Feb 13

Wonderful Wikis: Supporting Learning and Collaboration

GAiN Conference Presentation 2014: Wonderful Wikis: Supporting Learning and Collaboration

Wiki, wiki, quick, quick! Set up a website for learning or collaboration or both! See examples of wikis used to promote critical thinking, support collaborative work, manage committee work, and even for peer editing! We will examine different types of collaboration and the advantages and disadvantages of different wiki tools for different purposes. We will showcase a variety of wikis possibilities and discuss various wiki options such as the wiki within Moodle, wikispaces, pbworks, and others.

What are Wikis?

Some Higher Education Wikis

Some K12 Wikis

Some Wikis I’ve Made

Using a Wiki in an Online Class

  • AVLN Pathways Wiki: Participants contribute to resources & write their lesson plans on the wiki. Both are required assignments.

Wiki Hosting Sites


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.janinelim.com/?p=5292

Jan 27

Photo Metaphor Learning Activity

I woke up this morning and found out we have a snow day! The arctic vortex of 2014. I was thinking that it would be fun to have an activity for students to do online on a snow day so that instructional time isn’t totally wasted.

This blog post is the first in a series of Moodle Goodies I am designing for our faculty. They will be accompanied by sample activities in a Moodle space that our teachers can import into their own Moodle courses.

Photo Metaphor

How to Use This Learning Activity: Review the information below. Select which Moodle tool you want students to use. Adapt the Learning Objective and Activity Instructions as needed. Select which Moodle instructions for students that you wish you to use. Copy the text you want to reuse and paste it into the instruction section of the tool you decided to use. If you have trouble with the links copying, try Firefox or Chrome as your browser.

Learning Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of a concept by illustrating it.

Moodle Tool:

  • Use the Discussion if you want them to see each other’s examples and learn from each other. This is my favorite method.
  • Use the Assignment dropbox if you want it turned in just to you.
  • Use the Wiki if you want them to be able to edit each other’s examples and learn from each other. This is a more advanced option; and isn’t as easy to grade. You’ll have to create a manual grade item in the gradebook for grading participation in the wiki.

Activity Instructions for Students:

Review the concept of _______ [you fill in here]. Then visit a photo sharing site such as Flickr’s Creative Commons, and find a photo that illustrates the concept. Write a paragraph explaining how the photo illustrates the concept. Create at least two proper citations, one for the photo, and one referencing content from an academic source (such as the textbook, an expert in the field, a published research paper, etc.). Use EasyBib How to Cite a Photograph to help you with your photo citation.

Then reply to at least two classmates. Reflect on the illustration’s connection to the concept. How does their illustration helps you understand an aspect of the concept better? Are there any components of the concept that don’t work with the illustration? Give evidence of your deepening understanding of the concept.

Discussion Tool

Setup Instructions:
Copy and paste the activity and technical instructions into the Description portion of the Forum setup. This allows the students to see the instructions while they are composing their response. Add the points for this activity under the Ratings setting.

Instructions for Students:
After you find your photo illustration online, right-click (Mac Ctrl+click) on the photo and copy the image URL/address.

Then go to the Forum and click Add a New Discussion Topic.

moodleimageiconClick the Image Icon and paste the URL of the image. If needed or desired, click the Appearance tab and change the dimensions to 400 pixels wide (put in the first box). You may also want to change the alignment to left or right so the text wraps around your image.

Click Insert. Then write your description of how this photo illustrates the concept. If you’ve spent some time writing, highlight all of your post (Ctrl A) and copy (Ctrl C) to save it to your clipboard just in case of problems. Then click Post to Forum. If Moodle logged you out, you can always post again, and paste the content you copied.

Now, Reply to at least two classmates as directed.

Assignment Dropbox

Setup Instructions:
Copy and paste the activity and technical instructions into the Description portion of the Assignment setup.

Instructions for Students:

Start a Word file.

Find your photo illustration online. Then right-click (Mac Ctrl+click) on the photo and copy the image. Paste it into Word.

Write your description of how this photo illustrates the concept and where it breaks down. In what ways does it not illustrate the concept?

Save your file. Upload your assignment here.


Setup Instructions:
Add a new activity in Moodle and select Wiki. Give the wiki a name. Put the activity and technical instructions for students into the description. I recommend for your first time to have all the photo examples on one page in the wiki. But if you have a lot of students, you may want to have them each make their own page. Use the Collaborative Wiki mode, and give the wiki first page a name like Photo Metaphors. Tips for grading: If you need to, click the History icon to see which students edited what and when.

Instructions for Students:

After you find your photo illustration online, right-click (Mac Ctrl+click) on the photo and copy the image URL/address.

Then go to the Wiki and click the Edit tab.

Find an empty place at the bottom, and hit Enter/Return a few times to get a space to work.

moodleimageiconClick the Image Icon and paste the URL of the image. If needed or desired, click the Appearance tab and change the dimensions to 400 pixels wide (put in the first box). You may also want to change the alignment to left or right so the text wraps around your image.

