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Tips to Give Effective Feedback for Online Courses

Tips to Give Effective Feedback for Online Courses | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |
Good online courses provide feedback throughout the course. The trick is making sure that it is meaningful and effective feedback.
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Big bucks for blended learning in K-12: Where’s the evidence? | Digital

Big bucks for blended learning in K-12: Where’s the evidence? | Digital | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |
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The 2 most powerful flipped classroom tips I have learned so far

The 2 most powerful flipped classroom tips I have learned so far | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |
Won’t students skip my class if my lectures are available online?

This is a question that comes up often in the world of higher education, where class attendance is usually not compulsory.  One fine day early Fall of 2012, I took this question with me on my walk from my office in the University of Texas at Austin tower to one of the largest auditoriums on campus.

I was visiting Stealth Flipper’s  class, a large enrollment (n=400) Humanities course for non majors, called Introduction to Ancient Rome.  Stealth put all pre-recorded lectures online for students and required them to watch three to four, 20 minute lectures per week. In class, Stealth used several innovative strategies,  such as mini lectures,  clicker questions, guided large class discussion, and Peer Instruction.

Within the first few minutes of arriving, as I had to jockey for a seat, the answer to my question seemed pretty clear. I wrote the following statement in my notebook: “Yes! Students will attend even when the lectures are online!” and I took the above snapshot as proof.

Now, as I think back on this, I ask myself – “So what? Is attendance really a measure of how well a course is going?”

Stealth had not always taught a flipped class. Indeed, she originally taught Intro to Ancient Rome more traditionally –  by assigning readings, lecturing, and “trying to push the class to think deeply about the complexities of the content,” she says on her blog, Teaching without Pants.

Stealth emphasizes that she liked teaching a large class and “even enjoyed lecturing.” That said, she also felt that something just did not sit quite right with her and the traditional approach: “I hated the feeling that I was in cahoots with my students–I’d make the class entertaining and not too demanding and they’d humor me by cramming a bunch of facts (from a study guide I handed out) and then purging them on the midterms.  I knew they weren’t really learning, but didn’t know what else to do.  I also realized that I was going to become bored very quickly with giving the same lectures every fall.”

So, when Stealth learned lecture capture via Echo360 was available in her classroom, she decided to try to flip her class. I have been eagerly following Stealth’s flip quest for almost a year. Through a ton of trial and error, she’s come up with two game changing tips that I think everyone considering flipping their classroom should know.

1. Don’t tell students you are “flipping” or “experimenting”

In the first implementation of her flip, Stealth used the word “flip” to describe her class to her students. Everything in the literature says to spend time upfront describing exactly what you are doing as a means of meeting the inherent student resistance that will come when you try flipping for the first time.

“I told the students that they were in a ‘flipped’ class and tried to make them partners in creating the learning environment” she says.

When I heard about what happened next, it caught me like a deer in headlights. I was stunned and had no idea how to help.

Students in Stealth’s class started a Facebook Page with a thread titled “I hate the flipped class.” This thread was not only active, it had quite a bit of disturbing content.  Apparently, students did not complain about the content or the teacher but their dissatisfaction with the “flipped class” was vocal and aggressive.   Comments included plans to blast the class in the end of course evaluations and that students were not paying to go to a top university to watch their teacher on a video or to talk to their peers in class.

Such student resistance can be a huge turn off for instructors who are spending an inordinate amount of care, time, energy, and emotion toward creating a better learning experience for their students. Albeit small, an uprising of vocal, angry, dissenting students can be enough to send some teachers packing their flipped-class suitcases back to the land of lecture for good. I’ve seen it happen myself, at Harvard, and heard about it elsewhere.

Not so for Stealth Flipper, my new hero.

In several conversations over the past year, Stealth told me that in reading between the lines, she felt students actually had some valid concerns. Instead of chalking it up to the flip class itself and abandoning ship, she sifted through their comments, took them seriously and listened carefully.

Through this exercise she got an idea that would change the trajectory of her flip and her teaching.

She discovered that her students seemed to be latching onto the word “flip.”  She made several tweaks to her flip approach, but the most interesting to me is that the following semester she did not decide to give up on the flip class. Rather, she decided to give up on using the word flip.  ”I haven’t used the word flipped or flip once in the course or in talking with my students,” she recently told me–hence the moniker, Stealth Flipper.

According to Stealth, this tweak has worked brilliantly. ”Student resistance hasn’t just lessened, it has entirely disappeared,” she says.  Students now come to her office and report how much they enjoy how she teaches, whereas in the fall, they would come in and complain  about their “flip class.”

So, she must have just made the class easier, and that’s why they liked better, right? On the contrary, she made it harder and added many more formal assessments.

