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Digital Education

Gmail Played a Role in Changing Higher Ed

Gmail celebrated its 10th birthday on April 1st. Reflecting back, they altered higher education more than we know according to Inside Higher Ed.

Transitioning from enterprise platforms to consumer platforms, Gmail is helping the technological world retreat from centralized technology control with a slick, free platform that any higher ed institution can use. UW Bothell has already gone aboard to using Gmail and other Google apps.

This transition is especially great for students who prefer to utilize their own technology at school. Remember only 10 years ago when schools rolled out carts of uniform laptops loaded with the same software? Now students have the option to stop relying on Outlook or Microsoft Office and use the wonders of Gmail, Google Drive, and other online applications. Because of these programs, schools no longer need to worry as much about mandatory software and their updates.

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Suggestions for Improving Privacy in Higher Education

In a blog post written by Tracy Mitrano for Inside Higher Ed’s “Law, Policy — and IT?” blog, three suggestions for improving privacy in higher education were stated:

  1. Reform the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
    • Mitrano suggests that FERPA, which was passed by Congress in 1974, should be reformed to meet the needs of higher education institutions and universities. Mitrano points out that FERPA does not have “specific technical security safeguards…” and its age suggests how outdated the law is in complying with practices and present-day issues with technology, privacy, and education.

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A “Small” Approach to Education with Technology

Education and technology have worked for the betterment of larger institutions and universities. The technology used by these institutions help to solve accessibility issues and are a way for both students and faculty to become acquainted, familiar, and experts with using technology for teaching and learning.

However, some smaller institutions, such as Deep Springs College, simply find the use of technology unsuitable for their specific types of studies, which include academics, involvement with a democratic governance, and a labor program. This brings up the question of whether technology is absolutely necessary for the success and quality of these institutions. Will technology always be a benefit, or is it how it can be applied to solve specific and unique problems that can only be found in certain smaller institutions?

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Online Learning: a Manifesto

In an article for Hybrid Pedagogy, Jesse Stommel has written his manifesto for online learning, which includes an outline of online learning pedagogy.

In the article, Stommel points out that the exciting thing about MOOCs is that they have increased the level of discussion of online learning. However, we need to ignore the hype, and instead focus on how and why we learn online. It’s also important that we open the discussions to the students to allow, them to participate in building their own learning spaces.

Stommel then goes on to outline a pedagogy of online learning. Here are a few of the “points of departure” he makes in his outline:

  1. Online learning happens at many different scales. Not all online learning, though, is scalable. The MOOC is one possible approach, and it is neither a panacea nor a pariah. It might function well for certain learners or for certain courses, but it should be viewed as one of many available approaches. Online learning can happen alone or in groups of 2, 20, 500, or 100,000. The scale of the activity, event, or course changes the experience (but does not define the experience). Read More!

To Scramble or to Flip: Revising the “Flipped” classroom

The “flipped” classroom concept has been the leading innovative approach to redesigning the classroom for more effective teaching and learning. Since then, many people, including Pamela E. Barnett, associate vice provost and director of the Teaching & Learning Center at Temple University, have questioned the actual value and effectiveness of “flipped” classroom structures. Barnett offers her own reinterpretation of the “flipped” classroom with the “scrambled” or “mixed” classroom.

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