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2014:

Using Badges in Higher Education

In a recent blog post by Trent Batson on The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning’s (AAEEBL) website, an interesting topic about centralization and democratization of education emerged from the use of information technology. Either side of the issue, whether to centralize and control technology or to allow students to have control over their own learning in higher education, was compared to identify both the profitability of centralizing control of technology and/or the efficiency of giving control over to students to enhance learning.

To assess either side of the issue, Batson talks about the use of badges in online learning scenarios as a way “challenge how grading is done”, while creating a system of “micro-credentialing”.

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The Risk of the Cloud

Dedoose, a research managing cloud application, experienced a crash in their system that devastated academics across the country according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The crash occurred in the midst of a backup process where one of their services failed unexpectedly. Several hours of research efforts disappeared after the crash.

This incident shows the risk of trusting work to third party, cloud-based applications- including UW Bothell’s Google Apps. These events can and will happen.

To avoid losing work, we strongly suggest backing them up on a computer’s hard drive, thumb drive, SD card, and multiple cloud applications. Dropbox is a great service that saves work to both a cloud service and a computer’s hard drive.    

 

Higher Pass Rates for STEM Courses Using Active Learning

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and developed by lead researchers at the University of Washington, which included Scott Freeman, Mary Wenderoth, Sarah Eddy, Miles McDonough, Nnadozie Okoroafor, Hannah Jordt, and Michelle Smith, findings about STEM courses utilizing the active learning model illustrated higher pass rates than courses using a traditional lecture model.

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Enhancing Foreign-Language Learning with “Telecollaboration”

Having accessible technology provides many opportunities for enhancing the learning experience for students. In the case of learning a foreign-language, such as Spanish or French, what better way to learn the language than from an actual student from Spain or France?

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently posted an article about a Portuguese class at Virginia Commonwealth University that uses video-conferencing software, such as Skype and Google Hangouts, to connect VCU students with English-learning students in Brazil to facilitate “authentic language-immersion experiences.” Using teletandem, or telecollaboration, allows students from both countries to teach each other their native languages, creating a genuine and highly engaging language-learning experience.

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“Old Fashioned” Note Taking More Efficient than Computers

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, students who take notes with a pen or pencil and paper is more likely to benefit in the classroom than those taking notes with their computers. The study will publish in Psychological Science titled “The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note-taking.”

During the study, students received either a notebook and pen or a laptop (not connected to WiFi) to take notes then were tested on recalling facts and applying concepts. Those who did not use a computer earned higher scores on applying concepts than those who did. The fact recalling test had similar results.

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