2. Don’t teach in new ways and assess in old ways, add frequent low stakes assessments 

The other tip that changed the flipped game for Stealth was her approach to assessment. In her first implementation, she used the same approach to assessment that she had in her traditional class. Students had three midterm exams and a final exam. In her second implementation, however, she added nine weekly quizzes plus a portfolio project in addition to three midterms. She administered the quizzes with Scantrons.

Nine weekly quizzes? WHAT? Certainly this would cause a revolt?

It seems not. Students have indicated that the quizzes have motivated them to change their approach to learning – ie. not cram before the midterm. This is also reflected in their viewing patterns. Figure 1 shows Stealth’s students’ lecture-video viewing patterns for both semesters in the week before the second midterm.  Observe that in the first implementation (Fall 2012) there was a huge spike in views in the week before the exam, which was not the case for the students in the stealth flip class (Spring 2013)…they were watching all along.

Fig 1. Viewing patterns in Stealth Flipper’s class 1 week before 2nd exam

Engagement and less student resistance is not the only outcome that Stealth is realizing through these two tweaks. She has also observed a gain in the average on the first two midterms, as demonstrated in Figure 2. One thing to note is that the exam in the stealth flipped class was significantly harder than Fall 2012 exam.

Fig 2. Exam performance across implementations

As Stealth says, “there’s such a difference in the spring class.  I think these two points are important because they counter a couple of orthodoxies–that you should tell students they are in a flipped class to encourage buy in; and that you can’t do low stakes assessment in a large intro class because the logistics are too messy. ” For a more detailed version of how she runs class based on these two ideas clickhere. 

In closing, my original question about whether students will attend class if I put all my lectures online seems trivial. Who cares? The real question is will they learn to learn better and will they show greater success in so doing. It seems with these two key yet simple tweaks, they just might.

Perla Ronchi's curator insight, April 10, 2014 12:20 PM

Research in attending classes on line

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Infographic: The higher education bubble, Part one |

Infographic: The higher education bubble, Part one | | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |

We often talk about the higher education bubble and it being on the verge of bursting but what does that really look like? How does a “bubble” form and what causes it to burst? The following two part infographic does a great job explaining just that by showing where higher education has been, where we are, and without change where we will be. To me, it further highlights why open source technology and open source principles have such an important role in education reform from lowering costs to demonstrating a better way for educating our youth in the 21st century and beyond.

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Blended Learning Sports Variety of Approaches

Blended Learning Sports Variety of Approaches | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |
Educators are identifying promising models for mixing online learning and face-to-face instruction that emphasize a more personalized approach to education.


As blended learning models, which mix face-to-face and online instruction, become more common in schools, classroom educators and administrators alike are navigating the changing role of teachers—and how schools can best support them in that new role.
"This is a whole new world for education," says Royce Conner, the acting head of school for the 178-student San Francisco Flex Academy, a public charter school.
In the grades 9-12 school, students spend about half the day working on "the floor"—a large open room of study carrels where students hunker down with their laptops to work with online curricula provided by K12 Inc.—and the other half of the day in pullout groups with teachers. Which students are in pullout groups, when the groups meet, and how often they meet depend on the progress each student is making in his or her online classes, says Conner.

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Roadmap for Reform | Digital Learning Now

Roadmap for Reform | Digital Learning Now | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |

Today, less than 10 percent of students around the nation are experiencing the benefits of digital learning. States must advance bold reforms to make systemic changes in education to extend this option to all students. The Roadmap for Reform provides Governors, lawmakers and policymakers with tangible steps to transform education into a model for the world, a system where every student graduates from high school with the skills and knowledge to succeed in college and careers.


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The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning - Forbes

The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning - Forbes | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |

Online learning is sweeping across America. In the year 2000, roughly 45,000 K–12 students took an online course. In 2009, more than 3 million K–12 students did. What was originally a distance- learning phenomenon no longer is, as most of the growth is increasingly occurring in blended-learning environments, in which students learn online in an adult-supervised environment at least part of the time. As this happens, online learning has the potential to transform America’s education system by serving as the backbone of a system that offers more personalized learning approaches for all students. 


There is much consensus that integrated systems, hundreds of hours of high-quality dynamic content, simple analytics and automation, and tools that enhance student motivation are still needed.


Policymakers must adopt the right policies for this to transform the system into a student-centric one. There is a significant risk that the existing education system will co-opt online learning as it blends it into its current flawed, monolithic model—and, just as is the case now, too few students will receive an excellent education.

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Welcome to KIPP Empower Academy!

KIPP Empower Academy (KEA) is a college-preparatory, tuition-free public charter elementary school that is slated to open in summer 2010 in South Los Angeles.
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Blended Learning: Resource Roundup

Blended Learning: Resource Roundup | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |
We've collected resources from Edutopia and the Web to help you navigate the possibilities of blended learning, an approach that combines face-to-face and technology-mediated learning, with some student control over time, path, place, or pace.


