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

Posts tagged ‘Online Learning’

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.

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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.

Outsourcing Online Instruction?

Once a peripheral offering in higher education, online and distance education is becoming essential to the mission of many colleges and universities today. More and more vendors, also known as “Bundled Service Providers” (BSPs), are competing to cash in on the continued growth of online education in higher education. Services offered by the BSPs include market research, lead generation and marketing, admission counseling, course development and 24/7 technical support. Most BSPs charge on a revenue share basis where the vendor keeps 20% to 65% of the gross revenue for a course/program. One vendor, Academic Partnerships made $4 million from its share of tuition from Arizona State, over $10 million from Florida International University, and $18 million from Ohio University’s nursing program in 2012. (Source: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/05/31/nonprofit-colleges-should-be-wary-new-breed-profit-players-essay).

Some of the major players in this space include:

The eagerness of for-profits to enter the online education higher education market sounds very familiar. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, dot-coms and for-profits were jumping onto the distance learning bandwagon to launch new online programs. NYU Online, Virtual Temple, US Open University and Arizona Learning Systems were very popular until the dot-com bust which forced the closure of many of these new online ventures.

Some faculty members are beginning to push back on some of these  partnerships. An October 11, 2013 issue of Inside Higher Ed, reported on a recent clash between faculty and administration at Rutgers about a partnership with Pearson. Faculty were concerned about intellectual property rights and academic freedom as well as sharing the revenue from tuition with an outside vendor.

 

Teaching and Learning w Technology Symposium

The eLearning Consortium of Colorado’s annual professional development day was on October 25, 2013. This year we Text Word Cloudagain partnered with MSU Denver to co-sponsor the Symposium for Teaching & Learning with Technology. I served on the planning committee along with Jean Otte, Director of Online Learning at Aims and eLCC co-Chair, Ben Zastrocky, Director of the Educational Technology Center at MSU and eLCC member.  Jane Chapman-Vigil, MSU’s Director of Faculty Development and James Lyall, MSU’s CIO also served on the planning committee. We were thrilled that so many people submitted proposals and attended the event! My colleague, Bridget Arend, provided the keynote presentation and representatives from several colleges and universities presented at the symposium.

Check out the blogs below for some nice summaries of the event:

eLCC Blog Post

DU Blog Post

Regis Blog Post

7 Futures of American Education

I had an opportunity to meet John Sener at the Quality Matters conference in Nashville last week and purchased

a  copy of his book, “The Seven Futures of American Education – Improving Learning & Teaching in a Screen-Captured World.” I just started reading the book and wanted to share a couple of interesting quotes from the book:

  • Over the past 15 years, online education in the US has gone from zero to mainstream
  • If the first era in the history of online education was focused on providing access, the 2nd era has the potential to be defined by improving quality — not just for online education but for all education
  • Cybersymbiosis – irretrievable dependent on digital technologies (this isn’t a fad that is going to eventually fade)

John led a pre-workshop seminar at the conference about “using the seven futures as a framework to improve educational quality: a dialogue” and I was really impressed that he
stayed for the entire conference.  I’m looking forward to reading more of his book.

Disruptive technologies and MOOCs may be a good thing for higher education

Steven Mintz, the executive director of the Institute for Transformational Learning, University of Texas System wrote a couple of very interesting articles in two major higher education publications last month. In an article in Inside Higher Education titled “Lifting All Boats, How MOOCs Can Bring Higher Education Together, he talks about how MOOCs may actually benefit higher education by providing opportunities to “rethink pedagogy and instructional design for a new century and a new generation of students.” This is exactly what traditional online education has been doing for the past several years. In a commentary in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled, The Future is Now, 15 Innovations to Watch For, he shares his predictions for the future of higher education over the next 36 months.  I agree with Mintz that some of the recent disruptions in higher education that many people are worried about may actually benefit higher education and keep the focus where it should be, on learners and learning.  I’m especially interested in these 5 innovations:

  • Innovation 2: Evidence-based pedagogy
  • Innovation 4: Optimized class time
  • Innovation 6: Fewer large lecture classes
  • Innovation 7: New frontiers for e-learning
  • Innovation 8: Personalized adaptive learning