Category Archives: Online Learning

Effective Communication with Online Students

Blogging the United States Distance Learning Association 2017 National Conference. This session presented by Sharon Clampitt from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico.

Description: We all know that interaction and communication with online students is essential, but is it always as effective as we would like it to be? This interactive presentation explores the key elements of a successful communication with students, and our students with instructors. It gives practical tips for effective communication both from and to students.

Effective Communication

Types of communication:

  • Professor -> Student
  • Student -> Professor
  • Student -> Student
  • Student -> Support Personnel
  • Support Personnel -> Student

Even the students may need some training and assistance on communicating effectively with students – thinking of some of our dual enrollment students who really need help with this!

What are some of the reasons faculty talk to students…. Need to ask them if they are ok and finding everything they need. Often they won’t say anything until they are asked! Transmitting and summarizing information of course, but also following-up to remind them about assignments etc. Clarifying misconceptions – before the issue becomes viral on a discussion forum or before an exam. Individual feedback in communications – they need to know why they got the grade they got. If you don’t tell them what they missed, they misunderstand, they start changing what they already do understand.  The students who are successful also need a pat on the back and encouragement. Students need motivation communications. One of the most demotivating things in distance education is lack of faculty communication.

Why are students communicating with faculty? To ask for information. To ask if they can hand something in late; to give them a break. They follow-up on requests – things they need from us. Clarifying questions they have; to give the faculty feedback.

Effective communication can create a rapport and desire to communicate more; however if it’s done poorly, the door can shut and you might not hear from the student again.

Three Key Takeaways

  • Timely. Sufficient time for the person to take appropriate action. There needs to be time to remediate. Respond to questions as soon as they are asked. Clarify before misconceptions become an epidemic.
  • Meaningful. Provides the information they need; attends to academic, psychological, social needs as well, the recognizes the people involved. Use their name in the email. Encourage. Help them calm down. Thinking also of the idea of acknowledging how the feel or what they said or experienced. “as so and so said in their post, ….” “it seems you’ve read the material carefully…”
  • Actionable. The person needs to know what to do next. Start with something positive. I can tell that you’ve put a lot of work into this. Make it clear what to do next. Please make an appointment with me. Thinking of the positive helpdesk email reading I’ve been doing lately. Connecting on a human level first; and making sure that you assist with the actual thing the students need.

We need to teach students to do this as well.

  • Timely. They should ask for help before the assignment expires. Not at the end of the class where they haven’t done anything yet.
  • Meaningful. It should be very clear what the actual problem is.
  • Actionable. They should be clear on what type of solution they are hoping for.

What are some ways we could help students communicate more effectively with us.

Sample email from a student.

Hello professor.

This is the first time I have taken an online course and I don’t know what to do. I tried to do the first assignment, but I didn’t understand anything. I haven’t bought the textbook, well, because I don’t know what to do. I tried to do the first assignment, but I didn’t understand anything. I haven’t bought the textbook, well, because I don’t know which one it is. Can you help me?

Sincerely,

Gunter Lunch.

First, though, check that the information they need is actually available and not hidden!

Writing a response in groups:

Dear Gunter,

I’m so glad you decided to take the leap and take this class as your first online class! Welcome! Online courses can be tricky for getting started, so here’s some tips to help you get started.

Here’s the direct link to buy the textbook. Please acquire it as soon as possible. If you have trouble, call 123-barnes&noble.

Then, for getting started, did you find the orientation in the top how to section of the course? This will help you learn how navigate and get yourself organized to learn online.

On the first assignment, after you get textbook, read chapter 1, and watch the little intro video, and review my notes on what the expectations are for the assignment. Then, if you are still stuck, give me a time between 3-5 pm on Thursday, and I’ll send you a link to videoconference so we can talk it over. This assignment is due next Sunday, so start soon!

Are you checking your University email? I sent a welcome email with instructions to get started. Did you receive it? Let’s make sure you’re getting my communications.

This should get you started! Again, so glad to have you in class! Call 123-my-office if you want to talk further.

Professor Schedule-a-Meeting

Comments and discussion on this exercise:

  • Sometimes these questions can help you consider your course. Maybe they shouldn’t see the content until they have done the orientation.
  • Sometimes you can look at the stats to see where the student has been looking; and that information can help you figure out a more appropriate response to the student.

Tools to Hide Your Cell Phone

These are the tools shared at the end to text students but not give them your cell phone number.

Dissertation Advising at a Distance

One of the challenges of online PhDs is how to keep a good dissertation advising process working, mediated by technology to bridge space and time. In an on-campus PhD, a student has the benefit of a community: fellow students hanging out in the library; walking into the office of dissertation committee members and advisers; graduate student lounge; graduate student association activities.

