Teaching group work is difficult. Students often dislike group work, because one or two people carry the weight for everyone else. To solve this problem, one best practice for group project assignments, particularly those that require sustained collaboration and shared leadership over the course of many weeks in the quarter, is to build in an anonymous peer review assignment where each group member is anonymously reviewed by the other group members. The peer review assignment puts in place a system of accountability for the group members and therefore creates a more solid foundation for collaboration.
One way instructors can build this assignment into their course is to use a Google Form that is tied to a Google Spreadsheet. Each student fills out the form once for each member in their group. If the form that accepts the data is designed correctly, the spreadsheet will allow the instructor to quickly view peer reviews by reviewer and reviewee.
In an article written by Carl Straumsheim for Inside Higher Ed, the E-Portfolio Forum, taking place at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), addressed the hype and excitement surrounding ePortfolios. As a way to understand student outcomes and provide a holistic analysis of student performance in a course, ePortfolios have recently garnered a negative reputation due to instructors ineffectively and passively using ePortfolios in their courses. One pattern was apparent for ePortfolios:
Investing in the tool for the sake of keeping up with the trend is a recipe for failure.
Thomas M. Rollins, founder of The Teaching Company, has recently written an article on the Chronicle for Higher Education discussing how the MOOC model has been done before.
Rollins points out that he isn’t referring to mail correspondence, radio lectures, or “educational television. Instead he refers to the period from 1998 to 2006 when a number of prestigious universities attempted to get into the online education market, with significant financial backing; all of which ended unsuccessfully. Rollins comments on this stating:
“Über-competent people with big-dog financial backing could not make it work. And back then we had computers, the Internet, and online video, too.”
Now we have MOOCs, with hundreds of thousands of people signing up for them. But anything free and of value will have a huge number of consumers.
The New Media Consortium (NMC) and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) recently released the eleventh edition of their Horizon Report for 2014.
In this issue, the Horizon Report outlines three major topics:
- Key Trends Accelerating Higher Education Technology Adoption
- This section outlines three subtopics: Fast Trends, Mid-Range Trends, and Long-Trends in driving changes. Each of these subtopics elaborate on how certain trends are pushing for change in higher education and how many years it will take for each of these trends to be accepted.
- These time-frames include one to two years for fast trends, three to five years for mid-range, and five or more years for long-range.
- Some of the changes include “Growing Ubiquity of Social Media”, “Rise of Data-Driven Learning and Assessment”, and “Agile Approaches to Change”.
A recent study published on Educause takes a look into the mobile learning practices of students in higher education.
The study notes that mobile device usage has increased significantly among college students, and that they favor small and lightweight devices such as smartphones and tablets. However 85% of students still consider a laptop to be the most important device for academic success.
As mobile device use expands on campus, the study looks to understand how the students are using their devices. Students were given a survey to determine device prevalence and if they were being used for academic purposes. The study found that 91% of student owned a smartphone while only 58% of those students used them for academic purposes. Tablet ownership was only 37% of those questioned, though 82% of owners used them for school.