From DSC:
Many people talk about engagement when they discuss learning, and with good reason. It seems to me that what they are really getting at is the topic of getting and maintaining someone’s *attention.* Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning. I wonder if some of the next generation learning platforms that employ some level of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled features, will look to a learner’s preferences (as stored in their cloud-based learner’s profile) in order to help gain/maintain such attention.

And this also helps explain why allowing more learner agency — i.e., more choice, more control — in pursuing their own interests and passions really helps: A motivated learner is paying closer attention to what’s going on.

 

Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning.

 

 

From DSC:
And along these lines, that’s one of the key reasons I’d like to see more involvement from the Theatre Departments, Computer Science Departments, and from those involved with creative writing across the land — in terms of helping develop content for remote and online-based education. Actors, actresses, set designers, costumer designers, audio/video editors, programmers/software developers, and more who could collaborate on these kinds of ideas.

Last comment on this. I don’t mean that we should present our classes like many advertisements do (i.e., running a thousand images by me within 30 seconds). But changing things up periodically — both visually and audibly —  can help regain/reset your students’ attentions.

 

Top IT Issues, 2021: Emerging from the Pandemic — from educause.edu

Excerpt:

The EDUCAUSE Top IT Issues list has been refactored for 2021 to help higher education shape the role technology will play in the recovery from the pandemic. What different directions might institutional leaders take in their recovery strategy? How can technology help our ecosystem emerge stronger and fitter for the future?

The 2021 EDUCAUSE IT Issues project explores these questions using a very different approach from previous years. Anticipating potential ways institutions might emerge from the pandemic, this year we offer three Top IT Issues lists and examine the top 5 issues within three scenarios that may guide institutional leaders’ use of technology: restore, evolve, and transform.

Educause's Top IT Issues for 2021

Also see:

 

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.

 

Canvas Certified Educator program for higher education

Per “Instructure Launches Canvas Certified Educator Program” out at The Journal by Dian Schaffhauser:

Each course is expected to take about four weeks to finish. They include:

  • Core 1: Foundational frameworks, which explores the impact of technology on student learning and the classroom and how Canvas can be used to help educators boost student achievement, motivation and engagement;
  • Core 2: Engagement strategies, to examine how Canvas can help enrich teaching practices and maximize student achievement;
  • Core 3: Personalized learning, to dive into personalized learning and learn how to create opportunities for student voice and choice within the learning environment;
  • Core 4: Transformational practices, to help participants learn how to evaluate open standard digital learning tools that can enhance learning through Canvas; and
  • Electives, described as a series of optional courses that can be selected by educators based on interests and needs.
 

Financial aid officials share how they’re advising college students now — from educationdive.com by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
We asked administrators how they are guiding students and families through a process made more complex by COVID-19.

Excerpt:

This uncertainty among students and families has compounded an already complex process. Education Dive contacted several financial aid experts and asked them one question: What changes in the financial aid process should colleges account for during the pandemic, and how should they communicate those changes to students, families and the public?

 

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Monthly Update on Higher Education Enrollment — as of October 15, 2020 and as referenced late last week by The Chronicle of Higher Education

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Monthly Update on Higher Education Enrollment

From DSC:
The window of opportunity for traditional institutions of higher education to reinvent themselves, become cheaper, and offer more value is beginning to close. The window is still there…but it’s beginning to close.

 
 

The pandemic pushed universities online. The change was long overdue. — from hbr-org.cdn.ampproject.org by Sean Gallagher and Jason Palmer; with thanks to Mike Mathews for his posting on LinkedIn re: this item

Excerpt:

A number of elite institutions — such as Princeton University, Williams College, Spelman College, and American University — have substantially discounted tuition for their fully online experience in an historically unprecedented fashion, highlighting pricing pressures and opening up Pandora’s box. This comes after a decade of growth in postsecondary alternatives, including “massively open online courses” (MOOCs), industry-driven certification programs, and coding bootcamps.

This moment is likely to be remembered as a critical turning point between the “time before,” when analog on-campus degree-focused learning was the default, to the “time after,” when digital, online, career-focused learning became the fulcrum of competition between institutions.

 

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.

 

Watch out for these 3 mistakes you’re making during distance teaching — from edsurge.com by Paul Emerich France

Excerpt:

Distance teaching also shone a light on problematic practices that were never effective in person, either. And trying to re-create them in a virtual environment didn’t make them any better. As many schools resume remote instruction this fall, watch out for these three mistakes you may be making. More importantly, give yourself the liberty to try out some of the alternative approaches that can help make distance teaching more sustainable and effective.

 

 

From Beth McMurtrie in this week’s “Teaching” over at The Chronicle:

  • Examples of innovative assessment strategies
  • An instructor’s request to help students engage with digital textbooks
  • Some resources for effective online, equitable, & antiracist teaching

Teaching -- over at The Chronicle

From DSC:
I especially appreciated the item re: the creation/use of multimedia-based content in place of a more traditional assessment. This type of assignment/assessment allows more choice and it opens up opportunities for more creativity and expression.

 

From edsurge.com today:

THOROUGHLY MODERN MEDIA: This spring, a college theater course about women’s voting rights aimed to produce a new play about the suffrage struggle. When the pandemic scuttled those plans, professors devised a new way to share suffragist stories by creating an interactive, online performance set in a virtual Victorian mansion. And their students were not the only ones exploring women’s voting rights as the country marks the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.

