MOOC, Professional Development, SocioTech

#EDUSprint 1: Beyond MOOCs – IT as a Force of Change

I joined today’s @EDUCAUSE 1st #EDUSprint webinar, IT as a Force of Change, discussed connected learning, technological impacts, educational models, and, of course, MOOCs. For those of us who educate, design, and research these items, not much of today’s session was new; however the speakers highlighted some interesting points and conversations around “where we are and where we need to go with higher education learning?” Today’s session was focused on framing large-scale, online learning programs – which is why MOOCs came to the forefront of the questions and discussion with the featured panel: Elliot Masie (The MASIE Center) and Chris Dede and Timothy Wirth (Learning Technologies, Harvard University). #EDUSprint 1 - Beyond MOOCs

MOOCs were called many things and labels were shared about the role of MOOCs in higher education. Here are a few words/phrases to describe MOOCs: unbundle, four letter word, innovation, change, disruption of education, learning model, same-old pedagogy, digital engagement, connected learning, revenue-maker, the future, and even an EXPERIMENT. If this is true…

In thinking about pedagogy and instructional design, I really hope we are considering the impact to our learners and subject material. Too often we go to the “shiny and new” hype for learning trends, rather than using learning outcomes to align curriculum content and assessments. Sometimes, I think our administration and educational leaders seem to miss the point…

Here are a few resources shared during the session that might be useful for those of you wanting to bone up on large-scale online learning with MOOCs:

Beyond the talk and questions about MOOCs, I thought the central thread for connected learning and meaning-making in education was strong. The fundamental question that needs to be ASKED and ANSWERED by more of our institutions was posed by Elliot.  was posed by Elliot is critical for our institutions to ASK and answer:

“How can we build a connected campus?

More information and a recording of the 1st #EDUsprint session can be found HERE, and, of course, there are a few Twitter notes from other #EDUsprint -ers for you to take a gander at… and perhaps I’ll see you in the #EDUsprint streams tomorrow…

EdTech, PhD, Professional Development, Reflections

#et4online What Happens In Vegas, Should be Blogged

Much to my surprise, my first visit to Sin City was less about the bright lights, gambling, or trouble I could cause…and more about innovative ideas and collective sharing for learning technologies. This is what happens when you attend the 6th Annual International Symposium on Emerging Technologies for Online Learning (#et4online).

Waiting for my flight to #et4online

In returning from the #et4online conference, I think that there are a number of great conversations, thoughts, and questions I am left with. So, fortunately for my readers, what happens at an #et4online conference in Las Vegas, will NOT stay in Vegas.

Here are a few #et4online conference highlights, notes & tweets (I am not alone – as I know @tjoosten does this as well):

  1. Location Location Location – Kudos for the Planet Hollywood site. Easy to get around, wifi access was great, it was the middle of the strip & close to some great restaurants, and, most importantly, Rex Manning from Empire Records looked over me while I sleep. What more could a gal want?
  2. #EdTechCareer Forum Round Tables – This was the 1st year to start this initiative; however we had a decent turn out and more importantly conversation with our facilitators @amcollier @veletsianos@tjoosten, @whitneykilgore, Kevin Grazino & Rachel Salas-Didier. Thank you to the emerging scholars and career-seekers who stopped by to talk about direction in the field, finding passion, planning for career applications, and more around the job search and career development we have in the #edtech field.
  3. Keynote: What’s That Coming Over the Hill? Digital Futures, Emerging Cultures, New Learning c/o @timbuckteeth This chat had a malay of ideas and experiences for connected learning and pedagogy. Unfortunately Steve had to return back to #PELC13 back in Plymouth, otherwise it would have been great to pick his brain about e-learning more.  Here are a few notes myself & others took via Twitter from his talk.
  4. Plenary: Seven Tales of Learning Online with Emerging Technologies with @veletsianos I like how George shared his learning experiences as a student, researcher, and instructor to help us look critically and realistically at how we are using emerging technologies in education. Here are a few collected tweets from the talk.
  5. The Launch Pad: What a great way to show case Ed Tech start ups, and provide an space in the conference to discuss how educators/developers can work together and collaborate to pilot these initiatives. It was great to connect with Lida & Scott from @Ginkgotree after our BreakDrink.com podcast last October to demo the product. Great to hang out & hopefully we’ll connect again in MI soon!
  6. Discussion & Dialogues of Education Is and Is Not – Specifically what is broken or needs to be fixed, and the reality of this statement. I appreciate how George Veletsianos engages in this more on his blog post, and chat with Amy Collier encouraged me more to think about the change, challenges, and issues being labeled in higher education and for online learning.
  7. #UNet4online: Open Space Technology – These sessions were threaded throughout the conference program and facilitated by Jennifer Ross (@jar) to encourage conversations and idea-swapping for online learning. I was able to attend one on April 10th and the final one on April 11th. I appreciated the  free space to challenge, ask questions, brainstorm, and share ideas/practices with peers. Shout out to the #unet4online tweeps: @amcollier ,@rasebastian, @veletsianos@KavuBob, @jleung81, @g4m, @johnrturnerhpt, @jar@hollyrae, @desertjul & @markjwlee who joined in on various unconference conversations. We were able to  talk about valuable ideas for learning including distributed flip educational models (not.a.MOOC),  higher education organizational design/culture, and ownership in education. Want to learn more? Check out the fantastic post on the (f)unconference from Amy Collier or my rough Google doc notes.
  8. Getting Social  – For me, this is why you attend a conference. I love connecting with others and learning how they are working with students, researching ideas, and just having some great banter. I am glad I got some quality time with @amcollier, catch up time with @tjoosten & @veletsianos, and hang time with new friends, such as @jar @dwicksspu & @kavubob. For those of you who were social [media] online – it was nice to connect via the #et4online hashtag. Let’s continue the conversation.

