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

Dr. L. Dee Fink was invited to be as a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator at the University of Denver’s Teaching & Learning Week last week. Dee is an author a nationally and internationally-recognized consultant on college teaching and faculty development.

Kathy and Dee Fink

Kathy Keairns w Dee Fink

As a long-time member of our Office of Teaching & Learning (OTL), I was familiar with Dee’s work and taxonomy of significant learning so I was very excited to meet him. However, I have to admit I was skeptical that we could find 30 faculty members willing to give up 3.5 hours to attend his workshop entitled, “Designing your Courses for Significant Learning.” I was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong because the demand was so high for his workshop that we increased the capacity to 50 due to a growing wait list. His lunch keynote was capped at 110 and we were overcapacity for that too!

Although I did not attend his workshop, all of the feedback from faculty I spoke with was very complimentary and definitely worth the time. Fortunately, I did have the opportunity to attend Dee’s keynote, a special workshop he held for the administration, and small meetings with members of the OTL. Many of his ideas really resonated with me and shared my belief about the importance of providing faculty members with the professional development they need to be GREAT teachers.

Two questions we should ask all college faculty members as part of the evaluation process:

  1. What did I do this year to LEARN new ideas about teaching?
  2. What did I CHANGE this year to improve my teaching?

Most faulty come to college-level teaching without any formal preparation for teaching. Why is it NOT acceptable to require faculty to know about proven teaching strategies before they become college level teachers?

All universities should Identify Campus-Wide Learning Outcomes

All universities and faculty need to:

  • Be Learner-Centered
  • Work on Continuous Improvement

5 High Impact Teaching Practices

  • Changing Students’ View of Learning
  • Learning Center Course Design
  • Team-Based Learning
  • Engage Students in Service – With Reflection
  • Be a Leader with your Students

Professional Development should be the 4th obligation of faculty members in addition to research, teaching, and service.

I barely touched the surface here of what I learned from Dee’s visit and I’ll be mulling it over a lot of over the next few months. Check out his latest book, Creating Significant Learning Experiences, An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. And if you are looking to bring in a speaker to your campus, I highly recommend Dr. L. Dee Fink!

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Presenters: Russell Poulin and David Clinefelter

I attended a FREE online webinar today entitled, “Recruiting, Orienting & Supporting ONLINE Adjunct Faculty: A Survey of Practices” and I learned several things I feel compelled to share. The webinar was sponsored by The Learning House, Inc., and WCET (WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies).  I’ve highlighted some of the takeaways and more information below. I do wish we had the same data about full-time and tenure-track instructors who teach online.

Be careful about # of courses adjuncts can teach so it doesn’t lead to full-time equivalent.

Employment for online instruction is stable – little turnover per the data and demand for online adjuncts is growing.

Policies for formal evaluation
– Student evals – per term
– Supervisor – per term or once per year
– Peer reviews – very limited
– Some institutions have no policy for evaluation

Only 35% offered “required” instructor-led training before an adjunct can teach online.

Written policies for interactions with students (i.e., within a specific timeframe)?

– Posts a topic on message board
– Respond to posting
– Grade Assignments
– Respond to student email or inquiry (w/i specific timeframe)

Researchers were surprised that many institutions did not have any policies for interactions with students.

Institutions tend to use highly different philosophies for course design by adjuncts.

Pedagogical training is limited at many institutions.

Customized vs Master Course – need to pick one and stick to it based on institutional culture.

Recommendations

  1. Choose a model for course design and fully develop it.
  2. Set clear expectations for faculty engagement with students (create guidelines).
  3. Use best practices to select new adjunct faculty and then provide comprehensive training (is institutional training & support provided? list of cheating tools, students services, online pedagogy).
  4. Provide an ongoing system of professional development, training and performance review.
  5. Systematically include adjunct faculty in the life and governance of the college or university.
  6. Understand and address internal and external polices – Intellectual property, another caution to be careful of full-time status of adjuncts, academic integrity policies.