Click Insert. Then write your description of how this photo illustrates the concept. Sign your name at the end of your writing. If you’ve spent some time writing, highlight your section and copy (Ctrl C) to save it to your clipboard just in case of problems.

moodlelineiconAdd a Horizontal Line after your photo and writing to help organize the wiki page. Click the Line icon.

Then click Save. If Moodle logged you out, you can always edit again, and paste the content you copied.

Now, Reply and Edit at least two classmates work as directed above. Click the Edit button. Scroll to a photo you want to comment on. Either add more text to their description (highlight in another color and sign your name); or add a comment below (with another color and your name).

Click Save when you are done. Read through all the examples from your classmates.


Your Turn: What supports do you provide to faculty for using Moodle? What other ideas do you have for learning activities? Any comments or suggestions for improvement this one? I appreciate your input!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.janinelim.com/?p=5286

Oct 17

Global Trends and Challenges in Open and Distance Learning

By Paulina Gonzalez-Pose, Chief, Section for Higher Education, UNESCO

It’s Friday morning, the last day of the ICDE World Conference 2013.

What is ODL?

Open learning – a student centered approach to education that removes barriers to access and provides a high degree of autonomy to the learner. Open and distance learning includes the concept of open; as well as distance mediated by technology or print delivery; and could include some face to face time.

Open education includes open educational resources, open access to journals, MOOCs, etc.

UNESCO defines open educational resources as including no licensing and free to use and adapt. OERs have many benefits to an institution.

Global Trends

Global context of decreased public funding for higher ed; increase in demand; increase in student fees; education is less accessible. ODL is seen as a way to meet demand. Higher ed has been seen as for the elite. Globally models of higher education need to shift from models of exclusion to models of inclusion. The modern workplace / knowledge economy requires highly skilled workers; so higher education needs to be more inclusive. ODL is a tool has an emergent possibility of bringing education to populations that have been historically excluded from higher education.

Student expectations are evolving. They want to use power and connected tools to advance their learning. Students are insisting on learning in networked and digital environments.

Challenges and Opportunities

Challenges include:

  • How to improve the quality and quantity of education provided
  • How to create an abundant and skilled workforce qualified to meet the demands in the labor market
  • How to ensure that all segments of society have wide access to quality knowledge and skills
  • How to increase and ensure the possibility of research in small institutions

Why ODL is needed:

  • Free or affordable access
  • Empower learners in fast changing economies
  • Helps meet a massive and growing demand for higher education

Some think that the future is that ODL is a tool that complements and enriches traditional instruction. Others see ODL substitutes traditional face to face teaching methods in a transformative way. We are seeing the lines between online and traditional learning blur – students are mixing. Students in traditional classes engage in online learning – either in activities within a face to face class or by adding online classes to their face to face degree.

ODL has moved into the mainstream – impacting both rich and poor countries. Massive growth around the world. MOOCs are attracting over half of their students from outside North America. Challenges includes persistence, retention, lack of a clear business model, imperfect grading of student work. Students who joined a face to face study group were more likely to complete their MOOC than those who didn’t.

MOOC enrollments compared to ODL institutions: Turkey 1.9 million students in 2012; Open University of China, 3.5 million; etc.

Trends in Africa: African Virtual University; University of South Africa; Zimbabwe Open University; National Open University of Nigeria. Top constraints for using digital technologies for learning: finances, appropriate hardware; bandwidth; electricity, training. Top changes: mobile technologies; social media; increased bandwidth. 1 billion mobile subscribers in Africa by 2015. Who is the most important change agent? Government. These stats are from the eLearning Africa Report; ICWE.

Challenges to be overcome: course design & support; individual teacher & student; organizational, society and cultural context; technology access, cost, design, and localization. In developed countries, the challenges are at the course and individual level; in developing countries, the course, context and technology are the larger challenges. For example, countries where the government won’t hire anyone who has an online degree.

ODL can extend educational opportunities to students in areas of sever need; but unreliable infrastructure and limited access are great barriers. While some ODL providers are excellent, some are not. Quality assurance is need to ensure citizens are not preyed upon by poor quality providers with big marketing budgets.

OER is not yet a dominant model; and they are seldom used in primary and secondary education.

Some suggested strategies:

  • Tailor training and teaching practices to improve relevance to teaching and learning needs in a digital environment.
  • Improve and strengthen accreditation processes for ODFL institutions.
  • Align ODL programs with national needs.
  • Women and students with special needs shouldn’t have barriers to access learning.

Quality includes delivering courses in a method that considers the needs of the learners.

A UNESCO Perspective

Why does UNESCO care? It seeks to help its Members States see how ODL can help countries meet their educational goals.

UNESCO does: publications; conferences (including Mobile Learning Week); UNESCO Chairs Programme – 29 chairs are working on ODL from various countries.

“At no time in history has it been more important to invest in higher education as a major force in building an inclusive and diverse knowledge society and to advance research, innovation and creativity.“ Communique of the 2009 World Conference in Higher Education (UNESCO).

