28 Jun 2017

Students Look for Quality Online Learning, Not Convenience

The sixth annual Online College Students report, developed by The Learning House, Inc. and Aslanian Market Research, shares an interesting, albeit intuitive in hindsight, findings on prospective and recently graduated online college students. The findings points out to the importance of the online “social presence” via communication and being part of an online community, expanding opportunities of online education, students’ remorse in buying an online course,  and more importantly online students’  growing knowledge and preference of competency-based education.

 

Key Findings

Key findings include:

  • They Want to Be Part of a Community. More than half of respondents say interaction with classmates and instructors is important to them, and about a quarter say online courses could be improved by more contact with their instructors and more engagement with classmates. Fifty-nine percent travel to campus between one and five times per year, for reasons such as meeting their instructor or meeting with a study group.

 

  • Students Are Expanding Their Search to More Schools. While the majority of students continue to stay close to home, the number of schools students consider has expanded. More students contacted or requested information from three or more schools (52 percent), an increase from 2016 (29 percent). The number of students considering only one institution fell from 30 percent to 18 percent.

 

  • They Experience Buyer’s Remorse. While online students tend to make their decisions quickly, 59 percent would change some part of their search for an online program if they had to do it over again. Twenty-three percent of current and past online college students wished they had contacted more schools during the selection process, whereas others wished they learned more about the tuition and fees (17 percent) or their financial aid package (16 percent).

 

  • They Have High Interest in Competency-Based Education. Online students are increasingly aware of competency-based programs. The percentage of respondents who say they have not heard of competency-based education has decreased, with 27 percent reporting no awareness of CBE in 2017, down from 35 percent in 2013.

 

 

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23 Jul 2016

Student Competencies and Learning Plans in Moodle 3.1 that You Really Need to Harness

 

The new trend of competency based education is taking the education institutions by storm. Personally, I do not think it is a fad and that it might wither away down the road. Competency based education advocates have been diligently at work for years to make it seep into the educational institutions’ culture. INACOL’s latest project  Competencyworks is one example. As defined by CompetencyWorks, competency education

refers to a systems model in which (1) teaching and learning are designed to ensure students are becoming proficient by advancing on demonstrated mastery and (2) schools are organized to provide timely and differentiated support to ensure equity. A competency-based structure enables personalized learning to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery of the highest standards possible. With clear and calibrated understanding of proficiency, learning can be tailored to each student’s strengths, needs, and interests and enable student voice and choice in what, how, when, and where they learn.

Some of the characteristics of CBE are, as defined by CompetencyWorks, ar =e

  • Students advance upon mastery.
  • Competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students.
  • Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students.
  • Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs.
  • Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.

 

Educational vendors, especially, educational technology vendors, have capitalized on CBE, sometimes renaming it as  mastery-based education, to bring in customers. Moodle, the open source learning management system, has added Competencies features for its new Moodle 3.1 release that administrators, teachers, and students, if using them right, will find them remarkably beneficial.

Competencies in Moodle 3.1

Competencies features are broken into three parts in Moodle, and each part is interacted differently by Moodle admins, Moodle course teachers, and Moodle students.

1. Competency Framework is where the Moodle administrator names the framework with which teachers and students will work on.

2. Competencies are the competencies that the Admin links to the competency Frameworks and then Moodle Admin or the teacher can link the competency to the course. Teachers can also link activities to competencies.

3. Student Learning Plan is where the student with the help of the teacher constructs a learning plan and links it to competencies that he or she needs to meet.

 

Below is a video playlist of three parts on how teachers, admin and students can use competencies in Moodle.

 

Moodle also has two plugins if you need to import or export competencies. This comes it really easy to transfer competencies in and out of Moodle instead of manually entering them.

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18 Jul 2016

Educators’ Online Professional Learning Practices and Experiences: An infographic

 

More than ever, educators in k-12 schools and higher education are using online courses, communities, and resources for professional learning. Online professional learning is convenient in terms of time and place, two factors face-to-face workshops and conferences do not and cannot provide. This results in more ingrained and situated professional learning as educators get the time to experiment in their daily work, reflect on significance, and then re-iterate, amend, or quit an education method, technique, or approach. But, what is the nature of educators’ online professional learning practices and experiences? Why do educators choose online professional learning? What are the common topics they seek to develop? and via what means do they seek their online professional learning? To answer these questions, the Education Technology Industry Network of SIIA conducted a survey of world-wide k-20 educators. The Report summarizes the results from the 2016 Vision K-20 Professional Learning (PL) Survey. The Vision K-20 PL Survey asks K-20 education leaders around the globe to provide information about their online professional learning practices and experience. The results from this survey will help us and our partners better understand how K-20 educators are using online professional learning opportunities and what they hope to gain from them. The report includes an interesting infographic that mainly contrasts how k-12 and higher education educators experience and practice via their online professional learning.

 

vk20-infographics

The report shows how education technology vendors might be spending more effort in developing to meet the needs and interests of educators. One questions still stands however, are vendors overselling their products to educators? and are educators in turn, as their schools are, falling into the trap of “wow” factor of technology?

