EdTech, Higher Education, Online Learning

Research Wanted: Distance Education & Technology in US Higher Ed #DETAsummit

Last week, I was invited to join a group of educators, researchers, practitioners, leaders, and more before #eli2015 to discuss the state of online and blended learning at the DETA Summit (#DETAsummit), hosted by the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA). With the primary role of the DETA Research Center “to promote student access and success through evidence-based online learning practices and learning technologies,” the morning’s agenda was full and the purpose of the DETA Summit meeting was to:

  • Gather key partners and research experts to generate of ideas
  • Brainstorm crucial issues in conducting research and developing coherency in the field of distance education
  • Discuss ideas relating to competency-based education, accessibility, and distance education support

The DETA Research center has desired outcomes that focus on access, satisfaction and learning/instructional effectiveness – read more about these from the grant HERE:

Desired Outcomes

At the #DETAsummit a wide variety of folks gathered with interest to discuss what research should look like for technology and distance education. Looking around the room, it was like a tweet up of all online learning  levels of support, instruction, development, planning, and research from around the US.  The focus of the meeting was to work on the DETA Yea 1 goal: Develop a research model.

Research Model

In facilitating one of the many round tables discussions, our group swapped ideas about potential research questions that should be asked, common definitions under the distance education umbrella, standard variables to measure, known frameworks for inquiry, and shared models being used for online/blended learning assessment. Although we were only given about 3 hours in total, I think the entire room was buzzing with ideas and wanted to continue talking. The conversations were driven to list our top choices on large post-its and vote on top our top choices after seeing what other groups discussed [See post-it voting from my Flickr album]. For the short amount of time, I think the #DETAsummit  was a very productive, and we managed to gain some broader insight into what a research model could look like. With a mixed participant list, there were insights and questions  from varying perspectives and it was rather REFRESHING.

Based on the small group discussions and voting process, the research questions selected are:

  • What are the definitions of success from student’s perspective? | 33 | Wicked Hop
  • What patterns of behavior lead to increased student learning for different populations? | 26 | Safehouse
  • What are the different design components (content, interactivity, assessments) that impact student learning? | 29 | Rochambo
  • How can we define and measure student success beyond traditional outcomes (learning and competency)? | 25 | Benelux

If you are interested in distance education research (e.g. online learning, blended learning, hybrid pedagogy, etc.) I would suggest digging into the conversation and resources from the #DETAsummit. The DETA group is very open and transparent with their development process, as you can find our discussion notes shared in Collaborative Google Docs, listen/view the G+ Hangout Recording, and check out the Presentation Slides that give an overview of the day.

Congratulations to the DETA Team (who I now call the #DETAdivas) on a successful start to the work you have ahead. I look forward to following along with your progress on the grant, learning how your group utilize these research questions, and, hopefully, contributing to a better way to measure/assess online and blended learning.

DETAdivas

Want to stay connected to the research?

EdTech, Higher Education, Online Learning

Online Education in the US [2014 Report]

As I am on my way to the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI & #eli2015), specifically to attend the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA) Summit, I figured it was critical to review the 2014 Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States just released from the Babson Survey Research Group (BSRG):

“The study’s findings point to a competitive marketplace, in which traditional institutions are gaining ground on the for-profits in online and distance education,” said study co-author Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group. “While the rapid pace of online learning growth has moderated, it still accounts for nearly three-quarters of all US higher education’s enrollment increases last year.”

It is clear that online learning is on the rise in America – yet there is a vast difference between how administration and faculty view it. A majority of post-secondary education leaders (70.8%)  indicated that online learning is “critical to their long-term strategy;” however these leaders may struggle with online adoption as only 28% of their faculty find “value” and view online education as “legitimate.” A number of findings in this report show opposing views for online education. For example, these two factions of higher differ  by their awareness of open education resources (OER).

OER_FutureHE

There is much more of this narrative to tease out; and I would like to go through this report further (on the plane) and learn what others in the field have to say. For now I will leave you with some of the ‘quick facts’ shared, and encourage you to download and read through the FULL REPORT if you are in the online learning sphere:

Key report findings include:

  • The number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2014 is up 3.7 %t from the previous year.
  • The year-to-year 3.7% increase in the number of distance education students is the lowest recorded over the 13 years of this report series.
  • Public and private nonprofit institutions recorded distance enrollment growth, but these were offset by a decrease among for-profit institutions.
  • The percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face remained unchanged at 74.1%.
  • The proportion of chief academic leaders reporting online learning is critical to their long-term strategy reached a new high of 70.8%.
  • Only 28.0% of academic leaders say that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy of online education.”
  • The adoption of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) is reaching a plateau, only 8.0% of higher education institutions currently offer one, another 5.6% report MOOCs are in the planning stages.
  • The proportion of academic leaders who believe that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses dropped to 16.3%.

