Friday, August 28, 2015

iPadagogy, Heutagogy, and 3D learning environments

The iPadagogy wheel
I'm a tech gearhead; always have been; always will be. Technology is what got me into the ed tech field over 16 years ago, and its effective use for teaching and learning is what continues to fuel my passion. That's why it's always a treat to attend pre-conference workshops hosted by the University of Illinois-Springfield and their Center for Online Learning, Research and Service. And their workshop titled Emerging Technologies for Enhancing Online Learner Engagement did not disappoint.

QR to session resources
The workshop was held in conjunction with the 2015 U. Wisconsin Distance Teaching and Learning conference in Madison and was focused on demos of the latest tools and techniques for enhancing engagement and improving learning. The session began with an introduction of the ipadagogy wheel, which takes the cognitive domain of Bloom's taxonomy and suggests apps that focus on each of the six areas. Also discussed was the little-known (for me, anyway) term of heutagogy, which is the study of self-determined learning. Heutagogy takes the concept of andragogy one step further by making learning student-centric rather than instructor or curriculum-centric.

Featured technologies

There were a number of technologies focused on 3D imaging. COLRS research indicates a significant movement towards 3D environments and immersive learning experiences. Examples of 3D cameras included the Ricoh Theta and VSN Mobil V360. Both cameras are capable of 360 degree still or video recording. And I'm talking both up/down as well as left/right panoramas. 360 apps were also demoed including PhotoSphere, available for free for both Android and iOS. Several Google Cardboards were handed out as door prizes.

Heads up

Presenters shared a couple of tidbits. The first is that the Flash platform is fading into the sunset. Adobe's well-used and much-maligned web app will no longer be supported by Adobe and should be avoided.

And totally unrelated to Flash but also mentioned was the Apple smart watch and the ease by which smart watch wearers can cheat on multiple choice exams. Instructors beware and move away from MC exams except for quick comprehension checks.

And finally...

Presenters summed up by stating that if a new app is based on a good idea but seems clunky or buggy, give it a few development iterations before dismissing completely. It may take developers awhile to work the bugs out of an otherwise great app.

Thanks once again to Ray Schroeder and his awesome crew. I've followed Ray's work for a number of years and always learn something new. Hat's off to the staff of COLRS for another entertaining and informative session.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

ASG Best in Show faculty training & development model

There was certainly no shortage of information sessions dealing with faculty training and development at the recent Distance Teaching and Learning conference, held in August 2015 at the Monona Convention Center in Madison. The development of faculty to effectively create online courses and supporting materials, as well as effectively teaching online, has always been a top priority at ID&T. But effective methods for preparing faculty have remained elusive. The primary issue with any faculty-centered development program is time. Is it possible to develop a training program that 1) respects the limited time available to faculty for attended training sessions, and 2) provide the information needed to meet the workshop outcomes.

One of the better sessions was presented by Ryan Anderson and Terry Tao, University of Wisconsin-Extension, on their faculty-centric professional development model. Developed in conjunction with University of Washington and University of California-Irvine, the model is based on faculty input on the most commonly asked faculty questions surrounding development and teaching courses for the online environment. The result is the website ASG Best in Show. The website is split into eight areas that correspond to the areas most commonly asked about by online instructors. For example, the first area is titled Orientation and deals with how a new online instructor would get started developing an online course. The section contains short videos of faculty discussing their experiences with getting started. The section also contains a video tutorial on how to get started with online course creation, learning objectives, and additional resources. Each of the remaining sections is laid out similarly, with a section overview, video lesson, lesson objectives, and videos of faculty discussing their experiences. The other sections on the website include Content, Structure, Communication, Interaction, Comprehension, Assessment, and Engagement. Follow up training on each section topic is also offered. And best of all, the website content is freely available. Well done, Ryan and Terry.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"Awash in content and starved for knowledge"

Image result for marc rosenberg educationHad the opportunity to listen to Marc Rosenberg at the 2015 Distance Teaching and Learning conference last week. Marc is an educational consultant and author of "Beyond E-Learning", and was the Wednesday morning keynote. He presented some very practical ideas, although some were a bit pie-in-the-sky. Some of the juicier takeaways:

