Archive of ‘learning styles’ category

Large-scale visualization

The future of collaboration: Large-scale visualization

More data doesn’t automatically lead to better decisions. A shortage of skilled data scientists has hindered progress towards translation of information into actionable business insights. In addition, traditionally dense spreadsheets and linear slideshows are ineffective to present discoveries when dealing with Big Data’s dynamic nature. We need to evolve how we capture, analyze and communicate data.

Large-scale visualization platforms have several advantages over traditional presentation methods. They blur the line between the presenter and audience to increase the level of interactivity and collaboration. They also offer simultaneous views of both macro and micro perspectives, multi-user collaboration and real-time data interaction, and a limitless number of visualization possibilities – critical capabilities for rapidly understanding today’s large data sets.

Visualization walls enable presenters to target people’s preferred learning methods, thus creating a more effective communication tool. The human brain has an amazing ability to quickly glean insights from patterns – and great visualizations make for more efficient storytellers.

Grant: Visualizing Digital Scholarship in Libraries and Learning Spaces
Award amount: $40,000
Funder: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Lead institution: North Carolina State University Libraries
Due date: 13 August 2017
Notification date: 15 September 2017

Project Description

NC State University, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, invites proposals from institutions interested in participating in a new project for Visualizing Digital Scholarship in Libraries and Learning Spaces. The grant aims to 1) build a community of practice of scholars and librarians who work in large-scale multimedia to help visually immersive scholarly work enter the research lifecycle; and 2) overcome technical and resource barriers that limit the number of scholars and libraries who may produce digital scholarship for visualization environments and the impact of generated knowledge. Libraries and museums have made significant strides in pioneering the use of large-scale visualization technologies for research and learning. However, the utilization, scale, and impact of visualization environments and the scholarship created within them have not reached their fullest potential. A logical next step in the provision of technology-rich, visual academic spaces is to develop best practices and collaborative frameworks that can benefit individual institutions by building economies of scale among collaborators.

The project contains four major elements:

  1. An initial meeting and priority setting workshop that brings together librarians, scholars, and technologists working in large-scale, library and museum-based visualization environments.
  2. Scholars-in-residence at NC State over a multi-year period who pursue open source creative projects, working in collaboration with our librarians and faculty, with the potential to address the articulated limitations.
  3. Funding for modest, competitive block grants to other institutions working on similar challenges for creating, disseminating, validating, and preserving digital scholarship created in and for large-scale visual environments.
  4. A culminating symposium that brings together representatives from the scholars-in-residence and block grant recipient institutions to share and assess results, organize ways of preserving and disseminating digital products produced, and build on the methods, templates, and tools developed for future projects.

Work Summary
This call solicits proposals for block grants from library or museum systems that have visualization installations. Block grant recipients can utilize funds for ideas ranging from creating open source scholarly content for visualization environments to developing tools and templates to enhance sharing of visualization work. An advisory panel will select four institutions to receive awards of up to $40,000. Block grant recipients will also participate in the initial priority setting workshop and the culminating symposium. Participating in a block grant proposal does not disqualify an individual from later applying for one of the grant-supported scholar-in-residence appointments.
Applicants will provide a statement of work that describes the contributions that their organization will make toward the goals of the grant. Applicants will also provide a budget and budget justification.
Activities that can be funded through block grants include, but are not limited to:

  • Commissioning work by a visualization expert
  • Hosting a visiting scholar, artist, or technologist residency
  • Software development or adaptation
  • Development of templates and methodologies for sharing and scaling content utilizing open source software
  • Student or staff labor for content or software development or adaptation
  • Curricula and reusable learning objects for digital scholarship and visualization courses
  • Travel (if necessary) to the initial project meeting and culminating workshop
  • User research on universal design for visualization spaces

Funding for operational expenditures, such as equipment, is not allowed for any grant participant.

Send an application to by the end of the day on 13 August 2017 that includes the following:

  • Statement of work (no more than 1000 words) of the project idea your organization plans to develop, its relationship to the overall goals of the grant, and the challenges to be addressed.
  • List the names and contact information for each of the participants in the funded project, including a brief description of their current role, background, expertise, interests, and what they can contribute.
  • Project timeline.
  • Budget table with projected expenditures.
  • Budget narrative detailing the proposed expenditures

Selection and Notification Process
An advisory panel made up of scholars, librarians, and technologists with experience and expertise in large-scale visualization and/or visual scholarship will review and rank proposals. The project leaders are especially keen to receive proposals that develop best practices and collaborative frameworks that can benefit individual institutions by building a community of practice and economies of scale among collaborators.

