Thursday, December 4, 2008

FETC 2009, The Educational Technology Conference in Florida

FETC 2009, The Educational Technology Conference in Florida, will take place Jan. 21-24 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., where educators will learn best practices for integrating technology into their curriculum.

Keynote speaker Philippe Cousteau, Chief Ocean Correspondent for Animal Planet, will speak on the importance of reaching beyond classroom walls in the pursuit of educational excellence. Cousteau is also the president of EarthEcho International and grandson of the legendary Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

More than 200 concurrent sessions will focus on current and emerging technologies, safety and security, social networking, collaboration and sustainability. Nearly 80 professional development workshops will target 21st century skills. More than 500 exhibitors will display the latest in technology and education resources.

Registeration is now open at

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nintendo Digital Book Reader

I found the following notice on Scholastic's blog:
Dedicated eBook readers, like
Amazon's Kindle, and printed material may be on the way out with Nintendo saying that in early 2009 it will add a digital book reader software to its DS portable game machine. It’s a sure bet that most kids in just about any class has played with a DS in the previous week, so adding books to its repertoire is a big deal for education. On top of adding new volumes via WiFi, the DS eBook reader will come with a bunch of classic works. The software will be able to search for words or phrases, add bookmarks and zoom in and out of the text. Now, what’s really needed is software to turn the hundreds of standard documents, like worksheets, into eBook files so that a curriculum can be built around the DS and other eBooks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Comprehensive Web 2.0 resource

I came across a very comprehensive resource for teaching and learning with Web 2.0 tools. It contains information about everything from blogs to podcasts to wikis to digital storytelling to resources like Animoto and Jing and Photo Story… It also provides resources for issues related to copyright and cybersafety.

Friday, November 14, 2008

State of the Blogosphere 2008 Report

Technorati has conducted their annual survey since 2004 to discover trends and themes in blogging. However, in 2008, they went beyond the numbers in the Technorati Index and surveyed more than 1.2 million bloggers who have registered with Technorati about the role of blogging in their lives, the tools, time, and resources used to produce their blogs, and how blogging has impacted them personally, professionally, and financially. The Report was released over a series of days, covering these topics.
  • Introduction
  • Day 1: Who Are the Bloggers?
  • Day 2: The What And Why of Blogging
  • Day 3: The How of Blogging
  • Day 5: Brands Enter The Blogosphere
Who are the bloggers?

Wikipedia defines blogs as:
  • A Blog (a contraction of the term "Web log") is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.
  • The Blogosphere collective term encompassing all blogs and their interconnections. It is the perception that blogs exist together as a connected community (or as a collection of connected communities) or as a social network.. Discussions "in the Blogosphere" have been used by the media as a gauge of public opinion on various issues.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sloan-C resources

I have been using the resources provided by the Sloan Consortium for my doctoral research, especially Sloan-C's Effective Practices site. The Sloan-C community shares techniques, strategies, and practices in online education that have worked for them. All effective practices are peer reviewed to both insure quality and to give submitters some documentation for tenure and promotion files."

Search categories for the site:

- Search by Pillar allows you to search by the five Sloan-C pillars, the building blocks of quality online education -- learning effectiveness, scale, access, faculty satisfaction, and student satisfaction -- and/or subcategories within them.
- Search by Context allows you to search by your perspectives (roles) in online learning, organizational type, or subject area domain, as well as by special cases of online learning (such as online collaboration, or large class size), and/or by subcategories within these.
- Search by Technology allows you to search by particular technology categories -- audio, video, synchronous, asynchronous, mobile, virtual, and digital resources -- and/or by subcategories within them.
- What's New returns the most recent effective practices added to the site.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Basic Elements of an Online Course/Syllabus

Based on my research, I think an online course shell should at a minimum have these basic features:
  • title page
  • introduction to the course
  • course schedule, and a list of objectives and requirements
  • course content arranged into modules
  • Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) file
  • glossary of terms used in the course
  • table of contents, a search engine, and/or index with a roadmap to the course
  • resources page with links to useful external course related information
  • credits page listing the sponsors and the people who have developed the course along with copyright statement

The course objectives should be explicitly outlined on a separate course objectives page. Make the link between the assignments and the course materials clear. Let students know what is expected of them for each individual assignment or test, and for the entire course and examinations. Clearly describe the resources that will be needed and the learning activities that will be undertaken. In that the way, both the instructors and the learners can be confidently aware of the requirements of the course.

