Teaching and Learning Technology Conference 2011 – REGISTRATION OPEN!





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Registration for the Teaching and Learning Technology
Conference 2011 on March 10 and 11, 2011
is now OPEN!

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Eric Mazur
Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University and
author of Peer
Instruction: A User’s Manual

Please send an email to edtech@mst.edu
(with subject line of: REGISTRATION – Teaching and Learning Technology 2011)
and include the following information:

(First and


(if you plan on bringing someone besides yourself, please let us know so we
have an accurate count)

school, department, or institution)


(if applicable–4 year, 2 year, K-12, Community College, Other)

code + number)

Details about our conference can be found on the conference
web site:


We look forward to seeing you at our conference in March!

FoTT 2010 — Building a Blended Class: Face-to-Face, Online, Anytime

Presenter: Robert “Rocky” Keel, UMSL

Presentation is available at http://tinyurl.com/blended-class-2010 (IE)

Rocky prefers to present in the same style as his teaching–interactive with the audience.

“Digital Natives” have grown up with technology all of their lives and regularly use their “devices” (e.g. smart phones) to interact with the world around them. Mobile devices in particular will become more and more important as time goes on.

Students may not interact in the classroom, but they do interact with each other outside of class. “Multi-channel” students use several different ways of interacting (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Rocky showed some statistics of how students (teens and young adults) are interacting. Over 500 million people (not just students) are on Facebook.

Building a blended class gives Rocky and the students some flexibility in how they access the course. Though there is also some structure to the course through the face-to-face activities. Students in an online course do as well or even better than traditional students. Online enrollments are surging in the past year.

Rocky played Michael Wesch’s (of Kansas State University) video on digital students of today. (A Vision of Students Today (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGCJ46vyR9o). He has actually created several such videos, one of which focuses on K-12 students.

Blackboard was introduces at UMSL in 2000. According to Rocky, students were using Blackboard for their courses, even when the instructors were not.

Rocky has introduced students to Wimba Live Classroom (which plugs into Blackboard) and Wikis (also available in Blackboard) for his courses. Students have responded positively to UMSL’s use of these technologies.

Rocky’s blended learning model incorporates synchronous activities such as a face-to-face lecture and Wimba Live Classroom for distance students. Asynchronous tools include the online lecture notes and the Wimba archives for review. Another asynchronous tool is a Panopto video on how to use Wimba. About a third of Rocky’s students will view the Wimba archive.

A Dialogue for Engagement

How do you know a student is engaged in your course?  What steps do you take to foster engagement?  These are questions that every instructor begins to ask as they are doing course design as it is vital to the success of the course.  “Engaged learners work willingly, instead of by coercion, and approach their assignments as something that matters to them personally.  The spirit of engendered by engaged learners in a course is infectious, spreading among and sustaining all participants,” states an EDUCAUSE article in September/October issue (EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 45, no. 5 (September/October 2010): 38-56).  The article goes on to give examples from five different instructors on how they foster engagement.

A Dialogue for Engagement will take you to the text of the article.

How would you foster engagement in your course?

FoTT 2010 — Constructivist Course Design: Student Centered Online Learning

Presenters: Arleen Fearing and Marguerite Riley from Southern University Illinois at Edwardsville


  • Identify five factors of the constructivism theory that provides a framework for quality student centered online learning.
  • Specify the use of three learning strategies in an online constructivist designed course.
  • Share evaluation results of these online courses from students.

About 8 years ago, School of Nursing at SUIE added a nurse educator specialty and needed some courses developed for their program. Courses were going to be entirely online (new for them).

Arleen and Marguerite had taught with a distance education model similar to S&T’s, but had never taught a fully online course. They had already become comfortable with that model as well as with WebCT, but were forced by circumstances (switched to Blackboard) to change strategies. They had 38 students for their first online course offering. About 50% had already taken an online course already, while the other 50% had not. Those who had taken an online course were unhappy with their typical experience–lack of consistency, poor organization, etc.

They addressed student concerns from the beginning and decided to offer completely asynchronous learning through an online interface (Blackboard). Many nursing students were distance students and worked long hours at odd times (typical of the medical professions). They wanted their learning environment to be safe, creative, and interactive, all features offered by a constructivist approach.

