Recently in Encourages active learning Category

end of the week

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I have rarely if ever participated in a week long, really two week long program, such as this one that was presented with as much care in planning and instruction, materials available.I have been exposed to a lot more than I can use right away but that is not a problem. There are a lot of tools I know a little about now that I can play with, and encourage students to play with,in order to enhance learning experiences. Thanks to David and all the presenters and IT fellows for the skill and assistance this week.

Hump Day reflections

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Well, my mind was spinning with ideas again today. I accomplished a few minor things (created a google site with a unique header, made a test camtasia file explaining an excel spreadsheet, got camtasia and windows live movie maker working ib my computer. I will create a few topic tutoirals using camtasia to follow parts of students projects that will be done in google docs and google spreadsheet. The information on copyright, privacy, FERPA was most helpful. The take-a-way was "it depends" and consulting the website may be the best approach before moving forward. Thanks for another jam-packed day. This week has been even more valuable than last week. Great ideas and energy.

Continue to get a bit clearer everyday about my hybrid course design and the tools that will help me achieve my goals. But today I realized that using a blog and creating one are very different animals! Spent some time again with Austin to learn about style, design, etc. Tonight my task is mapping the course the old-fashioned way - on a piece of paper! Hopefully it will help me get the clarity and focus that's needed to set up the blog design.

Really appreciated the two presentations today. The information and personal reflections Michelle shared about on-line interaction were very helpful, particularly for an undergrad course I teach that uses a lot of web-based learning activities.

Jill's presentation took the mystery out of VideoAnt for me. I've really hesitated getting into video, thinking I wouldn't have the savvy to do it. But her demonstration inspired me to test it out and I thought of a way I could use it in the hybrid course I'm developing. Thanks to both of you!!!

Continue to be amazed at all the excellent resources we have here at the U but didn't know existed! I've added a couple I found tonight on the Moodle site.

light-at-end-of-tunnel61.jpg"If we see light at the end of the tunnel, it is the light of the oncoming train."
-Robert Lowell

Things came together this afternoon as I continue to work on the videos for the first day of my fall term classes. I have learned a lot about iMovie in the past 24 hours, and I am happy to report that I now know how to add audio voice-overs to still images in iPhoto thanks to a consultation with Pete. I also want to thank Caroline and Suzan and Daniel for their encouragement and assistance with my iMovie project. We have the opportunity to work with some very talented individuals.

Michelle's presentation on teacher presence and involvement in student discussions was very helpful this morning as well. Even though it hasn't been mentioned in our training, Michelle won the CEHD Distinguished Teaching Award a couple of years ago, and her reflections on her teaching experiences have been very valuable to our group.

I feel very fortunate to be in Treks Transform because I have moved very quickly along with my projects with assistance and insight from many colleagues! Thanks, everyone!

Anybody remember the Mamas and the Papas, or am I dating myself?

Anyway, it was a good Monday, judging by the way my head felt like it would explode with ideas at 2:00 p.m.. A couple of good ideas I can put to use right away.

First, I plan to share the QM information with a couple of colleagues who are working with me to revamp an existing on-line course. It will be a good exercise for the 3 of us to walk through the standards to see if we're meeting the mark.
?? In what central black hole has this been hiding for three years ??

Second, I took a big step down the course development path this afternoon. Kudos to awesome Austin who helped me think through the best tech tool to use for the hybrid course I'm developing. Was leaning toward individual Google sites for all students - was it because it was the latest 'bell or whistle' in the tech toolkit? Anyway, Austin showed me how I could achieve some learner interaction with the sites, then showed me how it might work better if I use the UThink Blog. It will allow me to create separate categories which will basically be the students. They can use links to websites, reports, documents, etc. and share their evaluations and responses based on the rubrics I've prepared. Peers can comment and give feedback to what they post.

Since I'm already somewhat familiar with the UThink blog, I can concentrate more on creating good learning activities to reach the course objectives (better use of my time). Also seems like it will take less time for students to get up to speed on using the tool itself which should translate to more time spent on the substance of the course (better use of their time).

My tasks now are to revisit my course objectives and begin to map out the learning activities to achieve them. Then I need to decide which of them are best in-class, which will work best on-line and how the semester will play out accordingly. Am getting excited to see how it will take shape.

Thanks for the healthy and delicious salads and snacks today! Serena rocks!

Monday's thoughts

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Today was a very helpful day. I was able to create a survey using google docs. After another discussion on maximizing collaboration, I am convinced that I will develop tools in Moodle and Google docs to allow students to work on or off campus on a group project based on collecting real data and then analyzing it and creating a report and presentation based on their experiences. I will be able to determine individuals imput into the project and have all resources available through Moodle but in Google docs. This will be my weeks work. I will look at audio and video ways to supplement this project but I will focus on collaboration tools. The presentations were good thinking and reflection time. Good teaching is the same online or in person. Some of the tools to accomplish this goal will need to change. That is my take-a-way. Thanks for a great day.
After talking with Peter, I am confident that collaborative activities will give me much more mileage in student achieving course goals than well structured "discussion' prompts.

