Recently in Teaching with Technology Category

Mentoring for Online Instructors

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Online learning at Penn State continues to grow. A whopping 42% of our resident students have taken an online course. Predictions are that the number of online students will continue to increase and as a result, we are thinking of how to best help faculty in their transition to online instruction. One tactic is to encourage mentoring of new faculty and last fall the Faculty Engagement subcommittee of the Penn State Online Coordinating Council and the Schreyer Institute piloted an online mentoring program for those new to online teaching (http://www.schreyerinstitute.psu.edu/onlinementor). The intent of this effort is to provide instructional support for those teaching online and to create opportunities for networking with others teaching online.

The online mentoring experience is intended to last a semester and is, first and foremost, a collegial relationship. Through the mentor's personal guidance, the protégé can question and explore online teaching strategies and expectations. Dialogue drives this relationship, but the mentor can also review online course activities and interactions. What is needed and how to go about getting those needs are met is something that is left to the devices of the mentor and protégé.

What do you think --- would a mentor be helpful to you as you begin teaching online? Or would you like a mentor even though you have taught online? By engaging in a mentoring relationship, you can ask questions, share comments, voice concerns, dissect instructional strategies, and feel connected to someone else who has walked in your shoes.

Ray Schroeder on MOOCs

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I recently attended a talk sponsored by Penn State's new Center for Online Innovation in Learning (COIL) about Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The speaker was Ray Schroeder, from the University of Illinois, Springfield. Ray used his website as the anchor for the presentation, taking the audience to several different MOOC providers as well as illustrating the various models employed by MOOC providers like Coursera and Udacity

During Ray's talk, a few interesting thoughts came to mind. Ray started out by discussing the promise of MOOCs. Essentially, the MOOC model might be a way to deliver educational content an an affordable price, of high quality, and accessible anywhere with an Internet connection. He talked about traditional models, and how most traditional models can only get two of these three criteria right. One example is that a student can likely take an online course anywhere with an Internet connection that is high in quality, but likely not very affordable. This reminds me of the triple constraint, a project management concept that deals with a project's timeline, cost and scope. From a project management standpoint, it's very challenging to manage a project that's completed quickly (timeline), cheap in cost and large in scope. 

Schroeder emphasized that the current trend of rising tuition coupled with the decline in average family income is simply not a sustainable model for higher education. Will MOOCs play a role in defraying the cost of higher education? Possibly. Another interesting anecdoate Ray shared dealt with a recent visit to the Gate's foundation. Most academics in attendance, when asked what employers look for in graduates, cited things like critical thinking and problem solving. They then had a panel with HR representatives at large, United States-based companies talking about what they are seeking from recent college graduates. These companies cited very specific skillsets, such as accounting, java programming, .NET programming and so on. Again, Schroeder theorized that MOOCs might help play a role in helping some of the country's largest companies find skilled employs to fill many of these skill-based jobs. 

COIL plans on hosting more guest speakers in the spring and I look forward to continued engaging discussions around various online learning topics and how they might apply to Penn State.

Reflecting on Wesch's Wonder and Big Questions

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Consultants at the Schreyer Institute have just returned from the annual conference of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD). One of the speakers at the event was Michael Wesch. He teaches cultural anthropology at Kansas State University where he studies social media and its effects on society. Dr. Wesch may be familiar...His class's YouTube video called A Vision of Students Today went viral several years ago.  His talk at this year's POD conference was one of the most inspiring and hopeful messages I've heard in a long while. He talked about our need to instill 'wonder' in the 'Age of Whatever.' The talk didn't begin with optimism, but it ended that way.

There were two parts of his message that I think have important implications for faculty in higher education (not to mention for teachers, parents, mentors, etc. everywhere). The first is that we must give students what Wesch called 'the gift of big questions.' It's true that students ask the small ones...Will this information be on the test? How long does the paper have to be? But our job is to get them thinking about the BIG questions, the ones that inspire a quest for knowledge, understanding, and application. The small questions don't change the world, but the big questions can.

The second big message for me was related to the first but focused more on technology. If we inspire wonder and big questions, then technology becomes an invaluable tool for communicating, information seeking, information sharing, and problem-solving. If we fail in this regard, then technology is essentially just distraction. (Interestingly, the other plenary speaker at the conference was Alex Soojung-Kim Pang who spoke about the Distraction Addiction. His book by this title is due out next year.) When wonder and big questions drive social media interaction then Facebook, for example, becomes a means of social change, not a distraction from learning.