Update:

A couple areas to note, and for further discussion this week at #eli2015 and the #DETAsummit (Follow @UWMDETA):

Pgs. 43-44: Discuss the undercount and overcount of distance education, i.e. for “fully online” enrollments – this seems to be hazy, as it might be as learning design for enrollment varies by student population type and course design delivery.

Pg. 44 – “The definition of ‘distance education’ is causing confusion”

There was an interesting segment in this report that struggled with the term “distance education.” This report takes into account distance education, when looking at “fully online” higher education programs. This part of the report reminded me about the Twitter debate of online learning, online education, distance education, and then some when trying to name an update to an edited book. Check out “The State of ______ Learning” thread on Storify to learn what was discussed. What terminology is best? How can we describe/define education that is delivered from a distance/online/on the web/virtually? Please advise.

EdTech

The 2015 #et4online Call for Presentations is now OPEN!

 

#et4online banner

Dear Colleagues,

The 8th Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium (#et4online) provides myriad opportunities for you to share your knowledge and expertise in online teaching and learning. Our program includes pre-conference workshops, electronic posters, information sessions, and featured sessions along with extraordinary plenary speakers.

Share and learn about the innovative and emerging practices to enhance your research, student support, teaching, and learning at your institution. The call for proposals is open as of TODAY – October 1, 2014 until December 1, 2014.

Track Description
Organization, Leadership and Challenges for Innovation Proposals submitted to this track should relate directly to the role of institutional leadership for the strategic implementation of innovative online learning to reach institutional goals. Suggestions for this track include:

A. Leadership & Values: Innovation in management & timetables, monitoring quality, new trends & services, social entrepreneurship, social inclusion & equity

B. Agile Approaches to Change: For institutional-level online learning benefits, models, effective practices, and challenges from policy or governance

C. Solutions to Challenges: Digital fluency of faculty, rewards for teaching, competition from new models of education, scaling teaching innovations & expanding access, and relevant education models

Learning Environments and Frameworks Proposals submitted to this track should focus on effective and/or innovative course/program models and design(s), with an emphasis on research-based best practices, effectiveness, efficiencies, and scalability. Suggestions for this track include:

A. Infrastructure for learning environments: Information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, physical space, learning space, and platforms for education online

B. Development of learning space: Integration of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning, training and development required, or evolution to online learning

C. Research models: methods and evaluation of curriculum outcomes, design or development for learning environments and frameworks

Open and Collaborative Education Proposals submitted to this track should promote the production and use of open pedagogies and collaborative models for teaching and learning. This might include strategies and suggested practices for the following areas:

A: Content & Curricula: Development of Open Education Resources (OER) including open online courses both private and massive, cross and trans-disciplinary curricula, competency-based curricula, and student-developed content

B. Connectedness: Networking with real-world experts or professionals in the field, social networks, online learning communities and communities of practice, and learning events

C. Cooperation & group engagement: Growing ubiquity and use of social media, transmedia, socially constructed learning, gamification and badges for learning

Evidence-based Learning and Assessment Proposals submitted to this track should relate to learning analytics, institutional data, big data as related to, program outcomes, educational effectiveness, and enhancing the student learning experience. This track may include evaluation of student, staff or faculty course/program assessment. A focus on research is strongly encouraged and should include research design, methodology, results and applications to policy, practice and/or theory.

