Faculty Learning Communities: Making the Connection, Virtually — from by Angela Atwell, Cristina Cottom, Lisa Martino, and Sara Ombres

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Research has shown that interactions with peers promotes faculty engagement (McKenna, Johnson, Yoder, Guerra, & Pimmel, 2016). Faculty learning communities (FLC) have become very popular in recent years. FLCs focus on improving teaching and learning practice through collaboration and community building (Cox, 2001). Usually, FLCs are face-to-face meetings hosted at a physical location at a specific date and time. We understand the benefit of this type of experience. However, we recognize online instructors will likely find it difficult to participate in a traditional FLC. So, we set out to integrate FLC principles to provide our faculty, living and working all over the globe, a similar experience.

Recently, our Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence took the plunge and offered a Virtual Faculty Learning Community (V-FLC) for instructors at our Worldwide Campus. The first experience was open only to adjunct instructors teaching online. The experience was asynchronous, lasted eight weeks, and focused on best practices for online teaching and learning. Within our Learning Management System, faculty led and participated in discussions around the topics that were of interest to them. Most topics focused on teaching practices and ways to enhance the online experience. However, other topics bridged the gap between teaching online and general best teaching practices. 

 

 

 

How to Use Questions to Promote Student Learning — from scholarlyteacher.com by Spencer Benson

Excerpt:

Developing Faculty Generated Questions
Developing good questions that enhance student learning and engage all students is difficult. The challenge is constructing questions that engage learning and are “un-Googleable” meaning that students cannot find the answer with a simple online search engine. Some ways to help make questions “un-Googleable” are to

  • Avoid questions that simply ask for facts or definitions,
  • Ask the students to answer the questions based on their own personal experience,
  • Ask students for their personal opinion on an issue,
  • Ask students to describe the answer a different person might give, e.g., a relative, a famous person (historic or present), the textbook or assigned readings author, etc.

 

 

These three questions align with the various levels of Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy, “what” asks about facts and content (remembering), “how” asks about relationships (understanding and analyzing), and “why” asks about higher cognitive level skills (creating and evaluating).

 

 

 

EdX Quietly Developing ‘MicroBachelors’ Program — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

EdX, the nonprofit online-education group founded by MIT and Harvard, is quietly developing a “MicroBachelors” degree that is designed to break the undergraduate credential into Lego-like components.

In December, edX won a $700,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation to support the MicroBachelors effort with the organization’s university partners. Officials from edX declined to talk about the project, saying only that it is in the early stages. But at a higher-education innovation summit last month hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, listed the project as part of the group’s long-term vision that began with its MicroMasters program. And the organization has filed a trademark for the term “MicroBachelors” as well.

 

“Education in five to ten years will become modular, will become omnichannel, and will become lifelong,” Agarwal said at the meeting, later explaining that omnichannel meant offering courses either online or in person.

 

How would a MicroBachelors be different than, say, a two-year associate’s degree, which is arguably already half a bachelor’s degree? Sarma said that the idea behind both MicroMasters and MicroBachelors is that they are “about putting stuff that can be done online, online.” In other words, the big idea is offering a low-cost, low-risk way for students to start an undergraduate education even if they can’t get to a campus.

 

 

 

Also relevant/see:

 

 

 

Work From Home 2018: The Top 100 Companies For Remote Jobs — from forbes.com by Laura Shin

Excerpt:

The top sectors offering such work are health care, computer/IT, education/training, sales, customer service, finance and travel/hospitality of the 19 industries represented on the list. Five of the fastest-growing remote career categories are therapy, virtual administration, client services, tutoring, and state and local government. The 20 most common telecommuting job titles include teacher, writer, developer, analyst, sales representative, nurse, accountant and program manager. Five companies are fully remote, and 30 are newcomers to the list.

 

Also see:

20 Most Common Work-from-Home Job Titles — from by Jessica Howington

  1. Accountant
  2. Program Manager
  3. Teacher / Faculty
  4. Writer
  5. Consultant
  6. Engineer
  7. Project Manager
  8. Business Development Manager
  9. Account Manager / Account Executive
  10. Tutor
  11. Developer
  12. Customer Service Representative
  13. Sales Representative
  14. Analyst
  15. Editor
  16. Nurse
  17. Medical Coder
  18. Territory Sales Manager
  19. Case Manager
  20. Internet/Social Media Evaluator

 

 

 

Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States
Julia E. Seaman, Ph.D. | Research Director, Babson Survey Research Group
I. Elaine Allen, Ph.D. | Professor of Biostatistics & Epidemiology, UCSF
Jeff Seaman, Ph.D. | Director, Babson Survey Research Group

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Distance education enrollments increased for the fourteenth straight year, growing faster than they have for the past several years. From 2002 to 2012 both distance and overall enrollments grew annually, but since 2012 distance growth has continued its steady increase in an environment that saw overall enrollments decline for four straight years and the largest for-profit distance education institutions continue to face serious issues and lose their enrollments.