This is not rocket science. It's not new information. But Wesch's was a poignant--and for those of us in the room, graphic--reminder of what's at stake and why it's important. It was also a hopeful message, if we can inspire in our students a sense of wonder by giving them the gift of big questions, then their thinking and their engagement with technology find purpose. 

Success with Course Videos

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Chuck Ghilani teaches courses in surveying engineering at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. A few years back, a publisher asked him to produce some videos to accompany a textbook he had written. Realizing that these videos could aid his students, he started developing videos of his class notes. The following semester, he and colleague Thomas Seybert piloted the videos in their own classes; when students' exam scores increased compared with those from the previous year, Chuck knew he was onto something powerful.

Since then, he's produced about 140 videos, typically about 15 minutes long. In each video, he animates PowerPoint slides so students can revisit lecture material whenever they find the need. All the while, he's providing narration that explains the concepts. "This allows students to go back when doing homework," Chuck says. "Student satisfaction went up, as well as their understanding of the topic. And they're doing it on their own, in a format they're very familiar with." (See one of the videos by clicking here.)

In addition, he reports in a paper co-written with Thomas Seybert that students continue coming to class--it seems they're using the videos mainly to review unclear concepts. His latest videos involve information on how to use the software and hardware to perform a GNSS survey in the practical field exercises. Students can access these short videos (less than 5 minutes) using their smartphones via a QR code. This allows the students to get help from Chuck even when he's on the other side of his 52-acre campus.

In the two years since Chuck started making videos, his process has evolved. Early on, when trying to edit out mistakes, he got good at editing out single words. Then he realized it was easier to redo a sentence rather than a single word. Now he redoes the entire narrative for a slide if he's unhappy with the results. (He uses the software Camtasia Studio for the recording and editing.)

Making good course videos requires a large time commitment, but remember that every Penn State location has a Media Commons installation where faculty can get support in making quality digital products. If you're interested, start out small, with a single video....

Educause Learning Initiative 2012 Recap - Blended Learning

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I had the opportunity to attend the annual Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) conference this February in Austin, TX. I came away from the conference re-energized and excited to move forward in two different spaces:

  • Blended learning
  • Learning Analytics (more on this in a future post!)

As the Institute continues to explore our role in online and blended learning, this year's ELI contained two fantastic sessions, one from Northwestern College and one from the University of Central Florida, on approaches to blended learning. I especially feel good about the conference take aways, things I can apply here at PSU immediately upon return. Both of these presenters provided just that.

University of Central Florida

UCF was well represented at ELI this year, with a wide variety of interesting presentations from UCF personnel. One specific presentation contained a wealth of resources designed to help faculty get started with blended learning. Kudos to UCF for making the resources all Creative Commons licensed, allowing other institutions to leverage them.

The primary resource is the Blended Learning Toolkit. It would take too long to review each section of the site, but I'd like to point out a couple very good resources.
  • Working through the BlendKit - This is a professional development course offered to UCF faculty, but it's designed so anyone can take advantage of it. You can complete the course on your own in its entirety, or pick-and-choose elements of the course to complete for your own development.
  • Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository - This is a vast collection of resources, submitted by a wide variety of people, into a large wiki repository. The level of detail is fantastic, as each entry typically has both a synopsis and description of a pedagogical strategy, but also links to resources, examples and citations.

Northwest College
Northwest College presented on a blended learning program they implemented to help faculty take face-to-face courses, and migrate them to a blended model. I specifically enjoyed this presentation because it both applies to efforts taking place in the Institute around online learning and the presenters provided a set of fantastic resources for others to use. The entire project has a
website full of resources. A few resources that I find particularly useful:
  • Radio James - This is an online objective builder tool, allowing faculty to build objectives in an interactive format, following Bloom's taxonomy.
  • Top Ten Tech Tools - A great list, short and articulate.
  • Workshop Documents - samples of documents the Northwest team used in their 2-week faculty workshop series to help faculty redesign their course. I particularly link the checklist.

The two primary 'hub' websites for both of these initiatives are flooded with resources. I highly recommend exploring the sites if you're working with faculty, or if you are a faculty member, designing a blended or online course.

Flipped Classroom

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I learned a little bit about the Flipped Classroom when I was working on the Lecture Capture Research Starter Kit. This morning when I was surfing the Web, a blog, Flipping out? What you need to know about the Flipped Classroom, written by Andrea Zellner caught my eye. After reading and browsing more articles and websites about the Flipped Classroom, I feel this is something worth trying and using in the class.

