Monthly Archives: July 2013

Sloan-C: Unconference Session: eTexts and Open Educational Resources (OER)

For a full listing of materials and questions proposed, you can review the Google Doc at

The audience was a majority of instructional faculty.  Overall, this is a place libraries should be involved and we are 99% not.  Here are some of the conversation highlights.

Questions asked:

  • Are publishers willing to let you take a copy of a chapter from one book and then take another chapter of another book?
    • Why aren’t they working with their Reserves service?
  • Pearson’s offers a My Finance Lab entire portal connected to textbooks – this resource wouldn’t be available if you didn’t use the book
  • the amount of time that an electronic text (they meant books) is available is limited
    • generally they get eText for 6-18 months
    • print still had greater resale value
  • Push to identify the major courses we all teach – the California affordable textbooks
    • this will create tension determining what is a “basic” or “common” course versus something that needs to be more distinctive
  • How do we amass this multimodal materials for use across systems?
  • Classroom Salon is like VoiceThread but better analytics – used in Intro to Chem and Anatomy classes
  • Faculty want to be able to share annotated text so students see the emphasized information or incorporating video lectures at the key points in the text
  • Free adaptive software (possibly this MIT-based open source project
  • For professional organizations like Modern Languages Association, there aren’t typically sessions to consider collaborating on a textbook together on Philosophy, for example –> maybe we should?
  • AAMC+Khan Academy+Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – one example of coordinating the efforts
  • this also sounds like they need a central repository, like PRIMO
  • if you are using a system or text aggregator, use it for what it is intended; don’t try to have discussion outside the LMS since that is what students are most familiar with using and they may hit you on the course reviews
  • unsure of the value of Ginkgotree or if this just duplicates the LMS
  • it would be great to have the analytics about how the class had to read the same paragraph 7 different times, indicating we need to emphasis this concept or explain better
  • health sciences tends to need 5 different books based on content – don’t have enough time to search the periodical literature to find all the information you would need to cover the same material from the books
  • for some topics (like Aristotle), he hasn’t written anything new so publishers are mostly scrambling the content every two years or so as a “new” book
  • how we visually represent this stuff can create visual consistency challenges

Sloan-C: Educational Mixology: Pedagogical Approaches to Faculty Development and Course Redesign in Health Sciences

  • Project based in School of Medicine at George Washington University in DC
  • Other initiatives on campus are in School of Nursing and Writing program

Drivers and needs

  • need more healthcare providers, as Consumer Reports has identified and introduced the different roles
  • expanding curricula
  • emphasis on problem based or case based learning
  • emphasis on improve learning outcomes related to future practice


  • resistance from faculty and students
  • methods of instruction have been highly traditional (lecture–>application)
  • perception of loss of personal contact –> same fear as EHR usage

BL and faculty development

Faculty approach

  • evidence-based using Quality Matters rubric
  • collaborative
  • two initiatives
    • Review, Refresh, Revise class – done before the semester
    • SMART labs
      • software, hardware, peopleware
      • physically located right next to the departments

PA6210: Health, Justice & Society

  • PA is a 2 year, cohort program
  • 2 credit, first semester course to introduce new PA students to social dynamics of health
  • challenges
    • large class size
    • theater style classroom
    • variety in student background
  • focus less on reduction of F2F time, as a reason for BL
  • using multimodal approach: review what did work well in course already and then consider how to reformat
  • goal of more reflection–>journaling
  • Pedagogical goals
    • promote reflective practice (Schon, 1987)
    • increase interaction (Bandura, 1986; Illeris, 2003; McDonald, 2012)
    • support higher level of learning –> challenge since didactic learning in first year and practice in 2nd year so content and use are separated or could be forgotten
    • support communities of inquiry (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004; Garrison & Anderson, 2003)
    • promote teams and teaming
  • push back from students not wanting to watch videos ahead of time because they felt they should just hear it from the expert himself in the class session
  • spot check or follow more interesting discussions, as they choose
  • assignment
    • develop groups and each to explore epidemiological information of each different ward in DC
    • students develop wikis — little specific instruction allowed creativity with information representation
  • things learned
    • never enough structure
    • some initial pushback, perhaps since this is the only course in program like this – had 1 day, in-person orientation
    • must brief guest lecturers on the course structure
    • great reflection, application and synthesis
    • journals recognize individual biases
  • student reactions
    • most value reading responses of peers in online discussion
    • some indicate how online discussion impacts F2F discussion
    • many value thinking about materials prior to class
    • concerns regarding workload compared to course credit — despite student self-reporting that they spent 2-4 hours outside of class, which is not unusual for this course
    • a few see no value in online portion
  • evaluation
    • lots and lots of surveys….
    • selective assignment review
    • focus groups with faculty

