MOOC, Online Learning, Reflections

The Student Story in Open, Online Learning

In starting a new year and a new term, I am thinking more about student stories and learner experiences in my courses. From my teaching in K-12 and now in higher ed, I continually strive to be a “good teacher.” We know that quality education comes from instructors who are reaching students and by improving learning design, delivery, and engagement. There are multiple intervals during an academic term where I stop to reflect on the lessons learned in online education and to think about my own instructional practice.

Like a number other instructors in higher ed, I review learner comments from the course evaluations at the end of the term. Beyond the evaluative score of these instruments, I think it is critical for instructors, learning designers, researchers, and administrators to listen to the student story in our online (and open) learning environments. Additionally, I solicit student my own student feedback at the beginning and end of the term to learn more about their goals and individual experiences. I also take short notes about each course assignment, project, discussion board prompt, or journal entry reflection to remind myself of how students engaged with/learned from these activities. Much of my instructional reflection involves pedagogical considerations, rather than technological applications. I want to encourage my learners to persist, so I offer opportunities to improve with draft assignments and provide on-going feedback/follow-up. In thinking about my communication practices and technological tools, I want to ensure my online classroom is interactive and offers opportunities to meet both the learning outcomes and student needs.

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What do students really want from their online instructor? Here are a few things I have learned over the past few years of online teaching:

  • Provide a purpose of each course section connected to the learning goals
  • Easy to follow course design and navigation for online learning
  • Transparent expectations for requirements and how they will be evaluated/assessed
  • Clear directions for course assignments, projects, and activities
  • Meaningful online activities and projects that apply beyond the course or connected to their own career/academic goals – relevance!
  • Relatively quick responses to questions and/or communication standards as to when/how the instructor/TA for course support
  • A connection to the instructor via  “presence” or involvement in the course, e.g. video lectures, lecture/screencasting, audio files, course discussion participation, etc. to make it personal and meaningful

As I research online learning strategies to succeed, and continue to teach online each semester, I really want to know more about how my learners persist in online — so I can improve my own practice. In George Veletsianos‘ (2013) book, Learner Experiences with MOOCs and Open Online Learning, ten graduate students immerse themselves in open online learning experiences for two months and share their own narratives. This collection of peer-reviewed, learner essays offer further insight and reflection on the following questions:

  • What are learner experiences with open online courses, MOOCs, and other forms of open online learning?
  • What is it like to participate in open online learning?
  • What are learners’ perspectives of MOOCs?

Although I am not instructing a MOOC, this free e-book offered suggestions to improve learning delivery/design and identify ways to scaffold online environments for my own students.  This book may only a slice of online learning, as it shares learners’ reflections from MOOCs, it does indicate that distance education is a complex thing. Expectations, realities, and execution of this learning is quite varied.  I think these narratives provided by graduate students offer insight into distance education itself, and perhaps, how we even approach research in this arena. These student stories reminded me to involve my learners in the process of understanding their educational experience. When it comes to online learning, we should ensure the student voice is not crowded out by research ABOUT our students, that is, we need to think about research BY our students. I am thinking more about this key point as I contemplate how to best involve my sample population’s “voice” in my research and discover meaning further meaning that is often overlooked in scholarship.

Reference:

Veletsianos, G. (2013). Learner Experiences with MOOCs and Open Online Learning. Madison, WI: Hybrid Pedagogy Press.

#3Wedu, Reflections

#WINEvent and Corking 2016 with #3Wedu

This month, I have been dropping knowledge about savory red wines with Fiachra as we dive into our self-stocked Wine (Ad)vent calendar (this one was sold out). Each day leading up to December 25th, our household is celebrating the end of 2016 by unwrapping a bottle of vino for #WINEvent. Each wine was selected with a particular story in mind, and we share this tale and our thoughts the wine selection with each other (and sometimes friends who drop in). Want to learn more about the bottles sampled? Check out our 2016 #WINEvent Flickr album or listen to our daily stories/wine reviews via SoundCloud. It’s our way to send off and put a cork in 2016, as we’re sort of done with this year.

corkit

Do you know who is also OVER 2016? The #3Wedu ladies! Join us as we put a cork in 2016 with our final podcast on Wednesday, December 14th at 3 pm PST // 5 pm CDT // 6pm EST.  Episode No. 12 may offer a few reflections, NO regrets, and our future musings  for the Women Who Wine in Edu. Join us for the candid conversations and, as always, BYO-Wine (or festive beverage of choice)! We are looking forward to chat and cheers with you to send off 2016, and discuss what lies ahead for the new year. Come join the banter and comradery here:

Academia, AcAdv, Learning Community, Professional Development, Reflections, SAchat

Your Digital Self & Online Community: Let’s Twitter Chat About It #SAchat & #AcAdv