  • He suggests using technology tools only when they can do a better job at providing knowledge than the instructor. Seems like a "duh" but something that is easily forgotten with the ever-increasing number of academic tech tools available;
  • As the title of this post suggests, Marc coined the phrase "We are awash in content and starved for knowledge." This was a nod to the voluminous amounts of content we are surrounded with every day, but without the proper filters and methods for content delivery, we never learn.
  • He quotes Einstein saying "I never try to remember something I can look up." So why are we forcing the memorization of materials that can be just as easily Googled?
  • He suggests a redefinition of blended learning to include knowledge bases, communities of practice, performance support, easily accessed experts and expertise, and ample coaching and mentoring. That is, make it more than content delivery focused and more learning focused.
  • Rethink time. He stated that he, his parents, and his son, all went to college under the same model: credit hour, spent 3-4 per week per class in a classroom chair. The amount of time spent had nothing to do with the level of topic knowledge and learning need and everything to do with fitting into a standardized template used by higher ed for hundreds of year. Stop the madness.
  • Let's integrate but not be subservient to technology. This was a point that struck home for me as I think about how we use our LMS system, and how this requires course developers to develop courses based on the capabilities of the LMS system rather than the needs of the student.
  • If a faculty member comes to an instructional designer asking what they can do, does the designer have the latitude to suggest trying something different or will they go back to the ADDIE model and focus on the process? Hopefully, our IDTers understand that they have sufficient latitude to try different things (without going overboard!) on a small scale.
Marc also made mention of a white paper he co-authored titled Learning and Performance Ecosystems, a free download. Thank you, Marc, for the insights. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

At COLTT 2015 at CU Boulder campus, Josh Bernhard, CU Denver, spoke on the topic, "Must-Haves in Your Classroom: Qualtrics, ZOOM, and YouTube.

Josh uses the survey tool, Qualtrics ( for his classroom as a learning tool but this tool could be used to enhance online learning as well. This tool can also be used for quizzes in which learners can take it multiple times, thereby creating a learning opportunity. There are "back-end" metrics that the instructor has access to. I'm going to give this tool a try.

ZOOM is a web meeting tool that use frequently. An annual cost of under $100 provides a reliable meeting tool option. The only draw back at Regis U. is that it is not currently integrated with Outlook so once I schedule a meeting, I need to copy and paste (not hard right?) into an Outlook meeting invite.

YouTube - we all know about. I learned that YouTube now allows uploads of videos longer than 15 minutes. It's easy to set up. Here's an excerpt from YouTube's Help:

Upload videos longer than 15 minutes

By default, you can upload videos that are up to 15 minutes long. To upload longer videos, verify your account with the following steps.
  1. On a computer, visit the upload page
  2. Click Increase your limit at the bottom of the page, or visit
  3. Follow the steps to verify your account with a phone. You can choose between receiving the verification code through a text message (on a mobile phone) or an automated voice call.

Monday, August 17, 2015

COLTT Conference 2015

Guest post by:
Deb Bennett-Woods, Ed.D.
Professor, Health Services Education
Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions
Regis University

I attended the COLTT Conference last week with the specific intent to learn more about universal design.  If I understood the various presentations I attended, we have a fair challenge ahead of us, not to just  make courses accessible, but to make them both accessible AND remain engaging. 

In the many years since I have been teaching in the online and blended environment, I have worked hard to find ways to re-create some of the level of personal engagement and entertainment that is possible in the face-to-face environment.  Whether it is the addition of well-crafted audio slidecasts (with transcripts of course!) or the last minute link to a breaking news story or YouTube video that is just perfect for this moment in the course, I have looked for ways to diverge from fully text-based content.  Others have been far more creative than me in incorporating interesting technology apps into content delivery and student assignments. 

What struck me in the various presentations, which included a range from a general overview of accessibility tips to highly detailed workshops on making Word docs and PDFs accessible, was the sheer technical effort, awareness, and potential cost required to make every instructional element of a course fully accessible, especially prior to delivery.  Not only is there a steep learning curve for instructors like me whose technical skills rise just to the level to be dangerous, but the time and cost factors seem daunting.  I worry about having to adopt longer time frames for content development at the same time we are being pressed to move ever more quickly.  I worry about having to move more and more content back into a plain text format that students seem less and less inclined to read. I don’t want to lose the spontaneity of being able to post new content as soon as I find it.  I will worry that incorporating new and interesting applications into assignments and learning activities, such as the really cool polling software I saw in another session, will unwittingly create new barriers. 

I know there are ways around my concerns and I embrace the need to have courses be fully accessible to meet student needs.  Just as I made the transition from face-to-face to online, I will make this transition.  However, it will require a measure of support and the time to do it.  I’m interested to hear what strategies my own institution can bring to bear so faculty are using what time we have efficiently to meet necessary standards. 

