Tag Archives: articles

Special Issue of American Journal of Distance Education focused on Quality Matters

Check out the great articles on the research behind QM!  http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hajd20/current

Great article The Impact of Findability on on  Student Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and Perceptions of Online Course Quality!



“Findability” is a component of “usability,” whereby students can find essential course components.  Results included that courses with low findability reported lower levels of self-efficacy and motivation.

Interested in learning more about how you can get more involved with Quality Matters at Tri-C and improve findability in your course?  Contact Sasha.Thackaberry@Tri-C.edu.


Survey finds college students love laptops, but not eReaders; Facebook, but not Twitter

A recent report published by EDUCAUSE has provided us with some insight into student views of technology. The results indicate eReaders aren’t taking off, and Facebook is far more popular than Twitter. Other interesting results from the survey included 96% of students saying they were on Facebook, with 7% of those respondents noting they used no privacy restrictions.

Read Write Web

October 27, 2010

Want to know what the future workforce thinks of technology, how it uses search engines, social networking, and online collaborative tools? The recently released ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology gives some excellent insights into trends in college students’ technology ownership, perceptions, skills, and habits.

The 2010 report was recently released by EDUCAUSE, a non-profit organization that supports the advancement of technology in higher education. The report is based on a survey from the spring of 2010 of over 36,950 freshmen and seniors at 100 four-year institutions and students at 27 two-year institutions.

Full article available at http://goo.gl/tPSH0

Online, Bigger Classes May Be Better Classes

A new article from The Chronicle of Higher Education expands the debate on openness versus control in online learning. In it, Professor Stephen Downes of the University of Alberta shares his experience with a class of over 2300 students.

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Online, Bigger Classes May Be Better Classes

Experimenters say diversity means richness

By Marc Parry

In his work as a professor, Stephen Downes used to feel that he was helping those who least needed it. His students at places like the University of Alberta already had a leg up in life and could afford the tuition.

So when a colleague suggested they co-teach an online class in learning theory at the University of Manitoba, in 2008, Mr. Downes welcomed the chance to expand that privileged club. The idea: Why not invite the rest of world to join the 25 students who were taking the course for credit?

Over 2,300 people showed up.

They didn’t get credit, but they didn’t get a bill, either. In an experiment that could point to a more open future for e-learning, Mr. Downes and George Siemens attracted about 1,200 noncredit participants last year. They expect another big turnout the next class, in January.

The Downes-Siemens course has become a landmark in the small but growing push toward “open teaching.” Universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have offered free educational materials online for years, but the new breed of open teachers—at the University of Florida, Brigham Young University, and the University of Regina, among other places—is now giving away the learning experience, too.

Full article available at http://bit.ly/bYNdFe

Professional Development for Faculty Using Avatars

This is a creative and interesting idea for faculty professional development. It not only provides a vehicle through which to train faculty but also exposes them to emerging technologies.

Avatars to Teach the Teachers

July 7, 2010

Monique, the eager-to-please girl with the chirpy alto, is raising her hand again. But I’m more interested in drawing Maria — who hides in the back row and avoids eye contact — out of her shell.

“She don’t wanna talk to you, man,” says Marcus, confidently flip as usual. “She don’t talk to anybody.”

Vince, the pallid kid with dark hair who sits at Marcus’s left, chuckles — just like he did earlier when Marcus told me he “found” the Mercedes-Benz hood ornament, now draped around his neck, “in the parking lot.”

So I try engaging Francis, the shy but willing young man in camouflage shorts and a T-shirt. I ask him what he wants to learn about. “Uh … music,” says Francis, before launching into a beat-boxing exhibition that he says he learned from YouTube. I compliment him on the routine. Noting this, Monique raises her hand with redoubled urgency.

This is my class.

Well, sort of. I’m not really a middle-school teacher. But then again, the kids are not really middle-school students. They’re not even humans.

They are avatars. Not the blue kind from the James Cameron film, or even the sort of avatar most often used in higher education: the fantastical, flighted characters that professors and student embody when learning in Second Life. To the contrary, the point of these avatars, created by a team at the University of Central Florida, is to be as realistic as possible.