In my last blog post, I asked if you have thought about your digital self and what it means to be a “resident” in various spaces and places online.  This is a common question I pose and ponder with higher ed colleagues and friends I work with, connect with online, meet face-to-face, and now as I collaborate on research looking at Networked Communities of Practice. When it comes to digital participation there is no right or wrong. That being said, sometimes I think of this quote from the Sydney MCA as our lives continue to evolve online:

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Last year, the TED Radio Hour podcast featured TED speakers who dug into what it means to be digital and connected in its two-part episode, Screen Time, Part I and Part 2The segments dive into how the digital version of ourselves are impacting who we are. There is one quote, in particular, that resonated with me from Jon Ronson’s segment in Part 2:

“The way we are defined on social media, on the Internet, and on Google has become more important than who we actually are as people.”

Ronson’s TED talk presents ideas he writes about in his book So You’ve Been Publically Shamed. His segment “How can our real lives be ruined by our digital ones?” discusses how the online self is impacting our offline self. With the recent US election, there are no shortages of examples of tasteless social media shares and volatile toned posts displayed online. The election is not the cause of this behavior; however, these type of actions and interactions within the higher ed community online are disheartening. If you are presenting your actual self online (and not an anonymous profile/account) the expression “in real life” or “IRL” no longer applies. What we do inside the screen does impact our life beyond the screen. What happens digitally and on the Internet IS IN REAL LIFE (exit distance worker soapbox rant for now).

As Inger puts it very well, there are some “academic assholes in the circles of niceness.” If you are on the social web and in higher ed, there is no doubt that you have witnessed more cruelty than kindness from your colleagues and far less empathy or compassion from your fellow practitioners in online communities.  For many of us who live our working life online, I think “our second selves” are impacting who we are.

Maybe it is also time for some reflection and perhaps a candid discussion about our digital self and our online communities. Thanks to two online communities — #SAchat and #AcAdv — we’re going to get real and talk these issues in higher ed in these upcoming Twitter Chats:

#SAchat TOPIC:

Personal and Professional Identity on Social Media & Online

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Thursday, December 1, 2016 for the DAYTIME #SAchat from 12-1 pm CDT; Follow @The_SA_Blog on Twitter

Let’s discuss what it means to “grow up” professionally online and offline in higher education. What motivates you to interact, engage, and share? What social networks and hashtags do you connect with for your work in student affairs and higher ed? Has being online impacted what you do professionally or personally? Share with us about your own digital identity development, specifically how it influences who you are and your work on campus. 

  • MOD for the DAYTIME #SAchat (12/1/6); TOPIC: Personal and Professional Identity on #SocialMedia & Online [Chat Transcript ARCHIVE]

#AcAdv Chat TOPIC:

Learning Online With And From A Community of Peers

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016 for the #AcAdv Chat from 12-1 pm CDT; Follow @AcAdvChat on Twitter

Let’s have a conversation about how online networks and digital spaces support your professional and personal well-being. Where do you learn online? What communities contribute to your work and success in #higher ed? Tell us how these networked communities offer resources, share ideas, and offer care for you, your professional role, and your personal growth.

  • MOD for the #AcAdv Chat (12/6/16); TOPIC: Learning Online With & From A Community of Peers [Chat Transcript ARCHIVE]

If you work in higher education and care about these issues, please join in on one or both discussions on Thursday (12/1) and next Tuesday (12/6). We look forward to hearing what you have to say on the topics…Twitter Chat soon!

Do you have questions about this or our research team, please feel free to contact us or suggest a way you would like to collaborate!

Conference, edusocmedia, Higher Education, Reflections, StudentAffairs

Have You Thought About Your Digital Self Lately?

While working on today’s workshop for the National Conference on Student Leadership (NCSL), I was listening to the recent Higher Ed Live broadcast with Ed & Josie talking “Engaging the Digital Generation” (an NDSS book they edited, and I contributed to — I promise to follow up on a blog post on this topic later). I was not surprised, but often wondered why student affairs (SA) and higher ed folks often go directly to technology:

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Why do practitioners in higher education, student affairs, and students services always go to the “tool” question first? Why do we want to know what’s “hot” with the digital, social technologies? Is it easier to think about a specific app, device, or platform? Why don’t we ask about the challenges or issues the technology is solving?  A wise supervisor once told me: Study problems, not things. The “thing” I’m thinking about are technology tools and platforms.

