Minimum Technical Skill Requirements for Online Learners

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One of my tasks as an instructional designer on my college campus is to provide learning guidelines and protocols for distance education. One way to prepare students for online learning is to provide a list of minimum technical skills required and make recommendations on where they can seek help if they do not possess such skills. Below is what I prepared for our students. I’d love your feedback on it.


Students,

The following is a list of basic technical skills you should have to engage productively in an online course:
● use the learning management system (e.g., Schoology) tools to post
discussions and upload assignments;
● use different browsers, clear browsing history, cache, and cookies, and refresh the screen;
● use email with attachments;
● create and submit electronic files in word processing program formats;
● copy and paste text;
● download and install software (e.g., media applications);
● download a media file for viewing or listening;
● use spreadsheet programs (e.g., Excel, Google Sheets, etc.);
● use presentation and simple graphics programs;
● use collaborative tools like Google Docs and shared folders on Google Drive; and
● use search engines to access digital books and articles from library databases.


Sandra Rogers, Ph.D.

Facebook is Unsafe

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As an educational technology evangelist at work (school), in my service projects, and research, I keep abreast of the latest technology innovations, instructional integrations, and issues. So when email servers such as Yahoo are hacked and I am a subscriber, I close my account. Initially, Yahoo stated  1 billion users were hacked in 2013; the latest account states that all accounts were hacked totaling 3 billion (NPR, October 2017). If you’re a techie, especially someone who promotes the use and safeguards of technology at the workplace, what does it say about you if you’re still using it? For me, it was difficult to close my Yahoo account because it was tied to many professional Yahoo Groups such as my alma mater’s outreach to instructional design alumni and the Electronic Village Online virtual moderating group of educators for training.  I also closed my Tumblr account because Yahoo owns it.  To protect our online data, we must take precautions and desist from using potentially dangerous technology even as seemingly mundane as a free email account.

Social media networks such as Facebook are definitely more difficult to stop using when they place user’s data at risk because of the connections we built with friends, family, and organizations. Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, to access the data of 50 million users without their permission (TechCrunch, March 2018).  Of particular rancor, besides the possible effect on the 2016 US election, is that Cambridge Analytica was able to access your friends’ and family’s data. This means your use of Facebook could put other people’s data at risk and vice versa! Grandma may be having a great time on Facebook connecting with everyone, but has she configured her settings to safeguard her data?  This year, 50 million Facebook accounts were also hacked  (CNN Business, October 2018).

Facebook is unsafe because of their misuse of our data for financial gain and system vulnerabilities to hackers. Furthermore, they can do better! We should expect more from tech giants especially for platforms that we want grandma to use. I closed my Facebook account in May after downloading all my photos and letting my connections know other ways to reach out to me. Facebook also owns Instagram, so I closed it, too.  No, I don’t plan on going back. Instead, I’m connecting via other means. It has been extremely difficult to not be connected on FB with my friends and family. On the bright side, I’ve noticed I have real conversations with family regarding milestones because, otherwise, I’m out of the loop.

“Facebook can feel relatively benign and passive. It’s a tool we use to procure information, camaraderie or great products. We forget, all too often, that it is a business, with interests and purposes of its own. We forget that it can leverage our information for profit. Its power over our lives is largely hidden under a veneer of passivity and algorithmic detachment (The Washington Post, March 2018). Technology is only useful if it’s consistently helpful, and its misuses are minimalized through rigorous safeguards.

Join me at AECT in Kansas City, MO!

Photo of Sandra Annette Rogers
Say hello if you see me.

The Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT) is, in my humble opinion, the premier association for instructional designers. My professors in my doctoral studies had been promoting this professional organization and their educational technology standards to their students. I finally attended the AECT conference last year and was blown away by the professional level of everyone I met and how cordial they were to newcomers. This year, their 2018 conference will be held in Kansas City, MO from October 23-27 at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. I’ll be there, so let me know if you plan to attend. For AECT members, I placed my slides and research paper on the new conference online portal.