However, the online PhD experience may be lonely and challenging. So, let’s look at some tips from the student and the faculty perspectives.

Writing with pen, paper, and laptop

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Tips for Online PhD Students

Many of these tips come from my own experience with an adjunct methodologist. What would you add?

  • Adapt to your adviser’s style. I had an amazing methodologist; but at first I was frustrated with how low-tech he was. I wanted to videoconference; he used the phone. I wanted to email my documents; he wanted a hard copy. I later learned what an expense it would be to an adjunct methodologist to print; so now I better appreciate his requirement of mailing. I adapted by buying the flat rate mailers; and soon found that this strategy contributed to a faster turn around time.
  • Summarize notes. As soon as we got off the phone, usually about a 30 minute conversation, I would take my scribbles and write them up into official notes and email them back to him. I did this recap to help keep the information in my brain. I always felt like it was falling out of my head. But another huge benefit was a record of what we had discussed, a todo list of what I was supposed to do next. This made it easier for my adviser to keep track of my progress.
  • Use a recording device. It’s a great idea to use some type of method to record the conversation with your dissertation chair or advisers. This allows you to go back and listen to it again. Often as students, the information overload causes us to miss something. Hearing it again and ensuring that we’ve responded to all feedback makes for a more efficient and pleasant process for everyone involved.
  • Respond to feedback soon. Don’t procrastinate in working on the changes or next steps discussed in the meeting. The longer you wait, the fuzzier the concepts get in your brain. Do it soon! I usually talked to my methodologist on Fridays, and then Sundays I’d do the work that we discussed; trying to get another version in the mail by Monday.
  • Plan for “waiting” jobs. Plan to have some things to work on while you’re waiting for feedback. One easy job is making sure your references are in your software tool (Endnote, Zotero, etc.) and are correct. Check the caps on all the titles. Check the page numbers. etc. This will help you stay in “dissertation mode” and will save you in the long run when you get to final editing stage.

Tips for Professors Mentoring Online Dissertation Students

  • Schedule regular meetings. Your on campus students have easier access to you. They can pop by your office. But your online students only have phone and email. If you don’t respond to email quickly, they can feel neglected. An easy way to resolve this challenge is to schedule regular meetings. This provides deadlines for both you and the student.
  • Schedule your reading time. Put an appointment on your calendar to schedule time to read and prepare feedback. What gets scheduled gets done!
  • Use a videoconference tool. Our institution uses Zoom, which allows several features that can be helpful in discussing writing: screen sharing, annotation, and recording. Depending on the tool, have the student record so the recording is on their computer. Videoconferencing is as close to face to face as you can get at a distance; and the ability to get tone of voice and body language enhances the interaction significantly. Your academic technology office probably supports a similar tool and can provide access and training.
  • Use TurnItIn. Use TurnItIn to check for proper citation early and often. Your academic technology office should be able to set you up with a space for dissertations. TurnItIn can even be set up for students to have access to see the results to help improve their citations.

Your Turn

What would you add? What have you found as essential tips or tools for online PhD students – from the student or the faculty perspective? Please comment!

Making Web Friendly Link Collections

Lately I’ve been seeing several collections of resources and web links come in from faculty for their online courses. I thought I’d write a few tips on how to make these collections web-friendly and easy for students to use.

First: Why?

First, think about why you are giving these web links to students. What do you expect them to do with them?

  • Are they supplemental resources?
  • Are students expected to complete an assignment after visiting the links? Is there a concept or principle they should be looking for as they peruse your resource list?
  • Should they read some of them? how should they choose?
  • Is it for extra practice? How would students know if they need extra practice?

Think this through, then make it clear in the instructions provided with the links.

Second: Link Specific Words

Note the difference between these:

How to make a web link in Word: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Create-or-edit-a-hyperlink-5d8c0804-f998-4143-86b1-1199735e07bf

OR

Click this link to learn how to make a web link in Word

OR

How to make a web link in Word

Which one is easier to read? I hope you chose the latter!

  • Write specific words. Either the reason to click the link. Or the title of the website. Something specific. Avoid “click here”!
  • Link the words. Find the URL/web address and copy it. After you’ve written the specific words, then highlight the words, select the link tool, and paste the URL. Voila!

