration & Training for Online Course Development: A Needs Assessment
Melissa Kunitzer

Providing Qualitative Feedback in Online Teaching with Minimal Effort, yet Reaping Great Benefits
Brooke Estabrook-Fishinghawk

Going Paperless: Advantages & Challenges of the Paperless Classroom
Derek Snyder

Using Teamwork in an Online Course: Five Useful Strategies
Leanne Chun and Lani Uyeno

Promoting Continuous Quality in Online Teaching: Implementing A Comprehensive Faculty Development Program
Holly McCracken & Eileen Dittmar

Visual E-Communications to Enliven Collaborative E-Learning
Janet Salmons

OpenCourseWare and Open Educational Resources: Forward to Credentialed Learning Outcomes?
Jason Caudill

Applying Delta Theory to analyze online communities
Hery Yanto The

Organic Gardening: An Online Course Design
Rachel Kirkland and Jordan Day

Teaching with Technology Centers
Kasey Fernandez & Salynn Kam

TCC 2012 ParticipantI attended many sessions at the wonderful TCC Teaching, Colleges and Community conference out of the University of Hawaii (yes, everyone always groans that this conference is online instead of in Hawaii!). Several made a distinct impression on me and will change my practice.The first of these was Creative Infusion: When Academia Meets Creativity, just as a good reminder that we should encourage student creativity in all our classes and Managing Issues of Privacy, a good reminder on that subject.

But the one that really got me participating (and it was easy to do with TCC’s structure) was Digital Dirt: How to Survive and Thrive in a World With Social Media. The big concern was that students post party pictures and other questionable material all over their social media sites, and employers increasingly look at these sites before they decide whether to hire someone. The advice was that we need to share this information with students and encourage them to clean up their act. It is our job to caution them.

At first I was nodding my head. But I’ve been reading Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together. People who use social media a lot, especially young people, use it in a very personal way. Their profiles and status updates are tied to their image of themselves and their relationships with their peers. It’s not just a matter of not thinking ahead to an employment interview. It’s that the identity of some young people is embedded in their social media, and that the authenticity of these identities is extremely important in their lives and in trusting each other.

In addition, the advice seemed to encourage cookie-cutter profiles, without sins or mistakes. If I were an employer seeking a creative person, or one who’d been around the block, or one with life experience, these profiles would leave me cold. If Ray and Anderson are correct about the Cultural Creatives, then the workers who will be most in demand are those who can not only think outside the box, but create a new box. They will be artistic, open-minded, and authentic. A clean Facebook profile will be an illusion and a sham.

I suppose if you want a job that does not require a Cultural Creative, but rather a bean counter or bureaucrat, you might want to make sure your profile was free of sin. I don’t feel I should be responsible for encouraging students to create a profile designed to impress someone hiring that sort of person.

The other significant session for me was Promoting Continuous Quality in Online Teaching: Implementing A Comprehensive Faculty Development Program, because it taught me that not all for-profit institutions offer lousy faculty development, creating stables of ill-qualified part-timers to teach canned classes. I totally admit to extreme prejudice on this issue, but Holly McCracken and Eileen Dittmar are clearly doing incredible work at Cappella, creating faculty development staffed with volunteers who just want to help each other teach better. Experienced online faculty sharing with those who are new is the heart of their system as it is of our Program for Online Teaching. I was delighted.

2012 Active Learner

 

Learning at (?) Sloan-C

Sessions attended:

Blend Your Own Faculty Development Program Using Open Components from Blended Learning Toolkit
Kelvin Thompson and Linda Futch

How to Successfully Evaluate Blended Learning
Chuck Dziuban and Patsy Moskai

Openness in Blended Learning: Perfecting the Blend
David Wiley

Private Investment, Technology and American Education
Marc Parry, Tom Cavanaugh, Anthony Picciano, Alexandra Pickett and Karen Swan

Blended Learning Scale, Ambivalence & Analytics
Chuck Dziuban and Patsy Moskai

Blending with Social Media
Tanya Joosten

Faculty Blended Learning Process: How Instructors Learn to Teach Adult Students in a Blended Program
Karen Skibba

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wasn’t at Sloan-C Blended Learning Conference in the usual sense; I was a “virtual attendee”, an experience I’ll cover in another post. Some of the take-aways for me included the leadership role of the University of Central Florida in these subjects, including the open access Blended Learning Toolkit, which provides professional development resources to UCF and beyond, with everything licensed Creative Commons. Just the whole attitude of the university seems to be right on target.

Chuck Dziuban‘s approach impressed me enormously. During the first session, about assessment, he noted that faculty trying to put their multiple-choice quizzes online said their students were cheating and his response was “duh”. One can’t simply lift an on-site element (like a paper test) into an online environment – there must be adaptation.I was somewhat disappointed in David Wiley’s keynote, not because everything he said wasn’t true, but because I had heard almost all of it before and was hoping for a newer, more radical perspective.

