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
Jen Ross, University of Edinburgh
Monday, April 15
Noon – 1:30 PM
Seattle Pacific University Library Seminar Room
Every 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.
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
How 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
Emerging Technology in Online Learning Symposium
Las Vegas, NV. July 26, 2012
Lead Presenter: Karissa Locke (Google, US)
Tess Milligan (Google, US)
Mark Green (Simpson College, US)
David Wicks (Seattle Pacific University, US)
Courtney Step (Seattle Pacific University, US)
Kami Cottrell (Seattle Pacific University, US)
Hear from professors and students pioneering the use of Google+ for collaborative learning, discuss best practices, and leave equipped to enhance your Google experience with Google+.
Original version of video posted on YouTube by Karissa Locke.
Space Matters: The Impact of Active Learning Classrooms
Interactive Lecture wit D. Christopher Brooks, Ph.D.
Tuesday, December 11, Noon – 1:30 PM Cremona 101, Seattle Pacific University
D. Christopher Brooks is a Research Fellow in Educational Technology Services at the University of Minnesota. He earned his doctorate in Political Science with a minor in Russian and East European Studies from Indiana University. He taught Comparative Politics and Political Theory at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, St. Olaf College, and the University of Minnesota-Morris before coming to the University of Minnesota where he now conducts empirical research on the impact of educational technologies on teaching practices and learning outcomes. Since 2008, he has served as co-PI on the University of Minnesota’s Active Learning Classroom (ALC) Research Project delivering nine conference presentations, presenting five posters, and publishing nine peer-reviewed articles on the subject. His research appears in a number of publications including the Journal of Learning Spaces, the British Journal of Educational Technology, the Journal of Faculty Development, The American Biology Teacher, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Evolution, the Journal of Political Science Education, and Social Science Quarterly. He is co-editor of a forthcoming (2014) volume of New Directions for Teaching and Learning that features research projects on learning spaces.
This summer I have enjoyed using Google+ in place of Blackboard‘s Discussion tool in two courses that I am teaching. Students were able to interact with each other, chat with participants in another course, and even learn with real-world education experts like +Holly Rae Bemis-Schurtz and +Larry Ferlazzo. An LMS (e.g. Blackboard) “protects” students by letting them only interact with those who are taking the same course.
I relied on Google+ to communicate with students so much that I failed to notice when links to my Blackboard courses were accidentally deleted one morning due to a system error. I only found out when a student reported that she could not submit homework because the course was gone from her Blackboard listing. Would my students have even missed Blackboard had it not been for the fact that they needed to post links to their work in the gradebook? (Don’t worry, the IT folks were able to bring back my courses so my students were able to finish uploading their assignments.)
For years, +Steve Wheeler, +Graham Attwell, and others have discussed the death of the LMS, or as they call it in Europe, the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). They see the LMS as top-down structure that stifles student and faculty creativity, and when the course is over everything is gone, including the community. In its place, they advocate for a Personal Learning Environment (PLE), where students control the digital learning tools they use. In a PLE, students control their own content and can continue to learn with their professor and peers even after the course is over.
Up until now I would have argued that many professors and students are not ready for PLEs. Instructors would struggle to keep up with the tools advanced students choose to use. Novice students would struggle to find ways to collaboratively construct knowledge with their technically advanced peers. However with Google+, I saw all students share articles, videos, docs, and their blog posts… pretty much anything they wanted from whatever tool they used to create it. Students gave each other feedback, and drew others into conversations, all without any coaching or training from me.
There is still plenty of room for improvement, such as an easy way to reference a previous post and a good home for static content. And oh yes, and we can not forget to include a secure place to access grades. As a professor, I think I could give up a lot of autonomy to students if we just agreed to collaborate using Google+. Heck, I might not need Blackboard at all. What do you think?