The syllabus should show at least the following:
  • number and title of the course,
  • instructor's name and e-mail address,
  • instructor's office and (if available) home page location,
  • instructor's in-person office hours and phone number,
  • course start date, length of the course, and expected time involvement of students,
  • textbook(s) and other materials needed for the course,
  • an outline of the course format and a clear description or exercise in the use of navigational aids used in the course,
  • a concise description of the course content,
  • an evaluation plan and exam and project schedule,
  • an explanation of the forms of student participation and instructor expectations regarding participation, and
  • a list of all students in the class and a description of means for students to communicate online with both the entire class and with individual classmates.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Are You Smarter Than an 8th Grader?

The school year kicked off this month and it seems that things are not getting better. Strong American Schools issued a new report entitled Diploma to Nowhere, a study which highlights the fact that many college freshmen need to take remedial classes to relearn skills they should have been taught before graduation. Ultimately, American schools are simply not competitive when compared with other countries. Check out the report for details, but here are some highlights:
  • More than 80 percent of students in Oklahoma's community college system are enrolled in a remedial course.
  • Of the 40,000 freshmen admitted each year into California State University- the largest university system in the country-more than 60 percent need help in English, math, or both.
  • Nearly four out of five remedial students had a high school grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Friday, September 5, 2008

2nd Annual SoTL Commons Conference Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals
The 2nd annual SoTL Commons Conference: An International Conference for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (in higher/tertiary education) will be held on March 11-13, 2009 at Georgia Southern University (Statesboro, Georgia, USA): Early registration is now open and the online submission of proposals period ends October 15, 2008.

Keynote speakers will be Randy Bass (Georgetown University), Kathy Takayama (Brown University), and Laurie Richlin (Charles Drew University of Medicine and Health Science).

Alan Altany, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Excellence in Teaching
Editor, International Journal for SoTL
Georgia Southern University
Statesboro, Georgia, USA 30460-8143
SoTL Commons Conference:

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I just found a new "toy." Wordle generates “word clouds” from text provided by the user. You can paste in your own words, provide the URL of any blog, blog feed, or other web page that has an Atom or RSS feed, or enter a user name to see their tags. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends. Here's my Wordle for this blog.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Dynamics of Change and Fear

Carly Fiorina, former HP CEO, was the featured speaker for Stanford's Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Lecture May 2, 2008. This is a short snippet from her lecture that I found appropriate to remember when I am working with early and late majority technology adopters.

1) We are all afraid of something. What distinguishes those who are successful and those who are not is what they do with their fear. Courage is not the absence of fear; courage is acting in spite of fear.

2) Change involves risk-taking. What people are most often afraid of is something new. As people grow older, they become afraid of trying something new; therefore, change is always resisted. The only way to help people overcome their fear is to give them a vision of something that is worth striving for, worth taking the risks for.

3)It is momentum for any organization (family or institution or government) to seek to maintain the status quo. People become invested in maintaining their current position. This is simply human nature.

