A2: Annotated Bibliography (Spreadsheet)

In today’s assignment, we have been asked to create an annotated spreadsheet of sources for our upcoming 1200-word synthesis of a topic of historical significance.

I have chosen to summarize and critique 5 papers on the historical significance of educational television.  You can view my spreadsheet by clicking on the link below:

Assignment 2 Spreadsheet_Sherry

Research Questions Answered

Dr. George Veletsianos is the Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology and a Professor in the School of Education and Technology at Royal Roads University.  Our class recently had the opportunity to present questions to him regarding research.  From his responses, I gained a number of key insights including the following:

  • It is essential to be knowledgeable about your research topic, including reading and understanding the relevant literature, before approaching potential participants.  This ensures potential participants that you have done your background work and have an understanding of the phenomenon you are studying. 
  • Be conscious of your individual biases (such as your personal beliefs and gender bias).  It is important to keep these biases in check.  There is information available on ways to do this.  For example, one way is to have multiple individuals working together to keep each others’ biases in check.
  • Different sampling techniques are appropriate for different research studies. For example, if your study requires participants from a very specific group of people (for example, rural teachers) then snowball sampling may be helpful.  Snowball sampling involves asking your current participants to identify other potential participants as they are from that group and therefore may be able to help you identify others from that group.
  • Social media platforms each have advantages and disadvantages for conducting research.  The most appropriate platform depends on your research question(s) and method.
  • When collecting data for research, it is important to first consider your research question(s) and method.  For example, if you are acquiring data through interviews, 12 to 20 interviews are generally recommended.  Continue interviewing until you are confident that the new information you are getting is starting to get repetitive; this is called ‘saturation’.  It is also important to consider the instruments you are using (for example, your interview script).
  • Ethics in research is vital and, although we cannot predict what might be considered ethical in the future, the premise in research is to always minimize harm.

Many thanks to Dr. Veletsianos for his insightful responses.  I have learned that, before conducting any research, there are many things to consider beyond basic data collection and analysis, including sample type and size, methodology, ethics (including participants’ wellbeing), personal biases, and appropriate uses of technology.  It is the responsibility of the researcher to not only conduct research that is relevant, credible, legitimate and effective, but to do so in a way that meets or exceeds current ethical standards.

Copyright in Canada

image source: http://clipart-library.com/clipart/1220023.htm

As we come to the end of our Introduction to Research course, we were asked to listen to Melanie Wrobel, Copyright Manager at Royal Roads University (RRU), speak about copyright in Canada, a larger and more obscure topic than I had expected.  Specifically, here are my primary take-away points:

  • Most work is protected by copyright in Canada, even if it is not registered.  (Registration of copyright does provide evidence, however.)
  • Copyright differs by country and copyright laws are followed according to the country you are in.  There are no copyright laws which automatically protect your work internationally.  Each country’s copyright operates under the national copyright laws of that country. 
  • “Fair dealing” is an exception in Canada’s copyright laws that allows the use of someone else’s work without permission in special circumstances, for example, research purposes or education.
  • “Mash-ups” are another exception.  They allow, under certain conditions, the use of multiple copyrighted works (or multiple parts of a work) to be used to create new material, for example, taking parts of different research papers or course content (with credits to the original author(s)) and posting it on our Moodle course site
  • Creative Commons licensing offers several licenses, free of charge, to the public to allow the legal sharing of creative works
  • Different countries and even individual institutions, including RRU, have their own copyright laws which must be followed.  As with most laws, there are many interpretations and nuances, and not knowing is not an acceptable reason for breaking them.  If you are not sure if you are breaking a copyright law, be sure to find out!
  • Copyright laws change.  Inventions such as photocopiers and cassette tapes, and now virtual private networks (VPNs) and streaming sites, have forced the need for copyright to keep pace.  Researchers have a responsibility to ensure they use materials legally.
Wrobel, M. (2019, June 3). A Guide to Copyright [Video file]. Retrieved from https://moodle.royalroads.ca/moodle/mod/page/view.php?id=347413

LRNT522 (Unit 1, Activity 3) – What Makes a Good Research Question?

