Monday, April 4, 2011

New Technologies Enable New Online Pedagogies

Computer and networking technologies continue to advance at accelerating rates. With rapidly-expanding access to the cloud and ever-increasing bandwidth, faculty have new opportunities to use new technologies in online education to engage, collaborate, facilitate, and innovate. In this presentation, Prof. Oakley will examine a number of new technologies that enable new online pedagogies aimed at improving student learning.

Oakley's philosophy regarding the use of new technologies in teaching:

Just Do It

Oakley's Ties to Iowa

Burks Oakley has significant ties to Iowa:

Online Education in the United States, 2009

Learning on Demand: Online Education in the United States, 2009 [Survey report published by the Sloan Consortium]

Online enrollments have continued to grow at rates far in excess of the total higher education student population, with the most recent data demonstrating no signs of slowing.
  • Over 4.6 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2008 term; a 17 percent increase over the number reported the previous year.
  • The 17 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.2 percent growth of the overall higher education student population.
  • More than one in four college and university students now take at least one course online.
The 2009 report also found that 74 percent of public institutions believe that online is critical for their long-term strategy. In addition, the growth of online courses and programs has increased the need for faculty to become comfortable with online teaching and gain the necessary skills to make online courses a success.

Strengths of Online Learning

2008 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) study (see pages 15 and 16):

An excerpt:

"Other key findings from the 2008 survey are: Students taking most of their classes online report more deep approaches to learning in their classes, relative to classroom based learners. Furthermore, a larger share of online learners reported very often participating in intellectually challenging course activities.... When courses provided extensive, intellectually challenging writing activities, students engaged in more deep learning activities such as analysis, synthesis, and integration of ideas from various sources, and they grappled more with course ideas both in and out of the classroom. These students also reported greater personal, social, practical, and academic learning and development. McCormick says the findings for online learners are intriguing. “Critics of distance education assume that face to face classes have inherent advantages as learning environments. But these results indicate that those who teach classes online may be making special efforts to engage their students. It may also be the case that online classes appeal to students who are more academically motivated and self-directed."

Prof. Bill Pelz, Herkimer County Community College - interview

The Online Program at UIS - Some Basic Information

UIS offers 8 baccalaureate degree completion programs, 9 masters degrees, and 8 post-baccalaureate certificate programs in a fully online format. UIS also offers 3 masters degrees in a blended format (less than one-half the campus visits normally required).

A key feature of the online program at UIS is that online courses are taught on-load by the SAME faculty who teach on-campus; the online program is fully integrated with the campus.

The online enrollments have grown continuously since the initiative was started in 1998:

At census for the Spring 2010 semester:
  • Online majors made up 26.5% of UIS headcount enrollment. (more than 1 in 4)
  • At 1,290, the number of online majors increased by 114 from Spring 2009 (9.7%). (The UIS census headcount increased by 327 students overall.)
  • 33.7% of credits were generated in online courses. (more than 1 in 3)
  • 53.8% of UIS students took at least one course online. (more than half)
  • 31.9% were registered only in online courses. (3 in 10)
  • 35.6% of online majors have mailing addresses outside Illinois. (more than 1 out of 3)
  • 85.3% of the Illinois students have mailing addresses outside Sangamon County. (more than 5 out of 6)
  • The online majors are older than their on campus counterparts, by as much as 9 years on average at the undergraduate level, and by 3 years at the Masters level. The average age is 35.1 for online Masters students, and 34.4 for online undergraduate students.
  • Students taking both online and on campus courses take heavier courseloads than either the completely online or on campus students, by about 4 hours at the graduate level.
The online program at UIS has received national recognition for quality.

Sound Pedagogy Drives Technology Choice

It is an axiom that technology should not determine how we teach, rather we should begin by choosing the method and mode by applying appropriate pedagogy. As my colleague Prof. Ray Schroeder explains in his instructional design site (, social constructivist approaches have been shown to be successful in online learning. Some of the major principles of social constructivism are:

The following are encouraged:
  • Active learning (rather than passive learning)
  • Interaction between and among students
  • Opportunity for students to pursue individual interests
  • Building a learning community
  • Alternative assessment opportunities
  • The facilitating of individual knowledge-building
Technologies can facilitate and enable those learning activities.

We select a technology with a purpose and an outcome in mind. Never use a technology just because it is new or cool.

As Ray says, "Providing tutorials on learning technologies is a bit like giving an ice sculpture as a gift -- the shelf life is not long." So, at UIS we focus on how to keep up with the changing array of technology used in our teaching.

Facebook is Where Today's Students Are

How do students communicate?

