Learning, Reflections, Rhizo15, Teaching

Measure This, #Rhizo15!

If you are teaching a course or conducting a training, those providing and taking ALWAYS want to know how you will measure success, learning, and performance. ALWAYS. What’s the bottom line? What’s the ROI? What’s the learning outcome? How will we know our learners have learned or our training participants “get it”? GRADES. SCORES. NUMBERS. STATISTICS.

This week Dave reminds #Rhizo15: “Learning is a not a counting noun.”

I am tardy in this post for a number of reasons (#et4online and #Fiachra40Fest, I’m looking at you). Without even knowing it, we actually had a late night discussion post-fire pit sing-song at the #et4online conference. {How did you get in our heads, Dave? Well done, sir.} Let me share a bit of that post-ukulele, harmonizing chat for you here.

FireSide

If you think about it, our learners are programmed to believe a grade informs their knowledge but is this actually the case? Grades evaluate an outcome; however it might not really mean learning. Do you know if your learners make meaning, identify value, or apply their knowledge beyond the assignment or specific course requirement? Grades have been there to offer benchmarks, set standards of evaluation, and help instructors measure FOREVER.

“You actually believe in grades?” asked Pete (a.k.a. @allistelling)

Great question. I thought about it. My response: Not really. As a faculty member, I have to provide an outcome or a grade for my students – but that is the university requirement and standard for our department. Our academic institutions require a numbered measurement to move forward in degree programs; however it is really the process of development, fine-tuning, and involvement where I see my students “learn” the most. For our students, a number is easy. It places them in a particular level or understanding of “how am I doing in the course?” Often they look at their learning in comparison to one another, and to figure out if they are “measuring” up to the learning standards. We could do better to “show you know” in other ways beyond a numbered evaluation. Really.

I am thinking more about the grades or non-grades in a couple of my courses. Two of my online courses are very much project/portfolio based, where the final product is built throughout the whole semester. My presentation class #LTEC4121 has a “TED” talk and short demonstration video, and my instructional design/facilitation #LTEC4440 class is building a 5-week online training proposal. Both of these assignments are very applied and relevant for my students; however a number of my learners are being pushed outside the comfort zone for their projects. Although most of the course evaluation (the numbers) are weighted towards the final projects, a few students will leave this course or give up based on early grade assignments. They are concerned about their GPA in this course, their cumulative GPA, etc. Those who stick past the first few weeks actually stop asking me about the numbers. Which is great! They want to know more about shooting film and editing, or considerations for putting media into their training course program. At the end of the course, I am impressed by their projects and final videos they deliver, here are a few examples of technical demonstration created last Fall 2014 :

In our fireside conversation, we talked about the value of developing artifacts, engaging in the peer-review process, how collaborative input matters, and working through revisions leads to understanding. With grades or marks (I’ll be inclusive to my Canadian & US colleagues), educators (myself included) often forget to model learning as a process. Learning should be developmental. As instructors, we need to remember to have our learners build upon previous knowledge and apply their learning beyond our course. There should be an opportunity for our learners to take risks, make mistakes, and pick up the pieces for the course and beyond. Making learning as not a number is not easy – for both the instructor and the students. There will be confusion and possibly frustration; however you have to be willing to work through the learning process with your students. I am thinking of just grading early items as complete or not, and providing feedback for their final projects. I am also considering what really needs to be accounted for in a letter or percentage grade, with regards to their final project developments. Finally, I do want to give credit for my students who have collaborated and learned on a local level. I have witnessed a number of connections thrive beyond a semester or course, as they support one another in work, life, and then some. Perhaps it is time to get rid of a few numbers to meaure what matters for learning for my next term… it would help with all the grading that I am now going to work on now.

p.s. If you are into learning about learning, it’s not too late to join the #Rhizo15 conversation… better late than never.

