The End of the Course and Core Classes!

The last four months have flown by!  As this course comes to an end, so does the list of core classes that I was required to complete before entering my study phase.  Of all core courses, this one I looked forward to the most.  My passion in higher education is elearning and hybrid models.  The world is filled with technology and it is apparent that most people including my 7 and 10 year old know how to use it proficiently.  Because of these digital natives, it is important for educators to catch up. It is expected that teachers build and maintain competencies to provide the best education possible to student; this is particularly important with respect to technology (Safitry,  Mantoro, Ayu,  Mayumi, Dewanti,  & Azmeela, 2015).

Two of the most inspiring insights that I received in this course were the importance of implementation of technology and how successful it is in engaging students in the classroom and also in eLearning.  It is evident that putting a lecture into a course shell is not enough.  The addition of video, collaboration opportunities, activities, and interactive assessments will make online and hybrid learning more successful.

Andragogy is the teaching and leading of adults (Blackley & Sheffield, 2015).  I have learned that in andragogy, there is a very diverse population and they sit in the same classroom.  No one technology will work for everyone.  So, not only does technology need to be incorporated into the classroom but it needs to be varied so that multiple learning styles are included.  Another thing that I have noticed is that there needs to be increased flexibility due to schedule.  Adults wrestle with jobs, kids, and other obligations.  The increased flexibility of blended learning helps them to be able to attend college.  Though the added stress of having to deal with these issues can cause success issues regardless of flexibility.

In understanding these issues and technologies, the incorporation of blended learning to provide flexibility for adult learners will provide accessibility to more adults. Secondly,  with multiple obligations, attending class is hard, but being engaged is more difficult.  For this reason, the addition of technology to engage a variety of learning styles is necessary to ensure that students in online or blended models are successful.

Blackley, S., & Sheffield, R. (2015). Digital andragogy: A richer blend of initial teacher education in the 21st century. Issues In Educational Research, 25(4), 397-414.

Safitry, T. S., Mantoro, T., Ayu, M. A., Mayumi, I., Dewanti, R., & Azmeela, S. (2015). Teachers’ Perspectives and Practices in Applying Technology to Enhance Learning in the Classroom. International Journal Of Emerging Technologies In Learning, 10(3), 10-14. doi:10.3991/ijet.v10i3.4356

Making a Difference While Keeping it Ethical!

YouTube is widely used in society today.  In fact, YouTube is the most well known user generated video provider and largest video sharing service used today (Buzzetto-More, 2015).  What is challenging when incorporating this into the classroom is how to use it.  Multiple issues arise.  Will the videos we post as educators violate institutional policy?  Will students post videos that are inappropriate? Some posted videos have commercials that may be for other institutions.

However, YouTube has significant benefits.  Videos can be imbedded into presentations. These can be viewed before class or after for review.  Assessments can be tied to the video lessons.  Collaborative projects can be developed using YouTube.  Video is seen favorably by visual learners, which is a positive (Buzzetto-More, 2015).  In the Veterinary Technology program, YouTube would be utilized by faculty to create competency demonstration videos.  Students would also use it to demonstrate proficiency in required skills.  In a study by Miller and Redman (2010), it was found that the use of video for demonstration had a positive impact on student learning outcomes.

Social change comes from better prepared students.  Students that are better at their jobs make a positive impact in the world.  The BLS (2016) indicates that Veterinary Technician jobs continue to grow at a faster rate than the average of all other occupations.  In fact they will grow at least 19% by 2024.  This need can be filled by competent graduates that are well versed in their trade.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016). Veterinary technologists and technicians job outlook. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinary-technologists-and-technicians.htm#tab-6

Buzzetto-More, N. (2015). Student Attitudes Towards The Integration Of YouTube In Online, Hybrid, And Web-Assisted Courses: An Examination Of The Impact Of Course Modality On Perception. Journal Of Online Learning & Teaching, 11(1), 55-73.

Miller, S. T., & Redman, S. L. (2010). Enhancing Student Performance in an Online Introductory Astronomy Course with Video Demonstrations. Astronomy Education Review, 9(1), 010114-1-010114-9. doi:10.3847/AER2009066

Engagement from a Distance!

Distance learning is no passing craze!  The growth of online education continues it’s upward momentum as society gets more involved with their devices and social media.  More and more online only schools are popping up.  So…what can the traditional school do to keep up with the flexibility and attraction of online learning?

The use of blended learning can easily help liven up any classroom by infusing technology.  The use of a Learning Management System (LMS) is an excellent technology source to allow instructors to put part of their courses online.  This provides the positive benefit of flexibility that the online forum affords.  It can be used on devices with access to wifi or use of data so that students can access the courses anywhere. Tablets, laptops, iPads, and mobile devices work similarly to a computer and allow multiple functions.  Smartphones are possibly the most common as the fastest growing handheld device (Backer, 2010).

