EDU 639

E-Brary of Resources

UNIT 1:

Are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Enabling a New Pedagogy? (2015, January). teachonline.ca, Trends & Directions. Contact North. Retrieved from http://teachonline.ca/print/trends-directions/are-massive-open-online-courses-moocs-enabling-new-pedagogy

This article, published online, discusses whether MOOCs are changing the higher education pedagogy. MOOCs started in 1998, and by 2012, it looked like they were going to be the new world order; that is, they were going to “transform access to, and costs of, higher education and maybe, show the way in which lifelong learning—always part of the educational dream—could become a reality” (Are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Enabling a New Pedagogy?, 2015). That, however, does not seem to have been the case. In the article, the (unnamed) authors ask five questions:

  1. Are MOOCs changing the way in which students earn credit? (Answer: kind of; there are some MOOCs that are offering classes for credit, but they are very few and far between, and mostly centered around STEM subjects)
  2. Are MOOCs influencing the way faculty think of online learning? (Answer: In a manner of speaking—MOOCs make use of OERs, peer discussions and, in some cases, peer assessment, to varying degrees of success).
  3. Are MOOCs having an impact on courses not taught online? (Answer: Yes. According to the article, MOOCs encourage instructors to “take the next step and start assigning more online preparatory work and activities so classrooms can be used for more engaged learning”(Are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Enabling a New Pedagogy?, 2015).)
  4. Are MOOCs contributing to the improvement of the quality of online learning? (Answer: It depends on a number of different factors, including the team building the MOOC, and while quality for MOOCs is improving, most are poorly designed, have insufficient quality control, and are not well managed)
  5. Are MOOCs transforming teaching and learning in post-secondary education? (Answer: Yes. They’re part of a movement to unbundle education—that is, one doesn’t need to take a whole course to be able to learn about what they want to learn about)

The article concludes by saying that the influence of MOOCs is impacting all areas of pedagogy, but that student learning outcomes are the critical measure of success for MOOCs, as they are for all post-secondary education.

UNIT 2:

Haber, J. (2014). MOOCs and Lifelong Learners. Retrieved from The Blog: HuffPost Education:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-haber/moocs-and-lifelong-learners_b_4431373.html

This article from self-proclaimed “Chief Learner, Degree of Freedom” Jonathan Haber discusses whether “schools and investors should be sinking millions into creating educational resources that…just beenfit older, educated, profession lifelong learners who already have so much, vs. using those same resources to advance the education of the neediest” (Haber, 2014)—meaning, why spend the money on MOOCs when we could put it into the public school system where poor elementary and high school students could benefit the most from it? Haber agrees that the argument evokes a certain amount of emotion in people—“after all,” he says, “who doesn’t want to do the most they can to help the poor” (Haber, 2014). But this argument is irritating, in part because nobody is quite certain how many lower income individuals use MOOCs as a way of gaining access to higher education when they may not otherwise be able to. He also argues that part of the fallacy is in assuming MOOCs will never evolve over time. He concludes by stating that it’s possible that the insight into MOOCs—what works and what doesn’t—can be “boiled down into a set of resources and tools that could improve educational outcomes across all grade and income levels” (Haber, 2014). In that, I believe, he is firmly correct.

UNIT 3:

Rolfe, V. (2012). Open education resources: staff attitudes and awareness. Research in Learning    Technology, 20(14), 1-13. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.340/flt.v10i0/14395

This article is more an explanation of a study done at a university regarding the attitudes of faculty and staff regarding open education resources, or OERs, as a baseline study to compare future studies to, in the hopes of seeing progress as time goes on. Author Vivien Rolfe says that “it is essential to understand their attitudes and behaviours toward OER to provide a benchmark to monitor progress and to identify strategies for training and support” (Rolfe, 2012), so as to study future progress as the OERs develop. What Rolfe found was that, while some staff were familiar with the term “OER,” and while they were comfortable sharing resources locally, only 12% of faculty/staff placed their resources online for global use. Rolfe concludes by reiterating that the study was simply a benchmark, and that while faculty/staff are comfortable sharing resources locally, work needs to be done to get them more comfortable sharing those resources globally.

Goldberg, E.J. & LaMagna, M. (2012). Open educational resources in higher education: A guide to resources. College and Research Libraries News. Retrieved from http://crln.acrl.org/content/73/6/334.full.pdf+html

This article gave a listing of various different OERs and their different categories; for example, full-package courses vs. videos vs. repositories vs. textbooks. It differentiates between them to indicate the variety of different kinds of resources, while giving examples of each and brief descriptions as well. The authors state the document “discusses the need for educators to openly share their resources and make them freely available for use” and that the resources listed are a “sampling of content focused primarily at the college and university level” (Goldberg & LaMagna, 2012).

UNIT 4:

Erkollar, A., & Oberer, B. (2013). Putting Google+ to the test: assessing outcomes for student collaboration, engagement and success in higher education. Procedia, Social and Behavioral Sciences, 83, 185-189.

This article discusses how Google+, and the Google Suite, work in conjunction with higher education. The authors discuss the fact that integrating social media, something integral to most people’s daily lives, is an inventive process at many different universities, but one that seems to be increasing across the board. Specifically, this study talks about using Google+ to collaborate with classmates and “support blended e-learning with the hang out functionality” (Erkollar & Oberer, 2013). They go on to explain the different functionalities of the Google Suite that they used in the study—mostly Hangouts, Circles, and Huddle (which is the group chat feature). They hypothesized that student involvement and student/instructor interaction would be higher than just using Blackboard alone, and that students could conduct term projects without using any other system for communication. The authors, at the end of their study, conclude that yes, Google+ and the Google Suite can be used to help distance learners connect with their classmates and instructors better than using Blackboard alone, and that, with a little flexibility on the part of the instructor, could be used to also motivate students.

Reinhardt, R., Wheeler, S. & Ebner, M. (2010). All I Need to Know about Twitter in Education I Learned in Kindergarten.   

In this article, the authors argue that Twitter, the social media that only allows for 140 characters at a time, can be used to encourage student discussion and facilitate learning. One of the first examples the authors give is in using Twitter for learning a new language, explaining that students in China who needed to learn English created their own Twitter accounts and were told to follow each other, tweet in English, and read their classmates tweets in English. About of the students felt so comfortable with the English language after this that they were able to connect with native English speakers outside of China on Twitter (Reinhardt, Wheeler, & Ebner, 2010). Additionally, they argue that Twitter can be used to motivate students for in-class discussion by having students use Twitter as a discussion board outside of the classroom so as to facilitate higher level discussions within the classroom. They also indicate that instructors can use Twitter as a teaching tool—using it for instant feedback, sending out important announcements, or as a medium for discussion beyond the actual class time. The authors discuss using Twitter in ways most people would never think to use it, making Twitter an innovative way to engage students beyond the classroom doors.

UNIT 5:

Coleman, V. (2013). Social Media as a Primary Source: A Coming of Age. Educause Review.

As a historian, I completely understand the use of primary source documents in research. Vicki Coleman, in this resource, asks the question—what is a primary source? Traditionally, a primary source is defined as an original document that was written during the time of study by someone who was there when it happened. That could be something like the diaries of Abigail Adams, or newspaper articles from the 1960s about JFK’s death. Today, Coleman argues, the idea of primary sources is being rewritten to include social media tools, as these tools are what we use to disseminate information in a rapid manner. However, Coleman argues that there are ways we can better harness the power of social media as a primary source. First, assume that all social media contains firsthand accounts of history and link to other sources that can be used as secondary sources. Second, help instruct students in the best ways to follow and friend people on social media sites to point them in the direction of trustworthy sources. Finally, keep up with them—social media is a trend that evolves at a rapid pace, and the only way we can utilize social media in this manner is to make sure we don’t fall behind.

McClarty, K.L., Orr, A., Frey, P.M., Dolan, R.P., Vassileva, V., & McVay, A. (2012). A Literature Review of Gaming in Education. Pearson.