Full article available at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/07/07/avatars

News ways of teaching and learning via augmented reality

Augmented reality is one of the concepts that the 2010 Horizon Report considers to be an emerging trend. Below is an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education that provides a wonderful example of how augmented reality might be applied in a teaching and learning environment.

June 20, 2010

‘Augmented Reality’ on Smartphones Brings Teaching Down to Earth

By Sophia Li

At the University of New Mexico, some students in second-year Spanish classes become detectives. They travel to Los Griegos, an Albuquerque neighborhood 15 minutes northwest of the campus, on a mission: Clear the names of four families accused of conspiring to murder a local resident.

It’s a fictional murder mystery, and instead of guns and badges, the students are armed with iPod Touches, provided by the university. When students enter their location into the wireless handheld devices, a clue might turn up: a bloody machete, for example, or a virtual character who may converse with them—in Spanish—about a suspect.

But Los Griegos and the language skills needed to navigate the locale are no fiction. By integrating mobile computing and actual surroundings, the educational game, Mentira—Spanish for “lie” and a reference to the claim of conspiracy the students are assigned to debunk—helps take teaching to a new place outside the classroom: “augmented reality.”

Video and computer games are commonly criticized for isolating players from reality, but augmented-reality developers who work in higher education see the technology as a way to accomplish just the opposite.

“Real life is pretty high-res,” says David J. Gagnon, a faculty consultant and instructional designer at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Augmented-reality games, he says, are a way to help people “get out and see that.”

Full article available at http://chronicle.com/article/Augmented-Reality-on/65991/?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Is Khan transforming education, or just modeling good teaching?

This article has sparked some good discussion about Salman Khan’s “Khan Academy” which essentially consists of youtube mini-lectures.

June 6, 2010

A Self-Appointed Teacher Runs a One-Man ‘Academy’ on YouTube

Are his 10-minute lectures the future?

By Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The most popular educator on YouTube does not have a Ph.D. He has never taught at a college or university. And he delivers all of his lectures from a bedroom closet.

This upstart is Salman Khan, a 33-year-old who quit his job as a financial analyst to spend more time making homemade lecture videos in his home studio. His unusual teaching materials started as a way to tutor his faraway cousins, but his lectures have grown into an online phenomenon—and a kind of protest against what he sees as a flawed educational system.

“My single biggest goal is to try to deliver things the way I wish they were delivered to me,” he told me recently.

The resulting videos don’t look or feel like typical college lectures or any of the lecture videos that traditional colleges put on their Web sites or YouTube channels. For one thing, these lectures are short—about 10 minutes each. And they’re low-tech: Viewers see only the scrawls of equations or bad drawings that Mr. Khan writes on his digital sketchpad software as he narrates.

Full article available at http://chronicle.com/article/A-Self-Appointed-Teacher-Runs/65793/?sid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Maybe books won’t become extinct…

This is a great article/video discussing the use of embedded hyperlinks in printed books. Will books adapt or die? Who knows, but their odds of survival just increased ten-fold with this innovation.

Wired Campus

May 28, 2010, 12:37 PM ET

Purdue Professor Embeds Hyperlinks in Printed Books

By Mary Helen Miller

People who prefer print books over e-books may still want extra digital material to go with them. That’s the idea behind Sorin Matei’s project, Ubimark, which embeds books with two-dimensional codes that work as hyperlinks when photographed.

So far there’s just one book available in English, Around the World in 80 Days, with the bar-like codes. (See a YouTube demo here.) A collection of scholarly essays in Romanian, Mr. Matei’s native language, will be available soon. Mr. Matei, an associate professor of communication at Purdue University, says that the initial book is just “an exercise in pushing the envelope as far as we can,” and that scholarly publications will be available in the future with the embedded feature.

Full article available at http://chronicle.com/blogPost/Purdue-Professor-Embeds/24378/?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Has Blackboard embraced lessons from their acquisitions?

Once Blackboard (Bb) acquired WebCT, there was a lot of discussion about Bb learning from WebCT’s strengths, such as outstanding customer service. Several years post-acquisition, Bb customers were wondering: Was anything learned from the WebCT merger/acquisition? Bb has recent (last year) acquired Angel, and once again, people are wondering: Is Bb learning from the acquisition of a company that provided outstanding customer service and support, as well as some great LMS features? Read the article below and decide for yourself.

Blackboard’s Ambassador

May 10, 2010

By Steve Kolowich

WASHINGTON — As president of Blackboard Learn, Ray Henderson’s job is to translate evolving customer demands and market landscapes into coherent business strategies for the learning-management giant. As a blogger and unofficial ambassador of Blackboard’s executive circle, his job has been to build confidence in the company and its services.

Henderson, formerly an executive at Angel, which competed with Blackboard before Blackboard bought it out for $75 million exactly one year ago, met with Inside Higher Ed this week at Blackboard’s slick new offices here to chat about the company’s newest version of its widely used learning-management system, the future of social media in teaching and learning, and the small but growing threat from open-source learning-management platforms, which have chipped away at Blackboard’s market share over the last few years.

“There are numerous things we have done to respond to openness,” Henderson says in the podcast interview. “And I would just say baldly that we’re taking inspiration from the open-source movement.” For example, Henderson last June began blogging occasionally about ideas and challenges being discussed inside the company. When Blackboard dropped its patent lawsuit against Desire2Learn in December, Henderson posted an essay detailing his own feelings about the lawsuit (that Blackboard’s patent assertions were not well-founded) and why the company was backing off (the backlash from many in higher education was becoming a problem).

Full article available at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/05/10/blackboard

Google Voice for all students? Yea!

It’s so nice when vendors show support for higher education. Google will now be providing Google Voice to any student with a .edu address. Oh, the possibilities for teaching and learning!

Google Gives Away Google Voice Invites to College Students

By Jennifer Van Grove

Students, you can now move to the head of the Google Voice class. Google’s celebrating the end of the school year with priority Google Voice invites for students.

Now anyone with a .edu e-mail address can enter it into the Google Voice for Students page and get an invite within 24 hours.

Google explained, “We’ve heard college students in particular really appreciate getting their voicemail sent to their e-mail, sending free text messages and reading voicemail transcriptions rather than listening to messages (especially handy while in class).”

This blanket invitation to the collegiate crowd seems like a way of appealing to a younger generation of mobile phone owners. Our guess is that Google hopes to convert these students into Android owners. With Android already making big gains in market share, this offer could help the company tap into the all-important youth demographic even more. Smart move, Google.

Article available at http://mashable.com/2010/05/14/google-voice-for-students/

Are we too hard on faculty?

This is an interesting viewpoint about faculty and the use of emerging technologies in higher education. It raises some points about the challenges, and perhaps more so the role of administrators, in creating an environment conducive to utilizing emerging technologies in the teaching and learning process.

Let Faculty Off The Hook

By Trent Batson, Campus Technology


Why is it taking so long for higher education faculty to adapt to the myriad opportunities made available by information technology and Web 2.0 interfaces and functionalities? Instead of trying to find fault, let’s look for causes.

We early adopters, or at least this specific early adopter, believed in the innovation adoption curve. I therefore expected that the pedagogical (actually andragogical) magic I, and others, discovered years ago in using new technologies would gradually be discovered by other faculty members. We expected, as would be normal according to theory, that mainstream faculty would be using technology as we risk-taking early-adopters did within 10 or 15 years. Wrong. At least not in the big numbers we expected.

It’s now more than 30 years since the introduction of micro-computers. It’s almost 20 years since the Web was created and 6 years since Web 2.0 tools swept the culture and transformed communication and social patterns across the board.

I’ve argued, as have many commentators on technology and higher education, that the evidence for needed changes in teacher-student interaction is so overwhelming, why can’t faculty start to make the change?

Full article available at http://campustechnology.com/articles/2010/03/17/let-faculty-off-the-hook.aspx.