Tuesday, June 26, 2012

...two more started

Seems like this will be the summer of professional development :-)

On a tip from Igne I signed up for the Mobile Learning Manager certification course which is a self-paced learning program to certify managers of mobile learning initiatives. I think the US equivalent would be a training manager, focusing on mobile learning.  The course is a bit rough around the edges (which is why they wanted some guinea pigs this time around ;-)  ) but so far it's enjoyable!  More on this as I experience more.

On a tip (or rather blog post) from Serena Turri, I saw that OER Foundation is offering a free five week course on Open Content Licensing for Educators. This course is free to join and offered on Moodle.  At this point they are already on Week 3, so I have to catch up a bit - but luckily (contentwise) I am not a n00bie, so I can really jump in an start interacting :)  More on this, as I interact more.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Two courses down....

Last week, despite the craziness, I completed two courses.  First, I completed the #fslt12 MOOC, which I really enjoyed a lot!  The interactions between my peers and the facilitators were great, there was a lot of sharing of best practices and lived experiences, and I took a lot of things away; both things that I can immediately put into practice, and things that I need to read up on :-).  It was a bit of a bummer that I was not able to attend the final session and present my microteaching activity (see a blog post or two back), but my peers did discuss it and gave me some feedback which was pretty cool!

I hope that Oxford Brookes runs this MOOC again next year because I think it's beneficial to people that are new to the teaching profession :-)

The other course that I completed was a course/workshop from the Sloan Consortium on implementing the quality scorecard in online programs.  This was a pretty interesting course. Going into it, I was under the impression that excellence in an online program was just predicated on what the individual departments did (having not seen the quality scorecard before this workshop).  What I came out with was the fact that online excellence is such a multi-level process!  It depends on the faculty teaching, the advising, the department services, the college commitment to online learning, and on the service providers for the various technologies employed in online learning!

I knew that there are many levels to quality online programs going into this workshop, but I didn't know that the quality scorecard factored in all of the levels. No online program is an island in and of itself. You need to forge partnerships with many stakeholders on many levels in order to create a good online program.  In some sense, it's an all for one, and one for all approach to online excellence :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

FSLT, Week 5, lecture on evaluation

Here it is! The final week of FSLT12, and the topic is evaluation! A topic near and dear to me, especially considering that it's the final step in th ID process before iterating :-) Here are two parts of this weeks lecture presentation.




Monday, June 18, 2012

FSLT12: Wegner Presentation

Here is an interesting synchronous session recorded last week on FSLT12 with Etienne Wegner 


Friday, June 15, 2012

Microteaching activity

This week I've been at the NMC conference (and Monday I was sidelined with a summer cold, no fun), so I've skipped out on most of this week's fslt12 activities. I've been thinking about this microteaching activity, and what I can teaching in 10 minutes. The activity reminds me of a reality TV show, the next Food Network Star, where contestants have to show that they can do something, in a short period of time (a promo video for their show) that they would be expanding on (supposedly) during the full episode.

So, what could I teach in 10 minutes? The big issue is that I am thinking too big! Then, it hit me! I could go back to my tech-training background and show people how to use the cameras in their iPhones. Sure, it's not super academic, but what if I were an assistant for DS106? DS106 has the Daily Create activity, where learners in DS106 (and interested participants) can use their phones to participate in this activity. So, here is a quick 10 minute lesson plan:

1. Greet learners (this would be a video tutorial, perhaps on YouTube) and let them know the agenda for this lesson, as well as the tools that we are going to be using (think of it like a cooking show where they list the ingredients before they start cooking). The materials for this are an iPhone, the camera application, the Safari Web Browser, and FlickIt, a Free Flickr Uploader application for the iPhone. (Time: 45sec -1 min)

2. This lesson pre-supposes that learners are taking part in DS106, or are interested in the daily create challenge. The first thing would be to open safari and navigate to http://tdc.ds106.us/ to receive the daily challenge topic. (Time: 1 min)

3. Once the topic of the day has been received, I will demonstrate how the learner can:

  • Open the iPhone camera application
  • Frame a shot
  • Zoom in and our
  • Focus the shor
  • Take the shot
Side note: I was thinking about using Instagram for taking the photo, but the initial setup of the application could be a tutorial in and of itself :) (Time for this part: 3 minutes)


4. One a photo has been taken, it's time to show the learner how to upload it to flickr, and tag it with the appropriate Daily Create tag for that day's assignment (time: 3 minutes). This could include:

  • Navigating to FlickIt
  • Selecting the photo from the camera roll
  • Telling Flickr that it's a public photo
  • Assigning the photo a specific tag
  • Uploading it

5. Final step: at the end of the day, check out the Daily Create website for fellow participant submissions!


The target demographic for this type of learning activity would be someone who is (1) interested in the daily create, and (2) someone like a parent or grandparent who "doesn't do technology" but is interested in participating in such fun activities.


