ITC eLearning 2015: Day 3 – Morning

This is the last morning for the ITC conference. In looking at the sessions during the first block, nothing struck my interest, so I stayed in my room to get caught up on some work. Based on what I said from some of my friends, that was a good decision (and I feel better having gotten caught up). Now on to the sessions I did attend this morning.

Using Your Learning Management System to Connect Your Campus Beyond

Terry Norris, College of Southern NevadaThe first thing that struck me about this session was the title change. The presenter changed the session title to “Using Your LMS to Help Keep Your Canvas Green.” I was a little concerned with this because it seems to have drifted from the original abstract.In Canvas, CSN started looking at subaccounts for librarians to utilize institutional repositories. I don’t think I’ve done anything with subaccounts yet, so that’s definitely something worth looking into – although I don’t have any ideas on how it can be used in corporate training if I’m the only one doing the development. Either way, it’s something that’s worth exploring. An interesting issue that CSN had with subaccounts though is that Canvas is limited to 100 subaccounts – once you add the 101st subaccount – the list disappears and you can no longer see/add subaccounts.20 minutes into the session, the only “green” reference has been the reduction of traveling between campuses. True, that is considered green, but ‘m hoping for more…Terry did share a slide that shows ways that the LMS can support a green campus, and it’s starting to look like he has a wider scope of a “green initiative.”, Terry provided various groups/committees/departments/ways that CSN is using Canvas aside from just course content deliver. I would have liked to see examples (screenshots, virtual tours, etc.) rather than just talking about the uses. I also think there was too much tech talk about Canvas and note enough practical application.

High-Impact Practices: Promoting Participation for All Students

Jillian Kinzie, Indiana University & NSSEBefore even getting into Jillian’s content, let me just say that I’m surprised at the turnout for today’s closing keynote. Way to go ITC attendees! Now on to the content…Probably the first important slide of content to share is a list of high-impact activities for students: Impact Practices: indicates that high impact practices are valued by employers, important to faculty, and enjoyable to students. Overall, I agree with this statement, however I think that it also depends on how the HIP is strutured. The benefits of HIPs are larger for underserved students (according to Jillian / NSSE).I think the data that Jillian provided is definitely of interest, although I don’t know that much of it is surprising. Students who (have the ability to) participate in high-impact practices do better in a variety of capacities. One of the key things that I agree with is that HIPs are not equitable. While HIPs impact underserved students more than other demographics, they often are unable to participate. It’s interesting that 76% of incoming college students now expect to participate in an internship and a high percentage expects to do some sort of a capstone. Jillian also provided statistics on faculty buy-in to HIPs, which also were not surprising. But I think that it’s different to get faculty on board with the need to participate in these practices than it is to actually take the time to develop the practices. I definitely think that it takes a lot of time to plan these HIPs.Overall, a great closing session – definitely lots to think about in the coming year.

ITC eLearning 2015: Day 2 – Morning

Keynote: Expect to be Disrupted: The Next Wave of Innovations in Online Education

Richard Edwards, Ball State UniversityShiny New Instructional Technology Syndrome (SNITS)

  • Garageband (2004)
  • Online Portfolios (2006)
  • Virtual Reality Cave (2007)
  • Second Life (2008)
  • Flip Cams (2010)
  • Google Glass (2013)

A great quote from Edwards: talks about Gartner’s Hype Cycle, which is very true from my experience. In many cases, individuals want to implement a technology right out of the gate (technology trigger), but over time, the technology goes through various stages (similar to the 5 stages of grief).The next thing that Edwards discusses is Promise vs. Delivery. hadn’t thought about harder LMSs, but I have considered the watering down of projects and technology. Having worked in Sakai for a few years, it’s open source which allows for multiple ways to complete a task. This forces instructors and students to problem solve, to come up with their own solution to a scenario. I wonder what the LMS companies think about making the systems harder to promote hacking and problem solving…An interesting notion that Edwards talks about is failure. Failure happens to all of us, but he provides some insight as to how fail should occur. you fail over a multi-semester study, institutions start wondering what they spent time and money on and be more skeptical to allow future innovation. In looking at an innovation model & timeframe, Edwards has put together a model based on the Classic Model by Everett Rogers. you think about early adopters in a different setting (outside of technology), here is an example. Sorry if you don’t know the show being referenced. prompted the audience with a thought experiment:

If you re-imagined the perfect eLearning course from scratch, what would be in its DNA?

2 of the things that came up from the audience

  • Self-regulated learning
  • Lack of set course length (instead based on competencies)

As Edwards closes out his morning keynote, he has provided a list of takeaways. tips for jumpstarting your own “ideas lab”

  1. Start with your objectives and work backwards.
  2. Embrace constraints
  3. Engage in design thinking (we are designers, after all!)
  4. Remix and reuse everything
  5. Use what you know. Your unique point of view matters.
  6. Use its of whiteboards and post-it notes.
  7. Build what you need. Use what you build.

