I just completed free professional development offered to educators on Google Apps for Education to become a Google Certified Educator. Level 1 is on the fundamentals of Google Suite (Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, & YouTube), Google Classroom, and Google Drive. It’s a competency-based, self-directed learning program.
I’ve been using Google Apps since 2009. This training was a great way to learn about the latest updates to the Google Suite of tools. Additionally, it made me think about different ways that technology can help solve various teaching issues, save resources, communicate more with parents, and increase student collaboration.
Initially, I thought I’d be able to complete the 13 units for Level 1 in a few months. However, my work, service, and research took priority, and I ended up doing this training a little bit over time. It took me a year! The self-tests are challenging even for a more advanced user like myself. The exam is performance-based, so make sure you review all the units carefully.
I plan to continue through the training levels to become a certified trainer. I’m a trainer at my College on a wide range of technology and pedagogy, and can’t wait to start sharing what I learned with the faculty and staff. I’ve already emailed the librarians several tech tips that they might use. My two biggest takeaways would be the powerful potential of Google Groups (e.g. staff-instructor, trainer-staff, or student-teacher interactions) and the advances that have been made in Google Classroom (too numerous to mention).
I encourage you to check out their Training Center. The certifying exams are inexpensive (e.g., $10 for Level 1). They provide a certificate and a digital badge. The certification only lasts three years. I think at the current rate of technology advancement that is fair.
Quality Matters™ (QM) is a peer-review process for providing feedback and guidance for online course design. According to the QM website, it originated from the MarylandOnline Consortium project in 2003. They received a grant from the US Department of Education to create a rubric and review process based on research and best practices. In 2014, it became its own nonprofit organization. Through a subscription service, the organization now provides training, resources, conference events, and research collaborations. They currently have 5000 QM certified reviewers to assist subscribers with the peer review process of their online courses.
Who uses it?
QM provides specific rubrics and guidelines for the quality assurance review process for K-12, higher education, publishers, and continuing education programs that offer distance education. QM has a new program to bring the rubric and process to students. The QM process is specifically for hybrid and fully online courses; it’s not for web-enhanced face-to-face courses. QM currently has 900 subscribers. Subscription prices are adjusted to the size of your online programs.
How does it work?
A subscribing institution (or individual) requests a QM review of their course and submits an application. QM recommends that you familiarize yourself with the rubric through the training process in advance of the review. They also recommend that the course for review not be new—that it has been through a few semesters to work out the bugs. A QM coordinator for your course assigns you a team of reviewers consisting of a team leader and two other certified peer reviewers, one of which is an subject matter expert. They read your self-report about the course and review your course using the rubric and guidelines. The rubric covers these general standards: 1. Course Overview & Introduction, 2. Learning Objectives (Competencies), 3. Assessment & Measurement, 4. Instructional Materials, 5. Course Activities & Learner Interaction, 6. Course Technology, 7. Learner Support, and 8. Accessibility & Usability. The team contacts you with questions throughout the 4-6 week process. Then they present you with your evaluation with time to address any major issues before finalizing the report.
What are the benefits?
Those courses that pass the review process receive recognition on the QM website. Even if you meet the standards, the peer reviewers provide you with recommendations for further improvements. Instructors can use this feedback for other courses they teach or debrief with colleagues about it. This serves as an ongoing continuous improvement process. This is something that institutions can promote to their clients and instructors can add to the curriculum vitae. From personal experience in becoming a QM certified peer reviewer, I can attest to the benefits of knowing the best practices and accessibility requirements for online course design. It has helped me to become a better online instructor and provided me with a wealth of knowledge for my work as an instructional designer. I’m grateful to the Innovation in Learning Center at the University of South Alabama for training me on the QM process and providing the opportunity to become a certified peer reviewer.
(This is a repost of the EVO2015 Call for Participation from Nina Liakos.)
Dear EFL/ESL Educator,
Since 2001, the Electronic Village Online, a project of TESOL’s CALL Interest Section, has been offering free online professional development sessions to language teachers world-wide. It is my pleasure to announce the Call for Participation for the Electronic Village Online (EVO) 2015. This year, we are offering 13 fabulous five-week sessions on a variety of topics, including teaching pronunciation, using Moodle, creating electronic textbooks, flipped learning, making Machinima in Second Life, using Minecraft to teach English, and more.
