Author Archives: Janine Lim

Sharing a Biochemistry Class via Videoconference

This week ended a four-week intensive Biochemistry (MCAT prep) class that Dr. David Nowack, at Andrews University taught to Union College, one of our sister institutions and his alma mater. I thought it would be interesting to share some of the details and behind-the-scenes efforts it took to make this class a success! We started planning and preparing in December, and the class ran May 9 to June 3, 2016.

Teachers

The most important part of any instructional collaboration is the teachers! The two teachers at each institution knew each other already, and brainstormed this great idea of sharing a class together. They worked together to make it a success!

Live Videoconference

The first and most important technical piece of this collaboration was the tool used to connect the professor and class at Andrews to the class at Union. We thought about using Zoom, but we wanted to be able to have the option of camera presets afforded by room-based H.323 videoconferencing. Union had just acquired a new Polycom system, and we have a LifeSize system at Andrews. So we tested and decided that connecting the two was the best option. It worked well, as at our end, the teaching end, we could have presets on a document camera, the professor’s computer, and a variety of classroom and blackboard shots. Once set up, it was easy for Dr. Nowack to switch between the different views.

Technical staff at Andrews University (Dan Hamstra) and Union College (Richard Henriques, Michael Calkins) provided the regular support to ensure the videoconference worked well.

Content Sharing and Accessibility

Dr. Nowack’s PowerPoint as well as the view of the classroom or professor, were shared with Union via videoconference.

Chemistry PowerPoints are very intense a lot of detail. Students had the printed version in front of them, but another tool that helped immensely was using the accessibility feature of Windows to make the mouse pointer as huge as possible. This made it much easier for students at Union to see where Dr. Nowack was pointing.

Administrative Collaboration

After discussing several models with Dr. Alayne Thorpe, Dean of the Andrews University School of Distance Education and International Partnerships, it was decided the easiest way to make this collaboration work financially would be to have the Union students register at Union, and then to create a tuition sharing agreement between Andrews and Union. Support was needed at both locations, so the expenses and income were shared. Dr. Keith Mattingly, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Malcolm Russell, Vice President for Academic Administration at Union, provided additional support for the collaboration.

iClickers

In this content-heavy course, regular graded assessments keep students engaged and learning. At Andrews, chemistry majors buy their iClicker and use it often in their courses, as the department supports and encourages regular use by their faculty. iClickers are a great tool for a shared class, because the students at Andrews could use their clickers, and the students at Union could use the online version of iClickers. And all the students responses from both locations came into to the teacher’s computer and the collective results could be shown (or not) to the students.

Learning Management System

Another important piece of the puzzle was using Andrews’ learning management system, LearningHub (powered by Moodle). This involved several pieces:

  • An instructional designer at Andrews was assigned in January to provide course design and LearningHub support to Dr. Nowack as he prepared for the class.
  • The Friday before the class started, the Union registrar sent the students names and emails to our LearningHub support team, who created accounts in the course and emailed the Union students with their login information.
  • Handouts, reading guides, and student versions of the PowerPoints were shared in LearningHub. The student versions of the PowerPoints provided a note-taking guide for each chapter, and were provided ahead of time so students at both locations could print them ahead of time to be prepared for class.
  • LearningHub also hosted grades, including the grades synced from the iClickers using the integration between iClicker and LearningHub.

Reflection

It takes a team to make a collaboration successful! Both institutions need to be committed to supporting the creative collaboration desired by faculty. I look forward to supporting and encouraging future collaborations, both within the U.S. and internationally via COIL.

We the Kids: Constitution Day

PbWorks is cleaning house and deleting wikis, so I’m archiving one of my wikis here on my blog. This one was for a videoconference project.

We the Kids

In this pilot collaborative project, students will study the six phrases of the preamble and present non-linguistic representations to each other to explain the parts of the preamble. These materials were used for a TWICE We the Kids event on November 20, 2008.

