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Archive for March, 2013

To MOOC or not to MOOC? – Guide from WCET

WCET is introducing a new series for its members that includes:

  • Talking Points
  • Lessons Learned
  • Q&A

They are “crowd-sourcing” the draft of their first Talking Point which is titled, “A Simple Guide to Navigating the MOOC Muddle.”  According to WCET, this guide can be a useful resource “for when your administrators, deans, faculty, board members ask “Should our institution offer a MOOC?” And I agree – the document includes all of the important questions to consider when thinking about joining the MOOC craze. The talking points document includes questions like:

  • Why does the institution want to offer a MOOC?
  • Will these MOOCs be delivered out of academic departments or another division of the institution?
  • How will success and failure of a MOOC be measured?
  • How are we going to pay for it (Course design, course delivery, technical support, marketing)?
  • How will we validate learning?
  • And many other thoughtful questions to consider when deciding whether or not to offer a MOOC…

Kudos for WCET for putting together this great resource! I look forward to when the final version will be available (very soon I hope).

ECAR Annual Study of Students and Technology

I’m excited that DU is participating in a national student technology survey sponsored by ECAR (Educause Center for Applied Research). The ECAR survey was distributed to DU undergraduates last week (3/8/13) and students have until April 11th to complete the anonymous survey. Last year over 195 institutions and 100,000 undergraduate students participated in this projects.

2012 ECAR Infograph

Visit the Educause ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students webpage to learn more.

MOOCs will force every professor to improve his or her pedagogy or face an online competitor

Tom Friedman wrote a very well-balanced opinion piece in the NY Times titled, The Professors’ Big Stage.  He highlights his key takeaways from a conference he just attended convened by M.I.T. and Harvard on “Online Learning and the Future of Residential Education” — a k a “How can colleges charge $50,000 a year if my kid can learn it all free from massive open online courses?” I agree with most of his key points and I’ve summarized a few of  of my favorites below:

  • We’re moving to a more competency-based world where there will be less interest in how you acquired the competency — in an online course, at a four-year-college or in a company-administered class — and more demand to prove that you mastered the competency.
  • Strong consensus that this “blended model” combining online lectures with a teacher-led classroom experience was the ideal.
  • We demand that plumbers and kindergarten teachers be certified to do what they do, but there is no requirement that college professors know how to teach. No more. The world of MOOCs is creating a competition that will force every professor to improve his or her pedagogy or face an online competitor.
  • There is still huge value in the residential college experience and the teacher-student and student-student interactions it facilitates. But to thrive, universities will have to nurture even more of those unique experiences while blending in technology to improve education outcomes in measurable ways at lower costs.
  • We still need more research on what works, but standing still is not an option.

As always, MOOCs dominated the higher ed publications this week. Below are a few that I found interesting and as usual, the comments are as interesting as the articles.

Online Education May Make Top Colleges More Elite (Chronicle – 3/4/13)

Another report from the MIT/Harvard Conference

  – Measuring the MOOC Dropout Rate (Inside Higher Ed – 3/8/13)

Phil Hill, an education technology consultant, has come up with four categories of MOOC users: lurkers, drop-ins, passive participants and active participants.

Games Based Learning MOOC starts soon!

The third iteration of the Games MOOC begins on March 18 and runs until April 22, 2013.

Games MOOC ScreenshotThe theme is “Build the Game“ using Apps, AR and ARGs. The focus will be creating a game or gaming project for your course. Please join us and invite your colleagues! The Games MOOC Spring 2013 signup is now open!


The weekly topics will look something like this. (Adjustments are possible)

Week 1 Intro to the Course and Topics
Week 2 Apps and Mobile Possibilities
Week 3 Augmented Reality and Interactive Fiction
Week 4 Mysteries, Puzzles and Scavenger Hunts
Week 5 Narrative and Storyboarding
Week 6 Creating the Clues & Playing the Game

If you want any additional information or have any questions, please contact Kae Novak at 303-404-5470 or email kae.novak@frontrange.edu.  As always – Lurkers Welcome!

eLearning Consortium Conference Registration Deadlines Approaching

The group discount for hotel rooms for the eLearning Consortium of Colorado’s (eLCC) annual conference ends on March 10th so if you plan to attend this AWESOME eLearning conference, register and reserve your room by March 10th.  The early bird deadline for registering for the conference is March 15th!  


This year’s schedule isn’t posted yet but you can find last year’s schedule below and as always, there are some wonderful presentations scheduled again this year!

Click to access eLCC2012program-web.pdf


I recently came across this blog post called “Humanizing Online Learning with Voicethread” by Michelle Pacansky-Brock which provides some great tips for using VoiceThread. VoiceThread is a collaborative and multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos. It allows people to navigate pages and leave comments in 5 ways – using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). VoiceThread can also be used as a communication or collaboration tool.  It is a very popular and powerful tool for “visual” collaboration. VoiceTheads can be embedded within your Blackboard course or you can simply post a link to your voicethread. The basic version is free.

VoiceThread Screenshot

Voicethread from Teaching Online Workshop

Canvas Review

Registered for a student account on the Canvas Network today.

What I like so far:

As soon as you sign-up, you are asked to configure your communication preferences.

Now that you’re registered with Canvas, you might want to configure what notifications you’ll receive as your courses progress. Canvas is flexible enough to let you choose how and for what events you’d like to be notified. When things happen in your courses you can choose to be emailed or texted to your cell immediately, daily or weekly.

I’ll need to register for a class to continue the evaluation of Canvas. So far so good….

The Polarizing MOOC Debate

Stop Polarizing the MOOCs debate is an excellent article from University World News. The article provided a wonderful and balanced summary about both sides of this debate.  BTW – I found a link to this article in one of the final project’s of one of my peer’s in the eLearning and Digital Cultures MOOC I just completed.

Below are a few excerpts from article:

  • Has anyone else noticed that the tone of the conversation has now shifted from “is college worth it?” to “how can we make necessary, important, invaluable learning available to the widest number of people for the lowest cost?” I certainly have.
  • If anything, MOOCs illuminate the terrible economic disparities of higher education (worldwide) by offering a cheap, massive alternative – not to those sitting in the classrooms of tenured professors, but for those who have no opportunity to be in those classes.

Personally, I think MOOCs are here to stay but I don’t think they are a threat to traditional higher education and I love the notion that they offer more people access to education.

Other MOOC News this Week:

Carnegie Mellon MOOC Averse?

29 New Coursera Courses