With some Harvard students saying they’d rather check Facebook in class than listen to another dry lecture, the university’s faculty have been clamoring for better ways to engage students. Unfortunately, professors with serious academic expertise sometimes don’t know the best teaching methods. And, given the pressure to publish or perish, many are forced to emphasize their research over instruction.
However, with the launch of the Harvard Initiative on Learning and Teaching (HILT), the nation’s oldest university is proving that it’s committed to catalyzing some much-needed innovation. The initiative kicked off last week with a symposium attended by over 300 faculty and education experts, individuals who are focused on improving the quality of education across all of Harvard’s schools, centers, and departments.
According to Harvard Magazine, one of the speakers at the symposium, Carl Wieman, the associate director of science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, noted that researchers already know what works to promote deeper thinking and learning and it’s not sitting in lectures, taking tests, and then moving on to the next topic. Instead, students need the opportunity to make meaning of what they’ve learned and apply it to real-world challenges.
But how will Harvard determine which approaches actually help faculty improve and produce better results with students? HILT is funded by a $40 million gift from two alumni, Gustave and Rita Hauser, and a good chunk of that money will give grants to faculty-initiated pilot programs. Erin Driver-Linn, the university’s director of institutional research, shared that HILT has already received “255 letters of intent to apply for grants.” She also explained that the initiative will test the innovations the grantees come up with through a cycle of engagement, experimentation, evaluation, and extension in order to figure out what really works.
While individual professors and departments at other colleges and universities are also attempting to alter the higher education landscape, what sets HILT apart is that it is a system-wide effort to change things. If Harvard can pull off a wholesale transformation of teaching, it can provide a model for other schools. And, given Harvard’s prestige, other schools might feel the pressure to get on board with its innovations in order to stay competitive. If HILT can produce some fresh approaches to higher education, the days of checking Facebook in class could be over.
|dave cormier (@davecormier)
11/1/11 5:04 PM
Rhizomatic learning-Seeing lines over points as a critique of network models, the learner as nomad and knowledge negotiation as rhizomatic.|||
|Stanford: SCPD (@stanfordonline)
10/24/11 6:58 PM
Check this video out — Stanford Masters Students Talk About Earning a Degree Online youtube.com/watch?v=trEopW…via @youtube
|dave cormier (@davecormier)
10/26/11 3:03 PM
Rhizomatic learning – why do we teach?youtu.be/W_uo0lhH-2I|||
There are some 40,000 tutoring companies in the U.S. While most of these are face-to-face operations, many offer online tutoring. The problem is that most of the online services don’t have a particularly good reputation — not among students, not among parents, and most damningly perhaps, not with the Better Business Bureau.
The $8 billion-a-year industry presents a big opportunity for a smart company. Plenty of online tutoring companies are trying to find the secret sauce that creates a quality experience. First, it must provide an easy experience technologically. In other words, it can’t be difficult or cumbersome to locate or request a tutor or to engage in a tutoring session, nor can the tools tutors need be antiquated. Second, and most importantly, it must offer quality tutors — those with knowledge in the subject matter and experience teaching and tutoring.
First, the technical piece: TutorCloud offers an online classroom with both video chat and a whiteboard. While some people may balk at the idea of online tutoring sessions, co-founder Blair Silverberg argues that many students are already using video chat to talk to their peers as they study. Facetime, Skype, Google + Hangouts, and Facebook video chat are already becoming the go-to tools when students are looking for help.
TutorCloud also offers an intuitive interface to search for the appropriate tutors. The tutors all have profiles and reviews for parents to get further insight into who will be working with their child. The tutor’s availability is also listed so that it’s easy to see if it’ll be possible to schedule tutoring sessions. Once a parent requests a tutor, TutorCloud sends a text message to the tutor, notifying them of the request, and TutorCloud sets up a conference call so that the tutor and the parent can talk. All this is designed to happen within 15 minutes because, as Silverberg points out, when a student needs help, she or he often needs help now.
While TutorCloud does offer a technical solution to the problem of online tutoring, the second piece — and the bigger challenge perhaps — is maintaining a selection of high-quality tutors. According to TutorCloud, 90% of the tutors listed on the service are students in Ivy League schools, and they have experience tutoring offline.
But it isn’t simply a matter of finding the smartest Stanford college student to tutor your kid in calculus. As Silverberg argues, tutoring should be akin to mentoring, and as such, it’s a relationship that benefits from more than just subject matter expertise. He says students are far more determined to learn when they share an interest with their teacher or tutor, so the profile information about the tutors isn’t just about their college majors but also their background and their hobbies. TutorCloud also works directly with some schools, matching alumni tutors to current students. Not only do they then have this commonality, but it’s possible for a struggling student to see that someone else from that high school is successfully tackling college.
