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Half of Online Students Prefer this Route Over a Physical Campus.

A new study done by Learning House and Aslanian Market Research focused on students in online courses found that 50 percent of them would rather not attend classes on a physical campus.

The study was done in Spring of 2016 with 1,500 students who had either recently graduated, were currently enrolled or planned to enroll in the next year in a fully online higher education degree, certificate or license program; it found that while online courses were an only option for half of the students, 90 percent of them who had previously taken on-campus courses said that they preferred online courses or found them just as good.

According to Learning House’s Chief Academic Officer, David Clinefelter, 3.5 million students are working towards their degree online and that academic institution cannot afford to lose these students.

An important finding in this study is that most online students are unaware of the different pathways they can take during the college careers, such as micro-degrees or boot camps. They are more informed on the traditional college degree routes and templates, and only a third of the students were aware of the principles of competency-based education. Other findings include:

  • Among the factors that go into choosing an online route, tuition was found to be number one
  • The age for online students is decreasing as the average age for undergraduates this year was 29 for undergraduates and 33 for graduate students. That is done from 36 and 37 in 2014
  • About ¾ of students picked a school that had a physical campus within 100 miles of their home, with 32 percent of students stating that they planned on visiting the campus at least once a year, and 44 percent stating that they planned on visiting more frequently.
  • Computer science and IT has raised in popularity for graduate students with 20 percent choosing it – this drops education in the rankings, which dropped from 22 percent in 2014, to 14 percent this year.

For more information, please visit the full article here

Gamification Champions

Organization change theory believes there are individuals, “champions”, who push an organization past its comfort zone into new territory. Champions may be faced with a challenge that they don’t know how to solve, but will say, “We’ll figure it out”.

On college campuses, IT champions can help educators embrace gamification. Supports of gamification believe it offers just as many benefits for college students as K-12 students. Well-designed games boost student engagement, build critical thinking skills by requiring students to plan and strategize, and clarify abstract concepts that may be hard to grasp from reading and lecture alone. For students currently in an online course, gaming provides opportunities for collaboration and teamwork.

Despire these benefits, faculty who are new to gamification may be hesitant to jump in. Professors might ask questions about where to start or how to ensure games deliver educational benefit. This is an opportunity for IT professionals (campus champions) to identify potential academic partners.

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Partnership

Edwin Lindsay, a teaching assistant professor in North Carolina State University Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, noticed students in his Introduction to Sports Management course lacked realistic expectations of future career paths. Lindsay partnered with NCU’s Distance Education & Learning Technology Applications (DELTA) to develop a gamification module. Lindsay and Stephen Bader, a business and technology applications specialist, created a Moodle plugin that lets students pursue one of 10 career paths by winning points within 14 skill sets. The game helps students identify skills they need to develop and related courses they can take to enhance those skills.

Linsay did not intentionally become a gamification champion, he eventually became one. His successful partnership with DELTA inspired gamification courses in NCSU’s horticulture department.

Champions Lead The Way

Champions help organizations thrive by understanding and sharing a vision: How have other institutions successfully brought gamification to the classroom? What benefits can it offer students in specific disciplines? How can a faculty/IT partnership pay off outside the classroom?

Champions are facilitators when colleagues are hesitant to embrace new technology, champions help them navigate unfamiliar territory. After faculty member or department rolls out gamification, champions help stakeholders extract lessons learned and help improve the process to make the transition easier.

Click here to learn more.

Engaged or Not?

The common view is to think of students as either engaged or not, however that is not the case. Fredricks writes, that it “can be short term and situation specific or long term and stable.” (Fredricks, et. al., p. 61) The Teaching Professor issued a newsletter, exploring the participation-engagement relationship. The two-study design with most of its eight hypotheses and three research questions confirming this conclusion: “oral participation is not a good indicator of engagement.” (Frymier and Houser, p. 99).

