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administrative mandate of online discussions

Hi colleagues, My provost just put out a set of expected guidelines for instructors in online classes that emphasize expectations around discussion forums (I pasted them below). These discussion forum expectations are very narrowly defined. I am needing group-think on references that might help me put together some “best practice” alternatives. If an article or other resource comes to mind, please share!
Online Faculty Expectations
Weekly Required (all weeks)
• Faculty will demonstrate their presence in the class 5 days per week
• Respond to all students’ (who post on-time) primary discussion post if you have 9 or fewer students (1/2 of students if you have 10 or more).
• Faculty with larger courses should take special care to post to different students each week.
• Faculty who provide a weekly zoom lecture need only post on the board two other times (on two different days for a total of two other posts).
• Provide individual feedback (posted in the feedback section of the gradebook) for all discussion grades within a reasonable timeframe for students to complete subsequent assignments.
Kip Boahn top-down policy?..
Dayna Henry I balk at the admin trying to tell us what to do. At the same time, I am very angry with colleagues who did not actually offer anything in the way of virtual learning when we went online in spring. It’s hard to balance academic freedom with faculty who don’t care to learn/offer a new way of learning (for your institution). I also recognize the admin was not in their F2F courses either and likely the slacking was occurring there too. The problem is the students LOVE these folks for giving them an easy A/pass.
Cathy Curran For years I have said that administrators need to teach at least one each year or every other year. My Dean has been out of the classroom for over 20 years, the Provost for over 25 and the Chancellor has never taught. They have zero clue how to build or implement and online class. They keep making mandates that to those of us who do actually teach seem absurd. We know the “count and classify” nonsense never works but it is the same argument they use for numerical evaluations of teaching effectiveness: it is objective. The decisions they are making do not make instruction better they are all about power and control, they need us to “prove” that we are doing our job and somehow logging into the LMS five days a week does that. Sad really really sad. Well you know some do and other become administrators…

more on online discussions in this IMS blog

online discussions activities

What Makes a Question Effective?

Thursday, April 18, 3:00–4:00 p.m. CDT

We answer the question we are asked. Asking good questions improves instructor/student communications and designing successful discussions begin by drafting good questions. Many of us are looking for ways to improve online discussion activities: let’s start with the questions we ask. Through a presentation and a facilitated discussion, we will explore how to get the type of responses we are looking for by looking at what makes a question effective.

About the presenter: Treden Wagoner, Instructional Designer, has an MA in Education and over 20 years’ teaching experience. He has specialized in education technology since 2002. As an instructional designer, Treden works with CEHD instructors to develop effective course sites and the integration of technology for teaching and learning. His interest in asking good questions began when he was an art museum educator.

Webinar details

Webinar link

Date: Thursday, April 18, 2019, 3:00−4:00 p.m. CDT

Code: 746 250 839

Password: MNLC@2019


previous webinars’ recordings:

youtube iconLearning Commons YouTube Channel

more on instructional design in this IMS blog

classroom discussions on privacy

Dear colleagues,

the topics of privacy pertaining technology is becoming ubiquitous.
If you feel that the content of your class material can benefit of such discussions, please let us know.

Please have  some titles, which can help you brainstorm topics for discussions in your classes:

Power, Privacy, and the Internet

Privacy groups slam Department of Homeland Security social media proposal

FBI quietly changes its privacy rules for accessing NSA data on Americans

Facebook canceled a student’s internship after he highlighted a massive privacy issue

Samsung’s Privacy Policy Warns Customers Their Smart TVs Are Listening

Teenagers, The Internet, And Privacy

Online privacy: It’s time for a new security paradigm

On social media, privacy, etc.

Hacking the Future: Privacy, Identity, and Anonymity On the Web

Are We Puppets in a Wired World?

How Teens Deal With Privacy and Mobile Apps

If you seek  more tangible, hands-on assistance with similar and/or any topics regarding technology, please do not hesitate to contact us.

beyond threaded discussions

Dynamic Discussion Artifacts: Moving Beyond Threaded Discussion in an Online Course

PPT is converted to iSpring.
rubric and examples of the technology they might use (for podcast etc). They are tech ed master students, so they have the background.

differentiated instruction.

more on discussion in education in this blog:

D2L groups’ discussions: only students in the group can see the discussions

Q: the instructor does not want the students to see each other D2L discussion entries across groups

A: When creating the groups and after selecting “New Category” look down for a checkbox “Set Up Discussion Areas.”
If the box is not checked, students will be divided into groups, but continue seeing each other posts.
Selecting the areas will constrain the discussion to be seen only within the group.