In this report, the authors explain five claims about the use of gaming in education. Within the report, the authors define games as “a system in which players engage in artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome” (McClarty, et al., 2012)—for digital games, this system incorporates the use of technology. The background of this report is the idea that digital gaming will, in the future, change the face of education, with five claims to support it (with the evidence for or against placed inside parenthesis):

  1. Games are built on sound learning principles (sort of; problem solving ability increases, but it’s difficult to take that skill and apply it to things other than gaming)
  2. Games provide personalized learning opportunities (well-designed games are challenging but achievable, and while gaming does help create deeper learning experiences, they should be paired with effective teaching)
  3. Games provide more engagement for the learner (depends—games incorporate many of the pieces required to engage students, to the point that gamers lose track of time and focus solely on the game, and motivation for accomplishing certain tasks by giving achievements certainly increases participation; however, there is not set idea as to what makes a game motivating)
  4. Games teach 21st century skills (games foster many kinds of skills, including cooperation, problem-solving, and decision-making, especially in multi-player game situations)
  5. Games provide an environment for authentic and relevant assessment (games are, by definition, a form of assessment—the problem lies in how to quantify those assessments)

The authors conclude by stating that games can facilitate learning, but more research is necessary to discover exactly how games should be used for learning.

UNIT 6:

16 Ways Teachers Use Pinterest. (2014). Retrieved from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/02/16-ways-teachers-use-pinterest.html

This is less an article and more an infographic, with information taken from www.onlineuniversities.com/ways-educators-use-pinterest. I’ve opted to put this in my PLE because, realistically, there are a lot of great ideas in here, and Pinterest is (like it or not) a current trend in online learning for both students and educators. This particular infographic shows different ways educators can use Pinterest effectively, including collaboration with others, curating content to help students get more information, and organize ideas about the subject—again, both for yourself and your students. Social media is both a current and a future trend, and Pinterest is (though not in traditional form) social media.

UNIT 7:

Kreber, C. & Kanuka, H. (2006). The scholarship of teaching and learning and the online classroom. Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education, 32(2), 109-131.

This article discusses the ways in which the ideas of the traditional classroom influence the online classroom. Online learning is defined by the authors as “the use of Internet communication technologies to enhance and/or support learning in higher education, including technology-enhanced, blended/hybrid, and fully distance delivered” (Kreber & Kanuka, 2006). The authors define the scholarship of teaching and learning (which they shorten to SoTL throughout the article) as “teachers seeking evidence for what works and then making their findings more widely available” (Kreber & Kanuka, 2006)—i.e., trial and error. However, online learning is a different beast entirely from the traditional classroom; therefore, traditional SoTL doesn’t work as well for online courses. The authors argue (rightfully so) that higher level learning is more difficult to achieve through online education, and that even though there is more to learn about the best ways to achieve higher level learning online, teachers are using traditional SoTL. What the authors learned from their study is that, while there is a lot to learn still about assisting higher level learning in online education, online classrooms help elevate learning in a traditional classroom.

UNIT 8:

Lagerwey, J. (2013). Grading with Google+: Assessing Social Media Assignments. Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier, 1.

This article discusses the use of Google+ in grading assignments. The idea behind the assignment was to create a profile on Google+ for a fictional character or genre, and to build that profile as if it were an actual person—including an about page, photos, posts, and likes on other pages. There were checkpoints the instructor used across the semester, giving a final grade at the end. This, to my mind, is a remarkably forward-thinking idea. Using social media in the way it should be, but incorporating aspects of the classroom into it without the instructor butting in is pretty cool. Lagerwey did say that some of the downfalls were in students that weren’t as motivated to participate all that often because it was a semester long project. Additionally, he states that while many of the students participated, most were seniors that already had a plan once they graduated, weren’t too concerned with grades at that point, and that the assignment did “almost nothing to encourage the few students who…felt marginalized or disengaged from their peers, the class material, and the instructor” (Lagerwey, 2013). He concluded by stating that it’s possible to use social media assignments to engage students, but that more evidence and research is needed.

 

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