The desired outcome was a student-centered experience with opportunities for sharing and knowledge application.

Constructivism is the learning theory where learning is active and reflective. Students use their prior experiences to build new knowledge. New knowledge is integrated with their existing knowledge to create a unified framework of knowledge for application. Students “take ownership” of the knowledge. Students also collaborate regularly with fellow students to create the shared knowledge experience. Some students resisted this approach and preferred a more traditional Socratic method of teaching.

Constructivism assumes the learner is mature and self-motivated. Instructor is a guide, facilitator and coach who points the way.

Critical reflection on experience and rational discourse with others is the process for changing meaning.

They used a template for all of their nursing education classes. This has many advantages. For one, there is consistency and continuity between modules within a course and from course to course. It provides all students in the program with a familiar online environment. Learning objectives and experiential learning activities can be quickly developed for each module. The modules correlate with course content outlines.

Arleen passed out a sample template they used to develop each of their courses. It contains some simple fields that can be filled out for each module. It includes goals, experiences, desired learning outcomes, any module resources required, interactive experiences, and more. The “Content Commentary” field was NOT lecture notes–it was information to get the students thinking about the content (self-reflective). “Shared Learning Sessions” were what the students posted after completing the assignments and group activities.

In a Learning Circle activity, each student has a role and each role has a responsibility to contribute. Groups of 4 seem to work best, though 5 or 6 are certainly possible depending on the larger size of the class (38 students were divided into groups of 6 or 7, for instance). Instructors can monitor the Learning Circles and guide students back when they get off track.

Courses also had a “metaphor”, essentially the “prior knowledge” required for a constructivist approach. For instance, one module used the metaphor of building a house. Most people recognize some of the challenges involved in building a house, even if they have not directly been involved in such a large project. Building a curriculum in a nursing education program is then compared to the tasks required in building a house. Building a curriculum and building a house both require a sound, stable foundation, for example.

They concluded their presentation with a video clip from Dead Poet’s Society, where Mr. Keating takes his students out into the hallway to illustrate the idea of “carpe diem” or “sieze the day” instead of simply opening up their textbook to read a poem or two. This is very much a constructivist approach to learning, drawing upon the students’ prior knowledge to introduce them to Walt Whitman and other great poets.

Blackboard Seminar Series — Using Rubrics with Blackboard (Presentation)

Barb Wilkins, Instructional Technologist for EdTech and a math teacher in her own right, presented on using rubrics for courses. One of the points Barb made was that students are already quite familiar with the use of rubrics for evaluating performance. For the past 10 years or so, teachers in K-12 have been trained to use rubrics, especially when evaluating subjective content (e.g. essays, papers, and group projects). Using a rubric gives students a good idea of the criteria that will be used in their evaluation. Assuming they meet all of the highest criteria, then they should be able to demonstrate mastery of the subject matter.

Barb showed how rubrics can be used inside of Blackboard to grade students’ performance in wikis, blogs, and discussion boards, which are often very subjective. By providing students with a guideline on what constitutes the “best” contribution in each of these areas, you can often see quite an improvement in student learning outcomes–they are motivated to do better when they can more clearly see your expectations.

Several references to periodicals are made within the presentation for anyone interested in finding out more about using rubrics.

Barb’s presentation was made using Prezi, and is publicly available at:


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Periodic Table Video — Fluorine

For your education — I found a link to a video on fluorine, the most reactive element in the entire periodic table. This stuff is extremely dangerous by itself, but it exists all around us bound up in molecules such as tin fluoride and sodium fluoride. Fluoride compounds are found in our toothpaste and water to enhance good dental hygiene, among other uses.

One of my friends is a chemical engineer. In his job, he’s handled any number of highly toxic, corrosive, and otherwise dangerous chemicals. Hydrofluoric acid is the one chemical he is actually afraid of.

This just one in a whole series of Periodic Table of Videos. Apparently the video below is actually an update to an earlier video. Fluorine is so difficult to handle in its native state that they had trouble getting the video they wanted. Fortunately they found a chemist who has considerable knowledge and experience in working with elemental fluorine.