The LMS gives the instructor creative ways to engage students when they are not on campus.  Caminero, Hernandez, Ros, Tobarra, Robles.-Gómez, and Pastor (2013) stated “LMSs provide a number of tools, among others, communication tools such as video-conferencing, forums or email, evaluation tools such as questionnaires, or grading tools” (p. 29).  One aspect that I find most interesting about the LMS is the idea of embedding video.  This could allow the instructor to create their own lecture videos that students could watch outside of class.

This could be beneficial in blended learning, but could also enable a flipped classroom.  As an educator in science, the use of TeacherTube could be very useful. It is a collection of videos that can be downloaded onto different types of devices (Lucking, Wighting, & Christman, 2009).  Instructors can also add to the library.  These videos have been vetted so the material is appropriate for the educational sphere. Links could be embedded into the LMS so that students can download the videos in preparation for class.

Backer, E. (2010). Using smartphones and Facebook in a major assessment: the student experience. E-Journal Of Business Education & Scholarship Of Teaching, 4(1), 19-31.

Caminero, A. C., Hernández, R., Ros, S., Tobarra, L., Robles.-Gómez, A., & Pastor, R. (2013). Comparison of LMSs: Which is the most suitable LMS for my needs?. International Journal Of Emerging Technologies In Learning, 829-36. doi:10.3991/ijet.v8iS2.2758

Lucking, R. A., Wighting, M. J., & Christmann, E. P. (2009). TeacherTube for science. Science Scope, 32(8), 62-64.

Skype in Online Learning

At my current institution we are building a hybrid program in which theory is taught online and laboratory courses are taught on ground.  The challenge becomes the engagement of students in the online courses.  We have 18 campuses among many states and students from any campus may be in class together online.  This means that they may never meet their online instructor or some of their fellow students.  One of the goals of course development is to make students feel connected to each other and their instructors through improved communication channels.

While the courses include online discussions, we would like to use a forum like Skype to connect students and instructors in live discussions and lectures.  Olson and McCracken (2015)  reported that students who synchronously communicate in an online classroom perform higher than those that do not.  This is an important factor in the success of our students.  The goal of the program is to create a flexible program in which students do not need to come on to campus as frequently, but still engage students at a high level.  This type of technology can also pose a challenge.  Technology sometimes fail.  Power outages, disruptions in WiFi, or students needed to use public connections may prevent participation.  Another challenge is that students living in different time zones may struggle to make online meeting times.

Within the online course, it will be a requirement for students to attend one weekly synchronous meeting per week.  Multiple times would be available to ensure that all students could make at least one session.  This will be presented via Skype.  In a study by Strang (2012), it was shown that the use of Skype for synchronous experiences showed significant improvement in student grades.  Two groups taking the same course were compared.  One in a traditional face-to-face model and the other in a blended model.  Similarly,  we will use Skype in a blended model to improve student engagement and maintain or perhaps even surpass current student performance.

To maintain this use of technology, instructors would work in teams to ensure that multiple times for synchronous events using Skype were available to students.  Instructors will be provided with a framework to ensure that each session is equal.  Students will also have the option to attend multiples sessions.  Sessions will be recorded and posted so students can view and listen to other sessions.

 

Olson, J. S., & McCracken, F. E. (2015). Is it worth the effort? The impact of incorporating synchronous lectures into an online course. Online Learning, 19(2), 73-84.

David Strang, K. (2012). Skype synchronous interaction effectiveness in a quantitative management science course. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 10(1), 3-23. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4609.2011.00333.x

Blogging! The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Blogging is a new experience for me.  Though it has been fun, the most challenging part has been making it easy to read while still being scholarly by citing sources.  Every blog I have read outside of this class has been written in a very readable easy going way.  However,  the blog assignments in the course are very structured an do not lend themselves to this format.  Tho other thing that has posed a challenge is coming up with new ideas.  I find that my blogs seem to repeat themselves.  Though, this could be because the overall theme from week to week does not change.

I have found it beneficial too.  It is fun to get my thoughts down and shows me my strengths and weaknesses within using technology to support learning.  It also has showed me that I may want to start my own blog about veterinary technology education.  I think this would be a good addition to what is out there with it being a relatively new field.  I can also see a benefit to incorporating some posts in that blog about technology.

Lecture Can Be Boring!

