Monday, December 22. 2014
The Chronicle of Higher Education's Wired Campus column posted its top ten stories with readers from 2014. I don't one trend dominating their technology on campus world, as there are ones on pedagogy, publishing, interacting with parents (surprising in that we associate that more with K-12 teaching), libraries, online security and the tools and trends. Wired Campus points out that there articles often crossover into the mainstream press coverage of technology because technology itself is so mainstream. Most major news outlets in print, on TV or on the Net have technology reporters. Based on reader clicks, these were the 10 top articles:
Thursday, December 18. 2014
"Big-Data Scientists Face Ethical Challenges After Facebook Study" By Paul Voosen from http://chronicle.com/article/Big-Data-Scientists-Face/150871/
"Jeffrey Hancock, a Cornell U. professor who teamed up with Facebook on a controversial study of emotion online, says the experience has led him to think about how to continue such collaborations “in ways that users feel protected, that academics feel protected, and industry feels protected.”
Tuesday, December 2. 2014
Dariusz Jemielniak is a professor of management at Kozminski University, in Poland, a Wikimedia activist, and author of Common Knowledge: An Ethnography of Wikipedia. He views Wikipedia as a professor's best friend. He quotes Michael Gorman, a former president of the American Library Association, who wrote some years ago that "a professor who encourages the use of Wikipedia is the intellectual equivalent of a dietitian who recommends a steady diet of Big Macs with everything."
Friday, November 28. 2014
High school students home on holiday breaks are often looking at college sites and lining up the schools they want to visit in the spring. The title of an article on The Chronicle site tells part of what needs to be there: "Your College's New Website Is Student-Focused, Mobile-Optimized, and Probably Long Overdue."
The article focuses on the website for Columbia College Chicago and comparisons to its early 2014 version and its recent redesign. The part of the article that caught my attention was the decision to focus on potential students, rather than current students, faculty and staff. "Outward-facing" sites are an idea that appealed to me when I was involved in a college redesign about 8 years ago, but that wasn't the trend back then.
From the article (emphasis mine):
"The new website’s home page would be aimed at only one audience: potential students. Since the home page often creates the first impression for not only the site but also the entire institution, it is the logical place to speak to prospects, says William L. Vautrain, director of digital and online strategy at Columbia.
read more chronicle.com/article/Your-Colleges-New-Website-Is/150189/
Thursday, November 20. 2014
I'm looking over a review of an article from the Higher Education Research Institute at the UCLA that has comprehensive national data sets on the attitudes and working conditions of undergraduate instructors.
The section that interested me talks about at their finding that even if professors are not embracing all-online instruction, they using methods that they feel increases student-centered learning and that is often about using technology.
They report that less than one in five faculty members report teaching exclusively online and report a "lack of movement" among faculty to teaching a course exclusively online. In their 2012 report, 14% said they’d taught a course online and this year it was 17%. The highest percentages are, not surprisingly, at public four-year colleges where 27% have taught online. (But still up only 3% since the last report.)
Who is least likely to report teaching fully online? Full professors
Inside Higher Ed's own recent survey of faculty attitudes toward technology also suggests that despite widespread skepticism of fully-online instruction, faculty seem to be moving toward “student-centered methods.” (Based on responses from 16,112 full-time undergraduate teaching faculty members at 269 four-year colleges and universities.)
But some stats - increased use of YouTube and other videos in the classroom - does not fall under the heading of student-centered for me.
Those who teach in business, engineering, fine arts and education are the ones most likely to say they “frequently" assign work requiring their students to work outside of class with classmates.
The report also points to some external pressures to make learning more student-centered, such as the National Science Foundation awarding large grants for experimentation with such techniques.
Perhaps it is not surprising that the shift is stronger with junior faculty, but that indicates that the shift is likely to increase over time.
Wednesday, November 19. 2014
Educational researcher Dr. Sugata Mitra’s Hole in the Wall experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other, if they’re motivated by curiosity and peer interest.
In 1999, Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera filming the area). What they saw was kids from the slum playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other.
More recently, Sugata has inviting parents and teachers globally to setup their own Self-Organized Learning Environment (SOLE) by downloading his toolkit and creating their own learning environments.
Self-directed learning is not new. Malcolm Knowles published Self-directed learning: A guide for learners and teachers. It reads like a text published last week, talking about the changing landscape of life and learning in an information age, the value of place-based learning, the need for teachers to be mentors and facilitators and project-based learning. Learner-centered education.
This is Mitra's 2013 TED Prize talk.
Knowles wrote that the most critical part of a curriculum is helping students learn how to learn for themselves. That seems obvious but he makes a point to contrast this as very different from learning how to learn from teachers. The latter consists largely of skills like listening, remembering, taking notes and taking tests to prove that you have done so.
Okay, that is a pretty harsh view of classrooms, but compared to self-directed learning it is quite different. The goals of SOLE or self-directed learning is to prepare for a lifetime of learning, unlearning, and relearning as knowledge changes from year to year or decade to decade.
Do most students ask great questions, establish their learning goals, devise a personal learning plan and leverage their existing knowledge? Probably not. Teachers do it for them.
Knowles was writing before the Internet and YouTube, Wikipedia, Google, online learning, MOOCs, Skype, Google Hangouts, blogging, and social media. Taking Knowles self-directed model of connecting with local resources and connect it to the Net and it might come close to Mitra's vision.
It might frighten teachers and schools to envision learning in the absence of any direct input from a teacher. This environment is no small feat to create. It needs to stimulate curiosity, allow learning through self-instruction and offer peer-shared knowledge.
Mitra is now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University (UK). He likes to call this approach "minimally invasive education."
Could it be as simple as putting a computer in front of kids and letting them go? No. And I don't Knowles or Mitra means it to be. The desire is to make schools prepare students to be self-directed learners by making their curriculum more student-centered.
Download the SOLE Toolkit on How to Bring Self-Organized Learning Environments to Your Community
Tuesday, November 18. 2014
The flipped classroom has been a hot topic in education for the past five years. More recently, the idea of flipping professional development has been experimented with at schools and in corporate training. The idea is to rethink what we want to spend our time with in face to face (F2F) sessions and how we can change the training that occurs before and after those sessions to be more self-directed.
“Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.”
Prior to this, there was no consensus definition for flipped learning, flipped classrooms, flipped anything. This definition still allows for a great deal of instructor-specific style, design and delivery.
Yes, I still see examples of the recorded "lecture" that students watch based the slide or screen capture with voiceover. That is something we have been trying to decrease the use of in regular online classes with limited success.
Monday, November 10. 2014
You may remember reading here or elsewhere back in January 2013 that Georgia State University started to review MOOCs for credit in the same way that it reviewed courses or exams students have taken at other institutions for credit. It was the heyday of MOOC madness.
Georgia Tech announced an online master’s program in computer science that grew from the MOOC movement and would be offered at a much lower price than students pay for a traditional degree. They started at the end of 2013 by pairing MOOC-like course videos and assessments with a support system of course assistants who work directly with students.
On the university website, they describe the program like this:
The Georgia Institute of Technology, Udacity and AT&T have teamed up to offer the first accredited Master of Science in Computer Science that students can earn exclusively through the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) delivery format and for a fraction of the cost of traditional, on-campus programs.
The key here is not just to actually offer an online degree that is as rigorous as the on-campus version equivalent. That is something that a number of universities have accomplished in the past decades. The innovation is to offer that degree at a bargain price. The Georgia State degree costs less than $7,000 for the three-year program.
As the article points out, they don't have a graduating class yet, but researchers (at Georgia Tech and Harvard University) have been studying the students. What interested me the most was a demographic comparison.
Is the low-cost version hurting the traditional program? According to the article, "For Georgia Tech, the early data are encouraging enough. They suggest that it can offer an online computer-science master’s program without cannibalizing its more-expensive campus version."
Wednesday, November 5. 2014
On November 18 at 2 p.m. Eastern, join Inside Higher Ed editor Scott Jaschik and technology reporter Carl Straumsheim for a discussion of the survey findings in a free webinar on their findings from the 2014 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology, conducted with Gallup.
Some of the questions addressed in the study are:
(Page 1 of 175, totaling 1575 entries) » next page
Original content in this work is licensed under a Creative Commons License