Online Learning, Professional Development

#ET4online Recap, Reflections, and Review

As I regroup from last week’s Emerging Technologies for Online Learning (#et4online) conference, I am filled with ideas and inspiration. Inviting a group of teaching, learning, and researching friends invested in supporting online pedagogy is a fantastic way to wrap up April.With the help of a fab #et4online steering committee (especially that co-chair Michelle), we were pleased to bring OLC to my current hometown, Dallas, TX.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 9.32.18 AM

Thanks to ALL who contributed to the #et4online program. I was genuinely impressed by the quality of content, interactions, and engagement in the conference workshops, sessions, #et4women dinner, panels, and more! I was told time and time again, how much participants enjoyed the program and felt motivated to bring these ideas back to campus. Way to bring your A-game to Dallas, #et4online! BIG THANKS and shout out to the #et4online Program Track Chairs (@adesinamedia@amichaelberman, @ajsalts@JLeafstedt, @Profpatrice,  & @unatdaly) and our proposal readers for putting this together!

ET4MontageThe conversations and interactions at #et4online really provided momentum for supporting my online learners. I am already thinking about ways to improve my own online teaching and learning, to include action-based pedagogy, #et4messy learning, and reconsider assessment in my curriculum.  It was also a  treat to listen to our #et4online keynote & plenary speakers reflect and share research, projects, and developments in the follow areas of technology emergence – thank you so much:

I am grateful for the collaborative and sharing spirit of the #et4online participants. I was so pleased by a number of new initiatives and happenings at the conference – which also left me contemplating and considering a few things ahead, including:

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Messy Learning sketch by Giulia Forsythe

  • The value of wrapping up a conference with #unet4online the ET4Online Unconference hosted in Canvas facilitated by @Jessifer & @slamteacher (About & remote support @Bali_Maha) + Tweets. Although I was exhausted at the end of the conference, this was  – BY FAR – one of my ET4 conference highlights. The discussions were very fruitful and active in the #unet4online room. It was nice to connect with a few new folks, and walk away with a few new ideas after this thoughtful debriefing session.
  • Hybrid participation in a conference with the #et4buddy pilot project with @Bali_Maha & @rjhogue – Submit feedback for the #et4buddy and #et4buddy video playlist. I am still thinking about this hybrid engagement for a few and its impact for others at the conference. What does it mean to be present at a conference? How does this type of digital involvement make meaning for in-person interactions? How does this interaction help or hinder everyone’s conference experience? Can this meta conference be the “same” or does it have to be?
  • The purpose of the Teacher Tank (Launch Pad) to #et4online, and beyond an entertainment value – how does this really serve #et4online participants? The ideas for this new program feature was to have  ed tech startup’s provide a solution for teaching and learning by sharing their results & preliminary feedback. After processing with the startups, judges, and reviewing the #et4snark meta backchannel, many agreed the format/concept has little value-added to the program.  During the #unet4online conference, we had a great talk about a hackspace and/or collaboration to provide a more meaningful concept — so I look forward to our next meeting about this in May to re-purpose the “shark tank.”
  • The after conference social times that included #et4Bonfire Sing-Songs, dinners, karaoke, 1st Ukulele Lessons #moocalele & harmonizing with peers. These impromptu lessons & creative spaces should have a bigger place for professional development and learning at our conferences. I want to think more about this for next year. How can the non-sessions provide a great space to dialog, learning & engage? Where could and should this fit into a future conference?

A HUGE thanks goes out to the on-going efforts and developments of the OLC Technology Test Kitchen. The addition of the hands-on demonstrations by the Technology Test Kitchen Chefs #et4TTK  was brilliant. I would like to give a shout out to @jlknott & @scragg_OSU for their efforts on organizing this play/maker space! Thank you.

I am continuing to absorb and read others reflections about #ET4Online from tweets and in the blogosphere – thanks for sharing Adam, Patrice, Maha, Jeff, Rebecca, and others to come. Please continue to post your blog reflections, write comments, and share your general thoughts. Also remember to complete the post-conference evaluation so we can better understand your impression of #et4online and improve future events. This survey will take less than 5 minutes, and the #et4online steering committee will use this information to learn about your experiences and utilize this for planning ahead:

Onsite Survey

Virtual Attendee Survey

This was my 3rd and last #et4online conference. Like the ones before it, ET4 did not fail to deliver quality memories and interactions. Next year #et4online will be replaced by the NEW OLC Innovate Conference 2016 in New Orleans, LA from April 20-22, 2016.