Tech and Learning Leadership Summit

July 23-24, 2020   11:00am – 2:00pm Eastern

The Tech & Learning Virtual Leadership Summit is an exclusive, FREE, invitation-only virtual event for top-level executives from school districts around the country with education technology buying responsibilities. Taking the best of Tech & Learning’s in-person Leadership Summits, the Virtual Summit will provide an environment where district leaders can share their successes and challenges in facilitated small group discussions.

online classes faculty teaching

Switching to online classes creates severe time pressures for university and college teachers

David Westwood

Most students do not want an online education, and many are calling for reductions in tuition fees to compensate for what they perceive might be a lower-quality education and experience. Some might choose to wait for a return to on-campus delivery.

Most professors do not want to teach in an online environment because they value engaging with students in discussions, debates, and laboratory demonstrations. There are many good pedagogical reasons why most post-secondary education continues to take place in a face-to-face, on-campus delivery mode despite the longstanding availability of technology to support online teaching.

Professor and student preferences aside, there is a more pressing problem looming.

There is precious little time for professors to change all of their courses to an online mode of delivery.

Nova Scotia Universities and Colleges need a significant and urgent infusion of funding from the provincial government to cover the increased costs of converting post-secondary education into an entirely different mode of operation over the next three months. Universities cannot be expected to cover those costs alone, and neither should students.

more on online teaching in this IMS blog

Algorithmic Test Proctoring

Our Bodies Encoded: Algorithmic Test Proctoring in Higher Education


While in-person test proctoring has been used to combat test-based cheating, this can be difficult to translate to online courses. Ed-tech companies have sought to address this concern by offering to watch students take online tests, in real time, through their webcams.

Some of the more prominent companies offering these services include ProctorioRespondusProctorUHonorLockKryterion Global Testing Solutions, and Examity.

Algorithmic test proctoring’s settings have discriminatory consequences across multiple identities and serious privacy implications. 

While racist technology calibrated for white skin isn’t new (everything from photography to soap dispensers do this), we see it deployed through face detection and facial recognition used by algorithmic proctoring systems.

While some test proctoring companies develop their own facial recognition software, most purchase software developed by other companies, but these technologies generally function similarly and have shown a consistent inability to identify people with darker skin or even tell the difference between Chinese people. Facial recognition literally encodes the invisibility of Black people and the racist stereotype that all Asian people look the same.

As Os Keyes has demonstrated, facial recognition has a terrible history with gender. This means that a software asking students to verify their identity is compromising for students who identify as trans, non-binary, or express their gender in ways counter to cis/heteronormativity.

These features and settings create a system of asymmetric surveillance and lack of accountability, things which have always created a risk for abuse and sexual harassment. Technologies like these have a long history of being abused, largely by heterosexual men at the expense of women’s bodies, privacy, and dignity.

Their promotional messaging functions similarly to dog whistle politics which is commonly used in anti-immigration rhetoric. It’s also not a coincidence that these technologies are being used to exclude people not wanted by an institution; biometrics and facial recognition have been connected to anti-immigration policies, supported by both Republican and Democratic administrations, going back to the 1990’s.

Borrowing from Henry A. Giroux, Kevin Seeber describes the pedagogy of punishment and some of its consequences in regards to higher education’s approach to plagiarism in his book chapter “The Failed Pedagogy of Punishment: Moving Discussions of Plagiarism beyond Detection and Discipline.”

my note: I am repeating this for years
Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel’s ongoing critique of Turnitin, a plagiarism detection software, outlines exactly how this logic operates in ed-tech and higher education: 1) don’t trust students, 2) surveil them, 3) ignore the complexity of writing and citation, and 4) monetize the data.

Technological Solutionism

Cheating is not a technological problem, but a social and pedagogical problem.
Our habit of believing that technology will solve pedagogical problems is endemic to narratives produced by the ed-tech community and, as Audrey Watters writes, is tied to the Silicon Valley culture that often funds it. Scholars have been dismantling the narrative of technological solutionism and neutrality for some time now. In her book “Algorithms of Oppression,” Safiya Umoja Noble demonstrates how the algorithms that are responsible for Google Search amplify and “reinforce oppressive social relationships and enact new modes of racial profiling.”

