Recently in Encourages student/instructor contact Category

evaluation of the day

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I found the day useful, particularly the afternoon in learning about potentially useful technologies for my uses: camtasia and umconnect. I am becoming more clear about the uses I will make. I found the morning moderately useful. The first presentation on quality et al may be useful but was a bit flat for me, that combined with the darkness in the room to see the powerpoint, made me struggle to concentrate. Similarly in our discussion which followed, I found the discussion to be a bit random and it felt as if Michelle might have summarized at times or focused the discussion, I felt we were at times all over the place but maybe that is just me.

August 9 reflections

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I thought it was a great day today... I am definitely feeling "information overload," but the information was so useful and exciting. The resource people are fantastic. By the end of the day I was not only feeling "full" but also energized about rolling up my sleeves to work on my project. I'd love to have more time to work on my class... wonder if that kind of time will be available during our days, or whether that is what I am to do in the evening? Thanks for a great day!

Mentor in a box

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Thomas Smith, program director for engineering professional development, demonstrated use of tools such as adobe connect, our version is umconnect, for mentoring learners on the spot in the field. Other mechanisms included devices like blue tooth for coaching the practitioner in the field, use of i phones and the like. His presentation made me think of an example I heard recently when doing training in Illinois. A social worker acting as case manager for a teen parent was in the dugout waiting for her next at bat in a softball game. She received a text from a teen parent asking whether she should take her child to the emergency room as she thought she might have measles. The social worker could have said "make up your own mind" or " contact me during office hours, not when I am on private time during a softball game". Instead, she texted back "take a picture of your child with your i phone and send it to me". The teen did so. The social worker then accessed a public health site and got a picture of what measles look like. She forwarded the picture to the teen. The teen texted back that the child in the picture was white, her child was black, and she could not tell exactly if the marks were similar. I don't know the outcome of what decision the teen made, but I was impressed with the process of mentoring on the spot and teaching the teen on line problem solving skills for making an important decision. And she still got her at bat! Others have described keeping in touch with teens on the run through facebook. I have been providing consultation through umconnect with social workers about their practice. When I had the opportunity to come in person to meet with the social workers and the specific clients we had been consulting about, I was surprised, more than I should have been, to see how the actual practice with clients looked different than I had imagined from only talking to the workers. I was able to do some joint interviews and model some alternative techniques. It did however suggest that if the clients were up for it, we might have done this earlier with umconnect such that the social worker, client and I could all be hooked up from a distance. We might have also used the blue tooth mechanism for on the spot coaching that might have been different from my interrupting to try something different. The point of all this is that we have opportunities for coaching practitioners and students who are dealing with difficult challenges on the spot and not always through second hand accounts.

This was a 1/2 day Pre-Conference session. At this high-tech conference, Don Kirkpatrick used his over-head transparencies! Oh well. No new info but it occurred to me that the model can be used to evaluate the TREK Program. The 4 levels are
Reaction, Learning, Behavior (Application), and Results.
Reaction--My initial reaction is that technology in the classroom is both exciting and scary
Learning-- There are thrillions of tools. I plan to learn in more detail which of those will best assist me in (a) creating a blended learning approach for a course I will teach in Roch this fall, and (b) incorporating meaningful technology in other courses.
Application-- This will happen for courses this fall, the success of which will be determined by the students at the end of the semester and my own expertise--assuming I will acquire some!
Results-- I think the TREK program will be deemed successful when we continue to advance technology in our classrooms beyond the fall semester. We know the cost is high, but the return may be that TREK at the UofM becomes a model for training technologically saavy instructors and increasing student engagement.
Actually, all of the categories apply but I chose the following one

This study presented by Betsy Bannier highlighted the key elements to engaging adult undergrads and promoting their success.
The key elements listed by Bannier:
Offer Problem-Based Learning Experiences
Identifiy the students' motivation (extrinsic/intrinsic)
Identify the students' Help-Seeking Behaviors
Limit group-work
Remain flexible with due dates
Explain relevance of the course content throughout session

Identifying the "adult learner" by their social experiences (marriage, parenting, military service...) rather than by chronological age made sense to me. I appreciate her attachment to her individual students - though she was completely physically removed from them. It minimized my concerns for loosing the energy and connection that an on-site course provides.