This time around, I’ll be presenting on my latest research and giving a workshop on the Online Community of Inquiry Syllabus Rubric that  I co-developed with Dr. Van Haneghan. It serves as a great collaboration tool to provide feedback to instructors and for syllabi content analysis for action research. Here’s my schedule:

Wed, Oct 24, 9:00am to 12:00pm, Marriott, Room-Bennie Morten B

Use of Online Community of Inquiry Syllabus Rubric for Course Developers and Collaborators, Drs. Rogers & Khalsa

Workshop – Registration Required
The syllabus serves as an action plan, which can be used as a resource for collaboration with instructional designers. In this session, participants will discuss how the Online Community of Inquiry Syllabus Rubric© (Rogers & Van Haneghan, 2016) can be used to pinpoint course development discussions on cognitive, social, and teaching presence for distance education instructors. Research and development of the rubric, a worked sample, commonly shared feedback, and rubric rater training will be provided.


Division of Distance Learning

Thu, Oct 25, 9:40 to 10:05am, Marriott, Room-Julia Lee A

Rubric to Evaluate Online Course Syllabi Plans for Engendering a Community of Inquiry: Round II, Drs. Rogers & Khoury

We replicated a research study that analyzed online course syllabi with the Online Community of Inquiry (COI) Syllabus Rubric© (Rogers & Van Haneghan, 2016). The rubric consists of the following elements: instructional design for cognitive presence, technology tools for COI, COI loop for social presence, support for learner characteristics, and instruction and feedback for teaching presence. We reviewed 31 syllabi across disciplines and found above average cognitive presence, average social presence, and basic teaching presence.

#AECT2018 #elearning #communityof inquiry #edtech

Remember the Human in Online Courses

Remember the human is something we intuitively do in traditional face-to-face classrooms, but somehow this gets lost in distance education. If it’s only text-based independent study, then we’ve silenced our students and treated them as mutes by not providing communication platforms that are supported in the grading criteria. Virginia Shea asks us to remember the human in the impersonal cyberspace, as part of her Core Rules of Netiquette. She was referencing politeness. I, on the other hand, am referencing the instructional goal of teaching to the whole student.

This blog focuses on the basics of computer-mediated instruction in terms of the dichotomy of transmissive (authoritarian) education versus that of a transformative one (democratic). Whenever I present on this topic at conferences, participants share that they or their peers have also encountered and endured transmissive online courses. I wonder how big the problem really is. Since first encountering this problem in an online course in 2012, I have dedicated my research efforts on addressing it.

Transmissive vs. Transformative

Critical pedagogies, Ignatian pedagogy, a community of inquiry (COI), and Freirean praxis, place the human in a real-world context as much as possible through learning experiences and reflection. The goal being transformative learning experiences instead of transmissive ones that use the antiquated banking model of education where the teacher deposits knowledge for the student to withdraw (Bradshaw, 2017). A good example of transformative learning is Ignatian pedagogy that advocates for context, experience, action, reflection, and evaluation (Korth, 1993).

Interactions for transformative learning are active, authentic, constructive, cooperative, and intentional. Hooks (1994) called this humanity-affirming location of possibility. The design of interaction treatments online doesn’t rely solely on synchronous sessions through web hosting with everyone present. Instead, the goal of high-quality online instruction is to avoid passive learning that requires little cognitive engagement. A good example of a transformative learning activity would be a student (or group) project where students provide each other with authentic feedback.

Interaction treatments are any direct or indirect action between and among students, teachers, and the content. Besides written and spoken word, this includes nonverbal immediacy behaviors such as an instructor’s response time. The alternative, a transmissive education of information dumping, is unethical. Freire (1970) called it a corpse of knowledge. Nowadays, this is delivered by the uninformed online instructor through text-based study devoid of interactions with other students (e.g., read-write-submit). The lack of contact with others in the class is not only isolating, shielding us from social learning, but can be frustrating for some students.

Are we teaching machines to learn better than we teach humans?

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I recently read an introductory book about artificial intelligence (AI). I was struck how even the old AI addressed the environment of the robot, as this is something online instructors sometimes overlook for humans. If we want to come away as winners in the man vs machine competition, when humanoids such as Erica the robot have complete human feelings and singularity occurs in 2045, we need to focus on providing human interactions in online courses.

Through trial and error, AI has developed heuristics to address robots’ interaction with the environment such as the symbol grounding problem, where symbols are meaningless unless they’re grounded within a real-world context.  For example, the Skydio R1 drone may become the ultimate selfie as it maps its environment using GPS, cameras, and other sensors. How often are instructors grounding the instructional content into the lifeworld of human learners?

What are the heuristics for effective human interaction in distance education?

Provide an online COI to dispel the perceived psychological distance between students and teachers in distance education to improve student learning outcomes and student satisfaction. An online COI, a sublime goal, requires consideration of the types of interaction treatments that could engender social, teaching, and cognitive presence for going beyond generative learning. These presences are the key elements for the COI loop (Garrison, Anderson, and Archer, 2000).

Technological affordances can provide humans with multimodal instruction such as narrated PowerPoints or audio feedback for teaching presence for an online COI. For example, podcasts increase student achievement and student satisfaction because they can listen to them over and over (Beylefeld, Hugo & Geyer, 2008; McKinney, Dyck & Luber, 2009; Seed, Yang & Sinnappan, 2009). Learning management systems allow for student-student discussions and the sharing of projects with opportunities for peer feedback to engender social presence in a COI. For example, Schoology’s Media Album allows students to upload their media projects for peer feedback. Projects also provide student agency in the design of their own learning.

Cognitive presence is the other component in the triad of the COI. Instructors generally provide this with interesting and challenging activities online that they’ve honed over the years from their F2F courses. In my two research studies (Rogers & Van Haneghan, 2016; Rogers & Khoury, unpublished), the potential plans for cognitive presence have been high at the institutions; however, social presence has been average and teaching presence below average.

Designing interaction treatments (e.g., student-student, student-teacher, and student-content) will help address the psychologically perceived distance in computer-mediated courses (Bernard et al., 2009). These designed interactions need to focus on meaningful activities for the students’ lifeworld to aid their learning. Remember the human as you plan your online course; otherwise, the robots will overtake us.

#criticalpedagogy #transformativeeducation #AI #elearning #Ignatianpedagogy #CoI

References

Bernard, R. M., Abrami, P. C., Borokhovski, E., Wade, C. A., Tamim, R., Surkes, M. A., & Bethel, E. C. (2009). A meta-analysis of three types of ITs in distance education. Review of Educational Research, 79, 1243-1288. doi:10.3102/0034654309333844

Beylefeld, A. A., Hugo, A. P., & Geyer, H. J. (2008). More learning and less teaching? Students’ perceptions of a histology podcast. South African Journal of Higher Education, 22(5), 948-956. doi:10.4314/sajhe.v22i5.42914

Bradshaw, A. C. (2017). Critical pedagogy and educational technology, in A.D. Benson, R. Joseph, & J.L. Moore (eds.) Culture, Learning and Technology: Research and Practice (pp. 8-27). New York, NY: Routledge.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: Continuum.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education 2(2-3), 87-105. doi:10.1016/s1096-7516(00)00016-6

Hooks, B. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom.  New York, NY: Routledge.

McKinney, D., Dyck, J. L., & Luber, E. S. (2009). iTunes university and the classroom: Can podcasts replace professors? Computers & Education, 52, 617-623. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2008.11.004

Rogers, S., & Van Haneghan, J. (2016). Rubric to evaluate online course syllabi plans for engendering a community of inquiry. Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, 349-357. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Using Google Suite for the Universal Design of Learning

Design for gardining Website interface displays tools and supplies as icons
This Google Drawing was created for a doctoral mini project on an interface design task for developing a gardening website with one of my peers in an online course. This was created prior to my understanding of accessibility issues. Notice that not all icons are labeled. This would not be accessible to all. Additionally, alternative text would need to be embedded with each image.

