Monday, October 29, 2012

eLCC Professional Development Day 2012

The annual eLearning Consortium of Colorado professional development day was held in conjunction with Metropolitan State University Denver this past Friday. Once again the event was well organized and full of useful content for both faculty and course designers. This year featured a number of cloud-based applications.

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Morning sessions began with a very animated presentation on memes, presented by Janet McClasky, Metro State University, Denver. Memes are a concept for transferring units of knowledge to others using "...writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena" (Wikipedia, 2012). Janet demonstrated the use of memes through a variety of posters created by her students. One example was a poster found on a lamp post. The title was "Have you seen this cat?" with a cat picture beneath. However, rather than a lost cat poster, the text below the picture said "..because it is AWESOME". Janet uses memes to teach critical thinking and ways of thinking outside the conventional. She recommended the site knowyourmeme to get started. Many of the examples used during her session came from the Troll Posters area of the site.

Mona Mocanasu, math faculty at Metro State, presented on the use of clickers in math courses. She provided evidence that clickers helped students pay more attention in class and stimulated more discussion than without using clickers. Students also said that clickers helped them prepare for tests and to better understand the material. Clickers were used throughout the session for feedback. Clickers embody what a good learning technology should be: simple and effective. 

Kathleen Luttenegger, Assistant Professor of teacher education at Metro State, presented on Dedoose. This is a cloud-based, subscription-based application for the tracking of qualitative and mixed methods survey data. The interface appears simple enough. Data can be imported from a variety of formats including Word, Excel, Atlas, and others. Output is highly visual with bar and pie charts, word clouds, bubble plots, and more. Kathleen demonstrated how her team collaborated on a research project using Dedoose. Pretty cool program.

Todd Reimer, secondary ed faculty at Metro State, talked of his use of self-published web magazines. Students are many times overwhelmed at determining what information is relevant to a course. Todd compared getting information from the internet to drinking from a fire hydrant. Todd began using the cloud-based program ScoopIt to create a personalized information summary for his courses. After creating a ScoopIt account, a button is created on the web browser. When an article of interest appear, he clicks the ScoopIt button. Immediately the article summary, associated image, and link to the full article, appear in his personal magazine. He then sends the magazine link to his students who read the articles and come to class prepared to discuss. The magazine demonstrated in class was called the Space Between. The use of programs such as ScoopIt can assist instructors in guiding students to relevant information. Todd mentioned other similar programs such as,,, and

Boxed lunches were quite good.
Jennifer Frahm, instructional designer at Aims Community College, presented on the electronic syllabus. Getting students to fully read a course syllabus is about as likely as lighting a match in a hurricane. Jennifer presented on methods to get students more involved with this important document. Several ideas were mentioned, from adding social media to simply awarding points.

Sherry Fuller, instructor from the School of Nursing at our very own Regis University, presented ideas on using Prezi, the cloud-based presentation application. Sherry stepped the audience through the process of creating a Prezi. She then went on to demonstrate the creation of a presentation based on a recent trip to Ethiopia. Images were imported along with text. The presentation could be displayed from any computer by logging in to the Prezi account or downloaded and saved on a local computer.