We know that too much teacher-talk is not good for students' learning and usually make students feel bored and this is why I really like the idea of flipping the whole classroom and homework - Delivering online lectures that students can access outside of class (e.g. home) and moving homework into the classroom. Instead of giving an hours-long lecture in the classroom and making students be passive listeners and learners, the instructor interact with students more and have personalized contact time to facilitate students' learning based on their specific needs. Because students have watched lectures outside of class at their own pace, they go to class with basic concepts and questions. Students can ask questions and/or involve in discussion to get clarification and be ready to participate in classroom activities to apply what they learned from the online lectures to cases.

Some people concern about the impact of online lectures on students' attendance, some people think the Flipped Classroom can only be used in limited disciplines, and some people worry that students may not watch online lectures before the class. However, several studies found that the availability of online lectures did not impact on students' attendance and many students reported that interaction with the instructor and classmates helps their learning. Also, many experienced Flipped Classroom teachers from a variety of disciplines, such as sciences, math, history, and arts, have shared their successful experiences. In addition, we need to remember that students' learning is not only the instructor's task, but also the students' responsibility, so we should help students learn to take their own responsibility of learning.

 

For more information about Flipped Classroom, here are the article and a website:

Flipping out? What you need to know about the Flipped Classroom

http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/flipping-out-what-you-need-know-about-flipped-classroom

The Flipped Class Network

http://vodcasting.ning.com/

Changing the way we educate ourselves with online learning

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Higher education is changing.  Universities and Colleges used to be the gatekeepers for information and learning but the key has seemed to slip from our fingers.  

Free education is often undervalued and almost universally unaccredited, perhaps because when evaluating education expense is often the indicator of quality. The more that something is offered for free, the less it is seen as a signal for quality.  However a simple scatter-plot comparing University ranking with tuition cost quickly shows us that the correlation between cost and quality is weak overall.

img28211337universities2.GIF

MITx is changing the face of online education and accredited learning but it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to online learning resources.  Following is a list of over 200 web resources that are publicly available, many from Higher Education institutions.  While some of these learning websites may not engage in the most rigorous online learning pedagogy neither do many Higher Education institutions.

Table of Contents:

I. Top Picks
II. Universities and Higher Education
III. General Collections 
IV. How-to & DIY
V. Studying with Peers
VI. Online Books, eBooks, & Journals
VII. Computers, Software, & Programming
VIII. Science & Math
IX. Logic, Words, & Memory
X. Languages
XI. Music (updated to v.1.2 on 1/26/12)
XII. History
XIII. Business, Economics, Finance, & Investing 
XIV. Food, Nutrition, & Cooking
XV. Survival Tips
XVI. Documentaries & Film Studies

===========

I. TOP PICKS

Khan Academy
http://www.khanacademy.org/

Academic Earth - Online courses from the world's top scholars
http://academicearth.org/

TED - Technology, Entertainment, & Design
http://www.ted.com/

MIT Open CourseWare
http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/

Stanford Engineering Everywhere
http://see.stanford.edu/see/courses.aspx

Open Yale Courses
http://oyc.yale.edu/

About U. - Collection of free online courses from About.com
http://u.about.com/

Wikiversity
http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Main_Page

YouTube EDU
http://www.youtube.com/education?b=400

The Open University - Study at the OU
http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/
http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/

University of the People
www.uopeople.org

University of Reddit
http://ureddit.com/

Open Culture - The best free cultural & educational media on the web
http://openculture.com/

VideoLectures - Exchange ideas & share knowledge
http://videolectures.net/

CosmoLearning - Free educational website with thousands of courses & documentaries
http://www.cosmolearning.com/

================================

II. UNIVERSITIES & HIGHER EDUCATION

Lecture Fox - Free university lectures
http://lecturefox.com/

Faculty Project - The best professors from the world's leading Universities
http://facultyproject.com/

More Open Courses:

OCW Search - Find free university courses online
http://www.ocwsearch.com/

Open Courseware Consortium
http://www.ocwconsortium.org/

Harvard Extension School - Computer Science & Technology
http://computerscience1.tv/2010/spring/

Johns Hopkins University
http://ocw.jhsph.edu/

Kaplan University
http://ocw.kaplan.edu/

Notre Dame
http://ocw.nd.edu/

Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study
http://video.ias.edu/all