That points to what may be the bigger mission of TutorCloud. Because tutoring can be done online and at a rate far cheaper than some of the offline options, it may open up opportunities for kids and parents to seek help who otherwise wouldn’t. There’s no visiting learning centers that identify you as a struggling student. Parents can feel comfortable monitoring the tutoring sessions. And the college students who tutor can set their own rates and hours.
The challenges ahead for TutorCloud are to help these college students become excellent tutors and teachers, and to help convince the public that an online tutoring experience may actually be better than one that’s face-to-face.
Write a Personal Learning Plan
Week 1: Write your personal learning plan and post it here.
Steps to Creating a Personal Learning Plan
1. Goal. Pick your path. “I want steady professional employment in the field of sustainability.” “I want to combine teaching English with travel.” “I want to start video blogging.” “I want to improve my knowledge of alternative economics.”
2. Current Status. Relevant experience, interests and accomplishments, both academic and extracurricular. College courses taken, creative pursuits, volunteer work, personality test results.
3. Learning Steps: Content and skills you’ll need to master–be specific! People or organizations that may become a part of your quest; Courses you want to take; Groups to join; Specific books, videos, websites that you want to read, watch, or use.
4. Experiential Steps: the experiences you want to pursue as part of your learning, including internships, volunteering, travel, leadership of an organization, or experience working with a mentor.
5. Who Can Help: Parent, sibling, friend, P2PU student—someone needs to read this learning plan and help hold you accountable for it.
6. Next Steps: What are you going to do in the next day, week, month, and year to make your plan a reality? It’s a good idea to review weekly, monthly, or every semester with your guide from step 5.
7. Hack P2PU to create your plan and track your progress!
|Howard Rheingold (@hrheingold)
understanding how networks work is an essential 21st century literacy. (mini-course) http://t.co/Z96hXuG
Distance Learning/Limited Residency
What is a distance learning, limited residency program?
We understand that you need a master’s program that is geared to your livelihood-and your life. Goucher College’s distance education format is simple, convenient, and extremely effective. We pioneered the limited-residency master’s degree to give working professionals a graduate education that will inform and engage them and strengthen their abilities to address the complex and ever-changing field of digital arts.
Serving as tutors and mentors rather than traditional lecturers, our faculty meets face-to-face with students during sessions held twice a year on Goucher’s beautiful campus. Throughout the course of the academic year, they maintain close contact with students utilizing online, interactive classrooms, as well as other forms of written and verbal communication. Students are also offered opportunities to travel with faculty and peers for transformative experiential learning and networking events.
Our limited-residency structure means that wherever you are, you’ll have the attention of top professionals from around the nation. You’ll address real-world issues that directly affect your community and your discipline. You’ll form friendships and professional relationships that will be invaluable throughout your career. And you’ll graduate with an advanced degree that will enhance your ability to make a lasting contribution to music and the arts.
Study for Masters Degrees online
The University of Liverpool offers online degrees in conjunction with e-learning partner Laureate Online Education.
Our expertise in online degrees
|Together we have developed a unique approach to online degrees, allowing you to complete a Masters programme 100% online.|
|Each degree is designed to let you fit study around your schedule whilst still meeting our high academic standards.Delivered in small personal classes, our online degrees provide an excellent forum for networking and international collaboration, giving you a worthwhile advantage in today’s global economy.
Online degree programmes
We offer online degrees in the following areas:
dave cormier (@davecormier)
Interesting rebuttal to @opencontent on MOOCs by @kwhamon in comments on my post http://bit.ly/jergHA
MSc in E-learning at Edinburgh module “E-learning and Digital Cultures”
outline of content
The course will be organised in three blocks. Learning activities throughout will focus on maintenance of an online ‘commonplace book’ using lifestreaming technology (see assessment), on group blogging, twitter tutorials and text chat. You will develop one online visual artefact (block 1), one ethnographic ‘story’ using an online application of your choice (block 2), and one idea for a ‘posthuman’ pedagogy (block 3), in addition to the final assignment.
Academia tackles the future
Technology is at the heart of a profound transformation in the attitudes and expectations of students. How are institutions adapting to this new paradigm?
For Laura, a first-year international business student, the heart of student life is a virtual one. An online community established through MySpace is where she and her peers network, collaborate on their courses, swap problems, offer support, and socialise.
While she travels on to campus for classes and to meet other students face to face, she also regularly accesses the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE) from her PC at home. She downloads podcasts onto her MP3 player so that she can revise while travelling. “It’s just all these little technology things that make your life handier,” she says.
Ruth Green, a second-year divinity student at Edinburgh University and a former nurse, didn’t realise how IT-focused universities had become when she started her course. “A lot of the information is only available online, and every subject has its own area on the university VLE,” she says. “I brought my own laptop with me and use it for much more than just to write essays.”