Sloan-C: Will It Blend? Technology Use in Student Support Services

The presentation focused on academic advising’s use of technology in blended support.  I’ve added notes on personal JMU practices that are doing this in some way, shape, or form, but definitely these tools have alternate uses and potentials.

  • Google Voice as a means to text with students
  • Examples of use include scheduling advising appointments,
  • Provide easy integration into Outlook email

Tech tools you can invest in

  • Desktop Capturing – Camtasia Relay
    • institutional cost
    • students can download client
    • Jing is free alternative
    • quick voiceover / web demo
    • JMU has Camtasia Relay for faculty, but we should explore this for students
  • Student Lounge – Desire2Learn, Blackboard, Moodle
    • virtually simulate hallway conversation space
    • JMU has 90% of traditional, in-person undergraduates — how might we recreate this for the distance graduate programs?
  • Virtual Desktops – XenDesktop
    • helps work around cost and installation issues for expensive softwares like Photoshop
    • JMU has done some of this through the Business school due to use of Remote Desktop access to specific software loaded on Showker computers
  • Web Conferencing – GoToMeeting
  • Instant messaging for advising
    • yea, idea was “stolen” from library virtual reference support – w00t!
    • emails as formal/easy to delete
    • best practices:
      • be approachable – introduce yourself
      • communicate if you are juggling multiple chats – fosters understanding and patience
      • check back often
      • don’t just give the answers, show them
      • confirm question resolution
    • using Zoho
      • can be friended through any system but you have 1 login
      • people are assigned to one dedicated person each day (office of 5)
      • have to provide name
      • provide direct option for friending on Yahoo, Google, MSN, Yahoo messaging systems
    • JMU Libraries’ use of Libraryh3lp seems easier (no friending necessary) but involves open source setup time; LibAnswers could also be a good solution for this group given FAQ auto-creation, possible reuse of Jing video guides
  • Twitter and TweetDeck
    • 10 commandments for academics
    • more about allowing students to get to know you
    • JMU has no broad initiative, but the Libraries have dabbled a bit – currently, this is mostly individual efforts.  There are some interesting projects from Nursing and Health Sciences faculty with using Twitter to create communal conversations about news updates on course topics.
  • Boundaries
    • student identity/privacy/FERPA
      • most of the research is happening RIGHT NOW, but is a limited pool
    • student behavior online
    • responsibility and effects
  • UWM has dedicated Twitter person to track and tweet
  • efforts have all homegrown/free product adoption but future reviews of other collaborations with library platforms for similar services (LibAnswers, etc) could be a future step

Sloan-C: Scholarship trends in blended learning

Impact – Phase 1

  • determine impact
    • introduced impact factor and described altmetrics but ignored these metrics
    • Publish or Perish – why?
  • Articles
  • Book chapters
    • 2005 is largest collection
    • 14 chapters on chart come from the same book
  • Books
    • only 3 books had 5 or more citations for books published after 2009
  • White papers, reports, non-scholarly
  • Top journals – not generally from the traditional top education journals
    • British Journal of Educational Technology
    • Internet and Higher Education
  • Findings
    • diversity of fields
    • little conversation from core distance education journals
    • seminal works are more focused on definitions and nature, not empirical research
  • Utilized 2013 Drysdale, Graham, Spring, and Halverson coding system to codify articles into categories
  • Research questions focus (ranked in popularity order)
    1. instructional design
      1. models
      2. strategies and best practices
      3. design process
      4. implementation
      5. environment and course structure
    2. disposition
    3. exploration
    4. learner outcomes
      1. Performance outcomes
      2. Satisfaction, Student
      3. Engagement
      4. Independence in Learning
      5. Motivation and Effort
    5. comparison
    6. technology
    7. interaction
    8. demographics
    9. professional development
    10. others
  • 19 articles attempted to develop existing theory, but only 2 used the same theory
  • gaps:
    • lack of research on instructors
    • few EXPLAIN models
    • lack of theoretical cohesiveness
  • huge growth in graduate research (theses/dissertations) over the last 15 years
    • searched ProQuest

Sloan-C: Research in Blended Learning: Where are we now? And what are the future challenges and needs?

