Month: September 2018

Motivation In Online Environments

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On 9/24/18 at 5:45pm, I attended the Excellence In Higher Education Virtual Conference Session: Motivation In Online Environments presented by Dr. John Fisher of Utah Valley University


Most students come with associates degrees, and they offer a program in law enforcement and emergency leadership. Most of these courses will be online. They have recently started work in emergency management and leadership. Roughly 10% sign up for these upper-tier courses but never start. To get to the meat of the issue, he polled and openly asked questions to find what motivated the students to start and succeed.

What motivates the student or us? SDT sets us in motion and motivation to succeed.

So how can we support the SDT students?

by connecting with students we can establish the interpersonal relationships that emphasize choice and flexibility. Dr. Fisher talked about the “emotional bank account” that is built through these close personal connections. Often, it takes a whole lot more deposites than withdrawals. In most cases, more must be put in before others are willing to take from it.


THis chart, built by Chen & Jang shows a different set of motivations and learning outcomes.

Need is a strong effect, and needs satisfaction was positive – or less negative really- for final grades.

When we support autonomy, we see a greater understanding and success on the part of the student. As students needs were satisfied, they felt more positive.

WHile we feel that we can often give cop-out answers like: “Here’s the number to technical support, they’re much better…” but that’s not a very supportive answer.

Students who would take online courses again said they would do so because of the flexibility. Those who would not said it was because they did not get the interaction with the professor that they desired.

MOre men are taking online courses. This is an odd set of numbers. Is it because more men are coming back? it may be because job services, it is unknown

As you can see in these numbers, flexibility remains high.

These were the questions given to students to help determine how to help. The 5th question was overwhelmingly yes! The majority of online students seem to be non-traditional students with jobs and families, etc. It is odd that online students would like to have the strong contact of a seated class, but do not/would not find time to take those courses.

While 80 students took the class, only 65 seemed ready to answer the questions

Using Grounded Theory, he created some propositions and comparisons throughout the process with 4 areas specifically looked at:

ONe thing that came up was that students needed to engage early to be successful.

Students demanded that instructions were clear, that after 16wks they faced burnout. How long can you put up with the same stuff every week. They wanted to see paced courses so there was good pacing and variety

These methods are some suggestions made in terms of assignments, discussions and group work. Not all students like group work. On the other hand, others feel accountable and working. Which is surprising. Many students prefer questions and exams to papers, so some answers are quite revealing

Again, there are several major items which are commonly said, like shorter course durations, flexible schedules, the autonomy of the schedules, constant and immediate feedback, etc. Online courses must still be rigorous, worthy of credits, and collegiate-level work. Students like structured content with variety and interesting materials.

Dr. John FisherOne of the challenges of online courses is motivation. Some students sign up for courses and don’t start. This presentation reports on a study about student motivation in online education. During a course end evaluation, students were asked the following questions. Why do students not get started in online courses? What can be done to get them started and keep working on assignments? What motivates you to keep working? How could online courses be improved so you are better motivated? Responses were gathered from over 100 students in five sections of an upper division online course in emergency services. Responses to the questions were analyzed and propositions developed.

Course Writing Process and Experience

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On 9/24/18 at 3:15pm, I attended the Excellence In Higher Education Virtual Conference Session: Course Writing Process and Experience presented by Ron Signore of Columbia Southern University

It was very interesting to hear the material by Professor Signore. He used a lot of personal examples and personal experience when talking. One of the nicest points here was that Professor Signore had reached the rank of Master Chief! Very impressive.

Instructional designers are great team workers.

Reusing past discussion questions which were fantastic where great to use for journal questions later. Use with no wrong answers, critical thinking required.

Lessons, required readings, chapter # and PPT Lessons. From these, search out suggested readings for video content and things. Crossword puzzels, games, etc. that use KEY terms are very helpful for course materials. Once done, all the activity is sent to the course ID and built

No news is good news.

Development: The editors and Course technologists build this in blackboard, and given an assigned launch date

Key is to be sure on the textbook selected, share the personal experiences, establish a rapport with the ID, Library resources. For the first time CW writer, you should pair with an experienced CW writer.

At the end, you should celebrate

Ron SignoreNo better way to truly know a course than to be the course writer. That in turn helps increase Faculty/Student engagement when the course is taught and presented to the students. This presentation is a breakdown of the process and my personal observations and experiences while writing CSU courses.