Just to give you an idea of how dangerous fluorine is, check this out. And this, which discusses what happens when you mix the oxidizing power of oxygen with the reactive power of fluorine.

SLOAN CONSORTIUM Blended Learning Conference & Workshop

sloan-c.png EdTech recently had the opportunity to attend the Sloan Consortium’s (SLOAN-C) 7th Annual Blended Learning Conference & Workshop in Oak Brook, Illinois on April 19-20, 2010.

This was a great opportunity to meet other educators who are also engaged in providing blended learning opportunities to their respective campuses. Blended learning is a hybrid of face-to-face (F2F) and online learning, providing instances of both teaching modalities.

The Sloan Consortium is an “institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, helping institutions and individual educators improve the quality, scale, and breadth of education.”

Summaries and commentary on the different sessions attended by EdTech are provided in the blog entries below. Please feel free to comment on any entry that interests you. We are also willing to engage in further discussion on any of the topics below. Contact EdTech for more information.

SLOAN-C: The Promise and Practice of Blended Learning

sloan-c.png Presenter: Dr. Joel Hartman, University of Central Florida

Dr. Hartman was our opening keynote speaker for the recent Teaching and Learning Technology Conference at Missouri S&T. Now he is the plenary speaker for the SLOAN-C Blended Learning Conference & Workshop in Oak Brook, IL, just outside of Chicago.

Blended learning has been going on for centuries. Chalk technology is just one form of blended learning. Why do we think blended learning is different? The web is interactive, engaging, ubiquitous, asynchronous, rich in multimedia resources and constructivist. To this, we have added deeper institutional engagement, instructional design, faculty development, assessment, and communities of practice. The web is just one platform upon which blended learning activities are built.

How do we define blended learning? Blended learning courses combine online and classroom learning activities and resources in an optimal way to improve student learning outcomes and to address important institutional issues. In other words, blended learning is the space between fully face-to-face and fully online courses. There is a continuum between the extremes, within which blended learning fits.

It has the potential to impact any and every student, any and every instructor. It is both outward and inward facing. It also involves student-centered technologies which requires an institutional approach in order to apply the techniques effectively for maximum benefit to the students. Blended learning can also improve the efficiency of classroom space. However, it is sometimes not possible to recapture the classroom space for other classes. Final exam times may also conflict the classroom utilization.

One way of blending is to divide a large class into smaller groups so that only a small subset of students meet face to face at any one time. Online activities provide the additional resources to meet the needs of the larger group. This can also go in reverse where several small groups may be combined into one large blended course.

Blended courses may meet online and face-to-face for specific course content. They may meet F2F early in term, moving to online later in semester (or vice versa).

Blended programs need to address the fact the some courses (e.g. labs) are difficult to deliver fully online.

For faculty, there are many possible benefits: Blended is a first step into online learning. It is an opportunity for meaningful faculty development to dive deeper into pedagogy. Many students are somewhat ambivalent about technology in classroom because it is often not used well by instructors. Faculty can develop information literacy skills for themselves and for the students. Blended can offer “the best of both worlds” for faculty and students.

Blended and online provide an environment of pedagogical diversity and experimentation. It is a platform for integrating other technologies (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.). There are often more assessment options (though this does bring some significant challenges as well). Students have an environment for constructivist learning where they can build their own knowledge (with guidance). Blended impacts teaching practices both in and out of classroom.

New pedagogical approaches — from active faculty to active students; from transferring knowledge to creating knowledge; from learning as an individual activity to learning as a collaborative activity

Student expectations don’t align well with traditional F2F teaching. Blended gives students a good match for the NetGen expectations with visual, exploratory, participatory activities. Students can succeed very well in these environments.

Students also appreciate convenience and flexibilty of online/blended learning. It can reduse time to degree and increase their information literacy.

Ten keys to success — Institutional strategy; systemic approach; faculty development; course design and development support; online student support; online academic services; robust and reliant infrastructure; effective organizational model; pro-active policy development; data collection and assessment.

