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?
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:
- 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!
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.
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.