 

 

 

 

 

source: clipartmag.com/question-clipart-free#question-clipart-free-15.jpg

My blog posts have come from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Panama… and now the mountains of Evergreen, Colorado!

Before all the hard work of collecting and evaluating data, the research question itself must be determined.  So, what makes a good research question?

A good research question is:

Manageable – A research question must produce data that can be argued.  It also must be answerable using information that already exists or can be collected.  It cannot be too narrow or broad or too simple or complex that it cannot be answered in one, or a set of, research studies.  Finally, it must be ethical and at least partially objective. 

Researchable – Given the researcher’s available time frame and location and the resources required, it must be feasible to conduct the methodology.

Interesting – The research question must be of interest to the researcher and potentially others.

Significant – The research question must attempt to solve a new issue or problem or it must attempt to solve a previously-researched topic in a new context or with a new perspective.

References:

The Writing Center. (2019). How to write a research question. George Mason University. Retrieved from https://writingcenter.gmu.edu/guides/how-to-write-a-research-question

Writing Studio. (n.d.). What makes a good research question? Duke University. Retrieved from https://sites.duke.edu/urgws/files/2014/02/Research-Questions_WS-handout.pdf

(Unit 4, Activity 1) Teaching of 21st Century Skills in 20th Century Schools: Impact of Digital Learning

Teaching of 21st Century Skills in 20th Century Schools

By Dan McEvoy, Kymberleigh Richards & Sherry Ruth

Overview

With the advent of digital learning, educational policies and pedagogies of the past century have become obsolete.  Formal education has shifted from the 20th-century 3Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic) to today’s 4Cs: creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration (Keane, Keane & Blicblau, 2014).  In today’s hyper-connected and digitized society, we need to empower students with these higher-order thinking skills to adapt to a rapid-changing world and an unknown future. There has been a definite shift from why we are teaching the content to how we are teaching the skills.  To date, however,

schools and education systems are, on average, not ready to leverage the potential of technology.  Gaps in the digital skills of both teachers and students, difficulties in locating high-quality digital learning resources from among a plethora of poor-quality ones, a lack of clarity on the learning goals, and insufficient pedagogical preparation for blending technology meaningfully into lessons and curricula, [have created] a wedge between expectations and reality (Cuban, 1992, p.190).

The impacts of digital learning on this topic may be described and summarized as follows:  

Role of Administrators

  • Administrators and educators continue to face significant challenges due to the open-ended and dynamic nature of 21st-century skills and the conformity of the traditional structure and organization of the formal education system. “Systems of education need to establish structures that are amenable to more active and dynamic teaching and learning and assessment paradigms” (Care, Kim & Scoular, 2017, p. 33).

Role of Teachers

  • Many teachers recognize the value of teaching these skills and are open and enthusiastic, but find they are not adequately prepared to do so.  21st-century skills are “more demanding to teach and learn than rote skills” (Saavedra & Opfer, 2012, p. 8) and teachers require training and support to effectively teach them.
  • Teachers (and students) now have access to a wide variety of tools and materials with little time and space constraints, thus providing learning resources that are exceptionally relevant and current.
  • In the classroom, teachers now have more complex roles. They used to be the all-knowing ‘sage on the stage’, but now teachers serve as a mentor to their students. Teachers are expected to tap into students’ knowledge and curiosity, to empower and motivate their students, facilitate their learning, and help them connect their learning to authentic, real-life challenges.
  • Teachers are now learners themselves.  In addition to being professionals in their field of knowledge, they must now learn new ways of teaching, often learning along with (or from) their students.  Teachers must be forward-thinking, curious and flexible.
  • New technologies have led to increased use of inquiry-based, project-based, problem-based or co-operative pedagogies which provide greater learning opportunities than teacher-centered pedagogies such as lecturing.
  • Teachers are also now expected to educate students to become critical consumers of Internet services and electronic media, to make informed choices and avoid harmful online behavior such as cyberbullying, fraud and privacy violation.

