Higher ed needs to build more mature Digital Learning Ecosystems

Higher Ed Needs a Long-Term Plan for Virtual Learning — from Harvard Business Review by James DeVaney, Gideon Shimshon, Matthew Rascoff, and Jeff Maggioncalda

Excerpts:

The staggering impact of Covid-19 on education systems around the world is unlike anything we have seen in the post-war era. More than 1.6 billion students have been affected, representing over 91% of all students in the world. Unsurprisingly, demand for online learning has skyrocketed. In the last 30 days, there were 10.3 million enrollments in courses on Coursera, up 644% from the same period last year.

As the emergency subsides but normal fails to return, higher ed institutions need to do more. There’s a good likelihood that virtual learning — in some capacity — will need to be a part of education for the foreseeable future. Higher ed institutions need a response framework that looks beyond the immediate actions. They have to prepare for an intermediate period of transition and begin future-proofing their institutions for the long term.

 

 

Fall Scenario #13: A HyFlex Model — from insidehighered.com by Edward Maloney and Joshua Kim

Excerpt:

In a HyFlex course, courses are delivered both in person and online at the same time by the same faculty member. Students can then choose for each and every class meeting whether to show up for class in person or to join it online. The underlying design ethos behind the HyFlex Model is flexibility and student choice.

To do it well, then, a lot of things need to line up, including the technology, the course design, the focus on pedagogy and the engagement of the students. Many schools that wish to scale the HyFlex Model across the curriculum for the fall semester will likely need to make a significant investment in classroom technology.

Also see the other scenarios from Kim and Maloney at:

15 fall scenarios for higher education this fall (i.e., the fall of 2020)

 

Problems planning for a Post-Pandemic Campus this fall — from bryanalexander.org by Bryan Alexander
How will campuses try to return to face-to-face education?  What does it mean now to plan for a Post-Pandemic Campus this fall?

Excerpt:

In April I published three scenarios for colleges and universities may approach the fall 2020 semester in the wake of COVID-19, based on different ways the pandemic might play out.  I followed that up with real world examples of each scenario, as different institutions subsequently issued announcements about their plans.  To recap, they are:

  1. COVID Fall: today’s “remote instruction” continues and develops for the rest of calendar 2020.
  2. Toggle Term: campuses are ready and able to switch between online and in-person instruction as circumstances change.
  3. Post-Pandemic Campus: colleges and universities return in the fall to the traditional face-to-face mode after COVID-19’s danger has ebbed to a certain level.

 

6 ways college might look different in the fall — from npr.com by Elissa Nadworny

Excerpt:

What will happen on college campuses in the fall? It’s a big question for families, students and the schools themselves.

A lot of what happens depends on factors outside the control of individual schools: Will there be more testing? Contact tracing? Enough physical space for distancing? Will the coronavirus have a second wave? Will any given state allow campuses to reopen?

For all of these questions, it’s really too early to know the answers. But one thing is clear: Life, and learning for the nation’s 20 million students in higher education, will be different.

“I don’t think there’s any scenario under which it’s business as usual on American college campuses in the fall,” says Nicholas Christakis, a sociologist and physician at Yale University.

 

If law schools can’t offer in-person classes this fall, what will they do instead? — from abajournal.com by Stephanie Francis Ward

 

Student-centered remote teaching: Lessons learned from online education — from er.educause.edu by Shannon Riggs

Excerpt:

While online and remote education may not be synonymous, today’s new remote educators can benefit from the “lessons learned” by experienced online educators to provide high-quality, engaging learning experiences for their students.

 

DC: Ouch! Likely a *major game-changer* — esp given the current landscape of #HigherEducation. [Christian]

From DSC:
Readers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of online learning. That said, I realize it’s not for everyone. Our son, who is studying to become an actor, hates it.

Given:

  • our current technological tools, setups, and  infrastructures
  • the ways that we are used to doing things
  • our past and current educational systems 
  • and folks’ learning preferences

…it’s hard to do some things online. I get it.

