AI CMM hyflex online learning Uncategorized

Ed tech must reads: column #53

First published in Campus Morning Mail on Tuesday 20th September

Do zoom meetings really help? A comparative analysis of synchronous and asynchronous online learning during Covid-19 pandemic from Journal of Computer Assisted Learning

The author of this article compare the experiences of US students who had both synchronous and asynchronous online learning experiences during the pandemic through a Community of Inquiry framework. They were interested in how these modes impact self-evaluated performance, actual grades and identification with their institutions and also considered measures of teaching, social and cognitive presence. Unsurprisingly perhaps, students in synchronous courses tended to feel greater social presence which did influence their grades and self-evaluation. This was less the case in asynchronous courses. What is perhaps missing is information about the nature of these courses, how they were designed and delivered. (Teacher presence is noted as having affected social and cognitive presence though). Thanks to my BusEco colleagues for sharing this.

The rise and fall of the HyFlex Approach in Mexico from Tech Trends

The practicalities of new modes of teaching can often come second to the simple need to get something done. This brief overview of the introduction of HyFlex teaching in Mexico, where students attend a synchronous class either online or in-person, highlights three key areas that need to be considered seriously in any type of technology enabled learning and teaching. These being technology resourcing and support, workloads and adequate guidance.

Defining different modes of learning: resolving confusion and contention through consensus from Online Learning

If there is one thing that the academy loves, it is long debates about what things should be called and how they should be understood. The language around learning and teaching modes is no stranger to this, with terms like online learning, hybrid learning, hyflex learning, in-person learning, synchronous learning, and asynchronous learning often have local institutional variations. Johnson et al. from WCET (WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies) surveyed more than 2000 educators and administrators from American universities about some provided definitions of these terms and found a surprising consensus in acceptance of the key terms. Maybe there is hope for us yet.

Adding a policy about the use of AI text generators from Anna Mills (Twitter)

There isn’t a lot in this twitter thread but Anna Mills is consistently one of the most thought-provoking people in the discussion about the practical impact of AI text generation on learning and assessment. Here she asks the question – What policy do you put in your syllabus around student use of #AI text generators/large language models to assist with coursework? Given that this can technically range from auto-correct and sentence completion to the generation of entire essays – where is the line? Are there educational benefits that might be found?

academic integrity CMM Learning design learning designer online proctoring thesis Uncategorized

Ed tech must reads: column #52

First published in Campus Morning Mail on Tuesday 13th September

Scientists Asked Students to Try to Fool Anti-Cheating Software. They Did. From Vice

Proctoring software for online exams has undoubtably been the most controversial part of education technology in the COVID era. These tools use a mixture of AI and human agents to monitor student activity in their homes during high stakes summative assessment. This article nicely sums up a 2021 conference paper from Bergmans et al. about a study where the researchers had 30 computer science students take an online exam, with 6 cheating and 5 behaving nervously but honestly. The technology caught nobody and its effectiveness is felt to mostly come from the perception that it works.

Perceived Anonymity and Cheating in an Online Experiment from Eastern European Economics

This study complements the last one in some ways, demonstrating that questions of academic integrity are still thorny. 1500 Ukrainian students were asked to toss a coin 10 times, with those getting 8 or more heads being entered in a cash prize draw. Students were either able to toss the coin manual, in a computer simulation or through a choice of the two. When they perceived that their tosses were private, notably more hit the statistically less likely 8+ heads target, indicating that a perception of observation is likely to affect behaviour. 

ACODE Learning Modalities 2022 from ACODE

ACODE may not come up with the sexiest titles but their whitepaper from Ratna Selvaratnam about current thinking on learning and teaching in Australasian Higher Ed is vital reading. It summarises a recent survey of 20 ACODE member institutions and shows that the times they are a changin’. Virtually all respondents said there is significant rethinking of what learning and teaching needs to look like and there is some interesting data about what it looks like currently.   

Sociomaterial Practices of Design for Learning Teams in Higher Education (Thesis) from Jenny Pesina

The people that will ultimately be tasked with supporting these changes, in whatever form they take, often live in the various learning and teaching teams around the university. This Masters thesis from a USyd student offers some valuable insights into the ways these teams work and the complex collaborative environments and practices that they use to support success in this endeavour.

Webinar –  Curriculum Futures: Situational Factors in Learning Design Framework Thursday 4pm AEST from ASCILITE Learning Designers SIG

I’ve shared some useful learning and teaching resources from Danielle Hinton here previously so I was quite happy to see that the Learning Design SIG has booked her in to present their webinar this month. She will discuss the situational thinking that needs to occur before learning design occurs, covering Students, Staffing, Subject, Sequencing, Space, Scene, Standards and Scholarship.

audio CMM game based learning game design resources Uncategorized zoom

Ed tech must reads: column #51

First published in Campus Morning Mail on Tuesday 6th September

A framework for designing asynchronous learning activities from Alexandra Mihai

A tweet last week about students not turning up to a lecture got me thinking that, rightly or wrongly, asynchronous activities are doing more and more of the heavy lifting in HE learning and teaching. This thread of tweets from Alexandra Mihai sets out a series of useful steps to take as you design these kinds of activities to ensure that story, structure, sequence and schedule are managed well.

Broadcasting your voice to Zoom breakout rooms from Zoom

Having students in breakout room activities in Zoom has long had the challenge of providing updates and communicating changes on the fly. The text messaging function is adequate but fleeting and can be easily missed. The latest Zoom update has added the option of broadcasting your voice to participants in all of the breakout rooms at once. If students have captioning active, this will also appear on screen. (Students do need to be running the updated version of Zoom, which often happens by default)

Project Shasta from Adobe cleans up audio with AI from Adobe

Another handy audio tool – currently available by invitation – is Project Shasta in Adobe Creative Suite. This enables you to drag an audio file in recorded anywhere and it cleans up background noise to a studio sound level. This TikTok video showcases audio recorded outside on a busy street.

Teaching Online Hub from UniMelb Faculty of Arts

I noticed a link in a colleague’s email signature last week to this rich Padlet full of handy resources and guides about all facets of online learning and teaching. It is UniMelb centric, with a focus on institutional tools, but there is still a lot to take away from it.

Learning and engaging in gaming and interactive environments – Webinar Tuesday 6th Sept 11am AEST (10.30 ACST) – from Uni of Adelaide

This webinar from the Uni of Adelaide Library is this morning and explores the work of two researchers working with games and interactive environments. This includes the development of a game addressing the Spanish colonisation of MesoAmerica, a VR experience of the Torres Strait Islander history, culture and traditions and more.

CMM elearning online proctoring Uncategorized

Ed tech must reads: column #50

First published in Campus Morning Mail on Tuesday 30th August

Scanning students’ rooms during remote tests is unconstitutional, judge rules from NPR

This story is from the US and so the legal implications in Australia are no doubt different, but it will nonetheless give pause to institutional leaders responsible for online exams. Online proctoring tools shot to prominence as the pandemic made it unsafe for large groups of students to gather for in-person exams. These tools enable students to take exams at home, but in order to minimise cheating, require what some consider to be invasive surveillance of the student and their space. Many universities are moving slowly away from exams altogether for more authentic assessments but the issue of finding the balance between academic integrity and privacy will be with us for some time.

The ed-tech imaginary at work Twitter thread from Charles Logan

This Learning Sciences PhD student at Northwestern University clearly has some opinions about online proctoring services but he does bring receipts. This Twitter thread shares posts comparing how a leading company paints itself as an accessibility champion with some choice comments from the founders and some wider stories about issues in this space.

The Impact of Peer Assessment on Academic Performance: A Meta-analysis of Control Group Studies from Educational Psychology Review

Peer assessment offers a possible brighter way forward for assessment, asking students to think more deeply about what is taught and how it is demonstrated as they provide feedback on the work of their peers. This study from 2019 involves a meta-analysis of 54 previous studies and finds that peer assessment can have a small positive impact on student academic performance.

Online Does Not Mean Isolated from Inside Higher Ed

One of the biggest concerns about online learning has always been the perceived difficulty in connecting with people, with the screen acting as a barrier to social and cognitive presence. This concern is applied as much to professional development and community building but Maha Bali, George Station and Mia Zamora argue that virtual events can in fact have many advantages over face to face ones. They offer eight guiding principles to make the most of this space.

Belonging in online learning environment – webinar Thursday 1st Sept 12 noon AEST from ASCILITE TELedvisors Network

If you want a more hands on demonstration of some of these principles (and more), Thursday’s TELedvisors webinar from Nicole Crawford, Beate Muller and Ammar Bahadur Singh (and colleagues) looks like a fantastic place to start. These sessions always feature rich discussions and helpful ideas.

CMM ed tech ePortfolio Instructional Designer Learning design Uncategorized

Ed tech must reads: column #49

First published in Campus Morning Mail on Tuesday 23rd August

Online learning is still challenging for students – they need our support from Times Higher Education

One thing I’ve always found strange in discussions of online learning is the hard line that seems to be drawn between the in-person guided experience and everything else that students do in their learning. Arguably, there has always been an expectation that students will do the bulk of their work in their own time and space. This piece by Lodge, de Barba and Broadbent, academics at UQ, UniMelb and Deakin respectively, explores some of the challenges that learners face in self-regulated online learning, offering some broad suggestions on what educators might consider to better design and facilitate learning that is done outside the classroom.

Teaching Enhancement Resource Curation from Danielle Hinton

This Padlet assembles more than 50 different resources (mostly crowdsourced Twitter discussions) covering the gamut of tips for improving learning and teaching practices in Higher Education. It includes everything from teaching while masked to learning spaces, teaching with technology to assessment and feedback researchers, and small group teaching and the importance of data. It’s absolutely a rabbit hole but definitely one to bookmark at the very least.

Demystifying Instructional Design Podcast from Rebecca Hogue

Instructional design is more commonly referred to as learning or education design in Australia but the underpinning principles are the same. Working with education/learning designers can be another very effective way for time poor educators to find new ways to support learners in the brave new online world. The interviews cover many facets of instructional design including behaviour change, asynchronous activities and creating social presence.

Amazon launches Udemy Competitor from ClassCentral

Education technology and online learning is a multi-billion dollar business, so it’s unsurprising that Big Tech has been edging into the space for some time. Microsoft Teams gets more like an LMS by the day, Google has its Classroom platform and now Amazon has pitched its stake in the micro-credential short course space. This post provides a brief overview of their tech focused offerings, which on first glance seem to fall into the common trap for these platforms of treating learning as content rather than experience.

Digital Ethics: Sustainable ePortfolio Practice – Blended workshop Thursday 25/8 9.30 – 11.30am from AAEEBL

ePortfolios can be an incredibly rich tool for learning and assessment but it is important to be mindful of the workload involved in using them well. This joint workshop from ePortfolios Australia and the Association for Authentic, Experiential & Evidence-based learning can be attended online or in person at hubs in Melbourne, Brisbane and Townsville.

CMM engagement game design learning styles

Ed tech must reads: column #48

First published in Campus Morning Mail, 16th August 2022 (and marking the 1 year anniversary of writing for them)

“yeet nitro boosted”: A Postdigital Perspective on Young People’s Literacy Engagements With the Discord Platform from Literacy Research: Theory, Method and Practice

To ‘yeet’ is to forcefully throw, with little concern for the consequences. To my knowledge, it hasn’t previously made an appearance in this august newsletter and there are probably good reasons for that. Chief among these would be the expected audience and the norms of communication in this community. This article veers slightly away from this idea, exploring the impact of the platform itself on communication and literacy. Discord is essentially an online forum, popular particularly with videogamers but used more widely. I am seeing it used increasingly in Higher Ed as a space that students will choose to visit when existing platforms are seen to not meet their needs, so understand its quirks seems like time well spent.

Exploring the specification of educational compatibility of virtual reality within a technology acceptance model from Australasian Journal of Education Technology

The technology acceptance model (TAM) is an interesting beast in the ed tech world, in essence seeking to describe the importance of factors including ease of use and perceived usefulness in relation to intention to use different tools. This study from researchers at Adelaide Uni and QUT looks at adding elements relating to educational compatibility to the usefulness equation, finding that this may indeed be conducive to greater engagement.

The learning styles hypothesis is false, but there are patterns of student characteristics that are useful from Theory into Practice

In my professional circles there are few things more likely to get eyes rolling than discussion of learning styles (visual/auditory/kinaesthetic) by people who should know that these have been debunked. (Other than ‘digital natives’ perhaps). I try to find the positives, feeling that even if the ideas are outdated, at least there is a healthy conversation happening around how information is shared and activities are designed. This helpful article offers some useful suggestions for more evidence-based approaches including drawing on student prior knowledge, learning strategies and motivation.

Two Point Campus game from Sega

At some point I suspect that many people working in Higher Ed have had the thought that they could do a better job running the university than the powers that be. This colourful university management game from Sega now gives you the chance to prove it. Design buildings, approve courses, manage finances, hire and fire staff, run what looks suspiciously like a faculty for wizards – the power is finally in your hands. Available on PC and consoles.

behaviour CMM ed tech engagement third space

Ed tech must reads: column #47

First published in Campus Morning Mail, 9th August 2022

Raising student engagement using digital nudges tailored to students’ motivation and perceived ability levels from the British Journal of Educational Technology

Using ‘nudges’ to influence behaviour started as a hot topic in economics, with Thaler’s work in the space winning the 2017 Nobel Prize, and the ideas have gradually spread to other fields. This article from Plak et al. in BJET describes efforts to increase participation in a formative learning activity by sending targeted, personalised nudges based on perceived motivation and ability. It finds that targeting these factors was no more effective than generic nudges but offers some other suggestions for nudging motivation relating to prior performance.

Close encounters in third space – Leadership and organisational dynamics for advancing Digital Education from Media & Learning

The ‘Third Space’ in Higher Ed is a concept popularised by Celia Whitchurch relating to expert staff working in learning and teaching units. This engaging keynote from Dr Deb Arnold describes her recent work on a model for university leaders trying to navigate this vital new world, the Digital Education Leadership Literacies in Higher Education (DELLHE). This holistic viewpoint offers useful advice for advancing digital learning at an enterprise level.

Pearson plans to sell its textbooks as NFTs from The Guardian

While the hullabaloo around get-rich-quick schemes relating to selling pictures of cartoon monkeys has mercifully subsided, the foundational ideas of non-fungible tokens – essentially digital certificates of ownership stored in a blockchain – persist. Pearson Publishing has announced plans to retain a small piece of ownership of their e-textbooks after selling them, allowing them to take a cut of any future second-hand sales of these resources. The question of whether digital assets are bought or merely ‘licensed’ is not new – ‘owners’ of 1984 on Kindle woke up one morning in 2009 to discover their book had been removed (Amazon didn’t have the rights) and in recent weeks Ubisoft Games was in hot water for an announcement that they would remove online access to Assassin’s Creed Liberation. This was hastily walked back.

Contemporary Approaches to University Teaching: MOOC now open for S2 enrolment from Teche

This MOOC from the Council of Australasian University Leaders in Learning and Teaching (CAULLT) has run since 2018 and offers an invaluable introduction to teaching in Higher Ed in Australia. The post from the Macquarie Uni Teche blog details what to expect. The MOOC itself starts on Aug 29.

CRADLE Seminar Series Programmatic assessment – hype or necessary development – Webinar Tuesday 9th Aug 2pm AEST

This webinar today from Deakin’s CRADLE looks well worth the time if you can make it. Prof Lambert Schuwirth from Flinders Uni discussing the ins and outs of a more holistic approach to assessment.

academic integrity CMM ed tech education engagement research

Ed tech must reads: column #46

First published in Campus Morning Mail, 2nd August 2022

How to make your teaching more interesting from Times Higher Education

The digital age has made it hard to be bored, with entertaining stimuli everywhere. This has arguably raised the bar for getting and keeping students’ attention. Creating more engaging learning experiences can also lead to deeper and more authentic learning, so this collection of suggestions from THE can benefit everyone. It ranges from the use of humour and curiosity to teaching presence and a host of tools to consider.

The billion dollar industry helping students cheat from ABC Radio National

Prof Phillip Dawson and Kane Murdoch are featured in this rich half hour episode of Radio National’s Background Briefing that shares some of the human stories behind technology enabled cheating in Higher Education. Well worth a listen.

Cheating in Academia With Artificial Intelligence Writing from Medium

Continuing on the academic integrity theme, this detailed piece from a student at the University of Pittsburgh offers an in-depth exploration of how some publicly available AI tools can be used to generate written work by students and at what kind of quality. More than the quality of the outputs though, what I found alarming was the blasé mindset of the student, essentially advocating that it is a legitimate tool for students because institutions don’t have any policies around their use.

I am just tired of people in other fields thinking they are inventing online learning from Stephanie Moore (Twitter)

Poor research practice can be found in all fields but education and technology seem to attract more than average. Stephanie Moore from the Journal of Computing in Higher Education sparks a fascinating discussion from her tweet about people trying to publish in this space without reading any of the growing body of literature. It includes some useful suggestions for journals to visit before you say there is no literature.