The task could also benefit from some cooperative effort.  It makes little sense to have instructors all over the country closed-captioning the same video or creating audio files of the same texts and accessible pdfs of the same journal articles.  I hope that we quickly find a way to share accessible resources and application work-arounds so we can focus out time where it is best used – interacting with our students.    

COLTT Reflections

Guest post by
Fabrice Jotterand, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Health Services Administration
Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions
Regis University

It was my first time at COLTT and I came back with many ideas but also questions about how to use these various learning technologies. One of the issues in the back of my mind is how to make asynchronous classes more interactive so in some ways I was "shopping" for ideas. Some of the technologies presented provided some hints although I found some presentations very technical. 

Two sessions stood out. One was a plenary presentation that questioned the use of technology in teaching. More precisely the presenter pointed out that sometime we quickly jump to the acquisition to a new technology but we don't know exactly the nature of the problem we are trying to address in the classroom. The second session I very much enjoyed concerned the challenges of cyborg learning (how devices become integrated in our learning experience and its challenges, especially in the clinical context (the two presenters were from CU). 

All in all it was a good experience.

Monday, August 10, 2015

2015 COLTT Conference Carl’s Takeaways
With the low entrance fee and being in Boulder, I have to say this is a conference that is a good return on investment.  The organization and signage for the conference is great. It once again makes me realize that we really are ahead of the game in a lot of aspects when it comes to student learning.  I have to warn you, after seeing Jill’s and Jeff’s posting, by update may be boring.  There are no pictures, but I will share the highlights for me from the sessions that I attended:
Your Slides are Terrible
Jill also attended this session, and did a great job of capturing the highlights.  I will try to not repeat what she had captured.  But will emphasize that he was very big on simplicity being king.  He mentioned that for him, Prezi can be more of a distraction.
My Thoughts:  I think the presentation was very interesting, and was as much around presentation as it was around actual slide development.  Good presenter. 

Mobile Ready Course with Universal Design
·         11% of all college and university students have some type of disability
·         45% use tablets to access and 37% use smartphones to access information and this is on the rise. 
·         9 tips for better UD
1.      Use color and style responsibly
2.      Use Headings
3.      Use tables only for tabular data
4.      Have fallback options for media – text alternative
5.      Add descriptive text
6.      Reevaluate uploading outside documents
7.      Link with descriptive natural language
8.      Take your course on mobile test drive
9.      Keep it simple yet effective
My Thoughts: I really like the quote for Steve Jobs “Some people think design is how it looks, but it is how it works.”  I agree and how it looks is more the development side.  This presentation confirms that our department is on top of this and definitely headed in the right direction.  

Keynote Speaker Michael Feldstein
· is a site he and a partner created that is worth visiting.
·         Identified that all too often we start with here is what we are going to do, without first starting with, what do we need?
·         Mentioned that as an expert, you forget what it is like to be a novice learner (Doug after this weekend, this can be an inside joke for us).
My Thoughts: I really like him bringing to our attention that all too often we start with a solution, without first really understanding what is needed. 

One Weird Trick
So, the one weird trick is “Feedback”. 
·         Definition for feedback is timely intervention.
·         Feedback cannot fix bad design.
·         Various forms of feedback: Objective, 1 on 1, formative, summative, etc.
·         Feedback doesn’t have to come from an expert.
·         Feedback should be goal based.
·         Feedback needs to be timely.
·         Students want to know: What can I do?  What can’t I do? How am I doing? How can I do better?
My Thoughts: I like that he mentioned feedback cannot fix bad design, and I will add that bad design increases the need for feedback that wouldn’t be needed with a good design.  Feedback is critical to learning, and we aren’t real good at this.  I think this is an area of where we have an opportunity for improvement.  I think having it be a conversation loop and goal based is critical.

Tales from a MOOC, and How It Changed My On-Campus Courses
·         By week 5 of 8 week course had 21,268 students
·         Students do care about getting the certificate for completing the course.
·         6% completion rate, tut this doesn’t take into account the number of students who learned something
·         He spent a lot of time getting the MOOC ready:
o   370 hours general work
o   200 hours programming party game
o   100 hours for interactive course information web app.
·         He ran it again, but changed it to 12 weeks.  He added no new content, but had a 4 week recovery time where students just practiced what they had learned.
My thoughts: I went to this one since I’m not sold on MOOCs, and I wanted to see if this might change my mind.  It didn’t, but it was interesting. I like the idea of having recovery weeks. 

Presence +Experience Purposeful Design of Presence in Online Courses
·        With online dynamics of communication is different.
o   Community of Inquiry Model – a descriptive model of how we communicate with technology: 3 types of presence:
§  Social
§  Cognitive
§  Teaching
o   Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle
§  Experience
§  Examining
§  Explaining
§  Applying
o   For P+E you need to combine the two.
My thoughts:  This was a really good session.  I think we are trying to do this, but I like how this brings attention to it.  High touch can require getting hands-on experience.  In most cases this would make it a blended course.

Just-In-Time Teaching – Make It Shine
·         One issue is students can tell you the answer but not why that is the answer.
·         1/3 of students do the prep-work.
·         JITT involves online pre-class assignments (warm-up). The teacher reads through the responses to the assignments and uses this information to adjust what goes on in the classroom. This allows for active engagement in the class.
·         Readings are pre-work to warm-ups.  Warm-ups are 10% of their grade.
·         Need to make sure students know this is a partnership and helps the learning process.
·         Good resource:
·         Use LMS, email will drive you crazy.
My thoughts:   If students can’t tell you why, are they really learning? Really good concept. Only works as good as the facilitator makes it.  Would be interesting to discuss, can this concept be used for online?  I think this definitely should be considered for blended and classroom. 

Online Education Without Borders
·         Online education impacts the world.
·         Jesuit Commons Higher Education at the Margins
o   Sites (refugee camps)– may be solar, generator, or commercial electricity
o   Weather conditions impact when and how
·         Started in 2010 with 2 sites Malawi and Kenya, and now there are 10 sites.
·         Their culture, context, and time have to be incorporated into courses.
·         1,974 have enrolled in either a Diploma or CSLT programme.   328 have completed the diploma program.
My Thoughts: I really liked in the video a student saying, “We love learning, and hopefully we never stop.” I’m proud that Regis plays a major part in this type of program. This truly is making a difference.  I hope we are never the reason they stop learning.

Selecting Accessible Web-Based Learning Tools
·         CU leveraged outside expertise, built relationships, developed policy and standards.  Built capacity by creating positions to support the effort.
·         They audit services to determine issues
o   D2L is a star
o   Voice Thread is flash based so it isn’t.  Workaround requires typing it in and this isn’t an equivalent experience.
· standards – has their policy and standards
·         Recommend working with IT and Disability Services
·         Ask the right questions:
o   Is using the tool required for all students?
o   Is the Web Content Accessibility Compliant 2.0 AA?
o   Are there know accessibility issues with the web-based learning tool?
§  If yes, what are the workarounds and when are you fixing?
o   Have you done accessibility testing?
o   Is documentation for students that use assistive technology available?
·         Enterprise tools are not the responsibility of the faculty.
·         Quick test – if you can’t use it without a mouse, you have an issue.
My Thoughts: Good presentation.  I think we (Regis) needs to determine how we are going to build capacity.   I think CU maybe goes beyond what is required with external sites.  The list of questions is extensive.  I would hope that it is enough to ask are you ADA compliant and they respond in writing that they are, we have done due diligence.  Good contact person:

Active+Collaborative=learning: An online approach
·         Active learning is the combination of learning through reading, listening, seeing and having experiences – with a strong active component (focus on experience).
·         Assignments need to actively challenge students and encourage them to collaborate with their cohorts and instructor for increased engagement.
My Thoughts: I think our online courses could improve with collaboration and active learning. Regardless, with collaboration, I think we need to make sure we don’t force it in order to say we have it.  I watched a Ted presentation recently that did a great job of saying that group work may be overrated.  We need to create curiosity for learning.  I think making it relevant is critical. 

Winning the Student Engagement Game
·         Engagement is evidenced by working hard, persistence, attention, satisfaction, etc.
·         Active learning requires engagement
·         3 Things Needed
o   Collective Goals
o   Assigned Roles
o   Clear Communication
·         Give students a purpose for being in the class.
My Thoughts: The assigned roles are really important in any group activity, and I’m not sure this is stressed enough in our classes.  This was geared for the classroom, but the clear communication is even more important in online courses. 

I’ll end with this is a very good conference and the price is right!

2015 COLTT Ling's Takeaways

I still remember years ago at the beginning of a conference session presenters would politely remind the audience to turn off the cell phones and put them away. This year, however, it was almost a requirement for you to have a smartphone to go to a session. Here are two easy ways to use the phones to engage your audience/students:
  1. Poll Everywhere: Gather live audience or class responses via text messages.
  2. Instagram: Campus scavenger hunt activities for new student orientation; showcase students’ work; capture field trip memories; share reading recommendations, etc. 
Steve Pillow from Emily Griffith Technical College presented a collection of technology tools for engagement. On his website, he organized tools into categories of Quiz, Video, Photo, Music, and Google. . What a wonderful resource! Although many of the tools are geared towards k-12 teachers, you’ll be able to find gems for your personal and professional use.

The other session I went to was on faculty training presented by CU Online. This was the same presentation as the one they did at the OLC’s blended conference. Please see Jeff’s blog post. I’m not going to repeat here in terms of what they covered in the session.  Here are my takeaways:

  1. Their training program is called Online Skills Mastery (OSM) – pronounced as “awesome.” (How clever is that?)
  2. One of the motivations for faculty to take these badge courses is that as students register for online courses, they get to see faculty’s credentials (badges).
  3. The CU online team is currently working with their Legal to explore the possibilities to put this wonderful resource under Creative Commons license. It takes lots of resources to put together faculty training materials. I’m excited about the potential for institutions to partner up and share resources. 

COLTT 2015 Nicole's Summary

I’ve gathered some notes, ideas and highlights of the sessions I attended.

“Times are changing: Moving from lecture to experience in the classroom” Kevin Zeiler/Jeff Helton (Metro State)
During the session we generated ideas for experiential learning. (case studies, role-play, debates, collaboration, problem-solving projects, group work etc.) Opportunities to work through Kolb’s experiential learning style theory: It is a cyclical loop that includes: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. It is important to close the gap on outcomes. What worked- what didn’t work?
During this session I thought about how to better apply this theory to the online classroom. I found this article that questions the same thing:

“Digital Tools and Strategies to enhance instruction” Steve Pillow (Emily Griffith Technical College) Steve put together a whole google site chock full of suggested tools. He incorporated a new tool that I had not heard of called Symbaloo. It is a tool that allows you to organize any links into a visual grid. When you go to Steve’s Google site and look to the right of the Symbaloo grid he has concrete examples of the top 3 tools for each category. I certainly appreciated that. One tool in particular that stood out for me was Popcorn Maker ( ). It seems to be an easy, free, tool where you can import any video and add pop-up questions for students at any points during the video. I think this would be quite useful.
Another thing that I was not familiar with but it piqued my interest to investigate, Subtitling text add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint (STAMP) Here’s the description straight from the link: “The Subtitling text add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint lets you add closed captions to the video and audio files you include in your presentations. If you work with captioned video and audio files that already have Timed Text Markup (TTML) files associated with them, this add-in lets you import them directly into your presentation. If you don’t have a TTML file, you can add captions directly in your presentation.”

“Crossing Campus Chasms to Create Accessibility Services” Mark Werner and colleagues from CU Boulder
I found this session to be incredibly informative and helpful. The CU Boulder team laid out their recent journey when they received a formal complaint letter from the DOJ regarding ADA compliance.  (NOTE: If you go to the Zerista site for the conference you can download all of the materials and presentation files.)  The complaint letter was rather vague and broad but basically pointed out some issues regarding content accessibility for students with blindness and/or low vision. The letter really launched a collaboration between academic, disability services and IT. Together they addressed the issues and created a policy. They were able to get executive buy in. This was something that they pointed out was very KEY for placing priority around the issues. The team learned that this had to be less about risk management and more about sustainability and being proactive. They formed a new position “chief digital technology accessibility officer” to collaborate with all the key players, keep things transparent for everyone, and maintain the accessibility standards. It might seem like an overwhelming task to keep up or even be proactive, but they said to remember that even small steps towards the overall accessibility goal is good!

“Notice what you notice: the power of experiential learning in Online courses” Cynthia Drake CU Boulder
Cynthia referred to Kolb’s experiential learning theory. Her key recommendations:

  1. Use social media platform to bring them in on a personal level. She creates a closed Facebook group for her class.
  2. Do at least one multimodal assignment. She used the example of Pecha Kucha (20 slides in 20 minutes or 15 slides in 5 minutes). Any tool that helps to tell stories with voice and visuals would work well for this step.
  3. Require peer interaction and feedback.
  4. Elicit unexpected reflection. Ask Socratic questions and critical thinking.
  5. Breakdown the false compartmentalization between school and life. Help the students incorporate connections.

I participated this year with the new Test Kitchen as a chef. Here's my classic recipe for incorporating technology for student learning