Finally, here is a list of the key findings from the report according to the Learning House website:

  •    One-size-fits-all policies are common. Policies that were designed for on-campus adjuncts were frequently applied to those who teach online, which can present challenges in the different modality.
  •    Adjuncts teaching online are often given responsibility and flexibility. Thirty-one percent of online adjunct faculty are often given responsibility for course design, and 21 percent of institutions allow online adjunct faculty the ability to totally customize the courses they teach.
  •    There are two approaches to how institutions have adjunct faculty develop online courses. Colleges and universities tend to fall into two camps, either using a “master course” philosophy (the institution develops the course) or “full development/customization” (the faculty member develops the course.
  •    Professional training and development are not guaranteed. Eighty-four percent of respondents reported high levels of technical and instructional design support, but most professional development and training requirements were offered face-to-face or on campus.
  •    Recruiting is the same for online and on-campus adjuncts. Online adjuncts are hired using the same advertising and screening methods used to hire on-campus adjuncts.

You can download the report on the Learning House website but you will need to provide your name and an email address to access the full report. Keep in mind that Learning House is a vendor and not a non-profit like WCET.

Thanks to WCET and Learning House for this FREE professional development webinar!

I’m looking forward to attending the Distance Teaching & Learning Conference in Madison this week.  I’ll be presenting at the conference with my colleague, Heather Tobin, about the University of Denver’s Teaching Online Workshop. Below is an excerpt from the proceedings paper.

Faculty as Students: One Model for Preparing Faculty to Develop and Teach Online

Introduction

Many college faculty members learn how to teach based on how they were taught over their many years as students in a college classroom. Unlike K-12 teachers, “most faculty learn how to teach by absorbing teaching skills and style informally from a mentor, or learn along the way through practice or trial and error. This model is commonly accepted reflexively without examination or question” (Sener, 2012, p. 51). Many educational researchers are calling for a paradigm shift about the way higher education faculty members are prepared to teach. Davis and Arend argue that the “dominant paradigm for preparing colleges teachers has not, with few exceptions, included instruction about learning.” (Davis & Arend, 2013, p. 9).

Online education and technology are slowly changing this paradox as more and more faculty members participate in professional development activities to learn how to teach in the online environment. According to Smith (2010), “creating and delivering online courses has also led to new and essential tasks that faculty must accomplish, and new skills sets accompany the essential tasks. These new skills incorporate the selection and application of new technologies and new instructional assumptions and strategies” (p. 54). We have experienced this first-hand at the University of Denver (DU) through our efforts to prepare faculty members to teach and develop quality online courses.

Background

The University of Denver has been offering online courses and degree programs through our professional and continuing studies division, University College, since 1997. However, online courses are relatively new within our traditional academic programs. In 2009-2010, 14 full-time DU faculty members participated in a pilot project exploring the value of providing traditional undergraduate students the opportunity to take online courses. These faculty members completed an intensive online workshop as students, and participated in a series of faculty development follow-up sessions to learn how to develop a quality online course. The vast majority of faculty members who participated in the pilot project indicated that faculty development activities were necessary for them to learn how to teach online, and the initial creation of an online course was time-consuming but that they would teach an online course again because of the generally positive outcomes they observed. The Teaching Online Initiative eventually expanded to include graduate level and hybrid courses.

Teaching Online Workshop (TOW)

The Teaching Online Workshop (TOW) was first offered by the Office of Teaching & Learning (OTL) in 2005 as an optional professional development workshop for instructors interested in teaching online. TOW is an intensive four-week online workshop designed to prepare instructors to develop and teach an online course. The workshop was revamped in 2009 as part of the Teaching Online Initiative, and the workshop and initiative were continued based on positive feedback from students and instructors who participated in the pilot phase….

Download Entire Proceedings Paper

I learned about 2 free tools today and doing a quick post to share them here. The first is a tool called Canva which is a *FREE web-based design creation tool. You can use Canva to create presentations, posters, facebook covers and more. I just signed up today and completed the tutorial and I have a feeling I will be using it quite a bit. Canva includes a very easy to use drag-and-drop feature to create professional-looking design documents. It seems very intuitive and I can’t wait to try it out!

*Canva does charge a fee for some of their design elements (images, layouts, backgrounds), but only when you publish your design, and many of them are available for free.

The other tool is an app called “Slack.” Slack is a team communication tool and messaging app. View the video below to learn more about this tool. Enjoy!

I had the honor of presenting at last week’s eLearning Consortium of Colorado‘s (eLCC) annual conference in Breckenridge, Colorado. Several attendees stayed an extra night due to the typical eLCC conference weather and I was relieved to make it home on time.

