Interesting thread in LinkedIn’s “The Teaching Professor” group:
Where Dialogues Begin and Grow
May 18th, 2013 by Plamen Miltenoff
Interesting thread in LinkedIn’s “The Teaching Professor” group:
this thread aims to start a discussion around the discoveries about the brain in the last decade and how does it impact learning.
Nicholas Carr – The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt_NwowMTcg
Here’s an article that John Burgeson sent out a while ago.
Rick Duque sent us this post on the Harkins report on For Profit Colleges
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, unveiled a report on the for-profit education industry, and the 30 companies that have been the focus of a two-year committee investigation. (See report on http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/for_profit_report/Contents.pdf.) The report provides a comprehensive analysis of how the $32 billion annual investment in the sector is serving taxpayers and the students enrolling in the schools. The report draws on data and documents not previously released including new student outcome data for each of the companies reviewed.
From Steve Frank:
May I suggest taking a look at PIAZZA. https://piazza.com/
I have been using this for over a year. If you go to the link you can see it is widely used across the country. I would say primary in science, engineering, and technology classes but moving rapidly to other disciplines.
I first heard about through a story in the NY Times and the Star Tribune about a year ago. Here is a link
from another source (Silicon Valley Business Journal)
Sankar launched Piazza Technologies Inc., an online service that enables students to connect with instructors or peers to help solve challenging problems. She coded the first version on her own and then found peers who were able to work for free (or very little) while she funded operations on business school loans and honed the product with students and instructors at Stanford University. By the time she hired her first full-time employee, Piazza was already in use at U.C. Berkeley, Stanford, Princeton and Harvard universities. Piazza has since raised venture capital funding and grown to a staff of around 10, and the product has been used by half-million people at more than 1,000 schools worldwide.
here’s a part of a sample chem class https://piazza.com/class#fall2011/chem2070/896
And here some sample classes from professors
Last, we hear many professors have been presenting Piazza at faculty lunches/workshops. If you choose to present Piazza, we’ve compiled materials at
https://piazza.com/present?mc_id=ps_1&uid=gq5alv09jJS download the pdf or PowerPoint
It is free and without ads although I suspect that may change. Students and I can post links, documents in most any format such as Word, PDF, etc. and limited podcasts. Students can form groups and teams. One can do questions, notes and polls. Student can be anonymous or not. Smartphone and I phone apps are friendly and do most of what the web model does.
New procedures are added frequently. Most importantly the learning curve is just a few minutes. It is almost bug free. If there is a problem their “engineers” respond promptly. There has been little downtime.
I am not opposed to D2L Some in my department use it well although I hear complaints about downtime, chunkiness, and most important learning time. I suspect you and your students can learn most of it in a few minutes. I suspect if you are giving online tests that platform might be better.
Contact me if you want a private lesson or to view my classes. You can create a class in 5 minutes. Students must use their university emails.
This is a copy of the emails on the topic from SCSU Announce. Refresh your memories and continue the dialogue!
From Balsy Kasi
I was fascinated by this article in The New York Times: Public Universities to Offer Free Online Classes for Credit. Also I was intrigued by the following website: MOOC2Degree.com. Will SCSU offer free online classes? What are the implications? I welcome your insight.
From Rick Duque
Saw a senate hearing last summer on this, chaired by Senator Tom Harkin. They tackled the issue of student debt, rising costs of higher education, and also online alternatives or what they called for-profit universities that had proliferated over the past 10 years.
The recommendations were three
1. Consider closely, the Iowa State University model, which requires financial literacy classes for all in coming freshman so they can make better choices.
2. States have to stop the 20-plus year trend of divesting from higher education. Sadly public universities have not complained when their budgets got cut, they just made due (usually passing the buck onto students). The researcher said that over the years universities have taught state legislatures that they can do without, so of course when times get tough, legislatures cut university budgets… since they don’t complain.
3. The issue of online alternatives was discussed, and well the best explanation is in this article below.
Safe to say, these alternatives are out there, but the completion rates are dismal across the board. Even when Stanford offered MOOCs, this was the results: Machine Learning (104,000 registered, only 13,000 completed the course), and Introduction to Databases (92,000 registered, and only 7,000 completed).