  • Overview of some of the topics from Charles Graham’s book related to research in blended learning.  Topics include workload factors, K-12, and more.  If you are interested in more, keep an eye out for Blended Learning: Research Perspectives, Volume 2 in November 2013
  • critical area that need more investigation: professional development
  • we tend to be more practice-oriented, so we need more development regarding research methods to move beyond just the case study since individual case studies are hard to compare to aggregate results for more broadly reusable practices
  • if we have 4,000 universities and each university has 4 sections of Psychology 101, do we really need to treat these as completely unique courses to build?  Even accounting for some unique differences, we probably don’t
  • blended learning makes you think very carefully about what you can do and what someone else could help you do
  • shifts attention appropriately to students
  • online components allow for greater data gathering to track individual student learning and achievement
  • for administrators, cost is a main driver
  • we can’t just be adding adjuncts to save cost
  • blended learning saves money by not using classroom space (long term savings), but we need to navigate new models of collaborative teaching/course development
  • K-12 sector
    • lens of disruptive innovation theory
    • blended learning started as a dropout recovery solution, home schooling solution
    • K-12 has a custodial role, so the daytime components like homeroom or band still exist but a good chunk of content is online
    • modalities needs to be connected
    • 7 main models, such as enriched
    • challenge: get beyond best practices and get to circumstance-based theory (ex: if you have feathers and wings, then you must be able to fly–>however, bats don’t have feathers but they fly and ostriches have feathers and wings but don’t fly–>more sophisticated understanding of drag, gravity, etc adjust the context)
    • for more information, you may want to check out the May 2013 report Is K-12 Blended Learning Disruptive? An Introduction to the Theory of Hybrids
  • European Union perspective – Anders Norberg from Skelleftea Council/Umea University, Sweden
    • don’t use “blended learning” but instead focus on quality enhancements – the concept is not connected to their theories
    • interested in how IT tools enhance educational process
    • education is a science in its own right while here instructional design is more the emphasized science
  • distance learning field struggled to find theories
  • theories are important to give direction to practice
  • we need to move beyond the looking at the physical dimension of blended/online learning to instead address the pedagogical dimensions
  • K-12 taxonomies help us work with at least using the same language
  • we seem to be suffering a bit from innovation fatigue; we also aren’t in a position to be able to fail, so we need to consider the human factors

Sloan-C: Alex Couros – Keynote Speaker

  • Interesting idea – self, auto-tweet during his own presentation
  • helping students and kids prepare for the social networks, identity, and presence online
  • Odd history
    • Relationship of a mixtape and a pencil
    • Microsoft Encarta ’95 – not really the largest amount of knowledge ever accumulated
  • Biggest mistake of our time – not leaving time or space to wonder
  • Google only gives us incomplete knowledge
  • Tools are different than they used to be – instead of being alone in a software or document, now you can share
  • Community
    • how do we develop community?
    • why do we create artificial boundaries of community in short, class-only environments instead of community over a longer term?
  • Networks provide
    • affordances – enable communication, collaboration, and cooperation in new and previously impossible ways
    • ideas/inspiration: connect us to new ideas
  • Relationships
  • Ethics issues: “Girl Rushes the Field at a Baseball Game, Captures a $1,500 Selfie”
  • Power of the Internet: A girl who blogs on her own, 9 years old, about something she cares about
  • we need to be leery of the technologies, as it has some great but also scary potential

What is blended learning?