…which linked to:

The Pandemic Made Their Women’s Suffrage Play Impossible. But the Show Went on— Virtually — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts:

Then the pandemic hit. Students left Radford and Virginia Tech. Live theater was canceled.

But the class wasn’t.

“Neither of us ever said, ‘Forget it,’” Hood says. “Our students, they all wanted to know, ‘What are we doing?’ We came to them with this insane idea.”

They would create an interactive, online production staged in a virtual Victorian mansion.

“Stage performance is different than film or audio. If you just have audio, you only have your voice. Clarity, landing sentences, really paying attention to the structure of a sentence, becomes important,” Nelson says. “Students got a broader sense of the skills and approaches to different mediums—a crash course.”

 

From DSC:
Talk about opportunities for interdisciplinary learning/projects!!!  Playwrights, directors, actors/actresses, set designers, graphic designers, fine artists, web designers and developers, interactivity/interface designers, audio designers, video editors, 3D animators, and more!!!

 

The performance website, “Women and the Vote,” premiered on May 18, 2020

 

Here’s how colleges should help close the digital divide in the COVID-Era — from edsurge.com by Dr. Mordecai I. Brownlee

Excerpt:

One key problem prevalent in many low-socioeconomic communities around the nation—like San Antonio, which now has the highest poverty rate of the country’s 25 largest metro areas—is the digital divide. Digital divide is a term used to describe the gap present in society between those who have access to the internet and technology and those who don’t.

It speaks directly to a primary challenge facing our education system in this COVID-era: Some students and families have the means to succeed in a remote learning environment, and others do not.

 

Meet the new face of Webex Assistant — from blog.webex.com by Kacy Kizer

Excerpt:

You may be familiar with Webex Assistant, the AI-powered voice assistant for work. Now known as Webex Assistant for Webex Rooms, our original digital assistant allows you to control compatible Webex Rooms devices with your voice, making it easy to join a meeting with just a few words, manage your meetings and devices from anywhere in the room, and much more.

  • A voice-activated assistant allows you to easily control the meeting through a set of voice commands.
  • Simply ask your AI-powered Webex Assistant to do things like create actions items, take notes, and even set up future meetings—with just your voice.
  • Your Webex Assistant will automatically transcribe the entire meeting in real-time.
  • With visual animation, your virtual AI assistant interacts with you and your meeting attendees during the meeting and when called upon.

The Cisco Webex Digital Assistant -- how might AI impact the online-based learning experience?

From DSC:

  • How might these types of technologies impact online-based learning?
  • What new affordances might they bring to the learner’s experience?
  • For example, what if a listening assistant (AI) could identify some key issues/topics and then go out and grab/present some URL’s of relevant journal articles, chapters from a given textbook, blog postings, etc.? What if each student’s AI could be directed to do so independently?

#IntelligentTutoring | #IntelligentSystems |  #AI |  #EmergingTechnologies | #Collaboration | #Productivity | #PersonalizedEducation

Also see:

Cisco Webex Desk Pro -- AI integrated into Webex Meetings

 

Team-based content creation/delivery | We need this & other paradigm shifts to help people survive & thrive [Christian]

From DSC:
If the first wave of the Coronavirus continues — and is joined by a second wave later this year or early next year — I think a more permanent, game-changing situation is inevitable. As such, now’s the time to change the paradigms that we’ve been operating under.

It’s time to move to *a team-based approach.* To build up the set of skills an organization needs to pivot and adapt — regardless of what comes their way.

Let’s stop asking one faculty member to do it all! Consider this:

  • Would you fly in a plane that was engineered/designed/built by one person?
  • Would you drive a car that was engineered/designed/built by one person?
  • Would you go into brain surgery with only one other person in the operating room?
  • Are you, like me, amazed at the long list of people (and their specialties) who contributed to a major motion picture?!? The credits go on for several minutes — even when moving at a fast pace! Would you watch a major motion picture that was written, acted, produced, directed by — and had all of the music, special effects, and audio-related work done by — only one person? 

With the move to online learning, one person can’t do it all anymore — at least not at the level that the newer generations are coming to expect. They have grown accustomed to amazing, team-based/built content and products.

Plus, newer generations are going to know and experience much more telehealth-related services…then much more telelegal-related services. They will come to experience/expect high-quality learning-related products and services that way as well. Going forward, there are too many skillsets required by the creation and production of high-quality, online-based learning — not to mention the continued hard work of staying up-to-date on the main subject matter expertise at hand.

So if the kind of perspective continues as found in this piece — SURVEY: Students say they shouldn’t have to pay full price for online classes — then colleges and universities would do well to invest money in new Research & Development efforts, in team-based content creation, and in reimagining what online-learning could act/be like. Same for the vendors out there. And faculty members would be wise to invest the time and energy it takes to be able to teach online as well as in a face-to-face setting. Not only are they more marketable once they’ve done this, but they are then also more prepared to find their place within an uncertain future.

All of this will likely be an expensive process. Also, greater collaboration will be needed within a department (as we can’t be building a course per professor) as well as between organizations.  Perhaps the use of consortiums will increase…I’m not sure.

Perhaps a new platform will develop — similar to what’s contained in this vision. Such a platform will feature content that was designed and built by a team. Such a learning-related platform will offer streams of highly-relevant content — while providing continuous, affordable, up-to-date, convenient, and very well done means of staying marketable/employed. 

We will likely be seeing this vision come to reality in the future.

For another paradigm shift, accreditation bodies/practices are going to have to also change, adapt, pivot, and help innovative ideas come to fruition. But that’s another posting for another day.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian