Symposium: Educational Innovations in Countries around the World

November 7, 2014 Leave a comment

spu

Seattle Pacific University, the School of Education and the Center for Global Curriculum Studies will host a three-day Symposium: Educational Innovations in Countries around the World, our 6th biennial edition of this conference held on the campus of SPU. The dates of the symposium are June 30-July 2, 2015. We expect participants from at least a dozen countries as well as from around the USA. The theme, as the title suggests, is on innovative educational methods, programs, curriculums, technologies, and assessment procedures. Educational innovations at any and all levels, including primary, secondary, and higher education as well as from agencies beyond the schools are included on the agenda. Proposals should be 500 words or less in length, and must be submitted no later than January 31, 2015. Topics can be addressed in the form of research findings, critical synthesis/analysis, or creative ideas, etc. We have made arrangements with the editors and publishers of the refereed journal, International Dialogues on Education: Past and Present, to publish conference papers in a thematic edition featuring the topic of educational innovations. Papers selected for inclusion will be published in both online and paper formats.

As has been the case in past symposiums, the two purposes of our gathering are 1) to share academic knowledge and insights and 2) to create a global community of scholars. To these ends full participation as presenter and “community” member are required. This means a commitment to the gathering for the full three days.

If you have questions or wish to know more about this opportunity, please contact Professor Arthur Ellis.

High vs. Low Collaboration Courses: Impact on Learning Presence, Community of Inquiry, and Social Networking

November 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Researchers demonstrated a relationship between learning presence and social engagement; however, research in this area is limited. For example, no distinctions are made as to what role faculty, students, or technology might play in facilitating social engagement. In general, researchers revealed that students’ ability to self-regulate leads to more focused attention, time on-task, and in turn, these skills could lead to better learning. Given the need for more theoretical work in the area, as well as the potential practical benefits from the use of these pedagogical strategies, we sought to compare the difference between high versus low-collaboration groups on assignments, as well as courses in general. Differences in groups were measured using student grades, peer evaluation, pre and post test, and the community of inquiry framework. In addition, learning presence and social network analysis were used to assess a high-collaboration assignment.

In the current study, we explored how collaborative technologies, specifically Google Docs and Google Hangouts, may be used to impact the level of learning presence (forethought and planning, performance, and reflection) students demonstrate while participating in a small group project. Participants were graduate education students in two randomly assigned sections of the same online course. The course content focused on basic educational psychology for students seeking initial teaching certification. The experimental section utilized a high-collaboration project (e.g., small group, Google Hangouts and Docs) to enhance understanding of course content while the comparison, control section employed a low-collaboration project (e.g., partner activity, Word documents) to enhance understanding of course content. Participants completed the Community of Inquiry (CoI) Survey at the end of the term which measured their perceived level of teaching, social, and cognitive presence during the course. Quantitative content analysis was used to explore occurrences of learning presence in the high-collaboration group. *Finally, we employed social network analysis (SNA) as a method of inquiry to analyze student interaction data with the high-collaboration group. SNA is used to explain relationships depicted by information flow and its influence from participants’ interactions. Scholars have used SNA in the online learning context to understand individual and group dimensions of interactions.

*Social Network Analysis (SNA) will not be addressed in this presentation but will be included in the manuscript.

SPU Offers New Digital Learning Degree for Educators

September 5, 2014 Leave a comment

teacher student ipads planet

Blended learning. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Flipped Classrooms.
How are teachers keeping up with new trends in learning?

To help educators and those who support them become leaders in the ever-changing world of educational technology, Seattle Pacific University is now offering a graduate program in digital education leadership.

Students in the Digital Education Leadership MEd will learn about digital education research and best practices on topics such as blended learning, BYOD (bring your own device), and digital citizenship. Each term, students will partner with schools, universities, and other educational organizations to complete real-world projects. All courses are team-taught by university professors and expert practitioners who work full-time as K-12 and higher education professionals. The program will utilize open educational resources, so there are no textbook or software costs and students can apply what they learn at their own institutions.

“Teachers are expected to know how to use technology to teach,” says David Wicks, chair of the new program. “The Digital Education Leadership Program comes at a perfect time to help educators use technology to enhance teaching, learning, and professional productivity.”