Preparation Materials

Preparation Lesson Plan

  • Center for Civic Education Lesson plan along with lesson audio (mp3) and teacher audio (mp3) (or get the files directly here).This lesson explores some the ideas in the Preamble to the Constitution. Students learn the importance of the words, “We the People.” The lesson emphasizes that the power to govern belongs to the people who have created the government to protect their rights and promote their welfare. Students read the Preamble and develop definitions for the six key phrases in the document.

Preparing for the Videoconference

  • Within your classroom, have all the students illustrate the 6 key phrases/stanzas of the preamble with a nonlinguistic representation (drawing, graph, mind map, physical movement, skit, rap, etc – can be done with or without technology). You can do this in groups or individually as you see fit. See lesson plan above.
    • Nonlinguistic representation overview
  • Then choose the representations to present to the other class. Classroom A is assigned the odd numbered phrases; Classroom B is assigned the even numbered phrases as listed below.
  • Tips for Posters (from another project, but principles still apply). You don’t have to use posters, but if you do, consider those tips!

Six Phrases

  • Classroom A – Phrase 1: do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
  • Classroom B – Phrase 2: establish justice
  • Classroom A – Phrase 3: insure domestic tranquility
  • Classroom B – Phrase 4: provide for the common defense
  • Classroom A – Phrase 5: promote the general welfare
  • Classroom B – Phrase 6: secure the blessings of liberty

Videoconference Agenda

  • 5-10 min. Introductions from both classes – where are you, a bit about your school & area, etc.
  • 10-20 min. Exchange presentations on the phrases in order.
  • 5 min. Say/read the full preamble together. (enjoy the bit of the delay/echo of the other class saying it too!)
  • 5-10 min. Ask each other questions.

Highly Recommended Books

  • We the Kids
  • Order the free We the People (upper elementary) books. You have to order a free book and then after that you can get a classroom set. From the website: ” The Center for Civic Education provides a limited number of free sets of materials to teachers wishing to participate in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program. Priority is given to teachers at any grade level who agree to hold a We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution culminating hearing.”

Other Recommended Books

Your students can make the playoffs by building professional digital footprints

I’m presenting this afternoon at the 2016 USDLA National Conference in St. Louis, MO.

Description: Students graduating from our institutions should have a professional digital presence on social media, as well as resumes. Learn about the continuing journey of a course taught face to face, blended, and fully online to undergraduates to assist them in presenting themselves professionally online and through social media.

PowerPointDigital Footprints

Links and Resources

Research Literature on COIL

I’ve just finished attending the 10th Anniversary COIL Conference for the first time. It made me very curious about the literature.

Several COIL leaders suggested that COIL needs a journal. Ethnographic research is needed for this type of activity, and right now the publications on this topic are in a variety of locations. The language exchanges are published in language journals; administrators publish in the international education journals. The educational technology / online learning journals / schools of education aren’t so interested in this type of work, and less likely to publish COIL related articles.

So, I decided to do a little hunting – a quick search. Here’s what I’ve found so far.

YouTube

Ok, I know YouTube isn’t literature, but there’s a nice collection of videos that could be shown to faculty to raise awareness of COIL. The student voices ones in particular would be great for inspiring faculty.

Keywords

People

It was clear from the conference that there are some key players in this field:

Your Turn

Faculty at the conference expressed concern on the lack of a consistent term to connect the research together. What and who did I miss? What would you add?

Supports Needed for COIL

This week I attended the 10th Anniversary COIL Conference for the first time. One theme that intrigued me was the comments that faculty who are doing Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) are like pirates, but, that administrative support is necessary for COIL to be institutionalized. Both the bottom up grass roots and the top down administrative support are needed.

Throughout the conference, I took notes on what I heard people saying was necessary for support, and I’ve collected those here.

For example, one session was called Getting COIL to Stick. The Google Slide Deck is available. The session was presented by Hope Windle, SUNY Ulster (United States) • Jayne Peaslee, SUNY Corning (United States) • Catherine Roche, Rockland Community College (United States) • Kathleen McKenna, SUNY Broome Community College (United States).

