Tag Archives: innovation

When the winds of change blow…

So, here’s one final blog post from yours truly before I head off to New Hampshire!

Couple quick things:

  • Even though some folks are moving around, eLi is still here!  Tri-C will be hiring a new Assistant Dean to lead eLi and fill the open positions in the department in the coming months.
  • If you have inquiries of a technical nature, please route them through eLifacultysupport@tri-c.edu or by calling 216-987-4257.  This includes requests for extensions for training for faculty to teach online, course combinations, etc.
  • If you have departmental questions, our own Dr. Holly Craider is serving in an interim capacity in addition to her primary role as Director of Curriculum, and can be reached at her Tri-C email.

A big giant thank you to everyone at Tri-C who I’ve had the pleasure and honor of working with.  Our common mission is close to my heart.  I truly believe that we have, together, improved success for our students online through implementing quality design and innovative learning models.  Please always feel welcome to reach me – I am sashatberr on just about everything, and at gmail.  You can also find me at www.edusasha.com.

One of my favorite quotes these past few years has been this one (generically labeled “Chinese Proverb”):

“When the wind of change blows, some people build walls, others build windmills.”

Let’s continue to build windmills together.




FYE Game Site & Student Tech Survey

In this update….

Info on the FYE Game, the Student Technology Survey, and the eLearning Orientation Reboot.

FYE Game Site

If you attended the Convocation session on the FYE Game, please find that here:

FYE Game screenshot

You can now request your copy of the FYE Game site!  How?  Follow these simple directions:

  1. Email ITS at:  elifacultysupport@tri-c.edu.
  2. Ask to be added as a faculty member in the 2016 FYE Game course site.
  3. Login to Blackboard, and use the Course Site Request System to request your own copy!
  4. May the odds be ever in  your favor.

We are currently incorporating the feedback from the session, so those Softchalks will be updated till end of day Friday.  Don’t worry, that’s all in the cloud, so it won’t impact your ability to have a current copy of the course.

Student Technology Survey

If you weren’t at the Student Technology Survey session with Professor Sam LiPuma and myself, of course you missed the social event of the season, but you also missed hearing the sometimes unexpected but always illuminating results of the 2015 college-wide survey of students about technology!  Check out the presentation below:

Student Tech Survey


eLearning Orientation Reboot in Course Button

Have you seen the eLearning Orientation Reboot?  Check it out!  It can help prepare your students to be successful in their online and blended/hybrid courses.

We also put it into a course site via a button!  It comes with 5 quick accompanying quizzes to test students’ knowledge in 5 domains:

  • Managing Your Time Well
  • Being a Successful Student
  • Being an Online Student at Tri-C
  • Using Blackboard
  • Computer and Internet Basics

Students get digital badges when they hit 80% or above in the quick quizzes.

Do you want your very own button?  Email elifacultysupport@tri-c.edu and ask to be added to the 2016 eLearning Orientation Reboot course as a faculty member.  You can then copy the entire button into your courses!

Have a great start of term!



A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Microsoft Store

We’ve been blogging about success rates for online courses for the past few days.  And wouldn’t you know it…

So I’m at the Microsoft Store attempting to get my Surface Pro 3 updated because it is not behaving properly.  I strike up a conversation with a woman in a similar situation and – I am not making this up – it turns out she is a Tri-C student, graduating this May.  She asked me what I did at Tri-C, and when I told her I worked in the online division, hilarity ensued.

Her reasons for choosing online:

  • Saves time
  • Works with her schedule
  • As a busy mom, that’s important!

Another Tri-C success story!  Congratulations to Rebecca who will graduate in May!

Open Education Week

What have you been up to for Open Education Week?  Or even “What is Open Education”?

Open Educational Resources, or OER, are free, openly licensed resources that anyone can use to learn for free.  The vast majority of the time you can also “rip, remix and burn” them – in other words, pull them down from online, make changes,and republish them with citation.  OER is in alignment with the mission of access of community colleges, and its use is expanding geometrically within the field!

Check out this great, short video that explains the basic concept:

Are you on Twitter?  A Twitter event has been going on for OER, a non-stop, 24 hour online discussion! Use #AllAboutOpen to check it out:) #OpenEducationWk

Also, check out the Open Educational Resources page on this site:  https://elearningandinnovation.com/pilots-and-initiatives/open-educational-resources/

New Innovations in Higher Education – from Inside Higher Ed

The Future of Higher Education | Higher Ed Beta @insidehighered

Inside Higher Ed logoThis article is a great recap of some predictions that have been floating around recently and are likely to become reality (and ARE becoming reality) in the near future.  The entire article takes just a 10 minutes to read – I’ve done some highlighting if you only have 3 minutes in your day! – Sasha
“With a number of leading for-profits beset by legal and financial woes, enrollment in online education leveling off, and MOOCs off the front pages, one might reasonably conclude that the threats to higher ed posed by what was hailed as “disruptive innovation” have abated.
No so.
At this point, institutions are disrupting themselves from the inside out, not waiting for the sky to fall. True disruption occurs when existing institutions begin to embrace the forces of transformation.
With a number of leading for-profits beset by legal and financial woes, enrollment in online education leveling off, and MOOCs off the front pages, one might reasonably conclude that the threats to higher ed posed by what was hailed as “disruptive innovation” have abated.  Not so.
At this point, institutions are disrupting themselves from the inside out, not waiting for the sky to fall. True disruption occurs when existing institutions begin to embrace the forces of transformation.
The innovations taking place may not seem to be as dramatic as those that loomed in 2012, but the consequences are likely be even more far-reaching, challenging established business and staffing models.
Innovation 1:  Learning Analytics
Innovation 2:  Microcredentialing
Innovation 3:  Competency-Based Education

  • Especially attractive is competency-based education’s prospect of accelerating time to degree, since students can potentially receive credit for skills and knowledge acquired through life experience or alternative forms of education.
  • But with the U.S. Department of Education and accreditors increasingly willing to allow institutions to experiment with competency-based models and direct assessment, such programs are poised to take off. The trend is moving beyond just a few institutions like Western Governors University, as even Harvard Business School, for example, launched its HBX CORe program, a “boot camp” for liberal arts college students who want to understand the fundamentals of business.