Reflection: This perspective is so different than the U.S. sensational news reporting that Higher Ed is dying and MOOCs will replace bricks and mortar institutions. Instead, ODL is seen as a method to bring education to all people; to care about all types of learners, especially those who struggle to gain access to higher education: women, the poor, the disabled.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.janinelim.com/?p=5282

Oct 17

Educational Technology in Open and Distance Learning

Still blogging the ICDE 2013 conference. Panel Sessions #2.

Exploration and Practice on Promoting Digital Learning Community Construction Based on Mobile Internet Technology – By Taking “Fujian Lifelong Learning Online” as an Example

By Shen Guanghui, The Open University of Fujian, China

China’s mobile users – about 75%. Fujian Lifelong Learning Online – www.fjrtvu.edu.cn – The platform has unique features: a distributed management system to share resources between the master site and the subsites. Columns can be changed for the users needs. The platform has massive digital learning resources. Every user can also be a provider. They have 40,000 elearning resources for every age group. The platform offers personalized supportive services, including search methods accordingly to curriculum, lecturers, or other features. Their online times are tracked; online counseling is available. It includes intelligent question answering, SNS setting, flexible information managing.

They have targeted 8 cities, 30 counties and 2 villages in the Fujian province. It offers new learning modes and promotes learning organization construction. It provides one-to-one or one-to-many learning. Their audience included the elderly, migrant workers, and community people.

The platform includes ground crew workers’ training, network information security personnel training, primary and middle school teach training, advertising personnel training, with 160,000 enrollments.

A key success factor is the government providing strong digital networks and access throughout the community.

Another strategy shared was to promote online and offline connection through community activities and seminars – to make connections between real and virtual communities.

Access is key to a successful mobile learning strategy. I’ve now heard from China, Korea, and South Africa on mobile learning. The students’ consistent ability to access is key. In China and Korea, partnership with government and/or business was crucial to providing access.

Increasing of Interest to Utilization of the Internet through Online Simulation in the New Student Orientation

By Soleh Hadiryanto, from the Open University in Indonesia

Does the online simulation in the class increase the utilization of the Internet? The study examined the interest of students in using the Internet, using it for learning resources, the barriers the students faced, and what they thought of the online simulation. They looked at the simulation and how it changed the students’ interest in utilizing the Internet as measured with a questionnaire. Interest in using the Internet was moderate before they participated in the online simulation. Their interest definitely increased after they participated in the online simulation; however there were some obstacles in participating in the online simulation.  Recommendations: The instructor should give the opportunity for students to have enough time for the experiment. More computers are needed to for students to participate in the online simulation.

Captioning in Distance Education

By Yoshitomo Yaginuma from The Open University of Japan.

Captioning is important for students with hearing impairments, developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, and for foreign students. Captions are important to exchange TV lecture serious internationally. The Open University of Japan delivers more than 150 TV lectures every year. They are trying to make all of the lectures 100% captioned. In this study, they evaluated a crowd-sourcing captioning system, and created systems to retrieve lecture movies to provide keyword search and associative search. The crowd-sourcing approach shares the work of captioning to the general public. They used the Collaborative Caption Editing System developed by IBM. With crowd-sourcing, the experts in captioning check for quality and make corrections. The system allows the workers to caption without manipulating the video. The crowd sourcing method was faster 8.4  vs. 11.7 (x the original length of the video). SRT is the most popular closed caption format. Speech recognition helped shave off even more time (8.1x the original length of the video).

Caption data can be used as indexes to create effective retrieval methods of the lecture movements. Keyword search is possible as well as associative search (which looks similar to the online thesaurus searching).

A South African Distance Learning Case Study: Reducing Distance Through Mobile Technology

By Patrick Mafenya, from the University of South Africa

This study started because the university was criticized for not using technology to provide access to UNISA through using more technologies. They explored probabilities of reducing transactional distance between students and the institution. Educational technologies have the potential to expand educational opportunities to the marginalized and disadvantaged. 90% of the population in South African uses mobile phones. They used focus groups and individual interviews to collect data from the students. UNISA is a purely distance education university, but they have facilities for students to come and meet with professors face to face as well. Participants were from 5 colleges and were only first year students. Findings of the study included the following themes from the participants perceptions and experiences: limited electrical infrastructure, lack of financial resources, limited bandwidth, inadequate human resource capacity, isolation, and organizational barriers. The university and the government provide learning centers in the rural areas that have the same access as is available in the cities. They still have print based materials to reach the students without Internet access. Reaching the disadvantaged is a reason to explore the use of mobile devices for learning. Cell phones are easy and cheap. Cell phones are used for reminders, reminders of assignments due, etc. They want to grow to using the cell phone as a learning tool as well.

Reflection: With the mobile technology theme, there are definitely clear uses for administrative communication – which helps the students feel connected and cared for. Depending on level of Internet access and the cost of the data plans, the mobile devices could provide access to content and assessments.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.janinelim.com/?p=5280

Oct 17

The Regulatory Environment and Strategies for Innovative Open and Distance Learning

Parallel Session #1, Subtheme 6: The Regulatory Environment and Strategies for Innovative Open and Distance Learning. ICDE Conference 2013.