For a complete listing and abstracts, visit the Call for Participation at http://evosessions.pbworks.com. To enroll in a session, follow the instructions on the session page. Please note that registration for the sessions will take place from January 5 – January 11, 2015. The sessions begin on January 12 and continue until February 15. To register for a session, follow the instructions on that session’s page (Session pages are linked to the CfP.).
EVO sessions are free (you usually need only a computer with Internet access and a desire to learn) and open to all, whether or not you are a TESOL member. They carry no academic credit, and participants may choose the level of involvement that works for them. Mark your calendars now for EVO registration, January 5 – 11. And get ready for an unforgettable experience!
Please share this invitation with your colleagues and e-lists, and thank you for helping us to spread the word!
Nina Liakos, EVO Lead Coordinator
On behalf of the EVO Coordination Team
Note: Read more about EVO from my previous blog posts.
I’m very excited to be going to the AACE conference for the first time. AACE stands for the Association for Advancement of Computing in Education. They’re hosting the World e-Learn conference in New Orleans, LA at the Sheraton Hotel on Canal Street! Here’s my presentation schedule:
October 28th at 11:55-12:15: Trace Effects Logic Model, a brief paper on an informal program theory evaluation in Salon 828. I’ll also be serving as the presider over the other sessions until 1:00 p.m. in this room.
I hope to see you there! I’ll be volunteering at the registration desk on Monday from 1-5 p.m. and Thursday from 7:30-11:30 a.m. Come by to say hello! I’ll be tweeting about the conference @teacherrogers with the hastag #elearn.
The Midsouth Educational Research Association (MSERA) will be hosting their annual meeting in Pensacola on November 6-8th, 2013. I’ll be speaking about my research on gaming as an instructional strategy for young children and effective online communication for higher education. In addition, I will present a poster session on TESOL’s Electronic Village Online (EVO) to share how my other professional organization trains English language teachers worldwide for free through a volunteer network and online collaborative processes.
Here’s the conference program. This is a relatively inexpensive conference in comparison to the national ones. For example, nonmember rates are $150 for professionals and $90 for students the day of the event. Of course it’s best to become a member (or to preregister).
Here is my schedule of presentations and poster sessions: ( Note: The links will take you to my PowerPoints on SlideShare.)
I’d like to share my schedule of face-to-face workshops that I’ll be giving this school year. I work at the Innovation in Learning Center (ILC) at the University of South Alabama. They host ongoing professional development workshops for faculty and staff for online teaching. I work for the ILC as a graduate research assistant. My work includes designing, developing, and delivering professional development to faculty to support student learning. If you live in the Mobile area and work at an institution of higher education, you are welcome to attend one of these workshops. Additionally, graduate students in instructional design and development at USA can attend, as long as they register in advance. There are many more listed at the ILC website.
My 2013-2014 Training Schedule at the ILC:
Making Instructional Videos with Camtasia Relay: Innovation in Learning Center, University of South Alabama, 9/6/13
How to Make Your Online Course Accessible: Innovation in Learning Center, University of South Alabama, 9/19/13
Sakai 101: Gradebook, Tests & Quizzes: Innovation in Learning Center, University of South Alabama, 9/20/13
Sakai 101: Gradebook, Tests & Quizzes: Innovation in Learning Center, University of South Alabama, 10/11/13
Making Instructional Videos with Camtasia Relay: Innovation in Learning Center, University of South Alabama, 10/23/13
Emergent Technologies: Innovation in Learning Center, University of South Alabama, 10/30/13
Sakai 101: Gradebook, Tests & Quizzes: Innovation in Learning Center, University of South Alabama, 12/3/13
Sakai 101: Communication Tools: Innovation in Learning Center, University of South Alabama, 12/12/13
Sakai 101: Gradebook, Tests & Quizzes: Innovation in Learning Center (ILC), University of South Alabama (USA), 12/18/13
Making Instructional Videos with Camtasia Studio, ILC, USA, 2/3/14
How to Make Your Online Course Accessible: ILC, USA, 3/31/14
iClickers, ILC, USA, 4/15/14
Sakai 101: Gradebook, Tests & Quizzes: ILC, USA, 5/30/14
“The more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled.― Paulo Freire