Monday, November 19, 2012

eLcc November Meeting

The presentation for the eLcc meeting this month was by Jeff Luftig of CU Boulder, College of Engineering and Applied Science. Jeff teaches and leads the department with their distance program. Now when you read the last sentence that describes the program as “distance” you might think you would interpret that as simply online courses. Jeff explained that the courses they offer are not simply online courses. Basically the program follows a true HyFlex model design of a program. With a hyflex model students have a choice, on a daily basis, to go to the face to face classroom, to attend live synchronously from a distance, or to watch an archive of the class session. They are very careful to include student interactions and questions that come up during the live session, including students who are at a distance. This will get captured in the recording as well.
The department has a state of the art media equipped classroom. I was really surprised at how small the room was. We were in it for our meeting and presentation. It was big enough for about 20 students. But they said they had one very large room that would fit about 100 students as well. It would depend of the class that was being offered as they have a few courses that overlap and are shared with other programs on campus. So on a typical class day, the instructor would come in to the media classroom, fire up GoToMeeting to accommodate any participants that are at a distance. Next the instructor would start Tegrity, a lecture capture system. They mentioned that although they have Echo 360 to use as a backup they have been using Tegrity for several years and it has been very dependable. They hire student workers to run the cameras and audio etc. Each course has a shell in eCollege. All students, no matter how they registered are enrolled in the one course. Jeff mentioned sometimes they have ‘extra’ people in the course as well such as student auditors and students who register but take the course for free as a continuing education deal. The distance program has been very successful and the student evaluations are rated quite high for satisfaction. They said that 80% of the students will choose to attend as “distance” rather than face to face but it depends of the class. They might have on average 75 students enrolled in a course. The whole thing was really quite impressive!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

EduCause 2012

Now THIS was a conference! Taking up the entire downtown Denver Convention Center complex, the 2012 EduCause proved it's worth among the places to be for technology events. Day One (actually the second day since I was unable to attend on Wednesday) was spent almost exclusively at the vendor fair. By the end of the day I had scored a working light saber, dancing robot, lighted pen, three t-shirts, and six bags of vanilla yogurt snack mix. Oh, and I also found solutions to several learning technology issues. Next year's conference is being held in Anaheim, home of the original Disneyland and the LA Angels.


Laptops Anytime kiosk
Laptops Anytime offers a custom-built, self service kiosk for laptops and tablets. Students needing a laptop slide their ID card and select the type of device, whether PC or Mac. The laptop pops out of the kiosk, fully charged and installed with all software. When finished, the student returns the laptop by sliding it back into the kiosk. The kiosk also charges and reimages for the next user. This has definite possibilities for our student laptop project.

One of the neatest technologies was a product called weejot, a web-based application for easy development of mobile apps. Weejot offers several templates where you can drag and drop items with no app development experience needed. There is also an app development tool for those with development experience. This may fit in nicely with an initiative for expanding our presence in the mobile world.

TechSmith has really expanded their product line over the years. I'm a long-time and devoted Jing/Camtasia user. And their Camtasia Relay appears to be a possible solution to our lecture capture needs. They recently came out with a mobile app called Coaches Eye, a $4.99 tool for evaluating motion activities. For example, a physical therapist might fire up their iPhone or iPad (it's available for Android as well) and video the movements of a patient. The therapist reviews the video, using lines for annotating correct and incorrect postures and movements. The therapist then plays the video back to the patient for instant visual feedback. A similar product for motion analysis is Dartfish.


Susan Grajek, VP for research and analytics at EduCause, featured a session on the top ten IT issues for 2012. IT directors chose the number one issue as being how to keep current with new skills and roles, and finding time for career development. Other issues mentioned included:

  • Supporting a BYOD (bring your own device) strategy; 
  • Developing an institutional cloud computing strategy;
  • Analytics and its role in decision making.
The complete article, Top Ten IT Issues, 2012, is available on the EduCause website. 

Julian Allen and Joe Horne from Georgia State discussed their iPad initiative and what they learned. GSU purchased iPads for a freshman learning community. Student assistants were used for much of the grunt work while IT focused on the inventory and storage systems. Computer carts were used for transport, storage, charging and reimaging. Interestingly, most of GSU's costs were associated with increasing network capacity rather than iPad costs. Old iPad 1's continue being used during registration, workshops and similar group activities not dependent on a robust device. They mentioned that getting faculty buy-in on such a project is key.

Edward Ayers, University of Richmond president, provided the closing keynote. He spoke of the need for using technology to it's fullest to understand the footprint that humans leave throughout history. I was a bit bored by the presentation until he displays data from Valley of the Shadow, a research project comparing Civil War from the viewpoints of Confederate and Union soldiers from specific cities. Ayers was one of two project leads during his tenure at the University of Virginia. The project provides a visual representation of big data, where the researcher can peel back layer upon layer and examine the most minute details of a project, or scale back for the big picture. He stated that humanists must continue examining technology to ensure it is being used at its full potential for the examination of the human record. The problem isn't technology but rather that researchers use too few of its capabilities.