The assessment, of course, would be whether the photo is up on the daily create or not :)

NMC2012, Day 2 Highlights

Here's a quick recap of yesterday's NMC12 breakout sessions. I decided to skip the morning plenary- 2 hours of 15 minute presentations is a little too much for me, and I can get those on iTunesU anyway ;-). Yesterday's breakout sessions were mostly interesting (and I had quite a few interesting side conversations!)


Exploring a Tablet Application for the seminar Classroom

With Eric Gordon from: Emerson College

And Drew Harry from: MIT


This was the first session the day (and if I am not mistaken I had seen something like his last January at the NERCOMP mobile session). We've seen tablet (or laptop) applications that tap into the backchannel in large lectures to capture the pulse of the classroom, but the idea behind this particular application was to tap into the "backchannel" in small lecture group (15 or fewer, based on the design of the application) and the idea is to be able to propose topics for discussion and to track discussion topic time. There was also a component where the transcript of the topics, comments made, and time spent were sent to students after the seminar session.


This was an interesting application, albeit buggy - which made it crash no fewer than 7 times in that 90 minute session (at which point my submitted topics and elapsed time disappeared!) Despite the buggy nature of the application it seemed like a good start, especially from a learning analytics perspective!


One of the things that stood out was the naming of things. The presenters started with back channel vs front channel....they didn't like it because the back channel never makes it to the front (I disagree). Then they went with a theater metaphor - back stage vs front stage, where information from the back stage could come to the front stage, but the information in the back stage is not as privileged? So they went with the front stage, side stage metaphor, but at the end of the day, it seems like no matter what naming convention you choose, you are still trying to capture the chatter, and bring forward ideas for discussion.



Opening up the Classroom.

With: Magi Almirall from Universitat oberta de cataluny


This session was pretty interesting, although sparsely attended. It was interesting to see what some of our colleagues in Europe are doing - too bad I didn't see anyone from Asia there :) Maybe next year? In any case, I have mixed feelings about this presentation because I am not sure what the focus was. We started off with mobile learning (cool!) because a lot of students at the open university are commuters (like I am!) and do some of their studying en route to somewhere. The problem started when we were talking about twitter clones, and other open technologies. So I guess it was about open source in the classroom? Hmmm... I don't know. It was an interesting group of people though, and I hope I bump into them later on to see what else the Open University is doing :)



Open CourseWare's Vision for the Future

with: Stephen Carson from MIT


This was the final session of the day (if you don't know the 5 minute lightning rounds that I skipped) and it was about the future of OCW. One thing that I learned was that OCW is essentially a publisher - not a learning objects repository. I knew that it wasn't a learning object repository, nor a course place, but I had a hard time describing OCW to others. In order to setup the future projections of OCW, the presenter had to setup where OCW came from, and some other players in this open market, so it was interesting to see the rationale for the creation of OCW and the form it took. It would be nice if UMass Boston had their entire course catalog in the UMB OCW.


One major problem with this session (despite all of the information I got about open resources!) is that coming out of this session I wasn't really sure what the future of OCW is! Maybe the future holds more collaboration, and tie-ins with other services like wikipedia and openstudy? I can't tell :-)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

NMC Day 1: session overview

This blog post might be long...but what the heck, a long post every now and again is OK ;-). These are my thoughts on Sessions that I attended. Some were great...and some not so much (they had potential but did not deliver)



Digital Badges on Campus: More than Just a Game

With: Mike Soupios, Danielle Mirliss, Thomas McGee from Seton Hall University


This was my first session of the day, and it did not disappoint! The presenters were all from Seton Hall University and they were describing the initial phases of their campus engagement tool. They implemented an OpenBadge compliant system which they introduced to their incoming freshman population.

The initial badges that students got wet fairly easy to get, as with any social system that awards badges, in order to get people used to the idea of the reward. The system debuted this summer when students came to their campus preview activities. They got a badge for attending the preview (week?) as well as participating in activities throughout this week. The badges were cross referenced with RSVP lists that enrollment services had, so only people that came got the perk.


