Master’s Degree: Leadership in Open Education

logo of University of Nova GoricaThis just in from my contacts from the UNESCO program, Open Education for a Better World:

University of Nova Gorica and the UNESCO chair on Open Technologies for Open Educational Resources and Open Learning have launched an international Master’s Degree Program Leadership in Open Education and are inviting candidates to join the second generation of students, starting their study in October 2021. The program supports implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation on OER by providing excellent capacity building opportunities in this field. Students will be guided by an international team of experts towards understanding connections between strategic, pedagogical, technological, business and social aspects of Open Education. Graduates will master development and implementation of Open Education from the level of courses and study programs to institutional, national and transnational levels. They will be able to competently lead projects, initiatives, communities and strategic development in the field of Open Education in academic or non-academic environment. Study will be carried out prevailingly or completely on-line, depending on circumstances. Candidates are invited to apply. They can also send a message to info.ptf@ung.si to get information about options for financial support or to make an appointment for individual consultations. The call for admissions is open and ends on 1 July, 2021.

More information:

I think that it is great that this program exists. More and more colleges and institutions are turning toward OER, open textbooks, and open practices in general. We will need this expertise as institutions make the culture shift to open. Spread the word. If you have participated in similar programs or know of others, feel free to add them in the comments below.

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OER:  Matrix Algebra with Computational Applications 

This just in from Regina Gong via the Internets. I am particularly interested in interactive, openly-licensed math textbooks and materials:
Cover of Matrix Algebra with Computational Applications

Hello Everyone,

I hope you all are having a great almost weekend.

I’m here to announce yet another excellent OER from our MSU Libraries OER Program. It is called Matrix Algebra with Computational Applications by Dr. Dirk Colbry.

All of the OER materials that Dirk has created are provided as Jupyter notebooks, which are open-source tools that integrate multiple resources (websites, word processors, LaTeX, math, and programming) into a digital notebook. The OER were developed specifically for students and instructors working in a flipped classroom model. This means that hands-on problem-solving activities are done during class meetings, with students watching lectures and completing readings and assignments outside of the class. You will find a link to Dirk’s website as a button in the Pressbooks page. And like what Dirk mentioned in his website, if you are an educator and want to adopt his OER along with other instructor resources, please feel free contact him at colbrydi@msu.edu.

This brings our total OER publications to ten so far and I couldn’t be more elated. You all know that we are working on many more to contribute to the open education community so please watch out. 

Thanks everyone and I hope you share widely with your colleagues.

Regina Gong

This ticks off the boxes for a lot of things I am interested in: Pressbooks, Jupyter Notebooks, and teaching math. If you know of similar projects or materials, feel free to contact me or comment below. Thanks!

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Pressbooks and H5P from BC Campus

BC Campus logoThese are some rough notes from a BC Campus workshop I attended. These workships via BC Campus are an incredibly useful resource for faculty, curriculum designers, instructional designers and anyone interested in teaching, learning and technology. The utility of my notes are in the links. The “accuracy” of the notes merely reflect my interests.

Today, Thursday, April 29 at 9:00 am, I attended a webinar from the BC Campus on Pressbooks and H5P for creating interactive textbooks. I am interested in how they are doing that AND how they are supporting it institutionally. This presentation was facilitated by Alan Levine and featured Steel Wagstaff, Educational Product Manager for Pressbooks who shared much about the features and capabilities of Pressbooks, how H5P integrates with it, examples worth looking at, and provided some insights into future directions for the platform.

I have linked below some of the interesting links and examples provided.

Steel Wagstaff is coming from Wisconsin where they were working on open homework systems to remove the financial barriers created by commercial textbook publishers..

Wisconsin is using H5P because it is open and works well with Pressbooks. With H5P, they are able to put in interactive components into open textbooks that are hosted in Pressbooks.

Here are some of the things that they were looking for:

  • Accessibility
  • Open Source
  • Interoperable
  • Supports Annotations
  • Interactivity in an activity pane,
  • Connects to the Moodle gradebook.

Wagstaff gave examples of tools that were home grown and found problems with programmers moving on or retiring.

They have a Porteguese language book with embedded recordings and activities.
This was an early project in Pressbooks and H5P in Wisconsin. This book saw improvements in student learning. They were able to bring interactive textbooks to subjects that were not even covered by commercial textbooks like Tibetan.

Hypothesis and H5P will eventually speak to one another.
https://github.com/hypothesis/client/issues/509

Needed:
Pressbooks network with H5P installed.

There was a review of H5P and the different categories or kinds of activities that are available:

  • Simple quizzes
  • Image related activities
    • including virtual tours using annotated 360 degree pictures
  • Interactive videos
    • video can be stored anywhere
    • YouTube,
    • Vimeo,
    • home server, etc.
  • Complex learning activities
    • course presentation,
    • interactive book,
    • and branching scenario)

The branching activities that are basically a rival to Captivate or Storyline.

Arley Curruthers Corona Virus Journal

You can make new activities or adapt from a library of already created content.

There are great resources about what is happening now in h5p at: https://kitchen.opened.ca/2021/03/29/feedback-not-created-same/

Metadata fields are critical because they let you know what the re-use rights are and what learning objectives are addressed by the learning object.

OER Activity Sourcebook
https://wisc.pb.unizin.org/oersourcebook/

We looked at the pressbooks.directory to find books that were openly licensed with H5P activities. https://pressbooks.directory/

Users can be able to easily list and find the different activities in a book. https://wisc.pb.unizin.org/oersourcebook/h5p-listing/

I am particularly interested in this work because one of the big arguments for commercial textbook publishers and homework platforms, is that textbooks need more interactivity (therefore we should contract with them). H5P is a way to easily include that interactivity.

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New Book – Teaching Machines: The History of Personalized Learning

Smiling girl using a teaching machine.Audrey Watters has written a new book about the history of education technology: Teaching Machines: The History of Personalized Learning. When I get a hold of a copy, I will write something up here and link to other reviews. A publication notice is warranted here. I think the topic is particularly important right now given the situation we are all in: the big rush to quick and easy solutions to online education during the pandemic. It is important that we keep a critical conversation about technology even during times when we need education solutions and corporate interests are there to exploit those needs.

Summary from MIT Press:

How ed tech was born: Twentieth-century teaching machines—from Sidney Pressey’s mechanized test-giver to B. F. Skinner’s behaviorist bell-ringing box.

Contrary to popular belief, ed tech did not begin with videos on the internet. The idea of technology that would allow students to “go at their own pace” did not originate in Silicon Valley. In Teaching Machines, education writer Audrey Watters offers a lively history of predigital educational technology, from Sidney Pressey’s mechanized positive-reinforcement provider to B. F. Skinner’s behaviorist bell-ringing box. Watters shows that these machines and the pedagogy that accompanied them sprang from ideas—bite-sized content, individualized instruction—that had legs and were later picked up by textbook publishers and early advocates for computerized learning.

Watters pays particular attention to the role of the media—newspapers, magazines, television, and film—in shaping people’s perceptions of teaching machines as well as the psychological theories underpinning them. She considers these machines in the context of education reform, the political reverberations of Sputnik, and the rise of the testing and textbook industries. She chronicles Skinner’s attempts to bring his teaching machines to market, culminating in the famous behaviorist’s efforts to launch Didak 101, the “pre-verbal” machine that taught spelling. (Alternate names proposed by Skinner include “Autodidak,” “Instructomat,” and “Autostructor.”) Telling these somewhat cautionary tales, Watters challenges what she calls “the teleology of ed tech”—the idea that not only is computerized education inevitable, technological progress is the sole driver of events.

If there are other titles or articles that you think should be considered with this, email me or comment below. Stay tuned…

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Exploring the OSCQR Course Design Rubric

In my work as an education consultant and instructional designer, I often collaborate with faculty and departments with course design rubrics. Previously in this blog I did a series of posts reviewing course design rubrics. My work has shown that rubrics are only useful to an institution if they address the particular challenges and culture of that particular institution. This makes open licensing on course evaluation rubrics critical. We need to be able to edit, adapt, and revise to address the needs of the specific population.

The OSCQR rubric has been around for a few years now, but the real news for myself is how they are implementing it. There are a number of rubrics have come out over the years, and I have reviewed or featured many of them in this blog. The exciting thing about this rubric is the system-wide effort to support it with an active community of educators and staff, funding for professional development, and basically a state-wide plan. Their site describes the rubric as “customizable” and “flexible.” This is critical for effective course review (or course design) rubrics. As I said before, they need to be adaptable to address the needs of the specific community of faculty and students. Each campus has its unique population, culture, and needs: adopting or implementing a rubric is a way to get people together to talk about solving specific issues. There is no one rubric to rule them all.

