Learning Technologies of Change

Learning Change Project: 8 Blogs, 6960 Readings

Evaluating Pedagogical Practices in MOOCs

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Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have become a prominent feature of the higher education discourse in recent years. Yet, little is known about the effectiveness of these online courses in engaging participants in the learning process. This study explores the range of pedagogical tools used in 24 MOOCs, including the epistemological and social dimensions of instruction, to consider the extent to which these courses provide students with high-quality, collaborative learning experiences. Findings suggest that the range of pedagogical practices currently used in MOOCs tends toward an objectivist-individual approach, with some efforts to incorporate more constructivist and group-oriented approaches. By examining MOOCs through the lens of engaged teaching and learning, this study raises concerns about the degree to which MOOCs are actually revolutionizing higher education by using technology to improve quality, and challenges educators to strive for more creative and empowering forms of open online learning.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

March 24, 2015 at 11:53 am

The use of Flipped Classrooms in Higher Education: A scoping review

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There is increasing pressure for Higher Education institutions to undergo transformation, with education being seen as needing to adapt in ways that meet the conceptual needs of our time. Reflecting this is the rise of the flipped or inverted classroom. The purpose of this scoping review was to provide a comprehensive overview of relevant research regarding the emergence of the flipped classroom and the links to pedagogy and educational outcomes, identifying any gaps in the literature which could inform future design and evaluation. The scoping review is underpinned by the five-stage framework Arksey and O’Malley. The results indicate that there is much indirect evidence emerging of improved academic performance and student and staff satisfaction with the flipped approach but a paucity of conclusive evidence that it contributes to building lifelong learning and other 21st Century skills in under-graduate education and post-graduate education.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

March 24, 2015 at 11:28 am

The Brain in your Pocket: Smartphones used to Supplant Thinking

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With the advent of Smartphone technology, access to the internet and its associated knowledge base is at one’s fingertips. What consequences does this have for human cognition? We frame Smartphone use as an instantiation of the extended mind—the notion that our cognition goes beyond our brains—and in so doing, characterize a modern form of cognitive miserliness. Specifically, that people typically forego effortful analytic thinking in lieu of fast and easy intuition suggests that individuals may allow their Smartphones to do their thinking for them. Our account predicts that individuals who are relatively less willing and/or able to engage effortful reasoning processes may compensate by relying on the internet through their Smartphones. Across three studies, we find that those who think more intuitively and less analytically when given reasoning problems were more likely to rely on their Smartphones (i.e., extended mind) for information in their everyday lives. There was no such association with the amount of time using the Smartphone for social media and entertainment purposes, nor did boredom proneness qualify any of our results. These findings demonstrate that people may offload thinking to technology, which in turn demands that psychological science understand the meshing of mind and media to adequately characterize human experience and cognition in the modern era.

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Read also: The relationships between college students’ cell phone use, personality and leisure

Perceived academic effects of instant messaging use

The relationship between multitasking and academic performance

Written by Giorgio Bertini

March 24, 2015 at 10:59 am

Web 2.0 Use in Higher Education

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This study analyzed current uses of emerging Web 2.0 technologies in higher education with the intent to better understand which tools teachers are using in the classroom. A total of 189 faculty in higher education from three western US universities were invited to participate, with 54 completing the survey. The survey included open-ended questions as well to offer an alternative analysis approach. In this study, the respondents claimed that the intrinsic factors of a lack of time and training were the main barriers to use, and reported positive views of Web 2.0 use in class, with 75% saying that these tools would benefit students and 83% saying they would benefit teacher-student interactions. In contrast to these results only 44% of the respondents used at least 4 of the 13 listed Web 2.0 tools with students. The reported uses did not match with the reported benefits, and this would support the results that extrinsic factors (time, training, support), instead of intrinsic factors (beliefs, motivation, confidence) are the main barriers to faculty in this study using more Web 2.0 in education. The top five Web 2.0 tools used, in order of preference, follow: (a) video sharing with tools like YouTube; (b) instant messaging; (c) blogs; (d) social communities, such as Facebook; and (e) podcasts or video casts. This data was originally submitted to the Abraham S. Fischler School of Education in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

March 23, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Accreditation of MOOCs

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Higher education institutions face conflicting challenges; they must equip students with up-to-date knowledge in fields in which knowledge is constantly being renewed, while they also need to guide students to examine reality through broad-based observation and consider different scientific disciplines. They operate within different constrictions such as: learning program boundaries, budgetary constrictions, and lack of accessibility to experts in different areas, and the range of courses offered to students is limited. To cope with these constrictions, Ort Braude Academic College of Engineering opened an experimental program. As part of this program, students were allowed to study MOOC courses under the college’s supervision, and were eligible for accreditation if they completed the courses successfully. Only 15 out of the 600 students offered the program, registered for these courses. Only seven were accepted for the program. This paper describes the background for the college’s decision, the registration process and supervision of students, detailing students’ challenges and achievements in the MOOC courses. Students who completed the MOOC courses reported that they enjoyed meaningful learning, requiring serious efforts in comparison to the courses that the MOOC courses replaced. Given this positive feedback by the students, it was decided to continue with the experiment.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

March 23, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Higher education, MOOC

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Emotional Affordance of a MOOC

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This exploratory study examines emotional affordance of a MOOC. Postings in a discussion forum of a MOOC in computer science are analysed following a research design informed by virtual ethnography. Emotional affordance is investigated, focusing on non-achievement emotions which are not directly linked to achievement activities or outcomes. The study identifies two non-achievement emotions in the MOOC. First, altruistic emotion evolves with the collaborative learning community and possibly compensates for teachers’ minimal emotional intervention in a large, diverse class. Second, intergenerational emotional resonance is observed and this bears a key implication on managing age diversity for the future MOOCs.

Emotion evolved with the course, apparently coupling with the formation of a collaborative learning community. Emotion becomes more salient, more verbal, and more public in the MOOC. It also becomes more shared and distributed. Through the mediation of the discussion board, both knowledge and emotion were created by the community. Learning and teaching have an emotional underpinning. A holistic understanding of the emotional affordance would definitely help build massive but personalised, emotion-based learning experiences with MOOCs.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

March 23, 2015 at 12:42 pm

Posted in Emotions, MOOC

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Connecting Multiple Intelligences through Open and Distance Learning

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This theoretical essay is a learning approach reflexion on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and the possibilities provided by the education model known as open and distance learning. Open and distance learning can revolutionize traditional pedagogical practice, meeting the needs of those who have different forms of cognitive understanding. This tool has in itself the potential to build knowledge collectively. The conclusions raise new questions for future discussion, shedding some light on the open and distance learning not as a mere tool to spread education, but as a means to reach new levels of comprehension and consciousness, reflecting on the role of education itself.

According to Leonardo Boff’s comments about Distance Learning, “all knowledge has a humanitarian and social objective. It is about defending, expanding and elevating life to higher and more dignified levels.” He says we should use new technologies and knowledge socialized by distance learning to create a state of consciousness adequate to the new “planetary phase of humanity”, from which a human consciousness that is “more sensitive, caring, [and] fit for cooperation and solidarity” emerges. An excellent alternative to reach new levels of comprehension and consciousness is to connect humankind’s multiple intelligences, going through a “collective intelligence” path. What we have at hand now is the chance to put this ideal into practice and create synergy around different knowledge, different views, and different people.

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Knowledge and Creativity in Digital Society

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This work deals with the topic of creativity understood as a complex path carried out along all lifetime and that cannot be attributable to the mere accumulation of concepts. The changing social scenario promotes the dimension of the possible, the nonlinearity, the overcoming of preestablished trajectories of knowledge by triggering processes of meta-knowledge and meta-representation, a dimension in which the creative mind finds a breeding ground. The work explores the relationship between technology and creativity in consideration of the peculiar segment, the artistic one, where with greater evidence the work of the creative is unfolded.

The basic observation about these analyses is that any human activity takes place in a social and historical context, therefore in a “net of meanings and relations” that inevitably produce perceptions, behaviours and contexts conventions. The dynamics of the creative talent, in this way, deploys all its potential not like “the place of the cleric”, of the artist, of the works personnel, anymore, but it is committed to the hands of the man who, during the “construction” of his knowledge path, can have all the prosthetic/technological tools suitable for creating.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

March 23, 2015 at 11:51 am