#higher-ed, EdTech, flipped classroom, iPad teaching

EdTech for higher ed

A few colleagues from our faculty have put together a workshop this week on using technology in your classroom. They want info and demonstrations of things that people are doing right now. I volunteered to talk a bit about the cloud services that I use, Dropbox and Evernote, and how I use the iPad app Explain Everything to make little voice-over-PowerPoint video’s for the “flipped classroom”. Here is my video of the story:

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blended learning, e-book, flipped classroom, MOOC

Lecturing in the digital age

Since I have returned to the office there is unfortunately less time to write blog posts than I had in May. However, I have been to some interesting meetings that inspire posts.

The past week two have been about lecturing in the digital age. If you are following this sort of thing you’ll know that the internet is awash with posts on how Massive Online Open Courses is to bring about a revolution in higher education. In South Africa I have not met lots of people how worry about MOOCs, but everywhere there are academics moving towards the flipped classroom and more online learning. Administrators see distance learning (online) as a grow point.

In a meeting with a major publishing outfit, it was clear that not everyone is on the same page of the e-book. They want to “rethink textbook content delivery for the digital age”. Many of my colleagues think about an e-textbook as the paper of the prescribed book, behind the gorilla glass of your tablet. It can be much more than that. It can be multimedia and interactive – even with specific feedback. This raises a bunch of questions. If you have multimedia and interactivity in the “book”, what would be the point of those e-study guides that we hear we have to develop? Maybe you are already linking to videos or using the learning management system for electronic assessment – where would that fit into the story? If everything is going to be electronic, should it be in a “book”, in different parts accessed through the LMS or packaged as a whole course at Udemy, iTunesU, or Coursera, or EdX? There is an interesting post on MOOCs as three kinds of LMS here. I suspect we will see lots of trail and error before we narrow this down to a few systems or products that work.

The publishers had an interesting answer to all this. They want to leverage all the book content that they have and add new digital content to create an ecosystem that we as academics (or our students) can subscribe to and then moderate and curate. They want to deliver this in a widget-based approach that can plug into your e-study guide or LMS or MOOC. You have to decide, do you want a core and then have all other resources available for students to explore (browser style)? Or do you want a core along with a defined path very specific advanced or remedial resources (app style)?

As cool as all this sounds I am worried that not enough lecturers are currently using a blended learning approach (a textbook, with a study guide, additional videos, or lecture capturing, along with pod casts, and on line tools, with some electronic assessment, in addition to lectures and class discussions) to know how to curate resources for the digital age. The technology mat be running far ahead of the pedagogy.

Explain Everything, flipped classroom

ECON-1 videos for the flipped classroom

This semester I used Explain Everything to add audio and annotations to PPT slides and make short videos for the flipped classroom. The idea is that the order of a contact session is flipped around: the students watch the videos as preparation and spend the time in class discussing and problem solving. I don’t have to give a boring lecture and they don’t have to listen to one – there is a video for that. My videos look like this:

This weekend I decided to have a quick look at the views that they got over the semester. The videos were uploaded on the module’s eFundi site (our LMS) and on YouTube. The number clicks (don’t know if they were viewed all the way through) on eFundi were:

EE_Movie_chap 1.mp4 752 EE_Movie_hst 1.mp4 772
EE_Movie_chap 2.1.mp4 294 EE_Movie_hst 2.1.mp4 445
EE_Movie_chap 2.2.mp4 230 EE_Movie_hst 2.2.mp4 331
EE_Movie_chap 2.3.mp4 202 EE_Movie_hst 2.3.mp4 390
EE_Movie_chap 3.mp4 154 EE_Movie_hst 3.mp4 449
EE_Movie_chap 4.1.mp4 203 EE_Movie_hst 4.1.mp4 387
EE_Movie_chap 4.2.mp4 132 EE_Movie_hst 4.2.mp4 306
EE_Movie_chap 4.3.mp4 115 EE_Movie_hst 4.3.mp4 261
EE_Movie_chap 4.4.mp4 96 EE_Movie_hst 4.4.mp4 274
EE_Movie_chap 7.1.mp4 142 EE_Movie_hst 7.1.mp4 274
EE_Movie_chap 7.2.mp4 106 EE_Movie_hst 7.2.mp4 248
EE_Movie_chap 7.3.mp4 88 EE_Movie_hst 7.3.mp4 206
EE_Movie_chap 7.4.mp4 69 EE_Movie_hst 7.4.mp4 187
EE_Movie_hst 7.5.mp4 212

That is a total of 7325 clicks and an average of 338 for the Afrikaans versions and 198 for the English versions. I hope to be able to split this between students in my group and those from other groups. For all the ECON111 students of around 1150 students, the average views are low, but my group was only 250. I wonder if the videos will be used much for revision before the exam.

Is it worth the effort? It is impossible to tell if it made much of a difference to student performance. We always have a look at the correlation between module marks and number of videos watched but that won’t say anything about causation. I do think that it made a difference to the time spent in class. At least I enjoyed not giving a boring lecture and rather working through exercises and presenting interesting examples.

ECON111, EkonoomTV, flipped classroom, SONA2013

Another busy week taking names and flipping classrooms

It has been another busy week and I am giving up on reading through all the SONA, Oscar and meteorite tweets. I have a few things to post here to the blog.

If you are interested in the flipped ECON classroom videos, I have three of those on Chapter 2 of Mohr & Fourie:

And I have two posts on the State of the Nation Address at the School’s blog:

On Monday I am speaking at the Tuks seminar series and hope that everyone will be as excited as I am about the topic: Chalk dust to star dust – How social media can benefit your research. I’ll post the slides tomorrow or on Sunday.

#higher-ed, flipped classroom

Flipping ECON, chapter 1

This afternoon was the first of my flipped ECON111 lectures and I though it went quite well. The video was uploaded unto eFundi two days before and viewed 139 times by lunch time. The English version on YouTube had 2 views.

To start off the class I showed the video and then we worked through a few multiple choice questions. Hopefully I will have those on the Quiz system next week and then students can answer them before class on their mobile phones. Today we used the old-school show of hands. In cases where every option had some votes I first gave them the opportunity to explain their answer to a neighbour and then vote again. This was followed with some explanation from my side.

I still want us to spend some time making outlines or mind maps of a chapter’s content in class, but I first have to book a document camera for our room. Depending on the topic, I would like to add some group work and a debate to the MCQ-Q&A part.

It is way to early to judge success, but I enjoyed it.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

ECON111, EkonoomTV, flipped classroom

Flipping the ECON classroom

I started class with my ECON111 group this morning and I am excited. There are some big plans going in – I am going to try and “flip” the classroom.

This is a familiar term to those of you who are out there reading #edchat #flipped blog posts. The idea is to turn the whole thing on its head:

  • I am making short little videos explaining the stuff that I would typically have lectured about. Students can watch these as preparation for the contact session.
  • Then they answer a few multiple choice questions before hand, hopefully on their mobile phones, and I have an idea who has prepared and how prepared they are.
  • Finally they come to class, but not for a lecture, but for work: working through problem sets, drawing the graphs, discussing the issues.

I have the video for chapter 1 done in Afrikaans and it is on eFundi (our LMS). I want to make English versions as well and will have those up on YouTube. I’ll share here.