Category Archives: Undergraduate Education

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.

Rubrics for Assignments in Online Courses

An important aspect of an online course is grading assignments and providing feedback. This is especially true in an asynchronous course where there is no real-time interaction between the instructors and students. Once a student completes a learning activity, the instructor teaches via the grading of the assignment and provides clear and helpful feedback to the student.

Read full article here.

Link: 4 Ways ePortfolios Are Going Beyond College Resume Building

What happens when you take the original ePortfolio concept and expand its horizons to include other purposes?

This roundup summarizes recent case studies in the use of portfolios in undergraduate education. Read the full article here.

Link: 7 Trends That Will Revolutionize Online Learning

The idea that online learning could actually be better than face-to-face instruction has gained credence in recent years as new technology solutions promise to make the educational experience more personalized and engaging. Has that time finally arrived? Here, eCampus News looks at seven trends that have the potential to remake the world of online learning.

Read full article here.

Link: The Quest for Demonstrable Outcomes

Schejbal, D., (2015) The Quest for Demonstrable Outcomes.

There is a buzz, even a frenzy, about competency-based education (CBE). Brought together by the Lumina Foundation-sponsored organization C-BEN (the Competency-Based Education Network), 30 institutions and 4 university systems have developed or are developing competency-based programs. About another 600 schools have claimed to be developing CBE programs, though there is no accurate data to substantiate that number. Why and why now?

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.

Link: Future Students, Future Revenues [EAB restricted content]

“This brief, based on conversations with over 150 higher education leaders across North America, analyzes the fundamental forces that will shape higher education over the next decade and highlights the strategies and competencies that colleges and universities will need to be successful.”

“Over the past decade, universities were able to grow revenue primarily by growing enrollment and increasing net tuition per student. But demographic and economic changes will make it increasingly difficult for all but a handful of institutions to grow tuition revenue at historic rates. Despite rising access rates, demographic projections suggest that the number of high school graduates will decline over the coming decade, leading to a dramatic drop-off in the overall rate of enrollment growth.”

Key Takeaways:

  •  Nontraditional students will drive enrollment and revenue growth, not traditional student population (18-22 year olds).
  • Need to invest in serving nontraditional students.
  • Online and hybrid education can assist, but strategy should be driven by student needs, not external forces.

“Future Students, Future Revenues — Thriving in a Decade of Demographic Decline.” EAB report. April 13, 2014.

File: UPCEA and OLC Issue Joint Letter to Congress on Integrity of Online Learning

In August, UPCEA and OLC sent a letter about online learning to the leadership of the House Committee on Education and Workforce as well as the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in response to recent public statements which appear to question the integrity of online education.

As early as 2010, a Department of Education meta-analysis of research into the relative effectiveness of online and classroom-based learning put to rest any remaining question that what goes on in a classroom is inherently superior to what can be accomplished online; indeed, that study, and others that have followed, indicate that online learning is often superior in achieving measurable learner outcomes2. To question the inherent “integrity” and “quality” of online learning in 2015 is simply unsupported by overwhelming evidence.

UPCEA and OLC Joint Letter to Congress, August 28, 2015.