5 terrific edtech tools for creating a highly engaging online (or hybrid) course

So many faculty have approached me lately and said that they have been asked to teach an online or hybrid class. I love teaching—online, hybrid, in person—and I find that actually I use many of the same tools for each. Here is my list of go-to edtech tools, which are especially useful in the online/hybrid environment.

Remember: It’s all about engagement. If you just dump a ton of information into your course management site and don’t have a way for your students to interact with you, you’re wasting your hard work and their time. Our students will engage online if they feel that there is a real live person responding to them—whether that’s you or another student in the class. No matter who, it’s the connection that counts.

The best edtech tools for online courses

1. Screencast-O-Matic

It’s free, it’s easy, and you should use it all the time. There are other easy video sites but to me this is the one that gets the job done. I use it from day one. I do a short video (and I mean seriously short because I hate being on video) introducing myself as a professor and a person. They love it and their first assignment is to do the same.…Read More

Inviting monsters into the online classroom

Not long ago, we were looking to create a new online course that would engage students in serious discussions about sociology, ethics, psychology, and epidemiology.

Colleges are using connections to pop culture to draw interest to online courses.

The answer, obviously, was to create an online course on zombies.

Yes, zombies. Both of us are fans of The Walking Dead, AMC’s popular television series about a post-apocalyptic America, as well as other literature and films about zombies.

We realized that all joking aside, an online course on zombies would allow us to explore serious subjects in an engaging manner.…Read More

Half of parents: children will take online courses

Online course attendance has increased for 10 consecutive years.

Transferring at least some of the college experience may now be par for the educational course, as more than half of parents who responded to a recent survey said their kids would take for-credit online classes this year.

The survey, conducted by Fidelity, showed that 54 percent of parents said their children would live at home, commute to some courses, and take online classes in the meantime.

Online course attendance has increased by 29 percent since 2010, according to Columbia University’s Community College Research Center.…Read More

Schools not sold on free online courses

Many post-secondary hopefuls scrimp and save to afford an education. But there is a cheap alternative, VicNews.com reports. Thousands of people worldwide are now are taking advantage of massive open online courses (MOOC). The courses are broadcast online – lectures and all – for free through elite schools that include Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. So far, the MOOC idea has been met with a lukewarm response in Greater Victoria. “Initially MOOCs started out as collaborative online discussion groups, but more recently it’s like Silicon Valley has just discovered it,” said Steve Grundy, vice-president academic at Royal Roads University. Not including MOOCs, Grundy said the internet is full of lectures and demonstrations that can be valuable to a post-secondary education.

Read more

…Read More

Students prefer to take ‘important’ courses face to face

Lab sciences were among the “difficult” courses avoided in online settings.

The independent nature of online courses has seemingly driven community college students to sign up for less challenging classes online while taking tough classes in a traditional classroom.

While prior studies have shown that many community college students struggled in web-based courses, new research published this week by the Community College Research Center in New York shows that even as two-year schools have grown their various online offerings, students are hesitant to take “important” classes outside the face-to-face teaching and learning environment.

The flexibility and convenience of online college classes continue to be a primary draw for nontraditional students with jobs and families, according to the CCRC research, but students quoted in a survey said determining which courses to take online boiled down to whether they considered a class interesting, important, easy, or difficult.…Read More

College credit recommended for free online courses

Students may soon be able to receive college credit for the free online courses that are reshaping higher education, the Associated Press reports. The American Council on Education announced Thursday that it is recommending degree credit for five undergraduate courses offered by Coursera, a Palo Alto-based company that provides “massive open online courses” from leading universities.

“A rigorous evaluation of these courses showed that they meet ACE’s standards for college credit recommendations,” Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, whose recommendations are used by colleges and universities to determine whether to offer credit for nontraditional courses…

Click here for the full story…Read More

Search site matches students with online courses

SkilledUp helps students sift through hundreds of online course options.

With a little help from low-cost online courses and tutorials, Nick Gidwani watched two interns go from making $8 an hour to snagging six-figure jobs.

Gidwani, who launched a new site called SkilledUp.com on Aug. 21, said free and fee-based web-based classes that help employees show expertise in their field have long been undervalued by young people competing for jobs in the country’s slumping economy. SkilledUp, he said, would help workers find the proper online training with a no-hassle web search.

SkilledUp has 115 online education options available in its search engine – a number expected to grow by 10 every day in the coming weeks, including courses from Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) sites like Udacity and Coursera.…Read More

Tech experts, educators see massive online learning shift by 2020

Three in four Americans say college is too expensive.

Higher education’s economics are unsustainable and vulnerable to technologies that could make college campuses the hub of the privileged few, according to a vast collection of opinions from international technologists and educators.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center recently asked more than 1,000 digital learning experts to weigh two drastically different scenarios for how higher education would look in 2020.

About four in 10 survey respondents said there would be “modest” changes in the way college is taught and paid for over the next eight years, and six in 10 expected a fundamental shift in the use of web-based technologies to upturn the current campus order, lowering costs, making education more accessible, and, in some cases, lowering standards.…Read More

College president: Improved federal rules needed to cut costs, grow online education

Thanks in part to the more than 150 new rules and regulations which emerged from the current version of the HEOA, higher education in America has never been more expensive, Ebersole writes.

While still wrestling with the many initiatives and regulations spawned by the 2007 renewal of the Higher Education and Opportunity Act (HEOA), it is already time for colleges and universities to start worrying about 2013, and how an updated HEOA could expand — or shrink — online education.

Hopefully, Congress and the U.S. Department of Education will see their coming negotiations as an opportunity, and unlike the current version, will use any new legislation to reduce the cost of education, improve access, and provide incentives for innovation.

Thanks in part to the more than 150 new rules and regulations which emerged from the current version of the HEOA, higher education in America has never been more expensive for students in the traditional lecture hall or the online classroom.…Read More