Many students complain that online-based learning doesn’t engage them. Well, check this idea out! [Christian]


From DSC…by the way, another title for this blog could have been:

WIN-WIN situations all around! The Theatre Departments out there could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging, digitally-based learning experiences! 


The future of drama and the theatre — as well as opera, symphonies, and more — will likely include a significant virtual/digital component to them. While it’s too early to say that theatre needs to completely reinvent itself and move “the stage” completely online, below is an idea that creates a variety of WIN-WIN situations for actors, actresses, stage designers, digital audio/video editors, fine artists, graphic designers, programmers, writers, journalists, web designers, and many others as well — including the relevant faculty members!

A new world of creative, engaging, active learning could open up if those involved with the Theatre Department could work collaboratively with students/faculty members from other disciplines. And in the end, the learning experiences and content developed would be highly engaging — and perhaps even profitable for the institutions themselves!

A WIN-WIN situation all around! The Theatre Department could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging learning experiences!

[DC: I only slightly edited the above image from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Though the integration of acting with online-based learning materials is not a new idea, this post encourages a far more significant interdisciplinary collaboration between the Theatre Department and other departments/disciplines.

Consider a “Dealing with Bias in Journalism” type of topic, per a class in the Digital Media and Journalism Major.

  • Students from the Theatre Department work collaboratively with the students from the most appropriate class(es?) from the Communications Department to write the script, as per the faculty members’ 30,000-foot instructions (not 1000-foot level/detailed instructions)
  • Writing the script would entail skills involved with research, collaboration, persuasion, creativity, communication, writing, and more
  • The Theatre students would ultimately act out the script — backed up by those learning about sound design, stage design, lighting design, costume design, etc.
  • Example scene: A woman is sitting around the kitchen table, eating breakfast and reading a posting — aloud — from a website that includes some serious bias in it that offends the reader. She threatens to cancel her subscription, contact the editor, and more. She calls out to her partner why she’s so mad about the article. 
  • Perhaps there could be two or more before/after scenes, given some changes in the way the article was written.
  • Once the scenes were shot, the digital video editors, programmers, web designers, and more could take that material and work with the faculty members to integrate those materials into an engaging, interactive, branching type of learning experience. 
  • From there, the finished product would be deployed by the relevant faculty members.

Scenes from WMU's Theatre Department

[DC: Above images from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Colleges and universities could share content with each other and/or charge others for their products/content/learning experiences. In the future, I could easily see a marketplace for buying and selling such engaging content. This could create a needed new source of revenue — especially given that those large auditoriums and theaters are likely not bringing in as much revenue as they typically do. 

Colleges and universities could also try to reach out to local acting groups to get them involved and continue to create feeders into the world of work.

Other tags/categories could include:

  • MOOCs
  • Learning from the Living[Class]Room
  • Multimedia / digital literacy — tools from Adobe, Apple, and others.
  • Passions, participation, engagement, attention.
  • XR: Creating immersive, Virtual Reality (VR)-based experiences
  • Learning Experience Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Interface Design
  • …and more

Also see:

What improv taught me about failure: As a teacher and academic — from scholarlyteacher.com by Katharine Hubbard

what improv taught me about failure -as a teacher and academic

In improv, the only way to “fail” is to overthink and not have fun, which reframed what failure was on a grand scale and made me start looking at academia through the same lens. What I learned about failure through improv comes back to those same two core concepts: have fun and stop overthinking.

Students are more engaged when the professor is having fun with the materials (Keller, Hoy, Goetz, & Frenzel, 2016), and teaching is more enjoyable when we are having fun ourselves.

 

5 things that show students aren’t the only ones learning during the pandemic — from mlive.com by Melissa Frick

Excerpts:

“Never in my 33 years of teaching did I ever think it would be like this,” the Muskegon High School teacher said of virtual learning, which the district is using this semester to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“It’s a huge learning curve.”

With Michigan K-12 schools back in session for the fall – some virtually, some in-person, and some a mix of both – students aren’t the only ones doing the learning this year. Amid this unprecedented school year, teachers are learning some new things along the way, too.


3. Virtual learning has exposed the depth of Michigan’s digital divide
Systemic gaps in technology access among school districts around the state left thousands of students at a disadvantage this year, despite efforts by educators to fulfill short-term connectivity needs during virtual learning.

From DSC:
These are just a couple of reasons that I say that Rome wasn’t built overnight. But it’s great to see that tools are being added to teaching toolboxes and learners’ toolboxes as well:

“It’s easy for them to get onto Zoom now, they can go onto Google Classroom and go into the lesson right along with us,” she said. “I’m surprised at how smooth it’s running now.”

 

The justice gap in the United States is striking. It ranks 103rd out of 126 countries in accessibility and affordability of civil legal services, according to a World Justice Project survey. More than 80% of those in poverty, as well as a majority of middle-income Americans, receive inadequate civil legal assistance, the nonprofit Legal Services Corporation found.

(source)    

From DSC:
If the public doesn’t have access to justice — and the majority of those involved with civil-based law cases (vs. criminal law cases) don’t — the system has failed. Throughout the last several years, I have thought about the topic of access to justice (#A2J) many times on my walks past the Michigan Hall of Justice building in Lansing, Michigan.

I am hoping that a variety of technologies can help address this problem — at least in part. The impact of the Covid19 pandemic is pushing us in the right direction, but it never should have taken that horrendous event to occur in order for such innovations and changes to take root.

Michigan's Hall of Justice

Michigan's Hall of Justice -- Freedom and Equality

Michigan's Hall of Justice -- Truth and Justice

 

“Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.

Exodus 23:6 — NIV    

Also see:

 

 

WMU-Cooley Innocence Project helps earn release of Lacino Hamilton after 26 years in prison — from cooley.edu and WMU-Cooley Law School’s Innocence Project

Excerpt:

Today, Wayne County Judge Tracy Green set aside the conviction of Lacino Hamilton who was wrongfully convicted of second degree murder and felony firearms in 1994. DNA testing facilitated by the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Innocence Project was used to help win Hamilton’s release. Assistant Prosecutor Valerie Newman, director of the Wayne County Prosecutor Office’s Conviction Integrity Unit, moved to have Hamilton’s conviction vacated and requested dismissal of all charges. The motion was joined by Hamilton’s legal counsel, Mary Chartier (Johnson Class, 2002) and Takura Nyamfukudza (Moore Class, 2013) of CN Defenders. Both are WMU-Cooley law graduates and well-respected defense attorneys.

 

WMU-Cooley Named Top 10 Law School For Ethnic Enrollment in 2019 — from fox47news.com

Excerpt:

LANSING, Mich. — Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, with campuses in Michigan and Florida, was named a top 10 law school for racial and ethnic minority enrollment in 2019 by Enjuris, a collection of independent legal resources for legal professionals.

With Black students comprising 22.4 percent of WMU-Cooley’s total student enrollment in 2019, the law school is ranked in Enjuris’ recently released, Law School Enrollment by Race & Ethnicity (2019) [enjuris.com] report.

WMU-Cooley Named Top 10 Law School For Ethnic Enrollment in 2019

 

From DSC:
Below are but some of the changes to the learning ecosystems out there. Certainly, more are coming.


Ex-Google employees form virtual tech ‘school’ for gap year students amid college closures — from cnbc.com by Jennifer Elias

KEY POINTS
  • Current and former Google employees are forming an online program aimed at preparing students for the workforce if they’re taking time off school due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • It comes as many college students defer school as universities shift learning models to mostly online amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Google execs past and present have volunteered to mentor college students on topics ranging from career trajectory to how to stand out in virtual Zoom interviews.

Along these lines, see:

  • Google has a plan to disrupt the college degree — from inc.com by Justin Bariso
    Google’s new certificate program takes only six months to complete, and will be a fraction of the cost of college.
    Excerpt:
    Google recently made a huge announcement that could change the future of work and higher education: It’s launching a selection of professional courses that teach candidates how to perform in-demand jobs. These courses, which the company is calling Google Career Certificates, teach foundational skills that can help job-seekers immediately find employment. However, instead of taking years to finish like a traditional university degree, these courses are designed to be completed in about six months.

From DSC:
Also, to see some more changes to the learning ecosystems out there, set up a Google Alert (or something similar in Feedly or via another tool) for “Learning Pods,” “Pandemic Pods,” and/or the “growth of homeschooling.” Here’s but one recent example:

Zoo Knoxville to start virtual learning pods for students

 


 

Check out the Academic Warriers website

About Academic Warriors:

Life can be very hard for autistic, gifted and special needs learners.  Autistic and gifted learners often times struggle in school because they learn very differently than their peers. These special learners need a personalized approach to their education that allows them to learn in their own way at their own pace.

Many times parents and students feel as if they are the only ones like them in the world. This can often times lead to isolation and frustration. It is important for all autistic, gifted and special needs to unite in order to support one another. We are named Academic Warriors because all our students are superheroes in a world that doesn’t always understand and/or appreciate them. We help our students to become strong, independent and positive learners despite what the world may think of them.

It is the mission of Academic Warriors to help create positive learning experiences and communities throughout the United States for autistic, gifted and special needs learners. We offer online courses, programs, private school and in person events that foster an unique learning environment that promotes unity among all our students and families. We strive to create online and in person learning communities in every state that will provide educational opportunities for all families of autistic, gifted and special needs students. Together we can create a better world for the autistic, gifted and special needs learner.