Blogging my learning. One sidenote on the format. With English being the second language for so many participants, it was very important to have much of the text written out on the PowerPoint slides so that the audience could follow along.

On How TV University Academic Supervisors Can Inspire Their Students with Innovative Ideology

By Wang Jinpeng, Tianjin Open University, Dongli Branch, China.

Summary: Academic supervisors should teach with our hearts, our love, our wisdom, and our encouragement. The old style of teaching doesn’t meet the needs of the students. Academic supervisors need to provide the students with necessary resources and supports, particularly students who are older and have a heavier burden with living or who travel a long distance to attend classes. More flexible ways can help them finish their academic tasks. Teachers should learn to use computers to communicate with students online. We need to be improving our qualifications and being true friends to the students. Innovative ideology is to be flexible and to try different methods of teaching students.

Management Guidelines for Implementing M-Learning in Distance Education

By Johan Redelinghuys and Hermanus Jacobus van Vuuren.

Interaction and communication between a student and institution regarding administrative and student support are possible via m-learning. Unit for Open Distance Learning at North-West University. 55 centres and programs spread over Southern Africa. There is a library and computer access at each center. Two interactive whiteboards at each centre. Communication and reminders of classes and dates of contact sessions. They are providing learning to teachers, School of Nursing just came on board as well as Theology. They are doing Lecture Capture also and share through a dropbox. Mobile learning started with an SMS session. Administrative or academic questions can be sent to a 5 digit code. They are sending SMSes about when assignments are due. They see m-learning as the middle that connects them and the students. M-learning can add flexibility in dealing with distance learning. Computers are still used, but m-learning is at the intersection of mobile computing and e-learning (MacLean, 2003). Mobile learning allows them to communicate at any time with their institution. One of his study results was that the students wanted the mobile learning used for teaching and learning; but the facilitators weren’t as sure. Text messaging is a preferred method of communication by the students. SNS (social network sites) enable students to connect with each other. They use Facebook for lesson plans, dropbox items, and more. Their students and facilitators need skills training on using the mobile devices so they can interact more. Some of the recommendations:

  • Continuous administration and academic support
  • Improving quality of teaching and learning using midterm communication technologies
  • Increase the available of mobile technologies
  • Assistance to enable the affordability of mobile technologies (cell phone service providers  - at lunch I met Dr. Tae Rim Lee from the Korean Open University and they negotiated with the cell phone providers for unlimited download for their students)
  • Enhancing accessibility to resources for teaching and learning
  • Contributing to the flexibility of the learning
  • Need an affordable method for downloading relevant information
  • Effective academic and administrative support

In this program, they see the students at least 5 times in six months at the various centres.

Reflection: This paper was fascinating to me. The model is a combination of face to face (at centres), online delivery through Facebook and dropbox, and administrative communication through text messaging. The blend of various tools seems to make for an effective delivery system.

Research on Online Learning Diagnosis Based on Data Mining

By Sun Xin, Feng Xia from Renmin University, and the China Data Mining Project.

In this study, she used data mining methods to analyze learners’ behaviors on multiple aspects, and examined the key characteristics of dropouts and low-efficiency and high-efficiency learners. Online learning requires successful learners to have strong self-direction and self-motivation. Data mining can be used to find learners who lag behind.

New ideas in Big Data: Analyze collective data rather than sample data. Seek for efficiency rather than absolute accuracy. Care for the correlation rather than causality. Data mining technology makes use of massive data and predict things by mathematical and statistical algorithms. Statisticians, database administrators, and the [online learning] expert need to work together to make this work.

Their study had all the data recorded in the system since 2001: Registration, admission test, course selection, payment, exam, etc. Students were classified by speed: high efficiency, low efficiency, and ordinary learners. The learning cycle was divided into adaptation period, critical period, and graduation acceleration period. They calculated the probability that learners will become a low-efficiency learner or dropout according to their overall performance. The model measures the learning effect of the learners and judges based on reviewing the behaviors and states of learners in the adaptation period and the critical period respectively.

They have an admissions diagnosis model and an in-progress diagnosis model. They use the data to provide learning diagnosis and analysis of each learning cycle for each learner and learning manager, remind learners to adjust the learning plan, and seek learning guidance.

Reflection: It is interesting to see the various ways that different groups are investigating the data on distance learners to determine what they are doing and how to assist them further.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.janinelim.com/?p=5278

Oct 17

Open Educational Resources (OER) in ODL

It’s Thursday morning in Tianjin, and we have a session on Open Educational Resources in open and distance learning. The panel presenters are: Prof. Fred Mulder, UNESCO Chair Holder in OER; Prof. Rory McGreal, UNESCO/COL OER Chair Holder (Athabasca University); Prof. Nizam, Ministry of National Education, Indonesia; Dr. Griff Richards, African Virtual University; and Dr. Wayne Mackintosh, COL OER Chair Holder.

The session started with a video from Dr. Wayne Mackintosh (Ottawa Polytechnic?). He is launching OER University – smart philanthropy – give resources and you can receive. There are 30 contributing members from 5 continents. 150 years ago the University of London pioneered a system where if you could pass a university exam, you could receive the credit. The OERu will have this same type of format. If worried about the competition with existing markets; it’s really focusing on new markets; bringing education to those who aren’t able to access it right now.

Two Worlds of Higher Education

Dr. Mulder then started as the panel chair by sharing about the two worlds of higher education: innovative &  open, lifelong, open flexible (for more than one century); and conventional & closed – classrooms, fixed, young students, mainstream, research, (many centuries).

The open higher education has the Classical / Established (open and distance learning – one century+) and Innovative / Emerging (OERs, MOOCs, MIT, OERu, P2Pu, edX, OpenEd, etc. one decade).

  1. Are we meanwhile thrown back into the conventional world indeed?
  2. Have we perhaps gone into betrayal of our original mission of open learning?
  3. Are we too much blinded by feelings of contextual uncertainty, risks & threats?
  4. Shouldn’t we get back to our rootes and embrace OER/MOOCs as fundamental to our model?

There is a new initiative in Europe called “Opening Up Education” launched September 25, 2013. Innovative teaching, learning, reshaping/modernizing education through OER, etc.

OuE is a subtle change to Open Education – it captures the idea of movement. There isn’t a single ideal model for education; there is no fixed model for education. It’s movement and growing. It’s more about open educational resources.

What do we mean by open?

  • Open learning (1971 OU UK)
  • Open courseware (2001: MIT)
  • Open educational resources (2002: UNESCO)
  • Open education (2008 Cape Town Declaration)
  • Massive Open online Courses (2011: xMOOCs / 2008: cMOOCs)

5 Components of Open Education Model

  • 3 supply components
    • Open education resources (OER)
    • Open learning services (OLS)
    • Open teaching efforts (OTE)
    • 2 demand side components
      • Open to learners’ needs (OLN)
        • Open entrance, affordable, etc.
  • Open to employability and capabilities development (OEC)

Institutions may be open at different levels for each of these five components.

xMOOCs aren’t really open; there’s no open licensing; you cannot reuse or repurpose it.

cMOOSs are 100% OER.

He believes OER should be embraced by all institutions around the world.

MOOCs: predominantly in the US; some EU universities have joint initiatives with the US; and Europe has the new “Opening Up Education” model. Self-study model focused on European values of equity, quality, and diversity. They already have membership requests from 20 countries worldwide. They have certificates of completion, badges and 30 courses are available to earn credits. Common features: open learners, digital openness, learner-centred approach, independent learning and more. It is positioned in the public domain (not-for-profit); it has a central communication portal which is a referatory to the institutions’ platforms. It’s not for profit but for service. They want to reach out to open universities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Indication of growing student enrollments in regular operation and of increasing institutional prestige.

Do we allow our institutions and their good work for learners and society to be disrupted? Reactive strategy.

Do we rediscover our mission and fully utilize and profile the power of open? Proactive strategy.

Next panelist is Dr. Rory McGreal.

Announcing a new course from Athabasca University called AU001: Bear and Cougar Awareness. If said they need this course, because if the bears eat the faculty, it makes the president look bad. Love that Canadian humor!

Open Educational Resources: The Value Proposition

He proposes that we need OER for distance education. eMundus EuroProject.

Why do we need OER? DRM – digital rights management in commercial content. Digital licenses for commercial content. He calls it digital restrictions management. The companies put restrictions on the content that are unacceptable in an education environment.

DRM: You cannot: copy and paste, annotate, highlight, text to speech, format change, move material, print out, move geographically, use after expiry date, resell.

As educators, we have to rethink what we are doing with commercial content. We cannot live with these restrictions.

When you buy a device it’s your property. But DRM restricts your freedom to use your device the way you want to use it. They make it so we cannot own and control our own property.

Digital licenses. Owners have no liability even if the product doesn’t work. Owners can invade your computer without permission. They collect and use personal data. User has a privilege to use the product not own it. It’s prohibited to show your content to others. Must accept that you have no rights. (use policies). Different countries have different fair use rights. When you use an ebook, you’ve agreed that you don’t have those rights.

Creative Commons. We need open eTextbooks. We can copy & paste, text to speech, reuse, remix, mash, we retain our rights and our students’ rights. OER are essential for eLearning implementations.

Access rights – vendors want to control how, when, where, and with what tech assistance audiences can access the content. It’s a new concept – you buy and you don’t get (David Wiley). Remember when you bought something and you owned it? Now you buy it and they still own it.

Rent a textbook – student owns nothing, can share nothing, save nothing, sell nothing, subscriptions ends, everything ends. But the publishers own the student data, notes, highlights forever. The student cannot transfer the data out of the etextbook.

