Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: learning anlalytics, TAACCT, WCET, WoW Awards
BCcampus is a member of the WICHE Cooperative for Education Technology (WCET). WCET’s mission is to accelerate the adoption of effective practices, advancing excellence in technology-enhanced teaching and learning in higher education. We like WCET as it is one of the few organizations that really brings together consortia based organizations like BCcampus from across North America. Attending their annual gathering and conference gives us a chance to see the latest education technology innovations and to benchmark ourselves agains other consortia.
Thought I’d share a brief summary of what took place at WCET’s 23rd annual conference in Denver. Given that WCET is primarily made up of US organizations I thought I’d playfully riff on the US State of the Union Address by calling this report a State of Online Address.
The opening keynote was customized based on live audience feedback. The speakers, using Poll Everywhere, presented the audience with multiple topics and invited them to express their choice using mobile phones, twitter, and the web. Responses are displayed in real-time on charts in PowerPoint. The speakers then customized their presentation based on the audience choices. Over the course of their presentation the speakers referenced Headmagnet as a means of maintaining something in short term memory, Historypin, supported by Google, as a means of creating a global history by crowdsourcing photos from everyone around the world, Enterzon a multiplayer online learning environment designed to teach Chinese language and culture through gameplay, and the nursing neighbourhood as a means of learning how to diagnose health issues via virtual patients.
The 2011 Horizon Report lists learning analytics on the four-to-five year adoption horizon but the rapid rise of analytics tools combined with the increasing demand for data-driven decision making is pushing this horizon closer. Learning Analytics was a hot topic throughout the entire event. Learning analytics mines data from Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Student Information Systems (SIS) to support real time data driven decision making. Some learning analytics data analysis is oriented to supporting teaching and learning. The University of Maryland Baltimore County showed an analytics tool they use within their LMS that tells students where they are in course compared to other students. It generates a grade report that shows how students are doing against others in class and shows how activities of those who are doing well are different from those not doing well. LMS activity of students with D and F grades are noticeably lower from those getting higher grades. Students who enrol after a course starts, stop attending for five consecutive days, log-in to the LMS fewer than three times per week or have less than three hours of activity per week are considerably at risk of dropping out. Based on these analytics some institutions are taking actions where college advisors are provided with data on students that shows their last login date, activity in minutes, activity submission counts, course points earned and course average to date as a means of triggering interventions and contact with at risk students. Another learning analytics tool called Social Networks Adapting Pedagogical Practice (SNAPP) does an analysis of discussion forums activity and generates networking maps identifying who is leading discussion, volume of posts, volume of responses, and interconnections between those posting to discussions. This has led to research exploring a whole range of questions such as:
- Do networks between students relate to successful completion?
- How does professor discussion interaction with at risk or low performing students impact student success?
- How important is multi node, multi directional interaction to course success?
While some learning analytics are focused on teaching and learning others are focused on supporting administration and policy makers. Analytics coming out of LMS”s can help administration identify students who are not engaged and at risk of drop out. One of the largest examples of Learning Analytics work in this category is the Predictive Analytics and Recording (PAR) framework being funded by the Gates Foundation. This project is aiming at deeper analytics by analysing 3 million unique records from 6 different institutions across 34 common variables to determine what trends there are for retention and progression. It is well known that retention in campus-based face-to-face courses is higher than online courses so the findings coming out of this analysis are highly anticipated. Factors analysed include things such as completion based on the % of students still enrolled at the end of a course, success based on % of students who haven’t withdrawn or received a D or an F, continued semester to semester enrolment and progression to degree completion. However it is interesting to note that definitions for factors like length of a semester, what a course is, course completion and even grades differ across institutions making it challenging to have common measures. Analysis is being done using descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and predictive modelling. This project is essentially looking at what factors impact loss, progression, momentum. It’s still early days for this project and one thing all the learning analytics projects mentioned is that 90% of the work is getting the data. Extracting data out of the LMS/SIS is challenging. Analysis of the data is 10% of the work. However, early analysis has focused on trying to find what was universally true for those who got a C grade or better in a course vs those who disenroll. Students were categorized as high risk, medium risk or low risk. High risk students have attributes such as being new to online, returning to school after 5 years, having a low high school GPA or failing an online course in the previous two years. Preliminary findings indicate that the biggest factor causing at risk students to disenroll is if they are pushing multiple courses simultaneously. Taking concurrent courses is not a good idea for students who are at risk. However, in many cases receiving student aid is contingent on being enrolled in multiple courses. This is an example of a learning analytics finding that suggests we rethink financial aid policy. This PAR project is large and part of the challenge is simply demonstrating that analytics like this can be done and that the methodology is scaleable. I look forward to hearing more in the coming months after this project has had the time it needs to complete their analysis.
