A Post-Secondary Teaching Scenario for “Tomorrow”

an eLearn2005 presentation by Leon Combs, Kennesaw State University, USA

Abstract:

This paper will present a scenario for a teaching method that would be appropriate “tomorrow” in any discipline or setting (government, industry, university, etc.) at a post-secondary level. A 1976 publication of five basic “psychological principles” for effective teaching has been chosen to be applied to the web era. The basic questions of “what is education”, “where is the classroom”, “where are the students”, “what do we teach”, and “how do we teach” will be briefly probed for their application to this scenario. The resulting scenario involves the concept of a Learning Center staffed by discipline experts who can lead discussions on particular aspects of the course, computer facilities for students to use at their leisure, and areas that allow for group interactions among the students. The scenario also allows for students to completely self-pace themselves using the course web sites and web tests to help them determine their level of competence before each proctored exam.

Using Wales’ 5 principles for designing websites and setting up learning courses

Where are the students? Home, Prison, Military, Work, Learning Centers (like universities)

What do we teach? The basic chemistry book has not changed since the 1950s

PPT is just an electronic overhead / slide
– might as well have an overhead projector, except you can’t put that on the web easily (but file size can be a problem)

Need to use: current texts, library, research, the web, professor expertise

How do we teach should morph into “how do we motivate the students to learn?”
– emphasis
– if we could just get 20% of our class to the top of Bloom’s taxonomy that would be great

Wales’ Learning I (Guide)
– guide them prime directive of online elarning websites

I use “hot potato” free software for making tests, produces them in DHTML
– great way to make up short tests
– on various parts of the website

practice may not make perfect but it certainly helps

research indicates kids are not going to sit there for long periods of time and just read on the web
– you need to have frequent interaction opportunities
– big need is motivating students
– coaching used a lot
– case studies are good to use, big use in medical schools and law schools
– not a lot of these available for freshman and sophomore college students

Rather than having a predetermined way for students to progress through a course, I design to give students options
– can have short sub-courses (shortcourses) at the learning center

Conclusion: this 1976 publication is recognized for its excellent insight into teaching that maximizes learning and is coupled with the goal of achieving the top of the Bloom Taxonomy
– Chief Learning Officers (CLO) will lead the new learning initiatives using combinations of websites and Learning Centers
– No lectures of basic knowledge: that is dead, there should be none of that

MY IDEA: I DISAGREE, THERE IS STILL A PLACE FOR THIS

Cobb County (where I live) is now converting traditional textbooks to eBooks
– we have a big proglem with administrators and faculty members who have never done this before
– I started teaching online in 1997
– students who learn online tend to have better retention / transfer in upper level courses in my research and experience

We need validation of websites
– anyone can put up a website
– the American Chemical Society is one organization that can do that
– that has GOT to happen, otherwise there will be all kinds of garbage sites out there that will be disastrous

Read the paper!

My question to the presenter: Why did the Cobb County laptop initiative fail? His answers:
– they guy who pushed that through is now being investigated by a grand jury
– there was questions about how it was done
– people were concerned students would tear up laptops
– in Georgia there was a disaster at the university level with maintenance (Clayton State)
— students were just destroying the laptops, and the university was obligated to fix them
— that initiative has been discontinued
– that initiative was pushed through by someone (name not stated) who become the eLearning Czar for the entire state of Georgia
– now Cobb county is moving toward eBooks for students, but students will have to provide their own laptops, the school district will not

MY THOUGHTS: THIS IS CERTAINLY NOT A REPLICABLE MODEL IN CASES WHERE STUDENTS ARE FROM LOW SES SETTINGS, BUT MAYBE NOT EVEN REASONABLE FOR HIGH SES AREAS. IF EBOOKS ARE REQUIRED BY THE DISTRICT, HOW COULD THEY REASONABLY REQUIRE STUDENTS AND PARENTS TO BUY THEIR OWN?
– I NEED TO DO MORE RESEARCH ON THIS CLAYTON STATE LAPTOP DISASTER. WHAT WAS THE PLATFORM THAT WAS USED? WHY DID IT FAIL? THESE ARE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS.

Lots of studies show “no significant difference” with technology
– we need teachers with content area knowledge, that what is most important

MY THOUGHT: I DON’T THINK MANY OF THESE STUDIES OF “NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE’ ARE SPECIFIC TO LAPTOPS, I THINK THEY ARE GENERAL TO EDTECH INITIATIVES

For me, the knowledge and the science is most important…

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