4) Change has to have enough power (vision) to overcome fear and status quo.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dissertation Prospectus

My Dissertation Prospectus (see below) was approved by my faculty mentor yesterday and I submitted it to the three faculty members I have requested serve on my dissertation committee. Two have already responded in the affirmative. Now I have to get busy and finish writing Chapters 1-3 by September 10. I've got Chapters 1 & 2 pretty much done, but I need to work on finalizing elements for Chapter 3--Methodology.
Dissertation Title: Faculty Perceptions and Attitudes Toward the Use of Course Management Systems in Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Georgia
Statement of Your Research Problem or Area of Inquiry:
Course Management Systems (CMS) provide an integrated approach to developing courses and teaching using web-based technologies. The integration of CMS in higher education has become an important issue recently (Eighth Annual EDUCAUSE Current Issues Survey, 2007). Buzzetto-More and Sweat-Guy (2006) found that while HBCU students came to college less technologically prepared, the use of e-learning is slowly rising in popularity with student perceptions of online learning viewed positively. Although many HBCUs have CMS, online learning has not been a priority for many faculty. It is important to study faculty perceptions because faculty attitudes about the use of instructional technology influence its successful adoption and implementation.
Theory/Theories or Conceptual Framework(s) Related to the Problem or Area of Inquiry:
Rogers’s Diffusion of Innovation Model suggests that researchers simultaneously examine characteristics of the individual adopter, the institutional setting, and the technology itself—steps that have not been taken in research on faculty adoption of online teaching in higher education. In addition, examining the adoption of online teaching as a process, rather than an event is pertinent to theories such as Hall and Hord’s Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) in order to facilitate change in education. These models provide the framework for identifying the most commonly expressed concerns stated by faculty regarding their motivations to participate in online teaching and learning.
Current Research Related to the Problem or Area of Inquiry:
Research on motivations and barriers for faculty adoption of online learning has been extensive (Betts; 1998; O'Quinn & Corry, 2002; Schifter, 2000, Shea, 2007). Even in cases where institutional support is high, Hutchins (2001) and Johnson and Howell (2005) found that faculty attitudes may be hard to change to meet new technological demands. Although online opportunities continue to increase (Butler & Sellbom, 2007), Arnone (2002) found it to be less prevalent and a “hard sell” at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Studies about CMS adoption are limited but suggest that CMS may positively influence adoption of online learning by faculty (Black, Beck, Dawson, Jins, & Di Pietro, 2007).
Goals, Purpose and Potential Significance of Your Research:
The purpose of the study will be to describe faculty attitudes toward and their use of a course management system (CMS) as part of their teaching practices. Specifically, the study will assess faculty perceptions with regard to the software and its pedagogical advantages. This study helps fill a gap in the educational technology literature concerning faculty attitudes and perceptions regarding the use of CMS in higher education. Finally, the study addresses a specific gap in the literature regarding the adoption of online learning and CMS in historically black colleges and universities. Findings from this study can be used by faculty development professionals to encourage faculty adoption and implementation of course management systems.
Your Research Design and Methodology:
Type of Inquiry: Mixed Methods (Quantitative and Qualitative)
Method of Inquiry:
The survey instrument is based on the University of Wisconsin Course Management Survey (2002) and University System of Georgia: Faculty Course Management Systems Survey (2005). After completing the survey, respondents will have the option of volunteering to participate in a synchronous virtual focus group discussion or an individualized asynchronous online interview.
Your Research Population and How You Will Draw Upon This Population for Your Research Inquiry:
The seven institutions chosen represent public and private, 4-year liberal arts HBCUs in the state of Georgia. The public institutions (Albany State, Fort Valley State, Savannah State) are members of the University System of Georgia, which has recently undergone a conversion to WebCT Vista in all its colleges and universities. The private institutions (Clark Atlanta, Morehouse University, Paine College, Spelman College) utilize either Blackboard or WebCT course management systems. Academic Affairs Officers will be contacted for permission to contact faculty members. Initial contact with faculty will be conducted by e-mail. E-mail addresses can be obtained from online faculty directory listings or via secretarial staff in each department or through the Academic Affairs offices. Each faculty member will receive up to five contacts: a pre-notice, an e-mail with the link to the web-based survey, two reminder e-mails with the link to the survey, and a thank you e-mail. Arrangements for the follow-up interviews or focus group discussions will also be conducted via e-mail.
Examples of Research Data That May Be Collected:
Quantitative data--ordinal, nominal, interval, ratio: demographic data, factors influencing use of CMS, CMS usage data, features used, faculty familiarity with CMS
Qualitative data from focus group discussions and online interviews coded by researcher: expand on data collected in survey: functional and pedagogical uses of CMS, what value in CMS, what find less useful, effects on teaching practices, wish list of features, concerns, motivations.
Other Information About Your Dissertation Proposal:
Research Questions
1. What factors motivate faculty members to use a course management system?
2. What factors hinder faculty from using a course management system?
3. What factors determine whether faculty increase or decrease their use?
4. What is the extent of faculty use of the CMS on each campus and in aggregate?
5. For what purposes is the CMS used?
6. What CMS tools do faculty members use, and how do they use them?
7. What differences are demonstrated in CMS uses in varying delivery methods (traditional/in-class, hybrid/blended and solely online courses)?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Slidecasting on Slideshare

I have been slowly uploading my PowerPoint presentations to slideshare for about a year now. There's a link to the left to see all the shows I've uploaded. I originally found this site when my mentor sent me a link to one of her presentations. It's a great place to showcase and share PowerPoint presentations. However, there are a couple of problems. When I upload my presentations, I lose all the animation and transitions. In addition, I can't (or couldn't) add audio to my presentations. However, slideshare now has the option of editing my presentations to create a slidecast. A slidecast is similar to a screencast (see Camtasia or Adobe Breeze) which allows the designer to demonstrate how to complete computerized tasks by showing step-by-step procedures. Slidecasting, on the other hand, is a multimedia format for viewing slide decks synchronized with an audio file.

I haven't had a chance to edit my current presentations to add audio yet, but I'm definitely going to try it out soon. Slideshare is currently conducting "The World's Best Presentation" Contest. I've entered one of my educational presentations on the 4-Square Method of brainstorming and organizing an essay. Check it out and place your vote today.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stereotypes--Learning Disabilities in Higher Education

Louis Schmier posted this discussion on the POD Network listserv yesterday. Although it is long, I found it touched several important points in my life. Like Louis, I have a very bright and talented son who also is ADD. Throughout his educational career, I have seen how teachers' perceptions and lack of understanding of his "disability" impacted his learning--both positively and negatively. My sister is a special education teacher in Maryland. She also has three "special" children. All three are intelligent and capable. However, she has had to fight (sometimes tooth and nail) to get them the services they deserve. Luckily, she has the background knowledge. What about all those others who do not have that support? I became a teacher because I wanted to work with others in the learning process. I knew that this would not always be an easy task. We all learn in different ways--and we have to be aware of this when we step into the classroom. It's not about imparting our knowledge. It's about facilitating the learning process. We can all learn together. It is sad that there are still persons in academia that do not consider education an inalienable right for all persons. Perceptions. Sometimes they have the ring of truth--all because we think they are true, not because they are.

I interrupt my series on teaching with passion with an important reflection. I was in this South Georgia sweating and whiffing by my flower garden when my cell phone rang. It did not take long before I was listening with intense ears to an harangue, gentle in tone but not in meaning, from a professor at a university that was ironically a pioneer in special education. She called to tell me that she was "deeply disturbed" by the likes of you" and took issue with a Random Thought I had written about eleven years ago supporting accommodation for special needs students or what she called "learning and physically disabled students." She found my number! Called me!! On my cell phone!!! At my house!!!! Talking about pushing your own buttons! Anyway, she rejected my position insisting that it wasn't that she didn't think such students should be educated, but it should not be done on her watch. After all, she said, "they're letting anyone in....with all I have to do, I don't have the extra time to devote to such a person....I don't have tenure yet....It's an inconvenience......not at ease....not inclined to offer accommodation an expense we can't afford to special attention to such a person an unreasonable disservice to others in the class whom I can better serve....they won't have a happy educational experience....special consideration skews the validity of the transcript?" And, so on she went.

