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

Posts tagged ‘distance education’

6 Benefits of #Teaching Online #edtech, #elearning

One of the most exciting benefits of learning to teach online is that it positively impacts pexels-photo-245132_Diversityface-to-face (FTF) teaching by:

  1. improving the use and integration of digital media and technology in face-to-face classes;
  2. making more extensive and better use of the Learning Management System tools;
  3. moving faculty from the “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side”;
  4. offering professors more flexibility of how, when, and where they teach their class;
  5. motivating professors to learn more about pedagogy and course design for all courses;
  6. promoting the alignment of learning objectives to content, assessments, interactions, and activities in all courses.

Empirical research from faculty who participated in an intensive 4-week Teaching Online Workshop (TOW) at a private, non-profit university, supports external research findings (McQuiggens 2012, Sener 2012) that learning to teach online has a positive impact on F2F teaching.

The vast majority of TOW faculty agreed that learning to teach an online course has positively influenced how they teach their on-campus courses.

ImprovedF2F

Learning Management Systems like Blackboard, Canvas, and BrightSpace often get a bad rap in higher education.  The key is how faculty members leverage these systems to support student learning.  Below are testimonials from Teaching Online Workshop graduates about how teaching online has impacted their LMS use in face-to-face courses

Testimonials about more extensive use of LMS

These findings are good news for students and higher education overall. When instructors apply what they learn about effective online learning practices to their face-to-face classrooms, it is a win-win for everyone!

References

Keairns, Kathy, & Tobin, Heather (2015). Faculty as Students: One Model for Preparing Faculty to Develop and Teach Online. Distance Teaching & Learning Conference. Madison, WI.

McQuiggan, Carol A. (2012).Faculty Development for Online Teaching as a Catalyst for      Change. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, Volume 16: Issue 2.

Sener, J. (2012). The Seven Futures of American Education: Improving Learning and Teaching in a Screen-Captured World. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing.

 

 

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Faculty concerns about teaching online

One of the first things we ask faculty to share in the Teaching Online Workshop (TOW) is their apprehensions and concerns about teaching online. The Teaching Online Young people at table with laptopWorkshop is an online course for faculty new to teaching online. Participants experience online education first-hand as students in this intensive four- week course.

The Prompt

Teaching online can be very different from what most of us have experienced in the traditional classroom. Many instructors have apprehension and see great challenges with this method of education.

After reading through module 1.1 about online learning and taking the faculty preparedness for online teaching self-assessment, what are your main thoughts or concerns about teaching online? What potential benefits might you expect?

Faculty Concerns (from 2013 TOW)

“My first concern is that I gather much feedback from the nonverbal communication between myself and the students during class regarding their understanding, interest, previous knowledge, etc.  I am hopeful that I can still receive feedback to tailor my course for the students I will be teaching.”

“My concern is how to determine the optimum number of bells and whistles (news stories, blogs, wiki’s, video links) to include in order for students to stay engaged?”

“First, I am concerned about the fact that students who struggle with time management and/or have procrastination problems typically don’t fare well during an online course because some of the students who enroll in our class will undoubtedly fit into this category. Second, I have heard many students talk about how they just need to post something to a discussion board for credit rather than because they have a really thoughtful point they are intrinsically inclined to share, so I’m trying to think through how I can manage that issue. Finally, I’m nervous about how well I will do with creating an online classroom feel in which students engage in meaningful dialog with one another.”

The challenge I see is keeping a balance of social chatter vs. specific assignment discussions, I have seen this get out-of-hand per some online classes. I always appreciated the online facilitator who encouraged more specifics from students who generalized;  they also minimized extremely long posts by reminding students to stay on point and the importance of being succinct when discussing a point or adding a relevant comment.”

“I am also apprehensive about being organized enough to pull this off effectively and in a timely way. I always meet deadlines, but I tend to procrastinate up to those deadlines.”

I appreciate the honesty and variety of responses to this prompt and understand that these are all valid concerns for faculty new to online teaching.  I will share more concerns later but my next blog post will highlight this groups’ perceived benefits of teaching online.

 

 

Online Courses: The Quality Question #TLTGfrlv

This is a quick summary of a FREE professional development webinar I attended from Young people at table with laptopthe Teaching, Learning and Technology (TLT) group. This FridayLive session was about good practices for online education, esp. those encouraged by accreditors, states, et al.

