Educause: 2002: 2003 : 2004 Distance Teaching & Learning: 2004

Distance Teaching & Learning 2004 Summary: Thursday, Friday

Key presentations:
Thursday: Twigg Keynote, D2L demo;
Friday: Dede keynote

Key themes: Learning objects (but not in my sessions), not as great as I had hoped but it seems that previous years were better
All materials - PPTs and streamed video to be up by September

Thursday, 8:00: KeyNote: Dr. Carol Twigg, Improving learning and reducing costs: New models of online learning

Examples of implementation lagging behind the technology

example: Phoenix community college

The Course Redesign Process (

5 models emerged

In a nutshell: great keynote, inspiring, need PPT to get more of her info

Thursday, 10:15: Evaluating pedagogical quality: an integral part of the course development strategy

UK-based private company publicly funded, bringing things like life skills to people who did not succeed in school, reluctant learners
courses 2-60 hours

created learning centers in towns, could be in pub, football field, businesses, wherever people tend to go
see a game and then do some learning
tutors staff learning centers, mainly online courses but often done in learning centers with support of tutors

In a nutshell: interesting to see what things are done elsewhere, the session that I really wanted to see was cancelled, started a trend for my sessions that wound up being presentations on a product a business produces

Thursday, 11:15: Faculty best practices using blended learning in e-learning and face-to-face instruction

I was hopeful about this session. However he pretty much read the presentation from the PPT which I had a handout of. Once its online it'll be worth a look. A very academic analysis of blended learning and a study of their faculty's use. Worst practices listed worth noting!

In a nutshell: the powerpoint file was enough, worst practices worth reading


Thankfully I left that one early and went to the vendor area. This was the best for me as I went to the Desire2Learn booth. D2L won the UW systems RFP for a CMS last year. MnSCU also signed a contract with them. Interestingly the MnSCU contract gives a pricing break to any Minnesota school! I first heard about the MnSCU deal at the Minnesota e-learning summit 2.0.

In talking to the people at the booth I met the CEO/Founder (who looks like he's 25!). The main thing I wanted to know about D2L is what does it look like. Their website has no course demos and no real screen shots. He pulled out a laptop and showed me some courses including a Carlson course. I found D2L very compelling.



Thursday, 1:15: Online Approach to Evaluating Asynchronous eCourses

Hmmm, a company that produces elearning for industry and government.

They presented their model for assessing their courses using Kirkpatrick's Four Levels and their 3 evaluation types.

3 types of evaluation:

Kirkpatrick's Four Levels

  1. Reaction - smile sheet
  2. Learning - pre- and post-testing
  3. Transfer - measure changes
  4. Business Results - measure success on strategic management level

In a nutshell: they stressed evaluation by faculty and students during development, before complete -- evaluate parts, good to know if it's a quality course before it's deployed

Thursday, 2:15: Effective lab experiences for distance learning courses with self-contained lab kits

After a few minutes I realized I talked to this guy on the vendor floor. He had a company that sells lab kits. He's a professor that started to make lab kits for his courses, others wanted some so he made more. It became too much so his wife spun off a company.

He feels simulations can't replace the hands-on experience. He views kitchen chemistry as too basic. His kits have all the necessary tools and chemicals for the labs. He uses small-scale chemistry where there's small quantities of of chemicals (pipets) and reactions happen in small wells instead of beakers. Some chemicals are single-use in pipets or multi-use in dropper bottles.

In a ntushell: nice lab kits, why do I wind up at these company presentations?


Friday, 8:00: Keynote - Dr Chris Dede, Distributed learning communities as a model for online education

Need his PPT. He presented some inspiring views on the future of learning communities with virtual environments and embedded technology. He noted some virtual environments that lend themselves towards education uses. I didn't take notes, just watched closely. Quite good.


Friday, 10:00: The American Council on Education looks at quality in DE

What is ACE?

Guiding principles, not surprising

In a nutshell: yet another set of guiding principles

Friday, 11:00: Strategies and techniques for supporting faculty working with online courses

Their vuDAT support model works nicely in a large University like MSU. Hard to apply to a college. But having a defined process for taking a course online would help keep expectations in check. Their philopsophy of minimalist tutoring of faculty is smart.

In a nutshell: a big school solution

Friday, 1:00: The Iowa hybrid - the best of learning environments

Program for elementary/middle/high school principals. Typically older adults and not tech-savvy.

In the past they used ICN (Iowa Communication Network) video -- 1-way TV, 2-way audio. It's aging, expensive, and a passive environment.

Switch to Hybrid

10 strategies

  1. be proactive in dealing w/technophobia of adult learners
    1. help before first class
  2. Help adults expand understanding and use of technology as a tool for learning
  3. Build a learning commuinicty by humanizing the experience
    1. bb intro assignment
    2. f2f meeting most of community building
    3. network of professionals
    4. assignments are real case studies from students
    5. the little things count
  4. Encourage and promote 5-way interaction
    1. learners <-> content
    2. learners <-> instructor
    3. learners <-> technology
    4. learners <-> other learners
    5. learners <-> world/context
  5. promote interdependence and cooperation among learners
    1. group assignments
  6. facilitating and grading adult learners
    1. one size does not fit all
    2. options in assignments, relevance
    3. non-linear course, adults making many decisions
    4. makes each course unique and a lot of work for instructor
  7. individualizing assignments to meet the unique needs of adults
    1. find out their backgrounds and interests
  8. identifying resources to assist in continued (after the course) learning of adults
  9. providing added value
    1. personal
    2. shharing resources
  10. provide timely and meaningful feedback
    1. clear expectations

In a nutshell: interesting model for their situation, good for similar professional programs?

Friday, 2:00: Adventures in an online chemistry course - with labs!

Took a non-major intro chem course and took it online and designed their own lab kits. They used the Virtual Classroom in Blackboard very effectively with the whiteboard for chemical drawings (virtual office hours). Stressed pre-lab safety with digital signature ackowledging safety and risks for each lab before they can do it. Tried to design course "flow" through week. Did a lot of community building with digital photos and humor (mad scientist photo contest). Timed, online, unproctored exams/quizzes.

I requested guest access to their D2L course (they moved it from Bb to D2L).

In a nutshell: homegrown solution to online lab chemistry