David Wiley: 20,000 movies Netflix; $8/month; 15000000 songs; $9.99/month. One biology textbook – $20.25. “When you subscribe to content through a digital service, the publisher achieves perfect control over your use of the content.”

Openness is the skeleton key that unlocks every attempt at vendor control and lock in. – David Wiley.

We should seriously consider Open Educational Resources. OER is essential. We cannot work with commercial content that has all these restrictions on it.

OER Strategy at African Virtual University

Next panelist was Dr. Griff Richards. He shared the OER Strategy at AVU. He is sharing the practical application of OER.

He started by sharing about how elephants are killed for ivory because of the market in Asia for ivory. He talked about what it takes to raise the baby elephants, and shared a picture of school children visiting the elephants.

The challenge for open education in Africa:

  • On average 6% of Africans access post-secondary education
  • Goal is 12% (North American is 45%)
  • They can’t build bricks and mortar capacity fast enough
  • ODeL have promise but also capacity is limited and ICT infrastructure is thin

African Virtual University

  • No faculty and no students; no parking problems
  • 18 countries have signed on
  • Funding comes from member countries and development projects
  • Languages are English, French and Portuguese

First project was to improve teacher education programs and encourage the adoption of ICTs. Very few teachers outside of the cities have specialist degrees in their content area or even a teaching degree.

They created ODeL in each member institution. Most of the institutions didn’t have computers or Internet. That was the first thing. Capacity – training the trainers. Built models for ICT skills of teachers; scholarships for gender equity for women in university. Phase 1: modules in English, French & Portuguese available as OER.  Available as print, DVD, online, YouTube. They’ve had 2 million accesses 2010-2012. These resources have a global appeal – large downloads from Brazil because of the Portuguese.

The second phase had another $15 million. They increased to 27 universities in 21 countries. Continue momentum for teacher education and ICT; and build new program in Applied Computer Science. They are also going to bring up to date all the materials from 7 years ago as well. Fiber is just arriving now on the coastal cities, and are starting to come inland. Higher interest in ICT and mobile technologies. The new project is to build 11 new ODeL Centers. The first time they had satellite dishes and now they will have land line links because fiber is coming. 6 ODeL centers are getting upgraded. They are revising their train the trainers program. Training includes how to become an instructional designer for OER. They are training people in each of the universities.

AVU calls is courses modules.

A module can contain a study guide / text, readings, practice questions, videos, simulations, assessment). (Our module plus your instructor equals your course. That way universities aren’t reluctant to use “your courses.”).

The modules are written by African experts at the African member universities. The components can be easily adapted to the local

There are no copyright delays if someone wants to use them anywhere.

The strategy is cooperative. Bring partners together to work with each other to meet their needs. Facilitate the process of design, development, translation and review. Facilitate dissemination. Help with training. Build a community of practice.

OER makes it easier for collaboration because there isn’t copyright. It promotes local adaptation.

Next steps: Open translation. Open maintenance. How to share. An open translation infrastructure. How to turn back the maintenance of the modules back to the community of users.

Quality of Open Education and MOOCs

The final presentation is by Dr. Phil Habil Ulf from the European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning.

Openness will cause an avalanche – it will unbundle what we have bundled in the closed coments.

This presentation is on SlideShare.

OER and Open Education – what we wish is for everyone to access.

Somehow OER usage is too slow. Teachers are skeptical; learners are insecure about recognition. Closed institutions lack open business modles.

Three Grand Challenges for the open education movement: business modles, recognition, quality of open curricula.

MOOCs are the third digital revolution – first elearning hype around 2000; OER peak from 2007 (content/resources for free); MOOC peak from 2010 (courses for free). With each step, the challenge is quality.

Questions about MOOCs and quality:

  • Should we care about the MOOC drop outs?  In higher ed, drop outs are not good. But, is it the same in MOOCs? Should it be?
  • What will it look like when learning and certification are disaggregated? Learning is free but not the certification.
  • What is it that makes a model with high drop-out, little success rates, and heterogeneous target groups popular?

The MOOC Quality Project. 12 weeks, 12 experts, 12 posts. 15,000 readers; >150 comments. mooc.efquel.org

From this, they extracted 7 key factors on quality for MOOCs which are on his slideshare linked above.

Questions and discussion from the audience.

  • Question from South Africa: The costs for OER degrees: $6700. OER was supposed to be a free degree. It costs 3 times what a degree costs in South Africa. It is accessible only to those who can pay.
    • Response: Actually that $6700 is the degree from Georgia Tech University. And, yes, the MOOC movement has a risk that it’s becoming more closed. It’s getting away from the idea of OER and opening up education.
    • From Dr. McGreal. OER University: If it’s a degree – each country can charge what they want within their university. It’s coopetition. The institutions in the developing countries can offer the same degree and charge less. We don’t want it to be education imperialism. We want it to be cooperative and competitive within the OERu.
    • Question from Terry Anderson, Athabasca Unviersity. To Fred. With the expectation of the European, we’ve been afraid of MOOCs because they are too close to our business model. It can be hard for open universities to swallow. What do the European Universities see in the MOOCs?
      • Fred: We don’t want to offer all of courses as a MOOC. We will offer some, but not all. Italian Open Universities has found that by offering MOOCs, paid enrollments are increasing. There is some indication that you don’t need to be afraid to offer educational resources or courses for free. Students are then tempted to come for the full degree. We should take the lead as open universities around the world in MOOCs. We have expertise in REAL open learning.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time, but his presentation is on SlideShare.

