Thursday, April 17. 2014
Quest-based learning (QBL) is an instructional theory that uses elements of game design and learning communities to support student choice while still operating within the context of a standards-based curriculum.
Many educators and many schools at all levels are uncomfortable moving away from a top-down approach to information acquisition. So, QBL may bee seen as moving out of many comfort zones.
Some game-based feedback tools - not games - like experience points, progress bars, badges, and achievements are motivating and meaningful to students.
Rather than design courses via textbook learning and lectures, QBL classes require students to select quests and progress at their own pace through a series of educational activities. This may remind educators of project-based learning or problem-based learning, but the unique element is the self-selection part of the design.
Quests are often online learning activities that address the core of the subject matter. These might be an audio podcast, a short video or collaborating online with classmates in discussion or composing.
For me, the most important thing is not putting the quest-based learning label on the pedagogy, but the inclusion of the QBL elements in course design.
In a white paper by Chris Haskell (Boise State University), he explains that QBL lesson design "focuses on an individualized and flexible curricular experience. In QBL, students can select activities, called quests, rather than assignments in a fixed linear order. Students leverage choice to promote engagement rather than waiting for a due date.”
Hands might be raised immediately to question how autonomy over what and when to learn would have any effect on academic achievement. Haskell and a colleague implemented an experimental QBL curriculum with pre-service teacher candidates in 2010 and they found “93% of students using this approach reached the winning condition, described as receiving a course grade of ‘A’ . . . the average completion time was reduced from 16 weeks to 12 ½ weeks with one student completing [the course] in just four.”
It's interesting that this experiment started in higher ed and is being moved down to K-12, since much innovation in teaching and pedagogy moves up from the lower grade levels.
Will this quest lead to a holy grail for teaching? No. There is no grail. It's all in the journey.
This post also appears at Ronkowitz LLC
Monday, April 14. 2014
My thoughts today were triggered by listening to an interview on “life-long learning” (LLL) with Marc Singer of Thomas Edison State College (TESC) in New Jersey. (read/listen at http://www.evolllution.com/opinions/audio-prior-learning-pathway-credential/)
TESC is a "virtual" college and one of the first schools in the country designed specifically for adult learners. TESC offers degree programs and certificates in more than 100 areas of study. The interview focuses on the Associate in Science in Business Administration (ASBA) degree.
The school partners with Saylor Academy and allows students to take free online courses from Saylor and submit their work for credit evaluation by TESC. This results in a fully-online degree for about $5,000 for fees to the college.
I have written before about how competency-based degrees and credits require a rethinking of the credit hour model that higher ed has used for a very long time. This is also true for assessing prior learning and learning from other sources (including MOOCs) because the answer is not to just look at how long you spend in a classroom or online, but on showing what you learned.
Singer is vice provost of the Center for the Assessment of Learning at TESC. The degree they are offering comes after students take a selection of pre-selected MOOCs and then having their knowledge assessed by TESC. This was a big topic for MOOCs a few years ago, but has been somewhat lost in the the boom (and bust?) of MOOC hype the past year.
">One issue that slowed that acceptance nationally was the lack of alignment between the content of what’s in a MOOC and the college curriculum. As the American Council of Education and the National College Credit Recommendation Service connect with and review the their processes for developing these online courses, acceptance increases. But the assessment and verification of student identity and competencies still usually if left to the crediting institution.
What is not new is the idea of prior learning assessment - sometimes called "experiential learning." There is some adaptation needed here, as assessing learning from a MOOC is not "prior" learning, but it is learning from another source being evaluated by an outside party.
Something that I don't feel should be the number one factor in using and accepting MOOCs is a financial model. But it is high on the list for many colleges. Marc Singer says in the interview: "The first thing people perceive is [granting credit for prior learning is] costing us money. That was an important obstacle for us to address. As it turns out, that’s not the case; I think that particularly as a state institution, where our state (New Jersey) subsidizes some of what we do, we’re not really losing money from this in the way people would expect. I’d also point people through the studies that have been done of students who come to a college, any college, whose credits they’ve acquired through prior learning. Those students tend to be more motivated, more focused on their goals, more self-directed. Because of that, we’ve seen measurable differences in the number of credits they take at an institution like this — they actually take more credits in college, not fewer, because they’re more invested in the process and we’ve validated what they’re bringing to us from outside. Not only that [but] their rates of completion … are much higher than students who don’t bring anything from the outside."
Something else that is not a new issue is the inability of most schools and most faculty in higher ed to move away from the idea that learning is not valid unless they are the source and facilitators that give the content to students.
Sunday, April 13. 2014
“If content is king, then context is god.” - Gary Vaynerchuk
Google+ is an amazing social media site that allows users to share photos, play games, listen to music and engage in chat.
Google+ is another failed social experiment by Google.
You will get both sides if you talk to users and non-users.
The number of Google+ users continues to grow, if for no other reason than it is tied to all the other Google tools (Gmail, Docs, Search etc.). It surprises people when they learn that YouTube is the second-largest "search engine." Many Google account holders are on Plus and don't even know it.
If you believe the prognosticators, like Forrester Research, then Google is in a better position than Facebook to bring marketers the “database of affinity.” I hear more frequently that Google+ is a good marketing tool for businesses. That database of affinity is their ability to collect our interests and preferences and gain insight into each of us as users.
Not that Facebook and others are not trying to gather the kind of big social data that brands want.
Both networks roll out new features like local listings, Google hangouts and verified content.
Google+ has more than 100 million active users and still continues to grow. Facebook has almost 800 million users.
Both are making a play at business. They are in this area to make money. Google+ Communities is a way to tap into prospects and put your business in Google Places for Business.
What about education? Google Hangouts are a very good way to interact with students, especially if your school uses Gmail and Google apps. Google Circles provide a way to organize classes and groups. How about free HD video broadcasting through Hangouts on Air?
Ripples is another newly introduced Google+ feature that creates an interactive graphic of the public shares of any public post or URL on Google+ to show you how it has "rippled" through the network.
Education needs to look at how business uses Google+ and decide of there are educational application. If a business integrates Google Maps with their Google+ profile, it can help them connect with local customers and provide guidance to their location. Does that help with the marketing of a school?
Right now, Google+ does not have the user frequency that other social media sites have, but its too big to be ignored and probably "too big to fail." It is time for schools to define their Google+ strategy.
Friday, April 11. 2014
Lists of the "top" of anything are debatable, but we were happy to note (a bit late) that Serendipity35 made the list at http://universitywebinars.org/top-higher-education-blogs/.
The list is useful in that it will probably alert you to some other higher education blogs that you were not aware existed in blogland.
Here is their stated METHODOLOGY for the selections:
At the end of 2012, we looked at college and university blogs as a key source of new, meaningful information. In order to identify the most useful resources, we ranked the blogs we came across. The sites we found cover a wide range of ideas and concepts, but our methodology stayed the same. To create this list, we audited blogs at two different levels.
Thursday, April 10. 2014
I have given several presentations in the past six months on MOOCs and audiences are always interested in the future. After all the hype that MOOCs received in 2012 and 2013, I expected the crash of attention and favor.
I'll have more to say on the future of the form, but in brief, I feel that it will have less traction in academia with formal, credit courses and greater traction with non-credit programs, lifelong learning and professional development.
The slides below seem to be moving in the same direction of thinking. In this talk, Stephen Downes looks at the transition of the massive open online course to applications in the personal learning environment.
He says that "I question what it is to become 'one' - whether it be one course graduate, one citizen of the community, or one educated person. I argue that (say) 'being a doctor' isn't about having remembered the right content, not about having done the right things, not even about having the right feelings, nor about having the right mental representations - being one is about growing and developing a certain way."
He offers audio at http://www.downes.ca/presentation/336
Monday, April 7. 2014
It was 3 years ago that I posted about Richard Arum's study of student learning in higher education over a two year period to examine how institutional settings, student backgrounds, and individual academic programs influence how much students learn on campus. He was measuring "higher order thinking skills" such as problem-solving, critical thinking, analytical reasoning and communication skills.
When he published Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses
Three years ago, Academically Adrift was noteworthy because it used some new assessment tools that specifically measure the "added value" that colleges impart to their students' learning, by allowing for the comparison of
The study was criticized for relying so heavily on the Collegiate Learning Assessment as its way to suggest whether or not students have learned. The reports are full of assessment talk: average gains of 0.73 of a
Friday, April 4. 2014
More sources on learning about fair use and copyright - collected by Bernard Bull.
1. Understanding Fair Use in the Digital World – When we start to teach about copyright, we can approach it by starting with what we can do or what we cant’ do. I happen to be a fan of starting with what we can do by teaching “fair use.” This is a good introduction to the topic.
3. YouTube Copyright School – Do you want to teach copyright through high-interest video and some checks for understanding? if so, this might be a good option for you.
4. Fair Use Tool – Use this tool to determine whether your usage scenario is fair use.
5. Copyright Web Site – If you are looking for copyright case studies and examples to use with your students, this is an excellent resource.
6. PBS Learning Media Copyright Lessons – This site has series of ready-made, high-interest lessons on copyright and fair use, designed and labeled for different ages.
7. A Fairy Use Tale – No lesson in fair use is complete without this video - funny, clever and a bit frightening tale of copyright in a Disney world.
8. Flickr – The Commons and The Library of Congress American Memory – If we are going to teach about copyright, why not include finding some great sources, like these two sites, for accessing public domain resources?
9. Find Creative Commons Resources - This is a great search engine for finding resources that you can “use, share and remix.”
10 Fair Use Letter Generator – Part of teaching copyright and fair use is learning how to request and gain the rights to use something. This page is one option.
Thursday, March 27. 2014
The Invisible College (whose emblematic image is shown here in an illustration from Speculum sophicum Rhodo-stauroticum, a 1618 work by Theophilus Schweighardt) was the Rosicrucian College, identified by Frances Yates as the "Invisible College of the Rosy Cross".
It is sometimes described as a precursor group to the Royal Society of London. It consisted of a number of natural philosophers and may have also included some prominent figures who would be later connected with the Royal Society.
This article is not meant so much as a history lesson as it is the thought that an "Invisible College" might be something we could use again today.
This idea of having an "invisible college" can be found in German Rosicrucian pamphlets in the early 17th century and another playwright of Shakespeare's time, Ben Jonson, referenced it in several plays.
It was a group of scholars meeting to discuss and learn, but without actual courses, degrees or a campus of buildings.
In the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, it is noted that a group of natural philosophers meeting in London from 1645 was identified as the "invisible college" by Thomas Birch, writing in the 18th century.
It might remind some readers of other more concepts of "expert communities" such as Epistemic communities or Communities of Practice.
The concept and the term was applied to a global network of scientists by Caroline S. Wagner in her book, The New Invisible College: Science for Development.
In the book, Wagner argues that a shift from big science to global networks is creating new opportunities, especially for developing countries, to tap science's potential. Don't try to create 20th century scientific establishments and centers of learning, but use global networks of leading scientists to focus on research to address local problems.
My own thought is that some combination of online learning, MOOCs, alternative and personal learning networks - and maybe even "degrees" in some new format - may create a new Invisible College without buildings or a home campus that grows and travels from place to place as it is needed.
The concept is mentioned in Clay Shirky's book Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. It has found its way into fiction like The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco.
It was the inspiration for the humorous Unseen University in 13 fantasy novels by Terry Pratchett (such as Unseen Academicals).
For now, the Invisible College (preferable to the Invisible University, which smells stronger of degrees) is fiction and fantasy. Of course, both invisiblecollege.com and invisibleuniversity.com are already owned by people who have parked the URLs for the time when...
Monday, March 24. 2014
I am looking forward to speaking at NJEDge.Net's 15th Annual Faculty Showcase on March 28, 2014.
This year I will be back as the lunch plenary and I'm calling my talk "MOOC: The Seven Year Itch" since the MOOC is now 7 years old.
If 2012 was the "Year of the MOOC", then what happened in 2013 - and what will become of the MOOC in 2014?
I will give an update on the past year in Massive Open Online Courses and a sense of how they are really impacting education and training.
The morning speaker is Dr. Erin Templeton an Associate professor of English at Converse College and a fellow lover of poetry. But for this audience, it is more that she is a regular contributor to The Chronicle of Higher Education blog, ProfHacker.
The Faculty Showcase is all about best practices from member institutions and is targeted to educators from K-12, higher education, institutional research, and healthcare related teaching as an opportunity to show their work to NJ colleagues.
The event features presentations and posters on technology-mediated instruction.
More event information at njedge.net/activities/facultyshowcase/2014/
(Page 1 of 170, totaling 1527 entries) » next page
Original content in this work is licensed under a Creative Commons License