Other types of badge earning activities included being curious about the numerous posters with QR codes on them. There were also" level up" badges where if you got so many badges of a certain kind the system traded them in for a higher level badge. They also had badge-less awards that gave participants points, and the points in these categories would eventually yield a badge.


This was a pretty freakin' awesome presentation. It reminded me a lot about my own yet unpublished paper (submitted last week) in so many ways. It's like these guys were reading my mind (or I was reading theirs). I would LOVE it if our campus worked with Seton Hall to develop an open source solution for this system so that other colleges could it as well :-)


As a side note, it's interesting that they worked out a deal with Nokia to get all new incoming freshmen Lumia 900 phones. I am wondering when Google finally engulfs Motorola if there will be similar Android deals.





The Case of a Massive open online Course at a College of education

With: Dalit Levy from the Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and the Arts.


When I saw that there was a MOOC related session, and one that was aiming to make the case for MOOCs in higher education (and one that had cited one of our MRT papers!) I was really excited. The actual session had a lot of potential, but it fell flat, sad to say. The presenter was apologizing for her command of English, which wasn't a problem for me, and went in to say that she finished her presentation hours before she delivered it. This was a major fail since presenters KNOW that they will be presenting months in advance! No excuse :-)


The other two flaws of the presentation were that she focused too much on setting up what a MOOC is, giving examples from PLENK and Change11, but she really didn't tie in her own experiences as a participant. The language barrier was cited as an issue, and I agree (as I have written before), but that hasn't stopped people from participating. A great example f this is Serena. It was great to see her posts in Italian, and seeing others post in other languages less frequently, so why not interact in Hebrew?


The second major issue was the bureaucracy of it all. It was really painful to see a course (MOOC) go through all these steps of approval and scrutiny, and angst over how it will fit in with the existing LMS (does it have to?) and the university website (again, does it gave to?). This has been (or seemed like it anyway) a multi year process. This stood in stark contrast to Ito's keynote.


On the plus side, it's nice to know that there are other non English speaking MOOCers that might be willing to participate in a study of attitudes of non English speakers about MOOCs.


As an aside note, too much attention and time was wasted on Connectivist MOOCs vs "Stanford" MOOC models. More in this in another post I guess :-)




Fostering Digitally Literate Faculty: An Interactive Case study

With: Alicia Russell, Seth Merriam, Victoria Wallace from Northeastern University


This last time slot of the day was a toss up between this session, and the following one. I elected to go to this session because I knew the people from Northeastern and wanted to see what locals were doing. The presentation was a bit slow going and I ended up leaving about half way in. The main issue, for me, was that the initiate was something similar to what UMass Boston had in the early 2000s with their Teaching with Technology program. The only difference seemed that now people were also blogging about their experiences. What made it hard to stay in this session was that some of the DS106 people were in the session bellow, so I left to go see




Don't Adjust y our set - This Class is Live!

With: Andy Rush & Tim Owens from University Of Mary Washington

and Grant Potter from University of Northern British Columbia.


Even though I came to this session late, this was a pretty good session. The tweets were instrumental in getting me to attend :) One interesting thing, a question from a participant, was about FERPA and how that ties in with live broadcasts. Siiiigh. As I said in the tweet stream yesterday, FERPA is either the boogie man that no one understands, or the excuse that people use to hide behind because of their own uncertainties. To go back to Ito's saying: just do it! FERPA is only about grades, and about other private information such as mailing info. Having a conversation about an educational topic online, or asking questions in a lecture is not a problem under FERPA.

NMC12: day 1 highlights part 1

This year the New Media Consortium conference was held in Boston and hosted by MIT, so it was a good opportunity to attend given that it is my own back yard. In this post, I don't plan to recount blow by blow each session, but rather post what seemed most interesting about each.

In the welcome keynot was made by Joichi Ito, the MIT media lab director, and the topic was on innovation in open networks (check out the recording on iTunes U here). Even though I missed the first half hour of the talk die to commuting the remaining 45 were inspirational, perhaps because I already ascribe to the principles of open. One of the main takeaways from this talk was to just to it. If you have an idea and it's within your financial means, just do it. Don't conduct (costly) feasibility studies to see if it's worth spending the cash to work on your idea. The worst that can happen is that it doesn't work. Thus, don't be afraid to fail, and of course, learn from your mistakes and iterate!

