Thursday, July 22, 2010

Campus Technology 2010 – Day 4 – Part 1

The final day of the conference and I’m kicking it off with Student Voices + Technilogical Innovation: Rethinking Online Pedagogies. Certainly a mouthful, and worthy of four individual presenters:

  • Elaine Maldonado, Director, Faculty Development and Center for Excel, Fashion Institute of Technolgy- SUNY
  • Jeff Riman, Instructional Designer and Coordinator, Fashion Institute of Technolgy- SUNY
  • Dympna Bowles, Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, Fashion Institute of Technolgy- SUNY
  • Tamara Cupples, Executive Director of Online Learning and Academic Technology, Fashion Institute of Technolgy- SUNY

Their presentation is about how FIT used web-based tools and other technologies to created blended learning opportunities.

Dympna Bowles led off with a general overview of FIT. FIT is located in Manhatten, NY with about 10,500 students and 1,000 faculty along with some other international locations. It is a public college within the SUNY system. They offer a total of 47 degree programs in 28 different areas of study.

They offer 100 fully online courses and 1 online degree program using the Angel LMS. They use a lot of specialized proprietary programs as well as off-the-shelf. One specialized program is Web PDM – data management program that allows students to track the life of a product including costs, marketing issues.

We asked employers what they were looking for in new hires in the softer skills area was collaboration skills.

Elaine Maldonado spoke about student response about the use of collaborative technology. They held roundtables between students and faculty to discuss this area. About 70 students participated in these sessions with an additional 30 students brought in later. The campus was abuzz afterward because the answers were not what the faculty expected.

In preparation for this session they handed out clickers to random participants. They showed us questions and asked people to use the clickers to respond and then compared the results to what students responded.

Audience asked

  • how often students expected faculty to respond to email by the end of the day, while students were more lenient saying 24 hours.
  • how often students should check their school email, the audience responded daily, which is what the students said.
  • How students feel about PowerPoint presentation, the audience responded, they are boring when faculty read the material to the class, which is what the students said.
  • How students felt about online learning, the audience responded that it all depends upon the teacher. The students responded that they don’t like online classes that have mostly written materials. This indicates that the faculty drives the online experience
  • Do students like their professor using social networking sites like Facebook in their class, and the audience responded that they answered “It’s Ok..sometimes.” But the audience responded “No…it’s an invasion of our privacy.”

    It is a two-sided coin here, they don’t want faculty friending them in the Facebook arena, but they were OK if the faculty set up a Facebook page dedicated to the class. So maybe this means that faculty need to be educated about how Facebook works. Another concern is the fact that Facebook does not delete any information you post when you delete the page.

Student feedback on blended learning was more positive, feeling that it was more meaningful and helped learning the subject and improving on their time-management skills.

Jeff Riman took over to discuss the multi-discipline technologies that were applied to the blended learning. Faculty have reported that teaching a blended, technology enhanced course improves on their teaching skills.

First sample, History of Art class lends itself well to vodcasts in which the narrators speak while examples of the artwork is displayed. Learners have to take notes so there is still student interaction.

Second sample of a vodcast is taken from the Introduction to Sewing class – the vodcast demonstrates how to thread a bobbin on a sewing machine.

Business of Photography example shows how to use business-specific software. The instructor is using Voicethread which is not typically used for this process, but it helped students become familiar.

Screencast is used to introduce Autocad, done in Camtasia.

The last example shown is VoiceThread. We like it because people don’t like the text based forum. VoiceThread is more multimedia and it allows students to post using their voice and show images.

Voicethread seems fascinating but it seems on first blush a bit complicated to follow. I will need to follow up and explore it some more. If it is not as complicated as it seems then it is a fascinating alternative to reading extensive pieces of text. Accessibility was raised by another participant, but in regard to vodcasts, but I wonder how accessible Voicethread is. Again, I will have to research.

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