That said, I wouldn’t rule out the further significant growth and development of online-based learning experiences by any stretch of the imagination. The Coronavirus will force traditional institutions of higher education (plus many K-12 school systems as well as corporate training programs) to invest much more aggressively in the research and development of online-based learning experiences. And with AI-based tools like Otter.AI, our future virtually/digitally-based learning ecosystems could be very powerful indeed.

As but one example, consider that AI technologies — as unseen but present participants in future videoconferencing calls — will “listen” to the conversation and likely provide us with a constantly updating sidebar that will consist of beneficial resources such as:

  • relevant research
  • websites
  • journal articles
  • blog postings
  • former team conversations
  • etc.

The output from that sidebar will likely be able to be saved /downloaded just like we do with transcripts of chat sessions. The available options for such a service will be customizable, and filtering mechanisms can be turned on, or off, or be adjusted.

Otter dot AI

 

All of that said, it IS time to reduce the investments that are being used to create new athletic facilities and/or other new physical buildings. And it’s time to start reallocating those millions of dollars of investments into creating/developing highly-effective online-based learning experiences. 

Don’t get me wrong. Going to campus is an ideal learning experience, and I hope that for everyone out there. But if the current trends continue — especially the increasing costs of obtaining a degree — that won’t be an option for a growing number of people (especially with the aftermath/ripple effects of the Coronavirus on our society).

#CostOfObtainingADegree #StudentRelated #AI #InstructionalDesign #IntelligentSystems #IntelligentTutoring #FutureOfHigherEducation #Innovation #LearningEcosystems #HigherEducation #Change #NewBusinessModels #Reinvent #StayingRelevant #Surviving

 

Dawn of the Age of Digital Learning [Moe & Rajendran]

Dawn of the Age of Digital Learning — from medium.com by Michael Moe and Vignesh Rajendran
An Acceleration of Trends That Have Been Building for Years

Excerpts:

Some of these new online learners will sink. Some will crawl out of the pool and never go back in. But we believe most will get the hang of it, like it, and will no longer be confined to the shore. Effectively, the genie is not going back in the bottle… digital learning has come of age. We have a B.C. (Before Coronavirus) world transitioning to A.D. (After Disease).

The Coronavirus has brought forth the Dawn of the Age of Digital Learning — a time for builders to create the platforms, tools, and technology to propel society forward.

We now believe Digital Learning will reach 11% of the education market by 2026, representing a ~$1 Trillion market and a 30% CAGR, close to double the rate of growth projected in Before Covid-19

 

From DSC:
So many of the things in this article reminded me of the things, developments, trends, needs, and possibilities that I have been tracking for years in this vision of a next-generation, global learning platform that I have entitled:

We need a next gen learning platform -- I call this vision Learning from the Living Class Room

My guess is that the large, primarily online institutions/organizations will come out of this ordeal in much better shape than the majority of the traditional institutions of higher education. It won’t matter what faculty members at liberal arts institutions think about online learning. And as much as some faculty members won’t like to see or hear about it, students will no longer need for such faculty members to be sold on it. Students will come to realize that it was under those faculty members watch that their own enormous gorillas of debt were created. And they are beginning to witness and hear that it’s taking (or will take) older family members decades to pay down their debt.

So, I think that the market will decide the fate of many traditional institutions of higher education. Lifelong learners will vote with their feet — and fingers actually, by typing in a new URL — and simply move to the SNHU’s, ASU’s, UMass Online’s, WGU’s, and Liberty University’s of the world. After 5-10 years of investments in online learning, there will likely be some pretty amazing learning experiences out there.

 

Setting Expectations for Remote Learning — from evoLLLution.com (where LLL stands for lifelong learning) by Robin Robinson

Excerpt:

Evo: How important is it to clearly differentiate remote learning and online education?

