Creating Effective Online and Blended Courses

The Open Learning Initiative (OLI), with contributions from the Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning at Stanford University, has developed freely available resources to support the creation of high quality online courses. These materials were partially funded by O.P.E.N., the Open Professionals Education Network, which is sponsored by the Gates Foundation to support Department of Labor (DoL) Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College & Career Training (TAACCCT) grantees.  These resources include six interactive modules on Creating Effective Online and Blended Courses. These interactive modules focus on evidence-centered best practices in online learning and will provide users the opportunity to engage in hands-on application of the content.  The modules are designed to help instructors develop online courses or incorporate online learning approaches in their on-campus classes, with a particular focus on 2- and 4-year higher education institutions.

Creating Effective Online and Blended Courses (requires registration).  

Learning with MOOCs Workshop

MOOCs have gone from a distant idea to a global phenomenon in less than five years. During this period MOOCs have innovated at a dazzling speed in content creation, delivery, feedback, testing and other aspects of the knowledge delivery process. The excitement of MOOCs has been the promise of learning at scale. As a result, the primary focus of the design of MOOCs to date has been on “scale”. We believe it is now time to focus our attention on the design for learning.

This workshop brings together the educators, technologists, researchers, learning scientists, entrepreneurs, and funders of MOOCs to share their innovations, discuss the impact on education and to answer questions such as: How to best support students to learn in an online environment? How can MOOCs be successfully integrated with the traditional classroom experience? For which students and in what contexts are these courses most effective? What can we learn from the rich data streams generated by these platforms? How do we structure the learning activities to produce data streams that better support research?

Watch the Learning with MOOCs Workshop live at http://webcast.amps.ms.mit.edu/fall2014/MOOCs/

Ethical Framework for Learning Research in Higher Education Released

PACIFIC GROVE, Calif., June 16, 2014--A group of educators, scientists, and legal/ethical scholars has issued an ethical framework to inform appropriate use of data and technology in learning research for higher education.

A convening at the Asilomar Conference Grounds on June 1-4 included over 50 participants from 26 US academic organizations, including large research universities, broad-access institutions, religiously affiliated schools and liberal arts colleges. Officials from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (PCAST) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) also attended as observers.

The purpose of the convening was to specify the ethical challenges and obligations that accompany research on higher learning in the era of big data. It was modeled after a 1975 event at the same site, during which 140 biologists, lawyers and physicians met to write voluntary guidelines for ensuring the safety of recombinant DNA technology. Another precedent was a 1976 meeting at the Belmont Conference Center in Elkridge, Maryland, which produced a document informing ethical considerations of research with human subjects.

Deliberations at this month’s Asilomar convening were guided by the Chatham House Rule.

"Our goal was to develop first principles for doing science and sharing innovations at a pivotal moment in higher education history," said Mitchell Stevens, Associate Professor of Education and Director of Digital Research and Planning at Stanford, who organized the convention with Susan S. Silbey, the Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of Humanities and Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at MIT. "We want to apply the highest ethical standards of prior generations in ways that facilitate the timely improvement of higher education while preserving the ethical integrity of learners in this new world of ubiquitous data." Silbey added, "We are learning from the past and from our shared norms for creating knowledge to build new knowledge for the future."

The two-page convention document affirms two tenets for learning research:

Advance the science of learning for the improvement of higher education. The science of learning can improve higher education and should proceed through open, participatory, and transparent processes of data collection and analysis that provide empirical evidence for knowledge claims.
Share. Maximizing the benefits of learning research requires the sharing of data, discovery, and technology among a community of researchers and educational organizations committed, and accountable to, principles of ethical inquiry held in common.
 

The document also outlines six principles to inform decisions about data use and knowledge sharing in the field: Respect for the rights and dignity of learners; beneficence; justice; openness; the humanity of learning; and continuous consideration of the ethical dimensions of learning research.

Full text of the convention is available at asilomar-highered.info.

Contacts:

Mitchell L. Stevens, Stanford University, mitchell.stevens@stanford.edu
Susan S. Silbey, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ssilbey@mit.edu

An Approach to Knowledge Component/Skill Modeling in Online Courses

Learning design experts from the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University collaborated with software engineering experts at Google, Inc. to craft the white paper, An Approach to Knowledge Component/Skill Modeling in Online Courses. The purpose of this paper is to blend our collective pedagogical and technological expertise in describing how to develop open online learning environments based on the integration of technology with the science of learning.  Specifically, we provide an overview of the skills mapping process, theoretical learning model approach used to predict mastery, and analytics reports currently embedded in the designs for OLI courses, and suggest recommendations for future improvements.  We believe that by using OLI strategies to develop, deliver, assess, and iteratively improve courses, we have in place the key elements to support technology-enhanced, outcomes-driven, high-quality learning experiences.