I attended a webinar from SUNY on the OSCQR rubric, the recording is linked below. The presenters were Alexandra Pickett, the Director of Open SUNY Online Teaching, and Erin Maney, the manager of Communications and Community Engagement.

The rubric covers six areas that are broken up into 50 separate standards:

  1. Course over-view and information
  2. Course technology and tools
  3. Design and layout
  4. Content and activities
  5. Interaction
  6. Assessment and feedback

Each one of the six areas can be examined in detail on the website:
Example menu from OSCQR site

When the user clicks on the standard, it leads to a page that has a description of the standard, a video, tips for implementing the standard, and, importantly, links to the research behind the standard. Each page has a separate section that read:

  • Review these explanations (which includes a video)
  • References to the research
  • Refresh your course with these ideas (how to implement the criteria)
  • Explore related resources
  • Share what you know (an opportunity to comment in a discussion or share examples from your course

This is far from the idea of a rubric as a generic checklist.

There are a number of trainings available for faculty on how to use the rubric and engage in the community built around the rubric. Each training also has a digital badge associated with it:

OSCQR badge examplesWhat problems does this rubric solve?
It is essential that a rubric for course design is tied to the community that is going to use it. That takes patience and work. If people do not do the work then you have nothing but a set of standards delivered from the top down that no one is going to use, or worse, just tick off some training boxes and then move on to what they were doing before. The OSCQR website basically provides a pattern for doing this right.

I also like that the rubric is flexible, customizable, backed by research, and includes accessibility criteria.

It is a rubric that addresses data privacy concerns. Student privacy and control over data is a big issue right now and this rubric is a starting point, but it could go deeper into the issue.

How could this grow?
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
This is one of the best rubrics out there for course design I have seen. The only thing missing is the diversity, equity, and inclusion piece. There are a lot of great DEI rubrics for evaluating course materials and classes out there: it would be great to see that here. In the webinar I attended one of the presenters said that it used to be included, but it disappeared at one point. Now would be a great time bring that back!

Research
As with all of these rubrics, I would love to see studies that look at the effect of revised courses on student success and retention.

At the end of the day…
I would strongly recommend anyone interested in course design rubrics to look at the OSCQR program closely as an example of how to expertly integrate campus community, professional development, and course design quality. The meetings I attended and the materials I read all reflect a deep connection to the colleges, respect for teaching and learning, and collegiality: all essential components of a successful implementation of course design rubrics.

Additional resources
Again, what this rubric does is provide a discussion point in a greater community. That is evidenced by all of the support materials around it such as:

  1. Resources from OSCQR page
  2. Latest OSCQR webinar
  3. OSCQR User group

Postscript: Towards a Meta-Rubric of Rubrics
Much like the rubrics used to evaluate software – I have been thinking about a meta-rubric for reviewing online course assessment rubrics. My example includes criteria that are common in the education technology world: ease of use, cost, and validity of scoring. And then I have included criteria that would be useful for a few of the community colleges that I have worked for, as well as some of my own values: openness and creating community. My example rubric is meant to start a conversation about what is important for your institution.

This is my “meta-rubric” example. Please feel free to copy, share, or comment below.

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Designing for Open: Strategies and Processes

Open Education Conference • Nov.9-13, 2020 • Virtual

Presentation Description

In this session, participants will learn about the different roles that instructional designers, faculty course developers, and other education professionals can play in the advocacy and promotion of OER and open education practices. Example course development templates that utilize OER will be reviewed. This session will also provide a definition of open education practices, what the advantages of these practices might be, and review strategies for including open education processes into the curriculum. Resources and lesson plans that utilize OEP will be shared and discussed. There will be an opportunity for participants to share their own work and practice as well as time for questions. 

Outcomes

Participants in this session will be able to:

  • Identify the different roles that instructional designers and faculty course developers can play in the advocacy for OER and open practices,
  • Understand how to connect OER to the learning design process using course design templates,
  • Identify open strategies that can be applied to course development that promote student engagement and ownership of their learning.

Structure and Format

The presentation is in three parts:

  1. A discussion of the role that instructional design, course developers, and edu professionals such as librarians play in the promotion and advocacy of OER. 
  2. An exploration of practical applications of OER to the course design process. 
  3. A broader discussion of open education practices and how to create OEP assignments that leverage OER. 