I am more interested how our campus stakeholders engage and interact with social and digital tools. What is their motivation and how are these online networks being utilized? Perhaps we should challenge professionals in higher education to start thinking about their own presence. I think it’s a good idea to reflect on our own contributions and social traces we are leaving in digital spaces and places [Hence why Paul & I are are studying just that: https://networkedcommunityofpractice.wordpress.com/] .  I really like the Visitors & Residents Continuum (White & Le Cornu, 2011) concept, which is also shared by Dave White (and colleagues from OCLC & Jisc) via a few resources and videos. Visitors tend to leave no social traces in the digital world. If you are Resident you are visible, active, and leave a part of you online in many spaces and places. If you have not heard of this concept, here’s a quick overview of the mapping process for visitor and resident in a personal and institutional (professional) context:

I think more thought and reflection into HOW and WHY we use these online networks and digital apps are needed. Here’s a start of my own visualization of my visitor and resident spaces & places — more will be added this afternoon during my NCSL Professional Workshop:

v_r_map_pasquini

Have you mapped your own V-R continuum lately? It’s an interesting process to think about and visualize. If so — please share and/or blog about it! To further this idea, what are the digital skills we need to hone within higher education? Here are a few suggestions organized on a metro map around digital skills:

digitalskillsframework

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This digital skills framework map was a solid start, but it definitely needs to be added to – what are your thoughts on this topic? How are you engaging and interacting with these spaces and places? What do we need to learn and bring to campus when it comes to digital understandings of self? How are you thinking about your resident vs. visitor self online? Show and share!

Reference:

White, D. S., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

#OLCInnovate, Learning Technologies, Reflections

The #OLCinnovateSDS: Our Re-Cap of the Plan, Design, & Pitch at OLC Innovate 2016

The inaugural OLC Innovate (#OLCInnovate) conference brought over a thousand educators, EdTech-innovators, and learning designers to New Orleans. This year was the inaugural Solution Design Summit (SDS) in which diverse teams of institutional stakeholders, campus partners, and EdTech innovators came together to solve learning challenges. Nine teams were selected to participate in the summit and pitch their learning solutions.

About the Solution Design Summit

Following OLC Emerging Technologies conference (2015) ideas from the “Teacher Tank,” we wanted to know, “How can we use the pitch format to design a solutions-based space for teams to work on solving a learning problem?” What resulted was the 2016 Solution Design Summit.

The SDS call for team proposals required participants to submit a learning challenge and a proposed solution to be worked on by an interdisciplinary team. The nine selected SDS teams then produced a 2-minute video trailer to describe their project. You can watch the 2016 SDS Video Trailers on YouTube or review the full SDS program here: http://bit.ly/olcinnovatesds16

Design Thinking Is A Process

During the Summit, a 3-hour pre-conference working session, the teams identified critical success factors for their learning solutions, gathered feedback from external stakeholders, and used design thinking to refine their “pitch” presentations. During the #OLCInnovate conference, teams delivered their 10-minute pitches in one of three concurrent sessions. The SDS pitches were evaluated by a panel of invited judges and audience participants.

OLCinnovateSDS_2016_Montage

The SDS challenges

The Solution Design Summit asked teams to work on increasing learner success in one of the following four areas: personal and adaptive learning; professional learning and development; the impact of open learning; or choose your own learning challenge.

Listed below are the nine SDS teams. Click on any of the titles to find out about each SDS team’s challenge and solution:

And the Winners are…

The 2016 SOLUTION DESIGN SUMMIT WINNING TEAM is . . .

OLCSDSWinner

Image mashup c/o Tony Dalton from the SDS Muhlenberg College Team

Creating Pathways to Digital Peer Leadership in the Liberal Arts

Team members:  

  • Lora Taub-Pervizpour, Associate Dean for Digital Learning, Professor of Media & Communication at Muhlenberg College
  • Kathy Harring, Dean of Institutional Assessment & Academic Planning, Professor of Psychology at Muhlenberg College
  • Sean Miller, Manager of Media Services at Muhlenberg College
  • Thomas Sciarrino, Manager of Instructional Technology and Digital Learning at Muhlenberg College
  • Anthony Dalton, Digital Cultures Media Technician, Digital Media Design Lab Instructor at Muhlenberg College

Summary: Like many liberal arts institutions, Muhlenberg College is exploring the role of the digital in our mission, goals, and practices.  We believe that digital spaces, pedagogies, and tools can amplify our liberal arts mission and values, and support deep relationships between teaching and learning, appreciation for diverse ways of knowing, and an education that prepares students for citizenship and lifelong learning. At the heart of our student-centered environment is a nationally recognized peer-mentor model.  Our goal is to create an innovative peer education model that empowers students to develop the relationships, skills, and competencies the need to excel as leaders in digital learning contexts.

Kudos to the COMMUNITY CHOICE award for….

If You Build It, Will They Come?

Team members:  

  • Tracy Stuntz, Instructional designer, lead LMS trainer at California State University, Fresno
  • Jean-Marie Venturini, Instructional designer, lead LMS trainer at Otis School of Art and Design
  • Rex Bartholomew, New Model Development Administrator at Toyota

Summary: The challenge we’re facing is faculty/client attendance at non-mandatory (but needed) training events is low. The focus is on reasons for faculty/client lack of attendance, and how to reach and motivate participants.

