12 October 2013

My Adult Learning Style and A Tech Tool to Support It

Guiding Question: According to the ATLAS test, what is your learning strategy? Explain why you agree or disagree with the results of the assessment. With this week’s reading assignment in mind, identify a type of learning technology you think may work well for students who share your particular learning strategy and explain why the technology would be useful.

I went to take the ATLAS test to see what style of learner I am. I will admit right up front that I am very skeptical of the pre-supposition that using only two questions I can be grouped into a learning style. However, in the interest of good discussion for our class, I took the survey and was categorized as an Engager, Subgroup 2. Here is the information provided by the survey about my group and sub-group:

Description: Passionate learners who love to learn, learn with feeling, and learn best when actively engaged in a meaningful manner. Subgroup 1 likes to use human resources while Subgroup 2 favors reflecting upon the results of the learning and planning for the best way to learn.
Characteristics: Must have an internal sense of the importance of the learning to them personally before getting involved in the learning. Once confident of the value of the learning, likes to maintain a focus on the material to be learned. Operates out of the Affective Domain related to learning.
Instructor: Provide an atmosphere that creates a relationship between the learner, the task, and the teacher. Focus on learning rather than evaluation and encourage personal exploration for learning. Group work also helps to create a positive environment.

There are some pieces of this which resonate strongly with me and how I see myself as an instructor and learner; however, there are also somethings which seem to be a bit shallow to me (meaning that it seems that some of this is just ambiguous enough that I may have some confirmation bias kicking in).
First, I am passionate about learning and I do learn with feeling. I am definitely learning best when I engage in a meaningful manner. However, is this particular to my group of learners? Doesn’t everyone learn best when they are engaged in a meaningful manner? I would agree that I fall more in line with reflective practice, rather than “using human resources.” I definitely do need an internal sense of the importance of the material. But again, is that special to engagers? Maybe I’m being closed-minded, but that’s one of the pillars of my philosophy of teaching. I do tend to teach (and learn) in the affective domain regularly, which dovetails nicely with my reflective style of learning. The instructor strategies (I’m assuming these are how to “reach” my group of learners) speak right into who I am as an instructor. I encourage students to focus on learning rather than evaluation and definitely want students to engage in personal exploration. I LOVE group work in my classes and engage students in it regularly.

As an engager, I think blogging would be a great tool for students in this category. Maybe that’s why I love the “weekly reflection journal” I am in the habit of using each week in most of my classes. Blogging provides students a place to engage in the practice of reflection and I recommend prompting them each week (or some other time interval, e.g. bi-monthly, quarterly, etc.). The questions I usually use for students during their reflections follow:
  1. Which significant idea or concept most engaged you this week? Why do you think that particular piece of our studies resonated with you so strongly? Please provide specific evidence of reading or classroom discussions to support your assertions.
  2. How will that idea impact your life/learning/experiences/interactions with others from this point forward?
  3. What did you do this week that enhanced or assisted your learning the most this week and why did it do so?
  4. What did you do this week that inhibited your learning this week and why did it do so?
  5. What significant questions remain about the concepts or ideas you have learned this week?

The expectation is the student would write a few paragraphs to address those questions. While this is best done as a two-way conversation, there is tremendous value in thinking about big ideas, what worked and what did not, and how you have been changed or impacted, even if no one comments or responds. Am I wrong? Does this only work for me?

In thinking about the ATLAS Survey, it is either really on point and does a great job of telling you who you are as a learner or it is just ambiguous enough to fit me. I will admit that I did go and look at the other adult learning styles. One is navigator and the other is problem-solver. I tend to think the survey results are a bit ambiguous enough to fit many people because I found several instances which fit me in the other two style, specifically organization of the material into meaningful patterns in the navigator and rely heavily on all the strategies in the area of critical thinking and gives examples of personal experience in the problem-solving style. I believe I shall remain a skeptic. The best piece of credibility I found was that the original researchers on this project were/are from Oklahoma State University (*said laughingly and not in too much seriousness*).

10 October 2013

What are the Practical Implications of Instructional Design at a Wesleyan University?

I've been doing a bit of thinking over the past several days about my job here at Southern Nazarene University. I work as an instructional designer. Honestly, I had no idea what that job should look like when I first started working. I was a practitioner, not really a theorist. Now that I have been working for a while, I have come to understand that as a designer, I fall somewhere in the middle. According to Wikipedia, instructional design is the "practice of creating instructional experiences which make the acquisition of knowledge and skill more efficient, effective, and appealing." This definition originates with Merrill et. al (1996). I probably should have spent some time looking at that before taking this job. I need to be familiar with all of the learning theorists. That group includes the "old" ones: Bloom, Gagné, Papert, Piaget, Skinner, and Vygotsky. I also need to be current in new ideas in learning theory, including the later models from Clark, Marzano, and Sweller. Some of the current models include technology and some do not.

Today at lunch I was visiting with some colleagues and my dean. We were discussing academics at our university. We usually use this opportunity to talk about ways we can innovate but today the conversation took an interesting turn: "What are the practical implications of being an instructional designer (somewhat of a predeterministic mindset) in a Wesleyan-tradition educational setting.

SNU is a private, Christian, liberal arts university-a service of the Church of the Nazarene. If you do not know anything about Nazarenes, we are a Christian (followers of Christ) denomination that rose out of a branch of the Methodists and Pentecostals. We are not quite as liturgical as the Methodists and not quite as "radical" as the Pentecostals (we don't believe you have to have the gift of tongues as evidence of the Holy Spirit). We follow the Wesleyan tradition in that we believe in a life of holiness: an in-filling of the Holy Spirit, also called sanctification.

Contrast Nazarenes with those of the Calvinist tradition. The major difference between Nazarenes and Baptists is that we are Wesleyans and they are Calvinists. We believe that you have "free will" - your fate is in your hands. However, Calvinists believe in the idea of predestination or predeterminism - the idea that events of your life are already determined.

So what's the point? As an instructional designer, one who uses a rubric to evaluate courses, am I giving my faculty free-will in what their course should look like? Or is the outcome of their course predestined to "look a particular way"? Rather, does it even matter? Maybe we are more like the Catholic Church in that we hold the traditions and scriptures in the highest esteem? "My course has always been this way, so there's no way I could change it to put it online! That's educational blasphemy!" As the instructional designer, is there a sense of determinism? Is the course going to turn out such that the free-will of the course designer is lost?

