123VC Jazz Wins the 2015 TxDLA Outstanding Commitment to Excellence and Innovation in Distance Learning by a Nonprofit Award

123VC Jazz - 2015 TxDLA OCEIDL AwardsI’m so excited to announce that 123VC Jazz is the recipient of the 2015 TxDLA Outstanding Commitment to Excellence and innovation in Distance Learning by a Nonprofit award!

Quoting Ken Conn, who started the 123VC Jazz workshop:

It is a great honor after 10 years.  123VC Jazz is one of my most proud accomplishments.  Especially because it has always been such a truly collaborative group effort.

For a summary of the quality of 123VC Jazz, read the award submission:

 

123VC: Jazzing Up Your Curriculum With Videoconferencing, fondly called “Jazz” by past participants and facilitators alike, is a grass roots collaboration that has been developed, prepared, coordinated, and facilitated by volunteers since its inception in 2005.  The goal that fuels this organization is to increase the use of interactive videoconferencing in K12 education through experiencing it in a purposeful and engaging manner as well as active and guided reflection.  The session is delivered from multiple sites simultaneously that connect through videoconference and web 2.0 tools for a variety of meaningful activities. Over time, the workshop has consistently evolved to include various site/lead facilitators with K12 curriculum infused videoconferencing continuing to be the focus.  More detailed information can be reviewed at the 123VC website, http://123vc.pbworks.com/, which includes a link to past blogs, pictures, created projects, and the positive evaluation results of the participants from 2005 – 2014.

In 2005, 123VC: Jazzing Up Your Curriculum With Videoconferencing originated from a simple request:  Bennie Tschoerner, retired Technology Director at Paris ISD, approached Ken Conn, then Distance Learning Coordinator with Lamar Consolidated ISD, to facilitate a videoconferencing focused workshop in his district.  This transformed into a larger idea of the two districts collaborating together on the workshop with much of the initial planning actually taking place at a table in the hallway at the end of the 2005 TxDLA conference in Fort Worth.  Janine Lim, at the time a K12 videoconferencing leader from Michigan, also joined the original group as a third site after being approached to participate as a guest presenter during the workshop.

The workshop is designed so the participants can be quickly immersed in videoconferencing to experience various formats and interactive content providers, reflect from a student and teacher perspective, and partner with a small group of educators across sites to develop a project that can be implemented back at their local sites.  At the same time there is a significant amount of planning and collaboration occurring among the various site facilitators in order to prepare, coordinate, and facilitate the session.  It is a videoconferencing workshop for participants that is synchronously occurring during a videoconferencing workshop for the facilitators.

The true innovation of this organization over the years comes from the consistent collaboration, reflection, and application of new approaches/ideas.  The facilitators have changed over the past ten years and the content of the workshop has continually taken the feedback from both participants and facilitators into consideration.  The content, processes, and procedures have evolved to incorporate the lessons learned over time.

“Jazz” is a unique organization in many different ways that is truly organic and will continue to provide a positive impact to the videoconferencing community.

Finally, the poster advertising the award nominee at TxDLA. Congratulations, Ken, on keeping Jazz alive for so many years of amazing professional development for teachers!

123 VC Poster at TxDLA

 

To learn more about Jazz, review my past posts about the Jazz workshop.

 

Creating, Gathering and Using Data

It’s Tuesday morning at USLDA, and I’m attending the first session of the morning: Creating, Gathering and Using Data with Karly Good from Grand View University and Sue McDaniel from A.T. Still University.

ATSU’s College of Graduate Health Studies has 145 full time and faculty members in 34 states and two other countries offering 4 masters and 3 doctorate programs. Sharing data and communication among all these locations is challenging. Each program was keeping track of their own data. An example of an issue was a course that was cross listed with 3 prefixes – changing a textbook listing for one didn’t necessarily mean the others were changed.

Data issues included accreditation, dissertations, grades, and more.

At ATSU, they created a Access front end / mySQL backend database called IRMA: Integrated Records Management and Administration. They add 5000-6000 records a month. The instructional designers and academic advisers, associate dean, all have different front ends – Access Reports. They can access it from home via the VPN.

Course Development Via Database

All the online courses are built through the Access database. They add each little piece of a course – content, assignments, they connect all of it to the learning objectives and competencies. All the outputs are done in PDFs so that no one can change it. Faculty have to teach the course as it is, they don’t allow anyone to edit or change anything after it’s been through the development assignments.