Role of Students

  • Students can now follow their natural curiosity and play a more active role in their learning, acquiring new knowledge, personalizing their learning, monitoring their progress, collaborating with others and practicing their skills in a variety of innovative ways, such as computer programming, maintaining a webpage, or using multimedia. “ICT [information and communications technology] devices bring together traditionally separated education media (books, writing, audio recordings, video recordings, databases, games, etc.), thus extending or integrating the range of time and places where learning can take place (Livingstone, 2011)” (OECD, 2015, p. 50).
  • Access to, and effective use of, ICT remains inequitable among students, however the term ‘digital divide’ originally referred to students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds who may be unaware of how technology can help raise one’s social status. Research has now identified gaps in proficiency and opportunity as being more relevant, referring to the disparity between what people can do and actually do when using digital tools (Stern, Adams & Elsasser, 2009).

Physical Environment

  • The physical landscape of the classroom has shifted from a traditional classroom to accommodate more movement, freedom and creativity.
    • Students (and teachers), however, still generally sit in chairs and at desks – regardless of research that indicates that this is not healthy for the body (Branigan-Pipe, 2016).
    • More students are now working on couches, on the floor, or using the counter for a stand-up workstation (Branigan-Pipe, 2016).
    • Educators have realized their classrooms must mimic the workforce, which has inspired them to create collaborative-friendly spaces to facilitate student learning (Newman, 2017).
    • The impact of this shift is a more collaborative environment where students learn to work as a team and share ideas. The shift to a 21st-century classroom also allows students to explore what they are learning, as opposed to merely read about it.
    • According to Newman (2107), with the implementation of SMARTboards and other ICT tools, students are going on virtual field trips instead of merely reading from a text; they are creating media instead of just looking at it.

Paradigm Shifts

  • Increased collaborative approach to teaching across subjects and age groups, including peer mentoring
  • Greater focus on learner-centered classrooms than the old model of one teacher at the front of a room telling students what they need to remember for test day
  • Students are more likely to be inspired by a digital learning environment
    • Traditional rigid modes of classroom instruction are unlikely to inspire students whose online life outside the classroom is dynamic and evolutionary (Patton, 2018, para. 3)
    • It’s now easier for students to engage on their own terms – whether online, hybrid, or flipped (Patton, 2018, para. 11)
  • 21st-century skills help prepare students for today’s workplace
    • As a minimum, employers want graduates who are adept at using technology to connect, communicate and collaborate with workplace technology (Patton, 2018, para. 6)
  • No longer having to physically meet makes it easier for educational leaders and educators to collaborate.  (Patton, 2018, para. 11)
  • Research shows improved motivation and better learning outcomes
    • Digital learning presents more positive effects on learning motivation and learning outcomes (for example, greater learning autonomy) than traditional teaching (Lin, Chen & Liu, 2017)
  • A greater emphasis on collaborative learning which allows students to be more engaged in their learning
  • The ways in which these digital tools are used is a key factor in achieving successful outcomes
    • The design of teaching activities and the flexible application of digital tools become the primary issues for current information technology integrated education (Lin et al, 2017)

Conclusion

Many sources believe that we have yet to realize the full potential that ICT can make in teaching and learning and, as such, our 20th-century schools remain suboptimal in teaching 21st-century skills. Some countries, school districts, schools and individual teachers have made greater strides than others and students are learning thanks to, or despite, their formal learning environment. “The remaining work necessary to progress from the transmission model to the 21st-century model . . . will require from educators and policy makers at all levels precisely the sorts of skills that we deem critical for the next generation” (Saavedra & Opfer, 2012, p. 12).

References

Branigan-Pipe, Z. (2016). 21st century learning, 20th century classroom. EdCan Network. Retrieved from https://www.edcan.ca/articles/21st-century-learning-20th-century-classroom/

Care, E., Kim, H., & Scoular, C. (2017). 21st century skills in 20th century classrooms. Ducadores, Octubre-Diciembre 2017. [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Care-Kim-Scoular_Educadores.pdf

Cuban, L. (1992). Computers meet classroom; classroom wins. Education Week, 12(10), 27, 36. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/1992/11/11/10cuban.h12.html

Keane, T., Keane, W., & Blicblau, A. (2014) Beyond traditional literacy: Learning and transformative practices using ICT. Education and Information Technologies. 21(4), 769-781. Retrieved from https://doi-org.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/10.1007/s10639-014-9353-5

Lin, M.H., Chen, H.C, Liu, K.S (2017). A study of the effects of digital learning on learning motivation and learning outcome. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics Science and Technology Education, 13(7), 3553-3564. Retrieved from http://www.ejmste.com/pdf-69635-11931?filename=A%20Study%20of%20the%20Effects%20of.pdf

Newman, D. (2017). Top 6 digital transformation trends in education. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2017/07/18/top-6-digital-transformation-trends-in-education/#253db6fd2a9a

OECD, (2015). Students, computers and learning: Making the connection. OECD iLibrary.  https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264239555-en

Patton, R. (2018, July 4). Digital evolution: a new approach to learning and teaching in higher education. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/digital-evolution-new-approach-learning-and-teaching-higher-education

Saavedra, A., & Opfer, V. (2012). Learning 21st-century skills requires 21st-century teaching. The Phi Delta Kappan, 94(2), 8-13. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/003172171209400203

Stern, M. J., Adams, A. E., & Elsasser, S. (2009). Digital Inequality and Place: The Effects of Technological Diffusion on Internet Proficiency and Usage across Rural, Suburban, and Urban Counties. Sociological Inquiry, 79(4), 391–417. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-682X.2009.00302.x

LRNT521 – Unit 3, Activity 1 – Reflection of Unit 3 Readings

Networks make me think of rolled-up chain link fence....

Structures such as groups, nets and sets have a significant impact on my plan for the creation of my digital presence and digital identity.

Our MALAT group has already helped me to better understand my digital presence and identity and how I can develop them to best suit my needs. As much of our program content is new to me, I appreciate the “traditional group oriented institutional instruction” (Anderson and Dron, 2014, p. 151) and believe our MALAT group and learning community will provide me with invaluable opportunities throughout the program’s duration and beyond.

As networked learning is “as much about acquiring meta-skills in learning as it is about the learning itself” (Anderson & Dron, 2014, p. 136), I plan to be more of a “prosumer” (Anderson & Dron, 2014, p. 141) or “resident” (White & Cornu, 2011) by producing content and collaborating in my LinkedIn and Facebook networks to take greater advantage of the diversity and knowledge.

I also plan to collaborate and produce content on Twitter (with appropriate hashtags) as “the act of tagging… is a metacognitive tool…, embedding reflection in the process of creation, and thus enhancing learning” (Anderson & Dron, 2014, p. 181).

In summary, I plan to share content and collaborate with my MALAT group, LinkedIn and Facebook networks, and Twitter hashtag sets to create my digital presence and identity, and play a greater role in what and how I learn.

References

Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2014). Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781927356807.01

Rollo, J.  (2007). Free Wire Mesh Stock Photo [Online image]. Retrieved May 12, 2019 from https://www.freeimages.com/photo/wire-mesh-1183365

White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i9.3171

Unit 3, Activity 2 – Visual Network Mapping

Unit 3, Activity 2 – Visual Network Mapping

Image 1: My Network Colour-Coded By Application Type

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image 2: My Network Colour-Coded By Where/How We Met

I created a visual of my network by creating an Excel spreadsheet and importing it into Kumu.  In doing this activity, I discovered that I am connected with others in specific online networks and in very specific ways depending on where and how we met.  The vast majority of people in my networks are people I first met as work colleagues offline.

