Going For Distance
Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed.
Online education is no longer a peripheral phenomenon at public universities, but many academic administrators are still treating it that way.
So says a comprehensive study released today by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the Sloan National Commission on Online Learning, which gathered survey responses from more than 10,700 faculty members and 231 interviews with administrators, professors, and students at APLU institutions.
“I think it’s a call to action,” said Jack Wilson, president of the University of Massachusetts and chair of the Sloan online learning commission. “The leadership of universities has been trying to understand exactly how [online education] fits into their strategic plans, and what this shows is that faculty are ahead of the institutions in these online goals.”
According to the study, professors are open to teaching online courses (defined in the study as courses where at least 80 percent of the course is administered on the Web), but do not believe they are receiving adequate support from their bosses. On the whole, respondents to the faculty survey rated public universities “below average” in seven of eight categories related to online education, including support for online course development and delivery, protection of intellectual property, incentives for developing and delivering online courses, and consideration of online teaching activity in promotion and tenure decisions.
Still, more than a third of the faculty respondents had developed and taught an online course.
Read the full article at the Inside Higher Ed link below…
Genome Island: A Virtual Science Environment in Second Life
Mary Anne Clark
Mary Anne Clark describes the organization and uses of Genome Island, a virtual laboratory complex constructed in Second Life. Genome Island was created for teaching genetics to university undergraduates but also provides a public space where anyone interested in genetics can spend a few minutes, or a few hours, interacting with genetic objects—from simple experiments with peas to the organization of whole genomes. Each of the approximately four dozen activities available in the island’s various areas includes background information, model objects with data sets, and suggestions for data analysis. The island also has a presentation theater, an indoor conference setting, and separate meeting spaces suitable for small group conversations. Clark describes some of the activities available on the island, offers advice for their use, and discusses the results of a pilot project that identified some pedagogical and technical challenges arising in this virtual setting.
Link: http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=562 (article requires free registration)
Link: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Genome/118/145/53 (Second Life location)
How to Write Course Standards Based on Objectives
The article How to Write Course Objectives Using Bloom’s Taxonomy mentioned course standards, which are how the learning is measured. This article will explain how to tie those standards to the objectives.
Read the full guide at the link below…
How to Create Course Objectives Using Bloom’s Taxonomy
There are six levels of thinking, according to Benjamin Bloom, who developed the concept of higher order thinking levels in 1956. Those levels (lowest to highest) are Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. Each level of thinking should be considered when creating the learning objectives or outcomes of a course.
A course objective is what the student should be able to do upon completion of the course. A good objective will match the academic level of the course and will clearly state what is expected of the student.
Read the full guide at the link below…
RadioJames Objectives Builder is an online, web-interface tool that instructors can use to help them compose a list of course objectives. It follows the concept of Bloom’s Taxonomy.