The instructional designer’s view has Courses, reports, Term Courses, Textbooks, and Faculty as the main menu.

They build the courses in IRMA, and work through the syllabus items, core competencies, connections to learning outcomes; then a report gives them the HTML to copy & paste into the LMS. The database tracks all the pieces of the course development, the milestones, how far they’ve come etc. They can easily find a specific course that uses a particular tool, such as a wiki.

Faculty Data for Accreditation

The Associate Dean’s view has Faculty, Courses, Surveys, and more. The Faculty menu includes all the data on professional development funds, publications, demographic data on faculty and more. It has the course evaluation data that can be used to make staffing decisions for teaching the variety of courses.

It’s so fascinating to me how scaling online learning requires us to manage information at an incredibly high level. This method is also a way to have easily at hand anything needed for an accreditation report. It is work on the front end setting it up; and also regular work always entering data; but wow! What an amazing tool. 

I also find it interesting that the idea of BIG DATA makes you think of buying some amazing product from a company; where in this case, someone with good database skills can build something valuable using what data already exists in a less organized format.

Tracking 7 Core University Competencies

At Karly’s institution, Grand View, their data comes from Blackboard and a SQL. They pull assignment and assessment data (rubric) and then they pull from their Student Information System as well as Blackboard. They have 7 rubrics for 7 core outcomes that gauge graduating students. You can see 4 year growth of students using the rubric over time throughout the whole university experience. They want to in the future include these rubrics in the Blackboard shell/templates – right now the faculty get the rubric from the University Portal to add to their course assignments.

The curriculum committee on campus developed these rubrics as part of the university assessment. It’s built into core classes as well as within the majors. The rubrics are NO POINTS in Blackboard – so that the rubrics never affect the student’s grade. They are a secondary evaluation in Blackboard – you can choose not to show it to the students at all. It’s a four year rubric. Everyone is assessed on the same scale, freshmen and seniors, both. The students don’t see the results on this rubric – it’s not their grade. They use the Goals feature of Blackboard to align each criteria on the rubric to the goals.

Karly worked with IT to collect:

  • From Blackboard: student name, course, assignment, dept, rubric, faculty name, core outcome
  • From the SIS: gender, major, GPA, term

So far they have pulled the report 3 times.

The next step is to be able to restrict access so that departments can see just their departments; and that faculty can see their data.

Their 7 Essential Competencies are:

  • Critical Inquiry (CI)
  • Quantitative Communication (Q)
  • Information Literacy (IL)
  • Global Awareness (GA)
  • Written Communication (W)
  • Vocation (V)
  • Oral Communication (O)

It’s interesting to me also that you have an Instructional Designer and Instructional Technology Specialist diving into the data needs for accreditation and assessment. The merging of a variety of skills and needs across campus. 

Wow! Inspiration for a lot of work to be done!

Jazz Up Student Engagement in Your Online Courses

This afternoon I presented at the USDLA national conference. Here I am sharing my handout and the URLs that either I shared or attendees shared in the discussion.

finktaxonomyandtools

 

Note that I have deliberately not included tons of sites and ideas because I wanted this to be simple and not too overwhelming. To pique interest.

Learn about Designing Significant Learning Experiences

Learning How to Learn

Caring

Human Dimension

  • Blog or discuss ways in which one’s personal life affects and is affected by the subject. Sample student blog.
  • Be an ethical, responsible member of a team serving others; tools to support groups: GoogleDrive and similar tools to support collaborative learning.

Integration

Application

  • Analyze and critique an issue or case study.
  • Apply the skills in context; document ability with video.
  • Create a recommendation for a corporation in a real-world problem/situation – build on wikispaces.

Foundational Knowledge

  • Create and share/narrate a mental map or conceptual structure of major concepts. Bubbl.us or Mindly the app.
  • Create a presentation: Explain & predict concepts and ideas. i.e. Prezi
  • Have students access and interact with primary sources of content – i.e. TedEd and more.

Fink Taxonomy and Tools PDF Handout – Permission granted to reprint freely. Please share any adaptations.

What would you add? Feel free to comment and share. 

Using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software to Track Online Course Development

It’s USDLA national conference time again, and this year I presented in the first session: Using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software to Track Online Course Development.

I shared the story the story of how we went from mostly chaos in our course development to a tracked set of steps that care for the details while allowing for creativity in the learning design of the courses.