I wonder if my very being here contributes to this problem, raised by Nicholas C. Burbles at the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign:
"The search for one best way of teaching has preoccupied philosophers in the West since Socrates. Today this search is more typically couched in the language of scientific efficacy and efficiency. In the process, teaching in many schools is becoming less and less creative, personal, and rewarding. The scope of options for teachers is becoming more constrained; their subject matter and purposes more determined by the decisions of others; their outcomes measured more mechanically and impersonally."
Maybe. Probably. Yes. I feel like I do. However, how do we ensure top quality programs and courses without some kind of oversight and evaluation?

So where do I go from here? How does this question guide my practice? I'm not sure. I would really like to re-design our course evaluation rubric so that it is scored and there would be a minimum score a course would need to "pass" and we would recognize courses with an exemplary score. Would that create a situation in which course designers would not be able to have their "fingerprint" on the course?

Here's a better question: how can I as a teacher (sometimes) not act in a manner that fits with the Wesleyan doctrine? Doctrine states that we are to focus on personal faith and holiness. As a teacher, should I not strive to be my best in my teaching practice (personal faith) and work toward perfection for my in that practice for my students (holiness)? As a christian, I recognize that I am forgiven, not perfect. However, Christlikeness is my goal. I strive to better tomorrow than I was today. I fall short, but that does not mean I should quit striving for the goal.

I would posit that if I am not working to be my best in everything I do, not working to be better tomorrow than I was today, including the areas of teaching and instructional design, I come dangerously close to sin (in my opinion). Maybe my metaphor breaks down at this point. I'd gladly hear some criticism on it; but please be gentle. I'm no theologian. I'm "just a teacher."

05 October 2013

Streamline Online & Hybrid Course Development Without Sacrificing Quality - Renee Cicchino

Streamline Online & Hybrid Course Development Without Sacrificing Quality

The culture of a university influences your online learning program. Additionally, the attitudes of a faculty member can influence the outcome of an online learning program, specifically in the course development phase.

What are some challenges in Course Design?

  1. Siloing
  2. Institutional Policy
  3. Quality Oversight
  4. Tech Competency
  5. Faculty Development
  6. Time (Release Time for Faculty)
  7. Rank and Tenure
  8. Funding

How do we address these challenges?

  1. Utilize a Template
  2. Give exemplar courses - highlight faculty work! Change this course out every year. 
  3. Use QM and/or SLOAN-C resources

Do we fail occasionally? Yes. 

  1. Low quality learning objectives or not measurable
  2. Course design and navigation
  3. Converting F2F materials directly to online/hybrid environment
  4. Time Management
  5. Tech Competency Issues (you don't even know what you don't know)
  6. Time Management
  7. Faculty and Student dissatisfaction

What lessons have we learned?

  1. Tech skills among faculty vary
  2. Online teaching experience vary
  3. Look for strengths in faculty - Read CONTENT
  4. Address the teaching and technology needs
  5. Remove the fear of the unknown
  6. Promote quality
  7. Community of learning and support
As we've done at SNU, a best practice is to create your template in Word (be sure to include the measurable objectives worksheet) and let them create the course there (however, no one seems to be using it at this time). It is then much easier to move it to the LMS. 

In the model presented here, faculty ONLY do content and the Instructional Design Team does the technical side of it (putting it into the LMS).  This isn't necessarily viable for everyone, but there are certainly components of this which will work for us at SNU. 

Best Practice for Designing and Assessing Online Discussion Questions - McCourt, Yarbrough, and Tanner

What would happen if you went into a classroom and you were asked to "Describe an interesting educational opportunity"? This could create a monologue, rather than a discussion. Rather, what if you had to describe "the last time a student said 'this lesson changed my life'"?

So what are some specific steps that will stir communication in the classroom?

  1. Ask Good Questions - The better the question, the better the interaction. Students should know immediately what the instructor wants them to do. (not necessarily what the answer is). Consider open ended questions.  Provide opportunity for students to incorporate personal experience. Also, create relevance through questions. Need to allow students to learn from one another AND problem solve. MUST be tied to course topics and course outcomes. No tangents!! Use Bloom's Taxonomy to consider levels of learning and how to elicit specific thinking from students on your target levels. 
  2. Foster Meaningful Discussion - Require participation and provide some guidelines of what that should look like, e.g. 3 different posts on 3 different days of the week. What does a substantive post look like? Not everything needs to be "research-based." Feel free to have students share, rather than regurgitate. Students need an instructor to model good, substantive responses. Some faculty have issues with "having to" do something. Requiring that they have XX number of discussion board or you are not allowed to have XX number of discussion boards. 
  3. Consider the type of communication you want to happen and design the questions accordingly:
  • Student to Student
  • Student to Professor
  • Professor to Student
  1. Provide clear guidelines for length, word count, number of posts, etc. Use a rubric!!

Gradually, Then Suddenly: How Tech has Changed Teaching in Higher Ed - Brian Kibby

Some students stop paying attention in 4th grade. If that happens, we often lose them for life. That doesn't mean they are going to be a degenerate, that means they likely won't reach their full potential. Welcome to the Army Private Kibby!

So why do SOME faculty do great things with technology and others don't? (Holy Crap! Did these people know that I was coming to this conference? This is tailor made for me!!) So Brian initially starts talking about "coming from a place of 'Yes" vs. coming from a place of 'No'." Sounds a lot like tribal leadership to me! He continues to discuss Positional Authority. Not cool. Stop doing it.

He shares a personal story about a teacher who is intimidated by the idea of a bunch of independent learners (using technology) basically putting teachers out of a job. How many of us have felt intimidated by that idea? It's not that we are going to be out of job. It is that we are going to have to change the way we teach. We need to embrace those (adaptive) technologies and move students to a deeper level of learning. We shift from a "save the people who are naturals at our subject" to "everyone is able to learn more than what they already know." Show advances in learning for everyone.

So how do we do this?

  1. Start by saying "Yes" instead of always saying "No." 
  2. Find a buddy. Someone who will help you with new things you want to learn. (We were doing this at Putnam City like 5 years ago! Nice validation of personal methods!) 
  3. Are you market-driven? If not, you should be. The market of education is changing. If you don't adapt, you won't stay relevant. Nor will you be preparing students to be relevant. 
  4. Just because you try something once, don't discount it. Check with your buddy. How can you adapt? 
The crux of the matter is to "try stuff." Brian says within 24 months we will be all digital (or should be).

Comment from the audience - Don't just use a buddy. As an admin, consider how to integrate a "technology boot camp" and provide some $$ for that. This could (has in other places) turn into something MUCH bigger than working with your own faculty.