Anna Lauren Hoffmann, who coined the term “data violence” to describe the impact harmful technological systems have on people and how these systems retain the appearance of objectivity despite the disproportionate harm they inflict on marginalized communities.

This system of measuring bodies and behaviors, associating certain bodies and behaviors with desirability and others with inferiority, engages in what Lennard J. Davis calls the Eugenic Gaze.

Higher education is deeply complicit in the eugenics movement. Nazism borrowed many of its ideas about racial purity from the American school of eugenics, and universities were instrumental in supporting eugenics research by publishing copious literature on it, establishing endowed professorships, institutes, and scholarly societies that spearheaded eugenic research and propaganda.

more on privacy in this IMS blog

IM 690 lab ASVR

IM 690 Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. short link:

IM 690 lab plan for March 31, online:  Virtual Worlds

If at any point you are lost in the virtual worlds, please consider talking/chatting using our IM 690 zoom link: or call 320 308 3072

Currently, if you go to the SCSU online dbases
,if they are working at all, don’t be surprised when clicking on EBSCOhost Business Source Complete to see this msg:

library error msg

and if you execute a search:
“AltSpaceVR” + “education”, you will find only meager 1+ results.
Google Scholar, naturally, will yield much greater number.
So, search and find an article of your interest using Google Scholar. I used “immersive learning” + “education” for my search.
I chose to read this article:
since it addressed design principles when applying mixed reality in education.
What article did you find/choose/read/are ready to share your analysis with?

Tuesday, March 31, 5PM lab

  1. As usually, we will meet at this Zoom link:
    All of us will be online and we will meet in the Zoom room.
    Please come 10 min earlier, so we can check our equipment and make sure everything works. Since we will be exploring online virtual worlds, please be prepared for technical issues, especially with microphones.
  2. For this lab, please download and install on your computers the AltSpaceVR  (ASVR) software:
    Please consider the impediment that Microsoft has made the 2D mode for PC available only for Windows. If you are a Mac user and don’t have PC available at home, please contact me directly for help.
    In addition, pls have a link to the video tutorial;
    pls be informed about MediaSpace issues of the last two weeks, which can result in poor rendering of the video. If issues persist and you still need help downloading and installing the software, contact me directly for help.
    Please do your best to have ASVR installed on your computer before the lab starts on Tues, March 31, 5PM, so we can use our time during the lab for much more fun activities!
  3. Intro to ASVR.
    Please watch this 5 min video anytime you feel a bit lost in ASVR

    pls consider the issues with MediaSpace and be patient, if the video renders and/or does not play right away. The video is meant to help you learn how to navigate your avatar in ASVR.
    the first 15-20 min in the lab, we will “meet” in ASVR, figure out how to work on our ASVR avatar, how to use the computer keyboard to move, communicate and have basic dexterity. We must learn to “make friends” with Mark Gill (ASVR name: MarkGill47), Dr. Park (ASVR name: dhk3600) and Dr. Miltenoff (ASVR name: Plamen), as well as with your class peers, who will be sharing their ASVR contact info in the Zoom Chat session. Once we learn this skills, we are ready to explore ASVR.
    Mark Gill will “lead” us through several virtual worlds, which you will observe and assess from the point of view of an Instructional Designer and an educator (e.g. how these worlds can accommodate learning; what type of teaching do these virtual worlds offer, etc.)
    Eventually, Mark Gill will bring us to the SCSU COSE space, created by him, where he will leave us to discuss.
  4. Discussion in the COSE ASVR room
    We will start our discussion with you sharing your analysis of the article you found in Google Scholar for today’s class (see above Readings). How do your findings from the article match your impressions from the tour across virtual worlds in ASVR? How does learning happen?
  5. Other platforms for immersive learning
    Following the discussions around your articles, we also will briefly touch on other platforms for immersive learning:
  6. Final projects
    the rest of the time in the lab will be allocated for work on your final projects.
    Dr. Park and Dr. Miltenoff will work individually with your groups to assist with ideas, questions regarding your projects,

Plamen Miltenoff, Ph.D., MLIS
schedule a meeting:
find my office:

more on IM 690 labs in this IMS blog

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