To Discuss or Not to Discuss? What is the Question?

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On 9/24/18 at 4:30pm, I attended the Excellence In Higher Education Virtual Conference Session: To Discuss or Not to Discuss? What is the Question? presented by Lisa Wingate of Columbia Southern University

My favorite items were the scenarios portion. While this was a great deal of up-front work related to the scenario, it has a lot of critical thinking elements, and we can see some real-life issues to go with it.

Current events vs Hot topics can be a good time to get to big items. Revisiting our ideas on emotional intelligence, You may be called on to calm things down.

Debate is nice, but thorughout the discussion, students have to stay on one side of the argument at all times. The use of evidence, facts, sources and citations is a great way to have discussion. One reason here is because you can see students working so hard to get students finding those information points on their own

Organizing structures are difficult to move through in some classes because students have to work hard. A good example: can you see a good job interview as a game

Establishing relevance is a fine way to connect with students. Ask probing questions to determine deeper thoughts. good for adding personal experience to do this question properly.

Deeper Learning questions typically require a medium prep time and a medium interactivity when used for students. Requires some scaffolding, so set expectations early!

Role play is a fine way to get students involved. While debate may force students to take a side, Role play may require students to create a series of questions or respond to a series of questions. They may have little or no experience. They will have to think from their experience and that’s a tough work for students. Its low prep for topics, but high prep for instructions required. There will probably be some medium interactivity for the teacher


We looked through the major 6 notes: Prior Knowledge, organizing, motivation, mastery, emotional intelligence, and meta cognition.

Look to see how the skills can help your students. This chart was discussed

Thinking back to how this started, we pondered: how can we use these questions to embrace deeper-quality learning. Examine their course/unit goals, being prepared,  thinking how interactivity is equal to engagement.

remember to actually enjoy your time.


Lisa WingateIn an online environment, discussion questions rarely elicit jumps of joy; more like moans of pain. And these moans come from faculty and students alike. This presentation discusses types of discussion questions that impact seven principles of learning: prior knowledge, organizing knowledge, motivation, mastery, practice and feedback, course climate, and self-directed learning.

Luring Students with Buzzwords in Classroom Discussions

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On 9/24/18 at 2:00pm, I attended the Excellence In Higher Education Virtual Conference Session:Luring Students with Buzzwords in Classroom Discussions presented by Leslie Johnson of Purdue University Global

This class had a very diverse following

Typical discussion is one post and 2 peer replies. Julie Evans was recognized for being “hard core” for Post + 4 responses (50+ words minimum).

Several of these words are already outddated because things move so quickly.

Several people are worried that their jobs might be replaced with AI

Not really sure how all these topics relate to our department, but I guess that’s the point of the discussions.

what are they, what is the cost, what is the wisest choice? What’s out there right now that’s offered as a bootcamp? What ethical concerns are there with bootcamps? She basically read off the cards

Awesome book for big data: Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble

Use as a guided peer reply or teaser report to take the place of a single peer reply. Shortly thereafter, this just opened to chat.

I thought this was light, easy to follow, and probably good for general education courses, but this wasn’t really by cup of tea.

Leslie Johnson of Purdue University GlobalEncouraging students to think further than required on a discussion topic in an online course can be quite the challenge. Students often want to complete the bare minimum of what is expected of them and move on to the next graded item for the course. Choosing global hot topics that appeal to us as educators that our students can also relate to within their field of study can be a great way to “lure” students into thinking more critically on the discussion topic and continuing the conversation. In this session, we will take a look at several buzzwords and how they can inspire invigorating dialogue in the weekly discussions of various fields of study

Excellence In Higher Education Virtual Conference Opening Keynote: The Velocity of Education Technology – The Only Constant is You

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On 9/24/18 at 10am, I attended the Excellence In Higher Education Virtual Conference Opening Keynote: The Velocity of Education Technology – The Only Constant is You presented by Barbara Waxer.

Excellence In Higher Education Virtual Conference Opening Keynote: The Velocity of Education Technology – The Only Constant is You

The keynote opened with some nice reminders, a generous greeting to us all, and a note about the presenters, including Wake Technical Community College as well as several other prestigious colleges and universities.