02 October 2013

Digital Competencies for Education - Doug Johnson at OTAEM 2013

Digital Competencies for Education

Doug writes at the Blue Skunk Blog and is @blueskunkblog on Twitter.

Doug's presentation is aimed at administrators, but I'm thinking about it in the context of staff/faculty development.

Guiding Ideas

For too long we've used a YOYO (You're On Your Own)  as far as staff/faculty development goes. So why is it so hard to get higher education faculty to learn how to use technology?

  • Because they have "people," i.e. graduate students, who will do it for them.
  • They are tremendously busy. 
  • It doesn't fit their teaching philosophy.
So, do they really need those skills? If so, which skills? How are they best acquired?

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (related to technology, from bottom to top)

  1. Established Infrastructure
  2. Effective Administration
  3. Extenstive Resources
  4. Effective Teaching
  5. Empowered Students
What are the established Educational Technology Standards for Teachers? 
NETS for teachers from ISTE
**Think carefully about where to go from here in Online Professional Development.**

Look for (and outline) the benchmarks of what you should know and be able to do.

Personal Productivity

  • Use some kind of calendar (Google Calendar!!) Integrates nicely with email (also consider Google Plus and how it integrates). Creates an attendee list.

Information Systems Use

  • This one is up in the air for us with the transition to Ellucian. However, know what YOU need to know about it. 
  • If you aren't using it, then the admin can't connect the data points (across campus).
  • This should be web-based (I doubt Ellucian is, is it?)

Record Keeping

  • All of your records should be current and transparent.

Data Warehousing and Data Keeping 

  • This is done for us through Moodle. 
  • A must for retention interventions. (use gradebook and attendance)
  • For leaders to be able to make EFFECTIVE DECISIONS, they MUST have access to data, which means it's out job to collect the data. 

Content for Students

  • Students need to access information on their time, at their point of need. 

The SAMR Model of Technology Integration:

Where are you? Where do you want to be? Where does your administration want you to be? For me, I think the ideal would be for everyone to be fluent enough with technology to be able to at least augment their face to face courses. However, many will go on and move into modification and redefinition.

01 October 2013

Literacies for the Digital Age - Kathy Shrock at OTA 2013

What are the literacies in which students (and/or faculty) should be fluent?

  • Traditional Literacies
  1. Reading  - Readability calculator, sitebite
  2. Listening - Use podcasts and take notes to summarize (great study skill) 
  3. Speaking - Create script, record and edit audio. soundation studio (web-based) 
  4. Numeracy - Math, computation, measurement, stats
  • Critical Literacies
  1. Information - State a need, find information, EVALUATE, utilize information. Use research skills appropriately. Change the result options on Google - look at "verbatim"
  2. EVALUATE - Source validity, author bias, usefulness of information (and why) 
  3. Utilize - Using "how-to" sites (you can find out how to do ANYTHING on the web)
  4. Visual - Aesthetic Analysis (imagery) look into Haiku Deck (iPad app)
  5. Global Perspective - resistant perspective?, check out newsmap 
  6. Media - question, analyze, evaluate, create. Have students evaluate their ROLE as a media user (consider multiple perspectives). 
  7. Tool - A supportive literacy in that you need to know how to use the tools to support the above. Commonly referred to as "computer literacy". Think about aggregation tools (RSS, Evernote, etc.) Synchronous conferencing (Hangouts, backchannels, etc.)
  8. Digital - Social networking, PLN, copyright and ethics, and privacy
  9. Data - Interpretation and visualization. 
  10. Civic - Critical thinking applied to community engagement
  11. Historical - Critical thinking applied to the past

29 September 2013

Cognitive Flexibility Memory aka Photoshop of the Mind

Do you think your technology use has affected the way you think and learn?  
Yes. Absolutely. I went back to school in 2004 and that was a time in which technology was really making serious in-roads into education. We were using Blackboard, heavily using email, and my undergraduate degree was in Science Education. We utilized technology in a variety of ways in the lab. No longer did I write papers with a pen and paper (or word processor/typewriter) like I did in the late 80’s. I could type my thoughts out about as fast as I could think them (as my typing speed improved). I wonder if that was the cause of Nietzsche's change in writing style when he moved to the typewriter? Maybe he was actually processing his thoughts at a faster rate than he did with a pen and paper? I could see an argument both for and against this (think about speaking a response vs. writing out a well-articulated response to someone's question).

If so, has the change been positive or negative?
I, too, have experienced the difficulty in engaging with long-texts. I’m working to get my habits of mind back to being able to engage with those longer texts (out of necessity - otherwise I might never finish this program!). I enjoy the snippets of information on the web. Twitter gives me a tremendous amount of information. I engage with only some it deeply. However, it has exposed me to so much more knowledge than I would have been able to see without it (twitter). Learning on the web (isn’t everything web-based now days?) is a bit like being a public education student. You get a tremendous amount of information and only some of the it sticks. To use Carr’s example, public education is much like the pancake. Students cover a huge breadth of subjects yet their shallow understanding of those subjects can often be problematic. Without going too far on a tangent, I attribute this problem more to education’s woes in testing (data-driven nature) rather than students’ inability to think deeply.

What ideas do you have for how the design of technology could facilitate positive, rather than negative, changes in human thinking and learning habits?  
I’m not entirely sure that I have anything new to add to the design of technology. I enjoy utilizing technology to encourage collaboration and get students to engage with (the instructor and) one another in new, deeper, more meaningful ways. That said, one big piece for me is to have students access knowledge (the internet) and do something with that information. An example might be to pull something from the news (say a natural disaster) and have students analyze it from a scientific (conceptual) point of view, a resilience (recovery) point of view, and a moral worldview. As Spiro pointed out, have students engage with a single mini-case from several different conceptual standpoints. While reading this part of the 1990 text excerpt, I kept thinking about Photoshop. If you are at all familiar with PS, you know that it works with layers. So you take several layers (each of which could stand on its own) and lay them on top of one another to form an image (which could be completely separate from the layers). The best part about this CF theory is the “multiplicative” nature of it - the sum of the parts being greater than the whole (which applies to one of my favorite physics theories, too).