Innovation 4:  Personalized Adaptive Learning

  • Personalization has been the hallmark of contemporary retailing and marketing, and now it’s coming to higher education
  • But recognition of the fact that all students do not learn best by following the same path at the same pace is beginning to influence instructional design even in traditional courses, which are beginning to offer students customized trajectories through course material.
Innovation 5:  Curricular Optimization
  • Convinced that a curricular smorgasbord of disconnected classes squanders faculty resources and allows too many students to graduate without a serious understanding of the sweep of human history, the diversity of human cultures, the major systems of belief and value, or great works of art, literature, and music, a growing number of institutions have sought to create a more coherent curriculum for at least a portion of their student body.
Innovation 6:  Open Educational Resources
  • companies like Learning Ace are creating new portals that allow faculty and students to easily search for content in e-books, subscription databases, and on the web.
Innovation 7:  Shared Services
  • By promoting system-wide or state-wide purchasing, institutions seek to take advantage of scale in procurement of software and other services.
  • large-scale data storage, and high bandwidth data access, enables researchers within 15 UT System institutions to collaborate with one another
Innovation 8:  Articulation Agreements
  • As more and more students enroll in community college to save money, a great challenge is to insure that courses at various institutions are truly equivalent, which will require genuine collaboration between faculty members on multiple campuses.
Innovation 9:  Flipped Classrooms
  • By inverting the classroom, off-loading direct instruction and maximizing the value of face-to-face time, the flipped classroom are supposed to help students understand course material  in greater depth.
  • Institutions like MIT, “Future of MIT Education” and Stanford, “Stanford2025,” aware of such tensions and risks, are taking both bottom-up and top-down approaches to ensure they get the best of the flipped classroom without sacrificing face-to-face interactions.

Innovation 10:  One-Stop Student Services

  • A growing number of institutions are launching a single contact point for student services, whether involving registration, billing, and financial aid, academic support, or career advising.  The most innovative, inspired by the example of the for-profits, make services available anytime. When it opens in Fall 2015, the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which will serve an expansive 60-mile-wide region, will offer students a holistic student lifecycle management and CRM and support system accessible across the region.
  • Even as these ten innovations gradually become part of the higher education ecosystem, several new educational models are appearing, which potentially challenge business as usual.

Model 1:  New Pathways to a Bachelors Degree

  • Early college/dual enrollment programs that grant high school students college credit.  Expanded access to Advanced Placement courses. Bachelor degree-granting community colleges. Three-year bachelors degree programs. All of these efforts to accelerate time to degree are gaining traction. Particularly disruptive is the way students now consume higher education, acquiring credits in a variety of ways from various providers, face-to-face and online.

Model 2:  The Bare-bones University

  • The University of North Texas’s Dallas campus, designed with the assistance of Bain & Company, the corporate management consulting  firm, has served as a prototype for a lower-cost option, with an emphasis on teaching and mentoring, hybrid and online courses (to minimize facilities’ costs), and a limited number of majors tied to local workforce needs.

Model 3:  Experimental Models

  • Minerva Project, seek to reinvent the university experience by combining a low residency model, real-world work experience through internships, and significantly reduced degree costs through scaled online learning
  • the University of Phoenix, Kaplan, and other online-only institutions have created physical locations and even MOOC providers stress the importance of learner MeetUps and are focused on implementing hybrid courses on traditional campuses.

Model 4:  Corporate Universities

  • While some corporations partner with academic institutions (GM, for example, offers a MBA through Indiana University), the number of stand-alone corporate universities now exceeds 4,200
  • Although these corporate units do not offer degrees, they may well pose a threat to traditional universities in two ways.  First, by their very existence, the corporate universities infer that existing undergraduate institutions fail to prepare their graduates for the workplace. Second, these entities may well displace enrollment in existing graduate and continuing education programs.

Model 5: All of the Above

  • The irony may be that all the so-called disruption will actually bring higher education back to its core mission. In the words of the public intellectual du jour, William Deresiewicz, “My ultimate hope is that [college] becomes recognized as a right of citizenship, and that we make sure that that right is available to all.”

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

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

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

Engaging more students with interactive technology

This is a great brief article from Wired Campus on the use of clickers.

How Interactive Technology Can Help Minority Students Learn

By Mary Helen Miller 

From his experience teaching at a historically black university, James L. Ellenson says that interactive technology can help engage minority students. Mr. Ellenson, an adjunct associate professor of chemistry at North Carolina Central University, will deliver a lecture on the topic on Saturday at the “Teaching the Millennial Student” conference at Spelman College. He thinks that using “clickers,” the handheld devices that let students key in answers to multiple-choice questions, has particular advantages. The answers are displayed, without the students’ names, at the front of the classroom.

Q. You say minority students are often hesitant to speak up in class. Why?

A. You don’t want to either admit your ignorance on the subject or you don’t want to take the risk of being wrong, because you’ll suffer some social consequences for that. Even more insidious is the fear of being right.
The social pressures are such that standing out as an academic performer is apparently not as admired as, let’s say, athletics or something like that.

Full article available at http://chronicle.com/blogPost/How-Interactive-Technology-Can/21932/?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en