Assignment 3 – People in the field (Individual)

While Weller mentioned both pros and cons of applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to education domain in the chapter 23, I tend to discuss the potential of AI in modern education from an alternative perspective, basing on the ideas of by Marguerite J. Dennis. She has been an expert of higher education administration for over 40 years and has written 6 books exploring the implication of AI in changing higher education in terms of admission, student progression and support. I will re

The reasons why I refer to her is her interpreting technology from a more pragmatic consideration (partly due to her experience in administration) pertaining to some overlooked problems of students. One point is how AI can improve educational support. Marguerite pointed out, from administrative perspective, that AI can be used in the student admission stage to predict academic impediment they might encounter during their first semesters, based on the algorithm and analytics of big data (e.g. personalised and frequent text messaging and communication) (Singh & Ritzhaupt, 2006). It may provide insights for educators to prepare educational intervention schemes in early stage (Dennis, 2018a). By the same token, the same approach also helps educators to follow students’ learning progress in real time rather than waiting for analysis at the end of each semester. Therefore, educators can craft supportive plans and take actions immediately to mitigate students problems (Dennis, 2018b).

Beside the academic aspect, the data analytics can also predict potential mental problems of students – it is another determining factor that is overlooked by many academics. This mental impediment is particularly important for international students, who are more likely to encounter conundrums such as homesickness and social isolation than their local counterparts. This is the very point that cannot be perceived by local researchers without empirical knowledge with education. Oftentimes, the academic difficulty for international student do not simply stem from professional reasons, but are attributed to mental factors. If such problems can be identified by data analytics with AI in admission stage, the intervention plan may be designed from a more holistic and effective perspective.

Despite the apprehension about the potential percussions of student intervention plan (as discussed in chapter 25 of Weller’s book), I would say that Marguerite’s ideas also deserve equal attention in favor of the judicious application of technologies AI to predict potential impediments of students from a early stage.

References

Dennis, M. J. (2018a). Artificial intelligence and recruitment, admission, progression, and retention. Enrollment Management Report TA  – TT  –, 22(9), 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1002/emt.30479 LK  – https://royalroads.on.worldcat.org/oclc/7923992881

Dennis, M. J. (2018b). How will artificial intelligence change admissions? University World News. https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20181024090311655

Singh, O., & Ritzhaupt, A. (2006). Student perspective of organizational uses of eportfolios in higher education. World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications, 2006(1).

Activity 3 – Apply reading to my context (25 Years of Ed Tech)

Of the second 1/3 part of Weller’s book, 2 points stand out in terms of their relationships with my current study and work. Firstly, the application of video has an underlying relevance to the promotion of distance education. From my personal experience in language training for international students, recording courses ahead of schedule has been proven to be a practical solution to deal with the time and geographical impediments. This is particularly practical when students enrolled in an online course inhabit different times zones, making it difficult for synchronous communication and meeting. The advantage of class videos becomes more manifest during the current COVID 19, when these premade materials allows international students to study at their own pace. When it comes to the weakness in synchronous communication, students can leave comment under the video page, and teachers will answer within 24 hours. Meanwhile, our school do offer options for online face-to-face communication via tools such as Microsoft teams, where teachers can have video conference with students. It is exactly the same case as the discussion of the “flipped learning concept.”

On the contrary, the practice of e-portfolios among students contradicts the expectation of the designers. As mentioned in Weller’s essay, e-portfolios are not appreciated by students due to various reasons, from complexity in operation to cost concerns (Singh & Ritzhaupt, 2006), the same is true from my personal experience with students. Few of them bother to record their development in the blogs spontaneously unless required, with many reckon the task as an extra time-consuming work. Also, apart from the reasons listed in the chapter (e.g. overcomplication, lack of ownership, etc.), the linguistic barriers for international students is another salient issue. For example, a lot of students in my school are from foreign students learning Chinese, most of whom are frustrated by the grammar and terminology in Chinese to express their feeling concisely. As a consequence, the academic blogs of students are usually deserted, rather than a digital domain of lifelong learning and development for individuals, as discussed in the chapter.

References

Singh, O., & Ritzhaupt, A. (2006). Student perspective of organizational uses of eportfolios in higher education. World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications, 2006(1).

Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. In 25 Years of Ed Tech. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781771993050.01

Activity 2 | Reflect on reading-25 Years of Ed Tech

My reactions to Weller’s essay is a strong sense of enlightenment. In the initial eight chapters of the article, the author outlined a clear timeline that illustrated the evolvement of e-learning, Though concise and brief, the author provided key pointers that are concise but rich enough for me to have an holistic picture of how the Internet was gradually applied in education, with each stage over the 6 years mentioned in the essay, commencing from the advent of Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) in 1994 to the proposal of the e-learning concept in 1999 to the final establishment of standards applied for digital education at the dawn of 21st century. Adding to the overview is the analysis of the interplay between different stages, based on the comparison of pros and cons of the advances over the period. All these lead to a in-depth review of the development of e-learning.

Among the bullet points discussed in these chapters, what preoccupies me most is the Wikis chapter. As well as being a pure supporting information resource, the construction concept and approach of Wikipedia were the very contributor to the maturity of e-learning, that is, the so-called ‘“democratized publishing”. It is by the discussion on this concept that the author provides me an alternative way to review the relevance of wikis to distance learning. Another reason why this point ‘speaks’ to me more than other chapters my personal experience with the current study in MALAT – When doing an group assignment, we are actually apply the method and concept derived from wikis back in 1998.

If I were to write a similar essay on the history of educational technology, I would also start from the year 1994. The reason is exactly same as mentioned in the introduction of the Weller’s essay – despite the emerge of the Internet in late 1980s, it is not until 1994 that this technology started to play its part in education. My own experience of this situation can be seen when I searched for reference information for my middle school assignment in early 1990s, there was hardly any digital resources apart from library. By contrast, starting from mid 1990s, BBS started to find its way in university, where students use it as a nascent tool for communication in intranet, both synchronous and asynchronously.