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A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web. The model was developed by Bernie Dodge at San Diego State University in February, 1995 with early input from SDSU/Pacific Bell Fellow Tom March, the Educational Technology staff at San Diego Unified School District, and waves of participants each summer at the Teach the Teachers Consortium.
Since those beginning days, tens of thousands of teachers have embraced WebQuests as a way to make good use of the internet while engaging their students in the kinds of thinking that the 21st century requires. The model has spread around the world, with special enthusiasm in Brazil, Spain, China, Australia and Holland.
The WebQuest model has been around since 1995 when I developed it for use in a course at San Diego State University. The goal then, and now, was to create lessons that make good use of the web, engage learners in applying higher level thinking to authentic problems, and use everyone’s time well. Since that beginning, one of the ongoing challenges has been to make it faster and easier for teachers to do all these things. QuestGarden is the end result of those 14 years of effort.
Integrated community experience of Web 2.0 tools
This is what asynchronous discussions may look like in the future.
Possible replacement for discussion board in online course. Students can share thoughts by voice, video, phone, or text. Can also draw on the screen.
This rubric is used to help Seattle Pacific University Residency Certification students learn how to write better blog posts (reflections) by using a rubric designed by David Wicks and students in his Summer 2009 ed tech class.
Web-based one-to-one video conferencing tool.
EtherPad is the only web-based word processor that allows people to work together in really real-time.
Communicate & collaborate in real time. What email would look like if it wasn’t invented 40 years ago.
This matrix compares the features of Adobe Connect Pro, Adobe Presenter, Jing, Camtasia Relay, and Audacity when used for capturing content for an online presentation.
Audacity® is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.
Adobe Presenter is a plug-in that is added to Microsoft PowerPoint that enables a user to easily record and add audio to a PowerPoint and publish that PowerPoint as a streaming presentation whose link can then be shared with others. There are two primary options for creating Adobe Presenter presentations.
With Adobe® Acrobat® Connect™ Pro software, you can create instant, collaborative meetings with just a web browser and the Adobe Flash® Player.
The most streamlined way for anyone and everyone at your organization to record live lectures, presentations, and meetings from a Mac or PC. Automatically publish for all to view. No technical decisions for presenters—all the heavy lifting is done at your central server.
What does a high quality online course look like? This site is designed to answer the question being asked: What does a high quality online course look like? It is our hope that instructors and instructional designers will use this site to learn more about the Rubric for Online Instruction, and be able to view examples of exemplary courses that instructors have done in implementing the different components of the rubric.
Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally recognized, faculty-centered, peer review process designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components. Colleges and universities across the country use the tools in developing, maintaining and reviewing their online courses and in training their faculty.
I’m co-teaching an educational technology course with Helen Barrett (@eportfolios). Instead of using Blackboard, we’re trying to use all open technologies for the course. We are using Google Sites for the content and Google Groups for class communication (no Google Wave invite yet).
So far, so good except for a few small snags such as what to do about a gradebook. I’ve agreed to find a solution for this. I would like a gradebook that allows students to check scores whenever they want. Students already have a number of applications they need to create logins for so I would like to avoid one more if possible.
I was hoping to be able to use Google Docs Spreadsheet alone for the gradebook for this course. My goal was to make it possible to have one spreadsheet where all scores were entered by the instructors, and students could only see their individual scores. However, it doesn’t look like there is a way to give students access to part of a sheet or even one sheet in a Google Docs Spreadsheet. I could create a spreadsheet for each student but this would require too many clicks when entering scores.
I did some research on the use of a mail merge command in Google Docs. It looks like I would need access to scripts that aren’t available to all users so this idea is out for now. Therefore, I am planning to use the following plan (which breaks our goal of trying to use only open software in this course) unless someone from my Personal Learning Network (you) can provide another way forward:
- Create a single Google Spreadsheet to enter student names, email addresses, and scores.
- Share this spreadsheet with my co-instructor, Helen Barrett.
- Enter scores as assignments are completed.
- Each week, export the spreadsheet as a Microsoft Excel document to a folder on my computer.
- Use Microsoft Word to create a MailMerge and send each student an update on their progress in the course.
- This is technology I am familiar with and know that it will work, possibly saving me time and stress.
- Students will get weekly feedback on their progress.
- Pushing grades to students (emailing) may encourage them to check in on the course as they probably check email more frequently than they access the course.
- This solution uses non-open technologies so university students who want to replicate this technique with their K-12 or adult ed students will need to have Microsoft Office. (All SPU students have Office 2007 or 2008 so maybe this isn’t a disadvantage.)
- Students won’t have real-time access to their grades. They will have to refer to my last email to check on their grades.
- I will have to remember to send out a grade update each week, which is unlikely so I will probably need a prompt from students or my co-instructor.
- Although I’m familiar with this process, it may seem complicated to teachers who want to replicate what I’m doing.
Do you have any suggestions for me? The idea solution would:
- Let students access grades whenever they want.
- Let them use existing login information so they don’t have to create an additional account
- Come at no cost to the students, a small annual fee for the instructor would be acceptable.
- Provide common gradebook features such as the ability to have easily enter data and sort, create reports, and make calculated columns.
Presentation by David Wicks and Cris Guenter at the 2009 MERLOT International Conference in San Jose
As blended and distance learning have grown in popularity so has the need for content or lecture capture solutions which allow professors to record and upload direct instructional activities. During these challenging economic times institutions must give special consideration to cost and scalability when selecting a solution.
