eLearning, Web 2.0, Educational Technology, Online/Distance Education, Faculty Development, and more…

Archive for January, 2014

Common Webinar Challenges – Can you relate?

I love webinars/online conferencing tools and usually participate in at least a few online meetings each week. This week I am scheduled to participate in the following 5 webinars:

  • Goto Webinar Meeting with a Vendor
  • Adobe Connect – Training with a DU Faculty Member who wants to use it for an online meeting
  • Bb Collaborate – Meeting with ECP Directors
  • Bb Collaborate – Sloan C Webinar on Competency-Based Degree Programs and Online Education
  • Adobe Connect – TLT’s schMOOC

Although we’ve been using web conferencing tools for many years, there are still technical glitches that always crop up, especially if you have participants who are new to online meeting tools. If you participate in webinars,  you will probably be able to relate to this funny video.

What’s a schMOOC? #tltg7FS2

According to the Teaching, Learning and Technology Group (TLT), a schMOOC is a:

somewhat connectivist, hypothetically Massive Open Online Course. This learning experience is “somewhat” connectivist because it combines structured and non-structured, along with social and individualized, learning options (choose to connect with others — or not), and it’s hypothetically massive because it could attract large numbers of participants in theory (but in practice it won’t).

What I love about about MOOCs and schMOOCs is that they provide a wonderful opportunity to learn, grow and connect with “like-minded” colleagues. I’m currently participating in a schMOOC sponsored by TLT called the “Seven Futures of American Education 2.0 schMOOC: Perspectives, Strategies, Plans.” This FREE course is based on John Sener’s “The Seven Futures of American Education: Improving Learning & Teaching in a Screen-Captured World.” I met John and purchased his book at a Quality Matters conference in October of 2013 and I am very excited to have the opportunity to explore this topic with the author and other learners in this schMOOC.

This course is delivered outside of a traditional LMS environment which takes a little getting used to but it is also a bit refreshing. The course content is primarily “housed” on a google site and we use Adobe Connect for our synchronous sessions and a Google+ community for asynchronous interactions. The course has provided some good examples of effective ways to  leverage online tools like Animoto and PowToon (thanks Beth!) and have inspired me to take some time to explore them further. Today we had a twitter chat which was new to me and several of my fellow schMOOCers. I hope to fully engage in this course but even if I don’t, I feel like I have already benefited from the experience.

So far I’m really enjoying all of the wonderful lifelong learning opportunities offered by MOOCs and schMOOCs and I’ll continue to take advantage of this professional development while these courses are still Free & Open.

Online Education: More than MOOCs – #iheONLINE

I just attended an excellent webinar titled “Online Education: More than MOOCs.”  The free webinar was presented by Inside Higher Ed editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman who clearly demonstrated that they have a solid understanding of the history of online education, which goes beyond the recent hype about MOOCs. They do an excellent job of explaining how traditional online courses and MOOCs are not synonymous, and acknowledge that too many pundits and non-experts do a disservice by not differentiating between the two which also drives me crazy.

Doug and Scott also discussed many of the key issues colleges and universities are facing today as well as changing faculty roles in the digital age. Many of their comments were based on data collected from recent surveys, recent articles on the subject, as well as conversations they’ve had with faculty and administrators. I was also very impressed with their responses to some of the questions asked by the people attending the webinar.

You can download a booklet from Inside Higher Ed that includes both news articles and opinion essays on this topic and click here to view a link to the recording of this brief, but very informative webinar.

Participate in the 2014 Blackboard Catalyst Awards! #BbECP

The 2014 Blackboard Catalyst Awards are open for submissions through February 17, 2014! There are several ways to participate in this excellent professional development program. You can nominate yourself, a peer, or a team in any of these four award categories: Exemplary Course, Innovation, Staff Development, and Student Impact or you can participate as a volunteer course reviewer.

In 2012, the University of Denver (DU) was honored to receive the Staff Development Catalyst Award for our Teaching Online Workshop (TOW) course and in 2011, DU’s Mike Keables was the recipient of an Exemplary Course Award.  This year I’m very excited to serve as an ECP Director.

The Exemplary Course Program (ECP) honors those whose courses demonstrate best practices in four major areas: Course Design, Interaction & Collaboration, Assessment and Learner Support.

By submitting your course, you will have the opportunity to:
•    Reflect on your own course design through a self-evaluation of your course and gain new perspective and insights
•    Receive detailed feedback on your own course development including best practices and areas for improvement
•    Apply lessons learned from the Exemplary Course Rubric to your own courses or those you are helping to develop
•    Gain professional development experience and recognition for your accomplishments and participation

If you don’t’ want to submit a course, consider becoming a volunteer course reviewer to:
•    Explore in-depth a variety of different online courses and get ideas and inspiration for your own online courses
•    Apply lessons learned from the Exemplary Course Rubric to your own courses or those you are helping to develop
•    Share your knowledge and experience with others by providing feedback on their course designs

If you have any questions about the program, please send an email to community@blackboard.com. For information on the Catalyst Awards categories, please visit blackboard.com/catalyst.