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Sloan-C Blended learning workshop day 2

UPDATE – all conference materials are now posted here.

Day two arrived and zipped by faster than day 1!  Here is what I I’m taking away -

Blended Learning: Past, Present and Future

Another good plenary panel session.  Again many tweets give you an idea of the big ideas discussed. Some of my favorite quotes/snips

  • Best of both worlds -> blended is classroom enhanced web learning.
  • DOE report calls blended “pedagogically rich environment.”
  • UCF finds blended has lower withdrawl rates and higher student satisfaction rates
  • UCF studied 1.8 million, yes that’s million, student evaluations and found “excellent” rating used most in blended courses.
  • Not moving parts of course online, but transforming to online.
  • UCF students are blending their programs by choosing different offerings in different formats to find their way through.  UW-M too.
  • UCF finds $ savings is in not having to build buildings for their increasing demand.

Next up Can Blended Learning Help Ease the Transition to College?

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Sloan-C Blended Learning Workshop day 1 brain dump

UPDATE – all conference materials are now posted here.

Just wrapped up day 1 of the Sloan-C Blended Learning workshop.  A very good and very dense day – to quote D P Gumby “my brain hurts.”

If You Build Hybrids, Will They Come? Grassroots Initiative to Institutional Embrace

I got there early and chatted with the presenter Dorothy.  I also got to chat with a nice woman from a graduate school that was thinking about blended.  The link to the presentation has a lot of resources that I plan to look through.  Keystone is in Pennsylvania and has about 1600 student FTE and is mainly a commuter school.  They had to convince upper administration to do blended.  Key items for me

  • Blended gives a way to learn how to be an online learner safely.  Students will be advancing their skills using online out in the workforce so we need to teach them how to be effective in that modality.
  • Some institutions, like Keystone, created a framework for blending so it can be described to students.  One school noted they have 8 week courses.  3 sessions will be online.  They meet on Tuesday nights.  The instructor chooses which sessions – often 1, 5, and 8.
  • Provide talking points for your champions in the administration to build support.
  • Their online learning committee approves online part of blended.  10 people on committee. Lead by librarian who leads Teaching and Learning with Technology office not by blended program manager.  Committee is key folks like divisional faculty reps, registrar, dean, media services.
  • Use QM to judge quality – have blended checklist based on it.
  • They require training before a faculty can teach blended.
  • Course approval form has approve, deny, and provisional results (i.e fix these 3 things and then it’s good to go).

Blended Learning: Big Issues and Strategies

This was a panel presentation that hopefully will have some of the material posted.  Excellent panel.  I sat next to a fellow midwesterner from the UW system (quite by accident).  Some favorite tidbits of mine were

  • You must tie your blended initiative to your mission or it will fail.
  • We need to enable students to “move time.”  Time is a precious resource for busy urban professional (CUNY school).
  • At UW-Milwaukee 68% of the blended students live around the campus.
  • Also at UW-M programs that required a synchronous component have failed.
  • “Thoughtfully blend with pedagogy.”
  • “Choreographed development of courses and programs.”
  • With blended there better be an important reason to convene class.  Don’t gather to lecture.
  • Initial total costs will be higher.
  • You must have a faculty development program with your blended initiative or it will fail.  You have one shot at launch to get it right.
  • At UW-M because the blend format is determined by the faculty it is harder to recapture the space use since it is irregular.
  • UW-M panelist, Tanya Joosten, is quite active in this area.  She’s done research in her courses on student outcomes in different delivery modes — blended, online, face-to-face.  She found blended students did best when she did an item analysis in her courses. She’s also found a statistically significant increase in graduation rate of blended students.
  • Accreditation will be focusing on time to degree.
  • Blended = student-centered active learning.  Many opportunities for authentic assessment, low stakes frequent assessment, students can get more feedback on learning and have the opportunity to change their learning before it’s too late.
  • Must be clear to students what they’re signing up for.  UW-M defines this clearly to students.
  • Establish a common language on your campus.
  • It’s not what tech you use but how you use the tech you have.

Lunch was in a tent.  Yes, a tent.  It’s in the 30s outside!  It was heated and was really extension of the building.  But it was a tent.  I randomly sat down at a table and who do I sit down next to — two folks from Normandale College!  In fact Jenny whom I was sitting next to will be teaching a film course at Augsburg next year and she’s an Augsburg alum.  Minnesota-dar.

Demystifying Evaluation to Effectively Capture Evidence of Impact

This is one where I’ll need to study the materials.  She provided a brief overview of the key concepts behind evaluation, contrasted with research and assessment.  I think I would have gotten more out of it right then if it was formatted as a 1.5 hour workshop like the morning sessions.  Evaluation is a sophisticated field and institutions can really benefit by having a professional evaluator available.

Re-thinking student written comments in course evaluations: Text mining unstructured data for program and institutional assessment

This one was interesting though a bit heavy — much lingo around research methods.  But some of the key concepts were

  • myths and fears – students lack maturity, its a popularity contest, unreliable and invalid, outside factors influence, these cannot meaningfully improve instruction
  • components of course evaluations by students – course content, instruction, and context
  • students more engaged mid-term and will give more constructive feedback
  • overall nice overview of research on student evaluation of courses
  • he looked at words used, their adjacencies, made scatter plot to show what words tended to appear near each other
  • he saw some correlation between likert and open-ended results

Next was the keynote from Josh Jarret – Blended Future: Trends Reshaping Higher Education and the Role of Blended Learning – Program Officer, Postsecondary Success, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  He was great as were his slides. The presentation is posted online.  My favorite tidbits

  • 75% of our students are non-traditional (based on criteria on his slide)
  • #1 predictor for student success is mom’s education
  • Student experience map is spaghetti path — few take a single path.
  • How do we break the iron triangle? cost – quality – access . Can’t increase one without lowering another.
  • He then talked about blending, but not of courses because he’ll leave that to the other sessions (clever!).
    • Blending individual craft to virtual teams to shared courseware.
    • Blending data analytics and learning (amazon.com, action analytics)
    • Blending formal and informal learning (do not try to pull, instead try to push learning to those informal spaces — speaking of virtual spaces)
    • Blending of institutions — partnerships
  • check twitter for many comments on his kenote!

The poster sessions were a bust for me.  There should have been Sloan-provided signs for them.  I couldn’t tell what they were and they were in the hallway which made it sometimes awkward.  Time to rest up for a full day tomorrow!


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