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academic integrity CMM ed tech implementation feedback learning analytics nudges students

Ed tech must reads: column #59

First published in Campus Morning Mail 8th Nov 2022

Suggestions on dealing with AI-generated papers that don’t get flagged by plagiarism-checking software from Twitter

Umar Ruhi (@Informatician) raises the question that won’t go away in this Twitter discussion about how he might investigate a student submission that doesn’t feel quite right. The explosion of high quality AI text generation tools this year is having a major impact on the integrity of assessment and without a clear technological solution in sight, rethinking the design of assignments is the only logical step.

How do we do effective feedback?: A practical example from Teaching Matters blog

Feedback is routinely identified as an area for improvement in discussions of good learning and teaching practice in Higher Ed. Providing and using meaningful, actionable feedback is time-intensive and requires a certain measure of feedback literacy on the part of both educators and students. This post from Jane Hislop and (my soon-to-be colleague) Tim Fawns from Uni of Edinburgh outlines a way to build peer feedback into rich assessment activities that draws on students’ inclinations to compare their progress with their peers.

Student support spotlight cards in Education Insights from Microsoft Teams for education

Many big tech firms have been steadily establishing beachheads in the education space in recent years and Microsoft’s appears to centre around their Teams communication and collaboration platform. This post on their support site outlines their upcoming learning analytics functionality, which mostly just tracks changes in student interaction with the system and generates a report for educators to follow up on.

Lessons from Treadmills and Owls: The Most Important Feature in Educational Technology Products from Improving Learning

This short post from David Wiley explores the idea that education technologies can add all the rich data tracking and analysis tools in the world but these don’t matter that much if nobody is using them. He argues that the thing that makes the greatest difference is the behavioural nudge, outlining the way that popular language learning app Duolingo strategically reminds learners to continue to engage with the platform. (And it has worked for me, 668 days into a French learning streak).

Leadership and Management needs of Australasian Higher Education – Webinar 1/12 4pm AEDT

Advance HE (formerly the Higher Education Academy) is a UK based organisation behind the increasingly popular HEA fellowship accreditation scheme for Higher Ed. They also support research into the sector and this promising looking webinar at the start of December covering a July 2022 study by Dr Jo Chaffer looks worthwhile. (ACODE also has a decent set of interviews with Oz HE leaders on their site if this grabs your interest)

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Ed tech must reads: column #58

First published in Campus Morning Mail 1st Nov 2022

How to make students read? From The Educationalist

One of the most universal complaints that educators have about their students, regardless of the discipline, is that they ‘never do the readings’. For some, this is where the issue begins and ends. This thoughtful piece from Alexandra Mihai delves into some of the possible reasons for learners not engaging with readings and offers some useful strategies for sparking their interest. She reminds that academic reading requires learnable skills and that educators can ease this path.

Strategic directions in the what and how of learning and teaching innovation—a fifty-year synopsis from Higher Education

Either learning and teaching innovation in the last fifty years has been so minimal as to fit into a fifteen-page article (with 4 pages of refs) or Griffith’s Rob Ellis has the skills to sum up five decades of increasing complexity succinctly. Happily, it appears to be the latter. The paper focuses exclusively on the discussion within this particular journal in this time, taking us from early calls for research into HE learning and teaching to be undertaken to the inevitable discussion of the pandemic response. It offers a rich overview of HE history.

Moving to Mastodon from Steve Fenton

Now that his Muskiness has officially taken over Twitter, many of my online colleagues are looking around warily for what this might mean for our favourite online space. Having been a twit for 11 years, it would be a hard ship to abandon, so, for now, I’m just watching with interest. I know more than a few people are exploring Mastodon, the peace, love and mung beans alternative option. This article offers some useful advice for those considering the change. I also found this handy tool for re-following your Twitter friends, as long as they put their new username in their Twitter bio.