innovate_spiral

We will be taking ideas from both #et4online and #blend15 for the OLC Innovate 2016 event. Are you interested in getting involved in planning this new event? Want to contribute to planning the program or being a member of the steering committee? Interested in being a program proposal reader? Do you have an idea or suggestions for Innovate 2016? Let me know – complete this Google Form:

Learning Community

What’s A Learning Subjective? #Rhizo15

In the first course week of #Rhizo15 Dave asked us to define our learning subjectives, specifically:

  • How do we design our own or others learning when we don’t know where we are going?
  • How does that free us up?
  • What can we get done with subjectives that can’t be done with objectives?

After reading a the follow-up blog post & the list of #Rhizo15 Week 1 blog posts (Thanks, @Lenandlar) prompted me to respond. Learning is uncertain, and happens at the rarest moment.

As an educator, we get caught up with the standard Learning Objective slant for teaching and learning. Learning objectives (sometimes referred to as intended learning outcomes or course-specific goals) are clear statements to describe the competencies learners should possess upon completion of a course (Simon & Taylor, 2009; Harder, 2002; Kennedy, 2007). An effective learning objective identifies what a student would know and be able to demonstrate along with the depth of learning expected from the curriculum.

With #Rhizo15 the lack of learning objectives provides a lot of freedom to explore ideas, connect to meaning, and identify new ways of knowing. I think a learning subjective is when students are encouraged to make their own learning personal. I felt bad for a delayed blog post on this topic — but then I remembered — being subjective means individualizing and customizing my own way to learn. Subjective learning allows for more preference and flexibility, which provides dynamic ways to engage in uncertain patterns and developments from within a course. Learning objectives provide well-defined outcomes and intentions for learning. The openness of learning subjectives provides opportunities for students to drive the course agenda and direct their interests for topics. For some teachers and students, learning subjectives might place education out of its comfort zone to consider what a curriculum could be if defined by all those involved. I think

For many teachers and students, learning subjectives might place all outside of our educational comfort zones. Consider what your course and curriculum would be like if you showed up to class on the first day and asked everyone in the room to design & be a participant in your course? Bring on the blank stares. I suspect many students would walk out of the room or drop your online class. Not for the ability or empowerment of being part of the learning design process, but more out of the fear of the unknown. I think Tania‘s metaphor explained it best: a jigsaw puzzle. This daunting task of figure out where to put the pieces together for ambiguous learning is complicated and requires a lot of work. Are you ready to commit for this complicated and multi-layered task? Am I? Who knows? But I am willing to give it a try. [If I am overwhelmed by the #rhizo15 learning swarm – I always have Keith to ask. :)]

My learning subjective for #Rhizo15 will be en par with how I prefer to travel, e.g. backpacking across Europe. Travel light. Show up to the airport or train station. Select a random place to go. Identify a few things I might see or do. Be open to new adventures and experiences. Sure. I might get lost or not know the language – but I will figure it out or it will be an experience at least. The not knowing what is ahead is okay. I will find the way with others, as there are a number of locals and travelers I can have a chat with. Only memories (a few photos & blog posts) and connections will follow me home as souvenirs.

me & parliament#TBT from 2006 London – {Note To Self: I need to digitize my earlier travel photogs.}

I am looking forward to bumping into a few #Rhizo15 friends as I travel through this course. My learning pack is ready, and I want to explore. Some of you I will see soon (in person), others online, and then — who knows — I might even travel to a location near YOU soon (get your guest room or couch ready)! For now, I look forward to our learning travels online. Stay in touch!

References:

Harden, R. M. (2002). Learning outcomes and instructional objectives: Is there a difference?. Medical teacher, 24(2), 151-155.

Kennedy, D. (2007). Writing and using learning outcomes: a practical guide. Cork, Ireland: University College Cork.

Simon, B., & Taylor, J. (2009). What is the value of course-specific learning goals. Journal of College Science Teaching, 39(2), 52-57.

