Education of the future….or are we kidding ourselves?

It is always surprising to me to find out that there are academic institutions that have not fully embraced online learning. Or maybe the surprise is that online learning is seen as the “cash cow” that will support the rest of the institution, yet no additional funds are allocated to technology or development. Or, even worse, that creating an online course is a one-and-done effort.

I am very lucky to have entered academia right at the time when technology was just becoming useful in the classroom. Beyond PowerPoint, that is! My background in the graphic arts back then gave me a bit of an edge in that I could easily develop HTML pages and translate my experiences with software (My “first” career began with Photoshop version 1) to the new (at the time) learning management systems.

But I have to step back and think: has technology and online learning truly been the catalyst we think it has? This is one of the questions that I will be exploring over the course of this year. Please join in, leave me a comment, or share some resources. 2015 might just be the tipping point we have been waiting for!

Persistence (and maybe practice) Makes Perfect

I took a look at faculty persistence as it leads to modeling of expected tweeting behavior. By looking at the correlation of faculty tweets to student tweets, it can be easy to draw the conclusion that if the instructor continues to participate in the twitter activities then the students will as well. 

However, my co-researcher (@AuroraReinke) and I have looked a bit deeper into these assumed correlations. There is additional evidence that the quality of the tweets also play a role in encouraging students to continue tweeting. For example, if the only time an instructor tweets is to remind students that homework is due, there will not be continued quality participation on the students’ part. In an examination of these classes with these sorts of tweets, the student participation was low, and only served an an outlet for similar style tweets that would not add quality content to the course or incite outside conversations or engagement.

Interestingly, at the #BbWorld13 Clay Shirky (@cshirky) gave a keynote address about the phenomenon of using social media in unintended ways. He encouraged this, stating that there are no “silly” uses of a tool, and this leads to serious uses (academic uses in my world). His keynote (and his latest book Cognitive Surplus) addressed the fact that our society today seeks out ways to collaborate and contribute to the ever expanding creative body of knowledge. 

So, the big takeaway needs to be “keep on tweetin'”! You might find something interesting that piques your curiosity, and you may just make some interesting connections and discoveries!

 

 

BbWorld 2013: Speaker handouts

For all of those that were interested in getting a copy of our presentation and the Twitter assignment, I have attached the documents here. Please feel free to modify the Twitter assignment in any way that fits your specific institution, but be sure to let me know how it works! You can tweet any results to the hashtag: #teachwithtwitter, or drop me a note via this website. I look forward to hearing from you.

BbW13_PPT_Content_50178_Speaker Support_Boncuore-Reinke

Twitter Assignment

You can also follow me on Twitter: @cherylbonc

Thanks!

Cheryl

Twitter. Results.

The twitter study has concluded (several weeks ago, but who is counting?). As I expected, the results were very mixed…and the results were determined by several things:

1. Experience level of the instructor
2. Persistence of the instructor
3. Type of class that twitter was implemented in

My colleague (@AuroraReinke) and I will be presenting full results at Blackboard World 13 (#BbWorld13), so I hope to see you there. I will also be blogging about the conference, so check back regularly, or follow my tweets: @cherylbonc. Continue reading

276 students… 13 hashtags… 10 professors… The Twitter Experiment has begun!

276 students…
13 hashtags…
10 professors…

The Twitter Experiment has begun! This experiment began innocently enough – if you read my last blog post, you will know that it was basically a simple transition from me doing the work for my students, to my students finding their own interests and resources. My thought was that students would be more engaged in making connections to the outside world and would enjoy contributing to their own learning. The class I teach is a freshman class that covers the institution’s core academic competencies, plus our value competency of environmental stewardship. Continue reading

Student Engagement: Twitter as a Research Tool?

OK, so we all know that most teachers tell students that “Wikipedia is not a credible source, and you should never use it”….(I actually disagree with this statement, but that will be a different blog post.) But what about using Twitter as a tool to “crowd-source” relevant information about assignment topics?

Everyday, I check out my Twitter feed to see what people like me are looking at in the world. If I find something interesting, relevant, or intriguing, I pursue that lead. I can read the information or save it for later, pass it on to my twitter followers, or share it with co-workers who may not follow me (but they should). Continue reading

2013 Topic: Engagement

Throughout 2013, I will be leading the Center for Teaching and Learning at Kendall College through an exploration of the topic of “Engagement”. Throughout the institution, we will all be working with students, staff, and faculty to discover what it really means to be engaged: with courses, content, communities, and each other. How do we foster engagement, increase engagement, become engaging? To increase engagement, do we need to use technology and Web 2.0 tools? Do we hold and attend campus “un-conferences”? What about book clubs? Coffee chats? E-Newsletters? There are many ideas coming from all departments. It is time to share them, participate, and see what happens.

I invite you to watch our progress – no, I invite you to JOIN us in this process! Follow my blog, add your comments, tweet about what you are doing to increase engagement at your institution (use the hashtag #engagement). Who says it has to be an isolated experiment? I look forward to hearing and reading about some engaging ideas throughout the year!

Engaging Today’s Student

I have heard from many faculty that our students don’t ever seem to read the textbook. While I would argue that this is true beyond my institution’s walls (and in some cases hold true for faculty and administrators – I know I am guilty too), the norm seems to be to lecture to students to make sure they “get it”. Well, if you think about it, why should students read, if we’re going to go over the entire text in class?

Most lectures, whether F2F or online, should be spent explaining those particular concepts/ideas/procedures/rules/problems that we, as content experts, know our students will have problems with. Continue reading