Tips for Links

  • Ctrl K works in many places to jump directly to making a link. In Word, in WordPress, probably in your Learning Management System.
  • Word and PDFs. If you are putting Word files or PDFs in your course, make sure all the links are set up like this before you upload. When you save from Word to PDF, usually your PDF writer will make the links active.
    • Find the URL/web address and copy it.
    • Write specific words.
    • Highlight the words.
    • Select the link tool, and paste the URL.
  • Discussion, Annoucements, Labels. In your Learning Management System, you have multiple opportunities to write content. In all of these places, you can add links. Make a good linking habit. Write specific words. Link the words. Don’t just paste the long and ugly URL!
  • Moodle “Page” In your Learning Management System, there is probably a tool that lets you create content. In this tool, you can also, write specific words, link the words.

 

Write Specific Words. Link the Words.

Got it? Your LMS helpdesk can probably assist you with this if you need additional help. It’s a simple thing, but it will make your online content look much more professional. It will also increase the likelihood that your students will actually click the links!

Shorter Time between Assignments for Success in Self-Paced Courses

As a follow-up to a study published earlier in 2016, I have another research article examining student behavior in self-paced courses…

See the out of sequence article for some background and previous work…

Do an Online Assignment Out of Sequence to Be More Successful

In this latest article, I looked at three measures of student delay behavior (is it delay or procrastination? That’s a whole field of study too!): 

  • the days between registration date and first date of assignment submission (Days to Start)
  • the average days between assignment submissions (Days between Assignments)
  • total days between registration and completion (Days to Complete)

Of these three, the average length of time between assignment submissions was found to be most useful to predict final letter grade and withdrawal. Students with shorter amounts of time between assignments were more likely to complete successfully.

Check out the full article online in the Distance Education journal.

While one could argue that an instructor is needed to keep students’ on pace, some of the students in this study did very well on keeping a regular pace. That self-regulation skill is critical for life, don’t you think? Good to learn and practice.

What do you think?

Do you think that learning analytics such as this, watching student behavior in an online course, is useful for predicting completion? useful for planning interventions for students not doing so well? Is it intrusive or useful? Should we try to find a threshold for success? If we did, what interventions might be appropriate? What questions does this result raise in your mind? Please comment.

A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Analytics

I’m attending the IFWE 2016 conference in San Antonio, TX and live blogging sessions. One more session till lunch! Be sure to follow the #ifwe2016 hashtag on Twitter if you want to learn about what else is going on here!

Presented by: Mindy Menn (Texas Woman’s University)

Description: What do novices need to know about learning analytics? How can learning analytics be leveraged to improve online programs and students’ experiences in online programs? Find out during this session addressing the basics of learning analytics.

Learning Analytics Introductions

Foldable note taking from

Foldable note taking from “To Engage Them All” blog

Interesting bits from the introductions. Someone wants to understand better the difference between learning analytics and analytics. One institution is starting a learning analytics committee. One instructional design specialist does analytics as well as instructional design. Someone from Penn State is working on a custom dashboard of learning analytics. Another person is looking at how to give faculty learning analytic data to empower them.

Mindy had a really cool colored folding paper strategy. 5 sheets of colored paper, spread them apart and then fold so you have 9-10 layered and colorful places to write. This page has an example – scroll down.

Learning Analytics Definition and Limitations

  • It’s measurement, collection, analysis, report of data
  • It’s about the LEARNERS
  • We want the learners to benefit
  • “spot hidden trends and predict outcomes”
  • “organize, store and mine data to improve teaching and learning for all students” – it’s not just the at-risk students – it’s for everyone – including the bored students
  • It is a research domain and a field
  • It overlaps with other fields – computer science, machine learning, statistics (lots of different regressions to predict relationships), big data, etc.
  • It cannot make taking action easier
  • It won’t be a magic solution
  • It can never perfectly predict anything – remember your stats class!

Learning Analytics Questions

Some examples of things that we can look at with learning analytics…

  • What registrar/institutional data provides insights to students’ progress?
  • How does student’s video watching correlate with their course success?
  • How does the time submitted compare with course performance?
  • How does success in a specific course correlate with degree success?
  • What are online learning behaviors and what do they tell us? When do they login? When do they logout? What do students click on?
  • Who talks to who and how many responses in discussion forums?
  • What signals do we have in courses where we might need to update something in the course? or to send students to a service to assist them with their study skills…

People who are interested in it….

  • Learners – they are concerned about how we analyze their data, but also the data can be used to help give advice to them or to help them improve their practice
  • Instructors
  • Administrators – academic analytics are a little different – learning analytics is purely on the learner; academic is more about the whole university
  • Researchers

Resources

What Next?

It’s important to know what your question is – which depends on your role… the stats people who can help you are going to want to know your question. So you need a narrow question. Not just to track and know everything!

