Friday, October 26, 2007

Educause2007: Managing Online Discussions Through a "Participation Portfolio"

Educause2007: Managing Online Discussions Through a "Participation Portfolio"

John Fritz, Director of Instructional Technology & New Media at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, presented on student use of online discussions and how to avoid initiating every thread or simply counting all their replies.

  • John discussed his alternative delivery program for faculty at his institution. Delivers a hybrid training for faculty and there is a set list of items for what faculty must accomplish in the program.
  • Evolution of Course Management System: user and document management pull students into the website. They use Blackboard. The communications aspect is push where there are announcements, email, discussion and chat. Then there is push and pull with electronic assignment delivery and collection, and there are quizzes, surveys and other course usage.
  • Online discussion problems: too much to read and grade (amen!) or there is not enough. Also students write to the instructor instead to each other. He discuss the major assessment problems. You have either quantity problems = how to avoid rewarding "me too" responses vs. quality + tedious to find, subjective responses.
  • The solution is to have a self-graded portfolio where students propose the grade they feel they deserve based on 3-5 examples of each. He uses a template for students to copy and paste their best examples.
  • There are three discussion interaction types: student to content, student to student, and student to group. These are three narrowed down types by John, and he does a great job of defining each.
  • He provided a great example of a grading rubric that encompasses these three discussion interaction types. Four point scale.
  • He sets fixed durations for his discussions to avoid the piling on at the end of a semester.
  • Developed a MS Word form for students to use for submitting their portfolio (evidence of participation). Students can complete and submit online. He showed us how to created the forms in MS Word. Works in both Mac and PC. He has the template available on the conference website.
  • Showed a video of one of his faculty discussing his use of this "Participation Portfolio." Video was in his iTunes U site - UMBC Teaching & Learning podcast.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Educause2007: Riding the 2.0 Wave (Successfully)

Educause2007: Riding the 2.0 Wave (Successfully): A Strategy for Deploying Web 2.0 Technologies

Joshua D. Baron, Director of Academic Technology and eLearning, and William T. Thirsk, VP of Information Technology/CIO at Marist College, presented on Marist College's award-winning work with Web 2.0 applications. This has led to the development of an e-learning 2.0 strategy for the pedagogically based deployment of these technologies. They present their strategy and lessons learned from recent implementations, including methodologies for controlling costs, enhancing learning, and ensuring alignment with strategic goals.

Today's faculty automate teaching using technology. Automation is easy, yet innovation is hard, so we must rethink what we do. A conceptual framework for learning include interactions with content, subject matter experts and peers. Josh did a run down with how each interactions has changed from the traditional way of doing it, to Web 1.0 to ultimately Web 2.0. Here's the run down:
  • Interactions with content: Traditional - textbooks, Web 1.0 - webpages with hyperlinks, Web 2.0 - podcasting. He showed us an example of a faculty member distributed iPods with Belkin recorders to students so they could record interviews in a language class to create course content.
  • Interactions with subject matter experts: Traditional - I forgot this one, Web 1.0 - forgot, Web 2.0 - video chat with SMEs. Example was students learning a foreign language could chat with native speakers.
  • Interactions with peers: Traditional - group projects, Web 1.0 - discussion boards, Web 2.0 - web conferencing using something like YakPac.
I was a bad notetaker on this one. My Macbook Pro battery died on me.

Educause2007: There Has to Be a Better Way: Zotero and Research 2.0

Educause2007: There Has to Be a Better Way: Zotero and Research 2.0

Trevor Owens, Technology Evangelist from George Mason University, presented a new way to do research on the internet using Zotero. Zotero is a "free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work — in the web browser itself." It works with most databases like Jstor and EbscoHost, books sites like Amazon, and newspaper websites like New York Times, and Wikipedia. The list is unlimited. It allows you to collect the citation information as well as archive the page (for webpages).

You can create collections (folders) within the program and drag and drop sources over to the collection to create your project or paper, what ever the assignment is. The collections can have sub-folders too. The sources collected are stored locally on the computer being used, so students could use portable Firefox on a USB drive and have all the content stored on their portable drives.

You can also using tagging for your collected items and you easily search using a search box built into the viewer. There is also an advanced search option to help you narrow down your searches. Another feature of Zotero is Notes. You can add notes to any source collected. You can take an unlimited amount of notes, and spell check is built into it because it runs in Firefox which has spell check natively.

To export your data, you can set up the preferences to the documentation style you prefer and then just drag and drop the citations into a Word document. Your bibliography page is automatically created in the correct format. This is a sweet feature. You have to use the added plugins for Word or Open Office to use this feature. OpenOffice is another program you can have students load onto their portable thumbdrives to help make this process easier for them.

