I hope it is OK to use one entry to sum up the many sessions I attended. I still have miles to go before I sleep and am trying to do this as efficiently as possible.
Wed. AM2: Visual & Video Media
I had hoped for something a bit more "hands on", but this 3-hour workshop did provide a wonderful overview of tools & resources, their cost, and their strengths and limitations. But I still have A LOT to learn!
Wed. PM10: Moodle & SoftChalk . . .
Although we do not have SoftChalk, this was still perhaps the most helpful session (3-hour workshop) I attended because it was so hands-on. We met in a computer lab in Pyle Hall. At first I was taken aback by the set up--the students' computer stations faced away from the instructor's at the front of the room. Within a few seconds of entering, however, I realized how brilliant this was. When the presenter was demonstrating we swiveled to face her (and had counter space facing in that direction for note taking, etc.), but could not be playing around on Facebook, reading e-mail, etc., while she talked. When we then implemented what we had learned our backs were to the presenter, but she could see our screens and could tell if we were progressing correctly from step/screen to step/screen, etc.
The presenter's goal in sharing SoftChalk was to encourage us to "package" our online lessons so that even if our institutions change platforms, etc., we would have easy transitions. we learned how to do things like upload YouTube Videos into a lesson on SoftChalk and then upload the entire less on to Moodle. We also learned some guiding principles for creating online quizzes, etc. We tried out developing course objectives in Radio James Objective Builder, which is based on Bloom's taxonomy. we created avatars at Voki.com. And we learned to "poster ourselves" at glogster.com.
#5: Students' Perceptions of Effective Teaching in Distance Ed.
This qualitative research study found that there was really very little difference by setting/mode of instruction in what students value in good teachers, although the order of importance of the 9 instructor behaviors varied slightly--with "responsive" much higher on the list for online courses, and "engaging" considered more importnat in on-campus teaching. The 9 instructor behaviors identified from the open-ended questionnaire were respectful, responsive, knowledgeable, approachable, communicative, organized, engaging, professional, & humorous.
#12: The Four Rs in Multimedia: Rationale, Roles, resources, & Rubrics
I liked that these presenters mentioned Universal Design at the beginning of the session. I realized that my only real weakness related to this topic is that students teach me the technologies rather than vice versa. However, the presenters pointed out that it is the instructor's job to be the content expert; there are campus resources to assist students with production.
#24: Redefining Online Discussions: A Taxonomy to Encourage In-Depth Interactions
This was a research presentation, using Garrison's Community of Inquiry (CoI) Model for the theoretical framework. I did not like the labels that the presenters chose for students' "stances" in online discussions. Overall their findings reminded me of the small group roles I learned about in group dynamics classes as an undergrad sociology major and then again in group theory courses in my MS program in Counseling. I don't think that the presenters are aware of some of this work from the 1960s and 70s. But what i took away from this session is that there are many similarities in the roles played in discussion, whether face-to-face or online, and that it is important to be aware of these roles and to facilitate students' movement into roles that contribute to rather than detracting from the conversation.
#27: Online Role Playing Activities for Developing Oral Presentation Proficiency
My notes are sketchy for this one--sorry! We did learn about using Adobe Connect for recording presentations.
#48: Beyond Accessibility: Online Students With Disabilities as Learners
Although she did not provide a citation, the presenter indicated that research has found that students with disabilities are more likely to self-disclose in online courses than in classroom-based courses--a finding that I consider interesting but perhaps not surprising. The most important thing I took away from this session is that distance education has a long way to go in providing equal access for students with disabilities, and that audience members were hungry for more information. Because my own grant work is related to students with disabilities, this provided many ideas for how to write my next grant proposal. The materials that institutions are contracting from private vendors--despite saying that they accommodate students with disabilities--are apparently problematic, and instructors need further professional development to create their own materials. My current grant involves partners from different academic disciplines from throughout the U.S. Clearly a similar model would work well for a proposal with a focus on online learning. There are many reasons why online courses would be attractive for students with a wide array of disabilities if they could be designed to be fully accessible. Yahoo! The next round of competition should be in spring 2011, and I have LOTS of ideas for developing a competitive grant proposal!
As I created this summary, I realized that most of the sessions I attended addressed the Chickering & Gamson guideline on which I especially focus my energies--respecting diverse talents and ways of knowing--although I did not realize that when going through the program to decide what to attend.