Each section will include time for IDs and faculty to share their own practices. Each section will have links to relevant tools and resources. The session will end with Q&A.

Relevancy

This session goes beyond advocacy and how to find OER (both of which are important) and looks at how to apply OER and open education practices. We need to create a culture of open practices in education to foster student agency and engagement. This can only come from the education community – OEP asks us to let go of the old paradigm which sees education as a product and teaching and learning to be a transaction. 

Diversity Comments

Designing courses for OER and open education practices means that we are creating learning experiences where students are asked not to produce a product, but to engage in a collaborative process of knowledge creation. This vision of education relies on the diversity of voices and experiences that the students bring to the learning experience rather than expecting them to adapt to the traditional paradigm represented by traditional education. The instructional design process must rely on the affordances of OER and OEP to naturally include learning experiences that draw on diversity and inclusion in order to be successful. 

References

Collier, Amy. (2020) Inclusive Design and Design Justice: Strategies to Shape Our Classes and Communities. Retrieved from: https://er.educause.edu/articles/2020/10/inclusive-design-and-design-justice-strategies-to-shape-our-classes-and-communities 

DeRosa, Robin and Jhangiani, Rajiv. (n.d.) Open Pedagogy. Open Pedagogy Notebook. Retrieved from: http://openpedagogy.org/open-pedagogy/ 

DeRosa, Robin and Robinson, Scott. (2017) From OER to Open Pedagogy: Harnessing the Power of Open. Retrieved from:  https://www.ubiquitypress.com/site/chapters/e/10.5334/bbc.i/

Downes, Stephen (2007) “What Connectivism Is.” Retrieved from: http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2007/02/what-connectivism-is.html

Evaluate and Align OER. (n.d.) Collection. OER Commons. Retrieved from: https://www.oercommons.org/curated-collections/617 

Gráinne, Conole. (2020) Learning Design and Open Education. International Journal of Open Educational Resources. Retrieved from: https://www.ijoer.org/learning-design-and-open-education_doi-10-18278-ijoer-1-1-6/ 

Hendricks, Christina, (2017) Open Pedagogy: Examples of class activities. Retrieved from: http://blogs.ubc.ca/chendricks/2017/10/08/open-pedagogy-examples/ 

Jhangiani, Rajiv. (2019) 5Rs for Open Pedagogy. Retrieved from: https://thatpsychprof.com/5rs-for-open-pedagogy/ 

Major, Aimelle. (2020) How to Develop Culturally Responsive Teaching for Distance Learning. KQED. Retrieved from: https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/55941/how-to-develop-culturally-responsive-teaching-for-distance-learning 

Morris, Sean. (2017) Subjectivity, Rubrics, and Critical Pedagogy. Middlebury Digital Learning. Last retrieved from: http://digitallearning.middcreate.net/critical-digital-pedagogy/subjectivity-rubrics-and-critical-pedagogy/ 

Paskevicius, Michael and Irvine, Valerie. (2019) Open Education and Learning Design: Open Pedagogy in Praxis. Retrieved from:  https://jime.open.ac.uk/article/10.5334/jime.512/ 

Quality Standards for Open Educational Resources. (2020). Affordable Learning Georgia. Retrieved from: https://www.affordablelearninggeorgia.org/find_textbooks/selecting_textbooks 

Siemens, George (2006) Knowing Knowledge. Retrieved from: https://ia801300.us.archive.org/7/items/KnowingKnowledge/KnowingKnowledge.pdf 

Sinkinson, Caroline. (2018) The Values of Open Pedagogy. Retrieved from: https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2018/11/the-values-of-open-pedagogy

Zhadko, O. & Ko, S. (2019). Evaluation and Selection Criteria for OER. Retrieved from: https://oerworkshop.commons.gc.cuny.edu/wp-content/blogs.dir/3451/files/2019/09/OER-Evaluation-and-Selection-Criteria.pdf 

 Tools

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Checklist for an Inclusive Classroom Community: https://web.archive.org/web/20170809005258/http://www.curriculum.org/LNS/thinking/files/ChecklistInclusiveClassroom.pdf 

Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard
https://research.steinhardt.nyu.edu/scmsAdmin/media/users/atn293/ejroc/CRE-Rubric-2018-190211.pdf 

