Archives for March 2011

Using Mediated Reflective Writing in Online and Blended Courses

Presenters from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee:

Matt Russell
Dylan Barth
Gerald Bergstrom

[ SLOAN-C Proceedings Web Site ]

Reflective writing is ideally suited for experiential learning.

Dylan’s part focused on using reflective writing in a blended English composition course. His course is a blended course with 24 students. It is focused on research writing and consists of two seven-week modules. There is a final portfolio that has two revised essays: a ten-page research essay and a reflective letter.

The reflective essay was only at the end of the semester and consequently wasn’t very good as it was the only reflective exercise assigned to the students. However, Dylan revised the journal a bit and made students do one journal entry in the middle of each module. They received prompts for all entries. Students were required to consider what they’d done, what they were doing, and what they were going to do. This was all done electronically using D2L’s ePortfolio feature.

All told, there were 5 journal prompts, looking at all aspects of the research essay (the major project for the course) from start to finish.

Dylan’s reflective pedagogy records what works and what doesn’t, as well as what might change in future semesters. He uses his own reflective journal through the form of a blog to record his own insights. It is public, so students can see an insider’s view of the course and get a better understanding of Dylan’s decisions for the course (and post comments and feedback if Dylan so desires). In other words, it serves as a good model for the students (Dylan is practicing what he preaches).

[Read more…]

Blended General Education Mathematics – Been There, Done That!

Presenter: Jan Costenbader (Depaul University)

[ SLOAN-C Proceedings Web Site ]

He is a senior instructional technology consultant at DePaul University. His objectives for the presentation are to share the design process for moving to a blended course, how lessons learned during the process were applied to a rework.

Math 101, the course Jan teaches, is general education mathematics, started as a small lecture (35-40 students). Eventually, it grew into a large lecture with up to 350 students. Mostly this increase was driven by economics–Cal State Chico, where he taught at the time needed much more revenue. Blended learning addressed room space issues and allowed for increased enrollment.

Jan did all the large lecture portion of the teaching while 5-6 other instructors taught the online portion.

The course was mostly about basic quantitative literacy (computation, statistics, financials, and modeling).

[Read more…]

Understanding What Students are Doing: An Internal Combustion Engine of eLearning

Presenter:John Kaliski (Minnesota State University)

John’s purpose of his research is to capture some student behavior from their Learning Management System (LMS).

  • How often and for how long students log into the system
  • When students access reading material and notes
  • When students start online assignments
  • How long students take to complete assignments
  • How productive discussion forums are.

John proposes to dramatically expand monitoring of student learning behaviors online. He wants to offer a huge suite of tools to make raw data more useful (statistics, data mining, business intelligence). Two systems are already commercially available.

He wants a learning environment that is adaptive, but doesn’t have to adapt to all 200+ students at the same time.

Why “Internal Combustion Engine” as the title of the presentation? It is a somewhat loaded term that has both positive and negative implications for society. Likewise, introducing new architecture and technology for student behavior monitoring has both positives and negatives. Positives include mass customization, adaptive learning environments, large classes, improved retention, and assured learning reporting automation. Negatives include perceived (and actual) invasions of privacy–students find it creepy–as well as the fact that there are unintended consequences. Ethics of using such a tool are somewhat unclear.

LMS systems today give a core dump of raw data with no real analysis built in.

John’s new tool includes the same raw material found in LMS data. However, he also borrows ideas from Google Analytics and other tools. Data is collected at the event level–keystrokes and mouse activity. It also tracks hyperlink activity and how much of the content is viewable on the screen as well as how long it is on the screen. Huge amounts of data are collected–200,000+ records from 400 users in one month.

Raw data by itself is meaningless without context. The instructor communicates with the system what the expectation of the learner is. It measures for the alignment of learner activity and instructor expectations. For instance, when the instructor is working on a course objective, student traffic patterns on the online course components should increase. This system refines itself over time, especially for instructors that teach the same course repeatedly over time.

