ELI 2011 Wrap-Up

ELI 2011

ELI 2011

Back home in Richmond, VA tonight, but my brain is still buzzing from the excellent sessions and networking at ELI 2011.  My post on the first day of ELI 2011 is here.

David Wiley kicked off the second day with a keynote address on Open Educational Resources and Learning Analytics.  Wiley noted that “open” carried many connotations, so he defined it as free teaching materials with the permissions already given for re-use or re-mixing.  He discussed the “Four R’s” of education – Reuse, Redistribute, Revise and Remix.  To illustrate, he went into advanced search in Google and looked for items with Creative Commons licensing, and found over 350 million items.  He compared this to our out-dated legal system that allows us to be stingy on a scale never seen before.  There were chuckles as he compared academics who do not want to share with your basic 2-year-old yelling MINE, MINE, MINE.  From David’s perspective, openness is the ONLY way to do education.

If one shifts the higher education model away from “you must come to us for the learning” and instead acknowledge that the content is already out there, then new business models are possible.  David mentioned Western Governors University and the new University of the People, where students sign up and pay for assesments, but self-organize their own learning groups.  This would not work for all disciplines, but I could see some real advantages to programs where demonstrated performance is part of the assessment.

The real “ah-ha” moment for me was when David began discussing learning analytics.  We are all used to analytics.  If we buy a book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble online, we always see recommendations for other purchases…based on tracking tons of data of previous purchases.  In a similar manner, David demonstrated how he could look at data for a class and track online activity versus time and GPA ranking.  The resulting waterfall of dots was darker for students with higher GPAs (i.e., more time on task online) and lighter for lower GPAs.  Getting to that type of data is difficult for most faculty, but as the latest Horizon Report noted yesterday, learning analytics are on the horizon.  Increased use of learning analytics will allow for the customization of learning for each student…something I find pretty cool!  For David, the combination of open education resources and learning analytics can lead to processes that allow continuous improvement in teaching and learning.

ELI used IdeaScale to gather and rank questions for David.  This was an interesting use of crowdsourcing to set up the Q&A portion of his talk.  One person asked if computers were replacing teachers.  David said YES – replacing them as broadcast machines and allowing them to concentrate on the human side of teaching.

The next session I attended was with Cole Camplese and Barton Pursel of Penn State on Exposing Emerging Pedagogies: Can Web 2.0 Tools Influence Teaching and Learning? In another example of learning analytics, they looked at usage patterns of wikis and blogs at their university by schools and departments.  They noted that their students have expectations not being met by the university.  Students expect a Facebook-like level of interactivity and get Blackboard instead…which is by just about any measure pretty unengaging.  The Penn State dorms have cable TV but the data shows that it gets little use.  Instead, students watch their “TV” on their computers when they want to watch it (not when it is “on”).

The data showed them that schools tended to adopt single platforms and not the range of Web 2.0 tools.  Information tech students like wikis, but science majors like blogs.  They could also see gender differences surfacing.  Women were more active both in posting and in commenting, including continued conversation after semester’s end.  Some courses found greater traction using a course-wide blog rather than individual blogs, though I agree with Gardner’s tweet:

gardnertweetAfter all, Jeff Nugent and I have both had our students blog individually and then aggregate the class blogs into either Netvibes or Google Sites.

I took a break and hit the “power room” to recharge my laptop.  Luckily, Jim Groom, Matt Plourde and Mike Caulfield were hanging out there as well.  We talked about Jim’s current MOOC on Digital Storytelling – ds106 (worth following on Twitter under hashtag #ds106 for great examples of student work).  That led us to recall one of the better storytellers – Tom Woodward, and the video he and Jim did two years ago about RSS.  I have put a link to that video in my current class for this week’s readings on RSS! 🙂

After lunch, I attended a session by Paul Fisher and Danielle Mirliss from Seton Hall University on supporting a mobile campus.  Seton Hall has been issuing laptops for years but now recognizes that the vast majority of students show up with computers in their back pockets (smartphones) with capabilities that exceed those of the older laptops.  Their surveys show that while faculty heavily rely on email as a ways of communicating with students, 60% of their students do not routinely use email – they text or Facebook instead.  The folks at Seton Hall University are looking for ways to capitalize on the technology their students already possess and use.  The definition of “mobile” is changing and evolving, so they want applications that are device non-specific and carrier agnostic.  They showed some neat projects students completed this year using smartphones to capture video and audio (similar to the NPR StoryCorps project). While this was going on, there was a fairly active backchannel conversation about the original “mobile” devices – books!  That prodded Derek Bruff to post “Here’s my (tongue-in-cheek) take on the book as a mobile device: http://is.gd/vRuuY6“. Loved it!

