All post-secondary teachers and students use educational technology– whether for classroom-based, blended or fully online learning and teaching.
This three-part series, Three Pillars of Educational Technology: Learning Management Systems, Social Media, and Personal Learning Environments, explores the Learning Management System (LMS), social media, and personal learning environments – and how they might best be used for enhanced teaching and learning.
What is Next for Mobile Learning?
In December 2015, there were 4.3 billion mobile phone subscribers in the world. In North America, 77% of families have at least one smartphone and 46% have access to a tablet at home. Worldwide, even though only 75% of the world has ready access to electricity, 75% of the world’s population has access to a mobile phone. Some of the most remarkable learning development projects in the world, such as the Commonwealth of Learning’s Learning for Farmers initiative, use mobile phones and simple messaging systems to transform the livelihoods of thousands of families. Learning through mobile devices is possible anywhere and at anytime and is happening now.
Have you heard comments like this about online learning courses from faculty colleagues or students?
“I am not sure what we are supposed to do when...”
“There is no interaction, no feeling of belonging, no presence – I didn’t want to read an encyclopedia, I wanted to
“I hated this course. PowerPoints, a disembodied voice at the end of the phone lecturing…”
Even well intentioned designs can go wrong.
Some online courses are poorly thought through and designed and do not reflect what we know about adult learning,
student engagement and learning outcomes, the importance of interaction and feedback and the need for presence. In fact, a number of courses are designed as replicas of classroom courses rather than as courses purposely designed for an online learning environment: what works in a classroom may or may not work online.
For many faculty members, instructors, practitioners, administrators and policy makers, the language used to describe and discuss online and flexible learning is confusing. What on earth is a “flipped classroom”? What is the difference between “blended learning” and “fully online” learning? Why do some programs not have “instructors” but do have “mentors, coaches and guides”? It can be confusing.
Let’s look at the language of online and flexible learning and help understand what is being said when key terms are being used.
It was in 2007 that I compiled the first Top 100 Tools for Learning from the votes of learning professionals worldwide and have done so every year since then. This year to mark the 10th anniversary I have compiled the TOP 200 TOOLS FOR LEARNING 2016. The full list appears in the left-hand sidebar; follow the links to find out more about each of the tools. The slideset of the Top 200 Tools is embedded at the bottom of this page.
Through the writings and research of pre-eminent online learning expert, Dr. Tony Bates
For almost 50 years, Tony Bates has been a consistent, persistent and influential voice for the reform of teaching and learning in post-secondary education, notably through the effective use of emerging technologies. Author of 11 books and 350 research papers in the field of online learning and distance education, Tony Bates is also an advisor to over 40 organizations in 25 countries, and publisher of what is arguably the most influential blog on online learning (link is external) with over 20,000 visits a month. A Contact North | Contact Nord Research Associate, Dr. Bates has helped educators, academic administrators and policy makers grasp key concepts, trends and challenges in online learning. This posting is one of a series that looks at Tony’s perspectives and advice on key issues in online learning.
This series was researched and developed by Contact North | Contact Nord Research Associates, Dr. Jane Brindley and Dr. Ross Paul.
Through the writings and research of pre-eminent online learning expert, Dr. Tony Bates
For almost 50 years, Tony Bates has been a consistent, persistent and influential voice for the reform of teaching and learning in post-secondary education, notably through the effective use of emerging technologies. Author of 11 books and 350 research papers in the field of online learning and distance education, Tony Bates is also an advisor to over 40 organizations in 25 countries, and publisher of what is arguably the most influential blog on online learning (link is external) with over 20,000 visits a month. A Contact North | Contact Nord Research Associate, Dr. Bates has helped educators, academic administrators and policy makers grasp key concepts, trends and challenges in online learning This posting is one of a series that looks at Tony’s perspectives and advice on key issues in online learning.
I have been doing some reading and thinking about hard courses. Courses need to be challenging, but when they become too hard, students stop trying and little learning results. So how do we find that sweet spot between hard and not too hard? More importantly, how do we create that sweet spot in our own courses through the decisions we make about content, assignments, and exams?
This week, we released a study examining the relationship between the supply of graduates from six regulated professions – medicine, law, teaching, architecture, engineering, nursing – and the labour demand for these graduates. The historical evidence provided in that analysis is clear – we never get it right! We either oversupply or undersupply.
Toronto, Sept. 27, 2016 – Amid concern that today's postsecondary graduates are lacking critical employability skills, an international test on literacy, numeracy and problem-solving will be given to first-year and graduating students at 11 colleges in Ontario. A similar pilot for universities will follow in fall 2017.
The Essential Adult Skills Initiative (EASI) pilot project by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) marks the first time in Canada that core skills, considered foundational to success in work and life, will be evaluated at the postsecondary program and institutional level.
Employers value candidates who have developed career readiness competencies throughout their diverse academic experiences. Graduate students and postdocs in particular should aim to incorporate those transferable skill sets into their professional development so that they can be seen as more than just researchers and teachers. More than that, they need to be able to provide tangible illustrations of such skills and competencies in action to convince future employers that they are qualified for professional
Problem: you are a highly trained, skilled professional, but the academic job market is less than rosy.
