Weekly Reflection and Practice – The Multi-Modal Approach to Course Development

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This last week consisted of recovery after a lot of research went into the Pedagogical Approach paper.  The great part about this research is that it can immediately be used for my job.  The Hybrid approach to course development is a great way to design a course.  If you start from the beginning thinking about the different ways the course can be delivered, it is easier to design as a hybrid.  If you wanted to have online, on ground, traditional, and hybrid courses of different lengths (5,8,16 weeks) you would just need to first create the online version 5 week version of the course and then adapt it to fit each other modality.  Starting with the shortest and most intense length of course helps when stretching out that course to fit longer periods of time.

I have found great success in adapting our online courses to fit the 8 and 16 week varieties. 16 weeks is really too long for an asynchronous online course but a hybrid version would work great.  A mixture of both face-to-face and online is a great combination to fit the flexibility needs of the student while at the same time encouraging true content engagement.

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Top 3 of the Week – Techsmith Tools

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This week I wanted to share my three (current) favorite technology tools.

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Techsmith Camtasia Studio 8 – http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html

Techsmith Camtasia Studio 8 is an easy and inexpensive tool to use to edit, narrate, and publish video content for use in and out of the classroom. With this tool you also able to break apart your video into lessons and embed quizzes.  The feature I most often use is the video screen capture to create how-to training videos on the various programs, processes, or procedures that students and staff need to accomplish.

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Techsmith Snagit – http://www.techsmith.com/snagit-education.html 

Techsmith Snagit is an additional tool in the Techsmith toolbelt that allows quick and easy screen captures that can be edited and used for instructional purposes.  This is great tool to quickly capture only what you want of the screen and publish the capture anywhere you would like to use it.

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Techsmith Relayhttp://www.techsmith.com/techsmith-relay.html

Techsmith Relay is a great tool that can be used in combination with video cameras to capture institutional lectures and seminars. This software and service is installed on every computer in a college so Faculty can simply capture their lectures and whatever they have shown on the screen with only a few clicks. Once captured, the video is uploaded automatically to a cloud server that then becomes an institutional YouTube, where all videos are stored.  These videos can then be edited, quizzes built into them, and published/embedded in a multitude of formats.  This is a a great tool/service that gives faculty an easy way to flip the classroom or create hybrid lessons.

Who Gets First Priority?

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“By the way, isn’t it time that we stopped using “non-traditional” as a way to identify cohorts of individuals who have just as much of a right to learn, grow, and succeed as those who are labelled as being “traditional?” Language matters and we’re all learners. The generally accepted primacy of “traditional” over “non-traditional” needs to fade. We’re all students. That’s why we call it life-long learning.”  Eric Stoller https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/student-affairs-and-technology/pondering-non-trad-difference

This statement by Eric Stoller points out the reality of too many Universities in the United States. College faculty and administration usually focus on Traditional, brick and mortar campus programs and treat Online or Distance learning programs as second class citizens.  This is a strange way to treat the program that educates the majority of the school’s students in many cases.

The truth is that all students should be first priority and all faculty and administration need to see themselves as just a part of a support team that serves these students!

Weekly Reflection and Practice – How Effective Change is Accomplished in Higher Ed

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This week’s challenge has been to be patient with the pace of change in my college.  Through experience and research I can see what will happen if solutions are not operationalized but I only have so much power to implement change.  I have discovered that it will take more than sharing my experience and research with others to gain stakeholder buy-in.  These will help my cause as I present solutions to various stakeholders, but without first rallying support from those I know are like-minded, I will be ineffective.

I will now be taking the “beta test” approach with select faculty, in that I will ask them to try the solutions out for themselves.  I will approach these faculty by first going to the deans of the college and explaining to them what I see and how I believe it can be effectively approached.  I will also go into these meetings with others who have seen the needs I have seen. I am confident that this approach will produce the results that the institution needs – that the students need. I will patiently move forward…………

Top Three of the Week – Podcasts

Top Three

http://www.radiolab.org/series/podcasts/

Radiolab is a show that airs on 450 NPR stations across the United States and is available via podcast on multiple devices. The show is a mix of science, philosophy, and human interest and is done in a way that hooks you into wanting more.  This is one of the best podcasts out there if you are into creative storytelling with a twist.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/podcast

This American Life is a show that airs on over 500 NPR stations all over the United States and the world. It is also one of the most popular podcasts available today.  The producers of the show describe it as a show that “chooses a theme each week and puts together different kinds of stories on that theme.”  This is my favorite podcast I have ever listened to and I would highly recommend everyone listen as often as possible.

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http://serialpodcast.org/

Serial is the first spin-off show from the producers of This American Life.  This podcast/show is similar to This American Life but is composed of one story told in serial form.  The way the show is constructed is most similar to how the book “The Green Mile” was released – one chapter at a time.  In this case, one chapter of the story is released each week.  The show this season is focused on Adnan Syed, a man serving time for the murder of his ex-girlfriend.  Did he really do it?  We don’t know…..stay tuned.  I cannot wait until the next episode is available.

Using Technology to Increase Student Success and Satisfaction

What was your biggest fear as a college student? Was that fear academic or social in nature?  For me, this fear was math!  Even though my grades in High School did not show my ability to do much of anything, I had the ability to excel at most subjects except for those in the math area.  I took all the lower level math classes I could in high school because I did not plan on going to college.  I didn’t go to college until 6 years after high school graduation and then I still tried to avoid math. The problem that I was facing was daunting.  How do I graduate college without taking College Algebra?  It was not possible.  My solution was to wait to take this class last.  The problem was that I did not want to take this class ever.  A few years after I was supposed to graduate I finally enrolled in an online College Algebra class, got a tutor, finished the course, and was able to graduate.  What other option did I have? Not many at that time.

Now, as an administrator at a college, I search out ways to support student success through technology in every area of their college life. I recently discovered, am now implementing at my school, an assessment and adaptive remediation tool called EdReady https://edready.org/home;jsessionid=EAB7D3065909759652EF2C1EA0FD0291

EdReady was spearheaded by the non-profit The NROC Project http://www.thenrocproject.org/#/ and beta tested by colleges all over the United States.  This project has student student success as their heartbeat.

The NROC Project primarily focuses on college level Math readiness and is expanding their content to support English readiness as well (Early to Mid 2015). Their comprehensive set of tools can help students study for math placement tests in a way that can potentially save them: thousands of dollars, time to graduation, and much frustration.  These tools can also help faculty and other support staff to build a robust tutoring system that truly put the needs of the student first.

These types of tools are what I needed as a student…they are what all students need.  I am committed to using technology to help students succeed in every subject, and in every area of their college lives.  This is just one tool in a toolbox that will never stop growing.  Check this tool out and let me know what you think!

Weekly Reflection and Practice – King and Killer

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This week focused on the collection and use of data to improve instruction and learning.  This has been my world in my position as Chair of the Technology Taskforce at my institution.  The President of the college has requested that we create  systems in a way that, not only collects institutional data, but allows it to be reported and used easily.  In the past we have collected data in many different ways, and through many different systems. This data collection method has led to spotty information in systems that are difficult to report out of.  Through my research into how we can collect and report on data efficiently, I have found in some areas that we do not collect enough information, and that in others we are collecting the same data through multiple systems.

As we implement new systems and software at our college, I intend on making sure that we use these tools to collect and analyze the data efficiently, and then act on the knowledge gained through this research to improve staff, faculty, and student success. Data is king when done effectively and a killer when done without a proper philosophy of collecting, analyzing, and action!

Effective Policies, Procedures, and Systems to Support Students from Inquiry to Alumni