The plenary session on Private Investment, Technology and American Education was excellent in grappling with the moral and procedural complexities of private funding for public education. Often this funding, desperately desired by public universities having their budgets cut, comes with unwieldy, unethical, or impossible strings attached. Being told to build a building, or have results within 15 months, or perform class visits when classes are not in session, were big challenges.

In addition, Tony Picciano was very clear about the influence that donors like the Gates Foundation have over the Department of Education, and how Congress does nothing about it since many of them concerned about education want this money coming in also. Companies work through bureaucrats, not educators. Shared work doesn’t count: Tom Cavanaugh at UCF noted that the sharing they do of work like the Toolkit influences schools that aren’t partners to the grant, so it isn’t included. The goal of not “selling your soul” when accepting private grants was clearly a difficult objective, and the choice of not taking the money might be difficult when public funding sources expect the private sector to jump in.

I took the most notes on Chuck Dziuban’s portion of the presentation on ambivalence in student evaluation of blended classes, because I think his work applies to all classes. His research shows that students who either love or hate a class or teacher tend to focus only on two factors: the course landscape and instructor engagement. Those who are ambivalent (i.e. there were some things they really liked and others they didn’t) create an averaged evaluation score that tells us nothing. These ambivalent perspectives take into consideration a larger number of factors that are important to assessing quality, including the course rhythm, expectation rules, assessment of their progress. When students are only partly happy with a class, there is much more information. We tend to interpret a middling student evaluation as meaning the faculty performance is middling, when it may be instead balancing good and bad aspects. I saw a big argument here for not considering the aggregate of a student evaluation at all.

Dziuban also noted, to my relief and frustration (since I’ve been trying to figure it out) that there is no set pattern to why students withdraw from classes. The biggest indicator of the likelihood of failure, his research shows, is cumulative GPA. The modality of the class, its level, the class size, gender, ethnicity, age, etc. mattered far less or not at all.

Tanya Joosten’s presentation on social media for educators (the title of her current book) was excellent. She has done work on the things many of us know but didn’t have proof for: students spend the most time in Facebook, don’t check email at all, and use mobile technologies. Having been worried about the creepy treehouse effect, I was happy to learn that Facebook could be effective in the way I’m using it (Groups, not friending) and that I could expand use further with Pages (I need to look into how this stuff shows up on students’ Walls, which is what they want – I know Groups don’t). Finding ways to text message assignment reminders and using Facebook helps students stay organized – it’s their planner, clearly. And they don’t use Google Plus.

Overall, a good conference with some severe limitations to communications, which I’ll be discussing elsewhere.

Best. Workshop. Ever.

On Thursday, the Program for Online Teaching facilitated a workshop we called, depending on where you looked it up, “Where the Hell Do I Start?”, “Start Here!” or “Beginners Workshop”. A one-day, seven-hour experience, we had a full house of 24 (and more on the wait list), almost all of whom rated the workshop “Extremely Useful”. Here’s our formula:

1. A 1-hour online synchronous planning session with the facilitators to come up with the idea (after a grueling “how do I do this?” session in August where attendees clearly wanted their hand held as they clicked a mouse),
2. A 5-hour planning session with two workshop leaders (fueled by coffee in cups the size of your head),
3. Dedicated, knowledgeable, calm, reliable, flexible, volunteer facilitators in an approximate ratio of 1-to-3 with attendees,
4. A firm commitment to:
* avoid anything that might cause the workshop to be taken over by one instructor’s needs or technical questions
* avoid any technical or educational jargon (I was forbidden from saying “instructivist” and “connectivism”, for example)
* avoid focusing on tools instead of teaching
5. A pattern of activity that uses a classroom for presenting and collaborative work, and a lab for individual playing and help, and going back and forth between them to keep everyone moving,
6. A $20 fee to not only pay for lunch but add value and responsibility to the idea of attendance, and
7. Good facilities and a crucial teaspoon of technical support.

Can’t wait for the description of what we did? No need to wait till the movie comes out — here it is.

Beginners Workshop from Program for Online Teaching on Vimeo.

The objectives

Goal: Provide novice and beginning online instructors with direction in creating their first online class, and an opportunity to focus on their own needs.