Takeaways

I guess I really am doing learning analytics with my recent publications:

This is a huge area of interest to me. What data do we have? How can we collect it? How can we track it over time? How can we use it to monitor and improve the success of our online courses and programs? And how do we do it well and ethically?

Cowboys and Cats: Herding Instructors (to show presence) Without Getting All Scratched Up

I’m attending the IFWE 2016 conference in San Antonio, TX and live blogging sessions. The bagels and croissants are yummy!

Presented by: Samantha Penney (Indiana State University)

Cats and Cowboys are our roles as faculty and instructional designers. We are the cowboys herding the cats, faculty, to add instructor presence in their courses. We will discuss the cat’s characteristics and how we can use design to help herd them in the direction our trail boss wants.

Samantha is being super creative – as we come in – pull a cat or a cowboy out of a bag. What will we do?? I sense something creative coming!

Of course, she starts off with the Herding Cats video – love that video!

Definition of Instructor Presence

Community of Inquiry is the theory – teaching presence. (Anderson et al 2001; Davis & Roblyer 2005, Sheridan and Kelly 2016) – a sense of social and cognitive presence – how you tie that into the classroom – do students know you are there and are guiding their learning? being responsible to establish

What are Cats Like?

CartoonStock.com

CartoonStock.com

  • independent
  • they don’t care
  • they are opinionated
  • self-centered
  • social
  • hunting
  • balance
  • good at jumping
  • stretchy

What are Faculty Like?

  • Independent
  • Authority
  • Solitary
  • Sense of Ownership
  • Great Balance

Faculty may not always understand why faculty presence is so important.

Another great video for cat herding is the mythbusters video on the cat corral.

Kitty Treats

Interesting discussion around what “treats” can persuade faculty to be present in their online courses…

  • An empty box is so fun for a cat. How can we start instead of pushing a tool or strategy, but ask questions to find out what faculty want to do and what dreams they have.
  • Hearing from colleagues – faculty like to hear from each other
  • Food for workshops
  • Feedback sandwich: positive, negative, positive
  • Online teaching certificate course – with a stipend – requires meeting with an instructional designer
  • Tools like Softchalk etc.
  • Research that supports the best practices – nice overview and collection in this lit review by Chakraborty and Nafukho (2015)
  • An interesting set of roles of being present: facilitator, mentor, devil’s advocate, moderator, repository, etc. Question posed – how can we help take some of these roles off the shoulders of our faculty – ideas included co-teaching, adding resources to help reduce questions from students
  • Faculty want to play with tools at their own pace  – open workshops to play with a tool at their own time with someone on hand in case of challenges

Takeaways

Remember you are a cat also! We all need herding at one time or another. Remember how that feels. No one likes being herded!

The thing that’s clear is that instructional design and online course support is hugely about support and persuasion. And it takes relationship building to be a team between the online design expert and the subject matter expert.

Nice hands-on creative playing, Samantha!

Leave No Student Behind in Cyberspace! Innovative Strategies for Online Teachers

I’m attending the IFWE 2016 conference in San Antonio, TX and live blogging sessions. It’s Thursday morning, and sunny and cool in San Antonio!

Presented by: Kenyatta Phelps (Lone Star College – University Park)

Description: Are you stuck trying to find ways to improve your online classes? This session is designed to provide educators ideas on how to build an inviting learning space for their online classes using discussion forums tool. The presenter will show attendees how to incorporate OER and apps into discussion forums.

Social presence

  • You aren’t just overseeing – you are engaging with the students.
  • Social presence in discussion forums can build community, encourage deep reflection and learning, develop analytical skills, encourage the student to be the teacher/expert, and to have them apply concepts directly.
  • Give the adult learner opportunities to share their professional experience with the course.

Overview of Strategies

  1. Online learning activities need to be aligned to the outcomes.
  2. The discussion forums are assessed as formative assessments.
  3. Ways to get students to develop critical thinking skills – podcasts, questions, debates
  4. Collaborative learning – promote student interaction and interdependency… case studies, brainstorming, study rooms online, clarification of information
  5. Icebreakers – introduction activities – using video & audio
  6. Interactive lectures – micro lectures – short bits – we start online with PowerPoint “I won’t judge, that’s where we start, but it’s time to expand”
  7. Student feedback – ask students for feedback about the assignments, the assessments, the course, ask for feedback in a fun and engaging way
  8. Game-based learning – simulations, adventures

Specific Strategies

When students email you a lot, it’s because you’re not clear. Need more specifics added to the course if you are getting too many emails with questions about the course.

Include video clips within the discussion forum – and then set up very specifically what the students are supposed to do and when to post etc.

Transcripts for video clips – accessibility.