Workloads for most faculty are overloads. Many see themselves as Triathletes. What do you think is heaviest burden: learning tools, teaching, research, learning? etc. I felt that the curriculum development, research, and service aspects were the most difficult. I know the materials well, and learning the tools is easy enough. Don’t cave. In the world of faculty development, the success rate depends of faculty which regularly participate in faculty development. It is pedagogy unbound, and it is really neither a requirement or a free decision. Teaching and learning are integrated. Teaching and learning aren’t going away. It is transformative. It empowers students and individualized learning. here is also success. What is the success metric? Especially for higher education. It seems as though it is increasing resources for teacher training. One hallmark is having mentors and trainers available to invest in your instructors. from 2013-2018, there are tons of increases in 1-minute activities. So how many daily video views each day? 22 billion. 75% of workers in large businesses interact with video 3+ times per day. Think in the politics of reality. In the end it doesn’t matter what we see, because the content creators see something different: money. Maybe we approach new tech with the wrong questions. How can I do what I already do with this? Here we have the information music. Sousa hated new things and music in players. He could never conceptualize non-live music. Edison was very insistent that DC current would be the best. Steve Ballmer pushed out the iphone, and we know how that went. So how do most people see new technology? Most people saw this as a mixed bag in the chat. From here, we moved in to the world of AR,VR, and MR. We see augmented reality, Virtual Reality, mixed reality. AR is interesting, and has some adjustments, but we see a lot of people using. VR is tough and its been around for quite some time. Mixed Reality should be next, but it will certainly be intersting to see this happening. How will we see students doing homework using MR? We already see the statcast technology in baseball, in the olympics, etc. the essence of doppler radar + high-end optics used in baseball. Doppler tracks at 200,000 frames per seconds. If this is happening in the commercial world, how will this work in the education world? I suppose it will depend on the knowledge society you use. How can we begin to manage the network? Many of us began with chain or pyramid groups for knowledge gain and understanding. That has all gone out the window now. We have data moving to info, knowledge, and wisdom. When we talk about AR and VR, we have to give props and knowledge to medical who’ve gone to the next level with those They’re using this technology in current medical school to show how the body is working. This is not a television show, but AR display. Its a far easier way to get to know the body and organs, and we like much more knowledgeable doctors, don’t we? They’re using it in NZ to show fire safety accellerants in action So, how might it work in an online environment? How might something like this work in your school? NIST uses it as a fire safety approach. It really is overwhelming. What are the factors that really allow instructors to make that shift? Can it be more than an entire overhaul? Can we add a more contextual experience Have you ever been an online student? Only two 4’s were in the entire goup. The metric gives us a flavor to see what the trend is. Those who take online training tend to take it again.

Let’s talk millenials.

AI Art is rising. There were some examples of chAIr, and others but not that great.

Blockchain, however is big business.

Welcome to blockchain. Blockchain is an online storage system- a distributed ledger which is supposedly hack-proof. It may be the way for ledgers and ownership moving forward. Even in New Mexico, Central New Mexico Community College will all be blockchain digital assets moving forward. Extended reality When you are immersed in MR for so long, that you have behaviors which are populating the virtual world. We’ll have the metaverse. What could that possibly be like? We still have the accent from the analog environment. Critical Thinking is still a big part of our classrooms. Often, we start with a simple question: How do we know that? Top 10 Skills for learning in 2020. In this list, how much will be driven by technology and how much by us? Which number are critical in your classroom. Who’s developing all these skills in 2020? One of the top thinkers and influencers are saying YES, games and tech are fun, but the moral and ethical comes from the instructors questions: how can we use those to solve bigger problems like security, hunger, poverty, inequality. Maya angelou quote was well placed here, I felt:   As teachers, the biggest lessons we seem to learn are those taught to us by our students. We see our actions, but it is their reactions which show us the room for improvement and increased understanding.  
Barbara WaxerBarbara Waxer thrives when developing best practices for users and creators of digital content and is a dedicated Creative Commons maven. She is currently a tech writer at Sandia National Laboratories and an adjunct instructor in the Media Arts Department at Santa Fe Community College. She has authored over two dozen textbooks and eLearning products on copyright, online media, and Adobe and Microsoft software. Her text Internet Surf and Turf: The Essential Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Finding Media, won the TEXTY Textbook Excellence Award and the New England Book Show Award. For that book, Barbara wrangled University of New Mexico School of Law Professor Marsha Baum as her subject matter expert and Master of the Pun partner. Barbara Waxer has an MA in Computer Resources and Information Management from Webster University, a BA in Chinese from Michigan State University and a Mandarin Language Certificate from National Taiwan Normal University. A native Detroiter, she lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Reflection Journals – Examples of Using this Powerful Tool to Help Students Synthesize Course Content