The other interesting thing that I found out about th MIT media lab is that their PhD requires no coursework. Students come in, self motivated, and they can figure out what they need in order to complete their projects and sit in on classes (or self study, or seek subject matter experts) to round out their knowledge to complete their goals. More PhD programs, in my opinion, should be like this in the US. The current prescriptive nature of most PhD programs where you take X many courses, with Y many being required, and then take comprehensive exams before you're allowed to dissertation reeks of an industrial era PhD.

Finally (wow, I didn't think I would be writing this much), was about Ito's anti-disciplinary approach to learning. The big buzz is cross-disciplinary education these days, however this can lead to people working on a project and sectioning it off in discreet parts in order to get it done. Thus, the cross-disciplinary project is more of a Franken-project in that different parts are sewn together to make the final product. No true teamwork has occurred, and no new understandings have been forged. In an anti-disciplinary approach no one can say "that's not my part", everybody works on everything, and everybody learns a bit about the other person's discipline, and learns to practice it a bit! This seems like a great idea for putting together group projects for the two departments I am involved with. Maybe it's something I will work into future syllabi ;-)

OK...blog post getting long, so I will post session thoughts in a second post.

What are your thoughts on anti-disciplinarism?


Recap Slide


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What? DS106 started already?!

Hmmm...I was glancing over at my calendar telling me to work on DS106 the other day (an alarm that I set last spring for this summer), and I decided to head on over to DS106 and check it out...only to find out that it had started already (week 4 if I am not mistaken).  Oh well.  I missed the boat but not by much!

So, this time I will take a queue from a few of my MOOC acquaintances and set goals.  I realize that I don't have enough time to partake in the full DS106 experience, so my goals for this summer, with regard to DS106, are the following:

  • June: Every Tuesday and Thursday complete a Daily Create (to be posted on my tumblr photoblog)
  • July: Every Tuesday and Thursday complete a Daily Create (to be posted on my tumblr photoblog)
  • August: Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday complete a Daily Create (to be posted on my tumblr photoblog)

If this goes well, in September I will undertake 2 assignments...and re-evaluate from there :)

I am curious about MineCraft, having heard all the great things I've heard about it, but no time to actually jump in and play.  I still need to get into iOS development...one of my goals for last September...which I never started....oh well :-)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

FSLT - Week 4 - Lecturing

Here is this week's video (lecture!) on lecturing, from the FSLT12.
I have currently paused the video to post it here (see, blogger is not competing for my attention :-)  ).  Thoughts on lecturing to follow!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Putting on my administrator cap: online vs on-campus enrollments?

This week I started a 2-week (online) workshop from the Sloan Consortium on Implementing the Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Education Programs. So far it's a pretty interesting course, and I've read through the reading materials supplied by the workshop facilitator.  One of the things that stands out, and this makes sense, is that an academic department can't go at it alone.  In order to implement a quality online program you need to reach out to many stakeholders, gatekeepers, and partners. In project management parlance, you also need a champion!

One of the things that I've been thinking about over the past few years has been this tension between the online and the on-campus sides of operation.  In most departments there is an online person and an on-campus person.  In some departments there isn't that distinction, but in the minds of people there still is that online vs. on-campus  - this comes from discussions with people on my own campus, but also discussions I've had with people at conferences and workshops.

What I've seen have been various permutations of online as adjunct to on-campus; online separate, but equal, to on campus; online-only; and on-campus only.  What I want to focus on is the online as separate, but equal, to on campus. One of the main fears of offering more courses online is that it will detract from on-campus enrollments.  The fear is that if people can do it online, they will opt to not come on-campus!  In such situations departments put a spigot on online courses, and only enroll specific students (maybe those far away from campus).  Some other strategies have been to only offer certain courses on-campus, in this way privileging on-campus students and the on-campus program - even though online and on-campus programs tend to be one in the same, and the only thing different tends to be the mode of delivery.

From a managerial perspective these tactics are wrong.  If you maintain two programs that are exact duplicates of one another, except one is online and one on-campus, you are introducing redundancies.  If both your programs are filled to capacity it's not a big deal. The major issues crop up when you only have half filled courses online and half filled courses on campus. This you aren't getting as much bang for your buck when employing resources to offer these courses.  The other issue, with offering some courses only on-campus, is that you are privileging your on-campus program in a way that shows that you don't have confidence in your own online program. If the course doesn't lend itself to online learning, then OK, but if the courses could be designed well so that they could be offered online, why not do it? If your department seems to lack confidence in your online offerings, then why would potential students feel confident in your program?

From a design (and partly a management) perspective, if you fear that your on-campus (local) students will opt for online learning instead, don't push them away by mandating that they take your program on campus! After all, there could be other accredited institutions out there competing with you that WILL accept those students online.  Instead of pushing students away, try to understand the motives of these students.  How are your on-campus courses structured?  Are they interactive and engaging? or is there someone droning on and on at the center platform?

Are courses offered too late or too early?  Can people get to your on-campus course in time?  Is your course family friendly and professional friendly? What motivates students to go online and not on campus?  As soon as you get answers to those questions, and you understand your learner demographic, you can stem the "bleeding" of the on-campus programs that you oversee. If you don't understand your students, the battle may be lost!

your thoughts?

Friday, June 1, 2012

BonkOpen, final week, (semi) final thoughts

Well, the BonkOpen MOOC is almost over, I earned my badge (seen on the right) and in the process picked up some new knowledge, information, skills, and professional contacts! At the same time I was able to see Blackboard Learn in action as a host for a massive online course.

I think, that by and large, the MOOC was a good one, and the organizers and coordinators were responsive to the people who attended the MOOC and modified it, as the MOOC progressed, based on the feedback of the participants. There were a number of good things about the MOOC, but also a few mis-steps.  Here are some lessons I learned about using an LMS for a MOOC.

No need for introductions.
In a MOOC there are just way too many people to make introductions feasible.  The introduction isn't for the speaker to say who they are, but rather for the hearer to know who the speaker is.  This wasn't accomplished with the introductions in this MOOC.  The introductions were setup like a "normal" 15-20 person online course.  This didn't scale up.  I am actually wondering if "breakout" rooms are more appropriate, so that people with specific interests can go into specific forums to introduce themselves and socialize with people who have similar interests.  While this encourages homophily and may impede the serendipitous "aha" moment from starting introductions with different folks - it may be a good way to enter the MOOC pool on the shallow end.

Don't use an LMS's blogs
Blogs are nice, as is evidenced by my using of a blog right now! The only problem is that LMS blogs aren't real blogs.  A blog is, fundamentally, an outward facing collection of thoughts that is meant to be consumed by many people, and it's meant to live in perpetuity.  You can discontinue a blog, or delete it altogether, but you decide when that happens, NOT when the course is over.  An LMS blog is essentially a journal with an expiration date.  A better tool to use in an LMS is the discussion board - and it's better to just use a discussion board, and not dilute the discussion with discussion boards, LMS blogs, and outward blogs.

Badges are motivating
I know that it may sound silly to some people, but the badge is motivating - at least to some people.  I am wondering how to best introduce this into my own future MOOCs, and integrate it with the Mozilla Open Backback. I wonder how other MOOCs can benefit from this...  I know that MobiMOOC gave out certificates of completion for people who met certain criteria. I wonder if we can issue badges later.

LMS based MOOCs need a gardner and a reporter
This may not just be relevant to LMS based MOOCs, but I saw it here.  There were A TON of great resources shared in the discussion boards.  It would be worthwhile to garden the discussion forums and blogs and collect all of the resources into a wiki (annotated bibliography) or a mendeley share.  It's hard for all participants to read every single post - but what if you had helper elves in the MOOC to undertake this type of harvesting and present the resulting bibliography as an OER to the people who participated in the MOOC at the end of a MOOC?

I also saw that MOOCs do need a reporter.  Someone who is an organizer of the MOOC, who goes through each and every post and creates a bi-weekly radio show, or write up (depending on how active the MOOC is) with important information shared in the MOOC.  Weekly chat sessions with subject experts are nice, but MOOCs are also not only about the expert, but also about the info the participants share.

Suggest a thread
This was a nice idea!  The first week of BonkOpen was chaotic!  Too many people opening too many competing threads that duplicated each other's work.  The suggest a thread was a great idea!  There was only one problem.  By the time the suggested threads were opened, it was already mid week and momentum was lost.  Perhaps, during week 0, all readings and topics are available, and those who are interested can suggest a thread a week in advance. This way, by the time Week X opens, during weeks X-1 and X-2, suggested topics have been collected, and posted right at the onset.

Those things being said - it was an interesting experience, and I am looking forward to more interesting learning experiences from the folks at Bloomington and Blackboard.  Heck, maybe MY institution can host a MOOC on Coursesites!