Bits, Pieces, and Tidbits from AECT

Blogging the 2014 AECT International Convention.

A few ideas and notes from three sessions:

  • Relationship between Learning Management System Self-Efficacy, Situational Interest, Self-Regulation, and Learning Engagement of Online Learners presented by SANGHOON PARK, University of South Florida; and Jung Lim, University of South Florida
  • Dissertations in an Online Doctoral Program: Mentoring, Challenges, and Strategies by Swapna Kumar, University of Florida; Catherine Coe, University of Florida
  • An Analysis of Professional Practice Dissertations in an Online Educational Technology Program Kara
    Dawson, University of Florida; Swapna Kumar, University of Florida
  • Breakfast with the Champions: Charles Hodges and Thomas Reeves

LMS and Learner Engagement

Instruments to investigate further

  • LMSSE (learning management system self-efficacy) – it’s a measure of how well the students can use the LMS
  • Situated interest
  • Self-regulation measured by (MLSQ)
  • Types of engagement – behavioral engagement, emotional engagement, cognitive engagement
  • Engagement scale

Results and Ideas

  • LMS self-efficacy was not a significant predictor of all types of engagement (consistent with Sun & Rueda 2012)
  • Course design factors related to situational interest and self-regulation strategies have to be considered.
  • Experimental Sampling Method – Hektner 2007 – a method to use to analyze user experience along with the data logs that come from the LMS; can use it to create a learning experience dashboard

Dissertations in Online Programs

  • Top reason students finish their dissertation – the relationship with their mentor, dissertation chair, dissertation supervisor, depending on how it’s called at your university.
  • Literature in online mentoring is business and healthcare related; more research needs to be done
  • Students really wanted synchronous with their mentor; but they wanted feedback in writing, and track changes in Word
  • We won’t meet the needs for more and better higher education until professors become designers of learning experiences and not teachers. Larry Spence, 2001, in The Case Against Teaching
  • “Online teaching and learning is a wild ride.” Angelica Pazurek, University of Minnesota Learning Technologies
  • Brookfield’s adult learning theory – 2006 
  • FlipGrid – a different kind of discussion tool

Breakfast with the Champions

  • Research idea from the table for students working on theses and dissertations. Have a research fair where the students share their research every year… whether it’s their early idea idea or anywhere along the way to dissertation proposal to defending. Gives them practice in telling others about their research.
  • Self efficacy is very context dependent. Not just one instrument. Instrument will probably need to be revised if you select one.
  • You’ve heard of a cMOOC and an xMOOC, how about a pMOOC? Problem Based MOOC – making something for real clients. Thomas Reeves worked with colleagues in Australia to create a MOOC where participants were building OERs. Read about it in MOOCs: Let’s get REAL.

Say What? Designing, Facilitating, and Assessing for Intersubjectivity within Online Discussions

Blogging the 2014 AECT International Convention.

Yesterday Barb Hall and I facilitated a workshop on intersubjectivity. Our workshop materials are on our intersubjectivity wiki so you can explore further.

As always, when I work with Barb, I learn something new or find new concepts to ponder. I appreciate the partnership that allows for continued learning!

Notes, Ideas & Resources

Here are some notes, interesting ideas, and resources that came out of the workshop:

  • Conversation: Is constructionism a philosophy or a learning theory?
  • Remember: interaction is the process, and intersubjectivity is the product created when citing sources and peers in peer responses to synthesize new knowledge
  • We created synchronous intersubjectivity in the introductions – the participants talked to each other, and then came up with a table name and introduced the table (as opposed to just individual introductions)
  • Sentence starters can assist students in creating responses at higher levels – i.e. “I see it another way”. Accountable talk is a source for additional sentence starts.
  • Participant Representation of Intersubjectivity

    One of the differences to reach intersubjectivity is actually thinking about what the other person said and referring to what they said in your response

  • The difficulty of making connections or thinking of a way to bridge ideas. A safe place is needed online to practice these types of responses, a place that allows for experimenting with the ideas.
  • Taxonomies other than Bloom’s: Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, Hess Cognitive Rigor Matrix of Webb & Bloom; Marzano’s New Taxonomy
  • When teaching adult learners, it is important to include their experience in the discussion prompt
  • For discussion prompts in the STEM fields, have students share how they solved the problem. There is a right answer, but there are different ways of getting there. They can learn from each other’s methods of problem solving.
  • It seems also that creating more structure and direction for peer responses would help. Some of the structures from this Critical Thinking site could be helpful for requirements for peer responses.
  • Tip for facilitators: use the IAM phase and try to work at phase 3 – modeling for the students making connections between the different peer responses.
  • I’m still mulling over the tendency to write discussion requirements about logistics (1 initial post, 2 replies, post by Wed, etc.) vs. the possibilities around writing discussion requirements that are content/intersubjectivity based.
  • F2F teaching techniques such as group roles, fishbowl discussions, 360 evals are all useful online as well.

