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Blending the University: Beyond MOOCs

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In this presentation at SXSWedu in March 2013, Dr. Gigi Johnson explores the fuzzy world of “blended” courses in higher education. She dissects the tensions and tribulations as universities attempt to blend F2F and web-enriched tools in traditional environments, including challenges of time, space, and data politics in research universities, challenges with cost structures and faculty development, and abundant legal and IP issues. What is a class vs. what it could be with rich alternative technologies for learning? How do old universities rethink “class” instead of “just” repackage learning in a blended environment?

Blending the University: Beyond MOOCs

  1. 1. "Blending" the University: Beyond MOOCs SXSWedu Wed., March 6, 2013Flickr/PromoMadrid Gigi Johnson, EdD Maremel Institute @maremel #BlendU #SXSWedu
  2. 2. 1.What is "blended"? And what is a MOOC?4 Frames4 Frames 2.Rethinking time, place, Today Today and data politics 3.Reexamining the business models of higher education content 4.Rich opportunities and where my heart sings
  3. 3. First , what the heck is“Blended”?
  4. 4. “Blended” is…
  5. 5. Distance Education: Long PathsKUHT . "Dr. Richard I. Evans." June 8, 1953. University of Houston Digital Library.<,195>
  6. 6. 31% of US Higher Education Students areEngaging Learning Online More than 6 million students in the U.S. took at least one online course in 2010 Sources: Allen & Seaman, 2011; National Center for Education Statistics, 2010
  7. 7. Not Just “Those For-Profits” 235,000 50,000 30,000 students for enrollments in enrollments to $6,000/year each 1,200 courses 10,300 students in 70 degree and certificate programs 27,000 students Online courses Rio Salado College to 7,000 of its (AZ), with 40,000 31,000 students students with itsOblinger (2012) online programs
  8. 8. Blended: Where Online Expands F2F Options Live Anywhere Synchronous Co-Located ClassesAsynchronous Message Boards
  9. 9. Blended Learning:More than a Decade of Research• 1999-2003: Program in Course Redesign • $8.8mm from Pew • 30 colleges and universities • Quality matched or improved upon prior face-to-face courses, and saved 20-84% of costs (Twigg, 2003) (• 2001: Temple University• 2002: University of Wisconsin • 17 faculty redesigned their traditional courses into blended courses (Aycock, Garnham, & Kaleta, 2002)• 2001: The Learning Technology Consortium • Blended learning programs at 9 universities: Indiana U, Virginal Tech, U. of Delaware, U. of Florida, U. of Georgia, U. of N. Carolina, Notre Dame, U. of Pittsburgh, and Wake Forest.
  10. 10. US Dept. of Ed Meta-study: Blended LearningCan Be More Effective than Online or Face-to-Face(F2F) • Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakia and Jones (2010, revised) • Meta-study for the U.S. Department of Education • Evaluated studies with objective measures from 1996-2008 involving online, face-to-face, and blended courses, nearly all in higher education (versus K12). Online vs. FTF: Learning outcomes formethodsand face-to-faceuse of • Content delivery online (e.g., lecture vs. courses • Content delivery methods (e.g., lecture vs. use of were statisticallyvs. embedded quizzes)online learning and video, live indistinct. Types of made no video, live vs. embedded quizzes) made no structures did not matter. significant differences. significant differences.• Blended Improvements stemmed from projects involving show • Learning vs. FTF: Blended learning did • Improvements stemmed from projects involving statistically significant improvementsversus the collaboration, additional time spent in learning collaboration, additional time spent versus the outcomes, especially connected with self-monitoring traditional classroom hours, and additional materials traditional classroom hours, and additional materials available for instruction and learning versus F2F of student understanding and with reflection. available for instruction and learning versus F2F course designs. course designs.
  11. 11. Diverse Blended Learning Paths• CS50, at Harvard (now part of edx) • 615-student must-take class introductory computer science class • Virtual office hours, TA-scribed lecture notes, an evening phone hotline, and two multimedia producers (• Plaid Avenger, Virginia Tech ( • 3,000-student undergraduate world affairs course • Portfolio of 13 social media engagement assignments, plus just-in-time videos and collaborative discussion boards to engage his students; 2 part-time TAs and a lot of data-scraping collaboration and automation• University of Maryland, Baltimore County • 100 staff and faculty across the university to build a cohort around using digital storytelling--New Media Studio (; (Community of Practice faculty profiles: (2012)
