You may have noticed that CTL was a buzz last week. The latest NMC report for higher education hit the wires. (Lauren was particularly ecstatic and will no doubt be adding her thoughts to this blog and tweeting up a storm.) This collaboration between the New Media Consortium and ELI (EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative) forecasts the trends and challenges in a variety of educational settings. Of particular note is its three dimensions - LEADERSHIP, POLICY, and PRACTICE - and the detailing of impact and implications from each perspective.
There is so much to discuss! I will limit this first post to two projects on which I am currently involved. These projects address assessment and open educational resources.
Learning Outcomes Assessment
“We are just beginning to understand which data is useful for advancing learning” (New Media Consortium, p. 12). Not that long ago, the Office of the (former) VPA collected data on all Mohawk courses. This first step tracked the presence of basic information for course set-up. With basic course information covered, our next challenge is how to begin to mine data that is useful for advancing learning. From the focus on the LMS and online content over four years ago, we have recommended an adaptation of USC-Chico’s rubric for online instruction. As with most rubrics, it deals with qualitative data, which is time-consuming and labour-intensive to code, analyze, and report. Mohawk’s online learning environments are developing to complement our rich f2f learning environments. As we grow eLearn from a repository of information (uploaded docs and presentations) into a learning environment optimizing eLearn’s powerful space and tools e.g. Discussions, Quizzes, Dropbox, Rubrics the world of quantitative data opens. Insights is eLearn’s built-in tool to harness data.
D2L | Brightspace’s analytics tool, Insights, has numerous benefits:
once competencies are mapped, students see their achievement of course and program learning outcomes - allowing them to take more responsibility for learning and for learning to be more transparent
instructors, Student Success Advisors, Counsellors, and administration can query for students falling behind and implement intervention strategies early in the semester
meaningful data is at-the-ready for outside accreditation - PQAPA or a program’s external standards.
Mohawk is currently in a partnership with McMaster, University of Waterloo, University of Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier University, and D2L to improve their Competencies tool and ultimately Insights. We are in year two of a five-year commitment and just beginning to map activities to learning outcomes to vocational standards. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting project and its possibilities.
Open Educational Resources
The cohesive movement gained momentum at the turn of the century (2000) and defined open educational resources (OER) as “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others“(Hewlett Foundation, n.d.). In a recent survey of over 2 000 faculty, only 5% were very aware of OERs, but over 75% expected or would consider using them in the future (NMC, 2015). This hints at an approaching tipping point.
There are great examples of faculty implementing OERs in their course development. Beyond the cost savings for students (free instead of fee-based textbooks) they are participating in a tenet of education - SHARING. Sharing openly and freely is the surest way for knowledge to spread and wisdom to grow.
With Open Education Week approaching (March 9-15) why not commit 30 minutes to learning more about OERs or exploring one of the many OER respositories to see how your students could be enriched - both in their minds and wallets. The granddaddy of repositories is MERLOT (www.merlot.org). Beyond being the oldest (established 1997) and the largest (six figures), it also includes a peer review function and great filters to find appropriate resources and activities for your course curation.
Your CTL and Library have teamed up to provide information sessions on OERs to grow awareness. Consult the CTL PD calendar. If you can`t make a session or can`t wait, talk with your Librarian, or shoot Peggy French an email to learn more about using OERs in your courses or for your own professional development.
I`ll leave with a short intro to Creative Commons. I am hopeful it will inspire!
Flipping the classroom is gaining momentum for a variety of reasons. In K-12, teachers’ desire to facilitate and ignite students through the more challenging application and analysis phases motivates the flip. Traditionally, teachers provided the foundation or introduction in class and then assigned the practice and extension activities as homework. The flip allows them to be present for the more challenging aspects of learning (and teaching!).
In higher education, an additional catalyst for the flip is hybrid or blended learning. As higher ed institutions work to increase students’ responsibility for their own learning, provide more flexibility, and grapple with space issues, flipping the classroom is a popular re-design for blended or hybrid delivery.