Getting Started With Blended LearningTips, Tools, and StrategiesBlended Learning in Practice
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Higher Education Taps Teambox For Social Collaboration - The BrainYard - InformationWeek

Higher Education Taps Teambox For Social Collaboration - The BrainYard - InformationWeek | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |
Teambox, as a task-oriented, cloud-based social collaboration tool, is a flexible option for collaborative learning and other campus projects.


Teambox, as a task-oriented, cloud-based social collaboration tool, is a flexible option for collaborative learning and other campus projects.

The higher education market is emerging as one of the best success stories for the social collaboration and project coordination tool Teambox.

More than 60 institutions have adapted Teambox for everything from administrative task management to strategic planning and coordinating activities within online courses. Teambox cites as prominent educational customers Auburn University, Colgate University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Rice University, Stanford University, University of California Irvine and University of Michigan.

"We deliberately built a platform of collaborative tools that applies to any vertical, but we've gotten particular traction in a couple and education is one of them," said Teambox CEO Dan Schoenbaum. Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, Teambox has established a U.S. headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., and is working to capitalize on the interest in social task management tools. Teambox provides social profiles and comment streams in a manner similar to Facebook-for-business products like Yammer, but it is organized around projects rather than discussion groups. Teambox can be used for file sharing but also integrates with cloud file sharing services like Dropbox and Box. As a result of a partnership announced in December, Teambox also bundles in 15 gigabytes of Box storage. Those integrations are available with a paid subscription. Teambox also provides free accounts for up to five users and five projects.

Inside Eight Game-changing MOOCs(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

[ A teacher's best friend? Read Edmodo: Social Collaboration For Teachers.]

While there is nothing education-specific about the Teambox product, the nursing program at Western Wyoming Community College uses Teambox to support online learning, rather than its learning management system, Blackboard.

"We're using Teambox where others would use an LMS," said David Bodily, assistant professor of nursing and architect of the online program for nursing. That choice was driven partly by the non-traditional, flipped classroom structure of the nursing program, which clashed with an LMS approach "fundamentally designed for the sage on the stage," he said. Rather than fitting his instruction into a structure imposed by an online tool, he wanted something flexible enough for him to configure however he wanted, Bodily said. "An LMS is very much not that." The social collaboration features in LMS products have gotten stronger since he first looked at them, but he still doesn't see them as the equal of Teambox in that respect.

Most of Teambox's other customers in higher education are using it for behind-the-scenes applications. Penn State University's Agricultural Sciences program adopted Teambox to support a strategic planning project, and it has since been picked up for use by other departments.

Aaron Pompei, director of multimedia strategy and development at Savannah College of Art and Design, has been using Teambox to support the production process for video lectures to be included with online courses. The school's Virtual Lecture Hall program started in 2005, and as it has grown "we had a growing need for project management," he said.

In particular, he needed a very flexible tool for coordinating projects between faculty, staff, and the students who do most of the actual production work. "The thing is, we're never going to be in the same place at the same time, except when we're on production," Pompei said. The university's information technology department did have other project management tools available under enterprise licenses, but nothing that could easily be made available to students as well as university employees, he said.

Teambox was a good fit because it wasn't as complicated as many other project management tools, which tended to be "far too robust," but it was still more sophisticated than task management products designed primarily for individual users, Pompei said.

Pompei said he has also looked at Yammer, "but I haven't found a use for it." Meanwhile, Teambox provides some of the basic social networking functions -- such as the ability to @mention other users Twitter-style as a way of bringing them into a discussion -- that help it meet student expectations for how software ought to work, he said. Projects and discussions can also be categorized with social media-style tags so they are easier to track or find in a search.

Teambox went through an IT review before it was approved for use, and it is finding other uses at the college; for example, within a collaborative learning center and a careers and alumni relations team, Pompei said.



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Can “The Flipped Classroom” Model Work in Higher Education? [Infographic]

Can “The Flipped Classroom” Model Work in Higher Education? [Infographic] | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |
Technology creates the opportunity for a new learning environment.


If you are involved in education, you’ve likely heard about “The Flipped Classroom” model. But in case you haven’t, here is a quick breakdown:

In the current model, professors lecture in the classroom, and students are assigned homework to do before their next class. In the flipped model, classroom time is used for concept engagement, such as group activities, and students are assigned video lectures to watch at home. Some feel that this takes greater advantage of the expertise of the professor, the group environment and the learning styles of the students and 67% reported that it improved test scores.

Technology, and specifically the proliferation of personal computing devices and the Internet, is the driving force behind the movement. As we wrote about recently, some experts are suggesting that the current model of education is “medieval” and that, without change, higher education will be flattened by innovative for-profit colleges. 

Case studies have shown that flipping the classroom leads to higher student engagement and better grades, but the real issue is whether universities will adopt such a dramatic change. If they don’t, someone else will, so check out this infographic to learn more.

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Disruptive technologies in higher education: adapt or get left behind

Disruptive technologies in higher education: adapt or get left behind | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |
Though universities are currently adapting to many political, economic and social changes, they cannot afford to ignore technological transformation as well, says Matthew Draycott.


In the recent survey of Guardian Higher Education Network readers and members I was surprised that 'the changing nature of learning platforms' did not feature more prominently under 'changes in the sector'. While I understand that there are pressing social, political and economic reasons for this I think that we should all be mindful of the disruptive technological methodologies that are beginning to emerge which have the potential to fundamentally change the sector.


Only last month the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced that it is launching a fully automated free online course through it's MITx initiative. This builds on the institutions already established Open Course Ware (OCW) platform which provides materials from over 2,100 course for free and expands on it by automating the course at all levels from delivery to assessment.

Via Smithstorian
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Business schools need to think beyond convention -

Business schools need to think beyond convention - | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |
It is vital to recognise the importance of mobile learning and its impact on not only how participants learn, but also on how faculty teach. New modes of teaching reflect an increasing trust in the wisdom of crowds and a decline in reliance on the teacher as expert, which has driven more knowledge delivery out of the classroom.


The traditional campus-based model of executive education provision is changing in the new world of open educational resources and borderless learning services. Technology now allows learners to continue their studies at work or at home. Many executives are time-starved, over-worked yet under increasing pressure to make the best decisions in an increasingly competitive environment. Mobile learning allows individuals to connect to executive education at a time that suits them and in a way that can support current business challenges.

One of the main barriers to mobile learning is that many educators still view mobile devices as a distraction, or disruptive, and not as a learning resource. This resistance to change is likely to be futile.


Customer-driven disruptive innovations that create value have overturned the established structures of almost every other major industry. We have heard much about the “digital divide” between the have and the have-nots, but another significant divide is the “digital use divide”, or the “participation gap”.
Shifts in demand, the growth in emerging markets and new delivery technologies for executive learning mean that maintaining the status quo in methods of learning delivery is not an option. We do not know which of today’s business schools will still be flourishing in 15 years’ time. But we can predict with some confidence that those who respond creatively and boldly to these challenges will have better outcomes than those who overlook them.

Business schools should not wait for the industry to settle: they must innovate. The global nature of businesses and the growing capabilities of powerful mobile devices mean that adopting new technologies in learning is essential to continuing to attract clients in the demand-driven and competitive executive education market.

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More Interaction In Online Courses Isn't Always Better - Forbes

More Interaction In Online Courses Isn't Always Better - Forbes | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |

A fascinating study caught my eye a few months back. Titled “Interaction in Online Courses: More is NOT Always Better,” lead with a startling abstract, which has significant policy implications:

“Cognitive theory suggests more interaction in learning environments leads to improved learning outcomes and increased student satisfaction… key findings indicate that increased levels of interaction, as measured by time spent, actually decrease course completion rates. This result is counter to prevailing curriculum design theory and suggests increased interaction may actually diminish desired program reputation and growth.”

Counter-intuitive indeed.


The authors offer three explanations for why this could be.

First, it is consistent with other findings that the more discussions students have to pay attention to, the less satisfied they were with the learning environment.

Second, when one is a novice in a field, you have limited working memory about the topic. This means there is little space to do hard, unfamiliar work. It’s quite possible that working with others, especially those who are unfamiliar, takes up its own working memory load, which would squeeze out one’s ability to focus on the skills one is trying to master.



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Virginia: Moving Forward or Backward in Education? - Forbes

Virginia: Moving Forward or Backward in Education? - Forbes | Blended Learning - Hybrid Learning |

Entering 2012, the state of Virginia was coping with the effects of a faulty funding formula, which did not provide equity for all students statewide, that the existence of full-time virtual schools had exposed. Senate Bill 598 was introduced in January to fix the problem by insuring fair funding for public school students who wanted access to full-time, statewide virtual schools that had been approved by during a rigorous review process.


In the last week of February, however, changes were introduced to the bill that struck out all of the well-balanced language in the bill designed to fix the faulty funding formula.


What was left was a bill that exacerbates current inequalities in the system, as it is designed explicitly to limit student access to online learning programs based on geography. In essence, as the bill is now written, districts would have veto power over students’ ability to enroll—or stay enrolled—in an online program that meets their needs if the program is housed outside of the district.

What a ruse. A bill introduced to fix the state’s funding problems of online learning in a way that would strengthen students’ ability to tailor an education for their unique needs will now do the exact opposite.


As the United States attempts to march forward toward a student-centric education system powered by digital learning, creating geographic barriers to confine a medium—the Internet—that inherently knows none, is absurd.

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