Knowing that isolation is the catalyst for high drop out rates in on-line courses, I thought it would be wise to attend a session about creating presence. The authors of the book and presenters covers their theories - but again - did not cover practice.
Presence is a perception that is created by theoretically putting the learner in the center of the instruction session. The learner comes to the session with their own thoughts, emotions and behaviors. As instructors we are to surround the learner with experiences (objective and subjective), with modes (realism, immersion, involvement and suspention of disbelief) and the outer world.
The result of this formula is a most tangible presence - as documented by low drop out rates/high rates of successful completion.

Although this presentation focused on childcare providers, I found this session to be interesting because they demonstrated a Web-conferencing program called WebEx which was created as a business application.

Rick Morgan and Linda Hurst from the Univ. of Wisconsin-Platteville explained their program, discussed the equipment required for course participation (webcam, etc.), and explained the course orientation for instructors and students.

The benefits of utilizing WebEx are its affordability, flexibility, convenience of scheduling and use, and providing students with a sense of belonging to a group as they work on their course materials. Students can actually do group work using this technology when their course is not meeting synchronously.

The presenters discussed several pitfalls of this technology including the amount of time it takes to orient students to the system and the limiting the class to 12 participants because they want to ensure a quality learning environment for their students.

NB: One takeaway is that students are given a ten minute break after every hour of synchronous instruction. The presenters pointed out the importance of establishing 'rules of engagement' for appropriate behaviors while participating in an online course (including in which room the participants sit as they participate in the class).

NB2: The keynote presenters were each given $10K for presenting at this conference. I learned this in my 8:15AM session.

This session reviewed the presenters' (and authors') definition presence in addition to their Online Learner Model. Their definition of presence was "being there" and "being together" with online learners throughout the learning experience. The use of the model seemed a bit nebulous and was presented at a high level (however after reading their corresponding book I imagine it would make much more sense). The components of the model included dimensions of the learner such as their interior world, thought, emotion, and behavior.

Rosemary Lehman and Simone Conceicao presented their framework featured in two books they have written.I am all for transparency but their book plugging put me off for awhile, before I could get into their framework. Essentially they argued for creating a sense of presence, activity, caring by the instructor for students and how that is done and shown throughout a course. Elsewhere I had heard a faculty member who teaches attachment theory reflect on early childhood attachment and the parallels to students and courses: that they need to attach early or it will be very hard to develop later. The instructors are arguring for a variety of ways for showing your presence and caring early in a course with guidelines, feedback, modeling discussion and so on.

The presenters did a thoughtful job of describing detailed elements of course design, but I it didn't really help me think more clearly about social presence. A "design framework" should help course developers examine their design to better see whether there is an appropriate level of instructor presence in an online course. But I didn't pick up any understanding of how their descriptions of course elements could help in this way. Anna was sitting next to me, and I'm curious to hear what she thinks.

This workshop was an introduction to Google Wave, a fairly new collaborative collection of tools that are exciting to find out about. In order to use it as a creator or participant, you need a google account. Since the U of MN is now using Google, I just typed in my email address and password which worked although I had to create a different user name for google wave.

Basically, the user creates a wave and invites others to join in. Each participant can view the wave in real time and see changes that each person makes.

There are a multitude of extensions and bots that are both Google and 3rd party created. Some we were introduced to in the workshop were a bot that translates text immediately into 50 different languages, an extension that quickly adds any uTube video to a wave, a voice recorder to leave up to 10 minutes of voice message for anyone to listen to. There are hundreds of these that can be added and used.

Since this is a new application it is changing all the time, but I think it would be a good tool to explore for online teaching.

Morning Workshop

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This is an interesting workshop on faculty development. The presenter talked about essential factors in good teaching/learning. Here is where he started:

In this order:
1. Teacher presence
2. Social presence
3. Cognitive presence

These are our first three principles! It's interesting that he says it should happen in that order: address teacher presence and social presence before you can get to cognitive presence.

When addressing teacher presence,we talked about what is effective for online instructors: post the instructor's vita probably doesn't do much to address presence. Instead, how about a video of the instructor welcoming everyone to the class? Students want to see the instructor as a person; see his/her passion for the topic, and concern for student learning. I think that's a compelling point.