Awardees will be selected based on:

  • the ability of their proposal to successfully address one or both of the identified problems;
  • the creativity of the proposed activities;
  • relevant demonstrated experience partnering with scholars or students on visualization projects;
  • whether the proposal is extensible;
  • feasibility of the work within the proposed time-frame and budget;
  • whether the project work improves or expands access to large-scale visual environments for users; and
  • the participant’s ability to expand content development and sharing among the network of institutions with large-scale visual environments.

Awardees will be required to send a representative to an initial meeting of the project cohort in Fall 2017.

Awardees will be notified by 15 September 2017.

If you have any questions, please contact

–Mike Nutt Director of Visualization Services Digital Library Initiatives, NCSU Libraries


Teaching Critical Thinking

Teaching Critical Thinking: Some Practical Points


Critical thinking scholars also agree that questions are central to students acquiring critical thinking skills. We must ask students challenging, open-ended questions that demand genuine inquiry, analysis, or assessment—questions like these:

  • What is your interpretation/analysis of this passage/data/argument?
  • What are your reasons for favoring that interpretation/analysis? What is your evidence?
  • How well does your interpretation/analysis handle the complexities of the passage/data/argument?
  • What is another interpretation/analysis of the passage/data/argument? Any others?
  • What are the implications of each interpretation/analysis?
  • Let’s look at all the interpretations/analyses and evaluate them. How strong is the evidence for each one?
  • How honestly and impartially are you representing the other interpretations/analyses? Do you have a vested interest in one interpretation/analysis over another?
  • What additional information would help us to narrow down our interpretations/analyses?

Some teaching methods naturally promote inquiry, analysis, and assessment, and all of them are student-active (Abrami et al., 2008). Class discussion may be the strongest, and it includes the debriefings of complex cases, simulations, and role plays. However, debates, structured controversy, targeted journaling, inquiry-guided labs, and POGIL-type worksheets ( are also effective.


more on critical thinking in this IMS blog

cultural differences

Chinese, Americans Truly See Differently, Study Says

John Roach for National Geographic NewsAugust 22, 2005

Richard Nisbett, a psychologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Westerners and Easterners see the world differently

the ‘Learning Styles’ Myth

One Reason the ‘Learning Styles’ Myth Persists


It’s a nice idea, but it also appears to be wrong. Over and over, researchers have failed to find any substantive evidence for the notion of learning styles, to the point where it’s been designated a “neuromyth” by some education and psychology experts.


LMS and student learning

Techniques for Unleashing Student Work from Learning Management Systems

the fundamental problem is that learning management systems are ultimately about serving the needs of institutions, not individual students.

In his manifesto on Connectivism, George Siemens writes that in Connectivist learning environments, the “pipes” of a course are more important than what flows through those pipes. The networks that students build are durable structures of lifelong learning, and they are more important

by having students own their learning spaces and democratize the means of production. Rather than forcing students to log in to an institutional LMS, I asked them to create their own websites, blogs, Twitter accounts and spaces on the open Web. In these spaces, students could curate links and connections and share their evolving ideas. Whatever they create is owned and maintained by them, not by me or by Harvard. They can keep their content for three months, three years, or the rest of their lives, so long as they continue to curate and move their published content as platforms change.

so, it is back what i claimed at the turn of the century: LMS were claimed to be invented to make the instructor’s life “easier”: instead of learning HTML, use LMS. My argument was that by the time one learns the interface of WebCT, one can learn HTML and HTML will be remain for the rest of their professional life, whereas WebCT got replaced by D2L and D2L will be replaced by another interface. I was labeled as “D2L hater” for such an opinion.
Now to the argument that LMS was a waste of instructors’ time, is added the new argument that it is also a waste of students’ time.