For the purposes of the blog, I’ll provide a few musings on the myths and marvels that I believe will benefit Mohawk faculty and students. We will start off with one myth buster and one marvel that assists the bust…..
Myth #1: So, I just have to record myself doing my 2 hour lecture and post it?
For student engagement and retention, you will still want to package the information in to manageable chunks. Likely, in your lectures, you take breaks to confirm understanding every 7-10 minutes. This should be replicated online.
If you are concerned about the best way to build your facilitation of course foundational or introductory information, Richard E. Mayer, an educational psychologist, and Ruth Colvin Clark, an instructional designer, have done some wonderful exploration into the science of eLearning. Their cognitive load and design principles research provides recommendations on combining formats (text, audio, video, animation) to optimize processing and knowledge acquisition by students. Get the book at Mohawk Library! If you had to place a hold on the book, this article will whet your appetite.
Marvel #1: With the omni-patient computer it is actually easier to provide appropriate reinforcement of concepts for all learning styles and preferences in the online learning environment. There are many, free educational technologies that can assist. Let’s highlight one of my favourites - Quizlet.
Have terms and definitions or pictures and definitions that would normally have students creating flashcards to commit them to memory? This tool allows you or students to enter the terms | pictures and definitions once and create not only interactive flashcards, but simultaneously other, scaffolded games | challenges.
Take a look at the Quizlet below. I have entered the names of your CTL frontline staff and their titles | areas of responsibilities. I have chosen the Scatter mode. This mode assumes some level of knowledge. If you are new to Mohawk, you may choose the flashcard mode. If you are a regular user, try the harder, Space Race mode.
[Note: CTL staff also includes Anna Johnston (Director), Nadine Ogborn (Manager), and Kelly Riley-Dunbavin (Promotions and Events). But we wanted to keep the game manageable and 8 is the magic number!]
Track your time and challenge your colleagues!
Stay tuned for more myths and marvels of the flipped classroom. In the meantime, if you want to continue the conversation or start a collaboration, contact Peggy French.
This term Mohawk College Faculty are invited to participate in a Teaching Circles Project, Beginning during the week of February 2nd.
Teaching Circles are a widely used and recognised way of bringing faculty together for mutual support and development.
Kick-off meetings will be held at each campus during the week of February 2nd, to establish the Circles, and the process will take six to seven weeks to complete.
What are Teaching Circles?
The Teaching Circles Project attempts to improve teaching and build community through a structured, non-evaluative process of classroom observation and shared reflection.
A Teaching Circle consists of a small of group faculty participants (ideally from different disciplines) who:
Observe at least one class taught by each Circle Partner
Reflect on the class observation experience
Share reflections with Circle Partners
Share Circle observations with Project participants as a whole
Your Teaching Circles experience offers you the opportunity to improve your own teaching by observing your Circle Partners in an actual classroom situation.
By participating in the Teaching Circles Project you will have an opportunity to:
observe, analyze and celebrate good teaching
increase your understanding of and appreciation for the work of colleagues
experience the joy and confusion of being a student
formulate a plan for enhancing your own teaching based on your observations and reflections and the shared reflections of your Circle Partners.
Cornerstones for Participants
Teaching Circles is unique in offering a classroom visitation process free from evaluation.
The Cornerstones of Teaching Circles are the positive attitudes and behaviours that create a mutually supportive, energizing environment for sharing the joys and challenges of teaching.
Cooperation and shared responsibility facilitate a team effort and a team result.
For more information or to register please email firstname.lastname@example.org Or call Leslie Marshall at extension 3449
We have many options available to us when creating blended training programs. We can build self-paced programs using learning portals, websites, and e-learning. We can develop moderated discussions using social media, discussion boards and email. Finally, we can create real time events using traditional classrooms, videoconferencing, and virtual classrooms. The trick is learning what technologies to use and how to facilitate the blend.
Hoffman points out that while everyone is talking about building the right blend, achieving it requires work; specifically instructional design work; and time to facilitate successful blended learning experiences.
With traditionally delivered courses we often short-cut Instructional design because we feel familiar enough with the medium that we can anticipate how exercises will go, how the audience will respond and what instructional strategies to use; and how to adapt rapidly if the unanticipated occurs.
The online environment doesn’t allow for that.
Instructional Design Basics
Hoffman says designing online learning starts with the basics of Learning Outcomes and assessment techniques.
Once you’ve identified the performance objectives and assessment techniques, think about how you would assess that objective in the online environment. A multiple-choice test? Written essay? Oral feedback? Group application? If the assessment technique is individualized and objective in nature, such as a graded test, then that objective may be effectively delivered asynchronously. If performance is best assessed in an oral or group situation, such as giving effective feedback to a peer, a synchronous delivery method might be most effective for that part of your program.
Keep to the point
A really interesting point she makes is that it is tempting to put background, historical “nice to know” information into the online content. This is a bad idea; if you’re not going to test it, don’t teach it is the rule for online. Why? Maintaining motivation and engagement is a major challenge online. Students need to feel that what they are doing online is directly relevant to what they are trying to achieve or they will lose interest.
There’s a lot more to her challenging and thought provoking article so check it out at this link
People often talk about the difference between college and university, mainly discussing the difference in hands-on learning. After years of student and work experience at the university level, I have had the opportunity as an Instructional Designer in the CTL to see firsthand what Mohawk is doing right. This doesn’t mean that universities aren’t doing great things because they are! It’s just exciting to see these principles executed in the college environment with a high degree of competency.
You Learn We Grow
Authentic Learning Experiences
Authentic experience is dynamic and engages multiple senses as it “aims to demonstrate the knowledge and skill within a real setting and allow the learner to make connections between the school setting and the demands of the broader communities” (Mantei & Kervin, 2009, p. 4). The balance between applied theoretical and applied learning varies from program to program with some having significantly more ‘hands-on’ and other more ‘theory.’ While theory plays an integral role in student learning, the combination of theory and authentic learning experiences provides a unique opportunity for learning, understanding, and application.
The Educational Support Program
The Educational Support Program (ESP) here at Mohawk is a prime example of the perfect blending of theory and authentic learning. Years ago, the program was mainly theory based, as are a lot of institutional programs. For example, my undergraduate teaching and education program was mainly theory based with placements until the later years. While theory and in-class learning still play a critical role in student learning, in the ESP, the students are carefully and methodically scaffolded into community placements starting in semester one. Karen Falls, a professor for the ESP, shares that students in semester one are paired with CICE students (great co-blending of programs if I might add) to experience educational support in an authentic, yet secure environment. This provides instructors with the ability to able to pop in and out and provide guidance along the way. In the next three semesters, the students experience three different types of placements in the community. They must work in an elementary school classroom, a high-school classroom, and a specialized classroom, which all offer unique experiences to develop their ES skill-set.
A Rich Student Experience
This opportunity aligns well with Jonassen, Mayes, and McAleese (1992) learning continuum where students’ experience unique introductory, advanced and expert learning phases (as cited in Keppell et al., 2002, p. 2). The students in ESP experience introductory learning through classroom learning, advanced learning through first semester CICE preparatory placement, and expert learning through authentic community placements. Combined, the theory matched with the authentic learning opportunities provide for a rich student experience that equally prepares them for the workforce.
Here are Mohawk, we strive to be great and FutureReady. The ESP, and many other programs here, do just that as our graduates are ripe with experience when they leave the college doors.
Keppell, M., Kan, K., Messer, L. B., & Bione, H. (2002). Proceedings from ASCILITE 2002: Authentic learning interactions: Myth or reality? Auckland: New Zealand.
Mantei, J. & Kervin, L. K. (2009). Proceedings from National Conference for Teachers of English and Literacy: “Authentic” learning experiences: what does this mean and where is the literacy learning? Hobart, Tasmania: Australia.
Another September and a new academic year begins. A good time to revisit some ways to make that first class effective.
Incorporating the objectives listed in this article from Carnegie Melon University are a sure way to start the class off on the right foot.
The first class meeting should serve at least two basic purposes:
• To clarify all reasonable questions students might have relative to the course objectives, as well as your expectations for their performance in class. As students leave the first meeting, they should believe in your competence to teach the course, be able to predict the nature of your instruction, and know what you will require of them.
• To give you an understanding of who is taking your course and what their expectations are.
These two basic purposes expand into a set of eight concrete objectives:
1. Orchestrate positive first impressions 2. Introduce yourself effectively 3. Clarify learning objectives and expectations 4. Help students learn about each other 5. Set the tone for the course 6. Collect baseline data on students’ knowledge and motivation 7. Whet students’ appetite for course content 8. Inform students of course requirements
To read more about each of the eight concrete objectives, click here.
“The Learning & Development community has realized that simply using technology to create training isn’t enough. Instead, we need to design virtual and blended programs that encourage participants to collaborate. That’s all well and good, but what is online collaboration really? Why is it important? How do we achieve it? “
In try to answer this question, she identifies a clear goal for online collaboration.
“When collaborating online, using asynchronous and synchronous online tools, participant groups should be able to get results (solve problems, create project plans, design projects, and so forth) that are better than the results they would have gotten working individually.
Participants can collaborate and help one another reach learning goals in a variety of ways, both synchronous and asynchronous. They provide feedback, answer questions, and work as a distributed group.”
Fundamentally, Hoffman states, we want participants to collaborate for two reasons:
Collaboration to achieve participant engagement.
Using collaboration to encourage participants to learn is always necessary. When participants know that they’ll need to be able demonstrate what they’ve learned, they tend to stay more engaged. Interaction must include collaborative exercises that ask participants to do more than simply click on a poll answer or raise a hand.
Collaboration to support learning outcomes.
Although all programs should offer some of level of collaboration in order to keep participants engaged, you also may need to create collaborative exercises that support the actual learning goals. This is necessary because online programs often focus on teaching people collaborative skills, such as project management, team building, problem solving and interpersonal skills. These skills are performed in a collaborative social context, so interactions and exercises need to be designed to support the ultimate collaborative goal.
Three Levels of Collaboration
Hoffman identifies three levels of collaboration: Cooperation, Coordination, and True Collaboration.
Exercises that are cooperative in nature largely support individual learning goals, and participants tend to be concerned with the results of their personal assessments. If participants are asked to provide feedback or help someone else, they will–as long as it doesn’t affect their personal performance.
Coordination occurs when participants start to work together as a group to achieve a common goal. They plan and assign tasks, create deadlines, and deliver a common product (presentation, report, set of answers, and so forth). Although individuals are still concerned with their own performance and assessment, they’re willing to work with a group when it supports their personal goals. If one group member starts to fall behind or fails to support the overall group effort, individuals within that group may decide to strike out on their own to ensure personal success.
When the success of the group is paramount and all individuals must contribute to that success, you have true collaboration. No group member can be left behind and everyone within the group will do whatever it takes to reach the common goal. This is a very altruistic form of interaction and strongly supports collaboration as a learning outcome.
Collaborative approaches are learner-centered and support the concept that learning is a process rather than an event. There is a hope that once participants become accustomed to collaborating, online, they may start to incorporate more collaborative techniques into their daily interactions. It’s conceivable that participants in online programs may continue to assist each other long after the initial learning experience; ultimately, creating a learning community.
The full blog post with examples of each can be found HERE.
It’s springtime, and college faculty’s naturally turn to thoughts of… PD.
In her Faculty Focus Blog Maryellen Weimer discusses the effectiveness of PD activities and workshops and how we can do better.
The research we looked at then did not give workshops very high marks. If teachers changed, they did so right after the event, but soon reverted to their old ways of doing things
A lot of workshops (mine included) have a kind of revival service feel to them. The faculty who are there care deeply about teaching; those who need to be revived don’t usually show up. So, the audience isn’t all that difficult to convert. If you’ve got an idea they think might be good, especially if it addresses a problem that concerns them, they write it down or key it in, often nodding with gusto and then following up with questions on the details. Give them five or six concrete ideas and they become true believers, whole new teachers who leave the session determined to lead new and better lives in the classroom. But it’s the staying power of workshop experiences that give me pause.
She suggests faculty take time for reflection, to “interrogate their practices” and ask “How?” “What?” and “Why?” questions. For some, that can happen in an organized workshop, but…
there are some of us who just don’t learn very well in those kinds of settings. Give me a quiet space, some good articles, time to write, and a chance to share ideas with my best colleagues—I’ll opt for that almost every time.
So; how ever you want to do it; find some time to think, to question, and to rejuvenate.
Members of your ePortfolio teams were lucky enough to attend McMaster’s day-long exploration of its Learning Portfolio initiative. There were many interesting aspects – a panel of faculty, spotlight on how it used out of the Student Success office, panel of employers, and a student showcase. I think capturing the experiences will take two posts. For this first one, I will concentrate on connections to Mohawk’s ePortfolio project from the keynote speaker, Dr. Randy Bass, an impressive educator and scholar from Georgetown University. I will lay out a few of his interesting statements and pose some questions. Let’s start a conversation around his spotlights by using the “Comments” section.
1. solving unstructured problems
2. working with new information
3. carrying out non-routine, manual tasks
Meeting current vocational standards likely prepares students for the third type of work. However, to meet the first two kinds of work will require the skills better aligned to our Institutional Learning Outcomes. Do you agree that the ILOs appear to be a better embodiment of attributes and skills required to meet the unknown careers of the future or are there other initiatives that capture the future better? Perhaps an even better question might pose, what kind of education is required for these conditions?
Dr. Bass also challenged that the real tension in teaching and learning today is not f2f versus online, but integration versus disintegration. Stopping to consider how many companies and people are now in the “learning business” drove this idea. Consider the number of companies promising to improve retention, boost engagement, and solidify satisfaction. Most of them did not exist a few, short years ago; the “learning business” was primarily in the hands of educators.
DISINTEGRATIVE = granular; measurable e.g. outcomes, competencies
INTEGRATIVE = holistic and coherent
Dr. Bass and his like-minded colleagues see definite changes and challenges when the locus of knowledge moves from disintegrative to integrative. The locus moves from skills, abilities, and competencies to those of dispositions and character traits such as empathy, grit | resilience, curiosity, risk taking. What likely jumps out is that these dispositions or character traits cannot be taught as skill can. Instead, opportunities need to be provided that cultivate character and grow these positive dispositions. How do you see this changing how we educate our students? If this move of the locus of knowledge is more than a positive hypothesis, what things need to happen within our educational structures?
I promise part two post on our eP Day will include information actually on ePortfolios! There was a plethora of wonderful, eP-specific information shared among the panels and participants.
A small, but mighty contingent of Mohawk educators - including support staff, administration, and faculty attended this fourth annual conference. From across the country, contributors to K-12 and post-secondary education met to:
“Unlock technology to enrich and personalize learning. Reform your organization as part of a progressive ecosystem to nurture engaged students and catalyze innovation.
At this unique forum, obtain strategic insights from education leaders on how to improve student achievements with meaningful use of technology. Acquire cost-effective deployment solutions and incorporate sound pedagogical practices into your curriculum design and delivery.
Benefit from first-hand experience to implement blended, mobile, and BYOD initiatives at your institution and classes. Empower educators with practical tools and techniques to prepare your students for the 21st century knowledge economy.
Improve engagement, maximize learning outcomes and increase retention. Capitalize on emerging innovations to make a dramatic difference to the quality of your education. Adapt to the new paradigm and strive for excellence”
I thought I would start by adding my Glog or interactive poster that can act as a springboard to more conversation and community building. I am hopeful other attendees will add their takeaways and Mohawk’s community will pose questions and comments.