The research team indicated engagement as something they call “nonverbal attentiveness”. It is associated with behaviors, such as frequent eye contact, upright posture, seat location (closer to the front than the back), note taking, and positive facial expressions.

Most of the research focused on three aspects: behavioral engagement, emotional engagement, and cognitive engagement.

Behaviorally engaged students follow classroom rules and norms. Their behaviors demonstrate concentration and attention, by asking questions and contributing during discussions.

Emotional engagement reveals student attitudes toward learning. Attitudes can range from simply liking what they’re doing to deeply valuing the knowledge and skills they gain.

Cognitive engagement involves students wanting to understand something and being willing to go beyond what’s required in order to accomplish learning goals.

Yes, these parts of engagement work differently, but are “dynamically interrelated within the individual.” (Fredricks, et. al., p. 61) We need to also think about how engagement interacts with other aspects of learning, such as motivation and self-efficacy. We need to think about other aspects in order to help students succeed because engagement is an essential part of learning.

Click here to read more on this topic.

Instructure and Microsoft add Integration between Canvas and Office 365

Having a connection between Office 365 and Canvas will greatly impact the lives of students and teachers. Not only will it be easier to submit assignments and such, but all of these applications are created in the cloud, therefore minimizing the use of personal storage.

If you don’t know what Office 365 is, it’s quite similar to Google Doc’s however it is created by Microsoft and boasts their current Microsoft Office applications, all using web browsers and all data stored is in the cloud (also quite similar to Google Docs).

The new integrations that users will be able to use are:

* Submitting files directly from Office 365 to specific Canvas assignments

* Access Office 365 through canvas SpeedGrader to add feedback (This is important for teachers as there was a bit of a disconnect for specific comments at certain spots of a paper)

* You can link Office 365 documents anywhere on Canvas

* Directly connect Office 365 documents in course modules

* Collaborate with other peers in class using any type of Office documents

* Grade and create assignments in OneNote and push those grades to canvas

* Signing into one, means signing into Office 365 as well

This integration will make using Canvas and Office 365 easier in terms of collaborating both programs together.

The Majority of Institutions Offer Other Forms of Credentials

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According to a new study done by University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), Pennsylvania State University and Pearson, millennial students tend to lean towards badging and certificate programs as opposed to the traditional bachelor’s degree.

The study, titled “Demographic Shifts in Educational Demand and the Rise of Alternative Credentials” includes research conducted from 190 institutions, including community colleges (11 percent), baccalaureate colleges (12 percent), master’s colleges or universities (27 percent), and doctorate-granting universities (50 percent). Of those surveyed, 61 percent of them were public institutions. Overall, the research revealed that offering alternative credentials, such as digital badges, certificates, and micro credentials, have become popular, with 94 percent of institutions reporting that they offer this.

Digital badges are online representations of skills learned by students, typically with visual iconography; certificates are usually issued by educational institutions to students who have completed significant programs of study that do not culminate in a specific degree; while micro credentials are digitally presented certifications providing evidence that an individual has mastered a specific skill or area of knowledge that demonstrates their learning.

Director of UPCEA’s Center for Research Marketing Strategy, Jim Fong; director of the Center for Online Innovation in Learning and a professor at Penn State, Kyle Peck; and senior director of business development at Pearson’s Acclaim, Peter Janzow all conducted the study. They have also found that:

* One in five institutions offers digital badges

* Digital badges are most commonly offered in business-related domains

* Institutions with corporate engagement value alternative credentialing more than institutions that did not

* Sixty-four percent of those surveyed agree that their institution sees alternative credentialing as an important strategy for its future

According to Fong, “The degree will always be an important credential, but it won’t always be the gold standard. As millennials enter the prime years of their career and move into positions of greater power, we’ll see more alternative credentials for specific industries and possibly across the board. Higher education institutions, especially those in our survey, are showing that they are being progressive with workforce needs.” For more information, please visit UPCEA’s website for more information.