Depending on your age, you may remember a time without cell phones, laptops, maybe even the home computer.  I remember writing papers on a word processor with a small black screen and yellow letters.  I also remember one of my first classes in my undergraduate as utterly boring!  BIO101 was held in a large auditorium with rows and rows of seats.  The professor stood at the bottom with a podium and a large screen for presentations.  The class was 50 minutes long, but he lost me after 15 minutes.  Back then, technology was not as prevalent and not expected.  Today’s students expect it to be used because it is part of their daily lives.  My now fifth grader, received a lap top in the fourth grade, has had an iPad since he was 4.  For the record, I did not buy it for him.

Even though the classes within the Veterinary Technology program at my institution aren’t comprised of 200 students, engagement can still be a challenge.  This is not seen in the lab courses.  Students love lab because they interact with each other, the instructor, and of course dogs and cats!  Who wouldn’t love that?  Lectures however, are 3 hours long with a 30 minute break.  The material is intense in many classes and it can sometimes seem like the instructors drone on forever. The use of mobile devices have only added a way for students to “not pay attention.”  Cole and Kosc (2010) stated that “The advent of wireless internet service has compounded the problem by bringing lecturers into competition with Facebook and other Web sites that have a high potential to absorb student-viewers, and thus seem to offer more significant distraction than texting, or its predecessor, note passing” (p. 397).

I have completed learning experience observations on tons of instructors and seen many teaching styles and abilities.  In one class in particular, an instructor used a technology called NearPod.  With nearpod, you can create and present lessons, engage students through interactive classes and multimedia content (nearpod, n.d.).  The technology allows the instructor to create interactive presentations, quizzes, videos, and slideshows as well as monitor student participation (Electronic Resources for Schools, 2012).  Students are always itching to get to break to check their social networks via their mobile device.  This allows students to use their mobile devices in class.  In Veterinary Technology, it has allowed instructors to develop engaging lectures with the use of demonstration, hands on practice, group work, and polling.  Students have become more engaged and feel they have something to contribute.

The use of nearpod in this environment has the ability to draw students away from Facebook and Twitter back to the classroom.  If you can’t beat them, join them!  The downside to the technology is cost.  While nearpod offers a free account, the amount of presentations that can be stored is minimal.  A subscription is required for extra space to house presentations and assessments.  I would love to explore the technology further and build more interactivities in so that student engagement improves even more.  All of the current lecture presentations are on Power Point and transition will take some time.

Cole, S., & Kosc, G. (2010). Quit surfing and start “Clicking”: One professor’s effort to combat the problems of teaching the U.S. survey in a large lecture hall. History Teacher, 43(3), 397-410.

Electronic Resources for Schools. (2012). Internet@Schools, 19(5), 28-32.

Nearpod. (n.d.). Nearpod vr. Retrieved from https://www.nearpod.com/

 

Technology Resources and Preparing to Use Them. (Updated 2/7/2016)

Cats backgrounds on miscellaneous devices stock photo

The college in which I work is in a state of transformation.  About two years ago, academic leaders realized that outcomes were less than stellar at both with the online campus and on the traditional campuses.  The online programs were having poor completion rates, and the ground programs had students that were disengaged.  The institution decided to pull all programs off of the online format and focus on the restructure of the on ground campuses.  The idea of a hybrid model for all programs was born.

The process has been long, but by the end of the fiscal year, the dream will be realized for all core programs. All specialty/linear programs will be completed by the end of the next fiscal year.  The new model includes theory courses to be taught online and lab courses to be taught on ground.  The original pilot was highly successful which prompted the expansion to all programs.

The hybrid model brings with it technologies that help students to be more engaged in their programs and tailor to the schools demographic.  Five classroom technology resources stick out to me.

  1. eBooks
  2. iPads
  3. Online Shells
  4. Simulation
  5. Virtual Reality

Though I am no longer in the classroom, part of my role is to learn how the technologies work and run pilots to ensure that their use will enhance the student experience.  I admit that I am less comfortable with iPads and the virtual reality technology. iPads are now the vessel in which the institution provides its technology resources to students.  Frankin (2011) explained that “Active learning involves students in talking and listening, reading, writing, and reflection all possible through the use of a mobile device” (p. 264).

Comfort with this type of equipment is essential to interact with other technology resources.  The second of which has not yet been implemented, but is in the pilot stage. Since I started using technology, I have used cell phones, computers, and tablets that use Microsoft instead of Apple products.  This makes me a novice in the realm of all things i. The virtual reality technology to be implemented has been tested, but the pilot is moving slowly, so I have not yet developed any level of proficiency.  The idea of it is so exciting though!  This particular virtual reality experience will allow a student to wear special equipment that will enable them to experience anatomy and physiology in a whole new way.  Two such realms include being able to hold a horse heart in your hand and being able to walk inside of a dog.  With this technology, the controller will be able to put the simulated body through a variety of scenarios.  For instance, they can give the heart and heart attack and the student can see what it goes through during the attack.  Stepping into the animal allows the student to explore the systems and how they function.