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.53.16 PM

Thanks to David Wicks (@dwicksspu) for inviting me to join the #et4online conference steering committee. I look forward to 2014 #et4online planning in Dallas, TX. Giddy up! For those of you who are going to Summerfest & #Blend13 – I will see you in July. 🙂

#phdchat, Learning Technologies

CFP: Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Conference #et4online

The 6th Annual International Symposium for Emerging Technologies for Online Learning (#et4online) from April 9-11, 2013 (Planet Hollywood Resort – Las Vegas, Nevada) wants YOU to submit a conference proposal. Proposals are DUE by 11 pm CDT on December 10, 2012

The Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium, a joint Symposium of Sloan Consortium and MERLOT, is designed to bring together individuals interested in the review and evaluation of emerging technologies’ impact on online teaching and learning.

The 2013 Emerging Technologies Symposium chairs know technology for learning is shifting quickly:

“New discoveries in technology happen rapidly and far too frequently. It is difficult to keep up with every new release or innovation.  Advances in technology often become the vehicle for new ways to learn or enhance learner opportunities in our classrooms. As educators we progress forward, gaze back, and aim to bring the best of old and new to create an optimal environment to our students. However daunting this mission is, we tackle the problems and learn best from those who are already building the bridges and taking on the tasks we want to try. The field is advanced by those who share, scrutinize, and study. We invite you to contribute to the progress by presenting and attending this year’s symposium and encouraging your colleagues to join our efforts.” 

The #et4online steering committee is interested in interactive sessions that engage and inform participants for the following areas:

  • Higher Education and K-12 Faculty
  • Future professors and graduate students
  • Educational technology leaders
  • Students
  • Instructional designers
  • Instructional technologists
  • Academic administrators

Sessions can be targeted to all attendees and or specified (novice, intermediate, or expert) levels of proficiency. The committee would like to see a wide range of involvement from various presenters/facilitators – this includes proposed sessions from graduate students TOO!

The #et4online symposium will accept presentations that offer attendees “real solutions,” pioneering practices, and future trends, specifically submissions which emphasize evidence-based practice and the impact of topic tracks on teaching practices and student learning outcomes using a range of research methodologies (e.g. case study, longitudinal comparisons, within group comparisons, quasi-experimental, etc.) and rigorous approaches to the analysis of supporting data, qualitative or quantitative. Here are the #et4online symposium tracks and research areas:

Here is the presenter FAQs and Webinar Recording from 11/29  to help you with your proposal submission: 5 Tips on How to Submit a Successful Conference Proposal

There will be a wide range of emerging technologies for online learning trends, talks, sharing, and more! What happens at #et4online in Vegas will NOT stay in Vegas. And that’s a good thing! Follow @et4online for more updates as well!

CCK09, EC&I831, eduMOOC, PLN, Professional Development

Online Learning: More Than Just a MOOC

As a life-long learner, I have appreciated engaging and interacting with a wide variety of educators in a few Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The concept of a MOOC is has been around for a while. In previous blog posts, I have shared the definition of a MOOC and my participation and experience. I have appreciated learning from the #eci831 and #CCK09 MOOC facilitators, such as Alec Couros, George Siemens & Stephen Downes. Even more,  I appreciate the knowledge shared by invited speakers and the connected learning participants who I continue to engage and exchange with beyond the course structure. MOOCs are now on the tip of everyone’s tongue due to recent education technology start-ups who are now designing MOOC-like courses and creating partnerships with many accredited higher education institutions. What’s all the MOOC about if the concept of a MOOC is not a new innovation?

#jiscwebinar What Is A MOOC? @dkernohan @mweller @jonathan_worth @loumcgill @daveowhite [visual Notes]

Image c/o Flickr user guilia.forsythe

In a recent CBC radio interview and blog post, George Siemens discusses more about the good and bad aspects of Massively Open Online Courses are for online learning. There are different sides of the camp on this topic. Some believe MOOCs will either kill or transform the academy as we know it. Here are some interesting points that were shared in the interview from George and callers to the show:

Current Learning & Development = #AltProDev

If there is an interesting alternative professional development (#AltProDev) opportunity available – I’m there! Part of the reason why I have connected to podcasting with BreakDrink.com or participation in Twitter Chats (#AcAdv Chat, #SAchat or #PhDchat) can be attributed to my early learning experiences with MOOCs. I enjoy engaging in PD to improve my skills and add to my knowledge repertoire. Across various personal and professional spheres, I have learned a great deal at formal conferences, workshops and education sessions; however, I am also proud to say I learn a great deal from my informal training and development environments that are primarily cultivated online. I think that MOOCs provide a set time period for professionals to learn about a specific topic and engage with others in a similar informal fashion. What is neat about this classroom is, that although the course might end, your network and learning artifacts continue to thrive outside the specific learning environment.