In this session, participants will examine the Content Capture Comparison Matrix which provides a list of features necessary for scalable content capture. The session will conclude with discussion about implementation strategies such as how to integrate the system with an institutions Course Management System.
Six Lessons One Campus Learned About E-Textbooks
Is it time to switch to ebooks? Not quite yet, according to Chronicle writer Jeffrey R. Young after he visited with Northwest Missouri State University faculty and students about their venture into the world of e-textbooks. NWMSU has been a leader in student communication technologies since the days of OTPDR (That’s one-terminal-per-dorm-room for those of you who have trouble remembering the great acronyms of the past).
Young shares six lessons he learned about the current state of ebooks in the classroom. Here are my thoughts on each of his points.
- Judge ebooks by their covers – All ebooks reading software is not created equal. Sony’s ebook reader is different than Amazon’s Kindle. There are lots of ebook reader options for laptops. Publishers have even created proprietary readers that work within an LMS (Blackboard, Moodle, etc.) The point here is that with this many options, you will need to do your research, and try before buying where possible.
- Learning curves ahead – Students have had years of practice learning how to learn from paper-based textbooks. Institutions should offer training as part of any e-textbook initiative.
- Professors are eager students – This may be puzzling to some but I’ve always been able to find professors eager to experiment with a new technology IF (and this is an important “if”) they can envision how it might be meaningful to teaching/learning.
- Dead batteries – Hopefully this problem that will go away as better battery technologies are developed. For now, we need to make sure that there enough power outlets in classrooms and learning centers (and hopefully not just on the back wall.)
- Subjects are not equally e-friendly – Some disciplines may be better suited to e-textbooks than others. I’m not sure that I agree with this statement, especially if we leave out Amazon and Sony, and just talk about the use of a laptop or iPhone (both support color) as the ebook reading device. Both would allow students to zoom in and query images for more information. Think about the possibilities with a subject like Geography. Maps within a paper textbook are static while ebook maps can be dynamic, allowing students to ask how borders or populations have changed over time. The result may be customized maps that help students understand current political issues.
- Environmental impact matters – Saving trees is an important consideration but a move to e-textbooks could ultimately reduce the cost (and amount of fuel used) to provide textbooks to students in developing countries. Textbooks are already expensive. Add the cost of shipping overseas and the price may double. Instead, these students could be outfitted with multi-use resources (laptop or smartphone) to access up-to-date content. Easy access to electricity is a major issue but one that can be eased with longer battery life.
While I don’t believe it is time to make wholesale changes to e-textbooks, it is time to begin experimenting with ebooks in individual courses and programs. What do you think?
(delicious tags: Education technology textbook academic college kindle ebooks)
Please read the linked article above and then let me know what you see as the advantages and disadvantages of using a blog (WordPress) instead of a learning management system (Blackboard)?
I’ll tell you what I think. First here’s my disclosure statement. I’m a huge fan of WordPress and I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Blackboard during my ten years as a user. (Has it really been that long?) That being said, I don’t see why an institution would choose to use an application designed for reflections (WP) when an application designed to manage courses (Bb) fails. It would make more sense to investigate why Bb is failing or evaluate another LMS like Moodle.
I like the commenting feature in WordPress but it isn’t a threaded discussion board. I like the ability to review blog stats in WordPress but it isn’t a gradebook. I can see how some professors could teach their courses using a blog but it won’t meet the needs of the many.
There are non-LMS alternatives to Blackboard (such as Drupal) but I don’t see WordPress as being one of them. Now if we want to talk about using WordPress as an alternative to an ePortfolio management system I am ready to talk. For now, I’m sticking with Blackboard as my LMS.
I’ll be attending the MERLOT International Conference in San Jose, August 13-16, 2009. I’m giving a presentation on Lecture Capture technology. MERLOT always puts on great conferences. If you are interested in eLearning I would encourage you to attend. Here’s a message from the MERLOT project director with more information about the conference.
Dear MERLOT International Conference Presenter,
As MERLOT Project Director for the CSU system and corporate coordinator for the conference, I want to thank you for your participation in the 9th annual MERLOT International Conference, August 13-16 in San Jose. Rarely do we have the opportunity to attend an international conference focused on pedagogy, teaching and learning innovations, effective application of academic technology within the beautiful state of California.
As my friend and colleague Dr. Cris Guenter, Professor of Education at CSU-Chico and Editor of the MERLOT Teacher Education Editorial Board, reminded me recently, “The MERLOT International Conference provides a chance for me to share and exchange recent technology trends, teaching issues, and simmering ideas with friends and colleagues from around the world. The inclusive atmosphere, the range of perspectives and the variety of approaches to how MERLOT is used by instructors helps me keep my face-to-face, blended, and online courses current and engaging.”
Given your appreciation of the value of the MERLOT International Conference, I hope you will make a concerted effort to spread the word on your campus about this wonderful professional development opportunity. To help you spread the word please send to your colleagues and friends the attached MERLOT International Conference flyer or refer them to the conference website http://conference.merlot.org/2009/
I know budgets are tight for us all and yet as people committed to teaching and learning we still must find effective ways to innovate, collaborate and develop new skills and insights to meet our students effectively.
As always, on behalf of the MERLOT, thank you for all you do to make MERLOT an effective resource. Your efforts are appreciated. I’m looking forward to seeing you in San Jose, CA this summer for the 9th annual MERLOT International Conference.
MERLOT Project Director, CSU
MIC 2009 Corporate Coordinator