Google Suite,  along with the Chrome browser’s Omnibox and useful extensions, can be used to enhance the teaching of all learners with universal instructional design principles. Google Suite is the new name for these features: Google Apps (Docs, Forms, Sheets, Slides), Classroom, and Drive. This blog focuses on the use of technology to augment instruction through differentiation via scaffolding, formative assessments, and student collaboration. Google professional development opportunities and teacher resources are also addressed.

There are several efforts to design education with universal design in mind. Palmer and Caputo (2003) proposed seven principles for universal instructional design (UID): accessibility, consistency, explicitness, flexibility, accommodating learning spaces, minimization of effort, and supportive learning environments. The UID model recognizes those needs for course design. Its main premise is equal access to education and extends this to all types of learners and not just those with disabilities. For example, all learners can benefit from multi-modal lessons. Palmer and Caputo’s principles should be kept in mind as you develop differentiated instructional learning scenarios with Google Suite. See my blog post to learn more about universal design.

My College is a Google Apps for Education campus, which means we have unlimited storage on our Drive and seamless access to Google Suite through our school Gmail. Speak with your Google Suite administrator to learn about the features and functions of your access, as some institutions like my alma mater block YouTube and Google+. 

The following scenarios address possible technology solutions for teaching all learners. For instance, scaffolding supports different learners’ preferences, as well as the needs of lower performing students. Formative assessments are important to obtain ongoing feedback on student performance; use these often. They can be formal or informal (practice tests, exit tickets, polls). Formative tests promote active learning, which leads to higher retention of information learned. Use the following list to add your ideas and scenarios for differentiated lesson planning.

Scaffold Learning Google Tools & Features Formative Assessments Your Ideas & Scenarios
Provide visuals for structure, context, or direction & just-in-time definitions Google Drawings, Docs’ Explore tool, & Drive Students make their own graphic representation of a concept or complete guided tasks with the frame provided by an instructor.
Provide authentic speaking practice prior to oral test/presentation Google Docs’ Voice Typing, Chrome Browser’s Omnibox for a timer, & Drive Students work individually or in small group turn-taking voice typing their scripts/stories on Google Doc within a timed parameter on a split screen.
Check for comprehension to obtain data to drive instruction/remediation Google Forms, Sheets, Classroom, & Drive (Alternative: Google Slides new feature allows for asking questions & polling question priority live from slide.) Students take a quiz on Google Forms to demonstrate knowledge after a lesson (exit ticket) or homework. Instructors receive Form responses in a Google Sheet. Sheets has Explore tool for analyzing data for visual display for data-driven discussions among teacher cohort/supervisors. Auto import grades from Forms to Classroom gradebook.
Students use app with embedded choices to check their own grammar Free Chrome extension, Grammarly and/or app Students correct errors in their first writing drafts on the app or within online writing platforms (e.g., wiki, blog, or email). Grammarly is also available for MS Office and Windows but not for Google Docs. Use its app to check Docs or other writing formats by pasting content to New Document.
Hi/low peer collaboration and/or tutoring Google Apps, Classroom, & Drive Students share settings on project Docs, Drawings, etc. to collaborate via text comments or synchronous video chat sessions.

Resources for Digital Literacy Skill Training

  • Did you know that Google provides lesson plans for information literacy?
  • Do you need to teach your students how to refine their web searches? See Google Support.
  • Internet Safety Tip- Recommend that students use incognito browsing on Google Chrome when conducting searches to reduce their digital footprint. See Google’s YouTube playlist, Digital Citizenship and Security, and their training site for more information.

Accessibility Resources for Assistive Technology

  • ChromeVOX – Google’s screen reading extension for the Google Chrome browser and the screen reader used by Chrome Operating System (OS).
  • TalkBack – This is Google’s screen reading software that is typically included with Android devices. Due to the design of Android and its customizability by hardware manufacturers, TalkBack can vary and may not be included on some Android devices.
  • Screen Magnifier – This is the screen magnification software included with ChromeOS. The magnification function in ChromeOS doesn’t have a unique product name like other platforms.
  • Hey, Google – This is Google’s personal assistant, which is available in the Google Chrome browser, ChromeOS, and many Android devices.

