Monday, October 10, 2016

5th Annual TLTS2016 - Highlights by Carl Kinney

I am glad I had the opportunity to attend this conference, and the fact that it is a free conference continues to impress me.  The fact that it is a one day conference also helps with you not feeling like you are overloaded with new information, yet you come away with some golden nuggets.

One of the sessions was on Engaging Students Through Interactive Learning, presented by, Kevin Zeller, Amy Dore, and Jeff Helton from Metro State.  In this presentation they shared that 1 in 4 students in higher education are taking at least one online course, but over the last two years the number of online courses is starting to trend downwards.  There are many variables and factors that influence this, but "Interaction" is key to engaging students.   If your online courses are asynchronous, having this interaction is still critical.  So, this is where advancements in technology can really help.  Creating short review videos can create that interaction even though they are accessed asynchronously, or recording non-mandatory synchronous sessions and making available for students to access at a time that works best for them.  As with most things, there are challenges to keep in mind.  They shared, some things to consider are: changing technology, budgetary concerns, development time, diverse student needs, and policy changes.

Another session that was a nugget for me was User Experience (UX), Learner Experience (LX) and Usability in the Online Classroom, presented by Baye Herald and Jennifer Panko from the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs.  Some of the golden nuggets from this session are:

  • Learner's perception is just as important as content and learning objectives.
  • The learner's perception involves, before class, the class, and after class experiences.
  • The "user" experience is more around a specific product or service.
  • The "learner" experience is more around using available resources to study and show that learning has taken place.
  • Also touched on Learning Experience, and shared that a company has trademarked the term Learning Experience Design.
  • Early communication with the student is critical.
  • Should ask students after a couple of weeks about their experience.
  • Observation can give you a different result from what you might get in a survey. 
I think UX, LX, and Usability are all areas we should examine more and identify how we can improve in all of these areas.

I'm happy to discuss any of the above in more detail, or share some of the highlights with some of the other sessions.  Let me know if you are interested.   

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