Lessons Learned From a Faculty Learning Community on Blended Learning

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

A faculty learning community (FLC) comprised of six professors representing different disciplines was formed in 2011 to study, develop, and teach blended learning courses. As part of this project, we sought to evaluate the efficacy of blended learning on faculty (efficiency, satisfaction) using interview questions designed by Garrison and Vaughan (2011) and students (access, learning effectiveness, satisfaction) through survey responses including the Community of Inquiry (CoI) survey (Swan, et al., 2008).

This study found evidence that student perceptions of the CoI may be useful in predicting differences in students’ blended learning experiences. The study also found that perceived differences in blended learning experiences varied by discipline. This difference may be a result of differences between students, such as their age, or differences between instructors. A second research outcome was that FLCs are a useful form of professional development when correctly implemented. For example, faculty benefit from participation in an FLC when they receive helpful advice on promising practices and encouragement when experiencing instructional or technical challenges. On the other hand, FLCs are less effective when there is a lack of dialogue between meetings or when a facilitator does not provide adequate preparation for face-to-face meetings.

During our presentation we will share both faculty and student findings from our study. We will engage our audience by asking them to share promising practices for blended learning classrooms and professional development for blended learning instructors.

Cox, M. D. (2004). Introduction to Faculty Learning Communities. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 5–23.

Garrison, D. R., & Vaughan, N. D. (2011). Blended Learning in Higher Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Swan, K., Richardson, J. C., Ice, P., Garrison, D. R., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Arbaugh, J. B. (2008). Validating a measurement tool of presence in online communities of inquiry. e-Mentor, 24(2), 1-12.

Blogging to improve student achievement

March 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Workshop at the 2014 NCCE Conference in Seattle

Blogging portfolios or bPortfolios will be introduced, including how they can be used to improve student achievement. Participants will learn how to: implement bPortfolios, assess student reflections, scaffold students in reflective writing, particularly with regards to Common Core Standards, and implement learning analytics based on bPortfolio and student achievement data.

Wicks, D., Lumpe, A., Chen, D., Sallee, J. (2014, March). Blogging to improve student achievement. Workshop presented at the Northwest Council for Computer Education, Seattle, WA.

Change is gonna do me good

January 13, 2014 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

Synchronous and asynchronous video conferencing tools in an online-course:

November 24, 2013 1 comment

The maturation of free ubiquitous video conferencing tools provides an opportunity for faculty members to experiment with alternatives to conventional asynchronous discussion forums commonly used in online courses. However, there continues to be debate about whether synchronous video conferencing has a meaningful role to play in an online course environment. Although the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework’s influence in asynchronous discussion is well documented in the literature, it is less clear what role synchronous conferencing has in a Community of Inquiry (CoI). It is also unclear whether synchronous modes of inquiry provide worthwhile benefits for an online instructor. This study explores how the use of innovative video conferencing tools in an online course attends to the elements of the CoI.

In this mixed methods study, we observed weekly teacher and student inquiry by examining Google Hangout transcripts, Vialogues threaded discussions, and student reflective WordPress blog posts through the lens of CoI. The course used for this study was an online graduate course focused on the use of technology for teaching. We hypothesized that those students who participated in more synchronous conferencing sessions would perceive significantly higher levels of all three CoI elements and would engage in richer discourse supporting learning of the course content. We also analyzed student perceptions of the social, teaching, and cognitive presence through the CoI survey (Swan, 2008).

In order to examine the CoI related discourse, a corpus of text was utilized in this study which included Google Hangout transcripts, Vialogues threaded discussions, and student reflective WordPress blog posts. Text content analysis of this corpus represented a form of learning analytics. The text corpus was compiled and key themes were noted via qualitative constant-comparative analyses. The themes were analyzed using analytic induction to test hypotheses connecting discourse to CoI element. A form of text analytics was then applied to the text corpus in order to analyze the content of the student and teacher discourse.All text was compiled and analyzed using the Semantria (www.semantria.com) semantic linguistic program. Based on semantic algorithms from http://www.lexalytics.com/,All compiled text was analyzed for themes and sentiment. After compiling the linguistic components, statistical models were developed to compare discourse between synchronous and asynchronous environments and to predict the level of community of inquiry.