Tufts
http://ocw.tufts.edu/

Utah State
http://ocw.usu.edu/

Google in Education
http://www.google.com/edu/index.html

ArsDigita University - Computer science and math lectures
http://aduni.org/courses/

UC Berkeley Webcast - Central service for online video & audio for learners around the globe
http://webcast.berkeley.edu/

UC Berkeley Video Courses - Free education online
http://education.jimmyr.com/

Capilano University
http://ocw.capilanou.ca/

Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative
http://oli.web.cmu.edu/openlearning/

Delft University of Technology
http://ocw.tudelft.nl/courses/

Rice University Connexions - A place to view and share educational modules
http://cnx.org/

Stanford on iTunes U - Stanford-related digital audio content
http://itunes.stanford.edu/content/overview.html

UC Irvine
http://ocw.uci.edu/

UC San Diego Podcasts
http://podcast.ucsd.edu/

University of Chicago's Mind Online - Thought-provoking samples of critical thinking & debate
http://news.uchicago.edu/multimedia

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
http://www.uccs.edu/~math/vidarchive.html

University of Massachusetts
http://ocw.umb.edu/

University of Michigan
http://open.umich.edu/education

University of Southern Queensland
http://ocw.usq.edu.au/

University of Sydney - Podcast episodes
http://sydney.edu.au/podcasts/2011.php

University of Virginia - Podcasts & webcasts
http://www.virginia.edu/uvapodcast/

University of Washington - Computer Science & Engineering
http://www.cs.washington.edu/education/course-webs.html

Utah Valley University - Online courses & open educational resources
http://open.uvu.edu/

YouTube Channels:

Stanford
http://www.youtube.com/stanford

Stanford Class Central - YouTube summaries of Stanford's online courses
http://www.class-central.com/

UC Berkeley
http://www.youtube.com/user/UCBerkeley

University of New South Wales
http://www.youtube.com/user/UNSWelearning

Yale
http://www.youtube.com/yalecourses

India's NPTEL
http://www.youtube.com/user/nptelhrd

======================

III. GENERAL COLLECTIONS

Udemy - Take and build online courses on any subject
http://www.udemy.com/

Free Video Lectures - 800+ Online Courses and 19,000+ Videos from Top 30+ Universities on 35+ Categories
http://freevideolectures.com/

100 Intro Open Courses on Everything You've Ever Wanted to Learn
http://www.bestcollegesonline.com/blog/2010/05/12/100-intro-open-courses-on-everything-youve-ever-wanted-to-learn/

Annotum (formerly Google's Knol)
http://annotum.org/

IncrediCampus - Lectures and preparation/admission advice for college & graduate schools
http://www.incredicampus.com/

Learners TV - Thousands of downloadable video lectures on liberal arts, science, engineering, and more
http://www.learnerstv.com/

Online Education Database - 200 free online classes to learn anything
http://oedb.org/library/beginning-online-learning/200-free-online-classes-to-learn-anything

Infoplease - All the knowledge you need
http://www.infoplease.com/

MERLOT - Multimedia educational resource for learning and online teaching
http://www.merlot.org/merlot/index.htm

Internet Archive
http://www.archive.org/

101 Online Self-improvement Resources
http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/101-self-improvement-resources/

Alison - 300 free online courses at certificate or diploma level (sign-up required)
http://alison.com/

Teaching Resources:

The Orange Grove Digital Repository - Online library of openly available instructional resources for Florida's educators
http://www.theorangegrove.org/

Learner.org - Browse teacher resources
http://www.learner.org/resources/browse.html

==============

IV. HOW-TO & DIY

WikiHow - The how-to manual that you can edit
http://www.wikihow.com/

How Stuff Works
http://www.howstuffworks.com/

Wonder How To
http://www.wonderhowto.com/categories/

Instructables
http://www.instructables.com/

Make Magazine
http://www.makezine.com/

How-to Help & Videos for Dummies
http://www.dummies.com/

VideoJug - Get good at life
http://www.videojug.com/

How to Create a Book in Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Books

Let's Make Robots
http://letsmakerobots.com/

====================

V. STUDYING with PEERS

Open Study - Study together
http://openstudy.com/

P2P University - Learn anything with your peers
http://p2pu.org/en/

Study Blue - Your digital backpack
http://www.studyblue.com/

==================================

VI. ONLINE BOOKS, eBOOKS, & JOURNALS

Google Books
http://books.google.com/

WikiBooks - Open-content textbooks collection that anyone can edit
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page