Overall, this was the best keynote for #elearning2015 so far. I wish that Edwards participated in the Great Debate and I hope that the remaining keynote(s) are as engaging as him. I think he has been preaching to the choir for the last 90 minutes, but it’s been framed in a unique way. Great session!


The Faculty View of Technology-Enabled Education: A Survey

Based on the first 5 minutes, I think this session should have been marked as a sponsored session—the presenter kept going on and on about Inside Higher Ed (his affiliation), the topics that he writes about and what IHE is/does. It’s always a waste of time to talk about that type of thing because it has no bearing on the presentation topic. Move on.I understand that the presenter had to “go it alone” because his colleague had health issues and couldn’t make it, but I got the impression that he had no idea what to say or what he was presenting. Within the first 15 minutes, he had presented 1 survey question, but I felt like he had no critical analysis of the data. Asking audience feedback on their interpretations of the data is certainly a good way to engage the audience, but audience responses seemed to be the only critical analysis during the session.Given the different avenues the presentation could have gone, I was disappointed at the seemingly surface-level analysis of the data by the presenter. I hope it got better as the session went on, but I had to leave. Such a shame – it could have been a great session.


Active Teaching Online

Dawn Kemp, University of Maryland University CollegeTypical online classes have

  • Reading
  • Discussions
  • Some project (paper, etc.)

In order for real learning to occur, students should:

  1. Hear
  2. See
  3. Question
  4. Discuss
  5. Do
  6. Teach

The first thing that I took away from this session was her take on group learning. Students (myself included when I was in school) hate group work. There is always going to be the group members who don’t pull their weight. The presenter’s thought on this is: think all assignments should be thought out, but the grading is something that I’ve been missing. We all know that rubrics are key to grading, but I’ve always had a hard time structuring grading for group assignments. I need to think more about this…Why do we use introductions?

  • Facilitates engagement
  • Collaborative learning environment

New way to do introductions – “Getting to know you Bingo”

  • Forces students to read all students’ introductions
  • Winning can get students out of discussions for a week, pass on an assignment, etc.

Really Getting Acquainted Assignment

  • Students are given interview questions
  • 1-on-1 interview (can be done through Skype)
  • Students have to present on the person that they interviewed (video, audio, etc.)

I like the thought of having learning teams, where groups of students are split into different categories (agreers, antagonists, etc.). Students then present on topics and those in the groups participate in the conversation. It’s a great way to get different points of view.I really liked the ideas and examples that were presented, I just wish she had more content or activities. For an active learning session, there wasn’t any active learning.

ITC eLearning 2015: Day 1 – Afternoon

They’re Dropping Like Flies – Retention Strategies and Best Practices for Online Courses

Karen Hyman, College of Southern NevadaI apparently got into this session a little late because the presenter decided to start early – not a huge deal. Since I do online training at the company I work for, I’m interested in getting information on retaining students (non-traditional in my case). This presenter is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum with research. Her slides are full of text and refers to various studies impacting her institution. Hey – I’m all about the research! The PowerPoint looked like it came from the 90’s with the gravel background, cheesy sounds & effects, and about 300 words per slide. With text over top of images that take up the entire slide, it was really hard to read the text on the slides. Moving on… think that it’s great that the presenter shared the things that work for her, but much like last night’s opening plenary, the content looked to be outdated by at least 5 years. Most of what she talks about doing is covered within Quality Matters and UDL and is a lot of common sense. One of the things that I may have missed by coming in late is what subject and level she teaches. 

ITC eLearning 2015: Day 1 – Morning

So here we are again, another year at the most wonderful eLearning Conference. The conference officially started last night with the opening keynote, but I decided not to blog specifically about that session. In general, I wasn’t thrilled with the session. I think the presenter (Phil Hill) had the potential to be very engaging with a great topic, but I thought the content was a little dated and it really raised more questions for me than provided answers. The backchannel to me had more of an impact on me than the presentation itself.