IAM Phase Sentence Starters

1. Sharing and Comparing

  • I agree because…
  • Something like that happened to me when…
  • I saw the same thing happen…
  • What do you mean by…
  • So, you think the problem is…
  • How would you describe…

2. Dissonance

  • While you think, I actually think…
  • I am not sure I agree…
  • Is it that you think X, or is it that you think Y?
  • Consider that the textbook says…
  • I don’t think we really disagree, it’s just that…

3. Negotiation and Co-Construction

  • If we use your example, then…
  • So taken together, we’re saying…
  • While that may be true, consider…
  • While I still disagree with X, I do think you’re / we agree about Y…
  • So, you’re really thinking that X means Y, when I think that X means Z…

4. Testing Tentative Constructions

  • That hasn’t been my experience, though…
  • That disagrees with Author’s findings that…
  • This doesn’t make sense when you consider…
  • This makes sense when consider Author stated that…
  • I don’t know if that would apply for the X community…

5. Statement & Application of Newly Constructed Knowledge

  • Let’s apply this new idea to X…
  • I could use this new idea when I…
  • In thinking this through, I learned that…
  • So if what we’re saying is accurate, then…
  • As a result of this discussion, I now think…

Getting to Know AECT Thought Leaders

Blogging the 2014 AECT International Convention.

I’m new to AECT, and some colleagues recommended that I attend the Breakfast with Champions on Thursday morning. I’m also new to higher ed educational technology. AECT seems to consider itself THE organization for educational technology and instructional design for higher education. My take is that it is much more research-based and less cool-tool-based than ISTE; more like AERA in it’s research and theory focus.

Because my training is in K12 ed tech, online learning, and leadership, I’m not yet familiar with the big names at this convention. So, I’m doing my own little investigation here to get a feel for the conversations that happen via AECT events.

So I’m listing here the names for the Champions Breakfast, and then linking to info about them, and what their main field/area of research seems to be at a quick glance. I welcome comments and corrections!

Top Professionals

Games-based learning for exploration and discovery

Blogging the 2014 AECT International Convention.

Preconference Workshop: Games-based learning for exploration and discovery

PresentersHannah R. Gerber, Sam Houston State University; Dodie J. Niemeyer, Sam Houston State University; Carolyn Stufft, Stephen F. Austin State University

Interesting Notes and Ideas

  • Minecraft snapshot

    Universities are starting to give scholarships for esports; the U.S. is starting to give visas to pro-gamers.

  • Watch out for gaming as a reward; students who could benefit most from this type of learning may not get to experience it
  • One way to gamify a whole course is to create role play throughout the whole course. I would love to do that!
  • Terms: Affinity space (as opposed to community of practice), paratext, metagame, ludology vs. narratology, makerspaces, machinima, fan fiction, walkthroughs, gamification, modding, edutainment, novice, feedback loop (assessment engine)
  • James Paul Gee
    • A video game is just a set of problems – you have to solve them in order to win. Connect that to problem based learning; problem posing learning – students learn to pose problems or forecast them.
    • The theory of learning behind games is quite different than regular learning. It’s much more complex than in school. If games couldn’t teach you, they would go broke. We teach the way we do because of the tests. We have to change the assessment, because it drives the teaching system. You wouldn’t be tempted to give a gamer a Halo test; if he finished the game, he already knows it. The learning system should be so immersive that the assessment is built in. Situated and embodied learning – can you DO stuff with your learning?
    • Learning – you need to be able to USE and ARTICULATE your knowledge.
  • Adaptive learning – you can’t move on until you are expert at that level. That’s a gaming concept also.
  • Games are one-on-one – the gamer is learning at their own level. It’s individualized instruction.
  • The differences of a game where the concepts are all connected in the game vs. where you answer a math problem and then get to move a car forward – but those two are connected.
  • One thing to watch out for with using off the shelf games is that students can be frustrated that the fun is taken out of the game because it’s been “school-ified”.
  • Game mechanics for gamification – feedback loops, iterative sequences for learning, levelling up with a reward system, may have real-life ramifications. Immediate feedback and self-reflection.
  • Issue of extrinsic motivation vs. intrinsic motivation. There aren’t enough studies to really say that extrinsic motivation are a detriment to intrinsic motivation.
  • The trick is really designing the curriculum around the game – and the creativity of the teacher.
  • Affinity space is the location, metagaming is the activity there, and paratext is the product of the collaboration/community.
  • There are communities around this – virtual communities, or playing with family, brothers, parents, uncles, in a real human interaction around the game. Well, of course! We have human interactions around Scrabble too! 
  • Types of writing around gaming: fan fiction, machinima, walkthrough, maker spaces.
  • How to gamify assessment:
    • health bar – to show how healthy your character is
    • a map to show where you are compared to everything else in the course
    • leaderboards?? maybe
    • XP – experience points
    • Present more challenges and opportunities to earn points
    • Quests and missions – students can choose these different goals and customize based on their interest
  • The idea of in course workshops (in the form of writing workshops) to support learning needed to be successful in the course game
  • How to do modification / modding – students can recreate parts of the class based on their interest

