Nine steps to quality online learning — from Tony Bates


Also see:

  • How [not] to Design an Online Course — from
    Moving a face-to-face credit course to an online environment is far more challenging than one might expect – as numerous experienced and esteemed professors have discovered. In this post learn vicariously through one professor’s experience of ‘what not to do’.


If this works well, it could be great for Smart Classrooms, collaborative workspaces, BYOD environments


From DSC:
The ability for students to contribute content and instantly share that content would be great! Not just display it, but share it! These are the types of concepts, tools, and technologies that I enjoy pursuing as they facilitate learning and collaboration. They have applications not only in K-20, but in the corporate world as well. (I realize there are some issues to work through with virus detection and potential copyright infringement.)

Speaking of not only displaying files but sharing them as well, it seems like this may be possible with Steelcase’s upcoming FrameOne with media:scape — when combined with HD videoconferencing. But I’m not positive about that.


FrameOne with mediascape



Establishing Better Collaboration Between the Corporate World and Higher Education -- by Daniel Christian


From DSC:
The above article I wrote for (for LifeLong Learning) mentions the need for — and the opportunities to build:

  • More streams of content flowing between these two worlds
  • Web-based learner profiles
  • Tools that students can begin using in their collegiate days that they can later tap into long after they’ve graduated
  • Using teams of specialists
  • MOOCs
  • Collaboration between a corporation and an entire classroom
  • and more




The 33 digital skills every 21st century teacher should have — from the Educational Technology and Mobile Learning blog by Mohamed (Med) Kharbach

From DSC:
A great list of skills here — great job Mohamed!  I do wonder though…with the accelerating rate of technological change, at what point do we need to move towards more of a team-based approach?  Can we continue to expect the teacher, professor, and/or the trainer to know it all anymore?


From DSC:
Here are some items related to what I call “Learning from the Living Room” — a trend that continues to develop that involves:

  • Using high-end, personalized, multimedia-based, interactive, team-created content — packed with new reporting tools for better diagnostics/learning analytics — available via a cloud-based “education store”/marketplace/exchange
  • Web-accessible content that’s available 24x7x365
  • The power of social networks/learning
  • Riding the wave of the massive convergence of the computer, the telephone, and the television.


Smarter TV: Living room as digital hub from Samsung and Microsoft to Apple and Google — from by Tim Carmody
Excerpt (emphasis DSC):
  • In the future, the living room will replace the home office as most households’ home for the stationary personal computer. Instead of printers and mice and other corded accessories, networked appliances and post-PC machines share data with one another and with the cloud. Play and productivity both become decentered; gaming and entertainment might be on a tablet or a television, with recipes at the refrigerator, a shopping list for the smartphone, and an instructional video on the television set. All of these experiences will be coherent, continuous and contextual. And like the personal computer at the height of Pax Wintel, the living room will be a platform characterized by triumphant pluralism.“The thing about the living room is that it’s universal; everyone in the household uses it,” Samsung VP Eric Anderson told me at today’s event. “We know that we’re not going to capture every single member of the household. In my family, my wife and my daughter are Apple, me and my sons are Android,” he noted, pointing out that the majority of devices introduced today can interact with either mobile platform.


The modern mechanics of app stores: today, tomorrow and connected TV — from by Dean Johnson


What’s next for app stores?
It’s time for each platform to up its game – smart TVs are coming. The small and medium screen experience will shortly be translated to the bigger screen as connectivity and discoverability takes on even greater importance.

Google and Apple will further interweave themselves into our daily lives as iOS and Android seamlessly combine our smartphones and tablets with our new smartTVs. Electronic Program Guides (EPGs) and the programmes themselves will suggest related content, from apps to music to film to books. This must all be presented in an approachable, then browsable manner to encourage additional discovery.

The quest for the perfect meta-data will become increasingly important and voice commands will need to deliver the best search results with the minimum of fuss. This time next year, the battle of the app stores will be fought on the move, on the desktop and on the living room wall.


Samsung Launches Smart TVs With Gestures, Voice Control — from by Douglas Perry


A Kinect-like feature is made possible via camera and microphone integration that comes standard with the LED ES7500, LED ES8000 and Plasma E8000 models. According to Samsung, consumers can launch apps such as Facebook or YouTube, or search the web via voice commands. Waving the hand will move the cursor and select links. The TVs integrate a Samsung dual-core processor as well as a new Webkit-based web browser to improve overall performance. The high-end 7500 and 8000 TVs ship with a remote with an integrated touchscreen. A wireless keyboard that is compatible with Samsung’s TVs as well as the Galaxy Tab tablet is sold as an option.


New TV experiences through companion apps — from moxie pulse


Subject matter networks– from Harold Jarche

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

“I think the singular SME is an antiquated a notion as the solitary game player & our development pipelines need to change.” writes Mark Oehlert, on Twitter. Mark coined the term, subject matter networks, as a change from the industrial concept of subject matter expert, or SME, a term I first heard in the military in the mid-1970’s. But the world has changed and most notably during the past decade.

In such an environment, the lone expert is at a disadvantage. He or she cannot learn and adapt as fast as a cooperative network.

We have become connected.


From DSC:
This is exactly what I was getting at with The Forthcoming Walmart of Education (2008) and it points out, again, that innovation is much faster and stronger in the online world than it is in the face-to-face world. The tools being developed to engage, track, diagnose, and adapt continue to be developed. What may have once been poo-pooed continues to pick up steam. (Christensen, Johnson, & Horn are right on track.) The trend will be towards more team-based endeavors that can be made available at a greatly reduced price. They will be multimedia-based, highly-interactive, and state-of-the-art (technically and pedagogically).

Treating Higher Ed’s ‘Cost Disease’ With Supersize Online Courses — from The Chronicle by Marc Parry

Excerpt (with emphasis from DSC):

Professors should move away from designing foundational courses in statistics, biology, or other core subjects on the basis of “intuition,” she argues. Instead, she wants faculty to work with her team to put out the education equivalent of Super Bowl ads: expensively built online course materials, cheaply available to the masses.

“We’re seeing failure rates in these large introductory courses that are not acceptable to anybody,” Ms. Thille says. “There has to be a better way to get more students—irrespective of where they start—to be able to successfully complete.”

Her approach brings together faculty subject experts, learning researchers, and software engineers [from DSC — a TEAM-based approach] to build open online courses grounded in the science of how people learn. The resulting systems provide immediate feedback to students and tailor content to their skills. As students work through online modules outside class, the software builds profiles on them, just as Netflix does for customers. Faculty consult that data to figure out how to spend in-person class time.

From DSC:
Such learner profiles will most likely reside in the cloud and eventually standards will be established to insert new data into these profiles. The access to view/edit these profiles will be controlled by the individual learners (hopefully!).  What if learners could selectively grant corporations access to this type of profile as their new resume?

For items concerning team-based approaches, see this recording (June 2009) as well as this collection of items.

For items concerning consortia and pooling resources, see here and here.



From DSC:
Reflecting on Survival Factor [from Inside Higher Ed by Kaustuv Basu]:

Let researchers research, and teachers teach — but not both.  Teaching is an art as well as a science — and learning is messy.  It takes a long time and a great deal of effort to become an effective professor (and more “hats” are being required all the time).  On the flip side, there are skills required in research that may not be related to knowing how to be an effective professor.

The problem is — at least in many cases — that students are not served when researchers try to teach as well as do their research.  These researchers  were most likely recruited because of their ability to research — not due to their ability to teach.  I realize that there could be a subset that can do both teaching and researching.  But my experience at Northwestern was that the good researchers were not the effective teachers…and I’ll bet that’s still the case today.  Why?  Because there simply isn’t enough time and energy for most people to perform both roles well.