Administrative Support

Initially when faculty participate in COIL, they usually have a a deep meaningful learning experience. However, to sustain these activities over time, support is essential.

Faculty Load, Scheduling, Funding
At the higher ed level, faculty load is a huge issue. Teaching innovation isn’t incentivized. The almighty publish or perish reigns supreme. If faculty engage in COIL, they need the support of their department chair and dean, specifically for time to work with their partner, for potentially rescheduling the class to better match the schedule of the partner.

Some insitutions have incentives for participating and suggest that incentives are needed not just the first time but every time the COIL class happens.

Some suggest funding is needed for faculty travel related to COIL, as well as release time for faculty to work on COIL projects.

Institutional Buy-In

Is COIL integrated into the strategic plan at the university? How is the institution moving beyond ad-hoc experiences into institutionalizing the value and experience of COIL? As an example, the Hague University is strategically working on COIL to ensure every bachelor’s degree has at least one COIL course.

In the Mon morning keynote session, it was argued that what is needed is more administrators who recognize the need for innovation – and are able to translate bottom up innovation to institutional support.

Some suggestions for getting administrative buy-in included:

  • An example of an early start was little teleconferences with Mexico integrated with a student club, and inviting the administrators to come see it.
  • Bring together different mixes of people who might be interested in getting something started
  • Convince administration early
  • Using existing international relationships
  • Market COIL to prospective and current students
  • Include a video of the president of both universities welcoming the students into the shared space where your classes are collaborating.
  • Administrators are very sensitive to student feedback – if students are impacted positively. It’s important to show to administrators that it costs very little and has a big impact to student learning.

Departments on Campus
A flexible and sustainable infrastructure is needed to support COIL. Departments that need to support COIL include:

  • Library
  • Instructional design / faculty development office for pedagogical and collaborative tool training and support
  • IT / AV – for technical support necessary for high quality videoconference experiences
  • International office

Tenure
Interestingly, many called for integrating COIL experiences into the promotion and tenure process. One institution said they were working on it. Again, the tension between research and teaching, and how to prioritize and value different types of faculty activities.

Curriculum and Teaching Support

In the networking time, there was a fairly loud call for resources to support faculty: models, best practices, templates, etc.

Cultural/International Support

Faculty Skills Needed
Faculty need development, resources and support in building skills in cultural competence, technology skills, teaching skills; even being able to understand heavily accented English.

Matching Making
Faculty need support in finding partners. Even when using existing institution international partners, someone needs to assist faculty in making it work. Faculty may meet someone at a conference or work with a research partner, but someone needs to help navigate the administrative institutional support at each institution.

Technology Support
Faculty need technology support to help select a tool that is supported and easy to use by both partners, and that supports the learning outcomes.

COIL Fellows
Some institutions have COIL Fellows programs to provide support, development, and incentives to faculty COILing.

Instructional Design Support
In the K12 collaborative project world, it’s usually the instructional technology specialist or the media specialist who assists teachers with projects. In the higher ed world, it’s usually the instructional designer. At the COIL conference, there were several sessions by instructional designers sharing resources and support strategies:

Supports for K12 Videoconferencing

Below is a collection of my writing and thinking on the support needed for videoconferencing at the K12 level – using it to enhance the curriculum, mostly collaborative projects but also connecting to content providers. This may prove interesting and useful to COILers as well.

A Focus on “International” in COIL

I’ve been attending the 10th Anniversary COIL Conference and am reflecting and synthesizing my learning. In this post, I am exploring the international aspect of COIL. When I worked in K12 videoconferencing, our collaborations were only rarely international. But the international piece is KEY to COIL. I only saw two sessions that didn’t have an international aspect: one was on a U.S. state to state project; and another was on virtual team teaching within Quebec.