Peralta Community College Equity Rubric
https://web.peralta.edu/de/files/2018/09/Peralta-Equity-Rubric-V4-Sept-2018.pdf 

Inclusion by Design: Survey Your Syllabus and Course Design – A Worksheet
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0ulz5eHbyjYdmY0eF9ablRRcHM/view 

Course Design

WA State Board for Community & Technical College’s Course Design Checklist
https://assessmentlearningteaching.wordpress.com/2018/09/21/have-you-heard-about-the-wa-course-design-checklist/ 

OER Adoption

Achieve Rubric for OER
https://www.achieve.org/files/AchieveOERRubrics.pdf 

OER Starter Kit by Abbey Elder
https://iastate.pressbooks.pub/oerstarterkit/ 

Pedagogy

Concept Map of All Learning Theories
http://cmapspublic3.ihmc.us/rid=1LGVGJY66-CCD5CZ-12G3/Learning%20Theory.cmap 

Accessibility

Universal Design for Learning Guidelines
http://udlguidelines.cast.org/ 

There are more tools in readings in the References section above. 

 

Link to video of presentation.

These notes are also available as a Google Doc.

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Is Stock Photography Right for You?

Thoughtful caucasian with laptop.

I was on Twitter recently, and I posted something that needs a broader explanation. James Glapa-Grossklag (an OER superhero) posted a link to an interesting article from Science News “College biology textbooks still portray a world of white scientists. Recent shifts to include more women and people of color still lag behind students’ diversity. College biology students are getting more diverse. That diversity isn’t mirrored in the textbooks they study from.” Only somewhat ironically, the article used stock photography to illustrate the article. That is what magazines often do, but there are pictures of actual working scientists of color out there. I responded with: Friends don’t let friends use stock photos. Same with college websites! Digital tokenism is no replacement for supporting photographers or the marketing dept. to actually record students & faculty at work on campuses. If they need stock photos, they need to increase diversity. Now this is all great “woke” of me, but how I got here took a little growth.

Happy ambiguously brown person

This is an old favorite from the California Community College system.

Back in 2010 or so when I was working at College of the Redwoods, I was always in a hurry to put presentations and teaching materials together. My big short-cut was using stock photography. I didn’t even think about it. In fact, much of the artwork from the California Community College system was stock photography. They used so much of it, I started recognizing images. I started using some of them myself. In my instructional design team was a great artist and photographer, Bosha Struve. She was looking at an image that I had in one of our lessons and seemed annoyed. When I asked here what was wrong, she said that these were not our students and that with a marketing team and a photographer on staff, I should just get a release form going and have real people. I said that we didn’t have time for that. Later, when I was reviewing the project, I asked her what was different about the photo. Something had changed. She said that she kept the people but she at least should be allowed to put them in our library! I felt stupid and humbled, but grateful that we had an artist on the team.

Other stories have come out about non-diverse institutions using people of color in their marketing to make up for the lack of diversity with the staff and students. Sabrina Abbas in SMU’s The Daily Campus pointed out an article where researchers reported that African-American students make up an average of 7.9 percent of students in the colleges studied, but 12.4 percent of those in marketing photos. When they looked at predominantly white schools, African-Americans made up about 5 percent of the student body, but were photographed at 14.5 percent. Another study points out that “the whiter the student body at a college, the more often images of minorities were featured in its publications.”

This is artistically lazy and highlights the actual lack of diversity in education. The real answer to this that we need to transform how we think and fund education in this country as well as how we hire. If you are wondering what kinds of obstacles we might be facing, go to any stock photography site and do a search for “college administrator.” Wear your sunglasses though because you are about to be blinded by the white.

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Teaching in a Pandemic: We Have Solved This Problem Before

The situation here is familiar: circumstances demand that we change how we deliver teaching and learning. We need to employ different teaching modalities, and we need to quickly prepare students for that. Notice I didn’t say “new” modalities. We are in a situation, and we will be here for a while, where we are bringing students and teachers online who have never been in an online class. The initial results are predictably bad: it takes skill, knowledge, and experience to teach online, as well as to learn online, and most of the population is not prepared. There are a number of “quick fixes” out there, but Zoom is not an online class or a replacement for one. Thinking that any one tool or even a combination of tools is a replacement for a classroom is the result of thinking of education purely in transactional terms. Real learning takes place in community, an engaged, connected community – a webinar does not replace this. So what do we do?