Sloan-C pillars — Access; learning effectiveness; student satisfaction; faculty satisfaction; cost effectiveness

Access — Blended increases convenience and flexibility for students. It reduces the disruptions in students’ lives. Blended learning reduces opportunity costs for student learning. At UCF, face-to-face enrollments are shrinking, while online/blended enrollments are growing rapidly. 19% of students are in online/blended courses.

How is student success measured? Grades divided into two groups — success (A, B, C) and not success (lower than C). At UCF, blended shows a slightly higher success rate than fully online.

According to Department of Education online is moderately more effective than traditional F2F. Blended is not necessarily more effective by itself, but the combination of tools that are employed has the most positive effect on students. In other words, what you do with the technology is more important than the technology itself.

Students really like blended learning. They like the improved interaction between students/instructors. They appreciate reduction in interruptions in their lives. They like the increased response times, better feedback.They feel performance is more fairly assessed and they like having more opportunities for collaboration. Anytime/anywhere communication with peers and instructors. More individual empowerment. Increased freedom to manage their own learning environments.

Students rate 48.9% of blended courses as “Excellent”.

Faculty satisfaction is more of a campus/cultural issue instead of a blended/online learning issue. Faculty rate structure and time of blended learning as a net positive. They like the convenience of delivering a blended course. More F2F tends to give more satisfaction than blended, but even blended only yields 12% dissatisfied overall. The quality and amount of interaction seem to be the driving factors of faculty satisfaction with blended courses.

The keys to faculty satisfaction include operating within the faculty culture; recognition and reward for blended teaching; incentives and support; and don’t put careers at risk.

Cost effectiveness — producing optimum results for expenditure (ROI). Blended learning will have a financial impact on an institution in both direct and indirect costs. “Making money” is NOT a good reason for engaging in blended learning — create the environment first; revenues will come with delivering a great product (just like it works in the real world). Successful implementation will make blended learning sustainable over the long term. UCF has a 16.6:1 ROI based on their own experiences in creating a blended learning environment over the past ten years.

There is declining state support (in all states). There are fewer funds for new construction, but there is increased student demand for teaching. Tuition and fees are also going up. Therefore, blended learning may be the only hope for many institutions.

To sum up — Access and cost-effectiveness are the easiest to accomplish. Faculty/student satisfaction and learning effectiveness are the more difficult pillars to achieve.

SLOAN-C: Faculty Development for Blended Learning

sloan-c.png Lead Presenter: Tova Duby; Babson College

Babson is a small private college in Wellsley, MA. Babson has been working on blended learning for the past 10 years.

Babson offered its firts blended course back in 2001. Faculty would not have stood a fully online course, so a blended course was the best compromise. Especially at a small college (2000 students) that values the personal touch. At first, Babson started partnering with private companies. But they were “in it for the money”, which, according to Dr. Joel Hartman is not the way to begin a blended learning program. Babson bled money for some time before they finally found a partnership that worked (Intel).

In 2006 they started an Innovation in Blended Learning Faculty Fellows Program. So far 50 faculty fellows have completed the program. There are currently 60+ faculty fellows. These are qualified to design and deliver online education.

Phase 1 of developing blended courses is to find faculty pioneers. Faculty don’t like to be told what to do by external contractors, so it is important to find faculty on campus who are really keen on doing blended learning on their own. This is true on our campus just as it was at Babson college. In other words, it is important to build the on-campus relationships with faculty who are already doing what needs to be done. Then the campus can begin structuring solutions that leverage the work of the pioneering faculty and expand the resources to support both those faculty and the faculty “fast followers”.

Phase 2 is to encourage “faculty fast followers” to adopt some of the tools and techniques the faculty pioneers have developed. This is where a group like EdTech can really help by putting the fast followers in touch with the pioneers. We can also provide guidance and resources to implement blended learning strategies. EdTech and CERTI working together can highlight new technologies for the fast followers and spread the word amongst the faculty on what tools work (and which don’t).

Phase 3 is the full campus-wide implementation on blended learning with full institutional support from all administrative offices on campus (Registrar, Vice Provosts, Provost, Chancellor, etc.). The eLearning Initiative sponsored by UM-System is laying the groundwork to go from Phase 2 into Phase 3.