Benefits of International Collaboration

So, let’s explore the international aspect. What are the benefits of connecting internationally?

Institutionalizing International Education
Sally Crimmins-Villela, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs, State University of New York said that COIL can institutionalize international education as a whole; to make it available to all types of students, not just those who can fund international trips. A major thread at the conference was the concern that international experiences are only available to a small subset of students. COIL has the potential of breaking that barrier.

Beyond International Students on Campus
I thought it was very interesting that even though SUNY and CUNY are so international with a wide variety of students on campus, COIL is still valued and pursued. Having diverse perspectives within the classroom isn’t enough; we want to connect internationally as well. It made me think of the work we are doing at Andrews University, the 2nd most diverse university in the United States. We have been focusing on global engagement, in faculty development and our overarching work.

Benefits and Results
In the closing keynote,  Susan Buck Sutton, Senior Advisor for International Initiatives, Bryn Mawr College, shared the following list of benefits and results for COIL activities (a direct quote from her slide):

“Establish the importance of global conversation

Enable such conversations for all, even at home

Connect institutions as well as students and faculty

Engage in the co-construction of knowledge

Build understanding of others on their own terms

Can be pursued by institutions with few resources

Create connections transcending national and other boundaries

Generate ideas and activities not anticipated when they began” – Sutton, 2016.

And, in the words of a fellow attendee on Twitter:

Interestingly, the closing keynote panel discussion wrestled with whether the motivation should be economic (workplace skills) or peace-making (greater understanding of others). Some concluded that it is ok to come with different motivations as faculty and administrators; our students will come with different motivations too. Either way, they will gain an invaluable international experience that will affect them profoundly for the rest of their lives.

Challenges of International Collaboration

A World in Peril
One of the benefits of COIL is the ability to engage with the world, but as Doreen Starke-Meyerring, Associate Professor, McGill University shared with us on Monday’s keynote, when you engage with the world, you find that the world is a planet in peril. She shared an example of the movie Where Do We Go Now? as how challenging and difficult the issues are.

U.S. to World vs. World to World
One thing I’ve always wondered about is: – there are so many U.S. institutions who want to connect internationally, but do all the international sites want to connect to the U.S? Maybe not! For example, one session described a collaboration between Germany, Mexico & the UK. Are there enough partners to go around?! Can we all share?

Cultural Competence
How do faculty and students learn the intercultural sensitivity necessary for a successful experience? What supports are available to make that happen? We want to go deeper than a superficial sharing or exchange; what does it take to get there?

Your Turn

What benefits and challenges would you add? Do you agree with those I’ve listed here, culled from conference conversations? Please comment.

 

Comparing Collaborative Projects at the K12 and Higher Ed Levels

I’ve just finished attending the 10th Anniversary COIL Conference for the first time, and I had such an interesting experience – a bit like a twisted de ja vu, It’s so similar to the work I did in K12 from ’98 to ’11 supporting K12 videoconferencing, mostly projects. Yet it has it’s own higher ed spin of course!

So I thought I’d make myself a little chart, as I’m processing my learning and this new world/field I’ve learned about.

Comparisons

K12 Videoconferencing Higher Ed International Collaborations
Getting Started Usually teachers participate in a managed project to get their feet wet (i.e. RAP as the gateway drug to videoconferencing) Faculty meet at a conference, or fly to meet in person to plan the project
Institutions support collaborations with existing partner institutions
Organizations providing support and assistance finding a partner iEARN.org
CAPspace
CILC.org
Global SchoolNet Project Registry
Institution collaborations such as
SUNY COIL Global Partner Network
Virtual Team Teaching Exchange
UNICollaboration
Length of projects Usually one videoconference, with 1 to 2 weeks of preparation Two weeks to a full course
Curriculum All subject areas More popular in the humanities
Project Support Teachers create projects and find partners
OR teachers participate in managed projects like Read Around the Planet
Mostly individually created collaborative experiences
Soliya is an organization managing the collaborative experience for higher ed
Faculty support Media specialist or instructional technology support staff
Sometimes also educational service agency support
Instructional designer
International office
IT / AV support
Dean, chair, other administrative support
Value A simple exchange or meet & greet often sufficient and valued Need the experience tied to a framework or model and research supporting it
Evaluation Were the students engaged / inspired? Did the experience produce “satisfactory scholarly work”?
Was there rigor in the quality of the academic experience?

