Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lecture capture technologies: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Teachers have been using lecture capture technologies for several years to record what happens in their classrooms and make it available to students digitally. In most cases, teachers are using video recording technology to capture their lectures. However, not all video technologies are created equal, according to Jerald D. Cole, Ed.D.

As the Chair of the Department of Instructional Technology at the University of Bridgeport, Jerry has tested and used a wide variety of lecture capture technologies. In his experience, he's found some of the major pros and cons of each technology for teachers and students, which he presented during Post University's Online Learning Conference 2012.

Jerry gave a run-down of lecture capture technologies he's used in both online and traditional classes, ranging from GoToMeeting to Camtasia to ScreenFlow. He discussed methods for storing videos, including his favorite -- Google DocsJerry also shared the steps of his lecture capture process, and went into what hardware would be required for several types of lecture capture software.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How to use Edmodo to teach math online

Hendree Milward faced some challenges when he first started teaching his math classes online at Tunxis Community College. He wanted to be able to have rich online discussions with his students, but he found math is a subject that doesn't lend itself as well to online discussion as other subjects, such as business, marketing, and politics, for instance.

In addition, many of Hendree's students have basic technical skills, so any educational technology he used had to require a low level of technical literacy. Hendree wanted to find a platform that would let him hold enriching online discussions with his math students, yet would be user friendly and secure. So he began using Edmodo.

For those who are unacquainted, Edmodo is a social networking platform for learning. Teachers can create networks for each course they teach. They can start topics for discussion, create polls, administer quizzes, assign homework and projects, and post grades. Students can write and respond to posts, take quizzes, and check on their assignments and grades. Edmodo also has a messaging system where teachers can message all their students, and teachers and students can message each other privately.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to improve student achievement through adaptive learning and lecture capture technologies

Teachers know that every classroom is made up of students who learn at a range of paces. They also know how challenging it can be to individualize their curricula as a result.

That's why adaptive learning has received increased attention over the past couple years. Adaptive learning is an educational method for culling information on students' strengths and weaknesses, which teachers can then use to adapt their teaching to suit each student's learning pace and needs.

We listened to some of our peers' perspectives on adaptive learning and saw some of the latest technology developments happening in the space at Post University's Online Learning Conference 2012.

Mark Nestor, Associate Provost and CIO for the University of the Sciences, presented on why adaptive learning is a missing link in our overall efforts to improve education. He talked about how adaptive learning gives students and teachers more time to deeply engage and interact with one another -- a crucial part of improving student achievement.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Who's really driving the online education revolution

APP-TITUDE: Generating the best student outcomes through online
education requires highly interactive and engaging learning models
Several recent news articles have underscored how we need to transform the American education system and provide programs that improve the way we teach and learn. Many of the ideas presented focus on the online education revolution, and how to implement and improve online education.

We think some of them are spot-on in their analyses. Others have stirred up some disagreement among our faculty. We wanted to highlight a few of the stories that have fired us up to see what you think.

First, a series of articles talked about the changes underway at many colleges and universities regarding online education. David Brooks said that what is happening to higher education is a "rescrambling around the Web" in his New York Times column, "The Campus Tsunami."

He also said that online education today mostly helps students with the initial learning process of absorbing information, rather than thinking about the information, testing its use in a discussion, and organizing it into an argument or thesis.

While many of us at Post University admire David and his writing, we think his understanding of online learning is at an early stage. Many innovative online programs have been underway for years and are helping students achieve the higher-level learning processes of absorbing, considering, testing, and using information in an argument. These programs are based on highly interactive learning models, and are designed to engage students and faculty in deep discussions about the subject matter.

What's even more important to understand, though, is that smaller, lesser-known institutions; for-profit universities; and community colleges have mainly been leading this online education revolution. The Ivies are bringing more attention, brand, and credibility to online education with their recent entrance into this space. However, it is the former group of institutions that have been at the forefront of the creation, measurement, and innovation of higher education itself.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why most time management tips won't help you manage time

GETTING A GRIP: There are several ways you can
make better decisions about spending your time
Consider your day-to-day schedule for a moment. Think about the tasks on your to-do list, and what you usually accomplish in a day. How often do you look back at the end of the day and realize that many things on today's to-do list have been moved over to tomorrow's to-do list? Or worse yet, they are just missed entirely?

