Saturday, March 29, 2014

Creating a Climate of Possibility

Prepare to be inspired! Spread the word!

Scale (How you can help!)

In my personal studies, I have developed a keen interest in the issue of scale within the context of our e-learning mission within traditional institutions of education. I read in one source (I have tried to find it again to cite it, but to no avail) that the educational sector is the slo-o-owest of all sectors to adopt and integrate technology. Everyone who works in education would likely agree.

The challenge of helping to increase that momentum and move technology further and more deeply into the educational experience is the source of both my greatest excitement and my greatest fear. 

I recently decided to pursue my doctoral degree. As I am more interested in program administration than classroom teaching or research, I decided on an EdD with a specialization in higher education leadership. I have been thinking long and hard about what focus I would like to apply to my studies. I didn't have to think long to realize that the issue of scale is the one that is calling my name. 

I know that there are administrators who read my blog as well as faculty, students and other stakeholders in the e-learning revolution. For those of us who are involved in developing programs and scaling them into larger integrated functionality, I have added a section of resources labeled simply "Scale" and will be adding valuable resources there for your consideration and review. I welcome any conversation or insights on the topic as well. 

Of particular challenge to those struggling with the issue of scale is the proper assessment and evaluation of the current state of affairs in a given educational ecosystem or community. It's not enough to know what we want to happen next, we have to first do the hard and uncomfortable work of developing (and fixing broken or outdated) infrastructures with a thoughtful consideration of the future.

Taking those first steps in a way that doesn't frighten or intimidate stakeholders (colleagues, primarily) —while still demanding the full extent of forthright change that is required—is a very delicate and complicated problem to solve. We'll be exploring those issues in our conversations here as well. 

What's most important to say at this juncture is that the conversation around innovating our learning communities to keep up with our new millennial learners is one that must take place with all of us in the room. Where traditional management practices have had closed door meetings and decisions made for stakeholders by those who are signing the checks for goods and services, the successful scale strategy keeps the conversation open and interactive with every stakeholder, including the end learner. 

In a successful design, there will be layers of learning and teaching. Administrators willing to learn and to teach, e-learning staff willing to learn and to teach, faculty willing to learn and to teach, and end learners willing to both learn and teach (the value of peer teaching and learning becomes very apparent in the outcomes). 

So where do we start? We start by talking to each other. By adopting the tools and letting them sink into our daily living. By participating in faculty advisory opportunities presented by our institutions' administrations, quite frankly. Institutions have adopted that filled-room come-one-come-all policy of seeking stakeholder input, but often those stakeholders don't show up to actively participate. Apathy is a common theme across the many fields, not just education. But, as educators—we're different, aren't we?

The time is nigh! Are you coming?

Why MOOCs (Still) Matter

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mind maps!

We'll be creating Mind Maps on a Hangout soon! (Click the graphic to enlarge!)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Funny!

Tip: Just click on the cartoon image for a larger view and more legible caption! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

RoboPhot: It's in the Details!

You need to CLICK HERE and then zoom in. Zoom way in. And then zoom way out. And then think about how this type of photo could be used in online education.

This detail is achieved by taking 600 shots over 30 minutes and then tiling the image together in a supersized graphic file. The effect is breathtaking! And our favorite e-word: engaging!

Be warned: RoboPhot is addictive!

Watch to learn more!

Let's Get Critical!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Serious eLearning Manifesto

From the venerable Stephen Downes' OLDaily, the Serious eLearning Manifesto:
We believe that learning technology offers the possibility for creating uniquely valuable learning experiences. 
We also believe, with a sense of sadness and profound frustration, that most elearning fails to live up to its promise. 
We further believe that current trends evoke a future of only negligible improvement in elearning design—unless something radical is done to bend the curve. 
Finally, we have concluded that in order to elevate elearning to the height of its promise, we need to begin with a personal commitment to a new set of standards. 
Through continuous assessment of learner performance, the elearning experience can optimize use of the learner’s time, individualize the experience for full engagement, address needs, optimize practice, and prepare for transfer of learning to performance proficiency. 
Through our work in developing elearning experiences and helping others do the same, we believe that we need to go beyond typical elearning to the values and characteristics of Serious eLearning ...
Please watch this insightful and inspiring hour-long Google Hangout with the Manifesto team:

Read it in full HERE. And then, please—go sign!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Critical Thinking!

In honor of Alabama A&M University's 2014 QEP theme of "Critical Thinking" ... a little humor!

And one of our QEP flyers! (I designed this one!)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tuition Net Increases to Poorest Students Threaten Access to Higher Ed

I read with great interest Jon Marcus and Holly K. Hacker's Colleges Are Quietly Shifting The Burden Of Tuition Increases To Poor Families from the Hechinger Report on Huffington Post. I don't want to editorialize the issues raised specifically in the article in the context discussed, but want to point out that this entire issue—the evolving landscape of access to higher education as impacted by issues discussed herein—provides profound context for the unfolding discussions regarding MOOCs and their role in higher education.

I believe that the most imminent threat MOOCs present to traditional higher education is the allure of high-quality free/low-cost degrees for the highest achieving, most independent and self-motivated learners. In addition to potentially losing them out of enrollment and retention data sets, we stand to lose their power as peer learners to enhance learning outcomes for everyone enrolled.

Invasion of the MOOCs: The Promise and Perils of Massive Open Online Courses

Invasion of the MOOCs: The Promise and Perils of Massive Open Online Courses is one of the first collections of essays about the phenomenon of “Massive Online Open Courses.” Unlike accounts in the mainstream media and educational press, Invasion of the MOOCs is not written from the perspective of removed administrators, would-be education entrepreneurs/venture capitalists, or political pundits. Rather, this collection of essays comes from faculty who developed and taught MOOCs in 2012 and 2013, students who participated in those MOOCs, and academics and observers who have first hand experience with MOOCs and higher education. These twenty-one essays reflect the complexity of the very definition of what is (and what might in the near future be) a “MOOC,” along with perspectives and opinions that move far beyond the polarizing debate about MOOCs that has occupied the media in previous accounts. Toward that end, Invasion of the MOOCs reflects a wide variety of impressions about MOOCs from the most recent past and projects possibilities about MOOCs for the not so distant future.
You can buy the print copy (or download the free PDF version) HERE.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Engagement and Feedback

We're always looking for ways to engage the learner in content and to gain feedback on how they are progressing with their learning. Check out Edudemic's great short list of practical tips for accomplishing both in your brick-and-mortar or online classroom!