Snowing in Breckenridge

Robbie Melton was one of the keynote speakers and she was very entertaining and brought a ton of cool gadgets to share during her presentation. I hosted a roundtable about using social media in education which I’ve posted below along with Sherri Jones’ slideshare presentation on gamification and gamified learning. Enjoy!

Here is Sherry’s presentation which I missed because it was difficult to choose among all of the wonderful presentations. And I knew I could count on Sherry to post it online.

Unfortunately the conference hashtag (#eLCC2015) was overtaken by an European Lung Cancer Conference so we didn’t do much tweeting during the conference. I’m encouraging people to use #eLearningCO instead but it is a little late. We would have had more robust backchannel conversations and sharing if we would have promoted the new hashtag sooner – oh well.

Kudos to the eLCC conference committee for another excellent conference!

pictures of campus and educators

 

I attended an excellent webinar this week co-sponsored by Quality Matters (QM) and Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) called “Measuring Effectiveness of Online Blended Programs.” The three speakers, Kay Shattuck from QM, Veronica Diaz from ELI, and Tanya Joosten from UWM and DETA, explained various research projects and ways we can collaborate to measure effectiveness and quality of courses and programs. ELI’s “Seeking Evidence of Impact” (SEI) project really caught my interest. Many colllege instructors have been experimenting with some great new technologies and innovative teaching practices and we need to chronicle and share the impact of these efforts. According to the Seeking Evidence of Impact website:

SEI is a program led by the ELI teaching and learning community to find current effective practices that enable the collection of evidence to help faculty and administration make decisions about adopting and investing in best practices. They developed this Study Guide & Template so we could all use it as we “seek evidence of impact” at our institutions.

All three presenters were excellent and I’ve posted some of the resources shared from the webinar and back channels. I definitely recommend checking them out and getting involved with this important research.

Slides and eventually the recording which ELI and QM members will have access to for the next 90 days.

http://www.educause.edu/events/eli-webinar-measuring-effectiveness-onlineblended-programs/2015/measuring-effectiveness-onlineblended-programs

Quality Matters Resources

https://www.qmprogram.org/

https://www.qmprogram.org/qmresources/research/

Continuous Improvement of the QM Rubric and Review Processes: Scholarship of Integration and Application

Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA) Grant Project

http://uwm.edu/deta/grant-summary/

http://uwm.edu/deta/top-research-questions/

Misc Sites Shared in the Webinar

http://professorjoosten.blogspot.com/

http://www.routledgementalhealth.com/books/details/9780415742474/

 

 

Excellent visualization of distance education enrollment patterns. This infographic dispels some of the misconceptions and common myths related to Distance Education. WCET has devoted a series of blog posts that examines and explains the IPEDS Fall 2013 survey results.

InfoGraphWCETMyth

Below is a link to the entire infographic.

http://wcet.wiche.edu/learn/busting-the-myth-distance-education

Babson recently released their 12th annual survey that tracks online education in the United States based on responses from over 2,800 CAO’s and data from IPEDS. As always, the release of this important online tracking survey has generated a lot of buzz and back-channel conversations. The Online Learning Consortium shared the survey with their members and invited us to share how our university is making online learning a success. I apologize in advance for the longer than usual post.

This blog post will highlight the University of Denver’s successful model for implementing online courses within our traditional undergraduate programs. Note that our definition of online/distance courses is a course in which “all or nearly all of the organized instruction is conducted online or by distance learning methodologies.”

How the University of Denver (DU) is Making Online Learning a Success

DU Building

 The University of Denver, a private, residential university embraced online education a bit later than some of our competitors.  Like many other colleges and universities, distance and online education at DU was primarily housed in our professional and continuing education studies division, University College. Very few online courses were offered within our traditional academic degree programs until 2009 when we started an online learning initiative.

Fourteen full-time faculty members participated in a pilot project to explore the value of providing traditional undergraduate students the opportunity to take online courses. From the very beginning, we built a comprehensive faculty development component into the program. As a private, residential university, we knew we had to provide our online students with the same type of personalized learning experience that they were accustomed to in their on-campus classrooms.

The faculty members in the pilot participated in an intensive faculty development program called the Teaching Online Workshop (TOW). The workshop allows faculty members to experience online learning first-hand from the student perspective. They learn best practices for designing and facilitating online courses, all while developing their online course as part of the required workshop activities.