With any new technology integration, the college provides extensive training via webinar and live.  A couple of weeks ago I traveled to our home office and participated in several workshops to teach us more about the iPad and how we can use the technology to  integrate into the classroom, including iMovie and iBooks.   In March, DeVry Education Group will be meeting in Chicago to participate in further demonstrations and practice with the virtual reality technology.

This type of technology can bring an authentic experience to hands on learning, facilitate coaching opportunities and encourage self-reflection (Ramdass, 2012).  The program was originally developed for the companies Veterinary School in the institutional system.  The Veterinary Technology and Assisting programs will acquiring it next with pilots in two campuses.  Program Directors and Instructors will receive training at their respective campuses, in which I will participate as well.

External resources are available as well.  I have included a couple of websites below.  The first explains how virtual reality can be used in the classroom to enhance learning.  The second site is dedicated to iPad training with three free lessons.

http://www.vrs.org.uk/virtual-reality-education/in-the-classroom.html

http://ipadacademy.com/

Though the college is forging forward in utilizing technology to enhance the onground environment, more work must be done to enhance the online forum.  Simulation, video, and more robust interactivities will help the college to make the online shell more engaging as well.

Franklin, T. (2011). Mobile learning: At the tipping point. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 10(4), 261–275.

iPad Academy. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ipadacademy.com/

Ramdass, D. (2012). The role of cognitive apprenticeship in learning science in a virtual world. Cultural Studies Of Science Education, 7(4), 985-992. doi:10.1007/s11422-012-9442-y

VRS. (n.d.). Virtual reality education in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.vrs.org.uk/virtual-reality-education/in-the-classroom.html

Why am I excited about this course? Uh, because…

I am excited about this course not only because it is the last one, but also because my doctoral study will investigate the effectiveness of hybrid programs in health education. Throughout my Masters and Doctoral programs, I became very interested in technology in education.  Too many things in life are boring.  Education should not be one of them. Nothing will take you further in life and career than education.  I am a living example of that.  I began my working career as a receptionist in a animal grooming facility, to a veterinary kennel assistant.  My bachelor’s degree prepared me to be a Registered Veterinary Technician and then a Practice Manager.  My master’s degree led me to an Veterinary Technology Instructor position, a Program Director of Veterinary Technology position to my current position as a National Dean of Veterinary Programs.

Today’s students are so different from when I was at Cal Poly.  While I calculated feed rations by hand, my current students get a computer program or app on their smart phone or tablet. For them, the traditional lecture and note taking is not enough. I found it boring and so do they.  It is the job of educators to make the change and meet the needs of our students.  I am very fortunate to have a job in which my main goal is to do that very thing.

I get to develop curriculum for online learning on a daily basis at work and we are always looking for new resources and innovating ways to improve student engagement in the online forum.  I am fortunate that this class will help me to improve my ability to accomplish these initiatives.  My goals for this course are to:

  1. Identify and overcome technology integration challenges
  2. Evaluate and select mobile technologies to be used in the classroom
  3. Find and implement new technology resources to improve student engagement
  4. Expand my knowledge on use of technology in online and hybrid environments
  5. Improve the student learning experience through the use of technology
  6. Identify strategies to support faculty development and address resistance to change

In looking through the course schedule, each module will bring me closer to improving the student experience and completing my study.  I look forward to it!

Initiation to Blogging

2016-01-16 12.02.42

January 1, 2016 at 11:06 am is my initiation into blogging.  This glorious moment has come at the requirement of EDUC 8306 Effective College Teaching: Using Technology to Support Learning.  I am a Doctoral student in my final core semester.  My last class is forcing me to explore technologies that I don’t normally use.  I am not a digital native, I my friends am an immigrant to technology.  I grew up playing in the dirt, riding horses, and exploring the outdoors.  It was not until late high school and college, that technology busted its way into my life.  It forced itself without asking as I was assigned papers that had to be typed.  No more pink ink with hearts to dot my eyes.

This blog will be about existing and emerging technologies in higher education.  As a National Dean of Veterinary Programs at a for-profit institution, I am responsible for many things, however, the only one pertaining to this blog is curriculum.  This includes online learning.  So while I have developed numerous online courses, I am still a newbie to incorporating variety with regards to resources.  There are some cool things on the forefront and I look forward to learning and implementing the good ones!