By the end of this workshop, beginning online workshop participants will:
1. be assisted in determining their own online pedagogy for one class
2. set up and storyboard an online class
3. set up Blackboard to match their own pedagogy as expressed on their storyboard
4. determine which course design elements to add
5. review a road map of resources to learn how to add these elements

The set-up

Got approval through professional development
Workshop announced two months in advance by newsletter, email, and on the POT website
Each participant signed up through professional development’s website
Each participant paid $20 to Academic Senate for lunch and materials
Participation limited to 24 attendees (the max in the computer lab)
One facilitator bought pastries and one two dispensers of Starbuck’s coffee
Another facilitator brought drinks for lunch
Lunch of sandwiches, salad, breadsticks and cookies ordered from Pat and Oscars with delivery
Porfolios created by one leader with POT stickers (not the Chinese kind, made at Office Depot), and the following pages:

What we did

Coffee and pastries in the courtyard 8:45
Nametags for all.

9:00-9:30 Classroom: Show and Tell
We passed out the packets.
Pilar welcomed attendees and introduced the Show and Tell videos:
Jill’s screencast
Lisa’s screencast
John Turbeville’s screencast
Janeen’s screencast
Pilar’s screencast
Lisa worked the technology (played the videos).

9:30-11:00 — Classroom: Understanding the Guiding Force of your pedagogy
-Pilar briefly described to attendees what would happen throughout the day.
-Lisa led them through the Questionnaire so they could start to understand their teaching style and goals. Talked about how each score might lead toward focusiing more on either presentation or interactivity.
-Pilar asked them to get with the person next to them to discuss what their Guiding Force is when they think about their class. Facilitators circulated amongst the groups to help them figure that out– what guides your class? (Your syllabus, Textbook, Course pre-made software, SLOs,…)
- Pilar shared examples of 2 course designs and how they are organized (based on guiding force), allowing questions but limiting them to course design
- Participants created their own draft of a course map from a blank storyboard, separately or in pairs as they preferred – presenters walked them through essential components (which were listed on worksheet for guidance), for about 20 minutes

11:00 Computer Lab: Using Blackboard to set up a course your way
- Pilar demonstrated how to set up Blackboard to match their pedagogy by first erasing all menu items and anything forcing Bb’s innate pedagogy
- Everyone assisted, and Karen Korstad from Academic Info Services set up blank Bb classes to play with

12:20 lunch on the patio 4800 building, dealt with the fact that Pat and Oscars didn’t bring forks (a good lesson in the need for appropriate technologies)

1:00 Classroom: Determining what you need to learn to create what you want
- Jim and Jill focused on “what do you need to know now?” — determining knowledge needs so they could list what kind of tools they might want to use to fulfill their goals (synchronous meeting, short video, audio recording, etc.).
- The rest of us were on hand to help with questions, discussion.
[The goal: Determine which elements you need to add to your online class based on your pedagogy for your class, and produce a comprehensive needs list -- what categories of tools?]

2:00 Computer Lab: Accessing Resources, tools and help
Lisa + Karen presented Resources and Help, Jill demonstrated how to set up voice communication inside Bb since there was much interest in that; we got out the headsets for people to play with Wimba, Audacity or Eyejot, but couldn’t do Jing because the lab didn’t have it installed

3:00 Classroom: How do we prepare students?
We all returned to the classroom to discuss: based on what each instructor plans to create, what will students need in order to understand how their class works and be prepared (including technologically) to participate fully? Lisa led discussion of what individual faculty need their students to know how to do, and wrote a list on the whiteboard. Then we listed ways to make sure that happens, through syllabus quizzes, low-stakes usage and tutorials. We sent everyone back to the lab on their way out to do the survey.

Feedback

We got immediate feedback via SurveyMonkey, which all but one attendee filled out.

Of attendees, 56% were associate faculty, 44% were full-timers.

Experience: 74% had never taught an online class.

Goals: 87% took the workshop to enhance their teaching skills.

Satisfaction: 87% said the workshop was “Extremely useful” in fulfilling their goals.

Among the things participants found most useful was access to expert teachers, help setting up their course, a thorough introduction to key components of getting started, seeing what others were doing, being introduced to various tools, and “Understanding that these online instructors do not let the technology drive the course”.

Among the things participants wanted was more attention to their individual questions, the avoidance of too much computer detail, and 2 or 3-day workshops.

Of the activities they might consider participating in now that they’d taken the workshop, 83% wanted more workshops, 78% intended to explore online tools independently, 78% were interested in POT’s Online Teaching Certificate, 65% planned to participate in the new automated online Blackboard training, 57% would participate in Bb workshops, 39% intended to discuss online teaching issues in their department, and 9% intended to start their own blog.

Lessons learned

We consider that we have both inspired and educated 23 people to become independent, pedagogically-driven online instructors, and couldn’t be happier. Suggestions for ourselves:

  • Make sure the computer folks don’t reimage computers on the day before or day of the conference.
  • Get Starbucks to put the milk in containers that actually pour.
  • Get Pat and Oscars to bring forks to prevent raiding of people’s offices at the last minute.
  • More cookies.
  • Make an open board for participants to post questions that can be addressed throughout the day.