The tools we tried before:

The structure and design of our matching course development handbooks:

Our search for a way to track our process went through these two CRMs:

And we landed on CiviCRM due to its case management tools. When we start a course (case), CiviCRM preloads the 62 steps we currently have in our process.

We also discussed challenges and next steps in our continuing journey.

It was an interesting conversation. The audience shared ideas and processes as well. One idea that I took away from the audience was the concept of having reviewers involved in the development process. We do our reviewing and editing at the end of the process. It seems there are pros and cons either way.

What about you? Feel free to comment. Are you using any tool that you recommend for tracking the progress of online course development?

Taming the Email Tiger: Effective Use of Email

Today I presented with Elaine Shuck at the International Forum of Women in E-Learning in San Antionio, TX, sponsored by USDLA. Here are some resources and links that we shared today.

Presentation PPT: IFWE 2014 Taming the Email Tiger

Here are the articles and resources mentioned:

Managing Email Folders

Email Filters and Rules

Managing Listserv Articles and Information

Email Behaviors

Email Integrations and Apps

Participant Shared Resources

 

Faculty Presence

While you focus on building your online course, keep in mind how you will be “present” in your online course. How will students feel that you are “there” in the course? Creating a sense of instructor presence is an important aspect to student satisfaction in online courses.So what are some ways to be “present” and visible to students?

Faculty Initiated Interaction

  • Send a weekly email to students. Consider it your “housekeeping” message to students at the beginning of class. Include:
    • Overall feedback to the class on the previous week
    • A teaser to hook them into the next week’s content
    • Reminders
    • Updates on grading
    • A suggested schedule to help students organize their work for the week
  • Be present in the discussion forum. Don’t overpower, but let students know you are there.
  • 5-4-3-2-1: Countdown to Course Management (see pages 2,8): Tips for how often to interact with students in various ways in your online course.
  • Live interactive sessions and video lectures also increase your presence in the course.
  • Be yourself! Use humor, self-disclosure, and personal interaction to help students feel that you are human and really “there” in the class.

Feedback

Another crucial and often overlooked area of presence and teaching in an online course is feedback.

Talk to your Instructional Facilitator for more ideas or assistance with applying these ideas to your course.  Find these tips and more online in the Online Course Development Support Site.

 

Web Design Quality

As you continue building your course, keep in mind a few principles to make your course easy to navigate for students.

Organization

  • Does your course have an organization pattern that is easy to follow?
  • Is your course organized by weeks or modules?
  • Do you have an introduction to the course?
  • Are assignments and activities labelled consistently within the syllabus, the schedule, and the layout online?
  • Structure and routine in your course can make learning easier for your students.

Universal Design Principles

  • Is content presented more than one way? Reading? Watching? Hearing?
  • Is the text large enough or can it be enlarged? Can students increase or decrease the sound on media?
  • Have you provided scaffolding to assist students in learning the content material? Do they need any background knowledge? Could additional resources assist them? Are the important points and big ideas highlighted? Read more

Visual Appeal

  • Is your course more than just lots of text? Does it have visual appeal as well?
  • Are photos used appropriately throughout content?
  • Do you have video clips, either from online or of your own lectures?
  • Are image and media sources properly cited?
  • Do students get to “see” you in the course? A friendly instructor photo provides a sense of instructor presence.

Talk to your Instructional Facilitator for more ideas or assistance with applying these ideas to your course.  Find these tips and more online in the Online Course Development Support Site.

Collaboration and Collaborative Tools

Blogging the 2014 AECT International Convention.

Cognitive Tools to Support Collaboration: Technology and Pedagogy at Work

Presenters: Rose Marra and Christopher M. Larsen, University of Missouri

The goal was to help engineering students learn collaboration and communication skills as these are needed for the workplace.

There is a perception that engineers like to work alone. Faculty struggle to create learning tasks and activities that require collaboration; and may not have the knowledge base needed to teach these skills.

They developed a tool to support engineering student collaboration in the context of doing engineering design. Used a tool called Google Drive Environment for Collaboration.

The study was really focused on whether students were able to learn collaboration skills through the use of these online tools.

The course studied had 40 students and was an Industrial Engineering Ergonomics and Workstation Design course. They worked on project where they had to consider a human factors problem and designed a solution for it. They did all of their work, and turned in final work in the GDEC environment. The environment was technology paired with pedagogy to facilitate learning.

The technology part (2012) was Google Drive. They wanted something easy to use and free for the students to use. Mind tools are like spreadsheets and databases we have talked about for years; now we are moving mind tools onto the cloud. Simultaneous editing, folder structures, and trace data were important affordances.