Wow! It’s amazing to see the collaboration and cooperation around the world. Exciting really. We need to consider further how to do this type of sharing within the Adventist educational system. There’s a concept that publicly funded content development should be available for everyone. What about tithe and offerings-funded content development? It seems to be a similar concept. We should be thinking larger!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.janinelim.com/?p=5275

Oct 16

Quantity vs. Quality in Open and Distance Learning

ICDE Conference Overview and Welcome

Welcome to Tianjin, China! I’m attending the International Council for Open and Distance Education World Conference; with over 1000 participants from around the world, including Canada, Pakistan, Iran, Australia, Indonesia, and many more countries.

The conference began with an opening ceremony – with speeches from dignitaries from several organizations. The theme that emerged from their speeches was that open and distance learning allows for providing and promoting education for all. A truly international experience, with translation headphones at each seat so that we can hear in our own languages.

I’ll be blogging my notes and reflections throughout the conference, to document my learning and to share with you.

Interesting ICDE facts: the first ICDE conference was hosted in Vancouver Canada 75 years ago; UNESCO has partnered with ICDE for 75 years as well. This year is also the 25th World Conference (ICDE hosts several regional conferences as well).

The Quality vs. Quantity Conundrum: Does Technology Help?

The opening keynote is by Professor Asha Kanwar, President and CEO of Commonwealth of Learning. She is sharing on The Quality vs. Quantity Conundrum: Does Technology Help? Below are my notes on her presentation.

Context of Higher Education Online

She began with the context of higher ed – that demand is exploding and emphasis on quality is growing. 150.6 million tertiary students globally expected to rise to 263 million in 2035. To do that we’d need to build 4 new universities serving 30,000 every week between now and 2035. The rising demand for higher education means that there are new providers – including cross-border, online, and for-profit. In 1988 there were 10 open universities in the Commonwealth countries; now there are 28 open universities. The next wave of open universities will happen in Africa. Asia has over 70 open universities, 13 of which are mega-universities. In 2010 30+% of students were taking online courses (Going the Distance Report). The highest growth globally is in Asia with 17.3% growth rates. (Ambient Insight). There is a surge in international mobile students – top three destinations are the U.S., U.K., and Australia. Top three countries sending students abroad are China, India and South Korea. The costs of higher education have risen dramatically above inflation; this problem isn’t just American. In the U.S. there is a trend towards greater accountability; a greater focus on quality is on the horizon. World Declaration on Higher Education 1998 included a focus on the quality of teaching; but the 2009 document has many comments on quality assurance and cultures of quality. 117 countries had quality assurance systems in the 2010s; 65 countries in the 1990s. Quality assurance systems have been strongly influenced by traditional higher education. We need quality assurance that considers new methods of distance learning. She suggests that student mobility across borders will strengthen the quality assurance movement. There is a growing prominence of rankings as well. Trends in the quest for quality include more accountability and regulation, more regionalization and internationalization, more focus on outcomes, more focus on quality assurance.

Developments on Quality Assurance

Next she shared developments on quality assurance in the Commonwealth countries.

  • In the 1960s and 70s the focus was on standards: quality of study materials, usability, the interactivity
  • In the 1990s, the discussion was on how quality assurance might be adapted for developing countries
  • In the 2000s, there was a convergence of external and internal quality assurance methods

An example from a resource-poor area is at Kyambogo University, Uganda, distance education is supplemented with weekend face to face sessions. If a student doesn’t show up for two consecutive weeks, the instructor gets on her bicycle and travels to the students’ home to find out what is the problem.

Quality assurance in distance education is booming; but doubt about quality is growing.

Problems with ODL include a call for no government employment for ODL graduates; which is a paradox in the countries where ODL was set up by the government. “When will the ugly duckling of ODL become a swan?”


Any resources developed with public funds should be shared freely. Issues with OER include: who is responsible for the quality of repurposed content? What is the role of QA agencies? What about the integrity of the institutions content?

Issues specific to OER includes: accessibility, localization, technological barriers, discoverability, interoperability.

MOOCs – this developed partly out the OER movement; the first MOOC developed at the University of Manitoba in 2008 (contrary to popular press reporting). Stanford’s free course in artificial intelligence in 2011: 15% pass rate. 72% of the professors teaching the MOOCs said that they didn’t think the students should gain credit from their home institution.

Issues: can one size fit all? Student verification and academic integrity? Is a peer reviewed assessment acceptable?