  12. 12. Now . . . MOOC-Expanded ContentEcosystems Connectivist Large-Scale University- MOOCs (cMOOCs) Duplicated MOOCs (xMOOCs)  2008 to today  2011-now  Often emergent, messy  Knowledge tested and learning reviewed  Group exploration and co-  Some mirror F2F class creation  “Sage on the Stage”  Increasing use of subgroups and forced collaboration
  13. 13. MOOC Paths
  14. 14. MOOC and Educational “Singles” asFreemium Cloud-based Media 14
  15. 15. Rethinking politics and socialnorms of time, place, anddata
  16. 16. Time- and Place-Shifted Education 16
  17. 17. Multi-Modal “Classroom Management”
  18. 18. Impact of the Cloud on Education Breaking time and space barriers Local + Exclusive = Historical Barriers to Entry
  19. 19. What is a class?Jarring time and space definitionsClass -- needs a Beginning, Middle, and End?Alternative Reality Games as Classes?
  20. 20. Magic Buttons ofUnquestioned Time• Assigning class times and spaces• Measuring faculty and students on course hours• Flipping classrooms to eat into non-class time• Artificial nature of Terms • Why start in the Fall? • Why quarters or semesters except hiring and space? Financial aid pushed Accelerate the quarters and into term system helping public universities flex intake and support
  21. 21. The D-Word• Diagnostics • U of Phoenix – contact students just to check in• Concept of Mass Personalization • Knewton and others• Supervision “If I wanted people to see my work, I would have gone into industry."
  22. 22. Collaborative Time + Place + Data = Collaboration and Interactivity Publishing Webinar Chat Forums Collaborative community Workshops E-portfolios Projects Embeds Personal Storage URLs Lesson Books Quizzes Pages Files Assignments SurveysSolo Static Interactive
  23. 23. Learning: Two-Way + Ubiquitous• Cloud-Based Expansions • SaaS-led Ease of Entry • Commoditizable Systems without upfront investments • BYOD as expected norm with browser based engagement or simple downloads• Limits: Program marketing, overhead and content costs, not time and place• 2012: Explosion of MOOCs
  24. 24. Learning Everywhere? The New Curators Expansion by New Experts and Communities
  25. 25. Reexamining the businessmodels of higher ed content
  26. 26. Two Campers and the Bear
  27. 27. Double Feature Challenge
  28. 28. Education: Pushed Between Pressures
  29. 29. University as Content FilterAbundantCreation Creative Community Source: Caves, Creative Industries, 2000 Physical costs and marketing as historical barrier to entry Physical costs and marketing as historical barrier to entry
  30. 30. Question:What is the Special Sauce?
  31. 31. "Album":Black Box and Rock Walls  FilterMailers Filter Websites  Package Package Purchased lists High  Accreditation Accreditation Alumni Schoolers  Rankings: awkward Rankings: awkward measures of input/output measures of input/output Magazine Rankings Transparency Challenges in "Album" Model
  32. 32. Content Production Model: Live Classes University University Live Class Live Class Instructor Instructor Experience Experience TA as Seminar TA as SeminarInstructor and/or Instructor and/or Grader Grader Other Other Textbook Textbook University Publisher Publisher Paid by University Paid by Instructor Instructor Student Student
  33. 33. Blended/Flipped Video Production:Takes $ and a Village University University Instructor Instructor Blended Class Blended Class Experience Experience TA as Community TA as Community Manager Manager Instructional Instructional designer designer Publisher? Publisher? University? University? Multimedia Multimedia Animator Animator MOOC? MOOC? Paid by ?? Paid by ?? Video Producer Video Producer and Editor and Editor Syndication Models? Syndication Models?
  34. 34. Business Model • Who owns what? • Syllabus vs. class vs.Challenges PowerPoints vs. produced video • Professor often not paid for course development • Who buys and pays for what? • Production funding from Publishers? Universities? • Syndication – who has rights to reruns? • IP within the class content vs. Fair Use • Whose time?