Instructor had global access to all folders. Folders were created for each team. Students could see their folder only.

They had tried pbwiki before and found it too hard – it wasn’t easy to produce reports and documents.

This was a face to face course, not online.

Students don’t use the affordances of the technology unless they are coached (Hsu et al 2014), used scaffolds and scripted prompts to support each part of the project.

Scaffolding is assistance from an expert that enables learners to accomplish things on their own (couldn’t see the 1976 reference). Need to eventually fade the scaffold.

When they started, partially completed google docs were already in their folders to scaffold their work.

Issues that needed to be addressed from previous sections of the course: projects read as they were bolted together; divide and conquer mentality, collaborative writing challenges, students’ in ability to provide constructive feedback to one another. They conducted in class workshops where students were walked through a constructive peer feedback experience so they could learn how to negotiate and collaborate (not just cooperate).

Interesting that many students hadn’t seen GoogleDrive before and they found it very useful. Comment: I’m not sure that time passing will make it more likely that students are just organically start using tools such as GoogleDrive to collaborate? I think it’s really unlikely – they tend to gravitate to their social media, but not voluntarily using tools that support work-like collaborative environments without a real need for it. 

Faculty or Instructional Designer? Creating a Culture of Collaborative Course Design and Development

Presenters: Lisa Johnson and Gina Connor, Ashford University

Presentation slidedeck is online here

This presentation is on the pilot of a course design and development process within the College of Education. They built a handbook for course design to support the process. We have a new handbook as well, and hope to put it online as soon as editing is done. It will be online here.

Lisa worked before in a culture of open source and sharing.

Some challenges were:

  • The culture emphasized cooperation over collaboration. The roles and jobs weren’t synchronized and people weren’t necessarily talking to each other and sharing resources.
  • Another challenge was a very small ID team – 4 IDs for 200 courses that were new or revised. Communication processes were important – delineating workshops with distinct goals, unique cultures for accountability and sharing. Faculty needed tools to put in place to support the process. They may tend to do what they’ve seen before instead of thinking through developing outcomes and assessments. It’s important to remember everyone was working really hard and working well. The goal here was to maximize what was already working. A proactive approach was essential.
  • A mix of processes and expectations, including accreditation, Quality Matters (98% of their courses are QM certified), mixed workstyles (asynchronous and semi synchronous) caused challenges as well.
  • Audience challenges: purpose, goals, keeping everyone heading the same direction
  • Audience challenges: role confusion, who is doing what between the faculty member and the ID
  • Audience challenges in requiring faculty to go through Quality Matters for their online courses
  • Other comments / tips
    • It’s important to help the faculty realize that ID support is a resource, not as oversight; the positive framing is really important

How the challenges were tackled/overcome

  • Course design cafe – they have the handbooks, templates, and resources to support the process. It’s a social platform for sharing content, having groups, tracking projects, etc. Resources, articles, discussions, etc. are also included to support the course design process. The Instructional Design team is active in the online cafe as well.
  • “Dangerous Designers” Community of Practice. It’s grown to be university wide – there are about 75 faculty who participate every month. They bring in different stakeholders to share with faculty how they can support the course design process. It’s a growing group that supports faculty talking to each other about designing their courses and curriculum.
  • Roles included in the team for course development
    • Faculty developer / designer
    • Program Manager
    • Quality Assurance
    • Assessment Analyst
    • Instructional Designer
    • Career Services, Library & Writing Center Liaisons
    • Curriculum Coordinators/Specialists
    • Curriculum Design Specialist Faculty
    • Instructional Design Specialist Faculty
      • One point is pulling in faculty to work as instructional design support to supplement a small team of trained IDs. They are like a lead faculty support for instructional design.
      • Lisa is a professor, but doing ID work and has the skill set of an ID.
      • Faculty egos are less bruised when they receive feedback because Lisa is a peer – she is also a professor.

The main point is creating structures for supporting communication and collaboration – finding ways to connect people with each other for sharing.

The Role of the Instructional Designer

Blogging the 2014 AECT International Convention.

Understanding the Collaborative Relationship between Instructional Designers and Clients: A Typology of Instructional Designer Activities

Presenters: Bill Sugar, East Carolina University; Rob Moore, UNC-Chapel Hill

Slides online here

Based on instructional designer log entries, interviews, project information. They were trying to see what happens in the “day in the life” of an instructional designer. The study was done on one instructional designer’s daily life over a whole year, and 111 unique activities were categorized. Most of the clients thought they saw the instructional designer monthly or once every two or three months.