The importance of choosing the right keywords for educational technology publications from AJET

Once you’ve done that, this editorial from the editors of the Australasian Journal of Education Technology might be helpful. It explores keywords used in more than 300 articles in the journal in recent years and offers suggestions for maximising searchability and citations.

academic development AR/VR/XR CMM Education Support People Education Technologist edvisor impact Instructional Designer learning designer

Ed tech must reads: column #45

First published in Campus Morning Mail, 26th July 2022

Augmented reality in architecture and construction education: state of the field and opportunities from International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education (Open Access)

For all the talk about virtual reality (VR), the Metaverse and other video modes, augmented reality (AR) has always seemed to be the most practically achievable. AR most commonly involves adding digital overlays to video in phone cameras to add meaning and additional information. This paper from Hajirasouli et al describes recent work to develop and apply robust pedagogies to the use of AR in the Architecture and Construction industries. These ideas appear easily transferable to other disciplines.

9 tips to upgrade your webcam light setup from Vimeo

As video becomes more ubiquitous online and easier to create, camera quality and lighting solutions have followed in accessibility and price. Good lighting can emphasise the subject and separate them from the background, creating a visually more appealing experience. This short guide from Vimeo offers some useful suggestions for making the most of webcam recordings.

Does Microcredentialing work? from Gilbert & Tobin

I wouldn’t normally think to visit a specialist regulatory law firm blog for information about education technology, but this post about the practical impact of microcredentials in Australia and internationally explores recent research to offer some grounded conclusions. It indicates that it may be less the content of the microcredentials that benefit learners than the confidence they give employers.

Hey @AltTextUtil OCR from Alt Text Utilities

This heading may look a lot like jibberish but it was one of the things I came across this week that excited me the most. (Thanks @katevideo) Alt text is a vitally important part of making the web more accessible for blind and vision impaired people. It involves posters adding meaningful descriptions to images that are read aloud by screenreaders. This Twitter account can automate part of this process – in this case it writes a new tweet and adds the text in an image via optical character recognition to the alt text.

Making a difference: how can edvisors influence learning and teaching? Webinar Thursday 28/7 12pm AEST

Most if not all Australian universities have dedicated staff that advise educators about pedagogy and education technology. They inhabit roles including learning designer, academic developer and education technologist. This webinar will explore how they and their units work to support good practice and affect meaningful change, what gets in the way and what might be done to make them more effective. Featuring Alexandra Mihai (Fulbright scholar at Yale) and Sarah Thorneycroft and Steph Toole from UNE.

AI CMM community of practice innovation pedagogy

Ed tech must reads: column #44

First published in Campus Morning Mail, 19th July 2022

Some thoughts on ‘home’ pages for individuals within communities (and social networks) from Open Thinkering

One of the more common concerns raised in discussion of online learning and teaching centres around building community. Creating a warm and active space when your interaction with people is via pixels on a screen can be a huge challenge. This post from Doug Belshaw isn’t specifically about education but the principles are highly relevant. One interesting point the author makes relates to ‘notification literacy’ – community members’ ability to feel connected but not overwhelmed by activity.

Innovating Pedagogy 2022 from The Open University &  Open University of Catalonia

This collaborative report from Europe offers a rich state of the actual in terms of current and emerging pedagogical approaches. It includes the still controversial ‘hybrid’ mode, microcredentials, influencer-led education, video ‘watch parties’, wellbeing, and pedagogies of the home, autonomy and discomfort.

EdTech procurement is the most boring…and most important thing we should be studying from Ben Williamson (Twitter)

A lot of popular discourse around education technology can be heavy on philosophical principles and light on practicalities. This branching discussion thread brings a lot of experienced commentators together to discuss how and why the processes behind evaluating and implementing education technologies are poorly understood and underexamined despite this having some of the most significant impact on actual learning and teaching.

Edtech procurement matters: It needs a coherent solution, clear governance and market standards from EDDS & LSE

This working paper from the London School of Economics and education consultancy/think tank EDDS is focused more on education technology procurement in the schools sector but many of the questions raised are highly relevant to the tertiary sector. Of particular note are questions around how technologies are evaluated before purchase and how their value is measured in practice.

The DALL-E 2 Prompt book from Dallery Gallery

If you are yet to discover the wonders of AI generated art – fantastical images created by computers from simple text prompts – a quick google image search for DALL-E 2 is time well spent. This 82 page guide from Dallery Gallery showcases some of the many prompts that might be used to create imagery in the style of impressionist painters or the TV show Starsky & Hutch. Now I just have to wait for my access to the beta to come through.