Poster Sessions

Top Ten Things Students Do with Their Cell Phones
(excerpt from Beyond E-Textbooks: Writing Mobile Web Apps for the Liberal Arts)
Lisa B. Lewis, Ian MacInnes, Albion College
Converting Adobe Captivate Projects to Interactive Learning Units for iOS Devices
Taeyeol Park, Georgetown University

Pedagogical Benefits of Video-recorded Assessment
Rachel Drummond Sardell, University of Oregon

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nicole Ellison's Sloan C Conference Summary

Nicole Ellison's Sloan C Conference Summary
In October I attended and presented at the Sloan C Conference on Online Learning. This was my first time attending a Sloan C conference. Overall it was a good experience and I was able to collect a variety of tips, strategies and information regarding both online and blended learning. I will summarize each of the sessions that I attended and the vendor products that I think are exciting and have potential for Regis.
Terry Buxton and I actually did our presentation right at the start of the conference. Our information session was titled “Student Reflection Blogs to Communicate Lessons Learned in the Complex World of Service Learning.” Here is a link to our handout:
Terry and I plan on scheduling a day soon where we can present to the Regis Community what we are doing with reflection blogs and the Ignatian Pedagogy Model. It is exciting!

The folks at U of Florida recently did a comparison between face-to-face and online delivery when it comes to critical thinking. No doubt we all know the importance of incorporating CT into all instruction no matter what delivery mode, however, one challenge may come for instructors when evaluating CT and knowing when it is happening. The presenters suggested trying the University of Florida Critical Thinking Instrument (UFCTI) to start.
They offered these quick tips:
  • Be intentional in your CT instruction
  • Use Discussion Boards to encourage perspective taking
  • Use problem based learning activities
  • Get students to move beyond computer
  • Have students work together

  • Don’t be afraid to challenge your current pedagogy
Faculty Support and “realizable” course improvement in a rapidly changing online environment 
Colin Marlaire National University

The Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Technology streamlined faculty development into one online central “foundations” development course. The course is required by all faculty to take but it is self-paced and asynchronous. It is comprised of videos, captivate presentations and “recipes for success.” The recipe for success model has been a key focus for the faculty community. Instructors can write up a process from start to finish about how they incorporate a technology or technique into their course. Colin also discussed some thoughts and ideas about a cycle for course improvement. It was interesting as he talked about the Master course model briefly and mentioned some of the same challenges that we have experienced here in our college.

Social Media to Enhance Online Learning
Tanya Joosten University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Tanya has a book “Social Media for Educators: Strategies and Best Practices”
Here are just a few advantages for incorporating social media into online learning:
  • Increased communication
  • Build professional networks
  • Develop a richer learning experience
  • Avenue for creativity
Tanya talked about how we can use Twitter as a backchannel with a course. She had a video of an instructor who explained how she uses Facebook with her course. She sets up a fan page for the course itself.
I found out about similar to YouTube and TeacherTube, It is focused on education. There is a YouTube for education as well.’ll be looking into those two.
They also suggested a few twitter feeds worth following:
#edusocmedia, #edtech, #highered, #socmedia, #sechat, #edchat, and #lrnchat

Keynote speaker Sebastian Thrun, from Stanford University and Google
Democratizing Higher Education

I highly recommend that you watch the recorded video of this keynote by going to on the left side of the page you will find the link.
Sebastian talked about a MOOC(Massive Open Online Course) that he developed and was a part of Udacity ( It was amazing to listen to his experience of teaching one of the first courses that was made available through Udacity. It was an Artificial Intelligence course where he had 160K students! No that was not a typo!   He talked about how he had students from all over the world, some were actually taking a course during activity duty and overseas. He was blown away by the feedback from his students who thanked him for the opportunity to take the course and feel “empowered to learn.” They collected lots of data and feedback after the first course and used it to improve the course.
MOOC success is generally due to:
  • Adaptive learning
  • Self-paced learning
  • Personalized learning path
  • Multi-dimensional assessments
  • Affordable because it is FREE.
  • And the fact that students willingly take the classes because they have a desire to learn.

I think generally MOOC’s can be a scary topic for Universities to approach because it is so OUTSIDE and across the street from the box. MOOC’s are 100% free. It is not necessarily a revenue builder. The bottom-line is educating people and supporting the idea of “life-long learners” and it is as simple and as wonderful as that.

Renee Cicchino, Seton Hall University

This session was especially of interest to me since we are building an RN-BSN hybrid program right now. Renee mentioned that they always start with the Quality Matters standards rubric for a solid foundation for course creation. They also create templates for instructors to build courses with. The templates provide consistent design and therefore a consistent experience for students. They provide an example to faculty of an exemplar course. Come of the challenges that can hinder quality design:
  • Lack of quality assurance
  • Lack of policies
  • Lack of tech competencies (she has a checklist for instructors to fill out and indicate which areas they need help on.)
  • Release time is inadequate or absent
Renee shared her templates with me, if you are interested in seeing or using them let me know.