She assured me with a patronizing "I didn't mean anything by it" tone that there is nothing "threatening" or "demeaning" in her view, and it is nothing "personal." Isn't it? As the father of a son with ADHD, I took her words very personally. I had heard all this before during the years of my son's struggle in schools from teachers and administrators while they were hacking off his pleading hands, cutting out his legs from under him at his supplicating knees, sucking the self-esteem out of him, diminishing his sense of humanity, and throwing him on the trash heap. Because of that, respectful as I was to this professor, I was not about to be coldly intellectual about it all, was not about to be clinically objective, and was not about to be distant with a spectator mentality or a passer-by un-involvement or a disengaged onlooker consciousness.

This professor's medieval views and mine are a collision of conflicting paradigms. Now, I do not believe she is an icy monster though I'm not sure about her sincere caring, her assurances not withstanding. Throughout her entire side of our conversation, however, she displayed a warped kind of benevolence and charitable mentality that categorized such students as pitifully "unfortunate" or sad "standouts like sore thumbs," or admirably "amazing," but not particularly as just another student. To her that accommodation document seem[s] to indicate that the student was another specie of human being, maybe an inferior specie. Anyway, waving aside everything I said, she believes that giving such students access to the classroom is setting them up for a fall by offering false hopes and expectations. She seems to assume that their "disabilities" somehow get in the way of their intellect and that they can't have a life well-learned. Because this view is apparently dominant in her thinking, it has become for her an undeniable self-evident truth. After all, the "disturbing" part takes place in her head, not in the classroom. What sets these students apart is her perception. The classroom, as life, is the way we see it and the way we perceive it and experience it. We read into others what we want or expect to find, and whatever we expect to find, will be there. At that moment, we ourselves have a learning disability and are unable to move beyond our own stereotypes and prejudices.

The flaw in her attitude is the unexamined, shallow assumption that "disabled students" cannot be enabled to become able, that such students who need accommodation inherently have less prospects of achievement and less possibilities of attaining a "successful and happy educational experience," that the disabled students' "irrational" and "unreasonable" preference for an education at a "regular university" must yield to society's "rational" economic limits, that caring and attention are quantitatively fixed, that the added attention given them subtracts from attention given to others, and that they somehow have lost their inner sacredness and nobility. This all too common prejudice taken to its logical conclusion leads to the kicking in a tragic of rejection of their humanity, of disconnection, of lack of community, of dismissal, and of selectively weeding out such "distractions." It leads to an infection of what I call a "Dick Wittington Syndrome." That is, bag and throw these intrusive students afflicted with LD and other disabilities off a bridge like the unwanted runts of a litter. The cure for this syndrome is to accept the truth that we are all challenged in one way or another and that the classroom, like the faculty and staff and administration, is filled with flawed human beings. We just need to have room for all the different challenges and flaws.

As I listened, I thought of grabbing my Shakespeare and reading to her Shylock's soliloquy. I thought of past disability discrimination and the once accepted illusion that we have the choice to educate or not to educate, and that we prefer the latter. So I ask quietly but forcefully: how dare any one of us? How dare we undervalue such persons? How dare we define what is "better" for such students by what is better and easier for us? How dare we create an inequitable caste system among students? How dare some of us have so little respect for such persons? How dare we see the entrance into college of such students as avoidable mistakes? How dare any one of us even engage in a discussion of whether another person's education should happen? How dare any one of us should think such an issue is debatable? How dare any one of us decide that certain people "don't belong" among us or who are among those we define as among "they're letting anyone in" are non-persons with no right to reach for their as yet unseen potential solely on market considerations or personal convenience? How dare any one of us draw the line between those who are "entitled" to our attention and those who are not? How dare any one of us count any one among the uncounted and unnoticed? How dare any one of us get annoyed or feel inconvenienced at the prospect of having to put in time and effort for all people to experience the fullness and the fulfillment of life? How dare we find it’s in our heart to deny any person, categorically, our empathy, affection, faith, compassion, and our love? How dare any of us presume to define the capability of becoming for anyone else, to set the value of an as yet "unprepared" person lower than our high and mighty degreed and published personna [sic], or to conclude that such a person lacks the potential for happiness and dignity because some of us are so arrogant, close minded, self-righteous, and self-centered that we cannot imagine how it could?