If you are interested in reading more about learning analytics and understanding who is doing what in this field I recommend the Next Generation Learning Challenges paper called Underlying Premises: Learner Analytics.
The majority of WCET members are based in the US. In October 2010 the US Department of Education released a broad package of regulations. These new Program Integrity Rules which became effective July 1, 2011 have a direct impact on all US institutions involved in creation and delivery of online learning. A great deal of attention and effort has been paid to the new rules around the state authorization regulation requiring all institutions teaching students outside of their state to have authorization to do so from the state the student resides in. This has caused online learning providers considerable grief and untold hours and money as colleges and universities scramble to comply. While state authorization has received the greatest attention other regulations have an impact on the way online learning is being provided including provisions dealing with the definition of credit hours, compensation of persons and organizations involved in student recruitment and enrolment, and defining when a student ceases to be considered in attendance. This last one is particularly interesting as last day of attendance for online students used to be based on “last click” within an LMS – last day of attendance for on campus students is based on physical presence in the classroom. However the new regulations for online learning deem last click inadequate and require “evidence of academic engagement”. This appears to be a double standard as we all know that physical presence in a bricks and mortar classroom hardly constitutes academic engagement. All these new regulations have had a chilling effect on online learning in the US. Huge effort is being diverted from online learning innovation to red-tape compliance. While some of the regulations are obviously intended to curb the excesses of private education providers in the US many of them seem based on a fundamental distrust of online and distance education. I’m glad we’re not embroiled in similar regulations here in Canada.
As mentioned WCET brings together online learning consortia and it was sobering to hear news from US consortia in Texas, Ohio and Arizona about either closures or significant reductions in support. In contrast Canada’s consortia including BCcampus, eCampus Alberta and Contact North/e-Learning Network (and soon to include the Ontario Online Institute) are doing well.
While the magnitude of online learning innovation in the US may be diminished it is not extinguished. Each year WCET issues WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) awards (I received one in 2008). This years WOW Award winners are:
1. Century College and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System for GPS LifePlan
2. Kansas State University for University Life Café a site providing counseling on emotional wellness.
3. Regis University for Passport to Course Development a site integrating graphics, audio, multimedia and technology to provide support for faculty new to online environment.
(Note if you visit this site use Password: passport11 and Name: passport11 to login)
Another US initiative that received considerable profile (and one that I’m particularly interested in given my involvement with Open Educational Resources) is the US Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.
This initiative is providing $500 million a year for four years to expand and improve the ability of eligible institutions to deliver education and career training programs. These programs are targeted to workers adversely affected by trade agreements. The Department of Labor is encouraging online/technology-enabled learning and evidence based strategies and grantees are required to make all the resources developed Open Educational Resources by applying a Creative Commons (CC-BY) license to all content developed with grant funds. This program has four priorities:
1. accelerate progress for low-skilled and other workers
2. improve retention and achievement rates to reduce time to completion
3. build programs that meet industry needs including developing career pathways
4. strengthen online and technology enabled learning
Thirty two awards were announced 26-Sept-2011 for the first year of this program. Twenty three of the awards involve consortia, 9 are individual efforts. Grantees are being offered a complementary set of support services funded by the Gates Foundation including open licensing support from Creative Commons, accessibility support from CAST, technology assistance from Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative and best practices in using OER from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
The Colorado Online Energy Training Consortium TAACCCT grant was profiled by Rhonda Epper. This project received $17.2 million for a 36 month project. The consortium involves 15 community colleges, 14 energy industry employers, the Colorado Dept of Labor and Employment, 10 regional workforce centres. Together the consortium support Colorado’s fast growing energy industry sector by expanding and redesigning for hybrid delivery the following programs:
- Clean Energy Technology
- Wind Energy Technology
- Utility Line Technology
- Oil & Gas Technology
- Process Technology/Instrumentation
- Mining/Extractive Technology
- Water Quality Management
Many of these will be stackable credentials with options that allow certificates to ladder into associate degrees.