Preparing the Teachers of Tomorrow Today in Large Blended Classes

Presenter: George Morrison (University of North Texas)

[ SLOAN-C Proceedings Web Site ]

George defines “large” as 100+, which also fits the definition of large classes at S&T. Most classes fall well below this definition.

We engaged with each other in an experiential learning exercise–first we described a picture of an orange, then he gave us the real thing and we had to describe that (in small group collaboration). George showed a video of this same exercise with a group of 116 students.

George has taught large classes for 10 years, and in that time (under the old model), he sometimes had significant failure rates (nearly 17 out of 110 enrolled in Fall 2010). Students often didn’t come to class and they were largely indifferent to achievement. George saw a disconnect between how he was teaching and how he wanted to teach. He had to find some sort of balance to resolve the “disequilibrium” he was experiencing. Disequilibrium is the driver which promotes change–so it is incumbent on us to promote disequilibrium in our faculty so they seek out the change that will lead to better course design and better student learning outcomes.

Disrupting Class by Clayton Christensen has three things that stand out

  1. Customize different online learning paths for students.
  2. Transition from computer-based to student-centric technology.
  3. Teachers act as learning coaches and tutors to help students find the approach that makes sense for them.

George’s old teaching methods were not engaging students and weren’t working.

[Read more…]

ADDIE plus Bloom’s Taxonomy Equals Optimal Blended Teaching and Learning

Presenter: Celina Byers (University of Minnesota)

[ SLOAN-C Proceedings Web Site ]

Celina’s goal was to take Master-level students from “declarative knowledge” to a “procedural level” to full fluency of the information.

ADDIE is a very common course development method. We introduce it and use it in our own CyberEd course.

ADDIE – Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation. For Celina, Evaluation is the center of the model upon which all other components are based.

Analysis – Needs, Content, Learner, Environment (i.e. audience, purpose, context).

Design – Write objectives, create assessments, organize lesson units, devise course strategies, and determine strategies for delivery method.

Development – Produce the media resources needed, create all lessons, prepare course packages. This often involves a modular approach to development–units, chapters, lessons. This can be done in a “rolling” fashion such that you can teach fully developed units while continuing to develop future units.

Implementation – Schedule time, location, equipment, and personnel. Make the course packages available (e.g. Adaptive Release in Blackboard). Deliver the lessons to the students.

Evaluation – Check the content, learner performance, and course instructional strategy to make sure the goals are being met for all three components. As with all of the steps in the ADDIE model, this can be–and should be–an iterative process, always looking for improvement. Evaluation can be used at each step within the process as well.

[Read more…]

EdTech Travels to SLOAN-C Conference on March 28-29, 2001

The Educational Technology group (at least the “Ed” side consisting of Meg Brady, Angie Hammons, Julie Phelps, Barb Wilkins, and Malcolm Hays) are traveling to the 8th Annual Sloan Consortium Conference in Chicago on March 28-29, 2001. This conference is primarily about blended learning strategies.

Over the next few days, we hope to bring you some ideas discussed at the conference through the medium of this blog. Stay tuned for continuous updates!

CLC Software Request Process for Fall 2011 Now Open!

EdTech and IT are opening up the CLC software request process for instructors who need specific software packages installed in computer learning centers across campus.

The software request web-based application is available at:

Please enter all software requests before close of business on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

Software currently available in each of the CLCs on campus can be found at: (This page also has a link to the CLC Software Request tool)

It is very important to submit requests in a timely manner to ensure the best possible support from IT and EdTech. We appreciate your cooperation!

Questions, comments, or concerns about this new CLC Request process can be sent to

Blackboard Maintenance on Sunday, March 20, 2011

IT will be performing Blackboard maintenance on Sunday, March 20, 2011, starting at 12:01 a.m.

Blackboard will be unavailable for 6 hours between midnight and 6 a.m.

This maintenance will prepare the Blackboard environment for an important upgrade between Spring and Summer semesters.

Please call the Help Desk with questions about this or any other IT issue at 573-341-HELP (4357) or submit an online Help Request at

TLT Conference Impressions

Friday Session

Dr. Katie Grantham leverages YouTube to teach her students about ethnographic data collection and focus groups in her risk management and new product development courses.