Project Gutenberg
http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page

Planet eBook - Home of free classic literature
http://www.planetebook.com/about.asp

Open Book Project
http://openbookproject.net/

The Free Library
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/

Many Books - Ad-free eBooks
http://www.manybooks.net/

WorldCat - Collections & services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide
http://www.worldcat.org/

iBiblio - The public's library and digital archive
http://www.ibiblio.org/

LibriVox - Free public domain audiobooks
http://librivox.org/

The Assayer - Web's largest catalog of books whose authors have made them available for free
http://theassayer.org/

Amazon.com Free eBook Collection
http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=amb_link_85650291_15?ie=UTF8&node=2245146011

Scribd - Reading and publishing evolved
http://www.scribd.com/

Textbook Revolution - Student-run site dedicated to increasing the use of free educational materials
http://www.textbookrevolution.org/index.php/Main_Page

Directory of Open Access Journals
http://www.doaj.org/

eReaderIQ - Recent non-public domain freebies & price-drop alerts
http://www.ereaderiq.com/

Longform - New and classic non-fiction articles curated across the web
http://longform.org/

Flatworld Knowledge - The first and largest publisher of free & open textbooks
http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/

=======================================

VII. COMPUTERS, SOFTWARE, & PROGRAMMING

W3Schools - The world's largest web development site
http://www.w3schools.com/

Google Code University
http://code.google.com/edu/

The New Boston - Step-by-step tutorials for multiple coding languages
http://thenewboston.org/

UDacity - CS 101
http://www.udacity.com/

PHP Academy
http://www.youtube.com/user/phpacademy

Better PHP
http://www.youtube.com/betterphp

Wired How-to Wiki - Teach a kid to program
http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Teach_a_Kid_to_Program

NetTuts+ - A large collection of coding tutorials
http://nettuts.com/

Tutorial Guide - The site for all your tutorial needs
http://www.tutorialguide.net/

Codecademy - Fun & interactive way to learn how to code
http://www.codecademy.com/

Free Technology Academy - High quality educational material based on free software & open standards
http://ftacademy.org/

Higher Computing for Everyone - Writing basic programs
http://www.highercomputingforeveryone.com/

HTML 5 Please
http://html5please.us/

Rails for Zombies
http://railsforzombies.org/

Ruby Warrior - Open source game to teach Ruby language
http://www.trybloc.com/courses/ruby-warrior/chapters/beginner#/1

Got API - Documentation search engine
http://start.gotapi.com/

Coding Bat - Online code practice in Java & Python
http://codingbat.com/

PySchools - Python programming language tutorial
http://www.pyschools.com/

appendTo - Learn jQuery and Javascript for free
http://learn.appendto.com/

Lynda - Online software training videos
http://www.lynda.com/

Intro to Linux
http://www.reddit.com/r/Ubuntu/comments/bbnkp/ive_tinkered_in_ubuntu_before_but_its_the_primary/c0lzpwk

Stack Overflow - Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers
http://stackoverflow.com/

DZone - Fresh links for developers
http://www.dzone.com/links/index.html

Project Euler - A series of challenging mathematical & computer programming problems
http://projecteuler.net/

Professor Messer - CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications
  http://www.professormesser.com/

Photoshop & Graphics:

Tutorial Hero - Photoshop & Flash tutorials
http://www.tutorialhero.com/

PSD Tuts+
http://psd.tutsplus.com/

Photoshop Tutorials
http://photoshoptutorials.ws/

Graphic Tutorials
http://www.graphictutorials.net/

Photoshop Pack Graphic Design Resources
http://www.photoshop-pack.com/

PSD FanExtra Tutorials
http://psd.fanextra.com/category/tutorials/

Vandelay Design - Photoshop Tutorial Hall of Fame
http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/design/photoshop-tutorial-tutorials/

Grokking the GIMP
http://gimp-savvy.com/BOOK/index.html

Video CoPilot - Tutorials for VFx & motion graphics
http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/

==================

VIII. SCIENCE & MATH

Google Scholar - Stand on the shoulder of giants
http://scholar.google.com/

Scirus - The most comprehensive scientific research tool on the web
http://www.scirus.com/

Cite Seer X - Access scientific and scholarly knowledge
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/

getCited - Academic database, directory, & discussion forum
http://www.getcited.org/