Suggestions for this track include:

A. Assessment: implementation of assessment plan, evaluation formats, formative/summative assessment, informal/non-formal learning for curriculum review

B. Research: Data collection and analysis methodologies, conceptual models, interventions and innovative approaches

C. Evaluation: Designing for learning analytics, and applications of big data

Effective Teaching and Learning Pedagogy Proposals submitted to this track should address the many facets online teaching and learning with an emphasis on pedagogical practice. Proposals should provide innovative approaches and methods for digital pedagogy and curriculum development. Suggestions for this track include:

A. Learning Practices: Producing authentic learning artifacts, exploration, creativity, and play. Peer-to-peer, self-regulated connected, interest-based, self-directed, and game-based learning

B. Teaching Practices: fostering social presence, balancing structure with student autonomy, designing multimodal learning experiences, and repurposing digital tools for learning

C. Supporting Faculty: instructional design approaches, faculty development programs and models, curriculum development resources, expediting the diffusion of innovative practices, and incentives for pedagogical innovation

Technology Test Kitchen Proposals for this track are unique from other program tracks at #et4online this year. The expectation for “test kitchen” is to create a space at the conference for hands-on, focused and practical applications of emerging learning technologies. The Test Kitchen station will feature expert “chefs” who will guide attendees, showcasing applications and tools for innovative, digital education. If your proposal is accepted, you will demo at least three (3) tools (15-20 minute demonstrations). Your proposal can include links to websites, videos (less than 2 minutes), or examples and a description of what you hope to accomplish in these mini-lessons.

The Technology Test Kitchen space will be similar to a learning lab, where conference participants will take advantage of the “bring your own device” (BYOD) format. If your proposal is selected, you will share a “Technology Test Kitchen Recipe” and demonstration. The recipe is a targeted “how to” guide for participants to learn and explore technology applications and ideas for learning. Suggested areas and applications may include:

A. Learning Technology Demonstration: General suggestions include audio, video, social media, collaboration, communication, presentation, 3D printing, and mobile apps.

B. Instructional Design Strategy & Implementation: Suggestions for this include the application of flipped learning, learning analytics, games and gamification, quantified self, augmented reality, and visualizations.

On behalf of the @OLCToday and the @MERLOTorg,  we look forward to reading your presentation submissions, and seeing you in Dallas for #et4online!

Laura Pasquini Jane Moore
Laura Pasquini, OLC Program Chair Jane Moore, MERLOT Program Chair
@laurapasquini
@janepmoore

P.s. Have you heard about the great keynote and plenary speakers we have lined up? I am looking forward to learning from @mizuko@bonstewart@GardnerCampbell and YOU!

LookWhosSpeakingET4Online

Higher Education, MOOC

The State of #OnlineLearning in the US [REPORT]

The 11th annual survey and report of online learning in U.S. higher education was recently released:

Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States”*

=> DOWNLOAD A FREE COPY HERE

Background: From previous studies and reports of online learning in the US, there is a strong belief that  online education is a critical component of post-secondary education institutions’ long-term strategy. In surveying a number of higher education entities, it is apparent that the development in online learning has shown a small but steady increases over the past decade. This report also teases out how PSE institutions are providing online education – blended, hybrid, and others as they experiment with different models of online learning pedagogy.

Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 10.08.16 AM

The respondents from more than 2,800 post-secondary education institutions in the US, attempted to answer the following overarching questions about online learning in higher ed:

  • Is Online Learning Strategic?
  • Are Learning Outcomes in Online Comparable to Face-to-Face Learning?
  • How Many Students are Learning Online?
  • How are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) faring?

Key findings and highlights from the report: 

  • Around 5.5 (NOT 7.1) million higher education students are taking at least 1 online course (Read more: HERE and HERE)
  • The % of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those as in face-to-face instruction, grew from 57% in 2003 to 74% in 2013
  • The 6.1 % growth rate represents over 400,000 additional students taking at least 1 online course
  • The number of students taking at least 1 online course continued to grow at a rate far in excess of overall enrollments, but the rate was the lowest in a decade
  • 90% of academic leaders believe that it is likely or very likely that a majority of all higher education students will be taking at least one online course in 5 year’s time
  • Only 5 % of higher education institutions currently offer a MOOC, another 9.3 % report MOOCs are in the planning stages
  • Less than one-quarter of academic leaders believe that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses

For more on the study design, survey administration, analysis,  and report production, check out The BABSON Survey Research Group: http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/

*The survey is designed, administered and analyzed by the BABSON Survey Research Group, with data collection conducted in partnership with the College Board, and is sponsored in part by Pearson and the Sloan Consortium

Update – 1/19/14 @ 6:45 pm:

It appears the BABSON survey numbers seem to be off from the IPEDS data for students who have completed online courses – 7.1 vs. 5.5 million. Thanks for the update, Kevin. Here’s a useful article to read.