For example, how can technology promote cognitive flexibility, or any other positive consequences you can imagine?
If I may digress a bit here, in education (specifically K-12) administration (including all elected officials) feel that education is a well-defined domain. They have taken a decidedly reductionist theory of education. One which can be simplified to a series of standards, lessons, and tests. This strategy absolutely will equal greater student achievement. However, practitioners (present company included) likely/hopefully recognize that education is an ill-structured domain. I recognize that there are exceptions to this idea. Young learners who are learning language or writing will eventually arrive at the same destination (a literacy of some degree in writing or speaking). However, when those two skills are required to be applied to life (e.g. a paper or a speech analyzing some big concept in history/business/education/philosophy) we begin to enter a domain which is ill-structured. In fact, isn’t this what education as a whole looks like? We have a series of processes that teachers are required to learn, tests they have to pass, several concepts and educational philosophers they should know (well-structured) and then they are turned loose in a classroom with a group of students and are expected to teach them the ideas, concepts, skills, and knowledge (well-structured - well defined destination with a clear roadmap to get to said destination) they need to know to be successful in life (ill-structured). Additionally, it doesn’t take long to look at the Common Core State Standards to know that we are expecting students to be able to work in an ill-structured domain (connections between subjects), yet how often do we give them the opportunity to do so?

So, what about technology? Our students are (by and large) connected (at a minimum through a smartphone) to the largest body of knowledge ever compiled in the whole of human history. Using technology and mini-cases (Spiro) we have the ability (and I would say the responsibility) to engage students in opportunities to construct their own connections between concepts, ideas, and events. Those concepts, ideas, and events are the layers of the Photoshop image before it has been “flattened” (where all the layers are combined and are no longer parts, but are integral to the whole image) and the connections are the entire image. These “images” constructed by students make up their entire knowledge base (about anything) and are akin to a collage of images (stored in their minds), with a series of layers (many of which may not be in the students minds, but part of the web/body of all human knowledge).

07 August 2013

Taking Your Screencasts to a New Level - Paul Tannahill

Paul considered picking apart many other presentations and worried that it would be a presentation of a friend or of someone in the audience. Rather, he showed his own screencast for us to pick apart. Driving Question: What are all the good things about doing screencasts?

Many screencasters use PowerPoint. Many people make a screencast and say, "Now make your's just like mine." Several people talked at length about the tools they used, rather than the actual making of the screencast. Let's define screencasts for the purpose of this discussion: A software tutorial program, rather than a recorded lecture of a keynote or powerpoint. Specifically, a recording to answer a question that is asked over and over and over.

Already I am seeing the need to continue my quest to acquire Captivate by Adobe.

You need to have the following three things for a good screencast:

1. Technical Excellence


  1. interface simplicity & clarity
  2. effective transitions
  3. zooms and pans


  1. vocal clarity
  2. vocal inflection - dubbing in your audio creates problems here
  3. volume
  4. computer sounds - keyboard? clicks?


  1. Embed using YouTube, Vimeo, Google Video, TeacherTube
  2. Not a link to a native file

2. Sound Pedagogy


  1. Needs assessment
  2. What do students/clients need to know?


  1. Plan your screencast
  2. Storyboard
  3. Script


  1. Don't put too much in
  2. Don't include distractions
  3. Don't underestimate

3. Watchability/Readability


  1. Title it correctly
  2. Tag (taxonomy)
  3. Share via every social media you have
  4. Ask others to share and comment


  1. Invite comments and suggestions
  2. Use a hit counter. How many times was it watched?
  3. Suggestions?

Stepping Up to the Challenge of Education and the Road Ahead - Dr. Mark Milliron

There was a point in time when education broke the cycle of poverty. That's not necessarily true in a day and age when only 50% of students who start college are able to finish.

We must think about the journey for students. How do we structure learning environments? How do we instill a sense of purpose in students? How do we help them to inventory their desires and wants and get that sense of purpose sooner rather than later? Note - the modal learner of today is from the late 20s to the early 50s with a mean of about 37. The traditional students are not going away, but they are no longer the modal learners.

Look into the Virginia Education Wizard and check out what it does. It's not useful outside the state, but the idea is awesome. Why is full-time status the default? Why do students have to talk to someone to make an exception to attend half-time? Why do students feel like they are filing for welfare or at the DMV? Students need to get on purpose from day 1. It doesn't mean they have to pick a major, it means that they need to understand the importance of knowing where they want to go.

We need to dispel the myth of edutainment. We must get them to understand that they must work hard in order to succeed. WGU Texas calls it the Texas two-step. Read the book Mindset. Shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. You don't already know everything you need to know. You are here to learn and that's intended to be hard. If it wasn't hard, it wouldn't be worth doing.

There's a big difference between the kids who are scaffolded throughout their life for college. Contrasted with the students who have NO ONE in their life who understands the higher education journey. Check out Practical Magic for reading. Students need to leave our classrooms better prepared for the next part of the journey. Persistence and tenacity are two very important pieces. However, this must be combined with a purpose and strategies for success.

There are 3 academic mindsets. Social, academic perseverance, and learning strategies. However, many think you have to choose one. But research shows that you must have a combination of all three to be successful. With everything we do, we should ask the question: Does this expand students' learning? That and the data behind it should frame every decision we make. How do we leverage technology to make a connection with students?

How do we build the right infrastructure, to get the right data, to the right people, in the right way? The consumer world is decades ahead of us in using data. Within 2 hours of you losing your credit card, a man in India will call you to see if you have lost your card. This is triggered by your spending habits and quick, closed-loop feedback. Let's apply that to learning.

06 August 2013

Rules of Engagement, Using the Personalized Learning Designer - Tara Thompson

What can MoodleRoom's PLD do for me?

  • Provide Positive Reinforcement
  • Pop-up reminders
  • Automatic Feedback
  • Turn specific content "on"
  • Encourage at-risk students
How does it work? Faculty set up rules, which contain 3 parts. Faculty will determine an event to trigger an action which is evaluated against certain conditions. Faculty will define each of these three components. PLD is analogous to a robot that is checking students grades and performance on each assignment. For instance, if a student has not verified in the course, they can be automatically directed to the verification quiz. 

The course must have activity completion turned on. 

A MoodleRooms Guide to Almost Everything - Phil Miller, VP of Product Strategy

The Moodle community continues to grow at a rapid pace. There are about 60 million Moodle users in 100s of countries. This isn't just for education anymore. MoodleRooms is at about 1000 customers with about 2200 sites, worldwide. There is a movement in Moodle to consider the social justice ramifications of the use. MoodleRooms would like to be good stewards of the partnership they have. There is another mention about learner.moodle.net, a MOOC which will start on 1st of this year. You can earn a badge showing that you completed it and this can lead to Moodle Course Creator Certificate.