Key components of program design include faculty (students/designers/teachers); one-on-one consultations; debriefings & revisions; regular programs offered; and flexibility of options. EdTech is currently working to improve the level of support available for each of these components. The blended course this blog shows up in is a perfect example as this is an area where the community of practice for blended learning can share ideas.

Faculty should play different roles within a blended learning development program. First they should be a student, learning what blended learning means and the different tools that are available. This is, in fact, then purpose of the CyberEd course in Blackboard. Then they progress to the design stage where they begin to apply everything they have learned for one or more of their courses. Finally, they get to teach the course they created. As with anything newly created, this can be a period of trial and error. However, EdTech and CERTI can offer support and resources to ensure success with their course.

One-on-one support with both technologists and instructional designers is important for success. EdTech is currently in the process of hiring for these positions within our group. The designers supports the pedagogy used in a blended course while the technologist provides more technical support for the tools used to enhance the blended course.

Throughout the process, the instructor needs to go through constant debriefing and revision of their course so it turns out as expected.

A formal program should be structured to take into account the needs of the campus community. In our case, we are trying to structure the program so that the faculty use one semester to go through the training process and then the next semester is used to teach the course they created. As we move forward, we will adjust as needed to account for the needs of our faculty.

Babson’s program was successful. They eased faculty through the transition to online/blended learning. New faculty hires participated in the program. They found a dedicated group of adjunct faculty. They established connections between learning technologists and faculty. They also created and used more self-learning modules online.

Babson had to meet several challenges, some of which are ongoing. Their program is not totally embedded in the faculty review system. It is a stand alone program, not tied to any other faculty development program. One of the reasons EdTech works so closely with CERTI is to give faculty a good path forward in professional development. As always, limited resources are a major challenge to meet all of the increased demands. As more faculty become interested, the demands will continue to increase, while the resources may decrease. Their program is also only focused on their fast-track MBA program and they don’t have as much support for other programs. However, their success in one program demonstrates that their is significant potential for other programs. Finally, it is difficult to disseminate new techniques. EdTech and CERTI use our faculty learning communities to address this challenge.

Babson’s next steps include going global, establishing quality control assurances, and more network development & faculty mentoring.

SLOAN-C: Lessons Learned from Developing and Evaluating Online or Hybrid Courses for Resident Instruction

sloan-c.png Presenters: Suzanne Weinstein with Karen Pollack (Penn State University)

Blended Initiative at Penn State was a Provost-funded initiative that targeted dual-use courses.  Chose to focus on courses that were high-enrollment and considered general education and would be needed at all campus locations.  They also focused on courses that had a high failure rate, math and science. Chose faculty based on exemplorary performance.

Project managed with 2 Instructional Designers and 2 Multimedia Technicians. Began with 7 courses and added 4 more courses in 2007/2008.

According to instructors: “Students may have difficulty managing assignments.” “When developing a hybrid course, budget a lot of time for developing the course.” “Students need to take more responsibility for themselves.”

Students say: Taking this class in a hybrid environment allowed me to improve my time managment skills and prepare for class and particularly get assignments done on time.

Lessons Learned

  • Find the right champions – The willing vs. “you will”
  • Need for clear labeling – “and web” – It is important that students understand what type of course they are signing up for.  It helps students be more successful as they can find the courses that fit the way they learn.
  • Need flexible classroom scheduling
  • Importance of technology support – It is also important to have Instructional Design by qualified instructional designer.  The second challenge is to have faculty use the instructional designers effectively and commit to truly transforming their courses.
  • The paradox of the humanities and social sciences
  • Effective use of face-time – Know your audience – Moved lowerer level learning outside of class and used quizzes to validate the learning.  Class time was spent actually analyzing and using what students were required to do outside of class to build and use higher level learning.  Students were actively engaged and “covering” material in a smaller amount of face-to-face time (faculty experience).
  • Balancing structure with flexibility
  • Scalable content-sharing – the LMS can’t serve as the content repository system.  It is important to have a content repository that faculty can browse easily and find the resources that they need as they are creating their own courses.
  • Document expectations for sharing
  • Faculty were more interested in deriving new works.