As my visual illustrates, I am firmly situated in Facebook and LinkedIn (yellow and green in image 1).  The majority of the people in these networks are people I met as work colleagues over the last 15 years – in Qatar, Panama and Saudi Arabia – but primarily in Qatar (green in image 2) where I worked at the same college from 2005 to 2013. This was no surprise to me because it is the longest I have spent in a country (or a job) and all my colleagues were Canadian, like me, so there was a connection with shared culture and a shared language which I have not had in subsequent work experiences.  I visited my colleagues in Qatar for a week last December and I was reminded then how important these people are to my network.  In fact, it was in reconnecting with these members that I finalized my decision to apply to the MALAT program.

There is an obvious division between my WhatsApp network and my Facebook and LinkedIn networks.  Despite the large number of ex-colleagues from Qatar in my Facebook and LinkedIn, only 2 are in my WhatsApp network.  I wasn’t using WhatsApp in 2013 and have interestingly not carried members over to this ‘new’ network. My WhatsApp network is very large, however. It is the network I use most often to speak with those family members and friends geographically close to me and who are part of my day-to-day plans. The majority of people in my WhatsApp network (many of whom were not included in the data for this map), however, are students and colleagues from my current employment in Saudi Arabia and local businesses in Panama as this is the network they prefer to use.

Instagram and Twitter are networks I have never developed despite having joined Twitter in 2011 and Instagram in 2017.  I quickly amassed over 80 followers on Instagram when I started posting upon moving to Panama (and baking creative sourdough bread), but when I moved to Saudi Arabia, I didn’t have the time (or an oven) and I rarely posted or even opened the application to comment.  I found that the people I was following often posted the same content to both Instagram and Facebook, so I found it redundant.

Although very small in number, I was interested to see that I still have people in my networks whom I have known longer than 15 years – from high school (WDHS), my undergraduate degree, my job in Taiwan, and other experiences pre-2005. These people are long-time friends with whom I still share similarities of interest.

As I reflect on this activity, I see that I have not kept up regular, direct contact with many of the members of my network and, as such, I may be missing great learning opportunities.  “As, seemingly, everyone is potentially connected to everyone else by a very small chain of network nodes and edges (Watts, 2003), it appears that someone not too distant from you in network terms may turn out to be the world’s leading expert on what you wish to know.” (Anderson & Dron, 2014, p. 147). It is, therefore, my plan to immediately start reconnecting, maintaining and expanding my network relationships.

In conclusion, this activity reiterated that I have unique and diverse networks and communities that stretch across the globe for which I am exceptionally grateful. This activity also made it clear, however, that I need to work on maintaining and expanding my network to maximize my learning opportunities. I know I have some experts in my immediate and not-so-distant networks and it would be a detriment not to embrace those opportunities to the fullest.

 

References

Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2014). Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781927356807.01

Unit 2, Activity 3 – Begin Assignment 1: Create, Cultivate, and Reflect on your Digital Presence

Overall Goals and Purpose for Cultivating my Digital Presence

My overall goals for cultivating my digital presence and identity include “connecting with [my] public voice and beginning to act with others in mind” (Rheingold, 2010).  I also aim to “participate in a way that’s valuable to others as well as to [myself]” (Rheingold, 2010).  To these ends, it is my intent to increase my online exposure and actively participate in social and professional networks in ways that complement my digital presence.

What is my purpose and why now? The same reason why I enrolled in the MALAT program: to assist with my desired career transition. I have taught English for over 16 years and want to transition to corporate or teacher training. As I work toward a career change, it is imperative to have a positive digital presence and identity which relates to my chosen field and helps to promote me as an optimal candidate for future employment.  According to a national survey conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll, “70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates…. 57 percent [of employers] are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online… (“Number of Employers,” 2010).  Employers may be looking to ensure that candidates know how to use technology appropriately and that their digital presence is appropriate and supports their qualifications.  This is especially pertinent in my chosen field of learning and technology.