Professional Development for Educators

Other

#Google #Edtech #Accessibility #UDL

References

Palmer, J., & Caputo, A. (2003). Universal instructional design: Implementation guide. Guelph, Ontario: University of Guelph.

Guest Blogging for the new AACE Review

A word cloud based on a blog about fake news detection resources.

I’m enjoying the challenge of guest blogging for the Association for the Advancement of Computers in Education’s (AACE) new blog, the AACE Review.  AACE is the professional organization that produces the LearnTechLib database and several educational research journals (i.e., International Journal on e-Learning, Journal of Computers in Math and Science Teaching,  Journal on Online Learning Research). It hosts several educators’ conferences that I like to attend such as the Society for  Information Technology and  Teacher Education (SITE) and the World Conference on eLearning (eLearn). See images of my past involvement with AACE.

So far, I’ve blogged about these educational technology and learning topics:


As for this Teacherrogers blog, I haven’t slowed down on my writing. I recently updated the page on my teaching philosophy, added my research statement, and a page on my Google Map project. These are the static pages at the top of this blog. You may have noticed the new award for landing in the top 75 blogs on Feedspot on the topic of educational technology. I was actually #58! Thanks for reading and sharing my blogs. I’ve been blogging here since 2011, and it serves as my knowledge base that I’m continuously updating, as I learn from and share with educators at my college and peers worldwide.

#AACE #SITE #ELearn #Grit #CALL #EdTech #EduChat #SpeechRecognition #FakeNews #MediaManipulation #Disinformation #hoaxbusters #blogs #grit

ECTESOL Conference in Pensacola Feb. 3rd

Tag words from my blog

The Emerald Coast TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) conference is this Saturday from 10-3 at University of West Florida International Center. The registration is $25 and includes lunch. The conference will feature professionals from northern Florida panhandle and the Alabama Gulf Coast. As a new Board member, this will be my first time attending. Here’s the schedule:

9:30 – 10:00 Registration
10:00 – 10:10 Welcome – Council Vaughn, Director, International English Program
Overview of Conference – Dr. Arlene Costello, VP/ECTESOL Conference Chair
10:15 – 10:50 Keynote Speaker: Chane Eplin, Bureau Chief, Student Achievement through Language Acquisition, Florida Department of Education
Topic Address: Quality Education for English Learners K-12 and Beyond
10:55 – 11:30 Concurrent Sessions
Room 1: ELs as Independent and Autonomous Learners (Kiss/Costello)
Room 2: Google Suite to Enhance English Language Instruction (Rogers)
11:35 – 12:00 Lunch and 12:00 – 12:15 Cultural Performances DOOR PRIZES
12:20 – 1:00 Featured Keynote Speaker: Dr. Susan Ferguson Martin, Faculty, ESOL and Educational Leadership, University of South Alabama
Topic Address: Academic Language in Teaching and Learning Across the Curriculum: A Functional Approach
1:05 – 1:35 Panel – Speakers
Grace McCaffery, Founder, Costa Latina
Shannon Nickinson, Project Manager, Early Learning Studer Institute
1:40 – 2:15 Concurrent Sessions
Room 1: Sowing Seeds (Sessions & Cuyuch)
Room 2: ESOL, EFL, and Reciprocal Service Learning (Fregeau, Leier, Ojiambo, Cornejo, and Chikatia)
2:20 – 2:50 Concurrent Sessions
Room 1: The SUCCESS from Teachers, Students, and Parents Working Together (Baker)
Room 2: Saudi ELLs’ Digital Gameplay Habits and Effects on LA (Rogers)
2:50 – 3:00 Brief Business Meeting: Report by President; Paper Report by Treasurer
Closing: Amany Habib, ECTESOL President DOOR PRIZES
3:00 – 3:20 ECTESOL Board Meeting


I’ll be presenting a case study on gameplay habits and an information session on Google Suite for enhancing English language instruction. I hope to see you there!