The basic currency of higher education — the credit hour — represents the root of many problems plaguing America’s higher education system: the practice of measuring time rather than learning. Cracking the Credit Hour, a report from the New America Foundation released in September 2012, traces the history of this time-based unit, from the days of Andrew Carnegie to recent federal efforts to define a credit hour.
Credit hours were never intended to measure learning (they came about largely because Andrew Carnegie wanted college professors to have pensions), but because they are easy to measure and understand, they have become the fundamental building blocks of higher education. While this might be useful for administrative functions like scheduling courses, it tells us very little about what students learn.
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Posted on July 7, 2015 by Phil Hill
When giving keynotes at conferences over the past two years, I have observed that some of the best non-verbal feedback occurs when pointing out that personalized and adaptive learning does not equal black-box algorithms choosing content for students. Yes, there are plenty of approaches pitching that solution (Knewton in its early state being the best-known if not most-current example), but there are other approaches designed to give faculty or instructional designers control over learning paths or even to give students control. There seems to be a sense of relief, particularly from faculty members, when discussing the latter approach.
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Published on 17 Oct 2014
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Jesse is the founder of https://www.schoolofthought.org an online fully immersive learning environment that will be free for students, teachers and universities all over the world. He believes the key to engaging future generations is to teach them how, and not what, to think.
Jesse Richardson is a creative director with over 15 years industry experience, and around 20 years experience arguing with people on the internet. He’s responsible for three major international viral campaigns, two and a bit kids, and an ungrateful, overweight cat.
About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
- Moving faculty and staff to Gmail and Google Calendar required quickly training IT professionals across campus to support the new systems — which were not a priority among their other pressing concerns.
- Introducing gaming elements to the Google apps training via the Jedi Academy excited staff and faculty and attracted more participants than expected.
- As shown by the Jedi Academy’s success, appropriate use of gaming elements can make otherwise mundane or avoided tasks, including support training, fun and rewarding.
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What worked. The instructors seamed to like the challenges and did attempt them several times. The team members worked very well together to build great courses. All instructors reported they learned new things about the LMS.
And what didn’t. My immediate feedback from the group was the instructions to get started were not clear enough. And as a result they felt they were behind to start with. It was clear after the first week that team member abilities with the LMS and course design were no where close to even. As a result of that the idea of team totals based on the challenges would be unfair and eliminated.
And what worked with modification. Changes were requested early on in the way challenges were run. Originally challenges were available up until the time the team members meet face to face. Everyone asked that they remain open so they could continue to take them. Also, the challenges were originally setup to display only the scores of the challenges and they all wanted to know what they got right and wrong.
What will change next time. The challenge points will be changed from a team score to individual score, with the opportunity to earn badges along the way for them. A desired team score is still needed so the courses designed will be evaluated using a modified version of blackboard’s quality course rubric. The rubric score will give each team a score. Also, the idea of random points from the challenge is being removed.
dates: October 21-23, 2015
where: Northern Illinois University, Naperville Campus
location: Naperville, IL (25 miles west of downtown Chicago)
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So this is what I came up with. I designed a blended course where instructors would work together to build a course as a team. It is a three-week course that covers the aspects of course design. The first week is course organization, navigation and content creation. Week two looks at assessment. Then the final week is spent on communication and collaboration. Participants were giving the role of an instructional designer on a team building a fictional course. They were provided information about course durations, student demographics and course learning objectives.
Each week the team was provided a list of objectives to complete on the course. Week one was to design a course navigation structure and course outline for content, then to begin collecting or creating content within the course structure. To help with the tasks at hand the instructors were provided tips and suggestions, both pedagogical and technical in nature. Every instructor had the opportunity to receive additional tips and suggestions by completing knowledge challenges on the features and functions of the LMS. Challenges were designed in three levels of difficulty, with more difficulty challenges earning more points and thus opening more tips and hints. There was also an opportunity to randomly earn bonus points by taking the challenges. Each instructor would work independently with the planning part of the task then the group would come together and finalize their plan and actually build that part of the course in the LMS.
There were some decisions I made based my research into game theory and my previous experiences. Fist the course material would not be on a subject the instructors were familiar with. The idea was to get them away from their preconceived notions of how to teach that subject and be open to looking at other parts of the LMS. The course topic was basket weaving. Second, challenge points earned by team members would be combined to create a team total, in an attempt to foster competition. Along these lines, instructors were able to take the challenges at any level as often and as many times as they would like to better their score.