Carl Straumsheim has an interesting piece over at InsideHigherEd.com about Blackboards newest release “Ultra” and its strategy to support its legacy app as well. The real question comes down to wether or not Blackboard can transition to the cloud and still support non-cloud hosted versions. He quotes Glenda Morgan, a research at Gartner that specializes in educational technology. She said blackboard “is trying to do too many things and not disappoint many people.” She continued:
Down the road that means a fragmented and unsustainable model. . . . They need to figure out what the strategy is and just be really clear about it, and then if they end up changing it, be really hones about it.
The article provides a good overview of the growth of Instructure’s Canvas product and Blackboard attempt to upgrade itself and move past some missteps in recent years.
Shifts in Video and LMS Adoption: Impact on Student Outcomes
Although the LMS and video capture have been nearly ubiquitous for a decade, faculty use is only now beginning to accelerate, as cloud-based tools create opportunities to better engage students and experiment with new, technology-enabled pedagogical models.
How can next generation lecture capture tools enable faculty to engage students before, during – and after class? Can data streams from LMS and lecture tools combine to provide faculty with newfound insights into student behavior? Will shifts in LMS and video capture adoption create opportunities for entirely new categories of instructional technology to emerge?
Join a conversation with edtech expert Michael Feldstein of e-Literate, and Fred Singer from Echo360, to learn how faculty and institutional leaders are thinking about the convergence of historically disparate technology platforms, where the market is headed, and why it matters.
Join us for a lively discussion on these topics Wednesday, April 26 at 2:00 PM ET.
Fred Singer Founder and CEO Echo360
Fred Singer is an internet pioneer and entrepreneur whose career and philanthropic activities have spanned a broad range of interests from education, media, arts, science and veteran affairs. Before Echo360, Fred was a Senior Advisor to Masayoshi Son, President and CEO of SoftBank and Chairman of Sprint’s board of Directors. Fred was also active as a venture partner at SoftBank Capital in the US.
Michael Feldstein Partner MindWires Consulting
Michael Feldstein is a Partner at MindWires Consulting, Co-Publisher of e-Literate, and Co-Producer of e-Literate TV. He formerly served as the Senior Program Manager of MindTap at Cengage Learning and Principal Product Strategy Manager for Academic Enterprise Solutions at Oracle Corporation. Previously, Michael was an Assistant Director at the SUNY Learning Network, where he oversaw blended learning faculty development and was part of the leadership team for the LMS platform migration efforts of this 40-campus program.
A major influence that is driving this change results from acknowledging the reality of the way we live today. We can no longer ignore the ubiquity of technology—we must to welcome it into our classrooms and learning activities. To inspire engagement, we need to keep pace with students who operate in an increasingly mobile world where information and communication are accessed 24/7 through smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
That is combined with the need to address the learning styles, backgrounds, and differing needs of students in classrooms with 30 or more students in them. That includes moving from a lecture centered model combined with memorization and repetition to a learner-centered model with “active learning strategies and learning guidance.”
The blended learning trends covered in the white paper are:
The deeply student-centered learning experience
Soaring numbers of digital learners
Supporting standards and higher-order thinking skills
Realizing benefits for both teachers and students
Data-driven instruction to personalize learning
Personalized learning accompanied by a lean, blended, iterative approach
The mobile world is where learners live now
BYOD is here and key to active three-screen days
More broadband, please!
For a more in-depth look into these trends, read DreamBox Learning full report here.
George Veletsianos resent published a blog post about the use of Twitter in MOOCs. The post was based on a republished article on that subject. The study employed data mining to aggregate data from 116 MOOS “with course-dedicated hashtag” on Twitter. His conclusion is thus:
This research used a large-scale data set to investigate participation on course-dedicated hashtags. It examined the participation patterns of hashtag participants, the types of users posting to those hashtags, the types of tweets that were posted, and the variation in types of posted tweets across users. While popular narratives suggest that social media provide a space for enhancing learner participation, this study provides
little evidence to support these claims in the context of Twitter as an adjunct to MOOCs, finding that an active minority of users contributed the preponderance of messages posted to Twitter hashtags and that learners make up only about 45% of users. Nor do these findings reveal substantive evidence of learners contributing to multiple hashtags, which may suggest that learners did not find Twitter to be a useful space that provided added value or responded to their needs. Ultimately, these results demonstrate the need for greater intentionality in integrating social media into MOOCs.
Blackboard recently posted to its blog about how successful students use LMS tools that are available to them. The interesting part of their study is the most consistent predictor of student success. According to John Whitmer:
The most consistent predictor of student achievement was how frequently a student looked at their grades; this surprised me given that other tools (like assessments) directly and tangibly influence a student’s grade. This is an independent behavioral measure and yet is a very strong predictor.
The most successful students are those who access MyGrades most frequently; students doing poorly do not access their grades. Students who never access their grades are more likely to fail than students who access them at least once. There is a direct relationship at every quartile of use – and at the risk of spoiling results for the other tools, this is the only tool for which this direct trend exists. It appears that students in the middle range of grades aren’t impacted by their use of the tool.
This finding suggests that to change student outcomes, we need to use proactive intervention strategies. Examples include grade notifications within the Activity stream of Blackboard Learn with the Ultra experience, or the alerts provided by Blackboard Predict.
Starting August 29, MIT will be offering “Introduction to Philosophy: God, Knowledge and Consciousness,” through its edX portal with a new twist. Students who pay $300 for the “verified certificate” program will have their work reviewed by “professional philosophers.” Without a “verified certificate,” the course is free.
“Listening to lectures and reading books is great, but philosophy is all about taking complex ideas and organizing them in a simple way. You learn by writing, specifically writing to someone,” said Caspar Hare, an MIT philosophy teacher who will lead the MOOC for its third iteration.