Does the Educause Exhibitor’s Floor Plan Reflect Market Trends in HigherEd IT? From listedtech

Where there are large education conferences you will inevitably find people with things to sell. The US based Educause conference easily fits into this category. This clever piece of data analysis examines the amount of floor space taken up in the vendor hall by businesses in a range of categories to map broader trends in the sector. Among these we see conferencing tools, general consultancies, customer relationship management systems and general hardware sellers in the ascendent and LMS providers taking 1/7th the space they did a decade ago.

Slowroads from anslo

This is more something for a moment of zen than anything. Slowroads is a simple driving simulator – that looks a lot like a Tesla – taking you through picturesque procedurally generated landscapes in your web browser. You can drive yourself or just set auto-pilot and zone out for a little.

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Accessibility AI AR/VR/XR CMM ed tech implementation research

Ed tech must reads: column #58

First published in Campus Morning Mail 25th Oct 2022

The combination of segmentation and self-explanation to enhance video-based learning from Active Learning in Higher Education

The received wisdom when it comes to the use of video in education has long been to chunk it into bite-sized chunks to give learners breathing space between concepts. Over time I have read assertions that these chunks should be a maximum of 20/15/7/3 minutes, depending perhaps on how distracted writers feel students can be. Zheng et al. don’t go into chunk size but do make the valuable point in this pre-test/post-test based study of 121 participants that segments definitely appear to lead to better learning outcomes than continuous viewing of a long video. More importantly, they observe that building in activities between segments – even simple summarisation tasks – is more helpful than not.

Higher Education Leaders’ Perspectives of Accessible and Inclusive Online Learning from Distance Education (Pre-print)

Addressing the barriers experienced by disabled students in online learning is work that is commonly acknowledged by universities as vitally important but which sometimes lands in the too-hard basket. Gradually things have improved but there is still work to be done. This paper from Lomellini et al. discusses their interviews with nine HE online learning leaders about the current state of play and how to do things better. More agency for learning designers, better faculty development, quality standards and accessibility checkers are all identified as ways forward. Most interesting for me though was the small note that while the literature suggests pushing the learning gains in advocating for support from the executive level, they pragmatically suggest that legal obligations, recruitment, retention and satisfaction are more likely to get their attention.

Accessible IT Procurement from CAUDIT (and co.)

From an operational perspective, working smarter to ensure that institutional technologies are accessible is clearly an important step. Last week, this guide was launched, part of a collaborative project involving a number of high level sector bodies from IT, Disability and Education. It offers detailed guidelines and some useful sample clauses for tender documents for better IT procurement. Anyone with an interest in how Higher Ed IT really works would be well served by looking over this valuable guide. 

A journey through time and space – Mixed reality media in teaching (Webinar – Thursday 27/10 12 noon AEDT) from ASCILITE TELedvisors Network

One of the greatest benefits of technology for learning and teaching is the opportunity to do things that would simply not be possible in person. Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality, 3D models, video games and simulations and even simpler tools such as Light Boards extend our ability to share experiences and ideas. This webinar showcases two innovative examples of the use of these teaching tools in practice from Greg Dorrian (UNE) and Carmen Vallis (USyd)

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Accessibility CMM ed tech implementation Learning design research theory

Ed tech must reads: column #57

First published in Campus Morning Mail 18th Oct 2022

Compared to what? Effects of social and temporal comparison standards of feedback in an e-learning context from International Journal of Education Technology in Higher Education

This rich article from Janson et al. seems to state the obvious at first glance, in that students perform better when the approach taken to assessment and feedback aligns with their personal preferences. It still offers some valuable insights into the nature of evaluation – whether learners are judged on their performance based on that of their peers or based on their past performance – and also whether feedback is largely descriptive or offers direction for improvement. The affordances of education technologies to support more personalised forms of evaluation are alluded to but the question of how this is done by educators is left to the practitioners.

Accessible Online Learning: A Preliminary Investigation of Educational Technologists’ and Faculty Members’ Knowledge and Skills from TechTrends

Understanding of the needs of students with disabilities in Higher Ed is slowly growing but this paper shows that there is still much room for improvement when it comes to designing accessible learning resources and environments. Lowenthal and Lomellini acknowledge the multi-faceted nature of these activities in a modern university, investigating perceptions of the knowledge of both educators and “education technologists” – their catchall term for Third Space education advisors such as learning designers, academic developers and ed techs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they note that the latter group tend to be better equipped for this work and they offer some practical suggestions for closing the gap.

Learning design, work integrated learning and microcredentials: Making it all fit from ASCILITE TELall Blog

This case study from Keith Heggart of the development of the UTS Grad Cert in Learning Design outlines some of the innovative and practical approaches to course design that you would kind of hope to get from something with a learning design focus. The use of microcredentials, a strong focus on practitioner voices and experience and an emphasis on building community in the space highlight good 21st century practice.

Instructor insights from MIT Open Courseware

The best MOOC I have ever taken is MIT’s 11.133x Implementation and Evaluation of Education Technology. (Yes, I am that sad and nerdy). The Instructor Insights pages for their open courses illustrate the strength of their approach to this space, here providing a rich explanation of the underpinning pedagogy, organisation and practice behind an introductory biology unit.

Microsoft Designer – Beautiful AI-infused designs in a flash from TikTok

It seems like it was only months ago that using AI based creation tools required a certain level of geekery and access to powerful backend tools. This rather hypey video about a new Microsoft Design tool in the M365 suite (currently in limited access) shows how quickly this technology has been normalised.

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Accessibility CMM ed tech implementation hyflex online learning research theory

Ed tech must reads: column #56

First published in Campus Morning Mail 11th Oct 2022

How Conducting a Mixed-mode Class is Similar to Hosting a Late-night Talk Show from Faculty Focus

There is a theatrical element to good teaching in person – using the space, varying your vocal dynamics and timing, and building engagement through interactions with learners. Many educators can find the performative aspect more challenging when the teaching mode changes – as is the case with hybrid/hyflex teaching with a mixture of live in-person and online learners. This useful piece from Randy Riddle of the Duke Learning Innovation team suggests treating the experience more like a late-night talk show and offers some valuable suggestions for unlocking your own Stephen Colbert.

A Synthesis of Research on   Mental Health and Remote Learning: How Pandemic Grief Haunts Claims of Causality from OTESSA Journal

As with many aspects of the pandemic, wild claims abound about the changes it has led to in learning and teaching. The impact of online learning on student mental health in this time has been flagged by some people in pushing back against the growing use of education technologies and shifts in learning and teaching practice. Stephanie Moore and colleagues explore the literature around this relationship, finding that there was little conducted before 2020 and that as much as 75% of research in this space overstates causal relationships.

2022 Students and Technology Report: Rebalancing the student experience from Educause

Educause’s survey of 820 US Higher Ed students reflects some of the findings of the larger JISC survey in terms a growing acceptance of online learning and students generally having access to the technology that they need. This research has more of a focus on the technology side of things and does not speak to satisfaction with how technology enabled learning and teaching is designed or conducted. It does note a relationship between challenges with ed tech and mental health.

Agile and the Long Crisis of Software from Logic

Software development workflow models may not at first glance seem entirely relevant to Higher Educators but you can be assured that they shape the work of your institutional IT departments when it comes to implementation and changes to uni ed tech systems. Many of the component parts of Agile methodology, including sprints, stand ups and Kanban boards are also increasingly finding their way into wider project management. This informative piece explores where Agile has come from, how it is useful and some of its challenges.

Is using someone else’s #AltText plagiarism? From Karen Costa

Alt text is descriptive information that should always be added when images are used online. This is a vital part of supporting blind and vision-impaired people using screen readers – software that speaks the content on a page. This interesting Twitter thread explores where Alt text sits in terms of intellectual property, landing on it as being a public good and ‘authorless’.

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academic integrity academic publishing CMM ed tech implementation engagement online learning theory

Ed tech must reads: column #55

First published in Campus Morning Mail 4th Oct 2022

Should online learning have its own learning theories? from Tim Fawns

A slightly philosophical start to the CMM week with this question from Edinburgh Uni digital education expert Tim Fawns shared on Twitter last Tuesday. Unsurprisingly, it sparked wide ranging discussion about whether the modality or pedagogy matters more and how theory is currently used to support and enhance learning and teaching. Whatever you think, your position is likely to have been represented in this discussion.