Technology has dramatically changed the way students experience university life, and not just in terms of the number of gadgets they own. It has affected where and how they study, helped them collaborate with each other and broken down barriers between students and teachers, social life and study. It has also given students a greater voice in the way they learn.
All this presents major challenges for institutions, which are also learning to cope with a larger, more demanding and more diverse student body – something that itself affects decisions about how best to use technology.
Widening participation means universities need learning technology that is accessible not only to IT-savvy school- leavers but also to adult learners, those from overseas, and special-needs students. And as students now pay for their education, their attitude and involvement is changing. They expect IT to be part of their learning, and to be adding value to the whole student experience.
The response by both government and the universities to these challenges has been to investigate exactly what is happening and try to come up with ideas about how the challenges can be met. In April, John Denham, secretary of state for innovation, universities and skills, asked Paul Ramsden, chief executive of the Higher Education Academy, to chair an inquiry into teaching and the student experience.
Ramsden, who publishes his report early next year, says it will include evidence that the student experience in UK universities remains among the best in the world. “What’s so good about the UK student experience? – It is the close relationship between teachers and students as well as the relatively small class sizes compared with universities in other countries of the world.”
But he also cites increased professionalism of teaching, aided by the Higher Education Academy. And innovative technology is playing a part. He says research-led universities such as Manchester have raised the profile and status of their undergraduate teaching by, among other things, creating personalized learning environments, and argues that online learning also boosts soft skills for employability, such as problem solving and team-working.
Last month, Sir Ron Cooke, chair of the Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc), the national body that supports innovative use of technology in further and higher education, published a report calling for a nationally co-ordinated core of open-access learning resources to support online learning in HE, combined with national centres of expertise in educational technology and e-pedagogy.
Meanwhile, David Melville, former vice-chancellor of the University of Kent, has been conducting an independent inquiry into students’ use of new technology, which is also due to report in the next few months. In addition, Jisc has been gathering feedback on what learners think about how technology should be used. It is hoped that the research, part of the Learner Experience of E-Learning programme, will help shape e-learning in future.
Jisc program manager Sarah Knight says phase one of the research, which forms the basis of a publication produced last year, called In Their Own Words, makes interesting reading. “Learners are already seeking both choice and control when it comes to the technology and are mixing and matching personal and institutional tools with skill. Technology, it seems, is central to their lives and therefore also to their studies, but increasingly the boundaries between study and other aspects of their lives are being eroded.”
The report finds that tools and technologies owned and managed by learners, such as laptops, mobile phones and social software, are often incorporated into their learning. It suggests that institutions need to help learners understand the benefits and drawbacks of learning in an environment of increased personal choice.
A series of workshops on the findings of phase two of the research is taking place from this month.
Choice and control
Meanwhile, universities are doing their own market research. A project at the University of Edinburgh, Learner Experience across the Disciplines (LEaD), is drawing on student blogs and video diaries for a qualitative survey of students’ experiences. Project manager Judy Hardy says: “We wanted to learn about students at a time of great change and transition for them as individuals.”
The project has found students want to find a balance in the way they use technology – a kind of technological comfort zone. Applications that appeal to them are Clickers, a personal response system that allows students to ask questions or respond to subjects being discussed at a lecture, and a virtual farm, where an online video link to a real farm allows veterinary students to check on the health of animals, including a flock of sheep.
Hardy says technology is now so embedded in people’s lives that e-learning has become mainstream. “Students don’t see technology as something that is separate from teaching and learning”.
About the Social Media Classroom
The Social Media Classroom is a free and open-source (Drupal based) web service that provides teachers and learners with an integrated set of social media that each course can use for its own purposes — integrated forum, blog, comment, wiki, social bookmarking, and mindmaps. Howard Rheingold was awarded a small grant from the MacArthur Foundation to work with Drupal developer Sam Rose to create the SMC. You can find out about the SMC, download and install the software, ask for a hosted instance, access information about using social media for teaching and learning at the Social Media Classroom website. Note that the user interface for the SMC website resembles that of Rheingold U (designed by ideacodes) — so you will have to use your back button on your browser or click here to get back to Rheingold U.
Pedagogic Approaches to Using Technology for Learning – Literature Review
Interview with Cody McKibben on the Digital Nomad Academy
Over the past decade or so, the Internet has become a huge source of information and education, especially for those who might be short on time, money or other resources.
And it’s not just crowdsourced data collections like Wikipedia or single-topic blogs that encourage individual learning; huge corporations and nonprofits are making online education and virtual classrooms a very formal affair these days.
From the first online classes (which were conducted by the University of Phoenix in 1989) to the present day, when online education is a $34 billion industry, more and more students are finding new life and career education opportunities online.
Check out this infographic from OnlineEducation.net about how the world of online learning has changed and grown over the years.
Click image to see larger version.
[source: Online Education]