With the price of an education continuing to increase, is this a system we want to continue?  Are these researchers trying to improve their teaching?  Are they rewarded for their teaching efforts and growth?  If not, are the students being served here? In any other industry, would this type of situation continue to exist?

As we move towards a more team-based approach to creating and delivering education, we may want to seriously consider breaking up the roles of researcher and professor — and doing so for good. 

Stormy waters ahead as ‘disruptive forces’ sweep the old guard — from by Sarah Cunnane
Online education will turn the academy inside out, argue US authors. 


Graduation rates in the US have fallen, and states have slashed funding for higher education. As a result, public universities have raised tuition fees, and many are struggling to stay afloat during the recession. But two authors working in the US higher education sector claim that the academy has a bigger battle on the horizon: the “disruptive innovation” ushered in by online education.

This disruption, they say, will force down costs, lure prospective students away from traditional “core” universities, transform the way academics work, and spell the end for the traditional scholarly calendar based around face-to-face teaching.

Clayton M. Christensen, the Kim B. Clark professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, and Henry J. Eyring, advancement vice-president at Brigham Young University-Idaho, outline their ideas in The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out.


The perfect storm in higher ed


Also see:

Content-focusing questions for SME interviews — from by Diane Elkins


Over the years, we have developed a list of questions specifically designed to help with this SME conversation. Working with these questions helps us get the information we need and steers us away from information that isn’t relevant to the course. In some cases, providing this list to the SMEs in advance helps make the conversation go more smoothly.

  1. What are some of the areas that cause the most confusion?
  2. What are some of the most common questions you get about this topic?
  3. What are the common mistakes that people make in this area?
  4. What are the most dangerous mistakes people can make in this area? What is the impact?
  5. What are the biggest gaps between what people should be doing and what they are actually doing?
  6. Do you have any stories or examples that help illustrate key points?
  7. What content points might cause some resistance or pushback?
  8. Is there anything that might be considered new or revolutionary over what they previously did or thought?
  9. If they walked away remembering only three things, what would they be?
  10. Is there anything that they need to know “cold”? Meaning, if you stopped them on the street next Tuesday and asked them, you would want them to know the answer without blinking?
  11. Is there anything that is important but used infrequently? Perhaps rather than memorizing it, having a reference to look up would be more useful?
  12. Do you know of any checklists or reference guides that might help people use this information in their day-to-day work?
  13. Is there anything here that you would consider “nice-to-know”? Meaning, it won’t necessarily affect what they work on from day to day?

Of course, there are many other questions we need to ask for the project overall (you can find a list here), but we’ve found that these questions really help us focus on getting the best possible information from the SMEs that will be of most value to the students.

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We’ll take it from here — from by Steve Kolowich


Yet the contradiction highlights a problem familiar to many traditional universities: On the one hand, they want to compete in the global market of online higher education. Even before 2008, many lacked the cash or expertise to build an online infrastructure from scratch. As a result, some have ceded their online development and recruitment to outside companies. A cottage industry of online firms — Bisk Education, Embanet-Compass, Deltak, 2tor, Colloquy and others — has emerged to meet this need.

Saint Leo was one of the first to do this, 14 years ago. Now it may be at the front edge of another trend — that of universities that, having made the transition to online education, are dropping their for-profit partners and taking over themselves.

Also see:


Along with the benefits, the phenomenal growth of online learning also presents an uncharted set of challenges for academic institutions, most of which are much more familiar with the traditional classroom setting. Additionally, it has spurred a new set of demands and expectations from a range of stakeholders including students, instructors, regulatory institutions and advocacy groups. Given these new challenges, several factors are proving to be instrumental in shaping the way higher education institutions implement and improve upon the state of online learning.

Technology is transforming education and its impact just continues to grow. By creating and embracing a solid framework for online learning and employing cutting-edge learning management systems, higher education institutions are in a position to significantly improve student outcomes today and into the future.

