January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized
Thanks to all who participated in this year’s NWACC Instructional Technology Roundtable. Hopefully everyone was able to take away something useful from the event. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to fill out the evaluation survey.Read more
The quote below comes from a post by Henry Jenkins, professor at USC and PI for the New Media Literacies project. As an Educational Technologist I think I have a tendency to bracket my thinking a bit more into the camp of the “technology,” rather than the other skills that are needed to effectively take advantage of and use the technology effectively. This is a conversation that I find myself havi...Read more
This summer I have enjoyed using Google+ in place of Blackboard‘s Discussion tool in two courses that I am teaching. Students were able to interact with each other, chat with participants in another course, and even learn with real-world education experts like +Holly Rae Bemis-Schurtz and +Larry Ferlazzo. An LMS (e.g. Blackboard) “protects” students by letting them only interact...Read more
December 4, 2013 in Open Educational Resources
November 25, 2013 in Online Learning
The maturation of free ubiquitous video conferencing tools provides an opportunity for faculty members to experiment with alternatives to conventional asynchronous discussion forums commonly used in online courses. However, there continues to be debate about whether synchronous video conferencing has a meaningful role to play in an online course environment. Although the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework’s influence in asynchronous discussion is well documented in the literature, it is less clear what role synchronous conferencing has in a Community of Inquiry (CoI). It is also unclear whether synchronous modes of inquiry provide worthwhile benefits for an online instructor. This study explores how the use of innovative video conferencing tools in an online course attends to the elements of the CoI.
In this mixed methods study, we observed weekly teacher and student inquiry by examining Google Hangout transcripts, Vialogues threaded discussions, and student reflective WordPress blog posts through the lens of CoI. The course used for this study was an online graduate course focused on the use of technology for teaching. We hypothesized that those students who participated in more synchronous conferencing sessions would perceive significantly higher levels of all three CoI elements and would engage in richer discourse supporting learning of the course content. We also analyzed student perceptions of the social, teaching, and cognitive presence through the CoI survey (Swan, 2008).
In order to examine the CoI related discourse, a corpus of text was utilized in this study which included Google Hangout transcripts, Vialogues threaded discussions, and student reflective WordPress blog posts. Text content analysis of this corpus represented a form of learning analytics. The text corpus was compiled and key themes were noted via qualitative constant-comparative analyses. The themes were analyzed using analytic induction to test hypotheses connecting discourse to CoI element. A form of text analytics was then applied to the text corpus in order to analyze the content of the student and teacher discourse.All text was compiled and analyzed using the Semantria (www.semantria.com) semantic linguistic program. Based on semantic algorithms from http://www.lexalytics.com/,All compiled text was analyzed for themes and sentiment. After compiling the linguistic components, statistical models were developed to compare discourse between synchronous and asynchronous environments and to predict the level of community of inquiry.
We used the Sloan Consortium’s Five Pillars to reflect on how the course’s interactive activities addressed quality. Learning effectiveness was demonstrated by increased opportunities for meaning making students had through discourse with each other and with the instructor. They were able to discuss courses readings in either a real-time Google Hangout or an asynchronous Vialogues threaded discussion. The use of freely available and ubiquitous tools makes it possible to scale the tools to multiple courses and programs. The tools provide access and flexibility for students who prefer face-to-face but need to take online courses because of work schedule or physical location. Faculty are satisfied to be able to provide options that address student discourse preferences. Finally, students report being satisfied with options to use synchronous conferencing for discussions which increases student voice.
Our presentation will share the results of our findings. Participants will learn how both synchronous and asynchronous video conferencing tools may be used for meaning making in an online course. We will engage the audience by web polling their preferences and promising practices pertaining to uses of synchronous technologies in primarily asynchronous online environments.
Synchronous and asynchronous video conferencing tools (Presentation PDF)
November 23, 2013 in NWACCo
Thanks to all who participated in this year’s NWACC Instructional Technology Roundtable. Hopefully everyone was able to take away something useful from the event. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to fill out the evaluation survey.
October 28, 2013 in Instructional Tech Roundtable
This is your chance to share your work with the whole group at the 2013 Roundtable! It can be an innovative practice on your campus, a great new tool, or anything else you think the group should know about. The three-minute time limit will be strictly enforced.
To sign up:
March 19, 2013 in NWACCo
This morning I had a post come across my info stream by designer Frank Chimero titled, “The Cloud is Heavy and Design isn’t Invisble.” Quite a nice post in and of itself. It is a responsive post to another post by Timo Arnall‘s “No to NoUI” post.
The idea of design as becoming “invisible,” or that we experience the items in our lives in an invisible fashion or such that we don’t notice the design is what these posts are about. Thesis: Invisible design is not something to which we should strive as designers. Arnall outlines his arguments against this trend, in particular as touchscreens (and our infatuation with them) become more ubiquitous and therefore more problematic. Touchscreens as a cultural phenomena is striking to me as well.
I’ll leave it up to you to read the posts (and I encourage you to do so), but there are a couple of quotes from Frank that I’d like to share and explain a perspective that I am considering this morning. The first quote is where he states, “A metaphor can clarify or obscure. The most dangerous ones do both.” I like this. As a technologist and educator it truly speaks to the dynamic that is taking place around our language and thought process when it comes to technologies and education. Chimero goes on to discuss the idea around the term “The Cloud,” and how that is a complicated metaphor that both implies a simple solution without clearing away the “fog” to see the complexities behind it: servers, power, costs. In essence “The Cloud” is a misrepresentation to the reality. There are many times where I find myself having to explain this to people who have a desire to use “The Cloud,” insinuating a low-cost solution and/or a solution to a problem when perhaps a different solution would fit the situation better.
The other quote from Frank that I especially like is,”Design doesn’t need to be showy to prove its value, but it shouldn’t be invisible, either. Designers mistake invisibility for elegance and simplicity for clarity at their peril. The best design speaks not only so it can be understood, but also in a way it can be admired by those that use it. What if you were inspired by the things that you used, simply because they were impressive in a way that was evident to you? And why is it bad to try to build things like that? I don’t think it is.”
This speaks to me from the perspective of an educator and how we “design” instruction. In many ways as I reflect on how courses are designed, how teaching and learning are created for the recipients, it seems as if we are trying to break out of an older paradigm (or some of us are and some disciplines are, perhaps). It’s hard to generalize on this, as well, as context really matters when it comes to instructional design and educational design. Still that does not mean that we should also have invisible design in instruction. Whether the instructor or the learner, to know and understand the design of the process can, I think, only bring more clarity and confidence to those involved, both teacher and learner. Feel free to comment below, if you wish. If not, I hope that the posts are thought provoking.
March 11, 2013 in Instructional Tech Roundtable