  35. 35. ContentCreation Costand Risk• Cost Elements for a live class vs. online • Lecturer Average Pay: $3-4K/class • Cost to record: $20-100K?• No variable pay by volume . . . who benefits?
  36. 36. Challenges for the University asOrganization• Organizational support structures – Built to support classes with definite times, places, and historical rules• Cost Structures – Who pays for the shift from F2F to blended?• Faculty Development – Ghettoized in teaching and learning centers• Rethinking faculty role(s) • Role of content experts, course designers, instructors, and community managers • Teaching identity – who am I?• Values of Time – What merits a class hour of work?
  37. 37. Content Licensing – FragmentedOER•Big movements already in Open Educational Resources (e.g., Merlot,Connexion, a la Learning Registry and Gooru)•Thin marketplace for revenue-share or revenue-producing licensing(though on the horizon)•MOOCs -- Production costs w/o revenue model • BIG brand dumping?Blur of Publishing and Licensing•Books coming the other way – Publishers trying to lock schools into fullpackages of print and content delivery•Role of books and copyrighted materials in MOOCs – upside of theFreemium Model?•Bookstore model broken • B&N aggregating university bookstores selling sweatshirts and brand logos • Course Readers next wave
  38. 38. Legal issues Flickr/jjorogen• IP Ownership differs between universities• “Paying for Re-runs”• In-class IP and the role of readings and simulations
  39. 39. Decoding the Experience: Ease of Entry?• Learning entry experience may be very different by course• Need to build student skills for proactive learning  Template-driven student learner population encouraged by NCLB  COI – Community of Inquiry -- as more than magic dust Flickr/romana klee
  40. 40. Rich opportunities . . . andwhere my heart sings
  41. 41. Opportunity: Static to Context Rich• Transactional, static learning• Relational, context-driven learning • Building, continuing opportunity Transactional, Transactional, Relational, Relational, static learning static learning context- context- driven driven learning learning
  42. 42. Learning as Community• Different skills in creating community • Community managers • Peer learning • Tribes and PLNs• Concepts of learning together without an “end date” Source: COI; Garrison et al 2000
  43. 43. Re-Containerizing Learning• When does education end?• Continuing communities of practice• New Opportunities as co-learners beyond the term?• Break from learning environment as “alumni”
  44. 44. Education in a World of Search Teaching taxonomies and domain rules, rich in context
  45. 45. My Own Passions in Blended• Courses for change • Using context in asynchronous, distributed learning• Action learning• Cross licensing great content• Impact on outside world
  46. 46. Continuing ConversationsDr. Gigi JohnsonMaremel Community: Blending the University
  48. 48. Related Links• Steve Kolowich (Mar. 4, 2013), “Online Education May Make Top Colleges More Elite, Speakers Say,” Chronicle of Higher Education,• Taylor Walsh (2010), Unlocking the Gates: How and Why Leading Universities Are Opening Up Access to Their Courses, Princeton Press.• Diana Oblinger, Ed. (2012), Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies, EDUCAUSE. (free download at education-and-information-technologies)• Chris Anderson (2008), Free: Why $0.00 is the Future of Business, Wired Magazine,• Barbara Means, Yukie Toyama, Robert Murphy, Marianne Bakia, and Karla Jones (2010, revised), Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, US Dept. of Education, based-practices/finalreport.pdf
  49. 49. Training and Pedagogical Support• Centers for Teaching Learning • Scholarship in Teaching and Learning ( (
  • jseyf1

    Apr. 12, 2015
  • maremel

    Mar. 17, 2013
  • rscapin

    Mar. 11, 2013
  • ffab

    Mar. 8, 2013
  • EricSchwartzman

    Mar. 7, 2013

In this presentation at SXSWedu in March 2013, Dr. Gigi Johnson explores the fuzzy world of “blended” courses in higher education. She dissects the tensions and tribulations as universities attempt to blend F2F and web-enriched tools in traditional environments, including challenges of time, space, and data politics in research universities, challenges with cost structures and faculty development, and abundant legal and IP issues. What is a class vs. what it could be with rich alternative technologies for learning? How do old universities rethink “class” instead of “just” repackage learning in a blended environment?


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