If you're like most working adults and adult learners, you probably say this regularly -- maybe every day. You likely feel frustrated and unfulfilled when you can't accomplish everything you set out to achieve, whether it be for work, your studies, or your personal life. You probably think the solution is to manage your time better. But you're wrong.

That's because time management is a myth. The truth is, we don't manage time because time itself is not something we can control. Rather, we manage the choices we make about our time. We decide to spend an entire day on a project, neglecting other tasks we have to get to. We choose to check email every 10 minutes and pick up every phone call, opening ourselves up to distractions that steal our attention away from our objectives.

The real solution, then, is to get better at deciding how you spend your time. Here are 11 tips I recommend:

1. Take the power seat. Every time you choose to immediately respond to an email, answer a phone call, and attend an ad hoc meeting, you are choosing how you allocate your time. As a result, you might create expectations about your ability to respond and act immediately. This can in turn derail your schedule. But when you take control and slot the task into an appropriate place in your workflow, you can stay on track while still accomplishing new tasks on deadline. I know that you can't plan every minute of your day. You shouldn't try. Leave "white space" on your calendar to deal with the urgent things that come up during the day.

2. It's about priority management, not time management. If everything is urgent, nothing is urgent. That's why it's crucial to always focus on your #1 priority. If you do this, you're well on your way to making better decisions about using your time because this helps you push aside distractions and stay centered on the task at hand. If you don't know your #1 priority, then you need to slow down and take time to think it through. Even a five-minute planning break can make a huge, positive impact on productivity.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to be more creative -- especially if you don't think you have a creative job

CREATIVITY, SIMPLIFIED: Steve Dahlberg
talks about how anyone can be more creative
There's no shortage of information and advice on how to be more creative. You can read the do's, don'ts, tips, and tricks until something finally clicks and you come up with a creative idea. But we wanted to tell you how you can bypass all that, and get down to the real nut of becoming more creative. So we turned to our friend, Steve Dahlberg.

Steve has spent the past 20 years promoting and teaching creative thinking and problem solving to professionals around the U.S. and world. He's been heavily involved in this arena, which you can see just by looking at the titles attached to his name: Director at International Centre for Creativity and Imagination, Vice President of Innovation at Future Workplace, Co-Host/Producer at the "Creativity in Play" BlogTalkRadio series, Member of the Board of Directors at National Creativity Network, Lecturer at University of Connecticut, and blogger at Applied Imagination.

We asked Steve if he'd join us on our blog to tell us about why he sees many people struggling to be creative, and how to easily incorporate creativity into what you do. Scroll down to read our Q&A with Steve and our blogger, Janelle. We thought many valuable points were raised. But perhaps the most interesting part of our interview will be what you do as a result of reading it.

Thanks again for joining us, Steve.



Janelle: First off, Steve, do you think creativity is innate or is it learned?

Steve: It's really a combination of both. We often think about children and how innate it is for them to play, try things, make mistakes, and learn from that. We all start out that way, but many of us lose track of that as we get older. Oftentimes, we're funneled toward one right answer and one way of thinking, so as we get older, we lose touch with our natural creativity.

So I think the learning part of creativity is oftentimes more just getting things out of the way and getting back to this natural ability and then being able to tap back into that creative state and apply it in our lives in general.

Also, part of learning creativity is practicing new ways of thinking. This helps warm up our brains and makes it easier to get back to that innate state of creativity. Keep in mind, that there's a spectrum of what natural creativity looks like, so tapping into it produces different creative output for everyone.

Janelle: How do you know if you're a creative person?

Monday, June 4, 2012

How to create a game-based learning course that engages and motivates students

Good games are not only fun to play, but can be useful in education, due to their ability to stimulate and engage the players. As we play a game, we learn how to navigate the challenges and achieve the objectives required to win.

This is why many teachers are using game-based learning in their online curricula. Perhaps you've taken this approach and want to see how other instructors are doing it, or maybe you're considering it and want to learn more. If so, you've come to the right place!

One of the sessions from Post University's Online Learning Conference 2012 focused on this topic. It was presented by Roger Travis, who has been an innovator in the area of game-based learning. He is Associate Professor of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages at the University of Connecticut, and Director of the Video Games and Human Values Initiative, based at UConn.