Google Wave: Wanting to dig in to technology for a hybrid class, I spent my afternoon at a session on using Google Wave and a teaching tool. What a ride? Having my computer in front of me and learning a new tool--I had difficulty staying on task. I was either ahead of the class exploring or behind the class trying to figure out all the steps to using the new tool. (I have more appreciation of the position I have put students in when I try to keep them on task when I introduce a new statistical tool.) I found that the flexibility of Google wave had my mind racing with ideas on how it could enhance group projects in both my statistics class and in my freshman inquiry course. Being able to follow the development of student project ideas with web references, development of text, visual support mediums, and individuals' contributions to the whole was all possible using this medium. Too bad that it is no longer being supported by Google. I however have played with Google document since then and see that much of the tools that I do need are available in Google document including a presentation and spreadsheet tool. I think I will spend time exploring Google document this week.
Using a design framework to create a sense of presence: This workshop was the second presentation I attended with Simone as one of the presenters. It gave me time to think about a theoretical framework for designing an online or hybrid class. It primarily focused on the sense of presence that is so important when there is a transactional distance. Much food for thought. I did like the schema. If you are interested in a theoretical framework . . . I would suggest that you look it up on the conference notes webpage. I do have a copy of the hand out.
Second Life: I went to two presentations on Second Life to play further with a sense of presence (which I thought was an important concept for distance education). Both presentations were compelling. The presenters used their presentation to model a sense of presence and identity (synchronous and asynchronous). The presentation by Kay McLennan was great. We saw her interact with her avatar. Both presentations used second life for content delivery and for a sense of identity. Resources in second life included: virtually inspecting technology, historical information on significant leaders in a field of study, discussions and presentations by student with faculty (synchronous), role playing, conducting surveys, holding office hours (synchronous), tutorial materials, displays of information, and just social activities (flying, designing riding a skateboard type device, swimming, etc.). An interesting tool to study. There is second life educational portal.

This presentation was not what I expected primarily because the kinds of scenarios I use in my classes do not have right and wrong answers. This session focused on scenarios used in library e-tutorials. But I still learned some interesting general information about boring vs. engaging e-learning, etc. I was bothered by the fact that this librarian responded to a question from the audience by indicating that her library tutorials are not ADA compliant.

cathy Cavanaugh described a well developed mostly on line educational doctorate fat the University of Florida. The program is designed to support educational practitiioners who don't want to be researchers or faculty members but rather are currently practitioners in educational systems. They have thought through well the sequence of courses and expectations and built them around practice applications of research, program evaluation, related to educational technology. They have some introduction with their phd in having phd students participate at some levels as instructors and tutors for students in this program. There has been a very high demand for this program; they have selected 50 participants over two years out of applicaitons of 400. There are significant implications for other such doctoral programs in education or social work or other professions for place bound students who are or want to be leaders of practice rather than researchers and faculty members.

Betty Doo presented an interesting demonstration of using Second Life for encouraging active learning. Through the creation of avatars within a virtual world (shared meeting space, demonstration/simulations) students are able to become more engaged and connected to their community. Ms. Doo discussed areas within Second Life that are available specifically for individuals with disabilities. She also made reference to Second Life working well with Moodle for online course instruction, but I'm not entirely clear on what that means. Seemed like an interesting tool.

I enjoyed this session and thought it provided some great insight, however I'm not sure how much we would be able to implement some of the higher-level technology tools. There are some branching scenarios we can create in Power Point or other tools like Articulate and Captivate, however there would be license issues for the college in addition to technical training and support.

Definitely something to keep in mind for the future though!



I loved this session. The presenter, from UW La Crosse, provided a wonderful model for creating active learning online. The presenter reviewed her 5 step process including:

Step 1: Unit Objectives
Step 2: Group Projects
Step 3: Dissemination
Step 4: Self & Peer Assessment
Step 5: Individual Essay Exam

The presenter focused on Step 2 in the presentation (Group Projects), and talked about how for each module she would have groups complete a different activity (these rotated). For her example she had 5 groups and each group took on one of the following:

"Wise Wiki" - this group created a wiki of key terms for that module's content
"Know-It-Alls" - this group responded to a problem-solving based situation requiring critical thinking to solve/answer
"Heads of State" - this group created a system from scratch (the course she referred to was a political science course)
"News Room" - this group addressed current events in the new addressing their topic
"Think Tank" - this group had an application-related situation/problem to solve

For the Step 3 Dissemination piece, groups would summarize their group work in one of a variety of formats. They could create a newsletter, a Power Point, or a multimedia presentation and the instructor would post them on the overall course site so all students could see them.