After all, what is the role of an educator but service and assistance? Too many of us selectively and conditionally assist others with our support, encouragement, empathy, faith, kindness, and love so that they can fully affect their choices. Why can't we do that unconditionally for each and every one? Why can't we deny that a "problem of disability" exists? Why can't we pick up the gauntlet of challenge? Each of us requires different modes of assistance. In that sense, every transcript is tainted. Shall we underestimate a person's capacity, ability, talent, and potential based on an accommodation letter? Shall we stare at such people with annoyance, pity, condescension, and hostility? Shall we weed out for convenience and comfort sake rather than cultivate? Shall we educationally euthanize them, or at best hide them away in darkened institutions? Shall we decide who shall go to the educational left and who to the educational right? The whole of academia has a stake in making sure each of us is not tainted by prejudices, myths, discomfort, and supposed inconvenience, emblematic of broader, deeper attitudes toward disability that sometimes slide from fear to disgust and from disgust to hatred.

I didn't expect to straighten out this academic's head and heart however I politely and respectfully tried. She would hear none of it. She, and others like her, think they know everything there is to know just by looking at someone's accommodation request. That's how stereotypes work. It deludes people into thinking they know the world of others. They don't ask who these people are and act as if they will always remain the same. It ignores the fact that each of us have a combination of gifts, strengths, weaknesses, and flaws so peculiar that they can't be measured on the same scale. She and others like her don't know that they're confused; they're ignorant to the fact that the presence of a special need, disability, or challenge does not predict quality of any aspect of life. She doesn't know how to look at such people beyond an accommodation agreement, a wheel chair, a hearing aid, a talking book, signing, or a reader other than as if they were curious or pitiful animals in a zoo. She is unaware she is marginalizing such people and rendering them invisible with selfish and self-serving prejudice and ignorance, and even oppression. She doesn't realize she has to be remolded with the constant pounding of a caring heart, with the shaping of respect, and with the working in of faith, hope, and love. She should learn what to make of such students. She should stop gawking and wincing, and learn to see. What is equally sad is that within educated people such as she resides an emptiness; they will not know what both the fullness and the fulfillment of life mean unless the consciousness of the kindred spirit that lies latent in their own very selves comes to life within them.

Make it a good day.


Louis Schmier

Department of History

Valdosta State University

Valdosta, Georgia 31698

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why is this study important?

One of the things I noticed in conducting my literature review for KAM I is that there is little recent research about what motivates faculty to adopt online teaching. In fact, much of the research was conducted back when faculty had to create their own web spaces. Almost all institutions that offer online courses/programs use a CMS (whether its a commercial product or open source). However, there has been little research done on the impact of CMS use on teaching or learning (Lane, 2008)--or even adoption of online learning methods.

According to Roger's diffusion of innovations theory, 5 characteristics of an innovation determine how quickly the innovation is adopted: relative advantage, compatibility, ease of use, trialability, and observability. So, how do CMS fit these characteristics? How might use of the CMS also encourage adoption of online teaching? With the advent of course management systems, putting courses online became much easier. In addition, I have been interested in developing a more constructivist online learning environment from the beginning of my studies. Can that be accomplished with the current CMS? Lisa Lane in a recent issue of EDUCAUSE Quarterly argues that commercial CMS limit instruction creativity and pedagogical approaches. Therefore, I'd like to explore HOW faculty are using CMS. This relates back to Roger's 5 characteristics--compatibility with the adopter's values and assumptions. Are faculty just perpetuating the old model? Are they actually integrating the technology in their teaching--beyond just offering the course online?

