Flipped classrooms seem to be growing exponentially
Robert Talbert, a professor of mathematics at Grand Valley State University and author of the book Flipped Learning. Talbert recently tabulated how many scholarly articles are published each year about “flipping” instruction, meaning that traditional lecture-style material is delivered before class (often using videos) so that classroom time can be used for discussion and other more active learning.
More professors are looking to experts to help them teach. (Though some resist.)
By 2016, there were an estimated 13,000 instructional designers on U.S. campuses, according to a report by Intentional Futures. And that number seems to be growing.
There’s also a growing acceptance of the scholarly discipline known as “learning sciences,” a body of research across disciplines of cognitive science, computer science, psychology, anthropology and other fields trying to unlock secrets of how people learn and how to best teach.
And what does it mean to teach an age of information overload and polarization?
Perhaps the toughest questions of all about teaching in the 21st century is what exactly is the professor’s role in the Internet age. Once upon a time the goal was to be the ‘sage on the stage,’ when lecturing was king. Today many people argue that the college instructor should be more of a ‘guide on the side.’ But as one popular teaching expert notes, even that may not quite fit.
The U.S. Department of Education has finally made a move on its efforts to fund development of open educational resources. The agency issued a notice this week inviting proposals for an “open textbooks pilot program” with an Aug. 29, 2018 deadline. The program was mandated in an omnibus spending law, H.R. 1625, approved by Congress earlier this year. ED expected to issue between one and three awards.
The winning proposals will be eligible for between $1.5 million and $4.95 million. The latter amount is nearly the entire fund of $5 million stipulated for the pilot in an explanatory document that accompanied the spending bill.
The application has three “absolute priorities” and one “competitive preference” priority. The absolutes are these:
The project must involve consortium with at least three institutions participating, along with representation from industry or workforce groups and nonprofit or community organizations;
The proposal needs to fill current gaps in the OER “marketplace” and be able to scale beyond the consortium members; and
The plan needs to address how the OER will promote degree completion.
1. Using a blockchain for automatic recognition and transfer of credits
The decline in first-time, first-year student enrollments is having a real financial impact on a number of institutions across the United States and focusing on transfer students (a pool of prospects twice as large) has become an important strategy for many. But credit articulation presents a real challenge for institutions bringing in students from community colleges. While setting standardized articulation requirements across the nation presents a high hurdle, blockchain-supported initiatives may hold great promise for university and city education systems looking to streamline educational mobility in their communities.
2. Blockchains for tracking intellectual property and rewarding use and re-use of that property
If researchers were able to publish openly and accurately assess the use of their resources, the access-prohibitive costs of academic book and journal publications could be circumvented, whether for research- or teaching-oriented outputs. Accurately tracking the sharing of knowledge without restrictions has transformative potential for open-education models.
3. Using verified sovereign identities for student identification within educational organizations
The data footprint of higher education institutions is enormous. With FERPA regulations as well as local and international requirements for the storage and distribution of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), maintaining this data in various institutional silos magnifies the risk associated with a data breach. Using sovereign identities to limit the proliferation of personal data promotes better data hygiene and data lifecycle management and could realize significant efficiency gains at the institutional level.
4. Using a blockchain as a lifelong learning passport
Educational institutions and private businesses partner with online course delivery giants to extend the reach of their educational services and priorities. Traditional educational routes are increasingly less normal and in this expanding world of providers, the need for verifiable credentials from a number of sources is growing. Producing a form of digitally “verifiable CVs” would limit credential fraud, and significantly reduce organizational workload in credential verification.
5. Using blockchains to permanently secure certificates
The open source solution Blockcerts already enables signed certificates to be posted to a blockchain and supports the verification of those certificates by third parties.
When an institution issues official transcripts, obtaining copies can be expensive and burdensome for graduates. But student-owned digital transcripts put the power of secure verification in the hands of learners, eliminating the need for lengthy and costly transcripts to further their professional or educational pursuits. An early mover, Central New Mexico Community College, debuted digital diplomas on the blockchain in December of 2017.
6. Using blockchains to verify multi-step accreditation
As different accreditors recognize different forms of credentials and a growing diversity of educational providers issue credentials, checking the ‘pedigree’ of a qualification can be laborious. Turning a certification verification process from a multi-stage research effort into a single-click process will automate many thousands of labor hours for organizations and institutions