Monday, November 28, 2011

Undergraduate Expectations

In the research survey Undergraduate Perceptions of the Usefulness of Web 2.0 in Higher Education: Survey Development, undergraduate expectations of Web 2.0 use in education was analyzed.

Take a few moments to answer some of the following questions through comments on this blog post.


·         What would be your answer to the two research questions?
1.    Which Web 2.0 technologies are currently used by undergraduate students in different disciplines on-campus?
2.    Which  Web  2.0  technologies  do  undergraduates  find  most  beneficial  for  learning  in  their respective disciplines?
·         Were any of the findings in this survey surprising?
·         The article makes the claim, “digital natives expect to learn with new technologies,” did you have this assumption when beginning classes? Has your experience at DePauw altered your expectations of technology use?
·         What do you currently use technology for? (word processing, email, surfing the Internet, creating content?) Since the beginning of the year, have you begun using additional technologies?
·         Based on the survey’s findings, how should Universities approach using technology in teaching and learning?
·         Will undergraduate expectations change as technology is used more frequently in teaching and learning?

Embracing Social Technology

In the article 3 Ways Educators Are Embracing Social Technology, a description of the uses of three social technologies are explored in the context of classroom application. The use of Skype, Mobile Phones, and Twitter in the classroom provides a few examples of how Educators can effectively utilize social technologies.

Take a few moments to answer a few of the following questions in a comment to this blog post.


  • The article states that “budget cuts have caused ballooning class sizes,” thus Educators have attempted to utilize technology to engage students. Is this an effective approach?
  •  How can Educators and Universities effectively use technology with such a vast range of devices?
  •  Is there an expectation that all students be familiar with and have access to technology. Is this assumption correct or should there be steps to combat technology issues (Student Technology Support)?
  •  How should Educators deal with “distracting technologies”? Is incorporating technology an effective way to eliminate the distraction?
  • What are your opinions on the way Educators used the three technologies? (Skype, Mobile Phones, Twitter)
  • Are there different approaches or technologies that would have been more effective in these situations?
  • How can other social software be integrated into a classroom?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Course Management Systems

Moodle is a course management system (CMS) or learning management system (LMS), depending on who you talk to, that is open source and free to use. Moodle is used worldwide by universities, schools, companies and independent teachers. At my new job as an Instructional Technologist for DePauw University, I have been introduced to Moodle. So I suppose I can now officially be called a Moodler! Previously, I have used such CMS as Oncourse(Indiana University's CMS) and Blackboard (Vincennes University and University of Southern Indiana's CMS).

There are many pros and cons for each CMS mentioned. I have less familiarity with the ins and outs of Oncourse, since I have only had a user's experience. However, I have used both Blackboard and Moodle through the faculty perspective. I will become DePauw University's admin for Moodle over the course of the next few months. From this outside perspective, I can see many benefits for University's switch to Moodle over Blackboard. Moodle's most obvious appeal is that it is FREE. Blackboard, on the other hand, comes at a significant cost for any University or Organization that wishes to use it. It also seems that Blackboard has taken note of the threat of Open Educational Resources (OER), since they have recently implemented a way for content sharing in their CourseSites.

One of the biggest concerns that I have noted is the question of security. With Moodle being completely open source, there are concerns with that hackers will be able to access student information such as grades if a course is being hosted on Moodle, or even worse post pornographic materials that the students will unknowingly access. Moodle's quick response to these security threats, updated security patches and other measures, can calm nerves. It seems there will be no tolerance for the security holes in Moodle. With both CMS having pros and cons it seems that the final decision boils down to available funds and preference.