Dinner Tuesday night was in an unexpected yet delightful place that many of my colleagues knew…but my wife and I just stumbled on – Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe. Good people, good food, and some nice wines. Plus I checked in using FourSquare to note our good time, and they tweeted back a thank you!  Good food and socially networked as well!

Today was spent at our poster session.  I previously posted our slides here. Valerie Robnolt, Ibironke Lawal, Alma Hassell and I had a good flow of people come by and talk, and we had a chance to circulate around to some of the other posters.  Our colleagues Terry Carter, Joan Rhodes, and Fran Smith had a poster on moving learners into the open, so VCU was well represented.  I also enjoyed talking to Linda Futch and Francisca Yonekura of University of Central Florida about their online faculty development process.  And I finally got to meet Kelvin Thompson of UCF…someone whom I have tweeted with for several years!

So, a wrap up of a very good conference! I know that I have missed some interactions in these two blog posts, but rest assured, it is not because these interactions were not important.  Rather, there simply was a lot to process…and I will be doing that for days!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Day 1 at ELI 2011

ELI 2011

ELI 2011

This is Day One of one of my favorite conferences, the Educause Learning Initiative Annual Conference…even though this is only my second one that I have physically attended.  As usual, the tweeting using hashtag #ELI2011 has been superb, such that I have interacted with attendees in my sessions, other sessions, and those not physically here (and this is how I attended the last few years).  I have to admit that it is nice actually being here, as it has given me an opportunity to catch up with some friends I have not seen in awhile.

One of the first tweets I saw was this one:

eli_tweetMaybe they will be collector’s items, as mine starts with page 19-36, and then has pages 1-18.  As they note, the content IS correct!  Good to see a sense of humor at play.

Only a half day today, but some good sessions.  The opening general session featured Eric Mazur discussing his use of clickers to engage students in his physics classes at Harvard.  He noted that when he first started teaching in the 1980s, he never questioned “how” to teach – he assumed that he would teach in the same manner in which he had been taught, using lecture.  He came to see that lecture was good for DELIVERY of information, but that the assimilation of learning was left to students, and that was the hard part.  He learned that data from the Force Concept Inventory showed that many physics students showed little gain in knowledge during introductory classes, and when he tested his own Harvard students, they matched national results.  He then went to using clickers and peer teaching, which showed significant gains in learning and retention of knowledge. Mazur went on to note that the specific technology was not important – technologies come and go – but the use of peer teaching helped move the learning from shallow (what do I need to pass the test) to deeper learning (what does this concept mean).

For my second session, I listened to Amy Campbell, Samantha Earp, and Edward Gomes of Duke University as they discussed the process Duke had used to decide on a new LMS as their license with Blackboard expired (or as Edward noted…how to make someone on campus continually mad at you).  Their 15 month process is documented at E-Learning Roadmap.  Interesting, they narrowed their move from Blackboard 8 to one of three solutions – Blackboard 9, Moodle, or Sakai.  They ultimately settled on Sakai, but less for functionality than for strategic reasons.  As they saw it, Bb 9, Moodle and Sakai represented a three-sided coin…little real differences in functionality.

Finally, I checked out some of the poster sessions.  Three caught my eye.

  • John Fenn of University of Oregon discussed his use of student generated content and remixing of student work through blogs, Diigo feeds, and YouTube for collaborative learning.
  • Jeff McClurken and Martha Burtis of University of Mary Washington discussed how they teamed faculty, an instructional technologist, and students to develop group digital history projects.  It was also an opportunity to talk to Martha about the work she and Jim Groom are doing in their Digital Storytelling classes (check the twitter hashtag #ds106).
  • Joseph Madaus discussed a University of Connecticutt project to apply Universal Design for Instruction to their online and blended classes.  Joseph noted that many think of physical disabilities when exploring UDI, but in fact the larger audience is students with learning disabilities.

The last session of the day was the annual rollout of the NMC annual Horizon Report. For nine years, the New Media Consortium has tracked new and emerging technologies for teaching and learning.  Near term technologies are already pretty evident – ebooks and mobiles (one only need look around this conference).  Mid-term (2-5 years) will see more use of augmented reality and game-based learning.  More far term will be the emergence of gesture-based computing and learning analytics.

Looking forward to a full day tomorrow.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Differing Perspectives on Technology

Next week, I will be attending the Educause Learning Initiatives 2011 Annual Conference in Washington DC.  With several members of our 21st Century Literacy Faculty Learning Community, we will be presenting in a poster session the results of our research last spring on differing perspectives of faculty and students to technology.

Click through the slides to check out our findings.  I would be interested whether these results match what you are seeing or surprise you.