More information on the TAACCCT program and the capacity building grant awards is available at http://www.doleta.gov/TAACCCT
I recently got an iPad and while I’m in the early stages of using it have already been impressed with it’s unique form factor, rich array of apps, and tactile/gesture modes of interacting with it. Some education institutions are actively piloting iPads on campus and I was particularly taken with how William Hicks at the Community College of Aurora/Colorado Film School incorporated the use of iPads into his film school script writing courses. Traditionally students in his short script analysis course write a script hand it in and think of it as being finished. William wanted to break the notion of scripts being untouchable and devised a unique and powerful workflow supported by iPads linking students across three different courses. Students in his Creative Producing class hire a script writer in his Script Writing course to write short scripts which are reviewed and annotated by students in a third class. iPads loaded with the app iAnnotate are used to support distribution and commenting on scripts. Prior to using the iPad his class had only been able to analyse 15 scripts. With the iPad they analysed 84 scripts, a six fold increase in efficiency. In addition he found that students prefer the iPad over hand written notes and the annotations were seen as more credible, easier to understand, and more thorough. In his view the iPad has revolutionized the outcomes in his courses. He also notes that the form factor of the iPad makes it easy to simply hand it back and forth for viewing and contrasts this with the “huddling around the campfire” way sharing content on a computer has traditionally been done.
I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about use of mobile devices for online learning lately. The closing session at WCET focused on innovations of which mobile was one. By 2014 mobile internet consumption will overtake desktop consumption. Android phone popularity was used to exemplify this growth. In 2009 Android had 2.8% market share, in July 2011 over 550,000 Android mobile devices were being activated every day with growth of 4.4% every week, by August 2011 Android had 48% of the smart phone market. Of course mobile devices have significant constraints. The screen is small with low device resolution and pixel density. The touch gesture paradigm of interacting with a mobile device is not as precise as a mouse. There are limitations in cpu processing and battery power. Some devices are locked down platforms with real limitations such as the non-support of Flash on an iPhone or iPad. However, there is a great deal of potential in using mobile devices as a supplement to traditional computing and exploring education possibilities for an untethered learning experience not constrained by space or time.
Finally I should note that the NANSLO online science program I’m involved with was both a formal presentation at this event and celebrated as a significant innovation in the closing session.
So there you have it. A mini snapshop on the state of online in the US.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: collaborations, future, learning theory, mergers and acquisitions, online learning, pedagogy, questions, research, technologies
Do you think online learning is isolating, impersonal and devoid of social contact? Have you ever used Skype, WebEx, Blackboard Collaborate, or Facebook? Do you know what an Internet discussion forum is? Have you ever been moved to tears or laughed out loud by something on the Internet? Have you ever taken online learning?
Is Abject Learning really abject? Which of the following three Canadians do you think has contributed the most to e-learning – Murray Goldberg, Tony Bates, Stephen Downes? If you could spend time with one of these three which would you choose? Do you think OLDaily is a platform for Stephen Downes’ personal views or a research program of the National Research Council’s Institute for Information Technology? If health and education together represent approximately 60-70% of all provincial budget expenditures (Ontario, BC, …) why is there so much research funding available for health and virtually none for education?
Isn’t there a tremendous potential for Canada to develop and roll-out online learning for the trades at a national level? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if that development led to Open Educational Resources for the trades? In Canada, where education is a provincial mandate not a federal one, is it possible the provinces could collaborate on such an endeavour? At what point will we switch to thinking about education globally not regionally?
Is it OK with you that faculty are not required to know anything about teaching? Do you think the government and institutions are meeting their responsibilities to the public by not requiring faculty to know how to teach? Do you think that the teaching practices associated with online learning are the same as the teaching practices used in the classroom? Are you fearful that online learning will eliminate the need for faculty? If I said to you that a faculty member can be replaced by a pre-recorded lecture streaming from a server, would you believe me? Or would you find such an idea laughable? Is a lecture an effective means of providing education? Do you think of lecture capture as an innovation? Or is that laughable too? Do students like having lectures available online? How would you teach online?