What are the implications for quality assurance? Will QA need to provide more facilitation than regulation? Will it need to shift focus from higher education to lifelong learning?

MOOCs have the potential to help us with quantity; OER has the potential to help us with quality.

Leave HE after 1 year (UK) (full time: 7.4%; part time: 35.1%; 44.7% open university).

Technological Possibilities

Learning analytics can help us learn what is happening. Predictive systems can provide an early warning systems to predict an upcoming drop out. Recommender systems can be built to notice where many students struggle in the content and provide additional resources and learning experiences.

The distance learning tends to be a lonely figure; online social networks can provide peer and tutor interactions to supplement OER. Learners have initiated study forums – Facebook forums for students to share independently of the learning.

How can the learner be involved in the quality? Norway study shows that institutional leadership and academic staff felt QA was helpful; but students “don’t know”. (Stensaker et al 2011)

Students are more concerned about the nature of new knowledge, the ROI of time, money and energy, and the value of credits gained.

How can we involve learners in providing feedback for quality? i.e. Amazon.com user ratings; social media such as tripadvisor. These tools could help us evaluate the quality of ODL.

Technology itself won’t help us. But technology + ideology may help with a paradigm shift. The ideology important is where a learner in a partner in the learning; the teacher is a facilitator. Institutions need to be more relevant to the needs of the 21st century and include the culture of caring as well as a culture for quality.

Reflection: A broad perspective on the issues of quality – different angles and considerations of quality – my take-away is the student/learner perspective. How do we find out what students are thinking and make appropriate adjustments in a timely manner?

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.janinelim.com/?p=5273

Apr 29

Higher Ed Wikis: Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Committees, and Peer Editing

USDLA 2013 Session: Higher Ed Wikis: Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Committees, and Peer Editing

How can wikis be used in higher education? For collaboration, promoting critical thinking, managing committee work, and even peer editing! In this session, we will showcase a variety of wikis used at Andrews University, and share additional ideas for using wikis in face-to-face and distance classes.

What are Wikis?

Some Higher Education Wikis

Some K12 Wikis

Some Wikis I’ve Made

Using a Wiki in an Online Class

  • AVLN Pathways Wiki: Participants contribute to resources & write their lesson plans on the wiki. Both are required assignments.

Wiki Hosting Sites


Presentation PPT: Using a Wiki to Promote Collaboration and Critical Thinking

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.janinelim.com/?p=5269

Jan 31

Day 20: Follow the Yellow Brick Road: Keep on Learning

Congratulations! With today’s tip, you have now completed the 20 Day Challenge to Teaching Interactive Online Courses. Let’s review, reflect, and look to the future of your online teaching.


  • We spent the first several days setting up your course, your online teaching space, and getting your students started.
  • Then we spent a week on grading, assessment, and feedback methods.
  • We also examined several ways to manage your teaching presence within your online course, ways to respond to student feedback, and verifying student identity.


As you look back on your first four weeks of teaching online, think about these questions:

  • What did you learn in the past 20 days?
  • What is one tip that you want to work on during the rest of this online course?
  • What do you want to learn next?

If you have time, I would appreciate you completing this short survey to help me improve this training sequence in the future.

Photo by airdiogo

Looking Down the Yellow Brick Road

Where else can you keep on learning? Here are some tips to continue the learning journey:

Your Turn

Respond. Take the survey to provide feedback on this 20 Day Challenge. If you have ideas or suggestions for future 20 Day Challenges, please comment!

This post is Day 20 of the 20 Day Challenge to Teaching Interactive Online Courses.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.janinelim.com/?p=5254

Jan 30

Day 19: Frustrations with Teaching Online

Photo by Microsoft

Photo by Microsoft

Now that you are almost 4 weeks into your online course, there may be some things about online teaching that are frustrating you. In today’s tips, we’ll look at some common frustrations and some potential solutions.

  • Students don’t follow instructions. Include instructions in the syllabus, in your weekly email, and in the pace where students are submitting an assignment. Don’t just post it one place. Think of how you remind students in face-to-face classes. Think of this as digital reminders! More tips here.
  • Students are complaining about working in groups. Coordination is difficult for online students. Careful group work design, as well as instructor intervention can help. Research study with suggested strategies here.
  • Challenges in communicating with international students. Time zones, poor email communication, and assumptions can cause frustration and communication problems. Be sure you know where your students are from and what their learning challenges may be. Be patient and compassionate; model good communication. More tips and scenarios here.
  • Technology problems. Don’t try to use too many new tech tools at the same time in a class. Use the phone when needed; use your institution’s tech support to help you support students.
  • Busyness. An online class can take over your life if you aren’t careful. Establish limits. Maintain and guard your online teaching space and time.

More perils and frustrations along with suggestions chronicled here.

Your Turn

Reflect. What is frustrating you about teaching online? What can you do about it? What resources can you utilize (Google searches, your online course support team, etc.) to address any challenges?

This post is Day 19 of the 20 Day Challenge to Teaching Interactive Online Courses.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.janinelim.com/?p=5250

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