National Science Digital Library - Explore, share, create
http://nsdl.org/

Science Magazine Podcasts
http://www.sciencemag.org/multimedia/podcast/

National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning - Science, Engineering, & Technology
http://www.nptel.iitm.ac.in/

KQED's Quest - Explore science, nature, and environment stories from Northern California and beyond
http://science.kqed.org/quest/

Freelance Teacher - Videos on physics, chemistry, math, & biology
http://www.freelance-teacher.com/videos.htm

FHSST - Free high school science texts in physical sciences & math
http://fhsst.org/

Free Science Lectures - Free Science Videos & Lectures
http://www.freesciencelectures.com/

Physicist TV - Collection of science & documentary videos
http://www.physicisttv.com/

Educated Earth - Videos on astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, math, physics, and more
http://www.educatedearth.net/

cK-12 Flexbooks
http://www.ck12.org/flexbook/

Paul's Online Math Notes
http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/

Reddit's List of Useful Online Math Resources
http://www.reddit.com/r/math/comments/bqbex/lets_list_all_the_useful_free_online_math/

Math, Better Explained
http://betterexplained.com/

Astronomy & Outerspace:

Space Engine - Free space simulation software
http://en.spaceengine.org/

Google Sky
http://www.google.com/sky/

NASA for Students
http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/index.html

Scale of the Universe - Interactive Flash Animation
http://www.scaleoftheuniverse.com/

Statistics:

Vassar Stats - Concepts and applications of inferential statistics
http://faculty.vassar.edu/lowry/webtext.html

StatSoft Electronic Statistics Textbook
http://www.statsoft.com/textbook/stathome.html

Connexions Collaborative Statistics
http://cnx.org/content/col10522/latest/

Handbook of Biological Statistics
http://udel.edu/~mcdonald/statintro.html

=========================

IX. LOGIC, WORDS, & MEMORY

Mind Tools - Memory improvement techniques
http://www.mindtools.com/memory.html

The Nizkor Project - List of logical fallacies
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/index.html

Wikipedia's List of Logical Fallacies
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies

Wikipedia's List of Figures of Speech
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_of_speech

Tool Kit for Rhetorical Analysis
http://grammar.about.com/od/rhetorictoolkit/Tool_Kit_for_Rhetorical_Analysis.htm

KnoWord - Expand your vocabulary
http://knoword.org/

Vocabulary.com - Learn new words & explore language
http://www.vocabulary.com/

Brain Workshop - A Dual N-Back Game
http://brainworkshop.sourceforge.net/

Argument Mapping Tutorials
http://austhink.com/reason/tutorials/

Philosophy Bites - Podcasts of top philsophers
http://www.philosophybites.com/

=============

X. LANGUAGES

Basic Composition - Reading & Writing
http://www.basiccomposition.com/

BBC Languages - Beginner courses in multiple languages
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/

Foreign Service Institute Language Courses
http://fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php

Language Guide - Foreign language vocabulary, grammar, & readings
http://www.languageguide.org/

eLanguage School - Free foreign language lessons online
http://www.elanguageschool.net/

Free Online Language Courses via About.com
http://distancelearn.about.com/od/onlinecourses/a/freelanguage.htm

DuoLingo - Learn a language for free & simultaneously translate the web
http://duolingo.com/

Babel Nation - Learning languages online for free
http://www.babelnation.com/

Transparent Language - Language learning software & resources in over 100 languages
http://www.transparent.com/language-resources/languages.html

Survival Phrases - Learn essential travel phrases, tips, and insights
http://survivalphrases.com/

Talk to Me in Korean
http://talktomeinkorean.com/

Chinese Toolbox - Software for learning Chinese through reading
http://www.chinesetoolbox.com/

LiveMocha - World's largest language learning community
http://www.livemocha.com/

American Sign Language (ASL) University
http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/lessons/lesson01.htm

Handspeak - Sign language
http://www.handspeak.com/

Signing Savvy - Your sign language resource
http://www.signingsavvy.com/index.php

========

XI. MUSIC

Berklee Shares - Free music lessons from Berklee College of Music
http://www.berkleeshares.com/

Music Theory - Lessons, exercises, & tools
http://www.musictheory.net/

Ear Training & Music Theory Software
http://www.trainear.com/

Basic Music Theory
http://www.howmusicworks.org/

About.com Music Education - Music theory
http://musiced.about.com/od/musictheory/u/musiced_musictheory.htm

