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November, 2012:

Gates Foundation announces it will fund MOOC research project at Maryland universities

Inside Higher Ed reported yesterday that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will fund an 18-month project assessing the impact of MOOCs in selected public universities in Maryland. The project will cost $1.4 million and will be run by nonprofit research group Ithaka S+R.

The goal of the project is to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of MOOCs, to see if they make a difference in student learning. Because MOOCs are comparably inexpensive to costs associated with traditional face-to-face classes, there could be great benefits to using MOOCs in a university setting. If the research results show equal or improved student learning, they could open many new doors for MOOCs and influence academia to rethink their role in formal education.

Ithaka S+R will watch these courses closely and measure their effects with, according to Robinson, “rigorous assessment[s] of how students fared using these technologies”.

Although the full list of MOOCs hasn’t been decided, spokeswoman for the Gates Foundation Debbie Robinson lists Coursera and edX as two that the project will definitely use.

Welcome, Sara Frizelle and Salem Levesque!

In case you missed it, the Learning Technologies team has grown!

Sara Frizelle

Over the summer, Sara Frizelle came aboard as the new E-Learning Specialist at UW Bothell. She comes to us from Everett Community College where she was the Director of eLearning & Instructional Design.  As Director, she worked collaboratively with faculty across all academic departments to provide assistance in the development of online, hybrid courses and web-enhanced courses. Sara was also responsible for researching, implementing and supporting various eLearning tools such as the Learning Management System, Tegrity, Blackboard Connect, Quality Matters, SoftChalk, Respondus and Jing.

Her position at EVCC also included mentoring faculty on teaching and learning pedagogy and she also had a hand in the creation of innovative classroom and community spaces on campus. Outside her role as Director, Sara was an associate faculty in the Education department, where she hybridized and taught the Introduction to Education course.

Sara is currently a doctoral student at The University of Washington Seattle in Learning Sciences, where she is focusing her attention on how institutional policy and institutional structures affect teaching and learning and faculty professional development.

Sara will help expand Learning Technologies’ mission of enhancing teaching and learning, both online and on campus. She will work with faculty and students, focusing on developing effective instructional and learning strategies for eLearning including hybrid learning, online courses, web tools and more.


Creative Uses of Google Apps for Teaching and Learning

Since the University of Washington worked with Google to make available a UW-branded version of the popular Google Applications (Gmail, Google Documents, Google Sites, Google+, Blogger), the apps have been used for various teaching and learning initiatives at UW Bothell. The Center for University Studies and Programs (CUSP) program and the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (SIAS), for example, both use Google Sites for student electronic portfolios.

But, you might ask, beyond the commonly used apps and the common ways to use them, is anyone making creative use of these tools for teaching and learning? Yes! Here are two examples.

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Sharing Media Files in Canvas

Five Things You Should Know About… Hybrid Learning at UW Bothell

By Sara Frizelle and Ian Porter


Dr. Singh teaches Computer Science at a local public university. She is a passionate teacher who values the time with her students in class. She is able to respond to questions in ways that are just not possible online. She is able to help them work through problems in the Coding required for in her introductory programming course. When the chair of her department asked her to transform her introductory programming class into a hybrid course, she had serious concerns. “How will I keep the students engaged and show my passion for the topic with Web-based tools?” she asked. “Won’t this take a lot more time than my normal class?” With strong reservations, she decided to give it a try.

She worked with an educational technologist and staff from the Center for Learning and Teaching on her campus to design the class. For the first class, the design process took significantly more time than if she would have taught the traditional course. However, there were aspects of the hybrid course format that she hadn’t considered before. She realized that she could have students submit their programming assignments online and give them feedback using the video comment function in the course management system. She could have the students post their code in a discussion board and get debugging advice from fellow students. Most importantly, she still had a significant amount of time with them in her classroom, which she used for high impact teaching practices that are best done face-to-face with students. It wasn’t a perfect class the first time she taught it; there were hiccups and sometimes she had to focus on the technologies more than she would have liked. But, she realized that hybrid classes still allowed her to engage her students interpersonally, while allowing her to take advantage of web-based tools that expand learning opportunities for her students. She plans to give it another try.

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