Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cleaning Things Out

I am in the process of clearing things out of a storage locker and in going through the contents of one of the boxes, I found the document that I scanned below.  Note the date:  Dec. 1937 and the lines highlighted in yellow.  Is it just me or does that sound very contemporary?  These savings accounts paid 2% a year.  I just scanned the first page of this four page pamphlet.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What MOOCS Can Teach Us About Online Education

An interesting piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education regarding what hard-core online learners can teach faculty about "what works".  MOOCs ( massive open online course) have attracted some learners who have engrossed themselves in the courses.  What can they tell us about what works and what doesn't?

The first observation is one that I have seen from my online and hybrid courses.  Organization is king!  Six students were interviewed for the piece, they were "hardline" online learners.  They said that ...clarity and organization were key.  ".. a sure way to botch a MOOC comes down to one word: "ambiguity." When assignments, expectations, or the mechanics of the course are unclear, forum discussions erupt with frustration and misinformation."  Don't try to "wing it".

Another observation was that "Professors are the stars. When the students talked about the MOOCs they've taken, they usually mentioned the professor first. They sometimes couldn't remember the name of the university offering the course."  I think that part of this might be the personal connection that the teacher is able to make with their students.  The last point that is made in this article is that passion matters.  Professors need to show their enthusiasm and excitement about the course.

Another observation from these students was that video doesn't do it alone.  Text still matters.  "When the only materials are lecture videos, it can be hard to go back and study for quizzes or exams, several of the students say. Since the videos aren't searchable in most MOOCs, students aren't sure where in the video to look for a given concept they are reviewing."

Thanks to the Chronicle for publishing this article.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Red Apple Award

At a faculty meeting on Friday, I was surprised to receive this award from the Barton School of Business.  Many thanks to Dean Hensler and to the faculty and staff of the Barton School for this recognition.  I had asked that there be no retirement reception for me.  To me a reception felt like a closing of a door, which I would like to leave cracked ajar.