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30 Jun 2016

Google Forms Quiz: A much needed feature for teachers

Finally, Google has added the Google Forms Quiz feature to its Google Forms. Now, instead of correcting students’ responses manually or use a script like Flubaroo, the Google Forms Quiz is now built in the Google Forms itself, and has so many great features that will make all teachers happy.

Here’s How to Create the Quiz

  1. Go to forms.google.com . Or go to your Google Drive then click New and then choose Forms
  2. From Google Forms Setting icon, click on Quizzes

settings

3. Change the Form template to a quiz. Then select the options that you prefer. You can have the results directly displayed to students or you can postpone the results after you do a manual review. You can also choose what results students can see (Missed Questions, correct questions, or/and point values). IT is also important to note that you if you need students to have only one response they need to be logged in their google Apps account or Gmail account. You need to select this option from “General Settings”. Also, if you want to shuffle questions, you need to select it under the “Presentation” option.

quiz template

choose preference

4. Add your question and choices. Please note that Google Quiz only works with Multiple choice, checkbox, and list questions.

 

choose question

5. Choose the correct answers and set the point value by clicking on the “Answer Key”. Select the correct answers.

nswer key

 

select ansers

6. Select the Feedback for Correct and Incorrect Answers. You can add links to additional resources to help students modify their thinking.

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Then click “Save”. Do not forget to click “add” once you add a link.

 

7. Click on the Eye icon to check how the form looks like for your students.

 

One thing google needs to add is the personalized answers to the incorrect choices, a feature found in Moodle that I highly appreciate. I think it is not too long before Google gradually turns Google Apps for Education full of LMSs features.

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27 Jun 2016

Moodle Has Outdone Itself in Moodle 3.1 Release

Gold fish with shark flipWith Moodle 3.1 release in May, Moodle has really improved in it updates. We all know the myriad of updates Moodle has been with in the past couple of years due to coping with the exponential explosion of new web features and LMSs vendors. The Moodle 3.1 release includes many new features and improvements of earlier features. See below a video list of Moodle 31. overview and video explanation of new as well as improved features.

 

 

New and Updated Feature Include:

For Teachers

 

For Administrators

 

For All Users

 

One particular new feature that Moodle 3.1 has included is the Competency Based Education (CBE) Module. This is a great move from Moodle Headquarters as the current trend of education is for competency based. In addition to  linking courses to Competencies that students need to meet, CBE module includes an educational plan, a great feature the helps personalizing the experiential factor of learning and supporting the learners’ metacognition. In a later post, I will discuss how CBE feature potential can be maximized.

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15 Aug 2015

Here’s How to Make Your Moodle Course a Social Learning Course

 

In an earlier post, 7 Reasons Why Moodle Should Be Your Preferred LMS, I argued that because of its openness and easy customization, Moodle eats any other LMS on breakfast Smile  In this post, I will show you how you can create a social learning course that has the same look and feel, but with much more features, like Edmodo and Google Classroom, both are highly used by k12 schools. This is done by a new Course Format plugin called Socialwall. (Warning: If you have a course set up and want to change its format to Socialwall, be careful as it might yield to undesirable results).

So, let’s assume you had this boring course last year with a focus on topics. Your course includes topics that students should engage in and submit assignments, collaborate, etc. and then move on to a new topic. However, for this year you want to make communication and social learning as central, not topics. You look at Edmodo, Elgg,Google Classroom etc. and like what you see. Now, with the course format plugin called Socialwall you can do just that in Moodle.

The Moodle Socialwall will transform your Moodle course into a social learning platform. This includes a familiar post interface, timeline of posts, filtering of the timeline, and integration with Moodle’s activities and resources. A social learning format allows teachers to pick up the tool and begin using it right away.

Socialwall Official Page on Moodle

Here’s a Quick Slideshow and Video Introducing Socialwall

 

 

 

Installation and Use

Here’s a Google Hangout on How to Install and use Sociallwall course format.

 

Read the full capabilities of Socialwall on the official Moodle site.

Socialwall is part of a set of plugins that you also need to install. Go to the Socialwall plugin set to install them too. These include:

  • a new Course Format (called socialwall, format_socialwall)

Optional:

  • a new Filter (filter_urlresource) to alter the way a posted url-Resource will be displayed
  • a local plugin (local_filterurlresbak) to backup and restore the filter data (unfortunately moodle doesn’t support backup and restore for filter data).
  • a new Block to display upcoming events and alerts related to the course (block_alerts).

 

So, what do you think of Socialwall course format? Will focus on social learning instead of topical learning work with your students, at your institution? Will it work better with corporate learning? Have you used any social learning platforms before like Elgg or Edmodo? How do they compare?

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07 Aug 2015

Teaching with Moodle MOOC Starts in Few Days

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This introductory Teaching with Moodle Mooc is a must for all teachers, instructors, or anyone who is willing to start teaching with Moodle. It is activity-based and lasts only 4 weeks. You will get the opportunity to get tutorials, design you own Moodle courses, interact with international community interested in teaching with Moodle, and much more. All of this is facilitated by guru Moodlers (Mary Cooch) and Moodle community moderators. Go to Moodle Mooc site and register; hurry up! Don’t forget to connect via twtitter with @learnmoodle and #learnmoodle.

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