Types of Activities

  • Design: elearning, graphics, instructional design planning, PowerPoint, social media, webinars
  • Production: audio, images, video
  • Support: courses, elearning, just-in-time support, LMS support, social media, webinars
    • Webinars included supporting the back channel and making sure things go well. They do a lot of webinars.
    • Just-in-time support includes walking the hallways for a break to just see if anyone needs anything
    • On faculty support: Anything you only use every six months is going to be hard and you will need support for. good attitude towards faculty asking for training over & over.
    • It really helps to know the faculty, to know what’s happening with their families, travel, etc. and to negotiate on deadlines.
  • Non-Instructional design activiities: administrative tasks, meetings

ID Roles

Interesting Notes and Reflections

  • About 19 hours per course
  • In our shop, we split these different functions across different positions and roles on our team
  • The next step after this study is to generate a survey or instrument for instructional designers
  • Lit review prepping for this study is published as a book: Studies of ID Practices

Instructional Designers and Faculty Developers: Pedagogies, Perceptions and Practices in Mobile Learning: A Qualitative Study

Presenter: Kim Hosler, University of Denver

This study looked at how nine instructional designers were supporting faculty with mobile learning efforts.

Mobile learning definition: learning happening across locations, times, topics, and technologies using small hand-held, and possibly in the future, wearable devices. People can interact with their surroundings using digital tools. See Mobile Learning.

The instructional designers had to have education in either instructional design, educational technology or curriculum and instruction (yay here’s evidence that using C&I folks as my instructional designers is appropriate)

One thing she found as a surprise of the research is that really not much was happening on the campuses with mobile learning – and faculty weren’t as involved as expected.

What frameworks were they using to support faculty with mobile learning? Some said ADDIE, some said Bloom’s and Dee Fink’s Significant Learning Experiences.

In this study, each instructional design created a visual representation of how they would approach mobile learning on their campus. Interesting on their focus. Most of these instructional designers were working in centers for teaching on university campuses.

  • One started with mobile learning jumping off from the LMS.
  • Another one took a high level administrative and planning perspective.
  • Another started with a faculty centric view and worked out thrugh faculty issues such as workload, support, resources, etc.
  • Another one said we don’t have time for mobile learning because we are working on pedagogy, andragogy. If faculty can’t write learning objectives well, how can we focus on mobile learning?
  • Another found the infrastructure support as the foundation of implementation of mobile learning and thought about institutional needs.

One thing to consider was how teaching and learning centers are organized. They have different names, different foci, etc.

I’m inspired by the focus in this research on how instructional designers are using models and frameworks to guide their work. There are additional models and frameworks that are built around educational technology that we could be using more effectively to guide our work.

Advances in Instructional Design

Blogging the 2014 AECT International Convention.

Influence of Autonomy, Scaffolding and Audience on Engagement and Performance in Student-Centered Science Learning

Presenter: Eunbae Lee, University of Georgia

This research is design-based and mixed methods.

Student centered science learning is helping students to think and act like scientists. See Next Generation Science Standards.

Connections to writing also – narrative writing in science classes. Stories are a great way to communicate science to a lay audience. Students had to create research narratives – interview a scientist, learn about the research, and write a narrative, to understand the process of science.

Design-based research – work with a practitioner (i.e. teacher in the classroom), integrate known and hypothetical design guildlines as a solution to problems, and the validate, refine and use the design strategies in broader contexts. It’s socially responsible research because you are working with real problems. (More interviews on design-based research here.)

It was essential to start with a problem – and so she did a needs assessment to understand what was already happening in the class. The issue was that there were varying levels of engaging, and students were deviating from the instructor’s goals.

The theoretical framework included: self-determination theory, constructivism, constructionism. Conceptually, students were owning the learning (facilitating endorsement of goals, personal goal setting, choice and flexibility), learning it (explicit directions, support selection question prompts, integrate discipline terminology), and then sharing their learning with others (students had the option to publish, encourage thoughtful peer review).

Data sources included presurvey, postsurvey, scores on their writing, as well as student interview transcripts, observations, and document analysis.

The results suggest that the more engaged you are, the higher the learning. The study also looked at the changes in student motivation throughout the course. The results also suggest that writing for real-world audiences would allow for increased motivation, engagement, and performance.