The way that Connected Courses deal with this challenge is by aggregation, sometimes also called syndication. All of the content produced on student blogs, websites, Twitter accounts and other social media accounts is syndicated to a single website. On the Flow page, every piece of content created by students, myself and teaching staff was aggregated into one place. We also had Blog and Twitter Hubs that displayed only long-form writing from blogs or microposts from Twitter. A Spotlight page highlighted some of the best writings from students.

This online learning environment had three important advantages. First, students owned their means of production. They weren’t writing in discussion forums in order to get 2 points for posting to the weekly prompt. They wrote to communicate with audiences within the class and beyond. Second, everyone’s thinking could be found in the same place, by looking at hashtags and our syndication engines on Finally, this design allows our learning to be permeable to the outside world. Students could write for audiences they cared about: fellow librarians or English teachers or education technologists working in developing countries. And as our networks grew, colleagues form outside our classroom could share with us, by posting links or thoughts to the #t509massive hashtag.




social media and critical thinking

Does social media make room for critical thinking?

social media critical thinking

social media critical thinking

Sinprakob, S., & Songkram, N. (2015). A Proposed Model of Problem-based Learning on Social Media in Cooperation with Searching Technique to Enhance Critical Thinking of Undergraduate Students. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 174(International Conference on New Horizons in Education, INTE 2014, 25-27 June 2014, Paris, France), 2027-2030. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.871

Bailey, A. (2014). Teaching Alice Walker’s The Color Purple: Using Technology and Social Media To Foster Critical Thinking and Reflection. Virginia English Journal, 64(1), 17.

Eales-Reynolds, L., Gillham, D., Grech, C., Clarke, C., & Cornell, J. (2012). A study of the development of critical thinking skills using an innovative web 2.0 tool. Nurse Education Today, 32(7), 752-756. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2012.05.017

Baldino, S. (2014). The Classroom Blog: Enhancing Critical Thinking, Substantive Discussion, and Appropriate Online Interaction. Voices From The Middle, 22(2), 29.

Ravenscroft, A., Warburton, S., Hatzipanagos, S., & Conole, G. (2012). Designing and evaluating social media for learning: shaping social networking into social learning?. Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(3), 177-182. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2012.00484.x

finding ways to capture meaningful informal learning experiences by explicitly linking these to formal structures, and providing frameworks within which informal learning can then be validated and accredited (Cedefop Report 2007).

Education is clearly a social process but it is probably much closer to an ongoing discussion or debate than an extended celebration with an ever-expanding network of friends (p. 179, Ravenscroft et al.)

the community of inquiry (COI) model developed by Garrison and Anderson (2003) and social network analysis (SNA). European Commission-funded integrated

project called MATURE (Continuous Social Learning in Knowledge Networks), which is investigating how technology-mediated informal learning leads to improved knowledge practices in the digital workplace
Fitzgibbons, M. (2014). Teaching political science students to find and evaluate information in the social media flow. In I. Management Association, STEM education: Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. Retrieved from
Cheung, C. (2010). Web 2.0: Challenges and Opportunities for Media Education and Beyond. E-Learning And Digital Media, 7(4), 328-337.
Pattison, D. (2012). Participating in the Online Social Culture. Knowledge Quest, 41(1), 70-72.
Key to using social media is the ability to stand back and evaluate the credibility of a source of information, apart from the actual content. While developing this critical attitude toward traditional media is important, the attitude is even more crucial in the context of using social media because information didn’t go through the vetting process of formal publication. Can the student corroborate the information from multiple sources? How recent is this information? Are the author’s credentials appropriate? In other words, the ability to step back, to become aware of the metatext or metacontext is more important than ever.
Coad, D. T. (2013). Developing Critical Literacy and Critical Thinking through Facebook. Kairos: A Journal Of Rhetoric, Technology, And Pedagogy, 18(1).
Many instructors believe that writing on social networking sites undermines the rhetorical skills students learn in class because of the slang and abbreviations often used on these sites; such instructors may believe that social networks are the end of students’ critical awareness when they communicate. Johndan Johnson-Eilola and Stuart A. Selber (2009) contended that electronic writing forms actually require “sophisticated skills of understanding concrete rhetorical situations, analyzing audiences (and their goals and inclinations), and constructing concise, information-laden texts, as a part of a dynamic, unfolding, social process” (p. 18). It is this dynamic process that makes social networking a perfect match for the composition classroom and for teaching rhetorical skills: It helps students see how communication works in real, live rhetorical situations. Many students do not believe that communication in these media requires any kind of valuable literacy skills because they buy into the myth of how the news media portray social networks as valueless forms of communication that are decaying young people’s minds. This is why I introduced students to the passage from Invisible Man: to get them thinking about what kinds of skills they learn on Facebook. I found the text useful for helping them acknowledge the skills they are building in these writing spaces.
Stuart A. Selber (2004) in Multiliteracies for a Digital Age criticized so-called computer literacy classes for having “focused primarily on data representations, numbering systems, operating systems, file formats, and hardware and software components” rather than on the task of teaching students to be “informed questioners of technology” (p. 74). In a time when, as Sheelah M. Sweeny (2010) noted, “the ability to stay connected with others is constant,” it is increasingly important to engage composition students in critical thinking about the spaces they write in (p. 121). It is becoming clearer, as technology giants such as Google® and Apple® introduce new technologies, that critical literacy and critical thinking about technology are necessary for our students’ futures.
Valentini, C. (2015). Is using social media “good” for the public relations profession? A critical reflection. Public Relations Review, 41(2), 170-177. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2014.11.009
p. 172 there is no doubt that digital technologies and social media have contributed to a major alteration in people’s interpersonal communications and relational practices. Inter- personal communications have substantially altered, at least in Western and developed countries, as a result of the culture of increased connectivity that has emerged from social media’s engineering sociality ( van Dijck, 2013 ), which allows anyone to be online and to connect to others. Physical presence is no longer a precondition for interpersonal communication.
(Jiping) The Pew Research Center ( Smith & Duggan, 2013 , October 21) indicates that one in every ten American adults has used an online dating site or mobile dating app to seek a partner, and that in the last eight years the proportion of Americans who say that they met their current partner online has doubled. Another study conducted by the same organization ( Lenhart & Duggan, 2014 , February 11) shows that 25% of married or partnered adults who text, have texted their partner while they were both home together, that 21% of cell-phone owners or internet users in a committed relationship have felt closer to their spouse or partner because of exchanges they had online or via text message. Another 9% of adults have resolved online or by text message an argument with their partner that they were having difficulty resolving person to person ( Lenhart & Duggan, 2014 , February 11). These results indicate that digital technologies are not simply tools that facilitate communications: they have a substantial impact on the way humans interact and relate to one another. In other words, they affect the dynamics of interpersonal relations

Inquiry, Openness and Trust

How to Design a Classroom Built on Inquiry, Openness and Trust

Many teachers have likely engaged in some type of inquiry or project-based learning, but with frustrating or dismal results.

Two of the best resources I’ve found for creating an inquiry classroom are Carol Kuhlthau’s work and Alberta Learning’s Guide to Inquiry Learning.


alternatives to lecturing

50 Alternatives To Lecturing

Learning Models

1. Self-directed learning

2. Learning through play

3. Scenario-based learning

4. Game-based learning (

5. Project-based learning (

6. Peer-to-Peer instruction

7. School-to-school instruction (using Skype in the classroom, for example)

8. Learning through projects

9. Problem-based learning

10. Challenge-based learning

11. Inquiry-based learning

12. Mobile learning

13. Gamified learning (gamification)

14. Cross-curricular projects (teaching by topic:

15. Reciprocal Teaching

16. “Flipped-class” learning

17. Face-to-Face Driver blended learning

18. Rotation blended learning

19. Flex Blended Learning

20. “Online Lab” blended learning

21. Sync Teaching

23. HyFlex Learning

24. Self-guided MOOC

25. Traditional MOOC

26. Competency-Based Learning

27. Question-based learning

Literacy Strategies

28. Write-Around

29. Four Corners

30. Accountable Talk

31. RAFT Assignments

32. Fishbowl

33. Debate

34. Gallery Walk

35. Text Reduction

36. Concentric Circles

37. Traditional Concept-Mapping (teacher-given strategy–“fishbone” cause-effect analysis, for example)

38. Didactic, Personalized Concept Mapping (student designed and personalized for their knowledge-level and thinking patterns)

