I teach primarily online courses in a university setting. Our students are predominately adult students seeking their undergraduate or graduate degree. Keeping adult students engaged in their course work can sometimes be challenging. So many students just want to get their “ticket punched” and get their degree. I believe if we give them some stake in the game, besides getting a passing grade, and have them complete their course work with something useful, they will be more engaged and their learning experience will go beyond just getting through the course and moving to the next course.
The article, “Six Things Faculty Can Do to Promote Student Engagement” provides some insightful suggestions to improving student engagement. The author suggests that to improve student engagement we refine what is considered participation, create positive instructor presence in the class, have time to discuss how learning happens and its importance, give students “stake” in the learning process, create applicable assignments, and learning assessments such as quizzes, finals, and exams as methods to both teach and assess learning. In most of my assessment assignments I allow students to retake the assessment several times so they can learn from their mistakes.
Sal Khan discusses how to re-engage the education model to change the former method of teaching to some type of test versus assessing a mastery of a concept. He uses an interesting example of building a house to testing versus mastery.
Several Oxford University academics analyzed a number of worker trait factors that assessed the susceptibility of occupations to be automated by robots. They based their calculations “on nine key skills required to perform it; social perceptiveness, negotiation, persuasion, assisting and caring for others, originality, fine arts, finger dexterity, manual dexterity and the need to work in a cramped work space.”
This article provides the reader an opportunity to input a specific occupation and the algorithm behind the data input will provide a indication as to the likelihood of the occupation being automated in the next two decades. According to the research, 35% of the occupations in the UK will be automated by 2035.
The outcome of this data reflects the importance of students and educational guidance counselors to be mindful of occupations that may become extinct for human workers.
I am an avid watcher of TED Talks. I found this poignant presentation by Taylor Mali, “What Teachers Make” to be a heart-warming representation of the profession I have chosen as my most favorite occupation in my professional career – to be an educator.
To quote TED Talks about this video, “Ever heard the phrase ‘Those who can’t do, teach’? At the Bowery Poetry Club, slam poet Taylor Mali begs to differ, and delivers a powerful, 3-minute response on behalf of educators everywhere.”
This presentation may be a bit raw in places but the messages is quite clear, teachers make a difference!
In March 2015 I presented this topic to the annual meeting of the Adult Higher Education Alliance (AHEA).
This is a PDF of the slides that were presented: Applying Quality Matters Standards to Blended & Online Courses – A Case Study
We are starting to look at starting some new program offering at my university. We are using the concept of lean startups, as shared by Eric Ries. It is definitely a paradigm shift from how we have approached program design in the past. This article is an interesting interview with Ries that shares some of his thoughts on how to use his lean startup method in higher education.
A recent Inside Higher Ed article by Doug Lederman, The Pulse: Copyright in Online Education, provided an excellent link to a Rod’s Pulse Podcast concerning copyrighting associated with online education.
With the rapid of growth in online learning teaching and learning opportunities education institutions, faculty, and students need to be cognizant of the copyright and intellectual properties rights of material posted on the Internet and in digital classrooms.
The direct link to the podcast is: http://www.rodspulsepodcast.com/