Tag Archives: Student Experience

The survival of higher education by Steve Wheeler

‘The Survival of Higher Education’ by @timbuckteeth

I’ve been following and talking with Professor Steve Wheeler for several years now, and have had the honour of presenting at his Pelecon conference and sharing the billing at the eAssessment Scotland conference.

Steve often writes individual posts or, like recently, he writes a series of post with common themes to expand or challenge a certain approach or concept of education – his 2010 series on ‘Distance Learning / Distance Education’ initiated some interesting discussions. Steve has, this time, been looking at the survival of Higher Education – please read all of Steve’s posts, you know you’ll be the  better for it.

I’ve linked to Steve’s original work here, as well as my response I posted to his website – I concentrate on  specific aspect of his posts/series, but please be sure to read the full posts so my comments (and the quotes) are not taken out of context:  Continue reading

BYOD4L

BYOD, a story #BYOD4L

The BYOD4L collaboration has brought some amazing opportunities for networking and conversing with colleagues old and new. But what of the themes? The 5Cs of Connecting, Communicating, Curating, Collaborating, and Creating are all well and good but something seems out of place for me. Where’s the Context?

Here’s a story … today in the café a group of about 10 students took over a couple of tables, dumped their bags down, got out various examples of smart phones and tablets, and started to eat/drink their lunches. Whilst there was a little bit of chat and a little light banter, each of them was mostly using their own device and engrossed in their own connected world. For a loud group when they arrived it seemed strange they should all diverge into their own individual online world so quickly.

It was after about half an hour of this that there seemed to be a purpose to their activities. It turned out they had been given a task to do which required some element of using their own devices in a given time frame. So, here they sat searching, tweeting, blogging, and Facebook’ing their way through their lunch.  Continue reading

Anonymous Discusison Board Activity

Reading: Identified vs Anonymous Participation in Student Discussion Boards

Online discussion boards, and associated activities that use them, can get a bit of a bad name sometimes either through inacitivty or lack of quality posts to abusive or bullying. I admit these are extremes of activity, but none the less still valid concerns for academics who want to try something new or different.

I’ve always tried to advocate the approach of ‘design an activity and then see which tools fits’ rather than ‘an activity written around a discussion board’. The latter implies it’s the tool driving the activity, the former implies the activity or learning outcome is matched to the most appropriate tool.

When setting discussion boards up I’ve always favoured posts being attributed to and identifiable to the person posting it – this helps to build personal relationships based on content and opinions, it also helps to encourage ownership and a responsible online etiquette (netiquette). But what about the option of allowing posts to be anonymous? Does this stop the discussion taking shape or progressing?

The paper, by Roberts and Rajah-Kanagasabai (2013) looks at the anonymity of posts and the ‘comfort’ of students to participate in anonymous discussions over those where they are identified. Continue reading

What are you teaching the world?

Have you seen the Kid President’s message to mums everywhere? If not then watch it, it’s great. However, here’s  his next video, his pep talk to teachers and students.

Love it … “together we’re louder!”.

YouTube: Kid President’s Pep Talk to Teachers and Students!

Badges - New Currency for Professional Credentials

Openness (wk.1) #OpenBadgesMOOC

Badges - New Currency for Professional CredentialsWith the best will in the world I’ll be taking part in the Mozilla / BlackBoard MOOC called “New Currency for Professional Credentials”.

MOOC: Badges – New currency for Professional credentials

You can read all my posts from this MOOC on the OpenBadgesMOOC tag, when I’ve written them!

Why this MOOC?
Why is this MOOC interesting to me? I have posted about Open Badges a number of times, and how I feel the ability to demonstrate skills and knowledge obtained during a formal course of study (University) are not always easy to spot, and certainly not easy to show through the normal / formal certification received. If students can earn badges for skills, group work, ability, etc. rather than an overall ‘grade’ which is considers pass / fail then this is of use to prospective employers? Aren’t we always hearing how students are not being prepared for the modern workplace? With a Mozilla BackPack full of badges (here’s my Backpack: Mozilla Open Badges) the student able to show and demonstrate these skills will have an edge. Yes?