Teoria - Music Theory Web
http://teoria.com/

Ultimate Guitar - Lessons, techniques, & styles
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/

Justin Guitar - The best guitar instruction on the web
http://www.justinguitar.com/

Chorder - Chord fingering and guitar resources
http://www.chorder.com/guitar-chords/

Funk University - Assembly of Music's Finest
http://www.thefunkuniversity.com/

Play Bass Now - Lessons, licks, and low notes
http://playbassnow.com/

How to Play Piano
http://www.howtoplaypiano.ca/

===========

XII. HISTORY

Teacher Resources - Western Civilization (52 half-hour video programs)
http://www.learner.org/resources/series58.html

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Timeline of Art History
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/

=========================================

XIII. BUSINESS, ECONOMICS, FINANCE, & INVESTING

Investopedia
http://www.investopedia.com/

Google Advisor
https://www.google.com/advisor/home

Google Finance
http://www.google.com/finance

MarketWatch by WSJ
http://www.marketwatch.com/

Main Street - Business & financial headlines & advice
http://www.mainstreet.com/

Stanford University's Entrepreneurship Corner
http://ecorner.stanford.edu/

Value Based Management - Methods, models, and theories
http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/

Ludwig von Mises Institute - Austrian economics and praxeology
http://mises.org/

Foundation for Economic Education
http://www.fee.org/

Library of Economics and Liberty
http://www.econlib.org/

============================

XIV. FOOD, NUTRITION, & COOKING

Good Eats Fan Page
http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/GEFP/index.htm

Jamie's Home Cooking Skills
http://www.jamieshomecookingskills.com/

Chef Todd Mohr's Web Cooking Classes (YouTube)
http://www.youtube.com/user/ChefToddMohr

Nutrition Data - Self nutrition data; know what you eat
http://www.nutritiondata.com/

Nutrition.gov - Smart nutrition & practical tips
http://www.nutrition.gov/

Choose My Plate via USDA
http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

The World's Healthiest Foods
http://whfoods.org/foodstoc.php

Calorie King
http://www.calorieking.com/

Start Making Choices - Simple ideas for living healthier on a budget
http://www.startmakingchoices.com/index.jsp

Eat Right Nutrition Tips
http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=206

================

XV. SURVIVAL TIPS

Off Grid Survival - Wilderness and urban survival skills
http://offgridsurvival.com/

Backwoods Magazine - Self reliance and self sufficiency
http://www.backwoodshome.com/index.html

Survival Topics - Your online survival kit
http://www.survivaltopics.com/

Wilderness Survival - Free info covering all aspects of survival
http://www.wilderness-survival.net/

Discovery's Worst-Case Scenario Video Clips
http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/worst-case-scenario/

===============================

XVI. DOCUMENTARIES & FILM STUDIES

Documentary Wire
http://www.documentarywire.com/

Factual TV - The documentary film video store
http://www.factualtv.com/

Documentary Heaven - Food for your brain
http://documentaryheaven.com/

Surf the Channel
http://www.surfthechannel.com/cat/61482.html

DocuWatch - Free streaming documentaries on Art, History, Science, and more
http://www.docuwat.ch/watch-documentaries/

Documentary Tube - Watch full-length documentaries online for free
http://www.documentarytube.com/

Documentary Log - Watch hundreds of the most interesting, popular, and full-length documentaries
http://www.documentary-log.com/

Documentary Stream
http://www.documentarystream.com/

Documentary Storm - Free streaming documentaries
http://documentarystorm.com/

Top Documentary Films - Watch free documentaries online
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/

Movies Found Online - Free movies & documentaries
http://www.moviesfoundonline.com/documentaries.php

Quick Silver Screen - Movies & documentaries
http://www.quicksilverscreen.ch/videos?g=5&mt=1

MVGroup Forums - An education in P2P (sign-up required)
http://forums.mvgroup.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MVGroup

Film Studies:

Film Studies for Free - Web archive of notable film studies resources
http://filmstudiesforfree.blogspot.com/p/open-access-film-e-books-list.html

Online Film and Movie Image Studies, PhD and MPhil Theses
http://filmstudiesforfree.blogspot.com/p/online-film-and-moving-studies-phd.html

Online Film and Media Studies Journals
http://filmstudiesforfree.blogspot.com/p/fsff-online-film-media-studies-journals.html

List taken from: https://plus.google.com/114424163811716070551/posts/bnLpsUq7rhd

Back to the Blog: 2012 Edition

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We took a hiatus over the holiday to recharge and refocus, but now we're back to provide interesting insights and thought-provoking ideas in this space throughout 2012. We recently looked at our anlalytics for the blog, and were happily surprised at the numbers. During the fall 2011 semester, we had:
  • 3,441 visits
  • 1,776 unique visitors
  • 5,430 page  views

We'd like to give a big 'thank you' for those that find the conversations and resources here useful, and we encourage you to keep checking back (and don't be afraid to leave some comments, we're happy to answer any questions or engage in discussion here)! 

