6. Do: Use blended learning.

Don’t: Forget about community.

Blended learning is quickly becoming of the best ways to personalize learning through adaptive software, digital resources, and time management. However, retention is still a concern for many blended and online programs.

According to Cheryl Oliver, assistant dean of Online and Graduate Programs at the College of Business, Washington State University (WSU), the programs that do have a high retention rate owe their success to community—because humans are social by nature.

“We know that people perform best in their courses when they are able to connect with other people, whether that is in writing, through verbal communication, or through a mutually shared experience,” explained Oliver. “While many of our students are capable of autodidactic behavior, they enjoy the social conformation or feedback that is intrinsic to a learning community. In many instances, our students are able to share ideas and arrive at greater conclusions collectively than if they had absorbed or interacted with information as individuals.” Read the full story here.

7. Do: Try MOOCs.

Don’t: Think it will replace the lecture.

MOOCs are not only a great way to make a name for yourself as a professor, but it’s an effective way of promoting an institution to prospective students, or students interested in alternative learning.

However, as a business model, and as a way to connect with students, the face-to-face lecture and in-person discussions are still the gold standard, say experts. According to Dr. Michelle Weise, senior research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute, MOOCs have caused campuses to look inward at cost, personal interactions with educators, and a host of other issues, but they’re still not a disruptive technology. Read the full story here.

8. Do: Flip the classroom (and PD).

Don’t: Stick a lecture on video.

According to the 2013 Speak Up National Research Project findings, Flipped Learning is surpassing all other digital trends in education…but it’s important to do it right.

“One thing that’s been lacking has been a consensus on what the flipped classroom actually is,” said Robert Talbert, a mathematician, educator at Grand Valley State University, and frequent contributor to The Chronicle of Higher Education. “If a professor assigns readings to do before class and then holds discussions in class, is that ‘the flipped classroom?’”

“Flipping a class can, but does not necessarily, lead to Flipped Learning,” said Aaron Sams and Jon Bergmann, founders of Flipped Learning. “Many teachers may already flip their classes by having students read text outside of class, watch supplemental videos, or solve additional problems, but to engage in Flipped Learning, teachers must incorporate the following four pillars into their practice…” Read the full story here. Read also: “How to flip faculty PD.

9. Do: Digitize your library resources.

Don’t: Think you need less staff.

Many campuses across the country have long been interested in archiving materials digitally, and now, thanks to better technology at lower market costs, campus libraries are starting to not only digitize materials, but create digital exhibits and experiences for academics and students.

However, the role of librarian has never been more important than now. Users may take the ease with which they access digital archives and online projects for granted without thinking about the work that goes into creating such websites, explains Johanna Drucker, a professor at UCLA and co-author of the book Digital_Humanities. What starts out as physical documents stacked upon a desk ultimately become the images or PDFs that people search for online after being scanned, organized, and attached with metadata by dedicated digital humanists, she says. Read the full story here.

10. Do: Invest in adaptive learning.

Don’t: Underestimate the limitations of online testing.

Adaptive learning technology uses computers to adapt the presentation of educational material according to students’ learning needs, as indicated by their responses to questions and tasks, thanks to aspects derived from computer science, education, and psychology. Currently, adaptive learning technology is used in online assessments.

However, online assessments are often considered troublesome for students in terms of access and the hyper-sensitive tools used to prevent cheating. Yet, many of these roadblocks can be solved if campuses know the keys to good online assessments through these 5 characteristics.


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