MoodleRooms is working towards with the movement of Standards Based Grading (SBG). MoodleRooms is sponsoring the certification from the National Federation of the Blind, which is a huge push by Moodle to integrate more easily with accessibility tools, such as screen readers.

So what is my responsibility as a user? Participate in the conversation. Contribute to the community (code - which I don't do). Expand the community, maybe by pushing the MOOC? Engage in the community. Look into research projects (this could be a good idea for class). All of these would contribute to the global reach of Moodle.

Collaborate might be an option for synchronous opportunities. Joule Classroom is $10k. The limitation is 50 total users. xPlor is also a new thing coming. It is a content repository.

MoodleMoot Portland Keynote - Martin Dougimas, Moodle Founder and CEO

Martin is joining us from the future! He's 16 hours away in Austrailia, via GoToMeeting.

So who needs teachers? Students are able to get knowledge anytime they would like. There have been a lot of predictions about what education would look like. Some say that Google will be feeding us information before we even know that we need it. Go to YouTube to learn an instrument. The hole in the wall project in India, etc. However, Moodle's position is that teachers are important. They need support and resources. The human component is missing when you take the teacher out of the equation. Even when learning happens over the internet, you still make a personal connection.

One of the great things about Moodle is that even though it is open-source, it can be run on your own server, with your own data, keeping everything that you want as private as you want. There is one site that is supporting over a million students, with several running over one hundred thousand. Moodle supports teachers and learners.

Given that as the mission, how do we get there? By development. Moodle allows many plugins to talk to other plugins. Such as a student posting an assignment and that triggering some action. Or the reverse, where a students doesn't post an assignment which triggers some external log, etc. Caching allows an increase in performance cutting down the amount of work the program has to do (cutting out repetitive actions). Moodle partners are allowed to prioritize their bug fixes (MoodleRooms).

So where are we going from here? Moodle 2.5! And then some discussion happens about bootstrap, which I have no idea to what he is referring. I got a bit lost here. Something about Responsive Design. We are currently running 2.4.4. The other priority Moodle is working on is outcome-based learning. If you are interested in this, look into standards-based grading. There are also a significant amount of improvements on forums, such as accessibility, discussion subscription, improved navigation, in-line reply, and posting stats. Additionally, they are working on data-driven improvements. In other words, analytics and reporting. I suspect that our reports for students not attending class or not turning in assignments will be coming soon. They will also be working on Course Management. According to Martin, the current one is rubbish. Improvements to grading papers, the ability to annotate assignment (via PDF), will be coming. Accessibility!! Gradebook!! Bug Fixing. These are not all coming in 2.5, but many will be coming in future iterations. Many people are unhappy with the Moodle app. However, it is impossible to have the app do everything the full site does. It is more focused on offline work, e.g. being able to download course information and grade or read.

Look into signing up for AirNotifier Server when it becomes available? This would enable notifications, meaning that students could be notified by text about due dates, etc.

Look for a new Moodle.org coming soon. This will include badging for users who are particularly helpful in the forums. Consider taking the MOOC, which occurs starting on 1 Sept 2013 at learn.moodle.net. You will earn a Mozilla Badge. There is a Moodle Course Creators Certificate that can be earned as well.

Martin shared a great list of research questions asked and explored at the Moodle Research Conference (this year in Tunisia, next year maybe the US.) What about data? How do we address issues of privacy? What about notifications? Specifically, notifications when students need help, without them asking for it? How can we motivate students with data? Can badges be motivators?

18 July 2013

The Eight Tenets of Connectivism

I am seeing Seimens' (2004) eight tenets of connectivism with fresh eyes today:
  1. Learning and knowledge rests in diverse opinions; Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources
  2. Learning may reside in non-human appliances
  3. Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known
  4. Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning
  5. Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill
  6. Currency (accurate and up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities
  7. Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision

16 July 2013

Teaching Philosophy Distilled

The following quote is a great distillation of my teaching philosophy:
Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write reflectively about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.
It comes from an article I read on the TLT website.

25 June 2013

Stephen Johnson - Where Good Ideas Come From

Interesting thought - Tim Berners-Lee wasn't intending to create the Internet. He meant to invent something that would simply connect documents. However, he invented something that was remixed into the most amazing tool in human history. 

Apple didn't just study other retailers when they opened Apple Stores. They studied something completely different. Connecting to what Will Richardson said yesterday, they didn't do it better, the did it different. This is significant. When we are thinking about education and how to "fix" it, we really need to think differently. Not just better

Great thoughts. I hope this will percolate for a while. 

24 June 2013

What Makes a Good Conference Presenter

Good presenters - 

Know who they are as a presenters
Plan the goals and outcomes 
Know the audience
Anticipate questions
Visualize presentation and attendees
Assess themselves 

Is the presentation for you? Or for the audience? Consider that question when making the planning. Should your presentation tool fit you? Or the audience? 

Abundant Learning: 4 Newish Ideas in Education with Will Richardson

Why are we here at ISTE? Is it to be a better teacher or a better learner? If its not the latter, it's probably for the wrong reason. We all are likely living at the most change-filled moment in education and we must be willing to re-think our educational methods through a different lens or we will be preparing students for a world that no longer exists. 

Margaret Wheatley says "We can't be creative if we aren't willing to be confused. Change always begins with confusion." What am I confused about? I think I'm confused about student motivation. I'm disturbed by a distinct lack of motivation in students. I need to work hard at engaging students and figuring out what I can do to move them to a more intense level of learning. How we get students to embrace the act of learning. More importantly, how do we engage students in designing their own learning AND how do we work on the systems in place to ALLOW that to even happen? This latter question is hard for K-12 and a bit easier for the more autonomous nature of higher education. 

The problem with education is that we are the product of the current system but that system is not relevant to today's students. Students understand the education game. What do I do to be able to "check the box?" 

How do students learn to play (actual) games? They have PLNs and resources that they find/construct on their own! Traditional learning teaches students facts "just in case" but today's learning teaches students how to find information "just in time" and be able to connect that information with other information.  

Think about today's world, who needs a reporter? Reporters are now news aggregators. EVERYONE is a reporter. YouTube is the channel. Even the media markets are beginning to use YouTube. The world is changing. We are now able to print leather and suspect that in the next two years we will be able to print food. We have no idea what's coming. Learning is leaving the institution and is moving into the hands of the learners. Students CAN learn anything, anytime, anywhere - if they are disposed to doing so and have the skills and literacies to do so. 