The Connectivist Classroom

The good news is that we have solved similar problems before. Back in 2008, I was approached by a Health Information Management instructor who had some problems to solve: the teachers were spending has much time teaching the technology of learning as they were their subjects; the students needed more technical skills; the students also needed to learn how to manage rapid changes in technology. This is similar to where we are now except most teachers and admins do not see the problem this way – they still see it as a “how do we deliver instruction” question rather than a change management problem. Additionally, we had the added problem that most of our community college students were already working in health care with erratic schedules. We did not want to exclude students because they have to work.

The Design

Together, we wrote a syllabus and course outline, Health Information Management 101. This course was a credit/no credit, two unit, student success course where we taught the students all of the technology they would need to be successful in the HIM program: their learning management system, web 2.0 tools, and Second Life (it was used on campus). The idea was to get all of the technology, formation of learning networks, and information access all in one class. This lets the teachers use the the technology to facilitate the course without having to teach the technology to the students. We hoped that this would be rolled out campus-wide one day, not just in the HIM department. The course design was based what we saw coming out of Connectivism, a new learning theory about how learning happens in networks, the book “The Starfish and the Spider” (a book about leaderless organizations), and the 23 Things project that introduced new technologies to librarians each week.  I later came to understand the”leaderless classroom” more fully in Open Pedagogy.

It is important to stress here: even though there is a lot of technology in this class, it is about people and the connections they make, not the tools.

A map of the connections between students and facilitators.

 

The idea was that we would design the course around connecting students with second year students, students who had graduated and were now in the field, and facilitators for the course. How were they all connected? The course introduced students to blogs, wikis, Twitter, and what was then called “Web 2.0” cloud-based applications that allowed for online communication, collaboration, and sharing.

A map of all the tools used in HIM 101

We did not use all of these tools: we introduced many of them and let the students self-select which tools and platforms they wanted to work with and they tended to congregate around their shared preferences. The list of the tools changed from quarter to quarter, and sometimes week-to-week.

The “Classroom”

Remember, like today, we had to deal with people teaching and learning from different sites based on family and work needs. We decided to use a physical lab, a virtual classroom, and an LMS. The physical lab had a computer with a camera and microphone that was connected to the virtual room. The virtual room was Elluminate (an ancestor of Zoom). There were speakers in the lab so those in the lab could hear questions and comments in the the virtual class. Students could log into the virtual classroom with a laptop, microphone, and camera or they could dial in on the phone. Sometimes the physical lab’s microphone was the lab’s telephone.

 

HIM Classroom setup

Students could:

  • Come to the physical classroom (the lab)
  • Dial in on a phone
  • Participate in the virtual class via Elluminate
  • Go through the learning management system (Angel), do assignments there and link to recordings of the virtual classroom

The class was very successful, and by that I mean that we succeeded in creating and supporting a community of learners and practitioners that extended far beyond the classroom. One of my favorite moments in the class, one that told me we had it set up just right was when I was with a few students in the physical lab. A student in the lab had a problem, I could not get to that student yet as I was helping another, and I said I would be right there. Then a disembodied voice from the virtual class called the student by name and said “I know how to figure that out” and she proceeded to talk the other student through the problem using the camera as her “eyes” and the speaker in the classroom as her voice.

So What About The Future?

How does this help us now? There are a lot of alternative models out there that can support teaching and learning that do not require instructors and students to endanger their health. Technology is not the answer at all, but it can facilitate the community needed to make authentic education possible. There was nothing really revolutionary about what we did at Tacoma Community College. There were already people doing courses like this. In fact, the early Connectivist MOOCs  with Siemens and Downes, and Cormier’s Rhizomtic Education: Community as Curriculum, right on up to the ideas around Open Pedagogy, all point to answers on how to teach and learn in a time of pandemic, or any crisis. We are actually in a multilayered crisis of health, social justice, and access to education. The fact that universities are so focused on tuition and football right now points to the failure of the traditional models. Classes with multimodal delivery, student-directed work, flexible schedules and geography are long over due.

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Turn-You-In: Stop Plagiarism Before It Happens

Students as hackers.

Do you REALLY know your students?