One initiative I wanted to quickly mention is the University's exploration of lecture capture technologies. We piloted Echo 360 in the fall, and this semester we are continuing with the Echo 360 Pilot, as well as piloting a new system, Panopto. We spent a lot of time examining lecture capture research last semester, and will soon be posting a Lecture Capture Research Starter Kit on our research page, alongside the gaming and mobile learning kits. After working through nearly 50 articles on lecture capture, some common themes emerge:

  • Students typically watch portions of the recorded lecture as opposed to the entire thing.
  • Students report that the availability of recorded lectures allows them to put more focus on the content of a lecture (as opposed to rapidly taking detailed notes, for example).
  • The majority of studies indicate that the availability of recorded lectures have little impact on student attendance. In fact, most students report that attending a lecture in person is still a much better learning experience.
  • Specific audiences, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) students and student-athletes, find recorded lectures especially valuable.
  • When looking across studies, it appears that you can expect over 60% of your class to access and view recorded lectures if you make them available (some studies report up to 90% class utilization).
  • The most common reason for watching a recorded lecture is to review for exams.

The research starter kit dives much deeper into the variables and survey instruments related to lecture capture. If you're interested in trying this technology, check out PSU's lecture capture website where you can request an account.

Assessing Student Blog Activity

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As more faculty continue to leverage the University's blog platform for teaching and learning, we continually are asked:

"How do I assess what my students are doing on the blog?"

This question is particularly challenging for a variety of reasons.  In some instances, students are writing in their own personal blog space.  With a roster of 50 students, this represents 50 different blogs the instructor must visit for each assignment (although an RSS reader can help instructors be more efficient using this method). The model that we see more often now involves instructors creating a blog, then adding all of their students as authors to that blog.  This alleviates the need to go visit each blog separately while also increasing the interaction between students.  When all entries are authored in a single blog, it makes interacting with one another simple.

In terms of the actual assessment of student work, we typically see two different methods.
  1. Assess each individual entry.  This typically involves some sort of rubric to guide the student's writing, and each individual entry receives a specific grade.  Mark Sample offers a good example rubric in the Chronicle.
  2. Assess the students' blogging activity as a whole.  This method of assessment provides a single grade for the entirety of a student's blogging activity throughout the semester.  Chris Long, Associate Professor of Philosophy, assesses student blog work in this manner and also shares the rubric he uses on his website.
Do you have a rubric for assessing student blogging activity?  If you do, and you don't mind sharing, please feel free to send it to me (bkp10[at]psu.edu).  I'm working on a collection of blog rubrics to share on our website for new faculty looking to experiment with blogs.

Customized Textbooks

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How many required textbooks approximately does a student need every semester? How much do they cost? Does a student read every chapter in the required textbook(s)? Does the instructor discuss with students the importance of every assigned reading from required textbook(s) and how it applies to other course content? If the answer for the last two questions is "YES", I think it is definitely worth spending money purchasing required textbook(s) because students do learn facts and concepts by reading them and understand how to apply what they learn in the real world. However, most of time the answer for the last two questions is "NO"!

Reading the article "New Digital Tools Let Professors Tailor Their Own Textbooks for Under $20" written by Alex Campbell reminds me of the research on exploring why so few students complete their reading assignments conducted by Associate Professor Amit Sharma in the School of Hospitality Management. Data collected from focus groups indicated that students prefer relevant and applicable readings, such as case studies and journal articles, instead of dated textbooks. Also, many students complained about the price of textbooks especially when those textbooks are seldom used.

Although there are different opinions about customized textbooks, I think it may be a good idea to think about using this new tool. I think that the instructor creates a customized textbook which covers fundamental concepts, case studies, updated information, and other important materials can not only help students save some money, but also increase students' interest and motivation to read assigned readings and learn.

 

The article is here:

http://chronicle.com/article/New-Digital-Tools-Let/129309/

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