Do you know the difference between synchronous and asynchronous? Do you get all atwitter over Tweets? If you had to choose between using a blog or a wiki for online learning which would you choose, and why? If I said to you the first online course I ever took was on Enjoying Wine would you believe me? Can you imagine how such an online course would structure activities to engage students’ sense of smell and taste? Have you ever enjoyed champagne with popcorn on a hot summers day?
Do you think online learning is an effective alternative to campus based learning? If not, why not? Are you aware of quality assurance practices for online learning? Isn’t it odd that online learning is subject to quality assurance but on campus learning is not?
Should online learning cost the same as campus based learning? Should tuition for an online course be the same as for an on campus course? If you had to choose between investing public funds in creating more on campus buildings or supporting the build out and provision of online learning infrastructure which would you choose? Are you interested in online learning for cost savings reasons? Cost savings for whom? With more and more campus based courses putting technology in the classroom and using Learning Management Systems to house course content is that saving money or adding more cost? Does anyone really know what the ROI of online learning is? Or even how to find out? Do you think it’s OK that Canada’s students are carrying so much debt on graduation?
When we’re transitioning campus based courses online should the learning outcomes be the same? Should we be considering the possibility of having special learning outcomes related to the online learning experience – say outcomes related to technology literacy and digital communications? Is it possible to do things through online learning that just aren’t possible on campus?
Do you believe that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone? How important is peer-to-peer based online learning? Are the experiences, knowledge, and skills students bring equally important as that of the teacher? Should students teach each other? Can online learning be personalized to provide multiple paths and options so students only have to study stuff they don’t know? Would you take a course from P2PU?
Do you think traditional campus-based universities and colleges are doomed? What do you want universities and colleges of the future to look like? Should contemporary education focus on serving traditional geographic catchment areas or go global? How will institutional collaborations and partnerships shape and create a connected world? Would you like to participate in virtual classrooms that include students from around the world sharing perspectives from their country and culture? Do you agree with Lawrence Lessig that the education academy has an “ethical obligation at the core of its mission which is universal access to knowledge in every part of the globe“? Are you in favour of DIYU? What about OERu?
Can science be taught online? What about the labs? Would you hire someone to work as a scientist in a lab if their only exposure to the laboratory environment was through virtual means? Is most professional science work mediated by technology making use of computer-based instrumentation mainstream? Do you consider unmanned deep sea submarine experiments or Mars rover experiments “real science”? Are you comfortable with doctors using robots to do surgery from thousands of miles away?
Can art be taught online? What about the studio portion? Do you think visual artists must learn how to use a physical brush or are you OK with them learning to use the digital brushes available in Photoshop and Illustrator?
If collaborations and partnerships are the future of education why does government funding for education reward autonomy and competition? Is education a commodity? Or is education a public service? Should education be about economic development and acquiring skills for the work place or development of socially aware and responsible citizens? Can online learning support societal goals such as access to education, cultural diversity, and social inclusion?
How do education and learning theories like behaviourism, cognitivism, and constructivism work in an online learning context? Is connectivism the first new education theory for the digital age? Should online learning instructional designers foliow the ADDIE model or do we need to invent a new model that involves a more iterative, on-the-fly approach? Do we need new pedagogical models for online learning that differentiate the way different fields of study are taught online? Would pedagogical approaches for teaching business online be equally as effective for teaching nursing?
Are you aware that in the US states providing online learning to students not resident in that state require authorization from the state where the student resides? Can you imagine applying that principle more globally? Do you think thats bizarre in today’s borderless digital world? Can’t a student choose for themselves where they get their education from?
Are you in favour of a monolithic fully integrated online learning technology platform as is being assembled by Blackboard through acquisition of WebCT, Angel, Elluminate and Wimba? Or do you prefer a more flexible loosely coupled systems approach? Does Providence Equity Partner’s purchase of Blackboard for $1.64 billion make sense to you? On the Student Information Services (SIS) side is SunGard Higher Education Systems purchase by Hellman and Friedman LLC, a private equity company that already owns Datatel Inc good news for online learners? Will Hellman and Friedman (SIS) and Providence Equity (LMS) play together to create a unified edtech campus?