Will the cyber world break the brick and mortar university? At least based on this article above, not likely on federal funds. Even the public universities are offering them, but as a lure to get student to commit to completing their degrees supposedly in person.
The debate continues.
From Dien Phan:
In online business, workers can deliver services from anywhere in the world and are not required to be on campus. It’s is called telecommuting. Workers can work in India, China, Germany, or at a lake resort on Lake of the Woods. If online education can allow instructors to teach without being on campus, it would make teaching professionals more attractive. But then college and universities can hire professors from many English speaking nations to teach American students without applying for H1B entry visas. Advising then can be assigned to non-PhD staff. This model has a good cost saving potential.
From Steve Frank:
But several things in no order of importance (or not) or relevance. Note I am not opposed to online education. In the 1970’s I developed a mail course on state and local government for student such as in the military, etc.
a) What happens to athletic teams if most students are not on campus—this is somewhat tongue in cheeks-but maybe not.
b) In addition to some problems already mentioned high dropout rate etc.– I don’t think the cheating problem has really been addressed
c) I really think that much of the college experience is the interaction between various components of the college community – students meeting-working with-being exposed to those who have different backgrounds, thoughts, — Although this is a bit of a stereotype I not sure this occurs while some are sitting in their basement in front of a monitor, in their shorts eating Cheetos.
d) In terms of faculty jobs I see a big reduction in the need for faculty. Even for those who develop courses other than a few “stars”. Probably not representative but a couple of months ago I was asked to develop a state and local course for a newer, private internet company. The work expected to develop the course was huge, the pay was a pittance. I tried negotiating such as getting a % of each enrolled student (such as for a book). That didn’t go anywhere. I realize the true faculty stars would be paid more.
Some edited material from the letter sent to me (now to be fair this is a newer startup up company)
I am very pleased to hear from you and to receive your CV. Thank you for your interest in the Foundation! I’ve attached an orientation package we’re forwarding to qualified and interested parties. It is an approximate replication of our in-person interview/orientation process regularly conducted here in —– and should answer many of your questions. I hope it will serve as an informative sneak peek into our project and process.
As you may have been able to tell, this is not your traditional “teaching” position. Please note (explained in the attached packet) that there are no “students” per se, but more “users” of your course. Let me know if you have questions.
Our course developers are paid in the range of $20/hr. We know your time is worth much more and would love to be able to offer a higher rate, but we are limited by our status as a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free education.
To complete one course, it takes anywhere from 60-80 hours (depending on the availability of resources, etc); the final comprehensive exam for each course takes about 20 hours. Our consultants always keep us in the loop via email re: their status and devote no fewer than 15 hours a week to the project. A full course should take no more than 5 weeks to complete (and a corresponding due date will be set per project assigned to you).
I think I would rather be a greeter at Sam’s Club
From Margaret Villanueva:
I attended a national networking meeting/”campaign” – of faculty who are looking at alternatives to provide students with affordable education, stop the slide in state support all over the country, and other key issues for faculty whether full or part-time (mostly assuming some interest in unionizing as well as bringing together those who are already in the AAUP or other organizations) …. Some policy papers have been uploaded and nat’l meetings have been twice a year for the past couple years … if interested, see core principles and info:
From Amos Olagunju:
Stay tuned! Is SCSU prepared for the new “Commercial Contract Cheating”? It pays more than 1 billion pounds, and perhaps more than 1 billion dollars enterprise in US??? Don’t we need new revolutionary leaders???
Read beneath the headlines a bit. The pundits and disrupters, many of whom enjoyed liberal-arts educations at elite colleges, herald a revolution in higher education that is not for people like them or their children, but for others: less-wealthy, less-prepared students who are increasingly cut off from the dream of a traditional college education.
From Mike Penrod: Thank you, Mike!
This link is to a blog maintained by the Oregon State University Associate Provost for Distance Learning (that may not in fact be his exact title but he does online education at OSU).
It is one of the more thoughtful pieces I have seen.
The documents he lists provide something of a scholarly starting point for a discussion.
Hope this is helpful to those who are interested!