Teaching locally but accredit widely.

As a current student in higher education (I’m in process of working on my doctoral degree in learning technologies at UNT), I tend to research, read, archive, and share online to keep on top of the trends and happenings. I think my involvement in MOOCs have connected me to new concepts, research ideas, learning networks, and continue to support my formal education goals. My intention when signing up for this type of free, online learning was to support my own professional development and expose myself to new learning concepts. I reflected my MOOC experiences to my faculty advisor and he believed that participation in any one of these classes could be an added elective for my doctoral degree plan since this informal learning environment was contributing to my research design. How would this type of learning be looked like at your institution for degree requirements? Here is one suggestion for earning college credit from MOOCs if interested.

Sustainable model? Or Just Branding?

The MOOC talk seems to be all the rage as start-up companies, such as Coursera, edX, and Udacity, partner to “reshape online learning” with well-known higher education institutions. Will the massive hype of these MOOC types lead to effective use and sustainable funding models? Or is this just another method for marketing and propagation of the university brand? I do not know. I agree with George’s thoughts – we will see after the dust settles and the MOOC hype levels off in higher education.

Types of MOOCs

As the online learning trend grows there will be various types, targets and tiered offerings of MOOCs. Some of the MOOCs I have reviewed have included areas for digital competence, open education and technical resources. The content, subjects, platforms and learning environments will vary from MOOC to MOOC – and will most likely depend on the partnering institutions influence as well. Online learning will continue to be part of higher education curriculum at many institutions, but as George says “open and online courses is not going to be what cures the ails of online education.” I concur.

Incomplete = Failure?

Does a lack of commitment or completion mean that a MOOC failed? In looking at the retention and completion rates of MOOCs, the numbers vary from start to finish of a MOOC. Audrey Watters wrote a great about dropping out of MOOCs last week. She questioned if it was the content, instructor, platform or learner themselves. Good questions. If this was a multiple choice test, I might even select (E) Any of the above. Or perhaps our MOOC participants would commit more if they paid to learn – even $2 Would the freemium model commit participants more if there was a certification, badge, or accreditation for courses attached? Does extrinsic motivation trump the intrinsic goal for learning and self-fulfillment? I’m not sure.

Dynamics of MOOCs vs. Organic Classroom Experience

There are many pedagogical and theoretical underpinnings for MOOCs. If designed well, a number of online education opportunities allow for discussion, problem-solving, reflection, and unique dynamic interactions. A question from one of the callers to the CBC radio program asked (paraphrased) – can online education and MOOCs really replace the organic interactions in a face-to-face classroom environment? My initial response = it depends. I have always thought good teaching and solid learning outcomes is what drives the course. That being said it is important to note that technology is “not just a tool.” As a student, I have been in both fantastic and terrible courses both online and in class. Depending on the course purpose and objectives, instructors have the POTENTIAL to engage learners in a truly immersive and participative online learning environment. Technology is the instrument; the students are the musicians – it is up to the instructor to orchestrate and guide the collaborative instrumental play in online education.

What are your thoughts about MOOCs? Have you participated in a MOOC? Are you planning to participate in a MOOC in the near future? Please share.

CCK09, Learning Community, Learning Technologies

Visitor or Resident?

“Transparency is related to openness. Openness is most often related to content. Transparency, in contrast, involves making our learning explicit through forums, blogs, presentations, podcasts, and videos.” ~ George Siemens, Week 8: Openness and Transparency

Participation in #CCK09, the entire course thrives on learners and educators who are open and transparent in the learning process. David White joined the #CCK09 class to discuss his ideas on how Visitor and Resident learners impact the online educational environment [session recording].

Visitors & Residents: Original Blog Post & Presentation

v

Much of this conversation was initiated with the JISC funded Isthmus project which was designed to bridge the gap between institutions and online learning, specifically how learners are utilizing technology. Instead of using the terms ‘digital native’ and ‘digital immigrant’ (coined by Marc Prensky in Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants 2001 publication), White sees learners as being a Visitor or Resident in their motivation for online education. Here is a quick Visitor vs. Resident comparison chart I created based on his presentation:

Visitor vs. Resident

In thinking about my own experience, as an online learner, I seem to fall in the ‘Resident’ category. I am very transparent and open online, and I am comfortable sharing my learning experiences and social experiences digitally. Although I am a resident, I can recognize a few visitor experiences from time to time, i.e. learning new tools, online resources and expanding my personal learning environment perimeters.

In thinking of the Visitor vs. Resident comparison, it is critical to think of it as a continuum rather that distinct categories. Students should not be labelled definitely into these categories since it is fluid. Each learner may have boundaries and limitations, however possess a willingness to be an open, online learner. As an educator, it is critical to create a learning environment online that provides structure and purpose online, while allowing learners to expand their creativity and knowledge as they see fit.