The graduate level program is open to educators and support staff with an undergraduate degree who want to become digital education leaders at their institutions. Designed for working professionals, all courses in this program are online, with weekly real-time web conferences.

For more information about the program, visit the website or contact Ted Hiemstra, associate director of graduate admissions, at hiemstra@spu.edu or 206-378-5478.

How to organize your gradebook in Blackboard 9.1

These slides are from a workshop that I have facilitated numerous times. The workshop is popular because Blackboard’s Grade Center options can be overwhelming for faculty as they attempt to set up a gradebook for the first time. The options can be confusing, especially when dealing with questions about the use of categories, weighting, and extra credit.

This workshop provides a strategy instructors can follow to set up their gradebook so that it aligns with their assessment strategy. One missing feature in Blackboard’s Grade Center is the ability to “fill down” when all or most students receive the same grade for an activity.  I include three bonus slides at the end of the workshop that explain how to overcome this issue by exporting the grades from Blackboard, “filling down” in Excel, and then importing the updated gradebook back into Blackboard.

I would love to learn your tips for helping faculty become more proficient in their use of Blackboard’s Grade Center.  Also, if you use another LMS, how does your LMS deal with issues such as “filling down”, weighting, and extra credit?

How to submit a WordPress blog post in Canvas

April 22, 2014 Leave a comment

In my Computer Authoring course, I ask students to share Clear and Unclear blog posts each week, reflecting on what they learn and do not understand in the module. I use Canvas’ group feature to have them share the URL for their blog post with blog buddies.  I ask them to give their blog buddies feedback on each new post.  Students do this by creating announcements in their Canvas group area.  They can even get fancy and add their blogs as external feeds so that new posts automatically appear as group announcements when new reflections are posted.

I also ask students to share the URL for their blog post with me through a Canvas assignment web link.  This allows me to know when new posts are ready for assessment.  I then use Canvas’ SpeedGrader tool to quickly move from assignment to assignment, which saves me precious time when grading. This pays off for students because the less time I spend hunting for their blog posts, the more time I can spend giving feedback and getting their graded work to them in a timely manner.

I created this short video to explain how students should submit their blog posts and what I see when it is submitted correctly.

Lessons Learned From a Faculty Learning Community on Blended Learning

April 16, 2014 1 comment

A faculty learning community (FLC) comprised of six professors representing different disciplines was formed in 2011 to study, develop, and teach blended learning courses. As part of this project, we sought to evaluate the efficacy of blended learning on faculty (efficiency, satisfaction) using interview questions designed by Garrison and Vaughan (2011) and students (access, learning effectiveness, satisfaction) through survey responses including the Community of Inquiry (CoI) survey (Swan, et al., 2008).

This study found evidence that student perceptions of the CoI may be useful in predicting differences in students’ blended learning experiences. The study also found that perceived differences in blended learning experiences varied by discipline. This difference may be a result of differences between students, such as their age, or differences between instructors. A second research outcome was that FLCs are a useful form of professional development when correctly implemented. For example, faculty benefit from participation in an FLC when they receive helpful advice on promising practices and encouragement when experiencing instructional or technical challenges. On the other hand, FLCs are less effective when there is a lack of dialogue between meetings or when a facilitator does not provide adequate preparation for face-to-face meetings.

During our presentation we will share both faculty and student findings from our study. We will engage our audience by asking them to share promising practices for blended learning classrooms and professional development for blended learning instructors.

Cox, M. D. (2004). Introduction to Faculty Learning Communities. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 5–23.

Garrison, D. R., & Vaughan, N. D. (2011). Blended Learning in Higher Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Swan, K., Richardson, J. C., Ice, P., Garrison, D. R., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Arbaugh, J. B. (2008). Validating a measurement tool of presence in online communities of inquiry. e-Mentor, 24(2), 1-12.

Blogging to improve student achievement

March 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Workshop at the 2014 NCCE Conference in Seattle

Blogging portfolios or bPortfolios will be introduced, including how they can be used to improve student achievement. Participants will learn how to: implement bPortfolios, assess student reflections, scaffold students in reflective writing, particularly with regards to Common Core Standards, and implement learning analytics based on bPortfolio and student achievement data.

Wicks, D., Lumpe, A., Chen, D., Sallee, J. (2014, March). Blogging to improve student achievement. Workshop presented at the Northwest Council for Computer Education, Seattle, WA.

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