We used the Sloan Consortium’s Five Pillars to reflect on how the course’s interactive activities addressed quality. Learning effectiveness was demonstrated by increased opportunities for meaning making students had through discourse with each other and with the instructor. They were able to discuss courses readings in either a real-time Google Hangout or an asynchronous Vialogues threaded discussion. The use of freely available and ubiquitous tools makes it possible to scale the tools to multiple courses and programs. The tools provide access and flexibility for students who prefer face-to-face but need to take online courses because of work schedule or physical location. Faculty are satisfied to be able to provide options that address student discourse preferences. Finally, students report being satisfied with options to use synchronous conferencing for discussions which increases student voice.

Our presentation will share the results of our findings. Participants will learn how both synchronous and asynchronous video conferencing tools may be used for meaning making in an online course. We will engage the audience by web polling their preferences and promising practices pertaining to uses of synchronous technologies in primarily asynchronous online environments.

Synchronous and asynchronous video conferencing tools (Presentation PDF)

Digital Learning Spaces: Lessons from the MSc in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh

March 5, 2013 2 comments

Digital Learning Spaces:

Lessons from the MSc in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh 

Jen Ross, University of Edinburgh

Monday, April 15

Noon – 1:30 PM

Seattle Pacific University Library Seminar Room

Register: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/digitalspaces

jen_jan12_med4_smEvery course design is philosophy and belief in action.  This is no less true – indeed it may be truer – in courses with a significant digital dimension.  Online courses can be designed to invite particular kinds of participation, to take particular sorts of approaches to knowledge.  But, like the physical classroom, they do more than embody the pedagogical values of the teacher – they are also greatly affected by the nature of the environments in which teaching and learning take place.  In this talk, Jen will reflect on the experiences of teachers and students on the wholly distance MSc in E-learning programme, exploring issues such as how being at but not in Edinburgh affects students and how the values and educational philosophies of teachers on the programme impact, and are impacted by, the learning spaces they use and create.

Jen is the programme director of the fully online MSc in Digital Education programme at the University of Edinburgh, co-author of the Manifesto for Teaching Online, and co-organiser of the Coursera MOOC “E-learning and Digital Cultures”.  Her teaching and research concerns digital education now and in the future, online identity, and how cultural and educational institutions are changing in the digital age.  The evolving meaning of space and place is one of the most interesting topics in digital and distance learning at the moment, and Jen’s visit to SPU will focus on these and other issues relating to a broader theme of active learning spaces.

Implementing Electronic Portfolios Through Social Media Platforms: Steps and Student Perceptions

February 4, 2013 Leave a comment

David W. Denton, Seattle Pacific University
David Wicks, Seattle Pacific University

Abstract:
Over the last two decades, students and teachers, across educational levels and disciplines, have been subject to a variety of school reform efforts. Nevertheless, some instructional practices, such as portfolio assessment, persist and grow in popularity even in the midst of changing educational reform goals and shifting priorities. Teacher education programs have used paper-­based portfolios for more than three decades. Recently, institutions have migrated to electronic portfolios since these provide several advantages. Early models of these systems required special technical skills, hardware, or fee-­based contracts with service providers. The newest iteration of portfolio platforms are based on social media applications, which are easy to use, free, and customizable. However, the accelerated adoption of social media applications as repositories for student portfolio content has produced several gaps in the literature. Three of these include steps for implementing electronic portfolios in social media platforms, instructional methods for soliciting quality entries from students through questions and prompts, and student perceptions about using social media as a repository for electronic portfolio content. Results from a case study identifying student perceptions of combining social media and electronic portfolios are examined. Future lines of inquiry are discussed.

Link to article: Implementing Electronic Portfolios Through Social Media Platforms: Steps and Student Perceptions

Denton, D. W., & Wicks, D. Implementing electronic portfolios through social media platforms: Steps and student perceptions. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17(1), 125–135.

The SCALE-UP Project: Student-Centered Active Learning Environments with Upside-down Pedagogies

January 21, 2013 Leave a comment

You are invited to attend a presentation by:

Robert J. Beichner, Ph.D., North Carolina State University

Thursday, January 31, 1:00 – 2:30 PM, Cremona 102, Seattle Pacific University

Register: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/scaleup

Beichner-photoHow do you promote active learning in a large classroom? Can students practice communication and teamwork skills in a large class? How do you boost the performance of underrepresented groups? Join us as we learn from Dr. Beichner, member of North Carolina State University’s Physics Education R & D Group, and his work on The Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies (SCALE-UP) Project. Materials developed by the project are now in use by more than 1/3 of all science, math, and engineering majors nationwide. Physics, chemistry, math, biology, engineering, business, nursing, and even literature classes are being taught this way at more than 150 institutions nationwide.  To learn more about Dr. Beichner and the SCALE-UP Project, visit http://go.ncsu.edu/beichner

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