Hi Everyone,

Hope you enjoyed the conference! It's been fun reading your posts. It makes me feel like I was there.

One thing I was wondering about is if anyone attended any sessions that related to using social networking as a tool in an online or hybrid course. This is something I'm very interested in. I was curious about how it might work and different ways social networking or social media could be used for educational purposes. Last year, I attempted a "Twitter" experiment in some of my courses and asked students to tweet about statistics they were seeing in the news. I enjoyed this, but it didn't seem to engage my students in the ways I hoped it would (upon surveying the class afterward, several students said they would have been more motivated had I done something with Facebook instead of Twitter, but I've been hesitant to do this because of privacy issues, etc.). I wanted to try using Twitter again, but if I do, I need to figure out how I might better structure that experience for students, or if there is a better way to go (e.g., perhaps instead of tweeting about statistics in the news, students could blog about this).

I look forward to seeing you soon!


This was an interesting session in that the authors shared activities and anecdotal stories that engaged ME as well as their on-line audiences.
They spoke of the importance of providing "ice breaking activities" (this was also noted by Katherine Hayden in a future session) as an introduction to the other students and to the possibilities of the technologies. They introduced me to the idea of "Second Life" programs and "avatars" (no I have not seen the movie). I also latched onto the idea of the community graphic organizer.
Both Donalson and Conrad had an extensive list of ideas - I am motivated to buy the book.


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"Technology can encourage humanity to reach their full potential" -Dr. Allen

Take away points from session:
It is the wise use of technology - not the technology- that results in success.

Include CCAF in every on-line instructional tool: Context, Challenge, Feedback, Activity. Using this framework should engage the learners.

I was hoping for more demonstrations of on-line course materials and less history of material development.


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Has anyone attending the DT&L conference heard any presenter speak about using the iPad in an educational context? If so, what have you learned?

I enjoyed participating in this workshop on communities of practice (CoP). Wenger has an engaging style and encouraged interaction throughout the 3 hour session. He invited our stories of participation in CoP through which we came to understand some critical elements of this type of learning environment.

I liked his frame for CoP - the idea that these communities are learning partnerships - grounded in a 'social discipline of learning'. The goal is to make sense of our learning together - we help each other solve problems, we hear each others' stories, we find synergy across structures, we keep up with change, we reflect and improve upon our practice, we build shared understanding, we cooperate on innovation, we find a voice and gain strategic influence.

I really appreciated his comment that a "piece of design" such as a classroom is not necessarily a CoP. While this 'designed space' could be a CoP, it requires purposeful action to develop into that. The three elements of a CoP - domain, community and practice, must all be purposefully considered to create the space in which learning together can occur.

I wondered how a professor can truly be a member of a CoP in a course they're teaching if they are also evaluating/grading students' work? Wenger gave an example of a writing course. The prof created a CoP OUTSIDE the class requirements - a voluntary writing club. In that space, she participated as a full member of the CoP, sharing her own struggles with and questions about writing and getting and providing feedback from learners (who also happened to be her students). I continue to wonder if it is still possible for students to fully trust that the experiences they share in the Writing Club will not enter the evaluative process of the professor.

I do however, think this is much more feasible for a graduate level course and think I will experiment with a CoP in the family policy course I'm developing within this Treks experience. I will do the same policy analysis and web site development for my area of interest along with the students so I'll be able to enter the CoP as a learner as well. Because I assign grades on a very different basis in grad courses than I do for undergraduate learners, I think this will work. What do the rest of you think? Any snags you think might be problematic? Any experiences that will help me think this through?

This was a lightning session (10 minutes) focused on the website Ubernote ( It looks interesting, although I'm wondering what it can do that Google Docs can't do. Something to play with...

Vera Polyakova-Norwood, an instructional desiger, worked with a nursing faculty member to create a syohronous role play experience for nursing doctoral students. They found that in an on-line program, students developed many skills: dealing with text, making multi-media presentations etc. but they were not especially adept at live handling of oral questions as they would be expected to handle as graduates. So they developed an assignment asking the nurses in teams to develop a persuasive presentation and defend it to a management team. Using adobe connect (we have umconnect) students could see one another and the instructor and could be called on to defend their proposal. This is a useful adjunct to on-line programs related to the need to demonstrate verbal proficiency.

I enjoyed Michael's presentation style. He tried to demonstrate his principles of using the 3 M's; meaningful, motivational, and memorable. He told three stories of projects that he was involved in that clearly demonstrated what is meaningful to him; i.e. helping others achieve more of their potential. He was quite inspiring and engaging. I think his comment that the way students learn today is really no different than they did 25 years ago. They still have to practice what they learn and be engaged in the process. "You can't teach students when they're asleep." He doesn't think student's brains are any different today than they were then, but the wise use of technology helps to create the learning environment and make it more engaging.