  • a chore for students to do at home
  • that a blog, online submissions, and digital textbooks exist
  • mix interaction spaces between students and faculty
  • get support when, where, and from who they want
  • personalized learning experience
  • Identity – starts with the students
    • many have lost jobs due to social media
    • we need to prepare students better with the private vs public and open vs closed
    • “you’re not just hiring me, you’re hiring my entire network” – network documented via digital identity on Twitter, Facebook, etc, as well as traditional professional portfolio
    • play with it – ex: who wins in the battle of bird poop versus a SmartCar?
  • MOOC is not a static concept

Things To Read Later

Sloan-C: Critical Thinking Skills for Army Leaders: Applying Blended Learning Lessons From Multiple Contexts

  • Advanced Operations course (AOC) to develop mid-career officers in two venues
  • Study framework and Approach
    • online learning model with Sloan-C Pillars as course outcomes
    • emphasis on collaboration
    • course features
      • sync and async technologies
      • course content: complex thinking and skills, wide breadth, diverse teams
      • students: distributed worldwide, family and work commitments
      • org policy: compensation time for studies and actualization of the policy
  • Survey Findings about AOC-BDL (blended distributed learning)
    • student exit surveys
    • developed survey to gauge graduate student information
    • greater rate of response from exit surveys versus
    • nearly 80% of students thought the course met its goals
    • satisfaction levels generally high but only half would recommend it to others
    • post-graduate survey is actually more likely to recommend course than those completing immediate exit survey
    • work and family commitment was biggest challenge, but tech and internet access were still a significant (approx. 40%) amount of a challenge to course satisfaction
    • students wanted scheduled in-person time for a week or two at end to work on program
    • complex skill analysis is a challenge to do online
  • Key Literature Review and Case Study Results
    • criteria: similar SLOs to AOC; serve adult learners; multiple media and modalities
    • 3 original cases
      • Pennsylvania State University World Campus – higher ed
        • lacks ability to get employer incentives included
      • Naval Postgraduate School – military ed
        • students get letter from employers regarding time/days/commitment
      • Xerox’s Service Delivery eXcellence (SDX) program – industry
        • 6-months long (a rarity in industry)
        • get employers involved – career specific
    • conclusions from literature
      • instructional design and pedagogy are most important factors, not the venue
      • four key methods
        • train students re: technology
        • scaffold discussions, provide timely feedback
        • use small groups for interactive activities – sometimes with role assignments (time keeper, etc)
        • have peer evals to increase accountability on teams
  • Findings and Conclusions
    • overall satisfied, but need to work on collaboration piece
    • firewalls and privacy limitations restrict access to alternate technologies and open source technologies –> exploring workarounds
    • needs more work on objective measures such as knowledge/skills/abilities prior to course and compare to afterwards, not just evaluate student and faculty satisfaction
    • address high attrition rate — unsure what the attrition rate is for in-person, but presumably lower than the online course scenario
    • backlog of people who need to take the course is in the thousands; residency program can only accept 1400 or so at a time

Sloan-C: Blended Learning Initiative: Implementing a Faculty Professional Development Program

As a more discussion driven session, I’ll try to capture the conversations that occur and it may look less fluid that other notes.

1. How would you frame the purpose for asking faculty to do blended learning?

  • Institutional goals such as aggressive enrollment numbers
  • Space (and lack thereof)
  • Enhancing teaching and learning – improved pedagogy and access
  • Flexibility
  • What is the future? Turning off all devices seems antiquated
  • We have underprepared students – so how do we prepare them?  Also, problems with being digitally prepared students.  –> same conclusions as us librarians on the front lines
  • Non-motivators – cost savings for institution

Presenters’ approach

  • K-12 learning is changing so we need to prepare for that future
  • Incentives structures in place (either time or money)  – BYU Phase I=$1000 professional development stipend to 10-12 faculty to redesign a course for 2012-2013 academic year; Phase II=$1500 stipend to implement, evaluate student learning, and make improvements to the course over three consecutive semesters
  • Purpose and incentives are key
  • Priorities: UGs vs Grad classes, Required vs Elective, etc
  • Goal=replace 25-50% of seat time, but a few exceptions existed –> this requirement existed to avoid “class-and-a-half” scenario
  • Allowed folks to work in teams –> made richer experience –> collaborate through Google
  • Workshop overview
    • 6 units – 1 week each
    • blended format so faculty got the full student experience
    • initially had unit on assessment and SLOs, but faculty (perhaps because they were from College of Ed) were so over it, so items were reworked as Additional Resources space –> lesson learned: know your audience and tailor this info accordingly
    • faculty fears: blended learning creates content that replaces them
    • Week 1: Course Models
      • what challenges can blended learning possibly solve?
      • Basic rule of thumb: Effectiveness, engagement, and efficiency
    • End of phase I had exit interview with Charles to review content and criteria
    • Doing and learning most of the tool stuff in face-to-face reduces anxiety
      • before session, use drag and drop listing of softwares to have people tailor and rank their preferences
    • Digital dialogue = video, audio, or text recording for student assignment feedback

So how do faculty react? Check out this BYU faculty member expressing his thoughts.