39. Mock Trial

40. Non-academic video + “academic” questioning

41. Paideia Seminar (,,

42. Symposium

43. Socratic Seminar (

44. QFT Strategy

45. Concept Attainment

46. Directed Reading Thinking Activity

47. Paragraph Shrinking

48. FRAME Routine

49. Jigsaw Strategy


50. Content-Based Team-Building Activities

51. Learning Simulation

52. Role-Playing

53. Bloom’s Spiral

54. Virtual Field Trip (

55. Physical Field Trip

56. Digital Scavenger Hunt  (

57. Physical Scavenger Hunt



student evaluations

twitter post stud evals

A defense of student evaluations: They’re biased, misleading, and extremely useful.

The answer requires us to think about power. If you look hard at the structure of academia, you will see a lot of teachers who, in one way or another, lack power: adjuncts and term hires (a large population, and growing); untenured faculty (especially in universities like mine); faculty, even tenured faculty, in schools where budget cuts loom; graduate students, always and everywhere. You might see evaluations as instruments by which students, or administrators, exercise power over those vulnerable employees. But if you are a student, and especially if you are a student who cares what grades you get or who needs recommendations, then teachers, for you—even adjuncts and graduate teaching assistants—hold power.

Chairmen and deans also need to know when classroom teaching fails: when a professor makes catastrophically wrong assumptions as to what students already know, for example, or when students find a professor incomprehensible thanks to her thick Scottish accent. My note: indeed, when chairmen and deans KNOW what they are doing and are NOT using evaluations for their own power.

Student Course Evaluations Get An ‘F’ : NPR Ed : NPR

Philip Stark is the chairman of the statistics department at the University of California, Berkeley. “I’ve been teaching at Berkeley since 1988, and the reliance on teaching evaluations has always bothered me,” he says.

Stark is the co-author of “An Evaluation of Course Evaluations,” a new paper that explains some of the reasons why.

Michele Pellizzari, an economics professor at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, has a more serious claim: that course evaluations may in fact measure, and thus motivate, the opposite of good teaching. Here’s what he found. The better the professors were, as measured by their students’ grades in later classes, the lower their ratings from students.

“Show me your stuff,” Stark says. “Syllabi, handouts, exams, video recordings of class, samples of students’ work. Let me know how your students do when they graduate. That seems like a much more holistic appraisal than simply asking students what they think.”


Game-Changing Grading Changes

Grade the Product AND the Process

With Revision History, I’ve seen students work just two hours on a paper the night before it’s due and others spend considerable time and effort on a paper. Whatever the case may be, I can identify and address what I see in Revision History with a student to help them grow. My note: use wiki or Google Apps to be able to track changes in revision

Use Kaizena for Effective Feedback – Many teachers have discovered the awesome benefits of filming themselves and their lessons, but what about recording feedback? My note: use audio recording for feedback. a more positive place to learn because my students could now hear the intonation and inflection in my voice when I delivered feedback, not have their hearts broken by red ink. They could hear the positivity with which I reviewed their work and provided feedback.

Rethinking How We Grade Group Work

I had students submit group contracts which clearly stated when and where they would meet and who was responsible for completing what, when. This contract was used in our post-project meetings. By having clearly defined tasks and roles, each student was held accountable. Make them be specific. Instead of Tina will do research by Friday get them as close  to Tina will find five usable sources for the project and get them to Tom on the shared planning Doc by 3pm Friday.

Remember Revision History? It’s great for group projects because a Revision History is created for every person the Doc is shared with. Revision History can help a teacher see who contributed to group work and when because on any shared item in Google Drive, each individual is assigned their own color and timestamp. We can now better see how much each group member has contributed to an assignment. We can take this into consideration when grading, or, better yet, be proactive and intervene when a group’s shared planning Doc looks like one person is doing all the work

1) After a project, I gave students a Google Form where they could provide anonymous feedback on their peers efforts during the project. The Form also allowed students to grade these efforts using a rubric. I would then average the grades for each individual student and share the anonymous feedback at the post-group meetings. I would give them an opportunity to reflect on the feedback as a group and speak to the fairness of their averaged grade. Through this process we would come to an agreement on an individual grade for the project and a list of takeaways the could use to improve for next time.

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