Do we really know who are students are? Especially online students? What kind of student takes an online class? Our research has shown that most students who cheat in online classes are the kind of student who also takes online classes. What do we do about rampant online cheating? There are services that detect plagiarism WHEN it happens, but wouldn’t it be better if we could protect the reputation of the institution BEFORE it happens? This is where Turn-You-In enters the stage.

What is Turn-You-In?

We at GBC Education Consulting are designing a system of three artificially intelligent systems that each analyze and cross-reference student data: past performance, grades, club memberships and social hygiene, demographics, biometrics, k- 12 permanent records, and retinal scans, and predict who will commit plagiarism, even before the student knows that they are about to do it.

It Sounds Complicated and Expensive

It is complicated: the biometrics monitoring system and retinal scanning that tracks student behavior throughout the school year generates amounts of data that most colleges are not prepared to manage, but in a couple of years, the system pays for itself. Make sure that you have a policy in place that says that students who are expelled for cheating will not get a refund in tuition. According to the International Center for Academic Integrity, 68% of undergraduates report that they have committed some form of plagiarism at one time or another. Imagine a system that will allow you to harvest tuition from expelled students AND raise the academic integrity of your institution! It is complicated: the three systems of pre-cognitively intelligent AI, the databases and server farms for managing student data are all located at a “secure” undisclosed, foreign location to prevent hackers from gaining access and to help manage any legal complications that you, as an administrator will not want to have to worry about.

What About Mistakes?

If 68% of the student population is already going to plagiarize any way, the odds of a “mistake” are few. Occasionally, in tests, one of the databases will rarely disagree with the others but these minority reports are are routinely discarded as glitches which can happen in any complex system.

This is your big chance to get in on the ground floor of the future of pre-cognitive surveillance education. Contact this blog about investing now!

Student caught plagiarsing

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Evolving Pedagogy from Crisis to Competency

This post came out of a brainstorming sketch I did while trying to think of ways to help us adapt our way through this crisis and emerge with stronger courses, programs, and institutions. This isn’t how institutions typically behave: typically they do everything they can to maintain the status quo even when it is no longer to their own or anyone else’s benefit (i.e. two party political systems). Survival of the institution can become more important than what the institution was meant to do in the first place. All of that is to say that even though I think we should change, it is often difficult to change in a way that benefits institutions for the long-term. But what could that look like?

Planning for managing online courses through a crisis means that, at the beginning, a lot of short cuts are taken. But as we make these shortcuts to address an emergency, we have an opportunity to plan an evolving elearning strategy that will allow us to develop courses and programs that are more flexible using existing models (i.e. hybrid courses, open pedagogy, etc.). The strategies and pedagogy implied in my chart are my own preferences. I am advocating here for a process not any particular solution: that will depend on the culture, resources, and vision of each institution.

What is a crisis can also be an opportunity for change that will help learning outcomes, costs, and access. For instance, if we use this as an opportunity to increase the use of OER and open source tools, we will be better able to meet the students needs without having to consider cost in the middle of a crisis. Commercial education tech businesses and corporate publishers rely on infrastructures that may not exist in a time of financial crisis. We should be building our own infrastructures as institutions or consortia. This is already happening elsewhere.

More importantly, we can’t rely on corporations who are willing to “help” by giving us temporary discounts or “free” temporary access. It is a gamble that the company will still be standing after a big shake-up in business and education. Even without a crisis, one of the problems with corporate ed tech is that the businesses get bought and sold easily and not always to the benefit of the consumers (i.e. Blackboard and Angel Learning). We should start working on long-term solutions while we manage short-term challenges.

Each stage of the recovery from the pandemic could allow us to do more. We have an opportunity to adapt our institutions into colleges and universities that are more flexible, responsive, and accessible (I include diversity, inclusion, equity as part of my definition of accessibility). My timeline below has everything neatly spaced out as if there are equal periods of time represented. Right now, we have no real idea when the crisis period will end or how long a recovery period we would need. Again, I put this together as a way to think about change.

We know that when a crisis ends, nothing really returns to normal, but we get to choose who we will be when the crisis wanes. A crisis only exacerbates already existing problems. In order for institutions to survive, they will have to learn to grow out of those problems.

I am interested in your ideas about how we can change as institutions to be more adaptable and accessible as we go through this crisis.

I made this in LucidChart. I have this as a pdf if you are interested, and the image below is a png.

Timeline of the connection to post Covid19 infection conditions and resultant possible pedagogy.

 

 

Posted in education | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments