Archive for the ‘pedagogy’ category

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BCC’s ePortfolio Showcase

May 18th, 2011

It is showcase season! Last week, students from across the campus presented their ePortfolios as part of BCC’s Office of Instructional Technology ePortfolio Showcase. The event gave students who have done really great ePortfolio work a chance to show their peers and other instructors the value that ePortfolios have had for their education at BCC. What was really fascinating to witness was that as the students talked about what made their ePortfolio experience worthwhile, was that they were speaking about the very pedagogical goals that instructors so often discuss and aim for. The students who presented talked about how the portfolios gave them a chance to bring in work from other courses, showcase their projects to a wider audience, and bring in personal experiences to their education.

Student participants included: Lissenellys Valdez, Molaven Duarte, Francisco Gil, Yanilsa Estrella and Carlos Aristy. The students showed their work for a variety of courses and showcased how they can upload audio and video elements and use hyperlinking to expand the reach of their portfolios. Most of the students also use their ePortfolio to host their resumes and advertise the link to their portfolio on job applications. They also reported learning a lot about computers and web-design as well as being able to help their peers with the content and personalization of the ePortfolio. The last presenter, Carlos, chronicled his journey of working with ePortfolios, admitting that he wasn’t very excited to begin with but that over time he saw the ePortfolio as a valuable tool for chronicling his process of learning.

Two BCC professors who have used ePortfolios extensively in their courses also presented. Giulia Guarnieri and Julia Miele Rodas discussed how ePortfolios have influenced their teaching and how students have responded to the projects. Giulia explained how she uses ePortfolios as a space to model assignments for her students. Similarly, Julia discussed ePortfolios advantages as a tool for modeling writing as a process and offering a “shared distance” from writing that usually doesn’t occur with traditional term papers.

The event was a success and the OIT office hopes to have a showcase each semester. It was a really nice space to hear students and professors talking to one another about the learning process and how technology is shaping their BCC education experience. Bravo!

 

Blended Learning at BCC: Improving pass rates with ‘multifarious instructional design’

March 4th, 2011

As part of the Title V work going on at BCC, Professor Kenya Harris and the team of nursing instructors are making use of VoiceThread, Twitter and a number of other Web 2.0 tools to make their courses more interactive. The results are really impressive.

In a recently published article, Prof. Harris reports an improvement in pass rate of 30% since she began incorporating technology into her course design. How has she done it?

Building on the idea of blended learning Prof. Harris has stopped lecturing in her courses, opting to capitalize on face-to-face time by engaging the students in “active learning” activities that build on the content they review on their own out-of-class time. All of her lectures are available to the students via Podcasts, Videocasts and PowerPoint slides, which students are expected to review prior to class. This is particularly helpful for language learners, who can listen to a lecture numerous times. If they have questions on the material Prof. Harris has set up a “muddiest points” forum on her Blackboard course page that allows students to post their questions in the forum. Other students are often the first to respond and Prof. Harris moderates the comments and joins the conversation.

This “multifarious instructional design” as Harris calls it, let’s students master the content in their own learning style (they can use the slides, podcasts, read texts, etc.) and bring that mastery into class where she engages them in activities that build on the content, such as simulation and role-play. This is especially important for nursing students, who will be responsible for conveying medical terminology to their patients. Students report that they find these activities more engaging and exciting and the data supports her efforts. Pass rates improved 30% over the course of just three semesters, as she increasingly implemented her techniques.

In another recently published article, Gerald Bergtrom of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee documents transitioning a Cell Biology course from traditional face-to-face to a blended environment. He documents the step-by-step process and used a process similar to Harris’s — content delivery and mastery was aided by technology and occurred outside the classroom so that classroom time could be spent on more “meta” activities that actively engaged students with the content.

Both instructors are capitalizing on the “asynchronous” online discussions and interactions that can fortify content delivery and boost the level of in-class activities. For me, these ideas completely shifted/challenged how I normally thought of out-of-class time and what I expected my students to be doing with that time. They also highlight the role that technologies available on a variety of platforms and Blackboard, such as discussion boards and blogs, have in these out-of-class interactions. Finally, it is refreshing to see that they are having success with students actually doing what they are expected to do on their own and taking responsibility for their own learning because they are ready to actively engage when they come to class.

Weekly #EdTech Roundup: It’s all about the collaboration

March 1st, 2011

In this week’s roundup I focus on the idea of collaboration, since there seemed to be a number of intriguing posts on the Edublogs…

Mashable brings us a really excellent and thorough post about Facebook’s Growing Role in Social Journalism. The article considers how major news sources, such as NPR, have begun using to solicit sources for timely stories and the role the network has played in the recent events in Egypt and Libya.Stop, Collaborate and Listenphoto © 2008 Mark | more info (via: Wylio)

Wired Campus reports on an novel idea — the Embedded Librarian. A reference librarian worked directly with a college class during their meeting hours to interact via Twitter. She was able to follow the class discussion, answer questions, and respond with useful links. Though the collaboration was ultimately very time-intensive it serves as a great example of how we can make better use of librarians and bring them in at the very beginning of students’ research processes, rather than half-way through. This could be especially important since a recent study shows that “87% of students believe online libraries and databases have had the most significant impact on their overall learning.

Two interesting posts bring up one common question: how much structure is too much structure? TeachPaperless blogger John T. Spencer considers this while watching his son color in a coloring book vs. drawing his own monsters. Using this experience he reflects on the use of graphic organizers and technology in his class and the extent to which they urge deeper thinking. Similarly, though at a larger scale, Jim Shimabukuro laments the restrictiveness of LMSs (Learning Management Systems) in terms of stifling instructor and student creativity and documents his history of blending LMS with other open-web resources.

And in other news, NspireD2 announces there’s now a Free Wikispaces upgrade for higher ed and Skype launches a beta version of it’s Skype in the Classroom, designed to allow classes from around the world to find other classes that would like to engage with them via Skype.

Podcasting at Bronx Community College

December 15th, 2010

I just finished putting together the pages that provide information about the podcasting program at BCC.  It’s still a work in progress and there is more material still to be added, but for now, I made it go live, so that the community can take a look of the kind of work we will be doing during the Spring Semester. There will be two distinct components to this project; one is to link the podcasting technical workshops lead by Albert Robinson to the newly created pedagogical podcasting workshops. The second project is in the development stage; but wouldn’t be nice if we implemented an actual podcasting faculty program?

https://teachwithpurposebronxcc.commons.gc.cuny.edu/initiatives/podcasting-program/ (Podcasting Page)

At this moment we are in the process of finalizing the schedule of our workshops that address the pedagogy of podcasting but we are certain that this is a great addition to the instructional side of technology. Once the schedule becomes official (very soon) I will be posting all these information.

I often thought about the adjective “instructional” and realized that generally much of the focus in faculty development for online teaching is on technology. I must also give credit to the work done by the OIT and the fact that pedagogy is always emphasized. Faculty are constantly reminded that technology is a tool which serves the learning outcomes and is to be used to strengthen the learning of that particular subject Don’t get me wrong, I understand why technology has the role it has, and so much must time is spent on teaching the technical aspect. The main objective of the new pedagogical workshops is to make this feature even more evident, visible, and strong. By offering these types of workshops faculty will be able to have open and face-to-face discussion about teaching in the online environment. We hope to create a community for dedicated teachers who will find in the physical and virtual space (this site !) a comfortable environment where these issues can be addressed.

After all, we are mostly a teaching college, and there needs to be more conversations on teaching and learning, and these workshops, I believe, will fill this gap. I truly hope all of you will participate and support our efforts.

Apart from the podcasting pedagogical workshops we will offer other workshops that address the academic side of the online environment. Topics will range from fostering interactivity, to the pedagogy of web 2.0 and screencast. If these sound interesting and you don’t want to miss out stay tuned!

Photo: Chart created by the University of Alberta, Canada

This image illustrates the relationship between content, technology and pedagogy.

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