Reactions?

What do you think? Have I over-generalized? Am I missing any major concepts? What would you add?

Ideas for Collaborative Online International Learning

I’ve been attending the 10th Anniversary COIL Conference and reflecting on and processing what I’m learning on my blog. I’m comparing and contrasting COIL to the work that I did supporting collaborative videoconference projects at the K12 level from 1998-2011, as documented on this blog.

In this post, I want to share some of the ideas that I gained at the conference, as well as how those ideas connect to some of the ideas we use in K12 collaborative projects.

Full Courses

Depending on who you talk to here, the full COIL experience is a course that is team-taught and shared as a whole course. SUNY COIL Center provides an overview of course models that can be used.

The Virtual Team Teaching Network in Quebec is also supporting this concept of collaborating on courses.

This is different than what has been called a “shared class” where one institution/school “sends” a class to another institution. Instead, the faculty at both institutions are seen as equals in sharing and developing the full course learning experience.

Enhancements

More commonly, many of the examples shared in sessions here are what some call COIL enhancements to courses. These are shorter interactions – like 2 to 6 weeks.

  • Students work in groups to create a product:
    • Students could work in groups locally and be competitive with the partner class
    • OR, they could work in groups that cross the sites, like we did with the Jazz workshop
    • Working in multi-site groups reduces the “us vs them” mentality (for example the collaborative work of San Jose State University and Allama Iqbal Open University in Pakistan)
    • Students could also introduce themselves individually via video, and pick their partners for groups of two
  • Could have a one hour seminar format where it’s too short and not enough time to fully engage, or switch to a week long asynchronous discussion (as Michael Bromby presented)
  • Can even do a very small collaboration of two weeks to meet & greet and get to know each other

Managed Collaborations

Yesterday I thought I wasn’t hearing any examples of collaborations that are “managed” on the higher ed side – managed as in someone is organizing and facilitating and the teacher’s role is to cooperate, follow the outline, and facilitate in their classroom. But, there are some groups providing this level of support for faculty at the higher ed side:

Topic Ideas

One comment I heard at the conference is that the people doing COIL projects tend to be in the humanities. These are some examples of topics discussed:

  • In the collaborations that San Jose State University had with Pakistan, the COIL courses worked on topics such as gender and emotional intelligence; English; Culture and Pedagogy; education; water (the prompt to the students was – tell the story of water), comparative education, women in academia.
    • On the K12 side, here are reports of the high school and elementary connections we did with Pakistan almost 10 years ago.
  • Connecting language learners to each other; don’t always have to connect to native speakers
  • Global social & environmental issues as shared by the University of Washington COIL Fellows
  • Disability rights and cross-national human education as shared by presenters from University at Buffalo and Universidad LaSalle, Mexico

Interdisciplinary Connections

I sensed much work and interest among the attendees of the conference in the area of figuring out how to COIL with disparate course topics. For example:

  • students of engineering connecting to language learners
  • the archeology class and new media art class – “interdisciplinary teaching is all about being conscious of a dialectic process” – presented by Alfonso Guevara, Universidad de Monterrey (Mexico) and Lynda Carroll, SUNY Broome Community College (United States)
  • in K12 in Read Around the Planet, we often connected high school Spanish language learners with bilingual classrooms with native speakers (usually in Texas)

Tools

A wide variety of tools were shared at the conference, including:

  • Skype, Zoom, BlueJeans, Google Hangouts
  • online collaboration using the LMS of one or both institutions
  • Facebook private groups
  • WhatsApp

K12 Connections

Someone asked me about the resources we created to support collaborative projects in K12. Here are a few of them:

What about you? What resources, ideas, links do you use to support COIL and COIL-like activities? Please share!

What is Collaborative Online International Learning?

I’m at the 10th Anniversary COIL Conference and I’m processing what I’m learning on my blog. I’m comparing and contrasting COIL to the work that I did supporting collaborative videoconference projects at the K12 level from 1998-2011, as documented on this blog.

In this post, I’m exploring the concept and definitions. Others are discussing and wrestling with this too.

Words

In the plenary session, several terms were shared in a reflection by Jon Rubin on the 10 year history of COIL. Jon expressed his amazement how the term COIL is being widely used, almost a brand.

  • COIL: collaborative online international learning
  • COIL courses: full COILed courses
  • COIL enhancements: courses with COIL activities in them, but not the whole course
  • GNL: globally networked learning
  • GNLE: globally networked learning environment
  • tele-collaboration (even a European conference on this: UNICollaboration)

Mulling this over word choice & sequence: is there a difference between online international learning (focus on international?) and international online learning (focus on online?). Was there any deliberate thought on this when COIL was created? Just curious!

SUNY COIL Center Definition

From the SUNY COIL website –

In the COIL model, students from different cultures enroll in shared courses with faculty members from each country co-teaching and managing coursework. The COIL model does not merely promote courses where students from different nations co-habit an online classroom. Rather, we advocate creation of co-equal learning environments where instructors work together to generate a shared syllabus based on solid academic coursework emphasizing experiential and collaborative student learning. The classes may be fully online, or offered in blended formats with traditional face-to-face sessions taking place at both schools, while collaborative student work takes place online. – COIL About Page

Adaptation: I went to a session called A Good Kind of Global Warming: Melting Pakistan-U.S. Stereotypes, where they changed the term “international” to “intercultural” as the intercultural sensitivity was critical to their collaboration.

Globally Networked Learning Environments

A book by two key people at the COIL conference – Doreen Starke-Meyerring and Melanie Wilson included this definition:

Globally Networked Learning Environments (GNLEs) are partnerships that encourage students to collaborate with (and learn about) students in classrooms elsewhere on the planet. – Book Review

Telecollaboration

This term is used more in the language learner community – see this wiki on telecollaboration.

“internationally-dispersed learners in parallel language classes use Internet communication tools such as e-mail, synchronous chat, threaded discussion, and MOOs (as well as other forms of electronically mediated communication), in order to support social interaction, dialogue, debate, and intercultural exchange.” – Belz, J. A. (2003). Special issue of Language Learning & Technology on Telecollaboration, 7(2), 1-172.

Virtual Exchange

Virtual Exchange is the term used by the Stevens Initiative at the Aspen Institute, which is, among other activities, funding an award competition aimed at using virtual exchange to improve understanding, respect, and dialogue across cultures and equip young people with the skills they need to succeed in a global economy.

Virtual exchanges are technology-enabled, sustained, people-to-people education programs. – Virtual Exchange Coalition website

Thoughts?

What do you think? Are these all the same concept? Are there nuances in the definitions that are important to keep? Does the length or depth of the exchange matter? Are there components that are critical to reach “COIL” level? Considering…. what about you?

COIL Needs CAPspace

I’m attending the 10th Anniversary COIL Conference and listening to how higher education is doing collaborative online projects – specifically connecting internationally. In the kick-off plenary, there was discussion of how to find partners, and a general concern about how difficult it is to get started.

It seemed like an aha moment to me! COIL needs a higher ed version of CAPspace!

What is CAPspace?

CAPspace headerI spent much of my early career (1998-2011) supporting videoconferencing for 22 school districts in southwest Michigan. Much of what we did was collaborations, which you can see by the volume of blog posts I have that are tagged Collaborations.

In 2002, the newly minted TWICE, Michigan’s K12 videoconferencing organization, started an event called Read Around the Planet, In it’s hey-day, almost 2000 classes read to each other to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. CAPspace was born initially out of a need for a tool to match the classes that signed up to participate. A directory feature to meet other people was soon added.

Now, it has several features that are key to supporting collaborations:

  • the ability to search for people
  • the ability to post a collaborative project idea and find a partner
  • the “exploding projects feature” – for when you post a great idea, and you only need one partner, but so many other people want to do it. Exploding projects allow the “extras” to match up with each other to do the same type of project
  • the ability for “coordinators” to run managed projects using the tools created for Read Around the Planet

Side note: I was heavily involved in the development of this site.

Managed Projects vs. Individual Projects

One thing I’ve noticed attending COIL, is that it seems mostly higher education collaborative projects are done by individual teachers. There may be institutional support, even COIL coordinators, but not so much projects that are run by an organization and many faculty participate in it. CAPspace has the ability to support managed projects, but I’m not sure that this is a need or interest at the higher ed level.

If you want to read more of my work on supporting projects, including descriptions of managed projects vs. individual projects, see my 2010 Challenge: 20 Days to Better VC Projects.

Higher Education Adaptations of CAPspace

So, I’m very new to COIL, first time attending the conference. So take my views with a grain (or chunk?) of salt! But after a day of listening to faculty describe their experiences and challenges with COILing, here are my first thoughts about how CAPspace could work for higher ed:

  • Qualifications. One thing I’ve noticed is that it seems like higher ed is a little more concerned about the quality of their partner institution and faculty member. Maybe it’s because there’s so many fraudulent institutions in higher ed globally, particularly online. Maybe it’s the increased focus on rigor and scholarly work. Maybe you’ll have some ideas of why as well. But, I think one feature that would be essential is some way to vet the potential partner. This could be including links to publication profiles on sites such as academia.edu, researchgate, etc. Maybe a field for research interests. And, what would be some ways to indicate some background information on the potential partner institutions? I’m not quite sure, but I think that would be essential as well.
  • Email ads. CAPspace right now sends emails out with the collaborations that have been posted. The user can choose which emails they receive. I’m not sure higher ed would be interested in getting all the emails – but maybe the instructional designers and COIL coordinators would want to see what opportunities were out there.
  • Exploding collaborations. I ran this idea by another attendee yesterday, and we talked a lot about the trust needed. Because the higher ed collaborations tend to be so much longer than the K12 collaborative projects we are doing, the faculty really need to trust each other. It seems unlikely that they would want to just match up with other people who were interested in an idea.
  • Others: Having heard how CAPspace works, what do you think? Is an online tool needed to help match? Are the supports and resources for creating COIL and COIL-like collaborations more important?

Mulling Over Challenges

  • In a session this morning, Sarah Guth talked about the difficulties of the a platform created in Europe for matching language learners. One challenge is that everyone thinks they need to talk to native speakers, when there are other models such as connecting two classes that are learning the language, or connecting language learners to other disciplines such as engineering. Ideas are needed to help imagine the possibilities.
  • Higher ed needs to see and support and participate in research – in this case, on COIL activities.
  • As I was leaving K12 in 2011, the pressure to focus on standards and test preparation was increasing. This had, and continues to have, a negative impact on collaborative projects and creativity. I see this issue in higher education as well. There is huge instructional pressure and the need for accountability to accreditors & funders. On the higher ed side, there isn’t any time at all to waste! A quality experience is greatly desired. A “fun” little experience doesn’t cut it.
  • It’s not that simple to just make a place to find each other. Best practices, research support, models, frameworks… these things are all essential.
  • So much institutional support is needed. In the K12 world, support from the media specialist was often sufficient. Principal support was helpful too. But in the higher ed world, chair, dean, IT, instructional design, assessment, provost, president… all these supports are needed.

So, what do you think? In the Tuesday morning session, there was clamor for a “match.com” site. What should that site look like?