RR: You need to set expectations. Normally, if someone is going to produce an online course, they’re going to spend at least a semester building out the appropriate course map and alignments to their course objectives. In this situation, with remote learning, you’re trying to meet the same objective as you would in a regular face-to-face class, but online learning is completely different. Your head space needs to reflect that, and you need to consider the things in this environment that can’t be done in a face-to-face environment. We’re drawing on what people understand as good teaching and trying to emulate that experience online as much as possible.

Remote delivery requires using a lot of the synchronous tools. Online learning is about combining the best of both worlds.

Faculty who were skeptical have now adopted online learning. Many of them are amazed at how well they can get to know their students and how well they can track their performances in school.

What I’m concerned about is the digital divide. We want a very inclusive and diverse university, but that means recognizing that there are students at a disadvantage.

 

OLC Innovate™ 2020 Conference Moves to June with All-Virtual Format — from prweb.com
Produced by the Online Learning Consortium, in partnership with MERLOT, OLC Innovate 2020 Virtual will gather digital learning leaders and practitioners, online, June 15-26, to focus on innovation in digital, blended and online learning.

Excerpt:

BOSTON (PRWEB) MAY 01, 2020
The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) announced today that its annual OLC Innovate™ Conference is moving to an all-virtual format for 2020. OLC and conference partner MERLOT will gather the digital learning community, online, June 15-26, for OLC Innovate™ 2020 Virtual Conference (#OLCInnovate). This year’s theme, “Building Bridges in Digital, Blended and Online Learning,” frames a 10-day online program that highlights inspiring innovators and thought leaders from higher education, K-12, military, health care and workforce education.

 

10 Tips for Supporting Students with Special Needs in #RemoteLearning — from jakemiller.net by Jake Miller

Excerpt:

How can we support learners with special needs in remote learning?

While, certainly, some educators are doing great things to support these students, from my observations, this has taken a backseat to other elements of remote learning.  And these students NEED OUR HELP.

Unfortunately, I am not an expert in special education, accessibility features or assistive technology. I am, however, skilled at asking other people to share their expertise. ? So, in episode 40 of the Educational Duct Tape podcast and in the 4.8.20 #EduDuctTape Twitter Chat I asked educators one simple question:

How can we support learners with special needs in remote learning?

And they DELIVERED. I mean, the awesome suggestions and resources, all from a perspective of support rather than judgment, POURED in. And so, here they are.

10 Tips for Supporting Students with Special Needs in Remote Learning

 

 

From DSC:
Some of the areas likely to see such tools integrated into their arenas, operations, and ecosystems:

 

With thanks to my sister, Sue Ellen Christian, for forwarding me Jeremy Caplan’s site/newsletter.

Also see:

…and this one as well:

Three words of advice that I wish I had heard when I first started teaching

 

From DSC:

Will tools like Otter be much more integrated into our future learning ecosystems, meetings, & teleconferences?

 
 


Special education and accessibility resources for remote learning — from education.microsoft.com

Excerpt:

For special educators, diversity demands they provide inclusive, accessible learning environments that inspire confidence and encourage independence differently for each student. Learn about how to create a personalized and engaging remote learning experience for all of your students through the resources provided in these pages.

These resources are intended for all educators, but will be especially helpful for educators and support staff who work in the following areas: special education, assistive technology, blind and visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech language pathology, early childhood special education, behavior, counseling, school psychology, language interpretation, literacy, autism, and many other areas that assist students who need specially designed instruction.

 

A quick-start instruction manual for teaching from home -- from edsurge.com by Andrew Ng

A quick-start instruction manual for teaching from home — from edsurge.com by Andrew Ng

Excerpt:

How can you migrate a live, in-person class to an online setting quickly, without needing to redesign the class? If you have time to redesign the class into five-minute videos and auto-graded homework, that’s great! But if you don’t, here’s what you can do.

We will go through three quick options with increasing levels of complexity and equipment/setup needed. I recommend using the most sophisticated of these options that you feel comfortable with.

Also, see this PDF file for the full guide.

