Category Archives: Active Learning

8 Characteristics of Good Online Video

video-online-learningAccording to a report published in the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, instructor-generated video can have a positive influence on student satisfaction with, and engagement in, online courses. But not all videos are created equal.

Research conducted by the American Academy of Neurology also reveals that “watching videos helps boost brain plasticity,” or the ability of the brain to undergo physical changes at any age. Learners who were trained to perform a particular task through videos performed better than those who learned through images and text, the researchers found—and they concluded that video has a “higher impact on the brain.”

 

Learn 8 high-impact strategies here.

Link: Cleveland’s Thinkbox is a Big Bet on University Makerspaces

Case Western Reserve University’s new 50,000 square-foot, $35 million center for innovation provides a space for anyone–especially students, faculty, and alumni–to tinker and creatively invent.

Charnas explained that the seven floors have been designed to accommodate different stages of development for a person or a project. The first floor is dedicated to community, a gathering place; the second floor is for ideation with lots of whiteboards and open space for brainstorming. The third floor is for prototyping, while the fourth floor is for fabrication — don’t ask me to explain the difference. The fifth floor is open projects space, essentially workbenches and storage. The sixth floor organizes resources for entrepreneurs and the seventh floor serves as an incubator for small groups that form to develop a new product.

Dougherty, Dale. “Cleveland’s Thinkbox is a Big Bet on University Makerspaces.” Make: October 30, 2015.

See also the think[box] web site.

Link: University-Run Boot Camps Offer Students Marketable Skills — but Not Course Credit

Boot camps have become the activities of choice to build new skills through intensive, engaged training, especially in tech and information management fields, for individuals who do not want to commit to the longer – and often more expensive – graduate degree programs. Until recently, these have not been associated with formal colleges and universities. Northeastern University is deploying one of the first boot camp programs from a traditional university, called “Level”, as a non-credit, two-month long program on data analytics. Northeastern’s boot camp will run alongside of its existing graduate degree programs in urban informatics and information design and visualization.

Ellen Wexler. “University-Run Boot Camps Offer Students Marketable Skills — but Not Course Credit.” Chronicle of Higher Education. October 13, 2015.

Link and File: Partial Credit – The 2015 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology

The most recent survey of faculty attitudes on technology produced for Inside Higher Ed details the 2015 responses to multiple aspects of educational technology use, online learning, and social media effects on academia. The responses come from 2,175 faculty members and 105 academic technology administrators.

Colleges and universities have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on technology they believe will improve student outcomes and simplify administrative tasks. Educational technology companies continue to demolish investment records on a quarterly basis. With all this money raised and spent under the guise of improving postsecondary education, the 2015 Inside Higher Ed Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology suggests that many instructors believe the gains in student learning justify the costs — even if the results are perhaps less significant than desired.

Link: How to Teach in an Age of Distraction

Image from How to Teach in an Age of Distraction

Sherry Turkle, professor of social studies of science and technology at MIT, argues against a technologically integrated classroom and cautions against the widespread use of digital technologies in the service of learning, asserting that these technologies lead to unimaginative (if efficient) multitasking. Turkle argues that “unitasking,” focusing on one topic at a time, allows for a deep engagement with curriculum content and peers, which is necessary to a quality education. In addition to degrading the in-class experience by constant checking of mobile devices, Turkle argues, outside of class students use tools like GChat and Google Docs to complete their assignments, avoiding in-person collaboration. Further, they miss the “serendipity” of spontaneous ideas that occur when people talk in person (but not digitally?).

“[A tool like GChat] doesn’t leave room for what I want my students to experience when they collaborate. I call it intellectual serendipity. It may happen when someone tells a story or a joke. Or when someone daydreams and comes back with an idea that goes in a new direction. None of this is necessarily efficient. But so many of our best ideas are born this way, in conversations that take a turn.”

Turkle, Sherry. “How to Teach in an Age of Distraction.” Chronicle of Higher Education October 2, 2015.

File: Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership

University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership, April 2015 and updated in June 2015.

This report is part of a process to identify the range of what will constitute successful online leadership on America’s campuses—not merely what many might be doing now, but those standards, aspirations, and principles essential far into future. The intent is to provide information to help establish the full array of professional skills and services necessary to successfully support online learning, and to guide university leaders, faculty, students, and the public at large to embrace online education as integral to academe.

The Hallmarks of Excellence identify seven areas of concentration in online course and program leadership and development: Advocacy and Leadership Within the University; Entrepreneurial Initiatives; Faculty Support; Student Support; Digital Technology; External Advocacy and Leadership Beyond the University; and Professionalism. Each of these facets includes useful definitions and justifications, providing suggestions for specific implementation strategies, structures, and plans.

UPCEA’s Hallmarks of Excellence have been endorsed by the American Council on Education (ACE), the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), Quality Matters (QM), and EDUCAUSE.

 

Link: Arizona State U Teams with Private Partners on Adaptive Learning

Leila Meyer, “Arizona State U Teams with Private Partners on Adaptive Learning,” Campus Technology, April 4, 2015.

This article presents the partnership between Arizona State University, Cengage Learning and Knewton to develop active learning tools that can be personalized for students in introductory college courses.

Link: Where Flipped Learning Research Is Going

David Raths, “Where Flipped Learning Research Is Going,” Campus Technology, April 15, 2015.

While most agree that the flipped classroom model benefits learning, researchers are delving into the details and exploring the many facets of a flip.

Raths examines a number of research efforts to analyze the effect of active learning within flipped class models on student outcomes. Efforts include side by side comparison of ‘traditional’ and ‘flipped’ courses in the same subject, as well as close analysis of active learning elements to measure the effectiveness of individual components.