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 t509massive.org. 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 http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/igistem/teaching_political_science_students_to_find_and_evaluate_information_in_the_social_media_flow/0
Cheung, C. (2010). Web 2.0: Challenges and Opportunities for Media Education and Beyond. E-Learning And Digital Media, 7(4), 328-337. http://login.libproxy.stcloudstate.edu/login?qurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ebscohost.com%2flogin.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26db%3deric%26AN%3dEJ916502%26site%3deds-live%26scope%3dsite
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 (http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/?s=gaming)

5. Project-based learning (http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/?s=project+based)

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: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2015/03/24/education-reform-finland/)

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 (http://www.paideia.org/, http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/paideia/, http://www.mtlsd.org/jefferson_middle/stuff/paideia%20seminar%20guidelines.pdf)

42. Symposium

43. Socratic Seminar (https://www.nwabr.org/sites/default/files/SocSem.pdf)

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 (http://web.stcloudstate.edu/pmiltenoff/scw/)

55. Physical Field Trip

56. Digital Scavenger Hunt  (http://web.stcloudstate.edu/pmiltenoff/bi/)

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.

Minecraft for Math

6 Minecraft lesson ideas for your Common Core math class


Minecraft EDU – Part 3: Mathematics on the Farm


Engage NY Module 3 Area and Perimeter Minecraft Math activity


Mathematica Minecraft



Interactive Marketing and Social Media

Interactive Marketing and Social Media

deCesare, Gina, Miltenoff, Plamen

Section 5, T/TH – 11:00am – 12:15pm and, Section 7, T – 6:oopm – 9:00pm


  1. Introduction. Who am I, what I do:


  1. What is the purpose of the meeting today: Interactive Marketing and Social Media
  • Define top 3 questions on your mind and be ready to share

Jerry Seinfeld’s 5 Tips On Social Media Etiquette

Social Media: do you use it and how?…

  1. PPT, e.g. slide 27, by sharing with the students resources (most of them are infographics,) about best time when to apply social media marketing.

Social Media Examiner has plenty to say about it:


  1. Ideas and directions:
    Peruse over the 3 groups of directions and ideas and choose one. Study it. Outline what do you anticipate being useful for your future work. Add at least 3 more ideas of your own, which complement the information from this group of information sources.



time-saving social media tools
30 Little-Known Features of the Social Media Sites
26 Creative Ways to Publish Social Media Updates
How to Write a Social Media Policy to Empower Employees
How to Create Awesome Online Videos: Tools and Software to Make it Easy