The number of distance education students grew by 5.6% from Fall 2015 to Fall 2016 to reach 6,359,121 who are taking at least one distance course, representing 31.6% of all students. Total distance enrollments are composed of 14.9% of students (3,003,080) taking exclusively distance courses, and 16.7% (3,356,041) who are taking a combination of distance and non-distance courses.

Year-to-year changes in distance enrollments continue to be very uneven with different higher education sectors, with continued steady growth for public institutions, similar levels of growth (albeit on a much smaller base) for the private non-profit sector, and the continuation of the decline in total enrollments for the private for-profit sector for the fourth year in a row.

Distance education enrollments are highly concentrated in a relatively small number of institutions. Almost half of distance education students are concentrated in just five percent of institutions, while the top 47 institutions (just 1.0% of the total) enroll 22.4% (1,421,703) of all distance students. This level of concentration is most extreme among the for-profit sector, where 85.6% of the distance students are enrolled at the top 5% of institutions. Concentration rates for private not-for-profit institutions are lower, while public institutions show very low levels of concentration.

Distance enrollments remain local: 52.8% of all students who took at least one distance course also took an on-campus course, and of those who took only distance courses 56.1% reside in the same state as the institution at which they are enrolled. Virtually no distance enrollments are international: only 0.7% of all distance students are located outside of the United States.

The total number of students studying on campus (those not taking any distance course or taking a combination of distance and non-distance courses) dropped by over a million (1,173,805, or 6.4%) between 2012 and 2016. The largest declines came at for-profit institutions, which saw a 44.1% drop, while both private not-forprofit institutions (-4.5%) and public institutions (-4.2%) saw far smaller decreases.

The number of students who are not taking any distance courses declined even more from 2012 to 2016, down by 11.2% (1,737,955 students) by the end of the period. The private for-profit sector fared worse (down 50.5%) as compared to both private not-for-profit institutions (-9.5%) and public institutions (-7.7%).

 

 

 

 

 

TV is (finally) an app: The goods, the bads and the uglies for learning — from thejournal.com by Cathie Norris, Elliot Soloway

Excerpts:

Television. TV. There’s an app for that. Finally! TV — that is, live shows such as the news, specials, documentaries (and reality shows, if you must) — is now just like Candy Crunch and Facebook. TV apps (e.g., DirecTV Now) are available on all devices — smartphones, tablets, laptops, Chromebooks. Accessing streams upon streams of videos is, literally, now just a tap away.

Plain and simple: readily accessible video can be a really valuable resource for learners and learning.

Not everything that needs to be learned is on video. Instruction will need to balance the use of video with the use of printed materials. That balance, of course, needs to take in cost and accessibility.

Now for the 800 pound gorilla in the room: Of course, that TV app could be a huge distraction in the classroom. The TV app has just piled yet another classroom management challenge onto a teacher’s back.

That said, it is early days for TV as an app. For example, HD (High Definition) TV demands high bandwidth — and we can experience stuttering/skipping at times. But, when 5G comes around in 2020, just two years from now, POOF, that stuttering/skipping will disappear. “5G will be as much as 1,000 times faster than 4G.”  Yes, POOF!

 

From DSC:
Learning via apps is here to stay. “TV” as apps is here to stay. But what’s being described here is but one piece of the learning ecosystem that will be built over the next 5-15 years and will likely be revolutionary in its global impact on how people learn and grow. There will be opportunities for social-based learning, project-based learning, and more — with digital video being a component of the ecosystem, but is and will be insufficient to completely move someone through all of the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

I will continue to track this developing learning ecosystem, but voice-driven personal assistants are already here. Algorithm-based recommendations are already here. Real-time language translation is already here.  The convergence of the telephone/computer/television continues to move forward.  AI-based bots will only get better in the future. Tapping into streams of up-to-date content will continue to move forward. Blockchain will likely bring us into the age of cloud-based learner profiles. And on and on it goes.

We’ll still need teachers, professors, and trainers. But this vision WILL occur. It IS where things are heading. It’s only a matter of time.

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

 

 

 

DC: The next generation learning platform will likely offer us such virtual reality-enabled learning experiences such as this “flight simulator for teachers.”

Virtual reality simulates classroom environment for aspiring teachers — from phys.org by Charles Anzalone, University at Buffalo

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Two University at Buffalo education researchers have teamed up to create an interactive classroom environment in which state-of-the-art virtual reality simulates difficult student behavior, a training method its designers compare to a “flight simulator for teachers.”

The new program, already earning endorsements from teachers and administrators in an inner-city Buffalo school, ties into State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher’s call for innovative teaching experiences and “immersive” clinical experiences and teacher preparation.

The training simulator Lamb compared to a teacher flight simulator uses an emerging computer technology known as virtual reality. Becoming more popular and accessible commercially, virtual reality immerses the subject in what Lamb calls “three-dimensional environments in such a way where that environment is continuous around them.” An important characteristic of the best virtual reality environments is a convincing and powerful representation of the imaginary setting.

 

Also related/see:

 

  • TeachLive.org
    TLE TeachLivE™ is a mixed-reality classroom with simulated students that provides teachers the opportunity to develop their pedagogical practice in a safe environment that doesn’t place real students at risk.  This lab is currently the only one in the country using a mixed reality environment to prepare or retrain pre-service and in-service teachers. The use of TLE TeachLivE™ Lab has also been instrumental in developing transition skills for students with significant disabilities, providing immediate feedback through bug-in-ear technology to pre-service teachers, developing discrete trial skills in pre-service and in-service teachers, and preparing teachers in the use of STEM-related instructional strategies.

 

 

 

 

 

This start-up uses virtual reality to get your kids excited about learning chemistry — from Lora Kolodny and Erin Black

  • MEL Science raised $2.2 million in venture funding to bring virtual reality chemistry lessons to schools in the U.S.
  • Eighty-two percent of science teachers surveyed in the U.S. believe virtual reality content can help their students master their subjects.

 

This start-up uses virtual reality to get your kids excited about learning chemistry from CNBC.

 

 


From DSC:
It will be interesting to see all the “places” we will be able to go and interact within — all from the comfort of our living rooms! Next generation simulators should be something else for teaching/learning & training-related purposes!!!

The next gen learning platform will likely offer such virtual reality-enabled learning experiences, along with voice recognition/translation services and a slew of other technologies — such as AI, blockchain*, chatbots, data mining/analytics, web-based learner profiles, an online-based marketplace supported by the work of learning-based free agents, and others — running in the background. All of these elements will work to offer us personalized, up-to-date learning experiences — helping each of us stay relevant in the marketplace as well as simply enabling us to enjoy learning about new things.

But the potentially disruptive piece of all of this is that this next generation learning platform could create an Amazon.com of what we now refer to as “higher education.”  It could just as easily serve as a platform for offering learning experiences for learners in K-12 as well as the corporate learning & development space.

 

I’m tracking these developments at:
http://danielschristian.com/thelivingclassroom/

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 


*  Also see:


Blockchain, Bitcoin and the Tokenization of Learning — from edsurge.com by Sydney Johnson

Excerpt:

In 2014, Kings College in New York became the first university in the U.S. to accept Bitcoin for tuition payments, a move that seemed more of a PR stunt than the start of some new movement. Much has changed since then, including the value of Bitcoin itself, which skyrocketed to more than $19,000 earlier this month, catapulting cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.

A handful of other universities (and even preschools) now accept Bitcoin for tuition, but that’s hardly the extent of how blockchains and tokens are weaving their way into education: Educators and edtech entrepreneurs are now testing out everything from issuing degrees on the blockchain to paying people in cryptocurrency for their teaching.

 

 

 

 

Cisco:
“Utilize virtual showrooms | See stores in your living room.”

DC:
If this is how retail could go, what might be the ramifications for learning-related environments & for learners’ expectations?

See Cisco’s whitepaper and the vision that I’m tracking along these lines.

 

Utilize virtual showrooms|See stores in your living room.

 

From DSC:
Looking at the trends below, again I wonder…how might learners’ expectations be impacted by these developments on the landscapes?

 

Customer Experience in 2020 according to Cisco

 

 


Also see:


 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian

 

 

 

How a Flipped Syllabus, Twitter and YouTube Made This Professor Teacher of the Year — from edsurge.com by Bruce Anderson

Excerpt:

A few years after John Boyer began teaching world geography at Virginia Tech, a survey revealed that 58 percent of college-aged Americans could not locate Japan on a map. Sixty-nine percent could not find the United Kingdom.

Boyer raced ahead undaunted. He loved the scope and implications of his subject. “The great thing about geography is . . . everything happens somewhere,” he explains. “Geography is the somewhere.”

Boyer is now a senior instructor and researcher at Virginia Tech. He took over World Regions, an entry-level geography class, while he was working on a master’s degree nearly 20 years ago. The class then had 50 students. Now the course is offered each semester and a whopping 3,000 students take it in any given school year.

