UW Bothell Learning Technologies Blog Rotating Header Image

social media

College Adaption towards the Networked Age

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 3.15.16 PM

Students are distracted more than ever in the classroom. They have emails to check, Facebook to browse, and to be very honest they just aren’t captivated in the classroom anymore. Students used to be much more respectful of the professor behind the podium, now they’re riddled with social media. Although Joshua Cooper Ramo believes that this isn’t because of the advancement of technology, but the shift in attitude towards college and authority figures in general. He is the author of No Visible Horizon in which comes from the time he was a stunt pilot. Some would say that from that experience he loves zooming out to get an aerial view of problems.

He argues in his newest book, The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks, that we’re in a time of change as significant and disruptive as the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution. Old Power centers are becoming less important than the new digital monsters like Facebook and Google, and computer algorithms are doing things that even their designers can’t predict.

He believes leaders today are making continual mistakes by assuming what worked in the old system, can work in this new networked era.

Simply as an example, we used to be what our resumes said we were, however now it’s who you are connected to. He believes in order to engaged students, the system must change. University and college leaders must take the reins and create a new system to accommodate for this fast-paced network era.

For more information on this topic visit the main article here.

Virtual Reality Steps into the Medical Field

With virtual reality on the rise, it’s not surprising that it would make its way into the medical field. At Stanbridge College in southern California, a new virtual reality lab is giving students an opportunity to witness and interact with holographic 3D models for their medical training. The lab is equipped with computers that contain software from zSpace, Cyber Science 3D and Cyber Anatomy 3D.

Students from the college’s Nursing, Occupational and Physical Therapy, and Veterinary Technology programs now have access to more than a thousand options of different models ranging from the cellular level up to human or animal bodies and body systems. According to a press release, “Using a stylus and 3D glasses, students can virtually ‘lift’ an object off of the zSpace screen, manipulating and adjusting it to see it at different angles and magnify it for fine details. Students can dissect layers and components of a model for a deeper understanding of interconnectivity.”

President of the college, Yasith Weerasuriya states that their goal as a school is to give their students every opportunity to learn in a way that fits their needs, and the lab is the perfect way to do that. She also states that: “We are very pleased to partner with zSpace Education Systems and expand our classroom technology initiative by adding virtual reality technology to our existing complement of high-fidelity human and canine simulation manikins, synthetic and real human cadavers, and world-class skills labs. This extension of opportunities for kinesthetic learning gives our students an advantage as they prepare for professional licensure and employment.”

Both students and instructors alike state that the models jump off the screen and into their hands, making it a valuable virtual resource to use. Students now have a better opportunity to understand the complex anatomy and illness of their patients.

For more information, please visit the main article here.


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.



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.