Assessment-Based Design in Online Courses

The Open Learning Initiative has been offering evidence-based open and free online courses to learners across the globe since its inception in 2002. While much recent attention has been given to course design elements such as video length, content layout, graphics and visualizations in MOOCs and other online courses like OLI and how to use data derived from those courses to predict various outcomes, we have paid little attention to the measures of student learning we are creating. Much time is spent on the technological inputs and data outputs of these online courses, while ignoring the “assessment sweet spot” in between, essentially the glue that ties together the design of the course to the data generated from student interactions with the course. In this presentation hosted by the University of New Mexico's College of Education, Dr. Zimmaro explores this question: How do we apply “assessment-based design” principles in online courses to develop the tools and processes that create effective measures of student learning that are based on sound pedagogical and measurement principles and that produce the quality data we want? 
http://coe.unm.edu/news/325/15/Educational-Psychology-hosts-guest-speaker-Dawn-M-Zimmaro-Ph-D-on-Assessment-Based-Design-in-Online-Courses-April-22.html

Learning with MOOCs: A Practitioner's Workshop

MOOCs have gone from a distant idea to a global phenomenon in less than five years. During this period MOOCs have innovated at a dazzling speed in content creation, delivery, feedback, testing and other aspects of the knowledge delivery process. The excitement of MOOCs has been the promise of "learning at scale". As a result, the primary focus of the design of MOOCs to date has been on "scale". We believe it is now time to focus our attention on the design for "learning".

This workshop plans to bring together the educators, technologists, researchers, learning scientists, entrepreneurs, and funders of MOOCs to share their innovations, discuss the impact on education and to answer questions such as: How to best support students to learn in an online environment? How can MOOCs be successfully integrated with the traditional classroom experience? For which students and in what contexts are these courses most effective? What can we learn form the rich data streams generated by these platforms? How do we structure the learning activities to produce data streams that better support research?

Practitioners interested in coming together to discuss these issues are invited to submit a one page description of work they have done in a MOOC including something interesting that they have learned through their work that they believe would be valuable to share with others and/or a question/challenge that they confronted that they would like to have others discuss. 

http://moocworkshop.org

Healthcare Information and Management Systems

The Open Learning Initiative (OLI) is collaborating with MoHealthWINs, the Health eWorkforce Consortium, and the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) to design an open and free online course in healthcare information technology, Healthcare Information and Management Systems. This project is a part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College & Career Training (TAACCT) grant program. The goal of the MoHealthWINS program, located in Missouri, is to elevate healthcare IT workforce development by training, supporting, and assisting veterans and others into healthcare IT employment.  The Health eWorkforce Consortium, located in Washington, is similarly focused on enriching national Health Information Technology development and training efforts.  These two programs are co-creating the content for this course and OLI and CAST are supporting the evidence-centered course design. Once completed in January 2015, this course will be freely available to any institution that is interested in training individuals in the healthcare IT field. Individuals who complete this course will be eligible to take the Certified Associate in Healthcare Information & Management Systems (CAHIMS) exam.
 
As a part of the project, OLI and CAST collaborated with two industry partners on the project, Austin Regional Clinic in Austin, Texas and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. The founder and CEO of Austin Regional Clinic and the Chief Operating Officer from Austin Regional Clinic participated in videotaped interviews to discuss their organization's adoption of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. Two members of the information technology unit at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center also participated in videotaped interview sessions to discuss their organization's IT disaster preparedness plans.  These interview segments are embedded throughout the course and include corresponding interactive activities and assessment questions.   These industry partnerships have helped to enhance the learning experience for the students and their ability to experience real-life case studies of the content.  

Surfing the Tsunami: Innovation on Technology and Learning.

On behalf of Candace Thille, Dawn Zimmaro, Director of Learning Design and Assessment, gave a keynote presentation at the MOOC Research Initiative Conference 2013, entitled Surfing the Tsunami: Innovation in Technology and Learning.   Dr. Zimmaro's keynote presentation focused on the Open Learning Initiative's decade of research and development in creating open online learning environments based on the integration of technology and the science of learning with teaching.  She discussed how the OLI principles of learning outcome driven design, goal-directed practice and targeted feedback, and cognitive tutoring can be used to inform the next evolution of MOOC course designs.  Additionally, Dr. Zimmaro identified one of the biggest challenges facing in higher education: determining how to leverage technology to create authentic assessments at scale that simultaneously can support personalized learning experiences.  

This international conference brought together leading educators, designers, researchers, and administrators who are exploring the world of MOOCs to share experiences, practices, challenges, and next steps for these emerging digital learning models. The MOOC Research Initiative (MRI) is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of a set of investments intended to explore the potential of MOOCs to extend access to postsecondary credentials through more personalized, more affordable pathways.  For more information on the MOOC Research Initiative go to: http://www.moocresearch.com/

Open Learning Pioneer Heads West

Since long before the advent of massive open online courses, Candace Thille's project to fuse learning science with open educational delivery, developed at Carnegie Mellon University, has been heralded as one of higher education's most significant and promising developments.

Friday, Thille essentially launched stage two of her research-based effort to expand the reach and improve the quality of technology-enabled education, with word that she (and at least part of her Open Learning Initiative) would move to Stanford University.

Thille and Stanford officials alike believe that by merging her experience in building high-quality, data-driven, open online courses with Stanford's expertise in research on teaching and learning – notably its focus on how different types of students learn in differing environments – the university can become a center of research and practice in the efficacy of digital education.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/05/28/candace-thille-moves-stanford