 


From DSC:
As part of a homeschooling-based situation, my wife received the following item for one of our daughters (who needs additional/personalized assistance to learn). Simultaneously, she and our daughter sent them a Michigan Exchange Box. Very cool.

My wife and one of our daughters received this set of things from a homeschooler in Mississippi! Very cool!

I believe my wife found this out at the following group in Facebook:

 


Some channels out on Youtube that have to do with learning:
(and by the way, according to Jane Hart’s recent Top 200 Tools for Learning, YouTube is in the #1 spot for the 5th year in a row!)

Snake Discovery -- videos out on YouTube

Bondi Vet - videos on YouTube

 


 

From the Off-Trail Learning website, here are some self-directed learning centers

 


The Barn for Equine Learning

“Horse Sense Tutoring Services is a unique resource that combines the power of Equine Assisted Learning with evidence-based reading and math strategies that engage the mind, body, and emotions in learning.  We use the principles of discovery, experience, movement, reflection, and connection in partnership with our horse friends.

Based at The Barn for Equine Learning…my program offers targeted reading, math, and basic horsemanship tutoring for students in grades K – 8. Horses become teaching and learning partners as students experience academics and social-emotional learning in a whole new way.

If you are looking for a unique tutoring and confidence-building experience for your child, PM for more information.  Sessions are held outdoors and/or in an open barn setting.

(Small group field trips with an introduction to basic horsemanship skills are also available).

 


From DSC:
So these are just a few examples of how the learning ecosystems are changing out there! Surely, there will be more changes coming down the pike.


 

 

From DSC:
I’ve heard many people mention that what we did throughout K-16 in the spring of 2020 was remote teaching — an emergency response to the Coronavirus. And I would agree with that assessment and verbiage — that was/is very true. It wasn’t online-based learning as many of us have come to know it over the last 20+ years. It didn’t offer a lot of the things that organizations like the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and Quality Matters have been trying to promote and get us to achieve for years.

But then I hear the expectation that everything has been vastly improved over the summer and suddenly, almost overnight, all teachers, professors, trainers, adjunct faculty members, etc. have become highly proficient in matters involving online-based teaching and learning. In other words, the expectations say that:

  • Students should expect a top-notch experience now that summer is over.
  • Suddenly, Rome was built in a day!

But it wasn’t, and it isn’t.

It takes time and practice to become proficient in how to teach online. That’s the truth. It also takes a great deal of time and investments in hardware, software, tools, training/education/professional development, networking and telecommunications infrastructure, and more. It takes numerous skillsets to do it well. (By the way, that’s why I like to think in terms of team-based content creation and delivery.)

Also, often times, it takes MORE time to teach online than it does to teach in a face-to-face classroom. That is certainly the case for the first time that you will be teaching online. You need to know that going into it. You have to put your course together PLUS learn how to deliver it effectively in an online-based format. You need to learn a variety of tools and related ecosystems. Not a simple, overnight kind of task, I can assure you.

So students, don’t expect your faculty members to become professional online-based teachers overnight Again, it takes time and practice…just like anything we set out to do.

And for you student teachers and Education Departments/Programs out there, keep at it. Don’t dismiss this time as a brief period/phenomenon that will simply go away and we’ll get back to “normal.” Make the necessary adjustments to your curriculum, toolsets, “teacher placements,” and more. Let’s get prepared for the future, come what may.

For higher ed, if you want to continue to use adjunct faculty members to handle a significant amount of the teaching load out there, you will need to better address the training and the $$/reimbursements that you provide to them.

And for all of the teachers, trainers, faculty members — and now even parents and/or guardians — out there, cut yourself some slack, give yourself some grace, and keep trying. One step at a time. Don’t get discouraged.

Also relevant/see:

Build and accelerate beyond the pandemic: Consciously deliver a great online experience for lifelong learners — from evoLLLution.com by Philip Regier

Excerpt:

Today’s learners have high expectations as expert consumers in all aspects of their lives. Higher education needs to create an infrastructure that meets the needs of this tech-savvy demographic. Institutions need to recognize that the online environment is here to stay and is in need of a rebuild in order to deliver the best student experience possible, even post-pandemic. In this interview, Phil Regier discusses the today’s learners’ expectations, scaling a high-quality online environment, and how to build the right infrastructure to support learners in this new and digitized normal.

 

The novel coronavirus is not a statistic. It’s not an agenda. It’s not a debate. COVID-19 is real enough to rise up and beat me senseless. We need to stop giving it license to do the same to others.