The vast majority of faculty members who participated in the pilot indicated that they felt that the faculty development activities were necessary for them to learn how to teach online, that the initial creation of an online course was time-consuming but that they would teach an online course again because of the generally positive outcomes they observed. The program has now expanded to include graduate level and hybrid courses.

Over 165 faculty members in disciplines from all areas of the university have completed the Teaching Online Workshop. Here’s what some of them said about their experience in the Teaching Online Workshop:

“Participating in the TOW helped me recognize what quality online learning looks like and changed my perception of online courses for the better. As a student in this online workshop, I was able to experience firsthand how thoughtful course design and judicious use of multimedia tools can come together to create a rich learning environment. Practically speaking, the TOW also provided a fantastic opportunity to develop a course with thoughtful feedback and ongoing support from the instructors and my colleagues. The TOW is a wonderful resource for any instructor who is new to online teaching.”
– Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

“While demanding, the Teaching Online Workshop is well worth the effort it takes. Beyond learning how to negotiate Canvas and being introduced to the Quality Matters Program for online course design, you receive astonishingly detailed feedback as you build your course from instructors who have terrific pedagogical instincts, who review your materials with tremendous care, and who offer invaluable suggestions and strategies for improvement.”
– Professor, Department of Religious Studies

Even some tenure-track faculty members with years of teaching experience who completed TOW reported that teaching online changed the way they teach their classroom-based courses. I’m sure this is not a surprise to many people still reading this post, and not unique to the University of Denver. Online learning and digital technologies are fueling pedagogical innovations which is also impacting student success in all college classrooms (online, hybrid, blended, flipped, face-to-face). As John Sener wrote in  The Seven Futures of American Education, “online education has driven pedagogical innovation.” And I’ve heard this over and over again, from multiple articles and research studies, but more importantly, from professors at DU and my colleagues in the eLearning Consortium of Colorado. I’m happy to report that DU’s Teaching Online Workshop is now required of faculty members who teach online courses within our traditional academic programs.

I appreciate all of the wonderful  research and professional development efforts by organizations such as BSRG, WCET, OLC, IHE, QM and other leaders in the online and distance education world. In the future, I hope more questions about faculty development will be included in research, surveys and discussions about online education.

I attended an excellent webinar on January 8, 2015 sponsored by WCET. Four experts shared their predictions of edtech trends for 2015.  I’ve posted a link to the recording and some of the resources shared during the panel presentation including my notes. Thanks WCET for putting together a great group of panelists!

Trends & Issues

The Internet of Things – Mega Trend that higher education should be paying attention to but are not…

Learners require on-demand access to a digital content system and faculty require increasing support.

Jeff Borden reminds us that film projectors, tv, moocs, etc. were all were going to revolutionize education.

Adaptive Learning (personalizes experience)

Social Media (SM) – higher levels of self-disclosure and push to be authentic. There will be more focus on openness and sharing

http://www.amazon.com/Show-Your-Work-Jane-Bozarth/dp/1118863623

http://www.ubiquitypress.com/site/books/detail/11/battle-for-open/

Use technology to improve something – Simply adding technology without changing the process will not improve learning outcomes

Share student success models with faculty about how ed tech can better serve students.

Teaching and Learning is about relationships – use SM to build relationships and enhance relationships between learners and content deliverers

Connecting – Learning is about connecting people to ideas, connecting old to new, people to people, things & places

Connections can build relationships. Connect students to experiences, institutions, other students, professions. Build connections between students & content.

Learn from what have we done wrong and how do we do it better. Ssing technology for teaching – use in a strategic way for educational principles and ideas

What steps can institutions take to ensure technology is used effectively for teaching?

Need Faculty buy-in

Incentivize faculty – justification, faculty development, community building – waste of resources if there is no faculty buy-in

Resources posted on the event hashtag (#wcettrends)

I just stumbled upon an email from WordPress that included a data visualization summary of my blog stats from 2014. Very cool! I wonder what the hot eLearning topics will be in 2015. My prediction is that MOOCs will not be one of them.

Check out my blog’s “annual report” below. My goal is to improve upon my eLearning Blog stats for 2015. Happy New Year!!!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.