Showing posts from October, 2012

Analytics, and usage in Higher Education

It's week 4 of #cfhe12 so it must be time for Big Data and Analytics as the topic of discussion. It's interesting coming back to this topic of discussion because it was the topic of the first MOOC I took part in, LAK11, and it's a topic I've been thinking (or at least keeping on the back burner) since I was in business school. On of th things to keep in mind when talking about Analytics is that there are quite a few definitions out there , so, when talking about learning Analytics it is important to define what we aim to get out of our discussion about Analytics and how we wish to employ the potential insight that we get from this data. There are two topics that have recently come up in my neck of the woods: knowing what sort of data one can get from the various campus systems, and knowing what it means (and accurately representing what the data tells us). First, it's important to know what sort of data you can get out of your systems, like the LMS. As I've

Coursera mLearning fail

The other day, seeing that there were a couple of videos in the HCI that were available. Since I didn't have time to watch them during lunch, and as established coursera has no offline viewing for their courses, I decided to try my luck with the iPhone while commuting. Since I do use coursera, and I do watch videos on my iPad when I am at home from time to time (on wifi), it would make sense that I would be able to do the same on my iPhone. Thus with 20 minutes left in my commute, and two 17 minute videos to watch, it seemed like a no-brainer. Well, the image I got was the image on he right, in plain English: video not playable. What gives? This can't possibly be a technology constraint, so it must be a course design and delivery constraint. It reminds me of the continuing discussion (well, a series of post in actuality) thinking about the constraints that LMS/CMS design place on teaching and learning, based on the assumptions that go into designing an LMS. It seems to me

xMOOC: of participation and offline apps

**sigh** The mobile client ate my post! I will try to reconstitute as much of it as I remember ;-) In this blog post I am continuing the train of though started by thinking about different levels of participation, and my blog post on MOOC registration.  Since MOOCs are generally not taken for credit, and since they generally don't need to conform to some sort of departmental outcomes standard (i.e. this course addresses Program Level Outcome A, D, and E), it would be easier for a MOOC, than in a traditional course, to design several tracks and have different requirements for those tracks. There might also be options for a create-your-track, depending on the course of course. When a participant registers for a MOOC they can pick their track(s) and the system can monitor the participant's progress.  I think of this like Nike+'s  goal setting. For example my goal was to do 72 miles in 2 (or 3) months. Sure, for a hard core runner that's probably nothing.  For a desk-b

What is participation? How the LMS determines what you do

It seems like Rebecca and I were on the same wavelength yesterday when we were composing our blog posts and reflecting on various aspects of MOOCs.  Rebecca wonders why there is only one level of participation in xMOOCs , and I have to say, having started my 3rd coursera MOOC yesterday (same one as Rebecca, the Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society on coursera), I can see that (from my limited experience) there is a limit on how participation is counted.  Granted, I've spoken out about participation in the past for cMOOCs, but I've considered participation as being active somehow (twitter, blogs, discussions, etc.).  In xMOOCs, and in particular my two experiences on Coursera for the Gamification course and  now the  Design: Creation of Artifacts  course, a participant gets a certificate of completion having done all the quizzes satisfactorily and by completing the assignments. This is one level of participation, and it's one of the valid ways to get participation ou

Open Assessment and Blended Learning

The topic of open assessment came up during #blendkit2012 this week, which is quite a fascinating topic. Britt asked if peer review can work in small groups, having seen it in xMOOCs like coursera. I've written about open assessment before, but not specifically about this, I don't think. I have written some quick thoughts on the coursera peer review system which can be summarized even quicker by saying "hit or miss." In the one course (thus far) where I've opted to do the assessments and review my peers, the reviews were a mix. Some reviews of my work were good, others were lacking, and for some I wondered if they even read (or understood) the rubric! So, while I can see how massive open peer review can be good, the fact that its anonymous means that I can't seek clarification, and there is no apprenticeship into the rubric to make sure everyone gets it (and really understands the asynchronous lectures). Bringing this back into the blended classroom, I

Mass is relative, and the need for numbers that make sense

This week on #cfhe12 I read a couple of posts of interest from my fellow participants (apologies, I am currently on the train with no connectivity, ore lease I would search for those post and link to them :-) ) and there were two key points that I wanted to reiterate, combine, and expand upon. The first point is that mass (well, "massiveness") is relative. I am sure I learned in physics that Mass is indeed relative there, too, but I'd have to take a MOOC to brush up on my high school physics ;-)In any case, 100,000 MOOC participants in course X does not mean that it is equivalent to 100,000 participants in course Y. If you have a course (MOOC) that Iran introductory level course (introduction to German for example), you will most certainly get to sign up (and probably retain) a whole lot more people than a more niche course (let's say "Seminal Works of Bertold Brecht" which is taught and discussed, and written about in German). The introductory course will

Entrepreneurship (and commercial) activity in education

It's week 3 in #cfhe12 and the topic of the week is Entrepreneurship and commercial activity in education , and I kicked off the week by reading The Evolution of Ed Tech in Silicon Valley and How the Internet is Revolutionizing Education . There are, of course, other readings that I intent on getting to, but these two were the only HTML documents that were easy to sent to Pocket (I did however skim the educational start-ups PDF because I was curious).  In any case, it was interesting to read about the venture capital process, how it related to EdTech, and how much quicker (and easier) it is to be innovative these days. Now, when I say "be innovative" I don't mean the actual having an idea part, but the ability to execute it. With services like Amazon's cloud services it's easier these days for someone who has an idea, and has some know-how (or access to know-how) to be able to get up and running.  Not that long ago one had to go to the appropriate authori

Last week of Blendkit2012!

Here it is! The final week of BlendKit2012! I know it is only a 5 week MOOC, but it seems to have gone by pretty quickly! The topic of this week, as with any well designed course, is evaluation - or: how do you know that your learning intervention (in this case designing a blended course) has worked and your learners walked away with the knowledge they need to be successful. The reading this week centered around this topic of evaluation. The questions to ponder are as follows: How will you know whether your blended learning course is sound prior to teaching it?  How will you know whether your teaching of the course was effective once it has concluded?  With which of your trusted colleagues might you discuss effective teaching of blended learning courses? Is there someone you might ask to review your course materials prior to teaching your blended course? How will you make it easy for this colleague to provide helpful feedback?  How are “quality” and “success” in blended learnin

MOOCs, demographics, and wrangling the edtech

Yesterday morning I was catching up on some #cfhe12 blog posts by Bryan Alexander (who I have not seen in a MOOC in ages), a blog post about d efining MOOCs  by Rolin Moe ,  and my colleague Rebecca who writes about the ease and usefulness in MOOCs†. First, let me respond to Rolin's points (since I happened to read his blog post first). There are lots of people looking at the future of academic publishing, pushing for an open movement. Some academic journals have gone open, but the majority of journals carry a high price tag which only exists as price opportunistic for educational institutions (and some rare corporations and organizations). Yet academic journals are part of the lifeblood of scientific research, especially for soft sciences (such as education). By only working with open resources, a cMOOC cuts many of these empirical, peer-reviewed research works out of its circulation, having instead to pull from free resources that often lack academic rigor. For a cMOO

cfhe12 - week 2: when world colide!

After a tittle like that, I feel like this blog ought to have a theme song ;-) Is this too dorky? Not dorky enough?  Chime in through the comments :-) In any case, it's Week 2 of #cfhe12 and the topic of the week is New Pedagogies: New models for teaching and learning . I find it interesting (and ironic) that Blended Learning and Online Learning are considered "new pedagogies" and "new models."  Even though I am currently undertaking 2 Blended Learning workshops (one MOOC #blendkit and one workshop through Sloan-C), I have known about blended learning for a while.  As far as Online Learning goes...I've known about it, and been active in it for much longer!  How can these models be considered new?  To me MOOCs are new because we are still exploring them.  There is no "one MOOC format", just as there is no one Online Course format. MOOCs are a subset of Online Courses, and MOOCs have many other courses that are a subset of a MOOC. That being said

BlendKit - Content & Assignments

We are now in Week 4 (of 5!) of BlendKit2012 and the subject of the week is content and assessments . The questions to ponder for this week are as follows: In what experiences (direct or vicarious) will you have students participate during your blended learning course?  In what ways do you see these experiences as part of the assessment process? Which experiences will result in student work that you score?  How will you present content to students in the blended learning course you are designing? Will students encounter content only in one modality (e.g., face-to-face only), or will you devise an approach in which content is introduced in one modality and elaborated upon in the other? What will this look like?  Will there be a consistent pattern to the presentation of content, introduction of learning activities, student submission of assignments, and instructor feedback (formal and informal) in your blended learning course? How can you ensure that students experience your course

Thoughts from Day 1 ALN Panel Discussion

Well, yesterday afternoon I got fired up when listening to the final panel discussion of the day at Sloan-C's annual ALN conference. The panel was titled "Evolution or Revolution? What’s Happening with “Traditional” Online Learning?" and I have broken down my thoughts by speaker. Jose Cruz (The Education Trust, US) This was a pretty interesting speaker, and he made a good point about putting "learning" back in "online learning". The speaker pointed out that governments was accountability, higher graduation rates, and, of course, do it with less money. This speaker,  mostly focused on access to higher education and higher education completion along ethnic and socioeconomic lines. Beyond that the speaker focused a lot on the numbers of people, along different ethnic and racial demographics, that have a BA. It seemed to me that the basic assumption was that the BA degree was a necessity - period. There was no interrogation of why a BA is a requiremen

Week 1 of #CFHE12

Well, another 6 week MOOC started this week, CFHE12 (which I keep wanting to spell a CHFE12 for some reason) with George Siemens and company.  This seems quite interesting, and it gives me an opportunity to check out the D2L environment in action, considering that  our campus could have been a D2L campus, but we went with Blackboard instead. In any case, one of the first things for this week is to introduce yourself in the forum. I didn't do this because in my experience in massive environments you get a boatload of "hello"s or "introduction"s or "Hello from____" threads which are hard to distinguish who is coming in from where at the end of the day.  This might work in smaller group settings (this type of intro activity using course fora) but, for me at least, it fails massively in a MOOC. OK, I am poo-poo-ing this approach, but I don't have something to take it's place right away, just file this under: "things to work out in MOOC pedag

BlendKit - Assessment

 It's week 3 of 5 in BlendKit2012, and this week's readings are on the topic of assessment (a pretty important topic if you ask me!). Thus far the contributions of my fellow participants have been pretty interesting to read as well (keep it up! :-)  ). In any case, this week's readings give the reader a quick overview of the testing types that an online environment affords, talks (briefly) about the importance of defining expectations (i.e. setting up grading rubrics) and  talks a bit about informal assessments.  This week's questions to keep in the back of your head are as follows: How much of the final course grade do you typically allot to testing? How many tests/exams do you usually require? How can you avoid creating a “high stakes” environment that may inadvertently set students up for failure/cheating?  What expectations do you have for online assessments? How do these expectations compare to those you have for face-to-face assessments? Are you harborin

Gamification Course | wrap-up post

Well, my first xMOOC is now complete! For this first time around in my xMOOC explorations I chose a coursera course on Gamification.  This was a good choice because the video lectures were engaging! It turns out that the instructor has a law degree, so I guess his great presentation skills are now easily explained ;-) There were a few highlights and a few dim-lights to the course.  As far as the highlights go, as I said the video lectures were quite good! I really did enjoy listening, and seeing, the video presentations each week. Kevin Werbach was a great speaker, and while I think that the  lectures were prepared, he didn't sound like he was reading a prompter, in other words he was natural and not robotic. This made the material flow pretty well. I also liked that there were about 2 hours worth of videos each week, this feels more like a "real" course than just having some small videos to watch.  I do realize that this is discipline specific and that some disciplines

Blendkit, I am flipping the tables on you!

BlendKit, prepare to have your mind blown! OK, I am a exaggerating a bit, but I am going to come to this MOOC from a non-traditional approach. I've been thinking about the DIY activities, and I have to say that the DYI tools (4th column, DIY project deliverables) are pretty nifty; not just for blended learning, but also for instructional design purposes in general. Now, I don't think I will have a ton of time to complete all DIY deliverables; and, considering that the course I am working with is only a proposal which may, or may not become a full course†, I think it's best to not spend a whole lot of time on a specific course until it's approved to run (given other competing time issues). In any case, my guinea pig course is a course on Mobile Learning that I developed (at least in syllabus form) in the past year. The funny thing is that I originally conceived of this course as a blended course; however due to business factors (more online students interested in t

BlendKit, Week 2 - Initial Thoughts

Yesterday I was reading the materials for Week 2 of BlenkKit , which are adapted from Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning by George Siemens and Peter Tittenberger†.  While the entire reading was quite interesting, what I latched onto were the roles of the educator in this chapter which consisted of: Atelier Learning (Seely Brown, 2006) Network Administrator (Fisher, nd) Concierge Learning (Bonk, 2007) Curatorial Learning (Siemens, 2007) From the experiences I've had in my own personal background I can say that Atelier Learning and Curatorial Learning are what appeal to me as roles for an educator, not separate, but some combination of both.  Think of a museum and an a master artist's workshop. An apprentice might be in an artist's workshop (atelier), but at the same time, some curated work needs to be available for the apprentice to reference and learn from. This way you have some examples  but you are not constrained by them . This Week's questi