Learning Community

Curriculum T.B.D. with #rhizo15

From A Practical Guide to Rhizo15: “Rhizomatic learning is one story for how we can think about learning and teaching in a complex world.” Dave Cormier (@davecormier) has been thinking “in the rhizo” for a while and expressing ideas of the community as curriculum for teaching and learning. Cormier (2011) believes a curriculum for a course can be created in time, while a course is happening, specifically  “… to be rhizomatic involves creating a context, maybe some boundaries, within which a conversation can grow.”  

Sometimes learning can be messy. The rhizome concept is often uncertain as it maps in any direction, starts at any point, and grows or spreads with experimentation within a context. From this idea and others shared at the #ALN14 keynote (Pasquini, 2014), I gathered a number of valuable ideas to shape learning contracts for my own students and encouraging learners to map their own ways of knowing and evaluations (Brubaker, 2010). This talk directly impacted a new course I am teaching this term. Much of the content needed life infused into it, and learners did not seem connected to ideas for effective training and development facilitation from the previous iteration. I turned to my learners to ask them to make meaning and apply these concepts to practical situations, workplace experiences, and relevant examples they might encounter. From the class discussions, curation of readings, and developments of training/instruction, a number of my learners felt more empowered and felt as though they were part of their learning process. That being said – it does not mean things were clean and easy. There were a few bumps along the way; however this process of evaluating the learning structure helped me consider the process of knowing and supporting a collaborative curriculum down the road.

Based on my own interest in learning, and the hashtag (#) map of #rhizo15 conversation, I figured #rhizo15 would be a great place to connect and explore this concept further. [Thanks for recommending Socioviz to meet & greet with the community, Dave. Great idea!]

rhizo15hash

If you did not hear great things about the conversations, questions, and sharing from the #rhizo14 group – then you must have lived under an Internet rock last year. The #rhizo14 community often shared a number of valuable insights and resources. Although I tried to play in the sandbox with this active, online community, something got in the way of my participation (I’m looking at you dissertation). I am looking forward to the #rhizo15 camp that officially kicks off on April 15th for 6 weeks o’ fun as the participants build the curriculum. Here’s to playing in the unknown and building our learning out with fresh perspectives and gentle pushes from the #rhizo15 learning network.

Interested in joining the #rhizo15 fun? Here’s a few ways you can engage:

References

Brubaker, N. D. (2010). Negotiating authority by designing individualized grading contracts. Studying Teacher Education, 6(3), 257-267.

Cormier, D. (2011, November 5). Rhizomatic Learning – why we teach? Dave’s Educational Blog. Retrieved from http://davecormier.com/edblog/2011/11/05/rhizomatic-learning-why-learn/

Pasquini, L. A. (2014, October 31). Dave Cormier: Rhizomatic Learning – The Community is the Curriculum. The 2014 Annual Online Learning Consortium Conference (#ALN14), Orlando, FL. Retrieved from https://storify.com/laurapasquini/davecormier-s-aln14-keynote-twitter-notes

Learning and Performance, Professional Development, Training & Development

Twitter to Enhance Learning & Performance

Twitter provides the opportunity to have micro-conversations in 140 characters or less. This social media platform has been repurposed by a number of educators for workplace learning. Twitter is not the only form of professional development available and you do not have to tweet to learn.  That being said, an increasing number of educators have repurposed and remixed Twitter for work learning and performance. You would be surprised what 140 characters can do to create community and interaction online. A number of grassroots initiatives have developed for educators to consider Twitter as part of their professional development plans for informal learning, scholarly development, and shared practices. For me, the last seven years spent on Twitter has been invaluable. This platform continues to provide an open, informal learning space to collaborate and banter with a community of educators. Thanks for that, Larry.

Twitter Bird in the Lattice

Flickr photo c/o Brian Kopp

Twitter is really the “water-cooler” for educators to share news, post reports/trends, read the news, review research, ask questions, gather information, and curate knowledge. Educators are increasingly expressing ideas and links to relevant websites, videos, articles, images, etc. related the workforce.  This commentary and resources were shared for my own learners and other training participants who want to “get started” with workplace learning and performance – so I welcome your shared suggestions for helpful Twitter resources and tips in the comments below.