All Readable – A tool she uses for resources – like transcripts of videos etc – that allows for annotation etc. – this is a cool site for discussing right on top of the text…

Set up a scenario – embedded in real world – and have students work on that concept… i.e. scenarios from a work situation where they have to decide if these scenarios are ethical or not; using the group feature in the LMS discussion forum

Give students tools like MindMeister to do brainstorming activities

Use a whiteboard tool to have students share short answers to different things (embedding Padlet will work for this too)

Keep the tools within the LMS – but you can do that by embedding things

Use Animoto to create a video to introduce yourself (Soundcloud for audio) – hearing a voice makes you feel real to the students

There are poems and books and speeches in Spotify as well as music… can embed in the LMS for your students… (students will have to get an account though – but you can have them do that at the beginning of class); presidential speeches are in there too!

iTunes U is another great source of free lectures and content (but you can’t embed it; she tries to keep everything inside the LMS)

NPR recordings and podcasts (she teaches sociology)

Screencast-o-matic to record SPSS tutorials

She uses Google Forms for an “exit ticket” – asking students what they learned in class today – if they have any questions. Very quick feedback ending that day/session/module. Nice idea! With a catchy thumbs up/down graphic.

Padlet for thoughts on the course – they can put their name or not – and they can see what everyone else says. This takes an open and courageous teacher!

Polleverywhere for polling. Can be embedded in your LMS (but it’s too small – so she uses Padlet more)

Easy way to bring in social presence – ask them who their favorite musician is and why – put it in Padlet

Audience member has a final project where students create a digital quilt to synthesize their learning in the course…

Game: Playspent – for students learning about poverty

Rice University’s CSI Forensics adventures

Create a discussion forum for “study room” or “student cafe” – create a place for students to talk to each other. She has a photo with the discussion forum to make it more inviting and friendly.

HaikuDeck – another presentation tool

Takeaways

Her specific Padlet strategies were a big hit!

The idea of embedding each tool / resource so that students are all in one place in the LMS.

Promising Partnerships: Connecting Student & Academic Affairs Support Services

I’m attending the IFWE 2016 conference in San Antonio, TX and live blogging sessions. This one is the last one I attended yesterday.

Presented by: Jessica Burchfield and Stephany Compton (Texas Woman’s University)

Description: As online and hybrid course offerings continue to rise, innovative solutions are needed to support college student persistence. This session will discuss how Texas Woman’s University is developing programs and increasing access for students through academic & student affairs collaborative programs and initiatives.

The Challenge

  • Students lack a feeling of connection to the university.
  • Students lack a feeling of value – how does this service or live connection impact me?
  • Students struggle with multiple roles and too much to do.

Strategies

  • eLounge: a live webinar time (using Blackboard Collaborate) for students to come and learn about different things – like graduation – the most popular topic for student to attend. Other topics include:
    • Financial aid
    • Budgeting / financial wellness
    • Volunteering
    • Student organizations
    • Non-traditional student resources
    • Commuter and parking tips
    • Scholarships for non-traditional students
    • Connecting through Facebook (connected faculty and staff through FB)
    • CARE office provides resources
    • Recorded elounges are on YouTube here
  • Honor Society – providing an online student society
    • recognition for academy rigor
    • Epsilon Omega Epsilon Online Student Honor Society (they are working on making this a national organization)
    • They have an online induction service via Blackboard Collaborate (family members are cheering on in the chat during the ceremony)
    • They did an overhaul of their online programs this fall to ensure that every program is very interactive and allows students to feel connected 
  • TWU Library Lib Guides
  • Services and staff available online
    • Guides, email, chat, texting, ask a librarian – people available
    • A wellness challenge for online students
  • Graduate Recruitment
    • One topic per email – targeted emails
  • “Pioneer Camp” online
    • It’s kind of the new student orientation – they offer it online as well – even for commuter students in on campus courses
    • Getting acclimated with the university; talking about TWU traditions; breakout sessions to talk to people in the same college/school; school spirit
    • Modules in a Blackboard course; but some live sessions too
    • Training on the LMS as well, but embedded into the activities learning about TWU and getting to know each other, talking about their fears of online learning, etc.
    • Co-curricular experiences
    • I’m thinking of how the concepts of the Jazz workshop could be applied to designing a really rich experience.
    • Adults at every level – doctoral, masters, undergrad, all participating in the same orientation.
    • Berkeley’s theme for their orientation is called Road to Success.
    • The orientation has sample courses as well so they can learn how this might works.
    • Another attendee includes “early access week” where the students have access to the courses a week ahead of time.
  • Smarter Measure – this tool helps students assess their skill level and readiness for online learning (they have volume discounts for students)

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.