Thus spake Zuckerberg: “We don’t think a modern messaging system is going to be e-mail.”

Signs you’re an old fogey: You still watch movies on a VCR, listen to vinyl records and shoot photos on film. And you enjoy using e-mail.

Facebook Accounts for 25% of All U.S. Pageviews
November 19, 2010 by Jolie O'Dell

Facebook’s putting up some big numbers in terms of U.S. web traffic. Right now, the site accounts for one out of every four pageviews in the United States. ... In the past week, saw 3% more web visits and almost five times more pageviews than

Oakley's online class has an "official" Facebook page. Students who "like" this page get all postings in their "News Items" feed in Facebook.

Diigo - Social Bookmarking Software

Diigo is a social bookmarking tool - something that should be considered part of Web 2.0 - the "read-write" web. Diigo is free and very powerful. You can bookmark web sources, add comments (like PostIt notes), add tags to your bookmarked sites, and share your bookmarks with others.

The Diigo website states "Diigo enables effective collaborative research. You can easily share your findings, complete with your highlights and sticky notes, with friends and colleagues. A project team, a class, or a club can create a group on Diigo to pool relevant resources, findings and thoughts together."

Prof. Oakley has a brief tutorial about Diigo at:

The Diigo handout for his online course is at:

And the students in his online class are sharing their bookmarked articles in a group at:

Student Blogs - Individual & Team Blogs

Blogs can be created easily using free software (such as that found at and then published for free on commercial sites (such as

Team Blogs - Blogs can have multiple contributors (a "team blog"). A good example of this approach is found in Economics 490 at the University of Illinois - "Behavioral Economics" - taught by Prof. Lanny Arvan. His students have team blogs linked from the lower-left of the course blog at:

Reflection Blogs - Dr. Amy E. Oakley, of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Washington, used individual student "reflection blogs" in her Biology 485B course, in which students reflected on what they had learned about various course topics.

YouTube - Delivering Course Content

YouTube is a great way to deliver content right to the students' desktop - and to their mobile devices. Here is an example from Prof. Lanny Arvan at the University of Illinois:

And here is an example from Prof. Oakley's online class:

Note that YouTube now provides closed captioning for free!

Podcasting - iTunes and iTunesU

UIS Prof. Michael Cheney - Online course entitled “The Beatles: Popular Music and Society” - podcasts are used to deliver content.

December 2010: UIS professor's Beatles podcast the second most downloaded on iTunes U

Prof. Oakley's also is producing podcasts for his online class - see:

These weekly podcasts target the auditory learner. Students listen to these podcasts on their computers, their smartphones, and their tablet PC's (such as the iPad).

Jing - Free "Screencasting" Software and Storage

Jing - Screencasts combine audio and video to explain various topics. The free Jing software can be used to produce screencasts that can be stored online (in the cloud) for free at

Here is an example from Prof. Oakley's online class:

A tutorial about the use of Jing, which contains many more examples, can be found at:

Moving Everything to the Cloud

Image Copyright © 2010 Bluemile, Inc.

Throw away your USB memory stick! Use cloud-based storage instead!

2 Gigabytes for free at

Amazon now provides 5 Gigabytes for free, and as much cloud-based storage as you are willing to pay for - see:

Here is an interesting article from the NY Times about why you no longer need a USB memory stick:

Gadgets You Should Get Rid Of (Or Not)

Are colleges ready for cloud computing? The latest Campus Computing Project survey, completed in the fall of 2010, reported that only 15 percent of campuses have a strategic plan to address cloud computing.

Cloud-Based Apps - Google Documents

Image © 2010 MXSweep

Cloud-Based Apps - One great example involves word processing - shared editing, collaborative writing, with documents stored in the cloud.

Google Docs - certainly the most well known -

Collaborative summary of Lisa Dawley's morning keynote at #IACON2011:

The Case for Online Word Processors

Another suite of cloud-based productivity apps is from Zoho - - certainly up and coming - worth keeping an eye on.

Collaborative writing - students sharing documents (collaboration with colleagues, as well).

iPad and Other Tablets

Tablet PC's, such as the iPad, are changing the way students communicate, and the way that they access information.

Learning Online: Expert Predicts a Deluge of Tablet Computers on Campuses

Notre Dame launches eReader study, creates first paperless course

Open Educational Resources

Looking to the future, Open Educational Resources (OER) should revolutionize online and blended learning in the next five years.

Open Educational Resources Common - see:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has a major initiative in this area:

WA Open Educational Resources Blog by Cable Green

From Ray's Online Learning Update blog this past Wednesday: