Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
LMS can be seriously clunky, some more than others. The more intrusive, the clunkier. UC Davis' course listserv did everything I needed, and the Tech in Teaching program was developing a nimble LMS DTA or Distance Teaching Assistant, designed for flexibility and customization. Now they've gone to one of the commercial systems.
I still think online and hybrid classes could run just fine on a collection of free applications, e.g. a blog, a web based/archived email group, microblogging for short notices, document sharing, chat for office hours. That opinion also has more than a little to do with edu punk leanings, which is why I'm giving all this a spin, including the PLN/PLE. Forget e-portfolios though. No more evaluations, which is what that particular artifact is for. I prefer the network approach because it can allow weaving in community, academic advocacy, learning materials (whether for local or global users).
My current, sort of related project (obsession) is filling gaps - teaching materials, course pages - as best I can. Portfolio but as memoir and biography. An electronic CV for someone no longer on or in the market, which means I am free to do it my way. If it the self-paced study group works, I'll think about putting up something self-paced (that I already have material for) for community use.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I've been mulling over the difference between ePortfolios, PLE's and PLN's. This clarifies the distinction - for now at any rate. Maybe I'd add that ePortfolios (which somehow seem less open-ended) are another subset, an artifact representing the network or demonstrating learning outcomes (an arbitrary fixed end-point).
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits is the title of a very useful article that has just appeared in The New York Times. It's worth a full-read, but here are some points that struck me in particular:
Vary What You Study
Varying the type of material studied in a single sitting — alternating, for example, among vocabulary, reading and speaking in a new language — seems to leave a deeper impression on the brain than does concentrating on just one skill at a time. Musicians have known this for years, and their practice sessions often include a mix of scales, musical pieces and rhythmic work. Many athletes, too, routinely mix their workouts with strength, speed and skill drills.
Don't Just Study In One Place:
Students should study in multiple locations because:
The brain makes subtle associations between what it is studying and the background sensations it has at the time, the authors say, regardless of whether those perceptions are conscious. It colors the terms of the Versailles Treaty with the wasted fluorescent glow of the dorm study room, say; or the elements of the Marshall Plan with the jade-curtain shade of the willow tree in the backyard. Forcing the brain to make multiple associations with the same material may, in effect, give that information more neural scaffolding.
Use "Tests" To Help Students Learn
…cognitive scientists see testing itself — or practice tests and quizzes — as a powerful tool of learning, rather than merely assessment. The process of retrieving an idea is not like pulling a book from a shelf; it seems to fundamentally alter the way the information is subsequently stored, making it far more accessible in the future.
In one of his own experiments, Dr. Roediger and Jeffrey Karpicke, also of Washington University, had college students study science passages from a reading comprehension test, in short study periods. When students studied the same material twice, in back-to-back sessions, they did very well on a test given immediately afterward, then began to forget the material.
But if they studied the passage just once and did a practice test in the second session, they did very well on one test two days later, and another given a week later.
"Testing has such bad connotation; people think of standardized testing or teaching to the test," Dr. Roediger said. "Maybe we need to call it something else, but this is one of the most powerful learning tools we have."
I'm not a huge fan of tests, but I do often ask students to take a minute to write down what they remember about a topic we have discussed at an earlier time and that will apply to what we will be doing that day. Then I'll have students share with partner. Perhaps I should do this sort of activity more often?
I'd be very interested in hearing your reactions to the article….