Is it possible for people to be addicted to their digital devices? Or is that as ridiculous as saying people who are overweight are addicted to knives, forks, and spoons?
If online learning is growing so fast and becoming increasingly core to both on campus and online education offerings why do so few institutions have an educational technology and online learning strategic plan?
Do you want to ask me a question? Do you think these questions make a profile of me? Are you curious how I’ll use your answers?
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This post is inspired by Padgett Powell’s novel “The Interrogative Mood” in which every sentence is a question.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: BCcampus, cloud-based computing, communities of practice, crowd-sourcing future, e-learning, Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG), instructional design, JustID, Moodle, Moodle Moot Canada, online learning, Open, personalized learning, privacy, professional development, SCoPE, Tony Bates
I’ve been busy lately helping plan, organize, fund, and facilitate a number of events. I was thinking this morning about how they collectively convey an array of current e-learning trends. Here are the events so you can see what I mean:
- Privacy and Cloud-based Educational Technology
- Personalized Learning for the 21st Century
- Canada Moodle Moot 2011
- Online Community Enthusiasts Day
- Just Instructional Design Networking Event
I sometimes imagine e-learning as an amoeba. The entire outer membrane of an amoeba is expandable. At any given moment in time one or more areas of the membrane push out into pseudopods moving the amoeba forward and engulfing food for sustenance.
Like an amoeba, e-learning has an expandable outer membrane. At any given moment trends push out moving e-learning forward, bumping in to barriers, acquiring sustenance in the form of knowledge on what works and what doesn’t, determining where to go next. I think of e-learning users (students, teachers, tutors, faculty, etc.) as the ectoplasm particles inside e-learning’s membrane. As a critical mass of users builds and presses outward e-learning’s membrane expands and moves, its’ future defined by all those within. The events I’ve been participating in each represent a current trend pushing out e-learning’s flexible membrane.
So, here’s a bit more on these e-learning events. All of them are happening over a two month period from April 4, 2011 through June 4, 2011. The school year has a certain rhythm and these months are one of the phases in the year when professional development can happen. The number of people participating in these events ranges from 30 to over 400. The cumulative number participating in them all is well over a thousand. Events like these require extensive planning, design and production. Its a bit like putting on a theatrical production. It’s impossible for me to give a complete synopsis of each event but within each event I’ll describe some of the areas of motion and action that are pushing e-learning’s membrane and a few of the ways I’ve contributed.
Privacy and Cloud-based Educational Technology
My colleague Tori Klassen did a fantastic job with this event and I enjoyed helping facilitate the day.
- cloud-based computing offers substantial benefits including cost effectiveness, ease of access, scaleability and reliability
- educational access and use of cloud-based computing services based in the US requires personal data from users which due to the US Patriot Act infringes privacy laws of BC
- cloud-based computing can still be utilized if students give permission and/or if identities are anonymized
Another related topic is the data mining of your personal interests by technology companies who then embed or present advertising to you that is customized to fit your interests. The amoeba video I use in this post is an interesting case in point. There is an embedded ad at the 10 second mark that generates an ad YouTube has determined fits your interests, Facebook does this by default too. I tried my darnedest to turn this ad off or find another clip I liked as much but to no avail. Nor is it easy to stop technology companies from tracking your interests without your approval. Reminds me of unsolicited marketing calls I get on my home phone number. Annoying and intrusive. On the other hand we’ve learned to tolerate a certain amount of this activity as we accept the fact that people have to earn a living.
Personalized Learning for the 21st Century
This event is organized to support discussions, networking and professional development around digital learning in BC’s K-12 education sector. The two major themes of 21st century digital literacy learning skills and personalized learning are current areas of focus. Close to one hundred sessions at this three day event explored all aspects of those themes. All sessions are listed on the conference web site.
I facilitated the closing panel of keynote speakers for this event. A closing plenary should encourage reflection, summarize overall experience, and suggest next steps. To draw these elements out of the panel and audience I asked them to consider:
- what surprised you?
- what inspired you?
- what technologies, pedagogies, and resources did you hear about that you plan to further explore?
- what did you learn that will help you personally in your work?
Canada Moodle Moot 2011
The Canada Moodle Moot happens every two years and this year I served on the program planning committee. The theme for the event was “Open Learning and Open Collaboration in Canada”.