Overall what he said made good pedagogical sense and advocates for a very strategic use of technology to fit the situation rather than use technology for technology's sake.

These presenters demonstrated some best practices in the design and evaluation of a multimedia project by sharing a multimedia assignment and their development of a multimedia rubric.

The main takeaways from this session for me include the importance of including specific, measurable objectives and resources for the assignment; continued monitoring of student group progress, and reminding the students that they are the owners of their learning (both content and the multimedia productions).

To Individualize Make it Personalized: Creating Project Based Service eLearners

5 August 2010

Mara Kaufmann, Assoc. Professor, Center for Distance Learning, Empire State College (State University of New York)

Thomas Mackey, Interim Dean, Center for Distance Learning, Empire State College Author of Using technology to teach information literacy.

At Albany Tom developed First Year Experience program that included web based project and service learning), created an honors program and implemented service learning component.

This was my favorite session. I like how Mara and Tom stood on opposite sides of the front of the room and took turns talking, and how they featured a lot of photos of the students engaged in community work.

Tom and Mara gave me a lot to think about in terms of the potential to cultivate service learning projects online. They work with adult learners throughout the state and globally, who are doing service projects in the communities where they live, and then receive credit and apply their learning to their respective community projects.

They were excited to hear about the water seminar and digital story projects as there are two other instructors from other universities who are moving in a similar direction (applied, interdisciplinary, online, focused on water issues). If I have the opportunity, I'd like to create an online version of the water seminar, and have students across the globe making digital stories about water resource issues in their communities.

For his digital storytelling course and service learning courses, Tom uses: PBworks, wordpress, voicethread, jing, techsmith, googlewave, blogger, twitter, and animoto.

This was an interesting session on a continuing ed program for vets. The two presenters from Texas A&M ran this CE program essentially as a grand rounds for vets focusing specifically on feline health. Okay - not the focus of CEHD, but still, an interesting presentation.

These guys developed 10 sessions of 2-hours each, where they discussed interesting feline cases with widely dispersed DVSs across Texas. There were 20 participants in real time, but participants were able to participate from their home or wherever they had an Internet connection. Most of the participants completed the course.

Some of the positive feedback that they received included appreciation from the participants to be able access the library; receive case study materials; liked guest speakers very much.

Maybe people in the College are already doing this, but it seems to me that this would be a great area for growth for continuing education. Many of the programs in the College require ongoing CE to maintain licensure, and I wonder if there might be comparable cases that we might be able to use in delivering online CE. Presenting a case, giving some brief overview of current best practice and literature, and then working the case with a variety of practitioners could be an interesting way for different licensed professionals to get CEs. Could also be a way to maintain more active contact with alums.

Some down sides: they thought they were almost at their maximum with 20 participants. They couldn't do it with more than 30. It took the presenters/designers about 20 hours to lean the technical program, and even then they didn't feel completely comfortable with the technology until several weeks into the class.

Some strengths: the participants stayed in the program; promoted connections among individuals who lived in more remote communities, and also facilitated resource access for those students by giving access to the library; outcome measures from the participants indicated growth in knowledge, comfort in using the technology, greater confidence in discussing difficult cases with other vets and less inihibition in seeking consultation on difficult cases.

An interesting example of using technology for continuing educaiton.

The speakers, from Penn State's World Campus, discussed models of course design that balances course flexibility, scalability, and quality.
They examined previous models of course development/delivery through the lens of these three factors.

Their most recent model involves the integration of several web 2.0 tools (Prezi, PBWorks, Google Docs, Blogger, Flickr, YouTube). They site Dohn (2009), who said there is a "disconnect between the ideas behind Web 2.0 and the need to assure acquisition of knowledge" that our current educational system demands.

They explained how they see some uses of Web 2.0 tools, which would make courses very flexible (although not necessarily very scalable) and potential high quality.

Visual and Video Media (AM-2)

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This morning workshop led by Ellen Smythe and Marcy Dickson from Austin Peay State University focused on a variety of visual and video media software and hardware tools that could be used to enhance teaching/learning online.

The following products were featured--SnagIt, Jing, Camtasia Studio (three stars), YouTube U, TeacherTube, Screencast, SMART Boards, and Wimba. I found the first three product demos to be very useful. Nevertheless, the workshop leaders spoke too quickly and attempted to move through their material too rapidly without giving enough time to the audience to process what they were discussing.

What I took away from this workshop is that I want to learn more about Camtasia Studio for Mac as it would be useful to use for a few activities in my speech classes.

When I think of which of the seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education, I think that my participation in this workshop would eventually bring about better learning opportunities for my students, so I placed this under the "encourages active learning" best practice.