Thinking Beyond the Bandwagon
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Thinking Beyond the Bandwagon

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One instructor's perspective on managing innovation podcasting, blogs, webpage assignments, discussion forums

One instructor's perspective on managing innovation podcasting, blogs, webpage assignments, discussion forums

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  • 1. Thinking Outside the Bandwagon One instructor’s perspective on managing innovation Robert Runt é University of Lethbridge
  • 2. outline
    • cautionary tale of my experiences with four innovative technologies
      • online discussion forums
      • web page assignments
      • blogs
      • podcasting
    • audience members share their experiences (enthuse or commiserate)
  • 3. life cycle of innovative teaching technologies a cautionary tale….
  • 4. to be educationally valid,
      • innovative instructional technology should fill previously identified need…
  • 5. on-line discussion forums
    • to extend class discussion in large classes
    • gives “quiet” students opportunity to write thoughtful comments, demonstrate knowledge, sway classmates
  • 6. At UofL, David Brown experiments with on-line forums
    • demos success for interested colleagues after several successful iterations
    • innovation is widely adopted
  • 7. on-line discussion forums become complete disaster
      • very negative course evaluations
  • 8. what went wrong?
  • 9. when just Dr. Brown did it
    • students found reading peers comments, dialoging, and writing their own 10 line comments engaging
  • 10. but when forums widely adopted
    • geometric increase in student numbers overwhelmed computer labs
    • students now had to line up for hours, just to make a 10 line comment
    • (and other users resented those taking lab spaces from computer course students)
  • 11. forums abandoned
    • ...just as IT brought in hundreds of email stations that made innovation possible again….
  • 12. Web Page Assignments
    • public audience
      • more authentic assessment
      • students take public stand (ownership)
      • increased public accountability (student and instructor)
      • discourages plagiarism
  • 13. Web Page Assignments
    • group or individual projects easily accommodated
  • 14. Web Page Assignments
    • collaborative, cumulative class projects
      • more authentic assessment
      • provides public service
  • 15. Web Page Assignments
    • students acquire new and relevant skill sets
      • increased marketability of graduates
      • increased student motivation (novelty)
  • 16. Web Page Assignments
    • BUT
    • as early adopter,
      • had to spend class time teaching HTML, graphic design, etc
      • technology changed faster than instructors could keep up
  • 17. Web Page Assignments
  • 18. Web Page Assignments
    • BUT
    • when more common place
      • great variation in computer literacy among students
      • issue of grading on HTML rather than course content
  • 19. Web Page Assignments
    • But biggest problems started when
      • told colleagues about my successes….
  • 20. knew I was in trouble when:
    • first heard student say, “Oh, no, not another web page assignment!”
    • Wikipedia made class collaborative project redundant
    • … crucial to attend to context outside of your own classroom -- life cycle of innovation
  • 21. blogs in the classroom on-line student journal
  • 22. concern over decline in quality of class discussions:
    • larger class sizes made it impossible for every student to speak in class
    • students not doing readings prior to class
    • majority coasting on a few vocal students
    • inauthentic agreement with (assumed) instructor views
  • 23. blog as … a (public) reading log
  • 24. Reading Logs
    • promotes class discussion
      • ensures readings are read for class
      • students take a stand before class
      • going public increases authenticity of responses
      • comment function extends class discussion beyond class time
  • 25. Reading Logs
    • peer correction of misconceptions
    • authentic feedback on assigned readings for instructor
    • generate quotes, discussion questions for next year
    • asynchronous grading and feedback
  • 26. blogs
    • first two iterations successful
      • just minor revisions to scoring scheme to encourage risk-taking and authentic expression
  • 27. knew I was in trouble when…
    • students this past term said, “Oh no, not another blog assignment…!”
  • 28. podcasting
  • 29. felt need to do something…
    • … about 3 hour lectures
      • course team kept adding objectives to curriculum
      • students now expect slides to be available ahead of class
      • reviewing slides in class increasingly redundant
  • 30. encountered podcasting…
    • July, 2005
    • Evo Terra, Michael Mennenga Tee Morris
  • 31. getting on the bandwagon…
    • rebirth of radio
    • educators have the bandwidth
    • educators have the content
  • 32. 8 Advantages of Podcasting
    • audio better use of student time
    • easier for instructor (than video)
    • more individualized instruction
    • scheduling encourages more learning objects
  • 33. 8 Advantages of Podcasting
    • easily integrated
    • off load lectures from class time
    • reaches a broad audience
    • encourages innovative teaching
  • 34. podcasting issues
    • “ free up class time”, by making lectures available out of class
      • but this effectively doubles course hours, since now students “take home” lectures
  • 35. solution: make lectures optional
    • student chooses between readings, listening to podcasts of lectures; or watching videos of Powerpoint shows
      • student finds modality that works best for that student
      • comes to class ready to workshop, ask questions
  • 36. podcasting?
    • are we ahead of the curve yet?
  • 37. barriers to adoption?
  • 38. weekly encouragement?
    • “ We’ve got to get on this! The VP wants us moving ahead on this.”
  • 39. September-December, 2005
    • podcast team
      • Acquire professional recording hardware
      • work bugs out of Garageband
      • records music intros
      • inservices faculty on the use of the equipment
  • 40. September-December, 2005
    • Set up project management blog
  • 41. September-December, 2005
    • IT support people sets up podcast web page
  • 42. April 2008...still no podcasts
    • Barriers are social, not technological
    • “ Day job” has to come first
      • teaching, research and service -- podcasts projects not recognized as any of those
      • potential research output…but ‘low level’ journals, out of our direct field
  • 43. evaluate each innovation
    • clear need?
    • too early adoption
      • infrastructure available?
      • disproportionate effort
      • student panic / novelty
    • lifecycle expiration
  • 44. administrative supports
    • innovation vs diffusion
    • reward structures based on what has been
    • golden age of the classroom
  • 45. stories from you