I think I need to read Mr Richardson's book, "Why School?"

We don't necessarily need to be better. We need to be DIFFERENT. Example, the USS United States (fastest ship to cross the Atlantic in its day) vs the DeHavilland Comet (jet aircraft cut Atlantic crossing to about 10 hours). The ship was better than other ships. But the airplane was different, not just better. 

What is self organized learning? What is networked learning? 

We need to be able to let our kids meet and learn with strangers on the Internet. Think about that. They need to be put into situations that allow (encourage/require) them to connect with people who are not bound by geographical limitations. It's the world we live in. That is what a global market looks like. What if your doctor wasn't/isn't an unlearner/relearner? That's what we need to instill in our students. Make a safe place for students to risk and FAIL. 

The epitome of the honors student is one who is terrified of failure. Students should be encouraged and allowed to fail. 

Check into dual lingo. This site teaches a language and translates the web at the same time. 

Think about the meta-idea of twitter and how that applies to students. It's not a place, an institution, a repository of knowledge. It is a place to make connections with others who have similar interests. This is the analogy of education. Students are learners who need to connect with others to achieve a common goal. This could be worded better, but I think you get the idea. Maybe instead it's a way to connect to team members to solve a problem. To connect to people who are DIFFERENT than they are. Bottom line, it's a medium for connection. 

What is design thinking? Check out designthinkingforeducators.com Discovery. Interpretation. Ideation. Experimentation. Evolution. It's a process that students of through. It's a bit like a pared-down version of the scientific method! The key is that the questions don't have answers. Key component. 

What is the Maker Movement? Good grief I freaking love this guy. We are moving back to the industrial arts classroom and a bit of the cottage manufacturing industry. Students make something as they learn the knowledge. It's a huge shift to students creating artifacts. The skills students learn are the basics of what every student should know.  

I need a 3-D printer. That's my next thing. They are <$2k. I've got to get another Arduino! I may need a Pi as well. 

Guiding question: How do I integrate this into my pre-service science education classes? Small things. Small steps. I can't change it all at once. 

SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC

This is a panel format, where several people share their learned lessons. 

Tom Woodward - Ds106.com has already been mentioned. @mishelleyb and I have talked about that. It's a place that aggregates using RSS feeds. Students create assignments or choose a Pre-made assignment. Use tags to aggregate and see what others have done. A student created a radio show. It also contains a remix machine which will take two assignments and mix them. Also students have created a "best of" where students showed other students' work. 

Unknown presenter name - university gave grants for game-based learning. Looking at the meta-idea of what online communities look like, what discussions look like, and how this learning can "morph into a guild of educators." Lurkers use social network knowledge construction as a way of learning. Just lurking is a way to get the basics and begin to understand. Badges are a way for people who are over achievers to get what they need when they complete EVERY assignment. 

Unknown presenter - international MOOCs being used in emerging markets (limited) but heavily in higher Ed and some are for credit. Emerging markets do not put as much credibility into online degrees as established markets. Business world thinks this is new. But it's constructivist style learning. MOOCs are not as valued now for what they are doing, but more for how they are CHANGING education. 

Unknown presenter - many in education think that the MOOC is a "sky is falling" kind of mentality. 
However, his main point is the constructivist vs Stanford model (connectivist). There is defined content, but the connections made are more important. Khan Academy has delivered >300 million lessons. How do we build a MOOC that attracts students?
Chunk the information 10 minute videos with inline quiz (engages, not grading) requires students to check understanding. Also offers feedback. Cannot proceed w/o "getting it". Informal presence of the instructor. Think about the "lesson" module in Moodle. There must be deadlines. 

Shifted into breakout sessions - I followed Tom Woodard. How does this thing work? Must be open to change because this will evolve over time. The fact remains that we have a group of people who are engaged in something about which they are passionate. What if our OIT were a MOOC which was done as a cohort? The current group is creating content for future groups. That OIT is a free course anyway. We are using people who may or may not be right for online teaching. If they finish, great. If not, they don't teach. This needs to be something done in conjunction with other CCCU schools. 

One interesting idea of this is that these things can snowball and become much larger than the original intent. Sometimes there is a "creative-spiraling" where assignments get remixed. Students work hard when they see other's work and make it until they get it to the point at which THEY are satisfied. Not the point at which the minimum standard of mastery is met. Tom is self-described as "kind of fringy."

At this point I was supposed to switch tables, but I stayed. I'm interested in what this looks like from both the student and the admin side. Tom keeps referring to the "hippy Montessori" style of learning. The big idea here is to write on your own blog/place and tag it and its aggregated to the course through the RSS feed. The other big idea is to have students pitch assignment ideas. They become the course designers. These ideas then trigger ideas in others. This can lead to the "spiral of creativity" alluded to earlier. 

Linear learning is the fastest path, but is it the best? The less structured learning is slower, but maybe it's better? Are each useful in different situations? It seems the less structured way is good for specialization, while structure is more content driven, i.e. mat leave with "these basic skills."  

Big ideas: the things that yield the greatest results require the greatest risks. AND you must be prepared to fail. You must be willing to risk. How does this play out in a K-12 environment? What one person can achieve might not be possible in EVERY place. Work within your boundaries but push those boundaries to advance students' learning. 

Great thoughts. Interesting session. A whole lot to chew on. 

23 June 2013

Opening Thoughts on ISTE 2013

It's the end of June and that usually means the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) annual conference for me. This is my 3rd year, although I did miss going to San Diego last year. We are in San Antonio and the atmosphere here is quite exciting. I'm not sure why it seems different this year, but there's a buzz in the air that seems a bit... I don't know, "heightened" is the only word I can think of. 
Michelle and I arrived last night, late. We did something a bit different, we rode the train to get here. We rode down to Fort Worth and then switched to a nicer train for the remainder of the trip. Upgrading to first class (roomette or bedroom) is worth the money. Meals are included on that ticket which basically pays for itself. We ran late, but who cares? I got to nap instead of drive!

The opening session this afternoon was exciting. There was an interesting/funny MC (@shareski) and two groups of 5 who spoke in an Ignite format. If you're not familiar, you have 20 slides and 5 minutes. The slides advance whether you are ready or not. Brilliant. I'm a big fan. We will definitely be doing something similar at the CCCU COT conference next year. Having your own people share their ideas and passions adds a component to the session which is missing when you bring in an "outsider". Most of the 10 speakers today were enthusiastic and interesting. Well-played ISTE. 

The opening keynote is next. Jane McGonigal is up. She's a strong advocate for gamification. I'm excited to hear what she has to say. The keynotes at these always tend to inspire me and my expectation today is nothing short of that. 

29 May 2013

Impact of Faculty Learning Styles

Who: John Knight
Where: CCCU Conference on Technology at Moody Bible Institute

What would training look like if we designed training for faculty in terms of learning styles instead of topics?

Everyone is talking about education. Tech is changing almost daily. We are competing in a global market. How do we affect positive change in education?

Everyone is willing to invest, but they don't know how to use it. However, students know how to use it. Additionally, students don't want lecture in the classroom. They would rather watch a video or see an online lecture. Students know that our methods are outdated. They don't respond to those methods anymore - by and large. Devices are ubiquitous. 

What tools do faculty need/have access to to be be able to keep up with students needs?

Technology is framed here as the "silver bullet" to be the affectation of change in education. (JB - I disagree. This is part of what's wrong. We've got to continue working to teach tech skills. The tech is there, but faculty are unable/unwilling to adopt for a myriad of reasons. Mostly because current faculty grew up learning a certain way and are unwilling to bend and flex to the new education world. I know that's a bit harsh, but it's what I see.)

There's a new Kolb inventory for learning styles that is only available online. There's also an app for learning style. 

(JB - part of my issue with all of this is that the most current research on this is over 20 years old. I really struggle with that. At what point do we stop focusing on the technology and start looking at ways to integrate rather than making it all about it. I think we put too much focus on it. Although maybe I'm not one to talk since my graduate work is in technology.)

This research focused on identifying 4 technology learning styles. KD1 is directed, has high ease of use and low usability. KD2 is a delegating with high ease of use and high usability. KD4 is supporting and is high on use ability and low ease of use. KD3 is coaching and is low usefulness and low ease of use. I can see these traits in my own faculty. However, what do we do with this? Where do we go?

(JB- Side note: how much good could we do if this were shared with everyone in an open journal rather than "starting a company" to sell this to people. Why not start a foundation and give it to faculty and get funded from non-profit? Does it really take that much money to run a website? It's valuable and has a value, but I am a proponent of the open movement rather than the keeping it behind a "pay wall.")

Next steps are to take the survey ($28) and use the info. And/or hire their firm to come and help you understand the results. :-/

15 April 2013

My Side of the Story #bowiefire

I teach a class at SNU Tulsa called Earth's Natural Disasters (which likely has a new perspective for me). This past Wednesday was the first night of that class. I talked to my mom on the way to Tulsa, nothing new or exciting. Just before I got to town, Michelle called. We had offered our home as a place for a couple of friends to have an indoor picnic since having a picnic outside on that day was pretty much impossible.

We have a fireplace and they asked if they could build a fire and why wouldn't we oblige? It was a couple and fire makes things much more "romantic." A birthday, indoor, picnic with a fire. What could go wrong?

I talked to Michelle on the phone about whether or not the flue was open and I was pretty sure that it was. They checked and agreed. I assume at this point they lit a fire using some very wet wood and the natural gas "helper". I arrived at the campus and went inside. I talked to Michelle and our she told me that our friends were having a nice time and loved the smell of a campfire so this was really nice. It's not at all unusual to smell a little bit of the fire when we use the fireplace.

By this time it was right about 6pm, which was the time class normally starts. I got a phone call from Michelle telling me that the house had filled with smoke and asking me about using the fire extinguisher. I reminded her to pull the pin and point it at the base of the fire. I assumed at that point that we must have been wrong about the flue being open. She told me they were going to call 911 and I figured she would put the fire out in the fireplace and call me back to tell me that everything was okay.

I always try to start class with prayer as I know that school can be very stressful for adult students (and traditional) so we started it as usual. I informed the class (very) briefly what I thought was happening and we prayed and started class with introductions. I got a phone call in the middle of intros from a friend asking if my house was on fire. I kind of played it off, but she seemed concerned and we hung up. A minute or two later she told me she was in my neighbor's yard and said she could see fire coming out of the top of the house. This was the point I realized that all was not okay and that students would have to wait. I needed to get back to the City.

I summarily dismissed class and headed out of Tulsa for OKC. As I was walking out of SNU Tulsa, I called Michelle (I think) but I really have no recollection of what she or I said. I remember getting in the car and being thankful that I had filled up with gas in OKC so I wouldn't need to stop on the way.
I recognized that there was nothing I could do except get back to the City safely, so I set the cruise on the speed limit and moved along at a steady pace, focusing hard on following all traffic rules and being safe. The last thing I needed at this point was a traffic violation ro an accident.

I called my insurance agent, Jim Dunn. He's s State Farm Agent and I couldn't possibly recommend you to anyone that cares more about his clients than he does. Seriously, if you don't have State Farm insurance through his agency, you should reconsider. He has gone far and above the call of duty during this entire ordeal.

He lives about 6 blocks from my house and said he'd head over and see what he could see. I waited (im)patiently for his call. He called me about 10 minutes later and told me the situation. Smoke was coming from the attic. It appeared that there was a pretty good-sized fire in the attic and the Warr Acres Fire Department were on the scene working hard.

Jim and I talked some more after a while and he prepared me for the worst. He explained usually when there's an attic fire, the firemen have to use so much water, the ceilings in all of the rooms tend to fall in. (more on this later) He told me that he would go ahead and go to his office (about a 20 minute drive each way) and get his checkbook so he could write me an advance check. Uh, what? We don't know the extent of the damage and you are going to go ahead and write me a check? Wow. This must be bad. I not yet begun to wrap my brain around what kind of adventure we were about to embark on (and that's probably a good thing).

Jim recommended that I consider a restoration service, such as Phoenix Restoration Services. I have a ton of respect for Jim and willingly told him that he could have them contact me. He said I should expect to hear from them very shortly. They did not disappoint. The owner of the company, Jeff called me before I even made it back to Oklahoma City. Did I say I set the cruise on the speed limit?

I had basically processed that we were going to have major damage to our home. That was a given. I had no idea (really) what I was going to find when I arrived at our home just about 8:15 pm or so.

The firemen were just getting done and were about ready to back the brush truck up just to watch for flare-ups. The fire chief welcomed me to my property and asked if I'd like to walk through. I obliged.

We entered the garage (after a hug from two of the best friends a guy could have, Scott Redwine and Tod Mosshart). Immediately I could see that things were going to be pretty bad. I could see all the way through the ceiling of the garage to the sky. There was a huge access hole that allowed firefighters to get to the area around the chimney. I simply walked and tried to take it all in. The chief was talking, but I'm not sure I could tell you what he said.