[Bill Plaschke]

 

Trends in the state courts for 2020

 

 

The Spanish Flu to Covid-19: How this Pandemic is Pushing Courts to Modernize — from legaltalknetwork.com by Bridget Mary McCormack and Daniel Linna

Episode notes:

Even before the global pandemic, Michigan courts were moving more quickly than many others to modernize. Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack talks with host Dan Linna about accelerating the state’s plans to offer online hearings, online dispute resolution, and to continue efforts to establish e-filing statewide.

Not everything is going smoothly, but McCormack notes some judges are almost current on their dockets. And importantly, she believes that many temporary quick fixes will lead to permanent changes that improve access to justice statewide and increase public trust in the judicial branch.

 

Will the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally remake the legal industry? — from abajournal.com by Lyle Moran

Excerpt:

They both note that while the Great Recession was a substantial shock to the economic system, COVID-19 has resulted in the sudden upheaval of society at large. This includes changing how members of the public can access the court system or connect with a lawyer.

“It is really fundamentally disrupting overnight every single component of the legal system, and that is very different than 2008-2009,” says Leonard, who is also Penn Law’s chief innovation officer. “I think it creates enormous opportunities for changing many of the ways we work as lawyers, the ways we provide legal services to our clients and also the ways the justice system as a whole works.”

In the short term, Leonard says the pandemic has resulted in massive “forced experimentation.”

People being sworn in on a laptop

In June, Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice McCormack swore in a cohort of law students via a Zoom conference. Photo courtesy of the Michigan Supreme Court; Shutterstock.

Also see:

 

NEW! Resolve disputes online for free -- with or without a mediator!

Excerpt:

This is a new service supported by the Michigan Supreme Court’s Administrative Office to provide a free, quick and easy way of resolving disputes that are typically filed as a small claims or landlord/tenant case in the district court.

Through MI-Resolve, parties can resolve their disputes online with or without the help of a mediator. Parties can also arrange to meet in person with a mediator or via videoconference. Mediation is a process in which a trained neutral person (a mediator) helps parties identify a solution to a dispute that best works for them. Mediators do not take sides, evaluate claims, or provide legal advice.

 

 

To provide the best learning environment while keeping everyone safe, WMU-Cooley Law School made the decision to continue teaching classes ONLINE for the Fall 2020 semester.

 

From DSC:
We at the WMU-Cooley Law School are working hard to enhance and expand our teaching toolboxes, so that we can pivot as necessary in the future. 

DanielChristian-EnhancingOurTeachingToolboxes.jpg

Whether we need to deliver our cognitive-science based, modern legal education via 100% online-based means, or whether it’s a blended/hybrid approach, or whether it’s 100% face-to-face again at some point in the future, we need to be ready for multiple methods and modes of teaching and learning. 

 

 

But I have to say, the work is hard. There are more and different kinds of people on the front lines of this Covid-19 situation than just the wonderful folks in healthcare. Many Instructional Designers (IDs), Information Technology (IT)-related staff, faculty members, and members of administration and are working overtime, all-the-time. It’s not easy. That said, I do believe that there will be some silver linings in this situation. Many faculty members are coming to appreciate the teaching and learning power of some of these tools — and will likely integrate several of these new tools/methods even if and when they return to our face-to-face-based classrooms.

 

Wrongfully accused by an algorithm- from the New York Times

Wrongfully accused by an algorithm — from nytimes.com by Kashmir Hill

Excerpt:

On a Thursday afternoon in January, Robert Julian-Borchak Williams was in his office at an automotive supply company when he got a call from the Detroit Police Department telling him to come to the station to be arrested. He thought at first that it was a prank.

An hour later, when he pulled into his driveway in a quiet subdivision in Farmington Hills, Mich., a police car pulled up behind, blocking him in. Two officers got out and handcuffed Mr. Williams on his front lawn, in front of his wife and two young daughters, who were distraught. The police wouldn’t say why he was being arrested, only showing him a piece of paper with his photo and the words “felony warrant” and “larceny.”

His wife, Melissa, asked where he was being taken. “Google it,” she recalls an officer replying.

“Is this you?” asked the detective.

The second piece of paper was a close-up. The photo was blurry, but it was clearly not Mr. Williams. He picked up the image and held it next to his face.

“No, this is not me,” Mr. Williams said. “You think all black men look alike?”

 

Also relevant/see:

What a machine learning tool that turns Obama white can (and can’t) tell us about AI bias

 

Six Practical Approaches for Teaching Writing Online — from facultyfocus.com by Christian Aguiar and Albert Pearsall; with a shoutout to Bill Knapp from GRCC for posting this on Twitter

Six practical approaches for teaching writing online -- from faculty focus dot com

 

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