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

Posts tagged ‘Online Learning’

Improving Face-to-Face Pedagogy Through Faculty Development Programs for Online Learning

Poster Presentation –  2016 Quality Matters Conference in Portland, Oregon.

qmposter

Poster Objectives

  • Describe best practices for faculty development programs
  • Share how faculty development programs for online teaching impact face-to-face pedagogy.
  • Share research that describes how faculty development and teaching online has a positive impact on teaching and learning in all types of classrooms.
  • Describe the format and objectives of the Teaching Online Workshop and its impact on face-to-face teaching at the University of Denver.

The Problem

Historically, college faculty members learn how to teach based on how they were taught over their many years as students in a college classroom. Unfortunately, the “dominant paradigm for preparing colleges teachers has not, with few exceptions, included instruction about learning.”

According to Dr. Richard M. Felder, Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering,

“College teaching may be the only skilled profession for which no preparation or training is provided or required. You get a Ph.D., join a faculty, they show you your office, and then tell you “By the way, you’re teaching 205 next semester. See you later.” The result is the consistent use of teaching techniques that have repeatedly been shown to be ineffective at promoting learning.”

Another outspoken critic about the lack of opportunities for college faculty to learn about teaching and learning is author and researcher, L. Dee Fink. Dr. Fink recently visited the University of Denver during our Teaching and Learning Week to talk about high impact teaching practices. During his session for administrators, he made it very clear why he believes it is no longer acceptable to NOT require faculty to know about proven teaching strategies before they become college level teachers.

Dr. Fink’s recommendation to our administrators was to make professional development about teaching and learning, the 4th obligation of faculty members, in addition to the traditional emphasis on research, teaching, and service. In Fink’s foreward to Davis and Arend’s Facilitating Seven Ways of Learning book, he bluntly states that the lack of emphasis on requiring higher education faculty members to know about proven strategies that promote learning is the “shame of higher education today.”

The Solution

According to John Sener, author of The Seven Futures of American Education: Improving Learning and Teaching in a Screen-Captured World, online education has become a major “source of faculty development and rejuvenation in US higher education.” Online education requires that faculty change their approach to teaching. There is a growing body of evidence that faculty apply best practice about teaching online to the design and development of their face-to-face courses.

Poster Handout

Entire Poster – PDF version

 

The Future is Now! Is Higher Education Ready for the Role of Technology? #NETP

“When carefully designed and thoughtfully applied, technology can accelerate, amplify, and expand the impact of effective teaching practices.” This quote is from the 2016 National Education Technology Plan (NETP) released by the U.S. Department of NETPCover2Education.  The plan is backed by research and emerging teaching practices. It includes excellent real-world examples and actionable recommendations about the role of technology in education. The plan is divided into the following sections:

  • Learning
  • Teaching
  • Leadership
  • Assessment
  • Infrastructure

Ready or not, here they come!

We’ve known for years that higher education faculty need to learn how to effectively infuse technology into their curriculum as technology usage grows in the K-12 environment.  I think we have finally reached the point where the majority of our incoming students have been actively using technology in their K-12 classrooms, and I’m concerned that many faculty are still unsure, or unwilling, to learn how technology can enhance student learning.  In my opinion, if we don’t prepare more faculty to expand their use of technology, our students will be short-changed and unprepared for the future.

Distance/Online and Blended Leading Tech and Teaching Innovation

One of the plan’s recommendations is to “develop a teaching force skilled in online and blended instruction.” I wholeheartedly agree with this recommendation as I’ve seen first-hand how online and blended education drives technical innovation and supports effective teaching practices. Faculty development programs designed to prepare faculty to teach online not only expose faculty to new technologies, but these programs also expose faculty to innovative teaching practices. Technology and online/blended education are facilitating the legitimacy and acceptance of the critical role of faculty development in higher education. In my opinion, this is something that is long overdue.

Conclusion

The National Education Technology Plan is chocked full of great ideas and examples. The plan acknowledges that both K-12 and higher education still have a long way to go before fully leveraging the potential of technology to improve educational outcomes. I’m hopeful that both K-12 and higher education institutions will continue to explore ways technology can positively impact learning.  I plan to highlight some of the recommendations and highlights in a future post(s). I’m so glad I stumbled across the NETP!

Faculty Development for Online Teaching as a Catalyst for Change?

How does teaching online influence a faculty member’s teaching and technology practices? I’ll be exploring this question during a presentation at the 2016 eLearning Consortium of Colorado (eLCC) conference called, “How Teaching Online Enhances Your Pedagogical Toolkit.”

One of the research studies that I’ll be sharing during my eLCC session is the title of this eLCC Conference Logo - What's in Your Toolkit?blog post, “Faculty Development for Online Teaching as a Catalyst for Change.” This article describes an action research study by Carol A. McQuiggan that was published in the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks in March of 2012.

McQuiggan’s research questions for this study were:

  1. Which aspects of the professional development activities do faculty perceive as being most effective in helping them to reflect on and question their previously held assumptions and beliefs about teaching?
  2. Do faculty experience changes in their previously held assumptions and beliefs about teaching as a result of learning to teach online and, if so, how does transformative learning explain the changes?
  3. What impact does learning to teach online have on face-to-face teaching practices?

I’ve been very involved in faculty development for online teaching for over 16 years through the University of Denver’s Teaching Online Workshop.  I agree with McQuiggan and other researchers that teaching online can have a positive impact on face-to-face teaching practices. Faculty development designed to prepare faculty to teach online often allows faculty members an opportunity to reflect on their teaching practices, both online and in the classroom.

Interest and acceptance of faculty development has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade at the University of Denver as more and more instructors learn about course design and effective teaching practices through their participation in the Teaching Online Workshop.  In my opinion, technology and online education are responsible for helping to legitimize the role of faculty development in higher education as more and more faculty members’ develop online and hybrid courses.

McQuiggan’s observed that online teaching also caused a shift from teacher-centered to more learner-centered teaching with less reliance on lecture. She notes that faculty members also applied this learner-centered approach to their face-to-face classrooms. I strongly believe that teaching online is a catalyst for change in higher education that is long overdue! I’m looking forward to talking about this topic with my eLCC colleagues in April.

 

FREE Webinar about supporting online adjunct faculty

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!

2014 in eLearning blog review. Thank you WordPress!

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.

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

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.

RFP Open for 25th Annual eLCC conference

Mark your calendar for the 2014 eLearning Consortium of Colorado 25th Annual Conference.
This year’s conference eLCC Conference logois on April 16-18, 2014 and at the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado. Plan to help us celebrate a quarter century of success as we build on the past and lead to the future. Emerging technologies have created a dynamic, challenging environment that has caused us to adapt. What have we learned that can help us be successful as we move forward? Come and explore what the present and not-so-distant future holds for students, teaching, and learning.

Join us or submit a proposal for the conference. Deadline is January 10, 2014.

The Conference includes:

• FREE hands-on computer workshops
• Keynote presentations from elearning leaders
• Concurrent sessions featuring the latest elearning strategies
• Exhibits and demonstrations

Check out the 2013 conference program.