I enjoyed organizing and participating in the opening keynote panel Talking About All Things Open and hearing Terry Anderson, Gavin Hendrick, and Stephen Downes elaborate on and explore some of the ideas I put forward with the University of Open.
The program planning committee for the Moodle Moot event had extensive discussions around the format and topic for the closing plenary. The original topic was to compare and contrast future development plans and product road maps for different learning management systems.
This got morphed to a broader topic – the future of eLearning. I’m a huge advocate of making events like this as active and inclusive as possible. I pushed for crowdsourcing ideas through multiple channels – via Twitter, via the Elluminate rooms where virtual delegates were, via discussion forum on the conference web site. Get ideas from the attendees and participants at the event. However, not all of the planning committee agreed with the idea of crowdsourcing the future of eLearning. Some were adamant that crowdsourcing the future of anything just doesn’t work. That got me to thinking …
- Canada just had a federal election. Isn’t voting in a democracy a way of crowdsourcing parliamentary representatives for the future, or at least for the next four years?
- What if we could crowdsource ideas on the future of eLearning at the Moodle Moot. Would those ideas be any less interesting or insightful than calling on a single keynote speaker to present their views on this topic?
- In any adult education scenario isn’t it true that every participant brings with them expertise, and that the cumulative pooling and sharing of that expertise creates a powerful learning environment where the sum of the whole far exceeds what the teacher could provide on their own?
In the end the planning committee decided to proceed with crowdsourcing the future of eLearning which we did by asking delegates to write down their idea(s) on a piece of paper and tick off which of the following areas of eLearning their ideas pertained to:
- tools and technologies
- learning theories and pedagogies
- content authoring and sourcing
- instructional design
- teaching and learning methods
- evaluation, assessment, and credentialing
All ideas were then collected in a box.
The night before the closing plenary I mapped all the future of eLearning ideas submitted onto a giant poster (click on poster below to open .pdf version). The ideas submitted seem to loosely fall in to categories of Global, Students, Pedagogy, Teachers, Technology and Credentials. The Global category was particularly fascinating as there really wasn’t a tick box for this category but ideas relating to eLearning’s future being global came out anyway. Some ideas could have been placed in multiple categories. Some ideas are similar and can be grouped together creating a source of critical mass. I was totally impressed with the cumulative range of ideas delegates came up with. In my view, yes, you can crowdsource the future of eLearning.
Most events like this provide keynote presenters with thank you gifts. This year the Moodle Moot went with Oxfam Unwrapped gifts where the thank-you gift helps women and men in developing countries reach greater levels of self-sufficiency and control over their lives. I received two thank you gifts – Plant 50 Trees and Give a Flock. Very interesting approach.
Online Community Enthusiasts
The SCoPE online community brings together individuals who share an interest in educational research and practice. Sylvia Currie, the awesome steward of SCoPE, once a year organizes an Online Community Enthusiasts Day. This event is for all community coordinators, hosts, moderators, and everybody else interested in learning more about cultivating and sustaining online communities. It provides a gathering place to share resources, experiences, and opportunities. The theme for this years Online Community Enthusasts day was “Planning Excellent Community Events”. Since this event is all about excellent community events, a big part of the day involved experimenting with ways to enhance participation, share artefacts, and harvest what we learn.
Activities during the day included:
- Fish Bowl
- Open Space
- Planning an online symposium to launch a community
- Increasing participation by diversifying tools
- Commitment Wall/Time Capsule
I really enjoyed meeting and working with fellow online community enthusiasts. Fantastic to see the energy and enthusiasm of all the up and coming online community leaders. It’s always interesting to hear the diverse range of uses online communities are being used for – climate action, mental health, education, religion, … A community of practice can form around almost any shared interest.
This is the first event I’ve ever participated in that came with a disclaimer:
Disclaimer: Since this excellent community event is about exploring possibilities and experimenting wildly, we make no promises that the day will run smoothly!
Just Instructional Design Networking Event
The JustID group brings together individuals who are working as instructional designers within a variety of fields/educational sector groups (e.g., K-12, public sector, private, post-secondary). Instructional design has become increasingly important and its great to see this group getting together to share ideas, challenges, and best practices in instructional design. The themes for this years event were:
- Emerging trends/changes in the field of Instructional Design
- Impact of the recent changes/trends in Instructional Design (both in definition and in practice)
Five different topics were discussed in round table discussions that rotated every 20 minutes so everyone could discuss every topic.
