What online teachers have learned from teaching online — from insidehighered.com by Mark Lieberman
Online instructors offer wisdom they’ve gathered — what to do and what not to do — from years of experience teaching in the modality.

Excerpts:

When I first began teaching online, I noticed a disconnect between students and the course content. While I worked to make it relevant to their lives, I often saw students doing the work simply for the grade. Clearly something was not translating. In the last year, I’ve become more focused on helping students connect their passions to the course content. My courses still have objectives. However, I ask students when the semester starts to identify one to three goals and create a short video about what they want to achieve in the course. They reflect on these goals and can modify them at the midpoint and the end. During the semester, I ask students to consider what they are doing during the week to help them meet their goals. They don’t always need to share this information, but having this as a thread in the course helps them stay connected to the content and each other. Students are aware of what their colleagues’ goals are and often reach out and share ideas and resources in support. [Hall]


I also began to see that teaching online could support learner variability better than teaching in a classroom. I observed one student with dyslexia express herself eloquently in video, while her written expressions were fragmented. These experiences illuminated the value of Universal Design for Learning, opening a new world of opportunities for teaching online. [Brock]

I’ve been teaching online since 2008 and entirely online since 2013. When I first started teaching online, I was afraid to create new content or change the course in any way once the course launched. I thought the course curriculum and online environment had to stay “frozen” and intact or I would risk confusing students. Now, I create additional tutorials as needed, using screen-casting tools, videos and podcasts to add additional content to assist students. I have also since learned that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to online teaching and learning. Some students prefer basic content and straightforward assignments. Other students like to interact with the instructor through instant messaging, email and discussion boards. I started doing optional webinars for students who wanted more interaction and personalized learning, but I don’t require them. I find that the same group of online students in each course (who enjoy interaction) usually attend the webinars. The webinars are recorded for students who couldn’t attend or prefer the recording format.

Over all, I’ve learned to be more laid-back, multimodal (e.g., webinars, podcasts, etc.), proactive and flexible for my students.

Semingson

 

 

There need to be more active learning activities in an online course.

Greenlaw

 


In a typical class, students talk only to the instructor and each other. Resources, questions and information that are created and shared rarely transition to the next course. In true community, all students and instructors within a program could regularly access information and ideas in a shared space regardless of the content they are currently learning. [Hall]

There are numerous tools and strategies for interacting with students, like web-conferencing platforms, course audio and video tools, and collaborative tools that allow for synchronous or asynchronous interaction. There are simply more ways to communicate, to collaborate and to create. [Hobgood]

Insert from DSC:
Re: this last quote from Hobgood, I love this idea of creating an online-based community of practice — or community of inquiry — that spans across classes and semesters. Great call!

 

Efforts to improve student access to online courses are key, but we also know that equity gaps get worse when minority students learn online. We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Relationships are at the core of meaningful college experiences and they’re particularly important to underserved students who are more likely to doubt their academic abilities. Underserved online students need the presence of an engaged instructor. If you teach online, your human presence matters. This has been my greatest takeaway from 15 years of teaching online and, perhaps, more striking is that this point still seems revolutionary to so many.

Pacansky-Brock

 

 

 

Addendum:
7 Steps to Better Online Teaching — from chronicle.com by Esther C. Kim

Excerpt:

Provide suggestions for a strong classroom climate. At the start of the semester, I offer ways for students to stay engaged in an online classroom environment, and I explain the importance of remaining on camera and on audio. Without a proper explanation, students mistakenly think that they can multitask during live class sessions. Among the tips I offer them:

  • Refrain from opening email, texting, or browsing the web.
  • Choose a space where you don’t encounter distractions, which could include family members, laundry, dirty dishes, or a busy street outside your window.
  • Avoid sitting on a comfortable couch or bed.
  • Pay close attention to peers’ comments and ask yourself if you agree or disagree, and why. Add to the dialogue by sharing your thoughts.
  • Avoid taking class from coffee shops or other public spaces. The background noise can create a distraction both for you and for the entire class. Also, internet connections may be inconsistent in public spaces.

Don’t use the chat box when you can speak instead. On my university’s platform, there’s a chat box in which students can type messages in real time. This could be a useful tool if used properly. But I often find it difficult to simultaneously read the chat box while listening to a student who’s speaking. The same goes for when I am speaking and someone is typing comments or questions in the chat box. If there’s a robust dialogue happening among a few of the students and others want to interject, they can place their comments in the chat box. Otherwise, I ask that they take advantage of the face-to-face online time by verbalizing their questions or comments.