The Insanity of the Two Location Workshop

Yes, we did it back on May 7, and perhaps it was beginner’s luck, but all went well.

We had me in Elluminate with the online participants, and Elluminate showing on the screen in the lab on campus, where Jim Sullivan was presenting. We had a video camera there plugged in as a webcam, and a microphone on a long cord. Online, we could see and hear Jim, and also talk ourselves in the chat. On campus, they could see me (if I had my webcam on), hear me, and read our chat.

We had one volunteer, our wonderful Laura Paciorek. She sat at the computer in the lab, got things hooked up, and communicated with me for set-up and throughout the session using the chat. We had one helper from Media Services, our fantastic cameraman Alan McCarron. The only thing that didn’t work was the room speakers in the campus lab — but the desktop speakers on the presentation computer worked fine so they could hear online participants. The subject was using online resources for professional development.

It went so smoothly that this semester, the Program for Online Teaching will be offering simultaneous on-campus/online workshops on the First Friday of the month at 2:30 pm PT. We’re calling them simulcasts, but since the participants on both sides can actually participate, they really aren’t “casts”. I don’t know what to call what we’re doing.

Our first of the year was last week, on September 3.

We tried for the same setup we had on May 7, but this time I had more support from Media Services, so it got increasingly more complex as more technicians got involved. At least five people from Academic Information Services, in various capacities, responded individually to try to help get this going, even meeting separately for a trial run. Ultimately I think it was made clear that all we needed was a person manning a video camera that can plug into the USB port and act as a webcam, plus a pair of computer speakers in case the room system doesn’t work.

There was some confusion about the camera, because Alan had used a regular video camera (the Sanyo Xacti HD) as a webcam, and it had worked great. When that set-up was tried this time, it didn’t work and the feed was switched to a regular webcam (which had given us a poor image on May 7 so we hadn’t thought of using it).

We had also purchased a USB omnidirectional microphone over the summer, with the idea that it could just be placed in the middle of the campus lab so we could hear the presenter and all participants. This didn’t work, and the presenter ended up carrying the microphone around to be heard properly.

Last, we were told the room speakers were now functional. They weren’t, but we still had the desktop speakers standing by and those did.

As it turned out, we didn’t even need a cameraman, because our newest faculty volunteer, Lyle Blackmon, did a great job managing the camera.

So for next time, we need to:
- use the webcam in the lab
- use the microphone with the long cord in the lab
- keep using the little speakers since the room speakers still don’t work

Our feedback from doing this has been very positive. The late afternoon time on Friday works for both associates and full-timers tied up in meetings till 1:00. Those who really need a f2f experience prefer being in the lab with the facilitator, and those who cannot come to campus appreciate participating online.

The only thing that went really wrong is that I failed to press the Record button in Elluminate before we started! The microphone issue became apparent immediately, and I focused on solving it instead of recording. Ah well, the price of experience. Enjoy what I did record using this link.

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…

Visioning the Future of the LMS

Here is what I wanted to hear when I virtually attended the LMS panel at Sloan-C’s Emerging Technologies for Online Learning:

  1. Commercial LMSs will allow the disaggregation of the parts of their systems, so that faculty can mix, match, combine and remove any element easily.
  2. They will provide options of open or closed for any of these elements (so that, for example, student blogs can be open on the web but assignments closed).
  3. LMSs will standardize code (XML? HTML5?) to provide seamless import, export and integration among systems and outside of a system, for example to create a separate e-portfolio.
  4. LMSs will have the ability to integrate any app on the open web.
  5. They will be programmed properly to work on a wide variety of mobile devices and platforms.

What I heard instead:

  1. LMSs are enterprise systems, period.
  2. Their best use is for student tracking, content aggregation, outcomes assessment, and systemization.
  3. They are and should be used in order to provide accessibility, FERPA and other legal compliance for the institution.
  4. They should get better at tracking and using their own internal data.
  5. Faculty aren’t that innovative and so they need an LMS.
  6. Students get upset when the LMS is changed.
  7. Faculty shouldn’t use Web 2.0 apps to cobble together their own LMS because it’s too hard to support and doesn’t have the tracking, aggregation, outcomes assessment, legal protections, etc. (Nor do we have any of this for classroom teaching, but that seemed to not be recognized as a disconnect.)

Suffice it to say I was very disappointed. Didn’t sound very emergent to me.

Let’s try this:

  1. Envision a world where the LMS is a collection of detachable, useful, independent tools that can be open or closed.
  2. Envision instructors selecting on an opt-in basis which of these elements they would like to use.
  3. Envision students being exposed to many different tools, learning experiences, and web elements as appropriate to their various classes, which would increase the skills of sorting, aggregating and evaluating information they will need in their future careers.
  4. Envision choice and academic freedom as the two great values in distant education decision making.

I’m sure there’s more. Add your own.