 

From DSC:
On the positive side…

What I appreciate about ‘s article is that it’s asking us to think about future scenarios in regards to higher education. Then, it’s proposing some potential action steps to take now to address those potential scenarios if they come to fruition. It isn’t looking at the hood when we’re traveling 180 mph. Rather, it’s looking out into the horizon to see what’s coming down the pike. 

6 Steps to Prepare for an Online Fall Semester — from chronicle.com b

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Plan for a multiyear impact. If colleges are forced to maintain online-only instruction in the fall and to defer reopening their campuses to in-person instruction to January 2021, the impact will be felt for years. College leaders should start thinking now about how to manage and potentially adjust spring-2021 (and beyond) course offerings, course sequencing, and degree requirements to avoid saddling students with graduation delays and the accompanying direct and indirect financial costs. In addition, colleges should anticipate a smaller-than-normal entering first-year class in fall 2020 (and thus a larger-than-normal enrollment a year later) and devise strategies to help mitigate the resulting stresses on admission rates and classroom and dorm capacity for first-year students entering in fall 2021 and beyond.

If instruction remains online-only in the fall, colleges won’t be able to afford that sort of inefficiency. College departments should start now to identify opportunities for collaborations that would draw on the collective wisdom and labor of faculty members from multiple institutions who are teaching similar courses. This would lessen the burden of migrating teaching materials and techniques to an online format.

From DSC:
I’ve often wondered about the place of consortiums within higher ed…i.e., pooling resources. Will the impacts of the Coronavirus change this area of higher ed? Not sure. Perhaps.

On the negative side…

I take issue with some of John’s perspectives, which are so common amongst the writers and academics out there. For example:

Conversely, an entire generation of current college students is now learning that it can be pretty boring to be one of several hundred people simultaneously watching a Zoom lecture.

You know what? I did that very same thingover and over again — at Northwestern University (NU), but in a face-to-face format. And quite frankly, it’s a better view on videoconferencing. It’s far more close up, more intimate online. I agree it’s a different experience. But our auditoriums were large and having 100-200+ students in a classroom was common. There was no interaction amongst the students. There were no breakout groups. The faculty members didn’t know most of our names and I highly doubt that the well-paid researchers at Northwestern — who were never taught how to teach in the first place nor did they or NU regard the practice of teaching and learning highly anyway — gave a rat’s ass about body language. Reading the confusion in the auditorium? Really? I highly doubt it. And those TA’s that we paid good money for? Most likely, they were never taught how to teach either. The well-paid researchers often offloaded much of the teaching responsibilities onto the teacher assistants’ backs. 

Bottom line:
Face-to-face learning is getting waaaay more credit than it sometimes deserves — though sometimes it IS warranted. And online-based learning — especially when it’s done right — isn’t getting nearly enough credit. 


Addendum: Another example of practicing futures thinking in higher ed:

 

Q: For those who prefer or need to handwrite their essays, what are some ways/methods that students can use to scan in — and then submit — their essays into Canvas?

A:  Below are a few different options, potential solutions, and resources:

 

The Best Mobile Scanning Apps -- 2020

 

  • Students can also scan in their essays via most combination printers/scanners these days. Then they can insert those scans into a Word doc and submit it.
  • A Google search presents many different ways to scan in items into a Word document. That Word doc can then be submitted or saved as a PDF file (and then be submitted as as PDF file).
  • Also see How to create a PDF of handwritten assignments — from Canvas @ Yale. Yale recommended the following apps:

Yale recommends Scannable

 

Yale recommends Genius Scan for Android devices -- i.e., for scanning documents

 

Also see:

  • The new Office app now generally available for Android and iOS — from microsoft.com by the Microsoft 365 team
    Excerpt:
    Integrating our Lens technology to unlock the power of the camera with capabilities like converting images into editable Word and Excel documents, scanning PDFs, and capturing whiteboards with automatic digital enhancements to make the content easier to read.
 

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

© 2020 | Daniel Christian