The Twitter Basics:

Hashtags & Backchannels

GotHashtag

Hashtag: A symbol used in Twitter messages, the # symbol, used to identify keywords or topics in a Tweet. The hashtag was an organic creation by Twitter users as a way to categorize Twitter messages and link keywords posted on Twitter. Besides a current event or pop culture reference, Twitter has been an essential part of the conference tool kit to support sharing on the backchannel. You no longer have to be in-person to engage in the workshops, presented talks, or round table discussions via the live experience. There’s now a full stream of activity created around single hashtags for professional development and workplace learning events.

Here are just a few Hashtags to SEARCH and Follow:  

  • #AcWri (academic writing)
  • #highered
  • #digped
  • #edtech and #onlinelearning
  • #phdchat and #gradchat and #SAdoc
  • #Open and #OER and #openaccess
  • #acadv (academic advising)
  • #StudentAffairs and #sachat
  • And MORE!
  • P.D. hashtags related to your field and conferences, e.g. 2015 Education and Ed Tech Conferences [Psssst… you can add to it if  I’m missing any!]

What Is a Twitter Chat and How to Make the Most of ItTwitter chats are threaded discussions using a hashtag to dialogue about a specific subject.Twitter chats are linked conversations via a single hashtag that participants can search, follow, and include in their own Tweet as they respond during the Twitter chat time. Twitter chats are similar to online chats, forums, or discussion boards; however, they are often synchronous and active during a designated date and time. The hashtag for many chats continues past the “live” event on Twitter for others who want to share and engage. Some Twitter chats guide the discussion or have open topics central theme, while others Twitter chats are moderated in a structured question-response format. E.g. Edu Chat Calendar http://bit.ly/educhatcalendar and the Twitter Directory from IHE. 

Other Twitter Tips & Resources:

EdTech, Learning Technologies

Checklist: Selecting Technology for Learning

With so many possibilities for digital learning, selecting media and technologies for appropriate course instruction is a very complex process. Although there are a wide range of options in the ed tech realm, pedagogical considerations should always come first. Instructors should reflect on the learning objective and desired outcomes for their subject matter before identifying identifying technological applications for the course.

The SECTIONS model, developed by Tony Bates (2015), is a pedagogical framework for determining what technology, specifically how this technology will be appropriate for instructional approaches. This might include identifying and determining pedagogical characteristics of text, audio, video, computing, and social media. With this framework, Bates (2015) asks five critical questions for teaching and learning for technology and media selection:

  1. Who are the learners?
  2. What are the desired learning outcomes from the teaching?
  3. What instructional strategies will be employed to facilitate the learning outcomes?
  4. What are the unique educational characteristics of each medium/technology, and how well do these match the learning and teaching requirements?
  5. What resources are available?

In thinking about the interplay of technology and learning, higher education courses will need to consider how this design process is developed. In this book chapter, Bates shared an alternative approach to the ADDIE model for instructional design – Learning + Technology Development Process Model (Hibbitts & Travin, 2015).

Learning + Technology Development Process Model (Hibbitts & Travin, 2015)Regardless of the model for learning design, it will be important to assess how technology will impact the pedagogy. The SECTIONS model is an effective framework to best inform instructors when deciding what media or technology to use for face-to-face, online or blended learning courses:

  • Students
  • Ease of use
  • Costs
  • Teaching functions (including the affordances of different media)
  • Interaction
  • Organizational issues
  • Networking
  • Security and privacy

I would encourage you to utilize Bates’ (2015) Questions to Guide Media Selection and Use, to support your learning design when consider technology adoption for teaching. This open, shared educational resource will provide you with a broader reflection on issues and considerations for your digital pedagogy. Here is an abbreviated checklist for selecting technologies for learning I adopted for a learning module. It was developed for faculty who would like to consider the broader issues for teaching with technology, and how to navigate this course planning process for digital/media inclusions.

Checklist: Selecting Technology for Learning

STUDENTS

  • Review accessibility mandate or policy of your institution, department or program.
  • Determine demographics of the students and appropriateness of technology.
  • Consider student access to technologies, both off campus and on campus.
  • Determine digital skills and digital readiness of your students with learning expectations.
  • Justify students purchases of a new technology component (if needed) for learning.
  • Assess prior learning approaches & how technology can support student learning.