Creating emotional engagement in online learning from Educause

The emotional side of learners’ time in education aren’t always at the front of mind of educators but research indicates strong ties between emotional experiences and the formation of memories. Melissa Fanshawe and colleagues built on Redmond et al’s work in online student engagement in this valuable project by exploring the emotional aspects of connectedness to their course. They offer some valuable practical advice for communicating more effectively with students.

Challenging Cheating symposium keynote – Weds 12th Oct 10am AEDT from CRADLE

Award winning scholar on academic integrity Dr Sarah Eaton kicks off CRADLE’s 2022 international research symposium with a keynote next week about academic integrity as a transdisciplinary field of research, policy and practice in Higher Education. As a hot topic in the sector, ranging across contract cheating, AI, research integrity, publication ethics and assessment, there is much to discuss and this looks likely to be a popular event.

Infusing educational technologies in the heart of the university from BJET

Given the all-pervasive nature of education technologies in Higher Education, it would seem that understanding, describing and improving the ways in which they are implemented institutionally should be a key focus of ed tech publications. Yet much of it relates more to localised interventions or high-level philosophy divorced from operational reality. This valuable systematic literature review from Bronwen Deacon and colleagues explores key organisational factors that shape successful and persistent education technology implementations, including leadership & strategy, infrastructure & resources and recognition & motivation.

Wordcloud of names of the authors of the published articles in top-5 journals between 2005 and 2020 from Twitter

While it is unclear which ‘top-5’ journals are used in this Wordcloud of author first names, the image makes a powerful point about academic publishing that many commenters nonetheless go out of their way to miss or obfuscate. This is a fantastic exemplar of a simple data tool from David Ubilava. 

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Ed tech must reads: column #54

First published in Campus Morning Mail on Tuesday 27th September

Loose Ends: A Mixed-Initiative Creative Interface for Playful Storytelling from MaxKreminski

It is probably fair to say that many of the ‘AI in education’ stories that I have shared have sat in the raised eyebrows column of the ledger but, as with most tools that aren’t going away, there are equally promising new applications of the technology. This Twitter thread about Loose Ends, an AI based storytelling aid is one of those. It summarises an upcoming conference paper about a tool that writers can use to manage and inspire complex multi-threaded writing pieces.

Submissions to THETA 2023 close soon from THETA

The biennial THETA conference is one of the crown jewels in the Australasian education innovation calendar. Jointly held by CAUDIT, CAUL and ACODE, next year’s event in Brisbane will be the first since 2019. Conference sub-themes include Teaching to the attention economy, Cyber complacency, Online and Multi-modal learning for equity students and Testing times. Submissions are currently slated to close on October 1

We need to deal with data privacy in our classrooms from University Affairs

Bonnie Stewart (University of Windsor, Canada) writes a strong piece about the potential data privacy risks embodied in teaching in the digital age. She draws on a survey she posted in 2020 which had responses from 300 university educators in 26 countries and highlighted notable gaps in knowledge about how and where data from education technologies go. As someone at the coalface in this space, I do feel confident that this is something taken more seriously (sometimes painfully so) by institutions than the article might suggest but it is always important to keep these issues in mind.

Optus Under $1 Million Extortion Threat in Data Breach from Bank Info Security

This isn’t my normal content but given the scope and seriousness of the recent Optus data breach and its potential impact on educators and students, it is worth sharing. In a nutshell, private data including driver’s licence and passport numbers of Optus customers going back to 2017 have been exposed. This article provides the best explanation to date of how this seems to have happened and what happens next. In short, be particularly vigilant.

Survey shows majority of university students want blended learning from JISC

The UK’s JISC digital experience insights survey of Higher Ed students is always worth exploring for the size of its sample – 33,726 respondents this time.  Some takeaways of note, nearly three quarters of students rated the quality of their online learning environment as above average, 45% of students want a mix of on-site and online learning and only 13% of students had participated in an online forum in the two weeks before responding.

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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?

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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.

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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.