From DSC:
Esther’s point on how difficult it is to both read/respond to the chat area while also trying to listen to someone else speaking is a great example of cognitive load — and it being overwhelmed with too much information to process at one time.

 

 

A Microlearning Framework — from jvsp.io and Pablo Navarro
This infographic is based on the experience of different clients from different industries in different training programs.

 

From DSC:
I thought this was a solid infographic and should prove to be useful for Instructional Designers, Faculty Members, and/or for Corporate Trainers as well. 

I might also consider adding a “Gotcha!” piece first — even before the welcome piece — in order to get the learner’s attention and to immediately answer the WHY question. WHY is this topic important and relevant to me? When topics are relevant to people, they care and engage a whole lot more with the content that’s about to be presented to them. Ideally, such a piece would stir some curiosity as well.

 

 

 

 

Embracing Digital Tools of the Millennial Trade. — from virtuallyinspired.org

Excerpt:

Thus, millennials are well-acquainted with – if not highly dependent on – the digital tools they use in their personal and professional lives. Tools that empower them to connect and collaborate in a way that is immediate and efficient, interactive and self-directed. Which is why they expect technology-enhanced education to replicate this user experience in the virtual classroom. And when their expectations fall short or go unmet altogether, millennials are more likely to go in search of other alternatives.

 

 

From DSC:
There are several solid tools mentioned in this article, and I always appreciate the high-level of innovation arising from Susan Aldridge, Marci Powell, and the folks at virtuallyinspired.org.

After reading the article, the key considerations that come to my mind involve the topics of usability and advocating for the students’ perspective. That is, we need to approach things from the student’s/learner’s standpoint — from a usability and user experience standpoint. For example, a seamless/single sign-on for each of these tools would be a requirement for implementing them. Otherwise, learners would have to be constantly logging into a variety of systems and services. Not only is that process time consuming, but a learner would need to keep track of additional passwords — and who doesn’t have enough of those to keep track of these days (I realize there are tools for that, but even those tools require additional time to investigate, setup, and maintain).

So plug-ins for the various CMSs/LMSs are needed that allow for a nice plug-and-play situation here.

 

 

In Move Towards More Online Degrees, Coursera Introduces Its First Bachelor’s — from edsurger.com by Sydney Johnson

Excerpt:

These days, though, many MOOC platforms are courting the traditional higher-ed market they once rebuked, often by hosting fully-online masters degrees for colleges and universities. And today, one of the largest MOOC providers, Coursera, announced it’s going one step further in that direction, with its first fully online bachelor’s degree.

“We are realizing that the vast reach of MOOCs makes them a powerful gateway to degrees,” Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda said in a statement.

The new degree will be a bachelor of science in computer science from the University of London. The entire program will cost between £9,600 and £17,000 (approximately $13,300 to $23,500), depending on a student’s geographic location. According to a spokesperson for Coursera, the program’s “cost is adjusted based on whether a student is in a developed or developing economy.”

 

 

From DSC:
At least a couple of questions come to mind here:

  • What might the future hold if the U.S. Department of Education / the Federal Government begins funding these types of alternatives to traditional higher education?
  • Will Coursera be successful here and begin adding more degrees? If so, a major game-changer could be on our doorsteps.

 

 

 

Virtual reality technology enters a Chinese courtroom — from supchina.com by Jiayun Feng

Excerpt:

The introduction of VR technology is part of a “courtroom evidence visualization system” developed by the local court. The system also includes a newly developed computer program that allows lawyers to present evidence with higher quality and efficiency, which will replace a traditional PowerPoint slideshow.

It is reported that the system will soon be implemented in courtrooms across the city of Beijing.

 

 

 

Watch Waymo’s Virtual-Reality View of the World — from spectrum.ieee.org by Philip Ross

From DSC:
This is mind blowing. Now I see why Nvidia’s products/services are so valuable.

 

 

Along these same lines, also see this clip and/or this article entitled, This is why AR and Autonomous Driving are the Future of Cars:

 

 

 

The Legal Hazards of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Apps — from spectrum.ieee.org by Tam Harbert
Liability and intellectual property issues are just two areas developers need to know about

Excerpt:

As virtual- and augmented-reality technologies mature, legal questions are emerging that could trip up VR and AR developers. One of the first lawyers to explore these questions is Robyn Chatwood, of the international law firm Dentons. “VR and AR are areas where the law is just not keeping up with [technology] developments,” she says. IEEE Spectrum contributing editor Tam Harbert talked with Chatwood about the legal challenges.

 

 

 

This VR Tool Could Make Kids A Lot Less Scared Of Medical Procedures — from fastcompany.com by Daniel Terdiman
The new app creates a personalized, explorable 3D model of a kid’s own body that makes it much easier for them to understand what’s going on inside.

Excerpt:

A new virtual reality app that’s designed to help kids suffering from conditions like Crohn’s disease understand their maladies immerses those children in a cartoon-like virtual reality tour through their body.

Called HealthVoyager, the tool, a collaboration between Boston Children’s Hospital and the health-tech company Klick Health, is being launched today at an event featuring former First Lady Michelle Obama.

A lot of kids are confused by doctors’ intricate explanations of complex procedures like a colonoscopy, and they, and their families, can feel much more engaged, and satisfied, if they really understand what’s going on. But that’s been hard to do in a way that really works and doesn’t get bogged down with a lot of meaningless jargon.

 

 

Augmented Reality in Education — from invisible.toys

 

Star Chart -- AR and astronomy

 

 

The state of virtual reality — from furthermore.equinox.com by Rachael Schultz
How the latest advancements are optimizing performance, recovery, and injury prevention

Excerpt:

Virtual reality is increasingly used to enhance everything from museum exhibits to fitness classes. Elite athletes are using VR goggles to refine their skills, sports rehabilitation clinics are incorporating it into recovery regimes, and others are using it to improve focus and memory.

Here, some of the most exciting things happening with virtual reality, as well as what’s to come.

 

 

Augmented Reality takes 3-D printing to next level — from rtoz.org

Excerpt:

Cornell researchers are taking 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to a new level by using augmented reality (AR) to allow designers to design in physical space while a robotic arm rapidly prints the work. To use the Robotic Modeling Assistant (RoMA), a designer wears an AR headset with hand controllers. As soon as a design feature is completed, the robotic arm prints the new feature.

 

 

 

From DSC:
How might the types of technologies being developed and used by Kazendi’s Holomeeting be used for building/enhancing learning spaces?

 

 

 

 

AR and Blockchain: A Match Made in The AR Cloud — from medium.com by Ori Inbar

Excerpt:

In my introduction to the AR Cloud I argued that in order to reach mass adoption, AR experiences need to persist in the real world across space, time, and devices.

To achieve that, we will need a persistent realtime spatial map of the world that enables sharing and collaboration of AR Experiences among many users.

And according to AR industry insiders, it’s poised to become:

“the most important software infrastructure in computing”

aka: The AR Cloud.

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Weise: ‘We Need to Design the Learning Ecosystem of the Future’ — from edsurge.com  by Michelle Weise

Excerpts:

These days, education reformers, evangelists and foundations pay a lot of lip service to the notion of lifelong learning, but we do little to invest in the systems, architecture and infrastructure needed to facilitate seamless movements in and out of learning and work.

Talk of lifelong learning doesn’t translate into action. In fact, resources and funding are often geared toward the traditional 17- to 22-year-old college-going population and less often to working adults, our growing new-traditional student population.

We’ll need a different investment thesis: For most adults, taking time off work to attend classes at a local, brick-and-mortar community college or a four-year institution will not be the answer. The opportunity costs will be too high. Our current system of traditional higher education is ill-suited to facilitate flexible, seamless cost-effective learning pathways for these students to keep up with the emergent demands of the workforce.

Many adults may have no interest in coming back to college. Out of the 37 million Americans with some college and no degree, many have already failed one or twice before and will be wholly uninterested in experiencing more educational trauma.We can’t just say, “Here’s a MOOC, or here’s an online degree, or a 6- to 12-week immersive bootcamp.”

 

We have to do better. Let’s begin seeding the foundational elements of a learning ecosystem of the future—flexible enough for adults to move consistently in and out of learning and work. Enough talk about lifelong learning: Let’s build the foundations of that learning ecosystem of the future.

 

 

From DSC:
I couldn’t agree more with Michelle that we need a new learning ecosystem of the future. In fact, I have been calling such an effort “Learning from the Living [Class] Room — and it outlines a next generation learning platform that aims to deliver everything Michelle talks about in her solid article out at edsurge.com.

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

 

Along these lines…I just saw that Amazon is building out more cashierless stores (and Walmart is also at work on introducing more cashierless stores.) Now, let’s say that you are currently a cashier. 2-5 years from now (depending upon where you’re currently working and which stores are in your community), what are you going to do? The opportunities for such a position will be fewer and fewer. Who can help you do what Michelle mentioned here:

Working learners will also need help articulating their learning goals and envisioning a future for themselves. People don’t know how to translate their skills from one industry to another. How does a student begin to understand that 30% of what they already know could be channeled into a totally different and potentially promising pathway they never even knew was within reach?