Resources and Links


Best Practice Workshop Presentation Tips

Things I noticed that worked well in how they ran the workshop.

  • Access prior knowledge by asking for a personal definition
  • Pass out terms related to the concept on an index card and have participants in pairs write down what they know already and what they want to know about the term (tactile KWL)
  • Silent reading time adds variety to an all day workshop

Student Reflection

Student reflection is designed to assist students in thinking about their learning processes, their learning experiences, and their metacognition. Reflection is a critical component for teaching students to be self-directed learners. Students should reflect on the course content and it’s application to their personal and professional lives.

Dee Fink’s Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning includes a series of questions for including reflection in course design (p 19-20).

Students reflect with:

    • oneself through journaling or learning portfolios
    • others through class discussion or others outside of class
  • Students reflect about:
    • the subject of the course: what is an appropriate and full understanding of this topic?
    • the learning process:
      • What am I learning?
      • Of what value is this?
      • How did I learn?
      • What else do I need to learn?
  • Students reflect via:
    • one-minute papers
      • i.e. What is the most important thing you learned in this module?
      • What was the “muddiest point” from this module?
    • weekly journal writing
    • learning portfolios

Need more ideas for designing reflection?

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.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet; Facilitating Personal Values Formation in Students in Online Religion Courses

Blogging at the Online Learning Consortium International Conference 2014

Renate Hood (University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, USA)

Notes and Thoughts

  • How to help students form personal values and built affective competencies
  • Aims at affective maturity in terms of civic and social responsibilities
  • Types of courses: value exploration courses;  cultural exploration courses; service oriented learning;
  • How important is the affective domain in online teaching? for instructors; for the job market? How important is emotional intelligence for employers?
  • How do you teach students empathy? how do you teach empathy online?
  • How do you include reflection components so that students learn to care about topics/issues like service learning, social justice, etc. without telling them to care – it’s a tendency of some institutions; how do you help them grow on their own; and then how do you do that online?
  • “All reciprocal social interactions take place in “an ecological system” within which formation must be facilitated – Lowe & Lowe 2010
  • Socio-ecology is affected by transactional distance, social presence, existing personal values, and external interactions such as mentorships
  • How do we teach students to be more empathetic to those who learn something slower than they do? who can forgive themselves if they fail? who can work with diverse others? And then how do we do that online or in distance education
  • Mentorships in smaller measures incrementally in courses vs. waiting till the practicum
  • Make use of the community at large; designing offline experiences that include family and community interactions
  • In the course design – need higher social presence and lower transactional distance
  • Include more values formation elements: collaborative learning; learner centered assignments; include a degree of creative license; what is the role of the instructor in this situation?
  • How to allow for students to be honest on what they really care about or not; netiquette is important
  • Role play sites / cartoon sites / animation / avatars – to help students wrestle with affective content and act out situations
  • The big questions are around assessment of values – psychology could help design assessments and surveys

Thought provoking session.

Relationship Between Student Surveys of Teaching and Course Quality Assurance Components for Online Courses

Blogging my session at the Online Learning Consortium International Conference 2014

Here are the resources supporting my session

Several of the attendees in the room are also looking at the relationship between their student evaluations and components of their quality assurance process. This made for interesting discussions:

  • Ideas for refining process and research: Do an analysis to see if the questions on the course evaluation fit into the same concepts that we think we are measuring (for aligning our standards and the questions on the course evaluation).
  • Issues of measurement: What do student evaluations measure? What do the external reviewers measures? and the faculty member self-reviews? Issues with measurement of learning that happens outside the LMS – course activities in the publisher’s textbook site; live sessions; web 2.0 tools, etc.