Ask Marcus Buckingham anything you want — from Daniel Pink and Marcus Buckingham


In the last decade, millions of people have come around to the idea that we’re better off building on our strengths instead of constantly trying to fix our weaknesses (emphasis DSC). That change in perspective is due, in no small part, to Marcus Buckingham.

Now you’ll have a chance to ask Marcus anything you want on the next episode of Office Hours — Friday September 16 at 11am EDT.


From DSC:
What resonates with me about Marcus’ message is one of the principles that stuck with me from my economics studies; and that is, everyone benefits when we do what we do best. Again, as I age, I realize how true this is. We all have strengths and weaknesses — but the results from putting our energies into our strengths are far greater (for everyone we interface with) than the results are when we try to  make small, incremental (at best) changes to our weaknesses. The Bible also talks about this concept when it talks about parts of a body — that we play different roles…that we have different gifts and abilities but none of us are the whole body in itself.

This same concept relates to why I feel so strongly about the use of teams of specialists in the creation and delivery of content for K-12 education, higher education, and in corporate training-related efforts. No one can do it all anymore.

Graphically speaking for higher education:



Tagged with:  

The Digital Revolution and Higher Education — from the Pew Research Center by Kim Parker, Amanda Lenhart, and Kathleen Moore
College Presidents, Public Differ on Value of Online Learning


This report is based on findings from a pair of Pew Research Center surveys conducted in spring 2011. One is a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,142 adults ages 18 and older. The other is an online survey, done in association with the Chronicle of Higher Education, among the presidents of 1,055 two-year and four-year private, public, and for-profit colleges and universities.

Here is a summary of key findings…


From DSC:
First, [perhaps it’s in the appendices, but] how many of the people out in the public who were surveyed have actually taken an online class? If so, how many classes (each) have they taken and when did they take them? From whom did they take them? My guess is that most of them have never taken a class online.

Secondly, I wonder how many people thought that the telephone was a useful instrument/communication device shortly after it was introduced? Perhaps not too many…but did you use one today? Yesterday? I bet you did. I did…several times; and I bet that the same will be true of online learning (as online learning didn’t really begin to be used until the late 90’s).

The question is not whether online learning will blow away the face-to-face classroom, it’s when this will occur…? There will be many reasons for this, but the key one will be that you are putting up a team of specialists instead of using just one person. If they are reeeeaaaalllyy good (and a rare talent), that person can do the trick for now; but their success/job will continue to be increasingly difficult to perform, as they continue to pick up new hats each year, as the students’ attention spans and expectations continue to change, as lower cost models continue to emerge, etc, etc…

As Christensen, Horn, and Johnson assert, the innovation is taking place in the online learning world, and it will eventually surpass what’s possible (if it hasn’t already) in the face-to-face classrooms.



Closing the loop in education technology — from The Journal by David Nagel


K-12 education isn’t using technology effectively and isn’t investing nearly enough in IT infrastructure to enable next-generation learning. That’s the conclusion of a new report, “Unleashing the Potential of Technology in Education,” which called for a greater financial commitment to education technology and the adoption of a holistic, “closed loop” approach to its implementation.

See also:

Unleashing the Power of Technology in Education - Report from the BCG in August 2011

 From DSC:

We may continue to be disappointed in our overall results — even if we do bump up our ed tech infrastructure/investments — if we continue to use the same models/ways of doing things. That is, I wish we would move more towards a team-based approach and stop trying to load up our teachers’ and professors’ plates with tasks that they probably don’t have the time, interest, or training to do.  Graphically speaking:





So…use teams to create and deliver the content — and allow for online tutoring from a team of specialists in each discipline. Like the healthcare-related billboard I kept driving by the other day said: “A team of specialists at every step.


4 ways to sync your international teams — from by Jacob Salamon


However, time zone differences and other barriers to face-to-face communication between offices can make keeping in touch a chore. Here are some tips for working between international offices…

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