We continued into the laundry room where there were more holes, water everywhere, and paint that had begun to bubble. This could be because of fire or water. I'm honestly not sure. We kept walking.

I looked into the room where we have a college student staying for the semester and saw that I could again see the sky. His stuff was all covered with a salvage tarp belonging to the fire department. Everything in the room was soaked. In fact, pretty much the entire room was wet furniture (moved from the den for dinner), a day bed, and a huge pile of soaking wet clothes. Moving on.

As I rounded the corner to peer into the den, my stomach sank. The den (which is also sunken - se ) was standing in about 3 inches of water, the ceiling was burned/torn through. Clearly we were very close to the origin of the fire. The hottest part of the action. The romantic dinner setup still sat incongruously at the other end of the room (and it is still there now). A significant amount of the stuff in the attic was now in a large pile in the den, still smoldering a bit.

On to the kitchen. Wow. I might have said a bad word or two. More sky. More holes in the ceiling. More smoldering. Water, sheetrock, and masonite all over the floor. Nasty. Like you can't even imagine, nasty. I didn't look at anything in the cabinets. (side note - I saw all of our dishes undamaged being packed for cleaning - yay!) However, I did see bare electrical wires hanging from the hole in the ceiling. Crazy. Weird. Very weird.

Then things get miraculously better. We move into the living room, there are only a couple of fist-sized holes in the ceiling that were likely used to see into the attic. There's significant water damage on the kitchen side, but other than the floor, things don't look that bad. Things are roughly the same throughout the rest of the house. Water dripping, but the ceilings are all miraculously intact.

I am amazed and blessed that our house sustained such a reasonably small amount of damage considering the magnitude of the fire. This may be a bit of hyperbole, since they haven't started tearing pieces off of the house to begin reconstruction, so I might reconsider my "small amount of damage" statement.

We are in the very early stages of restoration, but I'm feeling really positive about it. So far, our clothing and curtains have been completely removed from the house. Additionally, a significant amount of our belongings inside the house have been packed and/or removed.

As for the family, Michelle and I are firmly ensconced in a hotel until we are able to move into a rent house. We expect to be there for 3-4 months. Maybe 6 months at the most. Our furniture will be delivered on Wednesday. I've already got internet set up there, the electricity is on, and the water is on. Fortunately, we don't need gas because only the heat uses that and I think we can survive the one or two freezes left without the heat on.

The kids? Jessica and JC are both in the dorms. Jess is going to be working on campus, so she has the option to live there during the summer. Timing? Awesome. JC has a couple of options with friends/family. While that hasn't all been worked totally out, I have no doubt that it will be nailed down very soon.

Our family is blessed. We have been inundated by the kindness of our friends, family, and community. If you are reading this and wondering what we need, prayer is what that is. We don't need any gift cards to anywhere (except Ted's). Thanks to each of you for your concern, prayers and gifts. We appreciate you so much. We also appreciate your continued prayers so much as we try to work through/itemize all of the things that have/had and make decisions about the rebuilding of half of our house. The important pieces are all safe, it's just a matter of figuring out what to do with what's left.

27 March 2013

Keynote by Dr. Vincent Tinto at the 2013 Transformative Learning Conference

Transformative Learning Conference - 2013
Mobilizing and Assessing Student Transformative Learning - Threshold of Change

Introduction to the conference - Transformative Experience - in a few words by students: engaged, impactful, uncomfortable, one student said they understood what a transformative learning looked like after they were finished studying abroad and came back to Oklahoma.
There is a delegation here from Thailand. When asked why they were here replied, “We want to learn something new.” I hope that’s why we are all here. The question is, what are students learning and how are they learning it? In fact, how do we know they are learning it?

Dr. Vincent Tinto - Keynote - Transforming the Learning Experiences of Academically Underprepared Students
There is educational inequality in the US.

Very few students who start even just one level below college, finish a gateway course. So if we keep seeing this problem, why are we still doing what we are doing?

**If you keep doing what you’ve always been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.**

FYI, nobody rises to low expectations. Student quote: “My favorite teachers were always the ‘ass-kickers’.”

What we need to do is provide contextualized support. They need support for the class in which they are working, i.e. bridge, supplemental instruction, embedded faculty support, etc. This all sounds like good pedagogy. Differentiated instruction. The students who need help get help. They engage with the information multiple times, they form study groups.

Learning Communities - overlapping classes in which students are taught the same information in both classes where the context of one supports the context of the other. Co-curricular and co-teaching.

Accelerated learning. Instead of being placed in lower courses, students at a lower level are placed in “normal” courses and they get up to level by also enrolling in a supplemental study course. Contextualized support. This begs the question of assessment.

Power pedagogy is a must in transformative learning. This can look like project-based learning, cooperative learning, collaborative learning, learning communities, and/or service learning. There’s a difference between group work and cooperative group work.

Expanded engagement in learning - when students talk to each other about the class, they learn more. Just getting involved with students more in the class is increasing their learning.” - anecdotal, I’d love to see research on this. Learning together is better and students’ sense of self is transformed. “If you are constantly having to think, re-think, and even re-re-think in light of other’s feedback, then you know something like you are not dumb.” Constructivism. Student learn to make their own meaning of the knowledge.

Transformative learning is purposeful. IT IS NOT AN ACCIDENT. It must be the result of intentional, structured, and proactive actions that are systematic and coordinated in application. Since this isn’t happening for students at home, it has to happen in the classroom. In the same way that we cannot leave student success to chance, we cannot leave good pedagogy, assessment, development theory, etc. to chance. Our faculty must be trained. They must be required. However, we must eat the elephant one bite at a time. We can’t this overnight. We must take this in pieces.

So why do learning communities not work? Faculty are the problem. They have to collaborate. Look for courses that share characteristics. Learn in groups in ways that allow them to apply what they are learning. The communities scale up best within a major and/or best early in the career.

How do you best implement this learning strategy in online settings? The success of students from high income to low income is a large disparity. The intent of MOOCs should not be just an electronic lecture class. Consider which courses should be online. The best predictor of student success in online learning is how quickly faculty give feedback.

How do we apply the same concepts to academic advising? Focusing on student learning and activities. We often talk about extra-curricular and the “process” of college. So students are learning outside the classroom, as well. They are just learning through their experience.

Service learning. What could this look like? Do we have anything that could incorporate service learning into our classes?