Now that the CourseSite has opened up the meatier sections we can see what the next six weeks is about. We’ll be looking at Openness, Badge Fundamentals, Employers and Learners, Providers, and Opportunities. There are a number of groups for us to join, no doubt to help us focus on the area(s) of most interest or importance to our own badge requirements (personal or professional). I joined the following groups:

  • Badges for Higher Education Instructor/Faculty Professional Development
  • Badges for MOOCs
  • Badges in Traditional Higher Ed Courses

Week 1 – “Openness” 
Week one is about ‘openness’ and the disparity between job descriptions and alignment of knowledge that formal courses have to the job specifications. This fresh approach (badges) could be viewed as a new ‘currency’ exchange “between job seekers, learning providers, and employers”. Continue reading

Research in Learning Technology

Reading: Exploring the use of text and instant messaging in HE

Research in Learning Technology“This article examined how higher education students used text and instant messaging for academic purposes with their peers and faculty. Specifically, comfort level, frequency of use, usefulness, reasons for messaging and differences between peer-to-peer and peer-to-instructor interactions were examined. Students noted that they were very comfortable with using both text and instant messaging. Text messaging was used weekly with instructors and daily with peers. Instant messaging was used rarely with instructors but weekly with peers. Students rated text messaging as very useful and instant messaging as moderately useful for academic purposes. Key reasons cited for using both text and instant messaging included saving time, resolving administrative issues, convenience and ease of use. Text messaging appears to be the preferred mode of communication for students with respect to communicating with both peers and instructors. It is concluded that both text and instant messaging are useful and viable tools for augmenting student’s communication among peers and faculty in higher education.”

Lauricella, S. and Robin, K. Exploring the use of text and instant messaging in higher education classrooms. In Research in Learning Technology. 2013, 21: 19061 – http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v21i0.19061

  • I’m sure text/SMS messages are 160 characters, not 140 as mentioned in the article? Perhaps they have Twitter and text/SMS mixed up?

Invest in Your Students More Than Your Brand

Invest in your students more than your learning

Invest in your students more than your learningWhen I read this article – “Invest in Your Customers More Than Your Brand” – from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) I couldn’t help but make similarities between ‘brand’ and ‘learning’, between ‘customers’ and ‘students’. That is why this post is called “Invest in your ‘students’ more than your ‘learning’.”

I know we shouldn’t see students as customers but the simple truth is that many of them think of themselves that way and, since students are paying up to £9,000 per year for their University degrees now, Universities are competing for students numbers in similar ways to companies competing for High Street or online shoppers.

There are some incredibly recognisable brands in the world today, but why are they so big and so memorable? When someone mentions a big brand what do you think? If I mention Nike do you think about the ‘tick’ logo, the quality of product, or the sports personality wearing it? If I ask about Marks & Spencers do you again think green and gold logo or the ease of parking at their stores? There is a difference here between what the organisation wants their brand to be, and what their customers think their brand is. Brand is not necessarily what you want it to be, but what your customers thinks it is. Continue reading

The students have spoken

Learning

“A new study of U.S. college students asked them what they think education will look like in the years to come. What they had to say could affect your association’s meetings and education strategy when it comes to attracting these next-generation attendees.”

The Associates Now article by Sam Whitehorne is a good insight into what Generation Y / Millennial students, not educators, think the future of education should be. Based on research from Millennial Branding called The Future of Education the study shows how students who have grown up with the Internet and online ‘personas’ perceive education now and in the future.

Highlights of the report include:

  • A quarter of students feel unprepared for the working world and almost two thirds of students believe that it’s both their college’s and their own responsibility to be prepared for the working world.  Continue reading

Characteristics Of A Successful Online Student

Infographic: Characteristics of a (successful) online student #ocTEL

What is at the core of an online course or a MOOC? You could argue it’s the academic integrity of the materials or learning. It could be the level of student engagement in required activities. I would argue that (even if not at the core, but very close to it) should be the expectations placed on the students both academically and technically!

There’s no point having a good (large, massive?) number of students enrolled on the course if you already know that a proportion of them are not technically or academically capable of engaging or completing the course. Is this one of the criticisms of MOOCs?

Characteristics Of A Successful Online Student
The Characteristics Of A Successful Online Student

What does this infographic say? Well:

  • Screen applicants before allowing them start study: Not always possible I would think. Continue reading

the grabbing hands

Week 1: Induction #ocTEL

So, we’re here! The ‘Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning’ started this week and we’re in for a fun and busy 10 weeks of MOOCing, hopefully.

  • Registration is still open so, if you’re not one of the 900+ soles already involved and engaged, why not pop along to octel.alt.ac.uk and join in?

What can we expect, now we have more details than were previously available? Weekly emails, weekly webinars (including archived recording as well), and an email providing an overview to the week ahead. This is exactly the kind of student engagement and signposting I’ve been highlighting and pushing through my work and writing before. It is nice to see that I am in tune with ALT and those who are creating/running this MOOC! Thank you.

“ocTEL aims to accommodate your communication preferences as far as possible, so wherever you feel most comfortable writing – as long as it is not behind a password login – we will do our best to collect it up and add it to the general mix.”

Well, the first extended week is set aside for an induction to this MOOC, MOOCs in general, and the platform itself – Continue reading