Thank You To All Who Played In the Solution Design Sandbox!

A big thank you to the invited stakeholders, judges, audience members, and the SDS planning team who supported this program. Kudos to ALL the SDS teams for your amazing pitch presentations! By asking teams to work on a solution before meeting together and then creating iterations of their work, we know that this type of conference project proposal was not simple. We hope each team received valuable input, feedback, and considerations to bring to their institutions and companies. This was the first year of the Solution Design Summit, and we hope to see a similar track at OLC Innovate 2017 and anywhere educators, designers, and ed tech innovators gather at a conference.

Thanks and much love from the #OLCInnovateSDS: 2016 SDS Planning Team,

#3Wedu, OLC, Podcast, Reflections

#3Wedu Podcast #4: Women Who Innovate in Higher Ed [#OLCInnovate Recap of Session]

Last week, I was fortunate to meet up with a number of friends and colleagues at OLC Innovate (#OLCInnovate if you’ve been learning from the backchannel) in New Orleans. There’s a great deal I have to reflect upon about my conference experience; however that will be saved for later. What I do hope to share a bit about is the Conversations that Work session on Women Who Innovate in Higher Education: Challenges & Strategies. During this session, we hosted a few small-group discussions prompted by questions we shared: http://bit.ly/olcinnovate3Wedu16

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For those of you who joined the 45-minute conversation, THANK YOU. By starting and continuing the conversations, I think we have already left this gathering  with more solutions than challenges for women in higher education.  These round-table conversations were great! I was fortunate to facilitate one of the 6 tables/circles who shared insights and experiences of women in higher ed. I appreciate the openness and thoughtfulness shared by the participants — specifically with regards to sharing challenges and suggestions to move more ladies forward at our institutions and within the field.  To be fully engaged in the conversation, I jotted down some notes pen-to-paper style. Here are a few highlights I can translate from my scribble, which might be interesting to dig into tomorrow (4/27) or in future #3Wedu podcasts: 

  • Education qualifications & Work Experiences: Do women require a Ph.D. vs. men who only have a masters degree? Or do women believe they have to “do more” to prove ourselves? This might include additional work experience(s), degrees, skills, etc.
  • Image of Women Leaders: The concept of “friendly” or a certain image is required by female leaders — this includes image, dress, language, and management style. Or do women take on “masculine characteristics” to lead and move up the career ladder – is this required? Expected?
  • Role on a Team: As a team member are their certain expectations of self and others? Are more women motivated and/or empowered by male vs. female supervisors? What aspect does culture at an institution play on this team environment?
  • Mentoring: Do we have enough time or make enough time to mentor other women in the field? It is important that we see strong female leaders, and also their vulnerabilities (i.e. the holistic view of the leader)
  • Work-Life Balance: Is this part of the institutional/organizational culture? How can this change? Organizational decision-making is relevant to improving and supporting a healthy balance of work in various roles and positions held by women.
  • Geography & Transitions for Career Advancement: Are women less portable to move or relocate? Do we have to move (geographically or to another institution) to move up in higher education? Is this a choice vs. a sacrifice? Are positions more flexible for men vs. women, in terms of promotion or advancement? Discussions on this topic included making geographic or career transitions based on life milestones, children, career development, negotiation with a partner for career planning, etc.
  • Solutions to Challenges — How can we improve women’s status in higher education?: Continue these conversations, continue to build our network of peers, consider restriction for communication (email, text, etc.) to encourage a work-life balance, consider looking at formal or informal policies that create barriers for women, think about opportunities to empower female colleagues on campus, movement needs to be asserted not just from female leaders, create “safe” spaces for women to speak up or out about challenges, and review how your institution embraces diversity within the organization or the division/unit/department considers the role of women.

Here is the challenge we left session participants with:

What can you do when you return back home to your institution after the conference? What is one thing you will work on to support and/or empower women within your campus community?

Above is the recording from this past Wednesday, April 27th @ 3 pm PST // 5 pm CDT // 6pm EST as we recap our experiences from #OLCInnovate. Here is the Google+ ON AIR Event Page where you can tune in LIVE or post comments, our Google Doc for show notes http://bit.ly/3Wedu4 and YOUR #OLCInnovate reflections (please add), and, of course, the podcast hashtag: #3Wedu for those who tweet along the backchannel. Here are the #3Wedu Twitter discussions from curated from #OLCInnovate in NOLA & our 4th podcast.

If you are interested in staying connected to be up-to-date on the monthly WomenWhoWine.edu (#3Wedu) podcast and other events — just  let us know!  Please complete the following #3Wedu Podcast Community Google Form