This will be my last post to this blog as part of my administrative positions at William & Mary. At some point early in August, I’ll be ending more than 30 years as a college administrator and moving to a full-time faculty position in the Higher Education Program in the School of Education. Even after […]
Over the last few months, my energies have been focused on developing courses from a variety of perspectives, and the classes that I’m working with are core courses that are taught in every MBA or EdD program. The content and skills that we expect from students are widely understood, and there are lots of texts and other materials available that provide content and structure for “the material.” Many of us involved in “blending” these kinds of courses believe that they have huge potential for individualizing instruction and providing new paths to deeper, more involved learning.
While most of the media attention has focused on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and their impact on teaching, it seems to me that our current approach to research is likely to change even more dramatically — particularly the doctoral dissertation in education. The dissertation in the social sciences is a relatively predictable document that has been developed according to the expectations over the last 50 years or so. The chapters cover the same topics and follow the same logic, even though we no longer hand-calculate our statistical tests or tediously calculate the amount of space needed to accommodate our footnotes at the bottom of a typewriter page. But the dissertation still takes a year to produce, and the first couple of drafts are painful for the writer and for the advisor. What would happen if the dissertation could be written in one minute?
I’ve just finished grading all the reflection papers from my summer data-driven decision-making class, and I think it’s safe to say that the inline grading tool is my favorite new Blackboard feature for a long while. Here’s my take on this new tool — I think it will prove to be a great time saver (not to mention a paper saver) for anyone with lots of complex assignments that require extensive comments.
The MOOC will soon die. Long live the MOOR: (Via MOOCtalk) Since the beginning, I’ve felt that one of the biggest contributions of MOOC mania is a richer view into the ways that top teachers design and deliver their courses. Opening a course to feedback from students and suggestions from outside experts can help push […]
Now that we’ve had a year or so to process the information about MOOCs and their various cousins and offspring, it seems that faculty at all levels need to engage in sustained and serious conversations about e-learning and its impact on the future. Serious conversation requires all of us to work to avoid the most egregious discussion stoppers.
Earlier this spring, a collaboration of Swem Library, the School of Education, and IT Information Services received a grant from the College’s Creative Adaptation Fund (CAF) to develop resources to help faculty develop new knowledge and skills in e-learning. We define e-learning in the broadest possible way: any educational activity that uses “electronic” technology to enhance learning. This could include computer-based learning, all kinds of Web activities, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. We’re particularly interested in finding projects that blend online and face-to-face learning in new ways.
Recently Scott E. Page did a presentation at the University of Wisconsin Center for Educational Innovation where he reviewed his experience teaching his Model Thinking course twice through online course provider Coursera. The talk he gives is a very interesting insight into the process of creating a very successful MOOC (massive open online course), but ties the experience into the typical role of a professor. For him, the mission of the professor is to share important ideas as deeply and with as wide an audience as possible.
I never thought I’d see the day when I had to confess to becoming a classroom flipper. After generations of teaching courses that focus almost entirely on interaction among the students, I’m now trying to learn how to create screencasts of my “lectures” so that students can “cover the material” before they come to the class session. The course I’ll be teaching this spring is an undergraduate course in the Mason School of Business on “using computers to make business decisions.” I taught the class last spring as an experiment, and if there ever was a course that begged to be put online, this is the one.