Professor & Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology at Royal Roads University

Category: open

Data Snippet: Connections in an Online Course

Posted on January 22nd, by George Veletsianos in my research, online learning, open, sharing. No Comments

This post is part of this year’s goal to share more data and findings from my in-progress papers. My research assistant and I are working on a paper examining certain aspects of an online course. We came across an interesting quote and I thought that it might be of interest to others because this student is describing an experience that (some might say) is not frequent:

[I am] really liking that connection with our classmates… it’s interesting that in a traditional face-to-face course, I don’t always feel as connected to my classmates, even though I’m going to be sitting right next to them, engaged in face-to-face conversation.

Even though I am not at all interested in comparing face-to-face and online courses (other than to point out that online affords different opportunities), I think that the quote above indicates once again that online courses can be enjoyable and that face-to-face does not necessarily mean interactive or connected. To play with Sherry Turkle’s new book title, is this a case of “together alone?”

Photo credit: Sitting alone, by naraekim0801

Emerging Technologies in Distance Education: Summary

Posted on January 19th, by George Veletsianos in emerging technologies, open, sharing. 1 Comment

Following Elizabeth Wellburn on her project to blog summaries of each chapter of Emerging Technologies in Distance Education has been very exciting. She has now blogged summaries of each chapter and if you’d like a short introduction to the book, you can head to her blog.

2010: Blog Analytics

Posted on January 1st, by George Veletsianos in open, scholarship, sharing. 1 Comment

A new year always brings with it a reflection of the past, and what better way to do so by looking at some of the data behind this blog. In no particular order, during 2010, this blog was

  • visited 8,475 times
  • by 5,693 unique visitors
  • who viewed 13,709 pages.
  • The most popular page was the About me page that was viewed 1,175 times.
  • The second most popular page was my publications page with 1,067 views, and the third most popular was the draft paper I posted on participatory scholars (916 views).
  • The most popular date was September 7, with 204 visits. This was the result of posting my Introduction to Instructional Design syllabus online and sharing it on ITFORUM.
  • Visitors from 127 countries came to this blog, with the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and India, being at the top of the list. Cyprus (my homeland) only sent 55 visitors during 2010 (where’s the love?!)
  • The most frequent sources of traffic were from Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Athabasca University Press (a result of Emerging Technologies in Distance Education being published in August 2010).
  • The most frequently search query used to reach this blog was my full name.
  • My last name was spelled in 16 different ways when individuals searched for me (there’s pros and cons in having a unique last name I suppose!)
  • During 2010, I posted 30 entries. My hope for 2011 is to post more entries, more frequently, and to post more entries related to my in-progress research.

Thanks for reading… I look forward to 2011!

YoTeach.US: Adventure Learning project

Posted on October 26th, by George Veletsianos in adventure learning, emerging technologies, online learning, open, sharing. 2 comments

We are in our second week of our latest Adventure Learning project and I am really excited to be working with a group of committed graduate students on this! It is called YoTeach.US and is currently being used in a large sociology course at UT. The aim of the project is to assist sociology students in exploring the relationship between large social forces and individual behaviors and actions. Outside of that course, the project is also intended to be a free resource for students and educators when discussing teacher roles, teacher excellence, and memorable teachers. Here’s a small audio teaser:

Cesar: The teacher’s role by veletsianos

Adventure Learning is an approach to learning design that involves students in the authentic, experiential, and collaborative exploration of topics of interest. It usually revolves around an adventure or a narrative, and engages students in inquiry-based activities. For instance, the GoNorth adventure learning projects have been admired as an example of an innovative approaches to education. A review of research on adventure learning is available at the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning journal.

In our project, our team traveled through the city of Austin and asked individuals to respond to the following:

  • What is the role of the teacher/instructor?
  • Tell us a story about your most memorable teacher.

These contributions were then compiled into mini documentaries and shared on the online learning environment. At the same time, we crowdsourced contributions online and received notes, audio files, and short videos from Texas, California, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin from students, teachers, parents, professors, and researchers. Once student exploration with this topic ends, they will then investigate the relationship between social forces and individual choices within their own communities, create digital artifacts on this exploration, and discuss the results of their research with others.

As always, this project is free to use. If you do use the project or media in your courses, we’d love to hear about it, and if you have any questions or concerns, please lets us know!

Videos on Teacher Roles and Memorable Teachers

Posted on October 6th, by George Veletsianos in adventure learning, E-learning, emerging technologies, online learning, open, sharing. 3 comments

Teachers, Parents, Principals, Professors, Students, Researchers, and all the shades in-between: We’d like to hear from you! My research/development team (Cesar Navaerrete, Greg Russell*, and Janice Rios) has been diligently working with me on a project in which we intend to study the diverse roles of teachers. The goal of our activity is to collect and share as many ideas and opinions as possible.

And, what a better way to learn about this, by asking all of you to share your thoughts with us in the form of a video! Some of you may have seen examples of crowdsourced video already. For instance, Alan Levine’s Amazing Stories of Openness serves as one of the models we are using for this project. And the Learning Technologies group at the University of Minnesota (Aaron, Charlie, & Cassie) is traveling around the globe to create a narrative around the question “what is education?

Our goal here is to build a collection of user-created videos on the topic of teacher’s roles and create a freely-available curriculum for anyone interested in exploring the topic. The more voices shared, the more open and diverse the discussion can be.  Thus, we hope that if you have a few spare minutes, you might contribute a video clip and add your own perspective.

If you’d like to help out, we would greatly appreciate your response to one of the following:

  • What should the role(s) of a teacher be?
  • Tell us a story about your most memorable teacher.

Talk about your thoughts as they relate to your background, beliefs, or practices! There are no correct answers and we aren’t looking for one single answer. The definition of “teacher” is also fluid: it can be a k-12 teacher, a professor, or a family member who acted as a teacher, a coach, or someone/something else that you consider to be a teacher.

Your contribution should be a short (45-90 sec.) video clip of your ‘off-the-cuff’ response, recorded with a webcam or digital camera.   There is no need for editing, HD, or a great deal of planning.  Just keep it short and simple.  But, don’t let us constrain your creativity. When you are finished upload it to Youtube or Vimeo and either post a link on the comments, email us a link (veletsianos |AT| gmail.com), or send us a note on twitter at @veletsianos or @mrgsrussell

Another example of the videos we have so far is below:

We will be posting a portion of interviews onto our project’s website; therefore, you must be willing to have your video published online. A link to the site will be posted within the next two weeks

Thank you in advance for your time and help!

George, Greg, Cesar, Janice

* This entry has largely been written by Greg Russell, one of our first-year PhD students at UT Austin.

Open Teaching article in the Chronicle

Posted on August 30th, by George Veletsianos in courses, open. 1 Comment

Marc Parry posted a new story on the Chronicle of Higher Ed on Open Teaching. It’s great for the topic to get mainstream attention and I[‘m looking forward to reading the comments on the site. Alec Couros, George Siemens, David Wiley, and Wendy Drexel have contributed their thoughts to the piece and Mark has represented the topic thoghtfully. Interesting side note: The article was originally behind a paid wall, but it has now been made freely available. Enjoy!

Digital Scholarship examples from TCR

Posted on August 28th, by George Veletsianos in open, scholarship, work. No Comments

I was very excited today to watch a video posted at Teachers College Record where Anthony Brown (a colleague in Curriculum & Instruction) discusses his research on how African American males have been constructed in the social science and educational literature. What a great way to summarize and present one’s work! I am embedding the video below, but keep on reading for more social/digital research goodness.

I’ve mentioned before that I think that educational research needs to be more social that it currently is. Why? Because I think that we can improve education by talking more to each other (and debating more with each other). TCR provided another example of this: Miseducating teachers about the poor is a critique of Ruby Payne’s framework written by Randy Bomer et al. (Randy is another colleague at UT). One can go through the TCR archives to see comments on the article, responses, and so on. Plus, there’s a couple of videos on the topic, which I am also embedding below.

Another critique:

And a response:

The point is that new technologies and cultural trends are exerting pressure on scholarship to change. The field has a lot to gain from scholarship becoming more conversational, transparent, social, and open. But, there are also pitfalls and complexities (e.g., TCR has the resources to create the professional videos included above while other publishing outlets might depend on individual scholars to contribute videos, which means that scholars’ technical abilities might limit their digital scholarship contributions). How’s that for a Saturday morning update? <smile>

P.S. Open access and TCR aren’t the best of friends however, so if you are not at a subscribing institution you may be out of luck there (though some of this content is publicly available for a while).

Instructional Systems Design: Syllabus

Posted on August 25th, by George Veletsianos in courses, open, scholarship, sharing, work. 2 comments

I am very excited to be teaching our introductory course this semester, entitled Instructional Systems Design. It’s a challenging course because it is introductory, but also because there’s so much I want to cover! Even though the syllabus is a reflection of what I think is important for someone entering the field, I want to highlight the main objective, which is to introduce students to the practice of instructional design and to enable them to become better learning experience designers.The syllabus is embedded below, but feel free to download it from scribd as well. If you’ve taught or taken a similar class in the past, I would love to hear your feedback!