Audience questions/comments/gripes

  • Who owns learning objects? This is highly fuzzy at Open/OER materials
  • Faculty taught to create own websites, as well as load to LMS
  • Ratio of tenured and untenured faculty=40% untenured/60% tenured –> younger faculty were more successful
  • Participation and transformation of courses is becoming part of the promotion and tenure considerations
  • Takes students about 3 weeks to get adjusted to flipped level and enforcing preparation before in-person class component

Inspiring thoughts to doodle on later

  • How can libraries consider this model for better information literacy integration into curriculum?  Probably not money, but time release would be an option
  • The folks cover some collaborative technologies like Dropbox, Google Docs, etc – what about reference management tools? What about the privacy concerns? Sounds like this is in the library’s bailiwick
  • Creative Commons segment is last week – perhaps we should rethink the “Library” unit to better speak to their needs, such as Creative Commons+ Copyright as a separate component from library content

For more information, to see all of the modules, and the teaching materials, check out

SLOAN-C: Changing the Layout of Health Information: Visualizing Trends Over Time

As the last professional development conference stop on this summer tour, I attended the 10th Annual Sloan Consortium Blended Learning conference, both as a participant and as a presenter; I’ll get to the second part later.  These posts aim to keep up with the highlights and will breakout by session topic.

The session presentation was inspired by Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries in 200 Years, a visual representation that helps depict the evolution of global health.  The video is awesome and only takes 4 minutes, so I would check it out.

  • Race, Ethnicity, and Health course (Online+In-person lab)+Instructional Technologies grants = opportunity
  • Review Rosling’s site, but his Trendalyzer focuses more on information at the country level and also uses different demographic data than what is available in the US population
  • Google Motion Charts was chosen instead of Trendalyzer
  • Majority of time spent on prepping –> (data curation and management seems to find me everywhere…..)
    • Are you collecting data or are you using other secondary data sources?
    • Challenges with mixing and matching health data of different sources
    • Used Census Bureau and CDC for stats sources
    • How many time points are you including? What is the whole time frame?
    • Recommendation: Start with small data sample to make sure chart behaves before doing using full dataset
  • Use Google Sheet for data repository – specific layout required in order to play nice with Google Motion Chart
    • Column A=entity (gender, state, etc)
    • Column B=has to be time indicator (year, month, etc)
    • Columns C+D=data points

How To Make a Motion Map

  1. Google Drive
  2. Create New Spreadsheet
  3. Plop data into Google Drive spreadsheet (make sure its cleaned up)
  4. Highlight all data in Google Drive spreadsheet
  5. Insert>Chart>Chart tab>Trend
  6. Chart can be on same spreadsheet as data or provides option for Move to New Sheet
  7. Adjust colors, axes, trails between data points, etc.


  • Flash-based
  • Requires Internet connection to run
  • To publish chart, need to publish on your own webpage (Scripting language doesn’t play well with WordPress)

Here are their items:

And I created one, too!

As a teaching tool:

  • lab setting is in person, approx. 20 students at a time
  • students required training on navigating these information sources – multiple points and encoded meaning requiring information; scaffold up the different components such as same size vs variable size, unique colors vs same colors, etc.
  • for multi-components: Infant Mortality Rate (y-axis)+Mothers Who Smoked During Pregnancy(x-axis) on
    • created confusion regarding cause and effect discussions – can’t completely ID that one factor as the cause-effect versus ethnicity, so how do you articulate what this represents then?
  • using multiple indicators was a challenge – probably took 3 classes before students were comfortable
  • students would ask students to investigate the reasons behind trends
  • To see how they ran the lab, you can review their Leading Causes of Death Lesson Plan