Session Description

Courses and educational programs that have on-line or distance components have existed long enough to have a history. Scholars and accrediting agencies are sincerely interested in promoting good practices that improve student learning. What are the good practices that have emerged, where did they come from, how are they implemented by individuals and by programs, and what are the interests taken by external agencies such as states and accreditors?

Guest:  David McCurry, Director of Distance Education at University of South Carolina Upstate
Interviewer:  Doug Eder, emeritus assessment scholar and faculty member
Moderator: Steve Gilbert, TLT Group

Summary & Resources

It was a good conversation and lots of great resources were shared (see below).  The TLT group is a great organization with a long history of promoting effective teaching practices.  Dr. McCurry shared the attributes of good practices in online education from “National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements” (NC-SARA).  We also discussed the 2018 CHOLE Report findings and the role of the Chief Online Learning Officer (COLO).

UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

ICT –  Information and Communications Technology

There is no such thing as educational technology (Dr. McCurry’s blog)

A Concierge Model for Supporting Faculty in Online Course Design (MuCurry & Mullinix)

Leading & Managing eLearning (Book Recommendation)

Take advantage of upcoming Friday Live Sessions to learn more about Teaching, Learning and Technology. Keep up the good work TLT!

Misconceptions, challenges, and benefits of going online

I just returned from LA after giving a talk at the beautiful Loyola Marymount University (LMU) as part of their Speaker Series.  The Speaker Series is a very cool program that is:

Poster of Kathy's Talk

Poster@LMU

“intended to help LMU faculty explore and understand the possibilities and potential challenges involved in online and hybrid teaching. Speakers are invited to facilitate an honest discussion of the opportunities, challenges, and pitfalls of online and hybrid teaching and to offer some lessons from their own institutions’ experiences.”

Abstract

Like other organizations, higher education has been disrupted by the Internet and technological innovations over the past 20 years. The college classroom is changing as online and hybrid education become commonplace at many institutions today. Although there has been tremendous growth in online and hybrid learning, there is still a lot skepticism and resistance, especially from those who have no direct experience with these new learning formats.

Faculty resistance to online education is one of the challenges I highlighted during my talk.

Faculty Resistance

Faculty resistance is a major challenge faced by traditional higher education institutions considering moving online.  Many faculty are skeptical about online education and believe that:

  • online courses are less rigorous
  • there is more cheating in online courses
  • online teaching is more time and energy intensive
  • online courses are inferior to face-to-face courses

Faculty who haven’t taught online may assume online courses are self-paced with little opportunities for interaction with students.  They may associate online education with correspondence or televised courses from the past that were much less interactive. They may also be skeptical about the quality of online courses.

Another reason for faculty resistance is the lack of rewards, especially related to tenure and promotion decisions. In many institutions, faculty who teach online are often looked down upon by colleagues. Although online education is more common today, there is little prestige for faculty who teach online.

If university leaders want faculty buy-in for online education, they need to acknowledge and address faculty resistance.

I was honored to be part of this wonderful series to talk about online education.

Teaching in the Digital Age and more words of wisdom from Dr. Tony Bates

I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Tony Bates, the author of Teaching in the Digital Age at the World Conference on Online Learning in Toronto. Tony is a leader in the field of Dr. Tony Bates with Kathy Keairns at book signingonline education and I was thrilled to receive an autographed hard copy of Teaching in the Digital Age at the conference.  I use this as the textbook for my Teaching, Learning & Technology online course.  Although the book was written 2015, it is still very relevant and worth checking out.

Dr. Bates is an outspoken advocate for preparing faculty members in the art and practice of teaching.  In his 2017 end of year blog post, he laments:

“Without a grounding in pedagogy and a knowledge of the research into how people learn, it is impossible for most instructors to see the real potential of digital technology for improving their teaching.”

Tony’s stance on this important problem (lack of faculty training in pedagogy and how people learn) is similar to other critics of higher education in the US like D. Fink, John Sener, and Richard Felder.

I’ll end my blog post with a recent quote from Tony:

“Technology is best used when it helps solve an actual teaching problem.”

Learn more about this issue, OER, Innovation, and Online Learning in Tony’s “That was 2017 in online learning” blog post. Also, check out his FREE digital book for guidelines about teaching & learning in the digital age.

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

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

Distance Education Enrollment Myths

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

Faculty Development: Important Key to Online Learning Success

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.

Submit a Proposal to the 2015 eLCC Conference!

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

Distance/Online Education ≠ MOOC

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