Solution: the market for online, nonacademic courses is large and growing. For “academic entrepreneurs” willing to
retool their courses, this market represents an opportunity to build an independent business or supplement income
According to some estimates, by 2020 the worldwide market for self-paced online learning will be between $27.1 billion and $47.9 billion. The trends driving this growth in the United States involve shifts in the ways that companies hire and train employees, as well as changing expectations about the role of educational institutions.
I recently overheard a faculty member talking about students, and it wasn’t good. She sounded very much like a conference presenter whom Melanie Cooper describes in a Journal of Chemical Education editorial. The presenter’s talk had a strong “students these days” undercurrent.
Sometimes we do need to vent. It isn’t easy teaching students who don’t come to class prepared, seem to always want the easiest way, are prepared to cheat if necessary, don’t have good study skills, and aren’t interested in learning what we love to teach. Venting, especially to a trusted colleague, helps us put things in perspective. At some point, though, venting morphs into
complaining, and what we say about students becomes what we think about them. And that's when it starts getting dangerous, because it affects how we teach.
A main goal of this themed issue of Teachers College Record (TCR) is to move the conversation about PISA data beyond achievement to also include factors that affect achievement (e.g., SES, home environment, strategy use). Also we asked authors to consider how international assessment data can be used for improving learning and education and what appropriate versus inappropriate inferences can be made from the data.
There is widespread interest among a variety of stakeholders, including parents, teachers, policy makers, and the general public, about what and how well students are learning in educational systems around the world and how well educational systems are preparing students for life outside school (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, 2009). Student achievement is often monitored at the national level, but nations are increasingly interested in cross-national educational comparisons as well. Perhaps in response to increasing globalization in both social and economic terms, stakeholders want to understand their country’s education system within a broader international context (OECD, 2009; 2010). What are its relative strengths and weaknesses? Is it preparing citizens to participate in a globalized economy? Is it valuing high quality learning opportunities and distributing them equitably among children and youth? Is it sufficiently resourced in terms of personnel and materials? Are teachers prepared and supported to work with diverse and high needs student populations?
Tim Clydesdale’s The Purposeful Graduate: Why Colleges Must Talk to Students About Vocation outlines the results of a multiple campus initiative that encouraged students to critically examine how they might lead meaningful lives. The Lilly Endowment initially supported the initiative. When the Lilly funds came to an end, many campuses continued supporting these so-called pro-exploration programs, encouraged by the enthusiasm of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. This initiative and related programs explored the idea of vocation, defined not as a person’s main employment or occupation, but rather as a sense of purpose that gives meaning to their lives.
The term pro-exploration undoubtedly has religious connotations, a fact that is acknowledged early in the text. The initial Lilly funding targeted institutions with a religious affiliation in keeping with the mission and history of the Lilly Endowment. However, Clydesdale is careful to note that all students possess a vocational identity regardless of their religious identity. In an era
of workforce development, where vocational training correlates with specific skill sets and employment opportunities, the idea of exploring vocation as an individual passion seems to be a luxury. Yet the book positions pro-exploration programs as a nod to the original purpose of higher education: educating globally knowledgeable, capable, and responsive citizens. This goal is too often not realized and pro-exploration programs provide an active path towards this end.
When I was younger, much younger, I read a science-fiction book where life on a particular planet was difficult because the landscape was constantly shifting. If one substitutes conceptual and occupational for physical landscape, one could as easily be talking about Earth at the beginning of the 21st century.
Our system of higher education was designed for a stable conceptual and occupational landscape, the kind where our parents and their parents grew up. One went to school, maybe even attended college, and took a job. One retired from this job, perhaps having been promoted along the way. Many of today’s jobs did not exist during our parents’ days and those still existing often have the same name as before but require much more sophisticated skills. Jason Wingard and Michelle LaPointe note in Learning for Life: How Continuous Education Will Keep Us Competitive In the Global Knowledge Economy that we have left many of today’s citizens ill-prepared for the current occupational landscape. Our citizens’ skills, even many of our youngest, mismatch with the demands of today’s economy. Cynical politicians sometimes promise a return to the good old days, but they do so only
to collect the votes of the disenfranchised. Similar to other educated people, they know that the old jobs a e not coming back because the world has moved on; many people have not moved with it, are stuck in an occupational landscape that no longer
exists, and have become lost.
Canada’s government today announced major changes to Express Entry, the system under which most immigrants obtain permanent residence here.
The instructions from Minister of Citizenship and Immigration John McCallum, published in today’s gazette and set to take effect on November 19, award additional points to applicants whose degrees were obtained in Canada, and make significant changes to the weighting of job offers.
The classroom is a non-stop hub of feedback: test grades, assignment scores, paper comments, peer review, individual conferences, nonverbal cues, and more. Feedback is essential for student learning.
Still, students’ ability to process and use feedback varies widely. We have some students who eagerly accept feedback or carefully apply rough draft comments, while many others dread or dismiss their professors’ notes or reject exam grades as “unfair.” Although feedback is integral to our classrooms and work spaces, we often forget to teach students how to manage it.
When a campus crisis occurs, it’s critical that the president and the board are in close communication and have built a sense of trust.
Low performing and underachieving schools in the United States have long been characterized as desolate wastelands fraught with academic failures, unfulfilled aspirations, and uninspired students and teachers. Powerless to Powerful: Leadership for School Change shifts this narrative of failure and powerlessness. Instead, it focuses on the connections and transformational power of change agency to achieve collective ownership for organizational and personal success for those who are important in
schools: students and teachers.