Another gap in the educational technology literature in general relates to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). There are 102 HBCUs in the United States. While they constitute only 3% of US colleges and universities, they enroll 28% of all African American college students and graduate 40% of the African Americans who earn doctorates or first professional degrees (Hubbard, 2006). This is a large segment of the higher education population that has not been addressed. Research has shown that many African Americans come to college lacking in technical skills. In addition, research has shown that faculty at many HBCUs are reluctant to adopt technology and/or online learning. Howard University reports that out of the 102 HBCUs, only 45 offer fully online courses/programs. However, most of the HBCUs have links to course management systems. In fact, only Paine College and Savannah State were listed in Howard's list; yet all the institutions in Georgia had links to Blackboard or WebCT. So, how are the CMS being used on these campuses? As higher education (and HBCUs especially) combat reduced funding, it is important to evaluate the return on investment in these CMS. Buzetto-More and Sweat-Guy found that students' (at HBCUs) interest in e-learning has been increasing. In addition, technology continues to be a major element of many jobs. If HBCUs are to remain competitive, they also need to make sure they offer their students skills they can use when they graduate.

Understanding why faculty do and don't use the CMS would be helpful in order to address their needs and perceptions. It may also help to identify the "opinion leaders," key players in the adoption process--to help frame the meaning of their experiences over time. Another essential element in the change process is whether the system (or institution, in this case) is open to new ideas or not. It could be that the institutional model for HCBUs does not lend itself to change. Faculty demographics would be an important indicator.

Hubbard, D. (2006). The color of our classroom, the color of our future. Academe, 92(6),

Thursday, June 19, 2008

HBCUs and Online Learning

I have decided that I want my population for my dissertation to be 4-year, liberal arts HBCUs--I'm thinking in Georgia and/or South Carolina. I had been tossing that around last year when I took my qualitative class. I went to Academic Search Premier and ProQuest Dissertations to start. I typed in variations of HBCU, technology, adoption, online learning, distance education, course management system, Blackboard, WebCT. I found very few empirical studies utilizing HBCUs. In fact, I found very few discussions period. I did a Google search and search in Questia also. With similar results. Therefore, I sensed a gap in the literature.

In one blog (HBCU-Levers) I found the discussion of DLL (Digital Learning Lab) sponsored by Howard University. Among other things, DLL tracks HBCU participation in distance education. I found a report (2007) where they compared information from HBCU websites to the data gathered by Sloan-C surveys (which I used in my literature review to discuss the development of online learning over the past five years). I added the information about HBCUs to my lit review. In general HBCUs have been slower to adopt. In 2007, 40/103 HBCUs offered online courses—39%. However, I wonder at the penetration. How many courses are offered? How many online programs are offered? DLL did note that too many HBCUs still tend to ask their faculties build too many components themselves—even though all of the institutions employed a course management system (usually Blackboard or WebCT).

One thing that I had not paid attention to originally was that the Sloan-C surveys (and the DLL report) only looked at totally online courses. They didn't measure the level of adoption of web-based technologies (i.e. hybrid/blended learning or web-facilitated courses). I tried to see if there was information on this but ran into a semantic problem. What keywords would be used?

One of the questions I'm thinking of looking at is how the course management systems are used. That would deal with what features are used as well as what teaching practices are incorporated into their usage. I'd like to know whether the CMSs are simply used as document repositories (and essentially duplicating the in-class lecture format) or whether instructors are taking advantage of the various technologies to facilitate the class and then going the next step to integrating the technology into their assessments, etc. Several articles I've read decry the rigidity of course management systems. How does the integrated approach impact instructor's pedagogy? Limited research has been done on the influence of online learning on teaching practices in general. This takes it one step further.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Faculty Adoption of Course Management Systems

I am been working on motivations and barriers to higher education faculty adoption of online teaching--and found several gaps in the literature. However, I've decided to narrow my focus a little more to faculty adoption of course management systems. Below is my "working" rationale for the study.