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On 9/24/18 at 11:15am, I attended the Excellence In Higher Education Virtual Conference Session: Reflection Journals – Examples of Using this Powerful Tool to Help Students Synthesize Course Content presented by Matthea Marquart of Columbia University and Dr. Beth Carpenter of Southern Connecticut State University.

Reflection Journals – Examples of Using this Powerful Tool to Help Students Synthesize Course Content

What’s in this for us?

Discuss the value to journals, with examples, and discussion.

This was a really chat and poll heavy presentation.

What Makes a good reflective journal assignment.

My answer was:

A good reflection requires critical thinking, a completed assignment, what went well and why, and what didn’t go well and how they could fix it next time. And, did they follow the assignment instructions?

Good answers included: how can students see this not as busy work and keep them invested in the work. Here is the current research recap:

While this slide was nice, the presenter just read the slide, and that was a drag. There are 3 different levels, and I hope they’d talk a bit more about that

What goals should the student have from the reflective journals. The critical analysis offered here allows them to break down the thought process without having to have personal risks on the line. Grades, yes. Job on the line, no.

Journals allow students to unpack information, empowered to take risks, and offer things they failed at without having to admit it to a classroom full of students. Its a trial-and-error period available to students. It also allows teachers to see who’s glossing over the material, and who’s dialing it in. Its also good for teachers to see who’s really reaching here.

Problems faced are about waiting until the last minute, pushing book facts back, starting a sentence and then trailing off, because it was a draft they had to turn in. There are many universal problems here- no one here is alone.

We didn’t talk about were rude things to groups and writing to the teacher just to impress them. Often, we can learn more from failed products and provide better rubrics.

A strongly designed assignment will help you to create a better assignment and get better journals. help them to understand that this is a co-created assignment. How do they approach it? Some students may appreciate it, others will see it as busy work. I think this is helped by their personality. Some students will always see it as touchy-feely BS. Others will find it to be a great opportunity to fully vent.

In longer classes, a student may have 9 journals and the lowest grade is dropped. Some all take the best grades they can. All students will be swamped. they don’t have to disclose about themselves, but they should disclose about the materials. Students who find it too touchy-feely can often be set straight by taking them into a face-to-face meeting to discuss the WHY this is happening.

Journals fill into many HIP (high impact courses), increasing students retention.

Chat here went well. Working with clients might be assisted by working with journals to reflect on what happened.


When might we use reflection journals?

Does the course materials highlight self-reflection, validation, etc.? Are students co-creators of knowledge. Is it one in which students add to the process and sit with discomfort of doing less well than expected?

Is reflection important to the discussion? If bringing it back for a group discussion is well taken.

sample assignment

At the end of the week, this assignment is used to revisit the experience. Points are very specific, and clear to follow


To prevent the last-minute rush, not all are due at the end of the semester

Think-pair-share is a great way to become co-creators of content.

During the Q&A, we were allowed to download the slides (woohoo!). This was a great presentation. While I often find that most of the Q&A heavy pieces are slow-moving, this was a nice, solid approach. Well done ladies!


FTyler Dockery at the Virtual Conferenceor new and experienced online instructors, or those who work with them, this interactive session will share examples of well received reflection journal assignments from online courses at Columbia University. The presenters will open by touching on research on the value of reflection journals, sample uses of reflection journal assignments, and how to provide instructor feedback and grading to deepen student work on future journal entries while maintaining a feasible instructor workload. Next, the presenters will share examples of reflection journal assignment instructions, grading rubrics, and lessons learned from two online courses. Finally, the presenters will facilitate a chat-based discussion to encourage the session participants to share their experiences, advice, and questions. Most learning management systems, including Blackboard and Canvas, include a journal tool. This session will help instructors share and spark ideas of ways to use this tool effectively in their own online courses, regardless of the course topic or academic discipline.