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

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!

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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.

Reach the PeakMark your calendar for the 26th Annual eLearning Consortium of Colorado (eLCC) Conference April 15-17, 2015 in Breckenridge, Colorado. Join us or submit a proposal for the conference which focuses on the best tools for faculty and support staff­ to meet the needs of diverse students in online, hybrid,
or any technology-driven courses.

The Conference includes:

  • FREE hands-on computer workshops
  • Keynote presentations from elearning leaders
  • Concurrent sessions featuring the latest elearning strategies
  • Exhibits and demonstrations
  • Excellent networking opportunities
  • eLearning awards for faculty & support staff

Submit Proposal

I’m very excited that we’ve received so may excellent proposals for the Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium (TLTS). The TLTS is a FREE faculty development event and a great opportunity for you to network with fellow educators throughout Colorado. Faculty and staff at eLCC member institutions are invited totltslogo3 attend the Symposium to be held on October 24th, 2014 at MSU Denver on the Auraria Campus.

The keynote speaker, Charles Dzuiban, is a national leader in online and blended education and we are very excited that he will be joining us for this event. This year’s theme is “The Quest for Quality” and session tracks include the following topics:

– Course Quality
– Multimedia for Learning
– Universal Design for Learning
– Blended Learning
– Social Learning
– Online Learning

Space is limited so register right away if you plan to attend.

http://www.msudenver.edu/tlts/

Over 10 years ago (2003), I finally completed my thesis project entitled “In Your Face in Cyberspace, A new Paradigm for Online Learning.” This project also included the development of a website entitled, “Introduction to Distance Education,” an online course designed to present my research. Even back then, there were many terms for online education including:

  • Distance/Online Learning
  • Online Education/Learning
  • Distance Learning
  • e-Learning
  • Open Education/Learning

I wrote that “the terms “Distance Education” and “Distance Learning” are slowing being abandoned because they no longer adequately describe the range of educational options and delivery methods offered today. For example, is a course delivered primarily on the Web but having three on-campus sessions during the semester a distance education course? Does it make a difference if the students live a long distance from campus or are on-campus students? Distributed, hybrid, and blended education are terms often used to describe courses that meet both face-to-face and at a distance.”

However, in 2014, we are still struggling to find the “perfect term” to categorize online/distance courses. One term that does not accurately represent “traditional” distance or online courses is MOOC. Unfortunately many people who are not familiar with the long history of distance and online education use these terms interchangeably. At the University of Denver, we recently updated our official definition of an online/distance course to:

A course in which all or nearly all of the organized instruction is conducted online or by distance learning methodologies.

I’ve organized some of the differences between a traditional online/distance course in higher education and a MOOC in the table below. I’m sure there may be other differences I’ve missed, but these are a few of the differences that I often think about when contrasting MOOCs with traditional online courses.

Table Mooc vs Online

I learned about Unizin from a colleague at Colorado State University (CSU), CSU is one of the founding members of the Unizin consortium. I still haven’t figured out what the “zin” in Unizin stands for but according to the Unizin website:

“the Unizin Consortium is universities coming together in a strategic way to exert greater control and influence over the digital learning landscape. It enables each institution, its faculty, and students to draw on an evolving set of tools to support digital learning for residential, flipped classroom, online courses/degrees, badged experiences for Alumni, or even MOOCs if desired. Unizin supports the differing missions and strategies of universities.”

In addition to CSU, Indiana University, the University of Florida, and the University of Michigan, are founding members and investors in this membership-based higher education consortium. I’m still not clear about what Unizin is and how they will operate, but here are a few things it is not:

  • LMS – although all members are using a single LMS vendor, Canvas
  • MOOC – it will not offer courses, content or degrees in its own name

Unizin is affiliated with Internet 2 which will serve as Unizin’s financial home. To learn more about the Unizin Consortium, review the links below:

It will be interesting to see where this leads and which institutions will join the consortium.