What has made it so popular? Innovative pedagogy, for starters. Boyer uses a “flipped syllabus” in which students’ final grades are based on the points they’ve earned—not lost—throughout the semester. His legendary assignments range from reviewing films to tweeting on behalf of world leaders (more on that below). Mostly, Boyer himself has made the class a rite of passage for undergraduates, who typically find him funny, passionate, and consummately engaging. Boyer even created a comic alter ego called the Plaid Avenger, who has narrated textbooks and podcasts but is now largely retired—though Boyer still sports his famous plaid jackets and drives a plaid Scion.

 

 

Given the disparity in knowledge levels as well as the disparity in what they like to do in terms of work, whether that be watching international film or writing papers, I wanted to increase the flexibility of what the students could do to achieve a grade in this class.

 

 

Tell us about the Twitter World Leaders.
You can choose to be a true, real world leader. Of course, they’re fake accounts and we make sure everyone knows you’re the fake Donald Trump or the fake Angela Merkel of Germany. Once you take on that role, you will tweet as the world leader for the entire semester, and you have to tweet two to three times a day. And it’s not silly stuff. What is the chancellor of Germany working on right now? What other world leaders is Angela Merkel meeting with? What’s going on in Germany or the EEU?

 

 

 

From DSC:
I sat down for a cup of coffee the other day with an experienced, wise, elderly learning expert. He was virtually a walking encyclopedia of knowledge around matters related to training, teaching, and learning. It was such a gift to learn from his numerous years’ worth of experience and his hard earned knowledge!!!  I rarely use the phrase learning expert because it’s very difficult to be an expert when it comes to how people learn. But in this case, that phrase works just fine for me.

This elderly gentleman had years’ worth of experiences involving instructional design, coaching, teaching, and training behind him. He mentioned several things that I want to record and relay here, such as:

  • In terms of higher education, we need to move from a content orientation to a process orientationi.e., helping our students learn how to learn (i.e., providing some effective methods/best practices such as this article and this study discuss for example).
    While
    I agree that this is a good call, I still think that we’ll need some level of content delivery though. As Daniel Willingham asserts in his book, Why don’t students like school?, students still need to have a base knowledge of a subject so that they can recall that information and integrate it into other situations. Per Willingham, we can’t expect learners to become experts and think like experts without that base level of knowledge in a subject. But if they never had that information in the first place, they couldn’t recall it or bring it up for application in another context. That said, I highly agree that students need to graduate from high school and college having a much better idea on how to learn. Such a skill will serve them very well over their lifetimes, especially in this new exponential pace of change that we’re now experiencing.

 

  • Speaking of contexts, this wise gentleman said that we need to move from being content driven to being concept driven and context driven.
    The trick here is how to implement this type of pedagogy within higher education. It’s hard to anticipate the myriad of potential contexts our students could find themselves in in the future. Perhaps we could provide 2-3 contexts as examples for them.

 

  • Students need to interact with the content. It won’t have any sort of lasting impact if it’s simply an information transmission model. This is why he practiced (what we today call) active learning based classrooms and project-based learning when he taught college students years ago. This is why he has attendees in his current training-related courses apply/practice what they’ve just been told. Along these lines, he also likes to use open-ended questions and allow for the process of discovery to occur.

 

  • The point of teaching is to make learning possible.

 

  • Learning is change. No change. No learning.
    An interesting, bold perspective that I appreciated hearing. What do you think of this assertion?

 

  • For each educational/training-related item, he asks 3 questions:
    • What does it mean?
    • Why is it important?
    • What am I going to do with it?

 

There was soooooo much knowledge in this wise man’s brain. I reflected on how much information and expertise we lose when instructional designers, teachers, professors, learning theorists (and many others) retire and leave their fields. I asked him if he was blogging to help pass this information along to the next generations, but he said no…there was too much on his plate (which I believe, as he was highly energetic, driven, and active). But I find that when one finally gets enough knowledge to even being close to being called an expert, then it’s time to retire. We often lose that knowledge and people end up reinventing the wheel all over again.

Again, it was such a pleasure to talk with an older gentleman with years of experience under his belt — one who had clearly put a great deal of time and effort into his learning about learning. In an age when America discards the elderly and worships youth, there is an important lesson here.

In an age when organizations are letting their older, more experienced employees go — only to hire much younger people at 1/2 the former wages — we should learn from some of the other nations and cultures who highly respect and lift up the more experienced employees — and the elderly — and who actively seek out their counsel and wisdom. Such people are often worth every penny of their wages.

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What do you think? Am I off base on some of my responses/reflections? How do these things strike you?

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