New version of Zotero will be a server version - Zotero 2.0. New features include:
  • shared collections, notes, and public domain documents so you can work in groups
  • scholarly groups in macro adn micro disciplines and official groups - collaborations
  • ability to make recommendations on sources in the collections
  • bibliographic feeds so people can subscribe to your research collections
  • APIs will open the program up even further
This is an awesome program. I've been playing around with it and have already started looking at possibly writing a learning grant to help me implement it as part of my ENG102 Web2.0 course.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Educause2007: Empowerment by Sharing: Tools for Today's Classroom

Educause2007: Empowerment by Sharing: Tools for Today's Classroom

Stacey Kizer, grad student from Pepperdine University, discusses how both faculty and students can gather knowledge and shape course content that is accessible anywhere, anytime. She demonstrates best practices in developing, sharing, and using course content online through wikis, blogs, podcasting, and social bookmarking. So basically she is using Web 2.0 tools to empower students by sharing. New collaborative computer technologies are changing the skills that students need, and we live in a culture that is becoming more collaborative, so we have to adapt.

Stacey is having technical difficulties trying to play a divx file on a PC that doesn't have a divx player.

She's back up and running now, as she runs down her list of tools, giving us examples. I've listed her links below:

Educause2007: Integrating iTunes U into your Campus Infrastructure

Apple Inc. walks us through the process of setting up our iTunes U site. Public sites have a different template than the private sites. Stanford site uses the public template.
  • Planning site: Looks like you only have two levels - course and then courses are listed in that section.
  • Authenticating users: site admin, instructor, student, public visitors. Authentication controls authorization.
  • Student authentication can allow students to upload content to authorized courses. Create a Drop Box tab, that only each individual students can see their own uploaded content. You can also create a Shared tab where all students can share the uploaded content that they upload.
  • Tips: Edit Track Preferences from the Welcome page. check Enable Course page podcasting at the bottom where it says Turn podcasting on or off for all Coruse pages within your iTunes U site.

Educause2007: Creating Engaging Multimedia Course Content

Educause2007: Creating Engaging Multimedia Course Content Using a Database-Driven Template

Elizabeth Clark, Director of eTeaching Services at Boston College demonstrated how faculty can use database driven, media-rich content for their courses at BC.
  • She used a really cool art class and a class on Rome to show how video, music, photos and text can be blended together to create an interesting tour of the course content. Looks like it was developed using Flash and maybe Ajax.
  • Structure is important: multi-purpose access and dynamic interface. User driven navigation was really cool, and it has the ability to search.
  • Creating such a course was time consuming for one individual instructor. Need to create a template that all faculty could use to create similar content for their courses.
  • Built using PHP, MySql database, Flash and AJAX. Beyond that, I'm not sure how they built this template/application. It Includes timeline, mapping, slideshows, zooming, etc.
  • She gave us a peek at the application they built to create these templates. Very slick. It reminds me of a fancy updated version of Softchalk. I'm assuming Softchalk doesn't use AJAX.
  • All data is loading in on the back end and then added to the template.
  • Taxonomy: Used a tagging feature to allow users to corss reference items in the overall presentation.
  • They use Drupal on campus, so they're looking for ways to wrap this application into Drupal. And they are also looking for integrated user authentication. (Aren't we all?)
  • Lastly, they want to share this with other academic institutions. This would be a fun application to play with.

Educause2007: Presentation on Designing Rich Media Online Courses

Educause2007: Using Video Streaming and Podcasting to Design Rich-Media Online Course

Diane Zorn of York University takes us on a tour of her online course that she designed around ten principles for good practice for innovative online education. She's using Mediasite video streaming to create her content for her online courses. Read more about Zorn on her school website:

Some key points she makes in her presentation, as to what instructors should include when designing their courses:
  • Include a welcome message from instructor (video or audio)
  • Give a website and course orientation quiz as first assignment
  • Include mentoring all over the website (video) - tips on how to succeed for each module or assignment
  • Provide lecture worksheets with podcasts (interactive lectures - pause podcast and go do something). Active learning technique (3).
  • Use time stamp on video to map out on handouts where instructor is in the lecture
  • Encourage reciprocity and cooperation by providing public discussion room, learning team private tutorial rooms, student ombuds-buddies, and online letters from previous students (tips from past students to new students) (2).
  • Communicate high expectations - email coaching and mentoring, code of conduct, calendar
I may add more to this post if I can get my hands on a handout. She keeps mentioning that we can go visit her course, but I don't have a link yet.