EASE OF USE

  • Select the technology for ease of use by instructor and students.
  • Identify technology that is reliable for teaching and learning.
  • Verify the technology set up, maintenance and upgrade is simple.
  • Confirm the technology provider/company is stable to support hardware or software use.
  • Outline strategies to secure any digital teaching materials you create should the organization providing the software or service cease to exist.
  • Locate technical & professional support, both in terms of the technology and with respect to the design of materials.
  • Determine technologies to best support edits and updates of learning materials.
  • Outline how the new technology will change teaching with to get better results
  • Assess risks and potential challenges for using this technology for teaching and learning.

COST & YOUR TIME

  • Consider media selection by the length of time and ease of use during course development.
  • Factor the time it takes to prepare lectures, and determine if development of digital learning materials will save time and encourage interaction with students (online and/or face-to-face).
  • Investigate if there is extra funding for innovative teaching or technology applications; if so, determine how to best use that funding for learning technologies.
  • Assess the local support from your institution from instructional designers and media professionals for media design and development.
  • Identify open educational resources for the course, e.g. an open textbook, online videos, library page of articles, or other potential open educational resources.

TEACHING & LEARNING FACTORS

  • Determine the desired learning outcomes from the teaching in terms of content and skills.
  • Design instructional strategies to facilitate the learning outcomes.
  • Outline unique pedagogical characteristics appropriate for this course, in terms of content presentation and skill development, specifically for:
    • Textbook, readings, or other online text materials;
    • Audio, such as podcasts, streaming audio from news, etc.;
    • Video, such as slide presentations, lectures, tutorials, and screencasts; and
    • Social media, such as blogs, wikis, microblogs, photo sharing, curation, etc.
  • Plan learning aspects that must be face-to-face (in-person or online).

INTERACTION

  • Identify the skills for development and interactions that are most to determine the best type of media or technology to facilitate this learning.
  • Determine the kinds of kinds of interaction to produce a good balance between student comprehension and student skills development.
  • Estimate the amount of time the instructor will be interacting personally or online with students, and the type of medium for this interaction.

ORGANIZATIONAL ISSUES

  • Determine institutional support in choosing and using media or technology for teaching.
  • Identify if the institutional support is easily accessible, helpful, and will meet the needs for the learning technologies for the course.
  • Determine if there is funding available to “buy me out” for a semester and/or to fund a teaching assistance/support to concentrate on designing a new course or revising an existing course.
  • Locate institutional funding or resources for any learning technology or media production.
  • Review the standard technologies, practices and procedures for teaching and learning, to verify requirements for utilizing institutional technology resources, i.e. the learning management system, lecture capture system, etc.
  • Determine if the institution will support trying a new technological approach to learning, and will support innovative media or digital design.

NETWORKING

  • Outline the importance for learners to network beyond a course, i.e. with subject specialists, professionals in the field, and relevant people in the community.
  • Identify how the course or student learning can benefit from networking and learning from external connections.
  • Determine the appropriate network and/or social media space to integrate for your learners to network with each other and connect with external community members.
  • Integrate these networking mediums with standard course technology.
  • Delegate responsibility for its design and/or administration to students or learners.

SECURITY AND PRIVACY

  • Determine the student information you are obliged to keep private and secure.
  • Identify the institutional policies for security and privacy for teaching & learning.
  • Outline potential risks and challenges of using a particular technology where institutional policies concerning privacy could easily be breached.
  • Identify who at your institution could best advise you on security and privacy concerns, with regards to learning and teaching technologies.
  • Itemize the areas of teaching and learning, if any, available only to students registered in the course.
  • Identify the types of technologies to best restrict or limit access to course materials (if any) for my registered students.

Interested in reviewing your own learning design further? DOWNLOAD the Checklist: Selecting Technology for Learning

Reference:

Bates, A. W. (2015). Chapter 8: Choosing and using media in education: The SECTIONS model. From Teaching in a Digital Age. A Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Retrieved from http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

Hibbitts, P. D., & Travin, M. T. (2015). Learning + technology development process model.