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.

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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.

CMM engagement Learning design video

Ed tech must reads: column #43

First published in Campus Morning Mail, 12th July 2022

Interactive 360° video stories from 360ViSi

The ability of video to place learners in locations that it would otherwise be difficult or dangerous for them to access is one of the technology’s greatest strengths. The next step from this is for learners to have a full 360° perspective of what is happening in this world. This website documents an EU project with a focus on health education, but the applications in other disciplines are easy to find. It shares a number of case studies as well as a handy explainer for getting started.

“What makes students want to read the syllabus?” from Dr Gabe Willis (Twitter)

As many of us approach the start of a new teaching period, this seems to be a perennial question. The benefits are obvious – better signposting of the purpose and direction of the unit and fewer questions about quizzes and assignments. This discussion thread on Twitter last week walks through this issue and offers some useful suggestions and solutions. Paying Snoop Dogg to record a video asking your students to read it may not be the most orthodox option but it is in there as well.

Academics, we need useful dialogues not monologues from EduResearch Matters (AARE)

You’ve been to an academic conference in your field during the mid-year break, seen an engaging presentation and then ‘one of those people’ puts up their hand as soon as there is a call for questions. You know that this is not going to be a question. Ameena Payne (Deakin) and Ashah Tanoa (Murdoch) spun off a Twitter discussion into this thoughtful blog post about what we need to do better when it comes to the Q&A part of academic conferences.

Learning Design Frameworks, Models and Toolkits from Danielle Hinton

A great deal of thought can go into the way that a learning experience is designed and theories, approaches and models abound. This Padlet brings together nearly 50 different resources from a wide range of institutions and organisations. At first glance (and second), it is daunting and could benefit from some kind of community rating system but it is well worth a browse.

Learning Design SIG webinar on entangled pedagogy and learning design – Thursday 14th July, 4pm AEST

When people discuss the use of education technologies, the issue of whether technology drives the pedagogical cart is often featured. Dr Tim Fawns (Uni of Edinburgh) recently wrote an intriguing article that I shared here suggesting that this either/or perspective isn’t necessarily the best one. He will expand on these ideas in a webinar on Thursday for ASCILITE’s Learning Design SIG.

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Ed tech must reads: column #42

First published in Campus Morning Mail, 5th July 2022

Flexible learning spaces or flexible learning places? from Peter Goodyear (Twitter)

Universities have long needed to consider the practical affordances of venues for learning and teaching but perhaps never as much as now, as we come to realise that physical presence on campus is not the be-all and end-all. This series of tweets from education notable Peter Goodyear summarise some of his recent work looking at the nature of rooms dedicated to flexible learning and what impact our decision to consider them as spaces or places has on learning and research.

Desperately seeking citation (patterns) from Mirya Holman (Twitter)

Another handy Twitter thread during the week came from a call out for suggestions on ways to track reciprocal research citations. This rapidly spun off into a discussion of a range of tools and whether they did exactly what the original poster was asking for but it led me to at least half a dozen handy tools that I’d never heard of. A couple of respondents even figured that would could just code their own solution and share the results. Community in action.

The Higher Ed Guide for the Corporate Community – Online course from Educause

Higher Education structures and processes can seem Byzantine to the outsider (and perhaps more than a few insiders) but as universities increasingly work with external partners, there is a need to offer clarity around them for more effective collaboration. This online short course from Educause is US focused but based on the course outline may offer some more universal insights. It runs from July 11 – 29.

Building the Behavior Change Toolkit: Designing and Testing a Nudge and a Boost from Behavioral Scientist

The idea of using ‘nudges’ to change behaviour by changing the environment may only have been formalised in 2008 when economist Richard Thaler introduced ‘Nudge theory’ but it has certainly taken off since then, winning a Nobel Prize in Economics in 2017. This paper describes work undertaken by Behavioural scientists on ‘boosts’, which are more focused on the agency of individuals. While the article doesn’t explicitly spell out the application of one over the other in a teaching context, it offers some interesting provocations.

30 Higher Education IT Influencers worth a follow from EdTech

This list of people – some of who would be mortified to be labelled as ‘influencers’ – is pretty US-centric but covers a wide range of some very interesting people working on the tech side of Higher Education that share their thoughts and ideas on social media, blogs and podcasts. Some of my faves are Ann Gagné, Casey Fiesler, Tanya Joosten and of course, the only Australian to make the list, Sarah Thorneycroft.

academic integrity CMM ed tech ed tech implementation Education Technologist Learning design OPM

Ed tech must reads: column #41

First published in Campus Morning Mail, 28th June 2022

University Administrators Views on the Outsourcing of Online Learning from Evan Silberman (Thesis)

Adding to the excellent CMM feature story from Gilmore and Nguyen about Online Program Managers (OPMs), businesses that partner with universities to deliver online courses, comes this doctoral thesis from a doctoral student at NYU. Silberman explores these partnerships through a lens rarely used in HE research, that of institutional management.  He explores the rationales behind these partnership, the impact on innovation and the trust relationships between the organisations in these partnerships. The growth of OPMs is one of the most significant trends in learning and teaching in Higher Ed today.

What do we mean when we talk about scale? Towards a definition of ‘at scale’ in higher education – Uni of Sydney Co-Design Research Group

Most research into learning and teaching in Higher Ed tends to focus on the micro-level, centred around examining the impact of local interventions in technology and teaching practice. Most of the significant change however needs to occur at the macro-level to be sustainable – what is generally referred to in institutions as “at scale”. This post from Peter Bryant at USyd describes how this works and why thinking at scale is important, regardless of how it may be seen.

Are We in the Upside Down? Course Hero, Lumen Learning, and All Kinds of Strange Things are Afoot in Ed-Tech from EduGeek Journal

Open Educational Resources (OER) have long been considered to be one of the bright spots of the education internet – rich, free, learning and teaching resources shared for the common good. Lumen Learning has been one organisation of many providing a rich catalogue of OERs. Hosting material online costs money and recently users have noticed that many Lumen Learning OERS are now being hosted on Course Hero, a commercial service associated by some with serious academic integrity issues. This article explains why this is happening and what the larger implications are for open resources.

The tricky questions for assessment to answer from The Ed Techie

The shift to online exams at scale in recent years has led to much discussion about the nature of high stakes summative assessment in Higher Ed. Are they authentic enough, how do we deal with cheating as AI writing tools and resource ‘sharing’ services become more prevalent and how do we ensure that learners are really demonstrating and applying what they know? This thoughtful piece from Martin Weller takes us through these thorny questions and offers some ideas for ways forward.

Learning, testing and developing Adaptive Expertise: our learning design – Webinar Thurs 30/6 12pm AEST

Drs Lis Conde and Sheryl Maher of the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Learning present their fascinating recent work in using Adaptive Expertise to develop new capabilities in online learning for educational leaders

ed tech language learning

Scanning the language learning landscape – English Australia ed-tech symposium presentation

Based on my CMM fame (infamy?), I’ve been invited to present a plenary session at the current English Australia ed-tech SIG symposium.

I’m not an English teacher but hopefully my brief magpie like exploration of a few different tools and articles will spark some ideas.

These are the slides: (there are some embedded videos, not sure if they will display)

Here is the presentation itself

academic developer CMM competences digital literacy Digital transformation (Dx)

Ed tech must reads: column #40

First published in Campus Morning Mail, 21st June 2022

Digital transformation is human transformation from Greg Satell (Medium)

It’s nice to read an article about digital transformation that doesn’t include phrases like ‘in this time of unprecedented change’. Of course, that is because this is a pre-COVID article and it isn’t specifically focused on education but it makes some important points. Referencing research that indicated that fewer than a third of digital transformation projects succeed, the author makes a strong case that this is frequently because the leaders of the change focus more on the technology than the ultimate outcomes. In the case of education institutions, this is, of course, ideally about better learning and teaching. Satell reminds us that we need to focus on the most important part of the system – the people.

A systematic review of teacher roles and competences for teaching synchronously online through videoconferencing technology from Education Research Review

This pre-proof article echoes the Satell piece by diving into the varied skills that educators need for online synchronous teaching, via a review of 30 previous studies. Grammans et al. refine a framework developed by Baran et al. (2011) that describes six key roles for educators teaching online: pedagogical, facilitator, instructional designer, social, managerial and technical. In this roles they identify 24 competency clusters that should be considered by institutional learning and teaching units in ensuring that adequate training and support is provided.    