Approach for Achieving this Goal

To achieve my goals, I plan to create and maintain an eportfolio with blog posts related to my profession. I will use my MALAT student blog to showcase my learning as I progress through the program.  In addition, I will work to be more effective in my personal learning network to learn from my peers and experts in my field and to share my experience and knowledge with others. I will also join and participate in online spaces that will give me opportunities to learn, develop new skills and cultivate my profile.

Strategies and Approaches to Address the Identified Gaps

Despite being a private person, I resolve to be genuine and promote openness as I cultivate and manage my digital identity.  As an educator, I believe I must move more firmly into the ‘Resident’ end of the Visitor-Resident map (White & Cornu, 2011) and contribute valuable content to the Web – not only to improve my digital presence for my own benefit, but to demonstrate a positive digital identity for my future students.

Measures of Success

To measure my success, it is my goal to be “Googled well, under [my] full name, on graduation day” (Richardson, 2012).  It will also be a measure of my success to graduate from the MALAT program on schedule while having obtained a job relevant to my new career goals.

In conclusion, “our digital identity, just as our own personality, is always in progress, and it is mirrored in the environments we co-exist online” (Costa & Torres, 2011).  By the end of this program, it is my intention to have successfully cultivated my digital presence and identity, but it is also my full intention to continue that cultivation throughout my career.

References:

Costa, C., & Torres, R. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Educação, Formação & Tecnologias-ISSN 1646-933X, 47-53. Retrieved from http://www.eft.educom.pt/index.php/eft/article/view/216

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and other 21st-century social media literaciesEducause Review45(5), 14.

Richardson, W. (2012, October 25). Guest Post: Three Starting Points for Thinking Differently About Learning. The Learning Network. Retrieved from https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/guest-post-three-starting-points-for-thinking-differently-about-learning/

Number of Employers Using Social Media to Screen Candidates at All-Time High, Finds Latest CareerBuilder Study. (2017, June 15). Retrieved from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/number-of-employers-using-social-media-to-screen-candidates-at-all-time-high-finds-latest-careerbuilder-study-300474228.html

White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i9.3171

Unit 2, Activity 2 – Resident-Visitor Typology

Greetings from Kuwait!  This weekend, I am leaving Saudi Arabia where I have lived and worked for the last 14 months and returning ‘home’ to Panama.  I specifically referred to my time in Saudi to create this map; I know my Web presence in Panama will be quite different.

Despite being a private person, this task has made me realize the extent to which I use the Web as a ‘Resident’ to share information with my family, friends, and colleagues about life and work.  I regularly use the Web as “a place in which relationships can be formed and extended” (White & LeCornu, 2011) as most of my friends, family and colleagues – even my husband – live in different countries from me at the moment.  Many of my friends and colleagues live similar lifestyles as global citizens. I am curious how many of us chose this lifestyle because we are comfortable being Web ‘Residents’, using the Web as an extension of our offline relationships, and how many remain ‘Visitors’ or perhaps reluctant ‘Residents’ (and, if so, to what extent) to maintain offline relationships.

White, David S., and LeCornu, A. (2011). “Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement.” First Monday. 16(9). doi:10.5210/fm.v16i9.3171.

Unit 1 – Activity 3 Virtual Symposium Critical Academic Reflective Blog Post

After participating in the virtual symposium of our LRNT521 course, I now have a greater understanding as to why “messy” (Cronin, 2019; Cormier, 2019) and “tidal changes” (Cleveland-Innes, 2019) are some of the words used to address the current state of online and digital learning.

A surprising point from Dr. Tony Bates (2019) was the Ontario government’s recent announcement of its new mandatory online learning policy and its apparent intention as a cost-cutting measure. Considering the e-quality framework of Masoumi and Lindström (2012), Dr. Marti Cleveland-Innes commented that “there is no point in moving ahead in an institutional reform without looking at, very specifically, instructional, technological and pedagogical elements. There also needs to be institutional factors, evaluation, faculty support and student support” (Cleveland-Innes, 2019).  I strongly agree and question whether Ontario’s new government has fully considered this, or any other, framework for assuring learning quality.

I was also surprised that “students are feeling the emotional presence [in online learning] and teachers are not seeing it” (Cleveland-Innes, 2019).  I admit that, although I feel the emotional presence myself as an online student, I have not sufficiently considered my own students’ emotional presence in my teaching role.  I agree that the “key to online environments is to acknowledge and discuss emotional tenor as much communicative information is lost without tone of voice and facial expressions…. The exploration of emotional states that are not present – hidden yet influential – needs attention.” (Cleveland-Innes & Campbell, 2012).

One of the most intriguing points of the symposium was Bates’ discussion of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario’s (HEQCO) recently published study on skills development (Bates, 2019). The study revealed “little difference between the test scores of incoming and graduating students in critical-thinking abilities” (Weingarten & Hicks, 2018).  Bates questions how we are currently teaching skills such as critical thinking and how digital learning could help.  I was intrigued by his examples of how scientific argumentation and teamwork skills have been successfully cultivated through online learning (Bates, 2019) and I will now give greater consideration to how similar success may be achieved with my own students.

One of the recurring ideas of the symposium that I strongly agreed with was the concept of openness as a complex continuum (Childs, 2019).  “The diverse range of strategies for addressing challenges involved in implementing OER [open education resources] into higher education courses may be best understood as extending along a continuum of openness in education.” (Judith & Bull, 2016, p. 9). Having taught in various contexts around the globe, I strongly connect with this concept. For example, I’ve observed that the preference here in Saudi Arabia is for greater structural control, while in Panama it appears to be for less control and greater potential for innovation.  I would be curious to know how one’s preference on the continuum relates, if at all, to cultural factors.

It will be fascinating to observe how online and digital learning continues to be practiced and defined. The present and future may be “messy” (Cronin, 2019; Cormier, 2019), but it is exciting to be part of it both as a teaching professional and MALAT student.

 

Resources:

Bates, Tony. (2019, April 16).  Rethinking the Purpose of Online Learning [Video file]. Retrieved from https://ca.bbcollab.com/collab/ui/session/playback

Childs, Dr. Elizabeth. (2019, April 15). Part 1: Openness in MALAT [Video file]. Retrieved from http://ow.ly/fFHu50qnns9

Cleveland-Innes, Dr. Marti. (2019, April 18). The Role of Instructional Designer in Higher Education Reform [Video file]. Retrieved from https://ca.bbcollab.com/collab/ui/session/playback

Cleveland-Innes, M., & Campbell, P. (2012). Emotional Presence, Learning, and the Online Learning Environment, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 13(4), 269. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1234/2333

Cormier, Dave. (2017, April). Values of Open [Video file]. Retrieved from https://ca-sas.bbcollab.com/site/external/jwsdetect/playback.jnlp?psid=2017-04-18.0934.M.260AD3030AD273255B9B9C087E6864.vcr&sid=2009211

Cronin, Catherine. (2017, April 20). Choosing Open [Video file]. Retrieved from https://ca-sas.bbcollab.com/site/external/jwsdetect/playback.jnlp?psid=2017-04-20.0917.M.260AD3030AD273255B9B9C087E6864.vcr&sid=2009211

Judith, K., & Bull, D. (2016). Assessing the potential for openness: A framework for examining course-level OER implementation in higher education, Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24(42). doi:10.14507/epaa.24.1931

Masoumi, D., & Lindström, B. (2012). Quality in e-learning: a framework for promoting and assuring quality in virtual institutions.  Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(1). 27-41. doi :10.1111/j.1365-2729.2011.00440.x

Weingarten, H., & Hicks, M. (2018). On Test: Skills, Summary of Findings from HEQCO’s Skills Assessment Pilot Studies.  Toronto, ON, CA: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.heqco.ca/en-ca/Research/ResPub/Pages/On-Test-Skills-Summary-of-Findings-from-HEQCO%E2%80%99s-Skills-Assessment-Pilot-Studies.aspx