Keynote: Getting Serious: Creating a Culture of Success Online

Brenda Harms, Converge ConsultingI’m always skeptical when an educational conference keynote is presented by someone from a consulting firm, but the title is interesting so I’m going into it with an open mind.I have to admit that the session started off strong. There were jokes and statements that should ring true to everyone at the conference. are certainly analogies that I didn’t  follow, like the fact that 57% of cars don’t start – that analogy doesn’t fit. 57% of students starting but not completing college isn’t a product that “doesn’t start.” To me, students that start but don’t complete is more like a product that doesn’t get off the assembly line. I’m wondering if I misunderstanding her analogy, though.There are other thoughts that I have, but one that really sums it up comes from @slamteacher: think the picture below shows hard conversations – I think #2 sums up a lot of the conversations I’ve had in the last 6 years. It’s definitely the hardest, IMO. this point, I’m starting to tune Brenda out – she’s started moving into marketing advice (based on her consultant role). Sure, marketing & recruitment are part of it, but recruitment isn’t going to solve any problems if the students you’re teaching aren’t completing.Retaining students, however, is a big issue. Brenda asked how many institutions have full-time retention specialists – only a small number raised their hands. I have yet to hear her address the importance of retention handled by faculty. She has spent a good amount of time pushing the need for a recruitment specialist at every institution. I completely agree, but I think that she should take into consideration her audience. I highly doubt there are any decision makers in the audience who can implement that change. It’s issues like this (not knowing the audience) that I think forces a large percentage of the audience to tune her out. (Either that or not enough coffee)At this point, Brenda Harms has just offended a large percentage of faculty across the country (world?). “If you don’t want to work on the weekends, don’t work online.” I very much do NOT agree with this. First of all, a large percentage of faculty are adjuncts – If retention is so important to her, how can you RETAIN those instructors by forcing them work on the weekend? Also, what about work/life balance? How does that “expectation” impact instructor’s families? I agree that there should be expectations on when instructors should be participating in their online courses/communicating with students, but I do not think the expectation should be that faculty work on the weekends. Regardless of how an instructor chooses to handle their weekend communication/grading/participation, the expectations should be clearly outlined to the students in the syllabus.As the session wraps up, she clearly knows that she’s lost the faculty group in the audience; which is likely 80% of attendees. She’s also lost me and likely other instructional designers. I honestly don’t know what I took away from this keynote other than completion numbers are all that matter.

How Your Student Would Design Your Online Course

Amy Pilcher, Iowa State UniversityThis session is not off to a good start when you refer to something that Brenda Harms said from the morning keynote. But enough of that, moving on…Here is the opening slide, for those of you interested.’re pretty early into the presentation, but it seems like this session is more about her opinion as an online student rather than having surveyed students (or conducted focus groups). It’s not that I don’t disagree with what she’s saying, but, well… Yeah. There was a comment on Twitter on whether personal experience qualifies as research, which is valid, but I’m more interested in quantitative/qualitative data from students themselves, rather than personal observations.She does have some good points. like that the presenter draws on her personal experience as an online student, but not every student learns the same way. So while she does have good points, I would have liked to see some percentages for some of the things that we (as faculty, IDs, etc.) assume.One of the slides was titled “Peer-to-Peer Interactions.” The content is basic and what I consider to be common sense in building an authentic learning experience. But what types of interactions? Group projects? Discussion forums? These have very different learning implications.There was a section on using social media in your class. The instructor openly said that she doesn’t like using Twitter in the class, but has no problem using Facebook for class. I find this to be a big problem on many fronts. But the last time I saw some data on the topic, students didn’t want to use their personal space (Facebook account) for school work – they wanted separate spaces school & private life. I wish she had data to back up what she’s saying about this., it happened. It was bound to. The surprising part is that the presenter is telling the audience about loopholes to FERPA. I have a feeling that would open the instructor up to liabilities.Overall, I thought the topics in this session were really common sense. It’s sad that a session like this is needed, but it is, and I’m glad that Amy did it. The session wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but good none-the-less.

Many Hands Make a Lighter Load: Bringing a Mobile Initiative to Life

Robert Benson, Roane State Community CollegeStacie Bradshaw, Roane State Community CollegeNichole White, Roane State Community CollegeA few bullet points of things I took away:

  • Students have the ability to download apps to the iPads
  • Students can be polled anonymously for understanding / ability to ask questions without being embarassed.
  • Instructor can use the iPad to control presentation – modeling for students
  • Use Apple TV – students can “steal the screen” from instructors

I like the idea of using Apple TV on campus because it’s easy to get connected wirelessly and allow students to engage with the technology as well. I haven’t seen that widely implemented at any organization thus far. Roane decided to implement iPad carts where they have students use institutional devices, rather than BYOD. It’s clear based on the cart that they use why they chose this approach. By having institutional iPads, they can sync iPads (up to 30 at a time) to the same Apple ID and ensure that they all have the same apps.Instead of purchasing Apple TVs for every classroom, they purchased bulk licensing for AirServer to install on all of the teacher stations. The issue that they ran into but didn’t foresee in planning is the range of connecting to AirServer – 1 student actually shared their screen with a class on the other side of the building. It’s a good problem to have (students wanting to engage/share), but they then looked at using passcode authentication to connect to AirServer.To have faculty support each other through the use of iPads, CTAS started “Appy Hour” where faculty meet over lunch to discuss apps – they’ve also started a Google Group of iPad users to share thoughts on different apps.Overall the session had a lot of great information if you’re looking to implement iPads at your institution. Unfortunately I was hoping to hear more about the use of iPads in rural locations (based on the abstract), but regardless, great session!