Leadership in Learning Development from International Consortium of Academic Language and Learning Developers blog

Something that people working in institutional learning and teaching units often wonder about is how to have meaningful influence on organisational strategies. Many learning designers, education technologists and academic developers bring significant experience and expertise to the table but for a host of reasons work more reactively than proactively. This post from two learning developers – Carina Buckley and Kate Coulson – outlines some of their approaches to making a contribution from the Higher Ed ‘third space’.

Use of live chat in higher education to support self-regulated help seeking behaviours: a comparison of online and blended learner perspectives from International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education

Two of the most significant issues reported by online learners are isolation and not knowing how to find help. This study from Broadbent and Lodge explores the attitudes of both online and blended students to chat tools as ways for them to communicate 1-1 with their lecturers. It finds this to be an effective tool for facilitating help-seeking behaviour but does note that teacher attitudes and potential workload issues need further consideration.

PhD theory thesis

Research update #63: Where to put theory in the thesis

Spreadsheet describing name, key points and structure of doctoral theses

Hi everyone with an interest in Research – I’ve spent a few days poring over theses related to edvisor themes trying to work out how people talk about theory (and methods) and where they actually put this stuff in the structure. So I figured that I’d share what I found in the attached spreadsheet.

There are more than a few theses from the US – I guess just by virtue of population – and my notes may be scratchy (ID is instructional designers, by the by) but maybe there is something of value for people in this community in there. (I highlighted in blue the ones that I thought might be most useful in my research but you may have other interests)

In brief – mostly people (in my sample and my area of interest) put information about theory in the introduction chapter and they may expand on that a little in the subsequent lit review. Very few people at all have a separate theory chapter – though if some people are very theory focused or developing their own they might. A few people also checked back in on theory in the discussion section – sense checking their findings against what the theory suggests.

As I worked through these 40+ theses, I wished that I had done this many years ago but I also suspect that, at the time, I didn’t know what I didn’t know and it might have been a little overwhelming. (Also I feel that there were fewer options in my specific area of research interest, which seems to have exploded in recent years)

academic integrity CAULLT CMM ed tech implementation

Ed tech must reads: Column #39

First published in Campus Morning Mail 14th June 2022

Programme design and delivery through the lens of academic integrity from Quality & Qualifications Ireland

Kane Murdoch is the manager of the Conduct and Integrity Unit at UNSW and is responsible for investigations into student academic misconduct. This 18 min presentation to Quality & Qualifications Ireland encapsulates some of his experiences in the vexed space of student cheating and offers some surprising insights into what is needed in addressing this sometimes vexing issue. He questions whether the problem actually lies with students or with course and assessment design and offers some radical ideas for change.

11 digital whiteboarding apps from Lennart Nacke

Group brainstorming activities have long featured butcher’s paper and post-it notes but this is clearly less practical in online classes. This handy thread on Twitter from @acagamic steps through the basics and offers some simple comparison of functionality and features in 11 whiteboarding apps including Mural, Miro and Padlet.

Faculty perception of quality assurance in online courses (Thesis) from Theresa Mayper (Paywall)

While educators have been using online platforms to both support or entirely house their courses for some years now, the application of standards to ensure quality is often inconsistent or non-existent. Quality Matters from the US and, at a smaller scale, ASCILITE’s emerging TELAS scheme in Australia, offer frameworks to support this evaluation process but there has been little research on their impact on design. This doctoral thesis from Lamar University explores the perceptions of 12 academics in using the QM process as part of their course development. It’s dense but worthy.

Webinar Friday 17/6 12pm AEST – Leadership Perspectives: Mainstreaming Education Technology Research and Scaling Innovation from CAULLT

As one of the pioneers of MOOCs (among other things), George Siemens is one of the giants of research in technology in education. This webinar from the Council of Australian University Leaders of Learning and Teaching showcases Siemens and UniSA’s Shane Dawson in what should be a fascinating discussion of the contribution that university learning and teaching units could and should be making in the practical education technology research space and the vital work they do to mainstream innovation in their institutions.

NFTs explained in 25 seconds. While the NFT / Cryptocurrency buzz may be fading, many of us still struggle to understand what the point of non-fungible tokens is, how they work and why they are useful. This 25 second clip taken from the tv show Patriot offers the clearest explanation that I have heard yet.