The five topics were:
- Innovation/creativity and instructional design
- Social media, Web 2.0 and instructional design
- Mobile learning and instructional design
- Future of instructional design including instructional design for open learning and place-based learning instructional design
- Designing for learning environments that aren’t courses (communities of practice, personal learning environments)
Dr. Tony Bates, a renowned expert in the field of educational technology and e-learning, did a fantastic job of capturing key ideas and providing a wrap-summary with a good dose of analysis and personal take away’s. Tony’s got a new book just coming out and I can’t wait to read it:
Open 4 Learning
It’s my distinct pleasure to work with BC’s Educational Technology Users Group in designing and hosting two workshop/conferences every year. Workshops are held at different BC public post secondary institution campuses every year. The Open4Learning workshop is being held beginning of June at Selkirk College in the Kootenays.
The theme for the workshop revolves around “Open”. Open and free tools, resources, and learning opportunities abound, but how are we integrating them into our work? What new skills are needed? What challenges are we facing? What value does open provide? What are the costs and risks?
The event invites exploration of questions in the following 4 streams.
1. Open, Free, & Alternative Teaching & Learning
- Open Professional & Faculty Development: How do you choose which events to participate in? What formal and informal learning opportunities exist and are the best? How/have you and your colleagues given back to the educational community?
- MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course): Tales from the field – what’s your experience in MOOCs?
- Teaching & Learning in the Cloud: Has cloud computing improved the way we share and collaborate? How are you using the cloud to learn or to teach?
- Open/Free/Alternative Assignments: What are students doing besides traditional academic essays? Are students doing work “in the open”? What about assessment?
- Alternative Formats for Presentation/Facilitation/Teaching Formats: Let’s talk about blends, baby! (synchronous/asynchronous)
- Designing 4 Open? How/is this same/different? What are instructional/course designers doing to design
- Impact of Open/ness
2. Open, Free, & Alternative Technologies
- Tool-specific: Moodle, WordPress, cloud tools…? Specific sessions on specific free/open and open source tools.
3. Open Educational Resources (OERs)
- What is your experience with OERs? Are you sharing? Are you using others’ stuff?
- What’s really going on with your OER project? Tell us more!
4. Open or Not?: Privacy and other issues
- How are we dealing with issues around privacy in a world moving increasingly towards openness, sharing and transparency?
- What is the impact of the recent announcements to privacy legislation for learning? What are you doing/not doing at your institution because of privacy concerns?
- What are the barriers of open, free, alternatives approaches to teaching and learning? Solutions/options?
- Is our increased use of open technologies changing our attitudes towards privacy? How?
The resulting program and schedule is posted here.
I’m looking forward to doing a design session around the University of Open and co-presenting the North American Network of Science Labs Online.
In the spirit of openness everyone has been invited to participate in a crowd-sourced video keynote.
The vision is to create a keynote video that highlights the collective voice on the value of openness.
Here’s what we asked everyone to do:
Create a short video/interview/montage answering one or two of the following questions:
1. What is the value of openness?
2. What examples of openness stand out to you as being valuable/worthwhile?
3. WHY do you believe in the value of open education?
I put together the following short video around the first question addressing the value of open.
Given these events are about educational technology and online learning they increasingly involve multi-modal delivery where some of the face-to-face activities and presentations taking place on site are webcast or web streamed over the Internet allowing those unable to travel to still actively participate and benefit. I’m a big fan of using technology like this to expand participation and have been very active in facilitating the online activities. I increasingly believe these multi-modal delivery activities need way more intentional design – it doesn’t work so well just tacked on to the existing face-to-face event as an add on.
I recommend Terry and Lynn Anderson’s book “Online Conferences – Professional Development for a Networked Era” as a good overview of how this is done and the various factors that should be considered.
Finally these events take a lot of people to produce. I’m tempted to name names and personally thank them all but the list would be like rolling credits at the end of a movie. So let me just say I sure enjoy working collaboratively on these events and deeply appreciate the creative effort of all involved. It’s great fun working with you all pushing e-learning’s flexible membrane forward like an amoeba.