The Community is the Curriculum

Blogging the Online Learning Consortium International Conference 2014

Keynote by Dave Cormier

I participated in the twitter stream this morning during the keynote, which was great! But I thought I’d just collect here some resources mentioned and shared in the twitter stream that I want to keep:

Lots of fodder to think about. Loved this keynote.

The Dangers of Standardized Online Courses: Consistency vs. Creativity

Blogging the Online Learning Consortium International Conference 2014

Melanie Kasparian, who has a very cool title: Online Experiential Learning Developer at Northeastern University, USA.


Concepts and Notes

  • Their model is “flexible yet scalable”
  • They do curated content with the one to many model – a master course that is used for multiple sections
  • They want to have a controlled environment, but not in a way that inhibits faculty
  • They leverage cognitive science principles -see Laurie’s session: Preparing Faculty to Develop Online Courses with a Learning Sciences Lens
  • Common use of chunking content; breaking up videos; what prior knowledge would students need before they do this course? where is the instructor presence? how do you design a course so that it has instructor presence?
  • Online experiential learning – is it case studies? no, actually it really is real-life experiential learning; connections to employers; the reflection piece is really important too
  • Side note/thinking: instructional designers work from theory; instructional designers curate content. The more I realize what instructional designers do, and what really good instructional designers do, like Melanie, I wonder if we are going to get to to a place where some of the best courses really are online, not f2f? who is supporting this type of learning f2f? not enough in higher ed, I think
  • Let’s assume creativity and consistency are at opposite ends of the spectrum – are they?
  • Consistency – template standard production line model
  • Creativity – it’s different each time it’s taught because it changes based on the student
  • Extreme example – wholly standardized course – it starts with best practice; updates are difficult; faculty feels disengaged; can be restricted by the LMS; how do we have faculty bring their experience to the course; how do we not demotivate them;
  • Extreme example #2 – wholly creative; non-consistent; innovative techniques for design; build the course as it goes; design tailored to faculty, authentic experience based on the student needs; confusion on the part of the learner; longer development time; lack of continuity across the program (accreditation)

Consistency is used to create the order that enables creativity.


  • Consistency can enable creativity
  • Consistency: standard verbiage, course build, core principles (i.e. chunking, assessment of prior learning),
  • Creativity can come in how you deploy the content; navigation
  • Balancing: quality, experiential, timeline, cost, interactivity, scalable, academic rigor
  • Questions to consider further: What are additional ways to find the balance? What are some course design elements that should be standardized? What pressures have you encountered when trying to find the balance? Where can faculty add their own flair? What about assessment? can faculty adjust points and scores? but not outcomes.
  • Personal experiences – that’s where faculty can add their flair – sharing video/audio with their stories

4 ways to find the balance

  1. Have a starting point. Design principles. Standard terminology, standard look and feel, blueprint, an umbrella theme and structure
  2. Give ’em options. Give both instructional designers and faculty options. Options on lesson delivery, suite of tools, assessment strategies, different models. Let them choose. Give lots of choice. Let them add videos, redo videos as needed.
  3. The 40/30/30 rule. 40% of the course is the core and designed with consistent rigor; publisher level quality, scalability, and revised for substantial changes in the core content. 30% of the course is flex. Tailored content, regionalism, personal tastes of the instructor, quickly changeable by faculty. 30% of the course is the teach part. Personality and context; constructive suggestions, timely feedback; instantly amenable by faculty. This part can change.
    1. i.e. The core is the Lesson; the flex is readings and media; the teach: the announcements in the course.
    2. We don’t want the core to get to the point where it inhibits creativity.
  4. Be flexible. Let’s train on critical thinking, attention to detail, problem solving, learning principles and NOT on just the tools and the blueprint and the exact way to do it. Instead, teach the instructional designers relationship building – to work with the faculty from what they want to do. Then learn what the faculty needs instead of just saying we do it this way.

Things I want to work on more

  • Articulated core learning principles (i.e. feedback to students) that guide the course design
  • Things to think about with revision process; how does it come? do you need a form? do you need a ticketing system?
  • How to allow more flexibility in some of our high enrollment classes with multiple sections

Death by Discussion Boards: Strategies for Thinking Outside the Box

Blogging the Online Learning Consortium International Conference 2014

Presenters: Ken Hartman (Eduventures, USA) and Kristen Betts (Drexel University, USA)

Presentation is online here.

Note: This presentation was fast paced and packed with ideas!

Why do we need more engagement?

Photo by

How can we create more of a classroom atmosphere with different types of engagement than just the discussion boards.

Starting with the federal regulations and definitions:

  • definition that requires “regular and substantive interaction” with the teacher
  • credit hour: one hour direct faculty instruction; two hours of out of class work each week for 15 weeks
  • accreditors are reviewing the reliability and accuracy of the credit hour policy
  • students need to be engaged in your course shell in a way that accreditors can review it
    • syllabi are reviewed to check if the interactive features are required; interaction has to be required for your course not to be categorized as a correspondence course
    • in an audit, they are looking to see student logins to the classroom space; don’t just send it out on the email; get students to login to read the announcements and “show up” in class

So, how can you actually have online interaction and engagement?

Move beyond: read/watch, post, reply to a classmate. Let’s get rid of that box and think about something else. Both on campus and online courses should have

  • On-Campus Interaction: Class Discussion and Activities
  • Online Interaction: Class Discussion and Activities

Pedagogy Strategies

  • Voice comments, voice discussion (use that term instead of audio because it sounds more personal)
  • Peer/group activities
  • Individual activities
  • Rename discussions to “Discussion and activities”
  • Activities: You can give a percentage or complete or grade. You don’t have to grade everything. In an f2f class you have in class activities that aren’t graded. They just need to complete.
  • Everything has to be linked to your course objectives and learning outcomes.
  • Look for application and mastery. Align the content with career placement – what do they need to do? What are the skills that employers are looking for? Build that into your online course and face to face too!
  • Scaffold in learning the new technologies for things that they need to use the tool later – like tools they have to use for student presentations.
  • Cross reference her neuropedagogy presentation: Neuro-Instructional Design & Neuropedagogy: Reconceptualizing Online & Blended Education
  • Don’t scare online students with a voice, video, padlet; do that text based. But then have another assignment 5-10 question assignment; make sure they know the syllabus.
  • Idea: have students watch a 29 minute video on APA; and then have a quiz on it. We need this idea in our Masters programs.
  • Use an adaptive release on the syllabus quiz – picky stuff that they keep emailing about – 10 questions along – get the students to do it – they can’t see the rest of the course until they do that
  • Have one on one meetings with the student – scheduled with the teacher between weeks 2 & 5; it’s a requirement in the course; it changes everything when they experience this
  • Require the students to record two of their four required group sessions to ensure that they are showing up to their group work.
  • Reflection & Journal activiites; – mid & final course reflections – on the objectives; how have they applied or how do they see they will apply their learning?
  • Student generated content – have them present, do role plays, do a group project, record their presentation (could be recorded); their presentations are in the discussion board, which do you believe are the top two and why? – play the role of the evaluator
  • Virtual field trips – meet the author, virtual tours of organizations such as national institutes of health, ustream onsite visits locally

Technology Tools Besides the Discussion Board

  • Padlet: You can put MP4s, PDFs, a collection of comments; gives feedback to everyone in the class; one use is to put all the resources to have students access – like video tutorials on APA etc; another use is keeping ideas and resources for the next time the course is taught; padlet for peer review – each student makes their padlet and then the other students comment on it.
    • ePoster – have students make their poster presentation on padlet, including a voice recording
  • Tellagami: to give a really quick audio/video feedback to the student
  • Vocaroo: for students or teachers to present / give feedback
  • VoiceThread: – voice, video, text
  • Tip: When you use tools outside of the LMS, make sure you include it in the syllabus, announcements, etc – and that allows whoever reviews your course to know about the engagement and faculty presence included in your course.
  • Zoom: They are working on an LTI integration
  • Simulations  – like EthicsGame or Hot Topic Simulations or Ethical Lens Inventory; ShadowHealth – as a few examples
  • Apps and activities: 3D Brain App – for teaching neurocognition for nursing
  • Online flashcards i.e. – have the students create flashcards and post them in the discussion board – and then pick the best sets of flashcards and why they are the best; groups collaboratively develop flashcards
  • ustream  – bring in guest speakers to your online students; stream to the campus & online students; campus/course speakers; stream it! watch the required event; then have 5-10 questions; you can’t require them to show up to a live event; but require them to watch; they have to get 100% mastery; ask 2 questions from the content; one that the speaker said, and one at the end; you have to pay attention to be able to do it – you have to get 100% to get the credit for it