And that cashier may have had a tough time with K-12 education and/or with higher education. As Michelle writes:

Many adults may have no interest in coming back to college. Out of the 37 million Americans with some college and no degree, many have already failed one or twice before and will be wholly uninterested in experiencing more educational trauma. We can’t just say, “Here’s a MOOC, or here’s an online degree, or a 6- to 12-week immersive bootcamp.”

And like the cashier in this example…we are quickly approaching an era where, I believe, many of us will need to reinvent ourselves in order to:

  • stay marketable
  • keep bread and butter on the table
  • continue to have a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives

Higher ed, if it wants to remain relevant, must pick up the pace of experimentation and increase the willingness to innovate, and to develop new business models — to develop new “learning channels” so to speak. Such channels need to be:

  • Up-to-date
  • Serving relevant data and information– especially regarding the job market and which jobs appear to be safe for the next 5-10 years
  • Inexpensive/affordable
  • Highly convenient

 

 

 

From DSC:
Here’s a quote that has been excerpted from the announcement below…and it’s the type of service that will be offered in our future learning ecosystems — our next generation learning platforms:

 

Career Insight™ enables prospective students to identify programs of study which can help them land the careers they want: Career Insight™ describes labor market opportunities associated with programs of study to prospective students. The recommendation engine also matches prospective students to programs based on specific career interests.

 

But in addition to our future learning platforms pointing new/prospective students to physical campuses, the recommendation engines will also provide immediate access to digital playlists for the prospective students/learners to pursue from their living rooms (or as they are out and about…i.e., mobile access).

 

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

 

 

Artificial intelligence working with enormous databases to build/update recommendation engines…yup, I could see that. Lifelong learning. Helping people know what to reinvent themselves to.

 

 


 

Career Insight™ Lets Prospective Students Connect Academic Program Choices to Career Goals — from burning-glass.com; also from Hadley Dreibelbis from Finn Partners
New Burning Glass Technologies Product Brings Job Data into Enrollment Decisions

BOSTON—Burning Glass Technologies announces the launch of Career Insight™, the first tool to show prospective students exactly how course enrollment will advance their careers.

Embedded in institutional sites and powered by Burning Glass’ unparalleled job market data, Career Insight’s personalized recommendation engine matches prospective students with programs based on their interests and goals. Career Insight will enable students to make smarter decisions, as well as improve conversion and retention rates for postsecondary institutions.

“A recent Gallup survey found that 58% of students say career outcomes are the most important reason to continue their education,” Burning Glass CEO Matthew Sigelman said. “That’s particularly true for the working learners who are now the norm on college campuses. Career Insight™ is a major step in making sure that colleges and universities can speak their language from the very first.”

Beginning an educational program with a firm, realistic career goal can help students persist in their studies. Currently only 29% of students in two-year colleges and 59% of those in four-year institutions complete their degrees within six years.

Career Insight™ enables prospective students to identify programs of study which can help them land the careers they want:

  • Career Insight™ describes labor market opportunities associated with programs of study to prospective students. The recommendation engine also matches prospective students to programs based on specific career interests.
  • The application provides insights to enrollment, advising, and marketing teams into what motivates prospective students, analysis that will guide the institution in improving program offerings and boosting conversion.
  • Enrollment advisors can also walk students through different career and program scenarios in real time.

Career Insight™ is driven by the Burning Glass database of a billion job postings and career histories, collected from more than 40,000 online sources daily. The database, powered by a proprietary analytic taxonomy, provides insight into what employers need much faster and in more detail than any other sources.

Career Insight™ is powered by the same rich dataset Burning Glass delivers to hundreds of leading corporate and education customers – from Microsoft and Accenture to Harvard University and Coursera.

More information is available at http://burning-glass.com/career-insight.

 


 

 

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. 

 

 

 

The 9 best online collaboration tools for remote workers — from invisionapp.com by Jes Kirkwood

Excerpts:

With this in mind, we asked remote workers from companies like Treehouse, Help Scout, Zapier, Buffer, and Zest to share their favorite online collaboration tools. Here’s what they said.

  1. Slack: The best team communication app
  2. Zoom: The best video conferencing app
  3. InVision: The best design collaboration app
  4. GitHub: The best software development tool
  5. Trello: The best project management software
  6. Dashlane: The best password manager
  7. Google Drive: The best file management app
  8. Zapier: Workflow automation for business
  9. World Time Buddy: Time converter for distributed teams

 

 

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:

 

 

 

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