Rationale for Study

Previous literature regarding faculty perceptions (i.e. motivations and barriers) to teaching online, have conceived of online teaching as a single innovation. However, as Hall and Hord note, some innovations, such as online teaching, are actually a bundle of innovations. Course Management Systems (CMS) provide an integrated approach to developing courses and teaching using web-based technologies. Furthermore, the integration of CMS in higher education has become an important issue recently (Eighth Annual EDUCAUSE Current Issues Survey, 2007); therefore it is essential to study faculty perceptions because faculty attitudes about the use of instructional technology influence its successful adoption and implementation. Due to scarcity of university resources, efforts should be made to focus resources on those elements that deliver the greatest return on investment (ROI) of instructor time and effort. The findings from this study can assist administrators in determining educational costs and value in terms of the effectiveness of the CMS in teaching and learning. In addition, the data can provide information on how institutions can reduce, minimize, or overcome perceived barriers to online teaching. Hoskins and van Hooff (2005) noted that as web-based approaches in education increase, systematic evaluation of course management software becomes essential. Even in cases where institutional support is high, two separate studies, conducted by Hutchins (2001) and Johnson and Howell (2005) found that faculty attitudes may be hard to change to meet the demands of the new dynamic, which indicated that a study of faculty attitudes should be a component of any research on the effectiveness of course management systems.

This study helps fill a gap in the Educational Technology literature concerning faculty attitudes and perceptions regarding CMS in higher education. In addition, the findings can assist faculty development personnel in developing appropriate training programs. Faculty training has been found to be an essential factor in the successful implementation of new technology in higher education (Butler & Sellbom, 2002; Bates, 2000).

Bates, A.W. (2000). Managing technological change: strategies for college and university leaders. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Butler, D.L. & Sellbom, M. (2002) Barriers to adopting technology for teaching and learning, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 25(2). Retrieved May 13, 2008, from

Hoskins, S. L. & Van Hooff, J. C. (2005). Motivation and ability: Which students use online learning and what influences does it have on their achievement? British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(2), 177-192.

Hutchins, H. M. (2001). Enhancing the business communication course through WebCT. Business Communication Quarterly, 64, p. 87.

Johnson, G. M. & Howell, A. J. (2005). Attitude toward instructional technology following required versus optional WebCT usage. Journal of technology and Teacher Education, 13(4), p. 643-654.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Educational Social Networking Opportunity

This post just came through on the POD Network.

You and anyone at your institution are invited to join Weekly
Innovations (, your one stop shop for higher education news, free trainings and online collaboration. This social networking site for educators will feature monthly interviews with experts via podcast, free trainings, helpful resources and useful insight for you and your colleagues. Below are some examples of the services we provide.
  • Monthly Podcast: Retaining Underprepared Students with Dr. Jim Black
  • Websites:,, Leaders in Education (NYtimes)
  • Videos: Future Technology and Education: The Emotion Factor, Good for a Laugh - A Politically Correct Admissions Video Gone Wrong, A Vision of Today's Students
  • On-Demand training of the month: Creating Learning Communities to Enhance Student Success
  • Questions: Who is the best speaker you have ever seen?
Weekly Innovations can also offer:
  1. Free Trainings
  2. Personalized online discussion groups for your school, department or area of interest
  3. A $50 discount on all Innovative Educators' events including our new selection of on-demand trainings:
  5. The ability to search colleagues on our site that might share the same interest as you. You can search a job title, school or general keyword and see what comes up.
  6. The opportunity to network with other colleagues to share best practices, files, strategies and more.
  7. A place to post jobs - simply email us postings and we'll feature jobs as they come in.
  8. More opportunities to connect online. Offer us suggestions and we'll make it happen.

For more information, contact Valerie Kisiel (303-775-6004) or
Visit - your one stop shop for higher education
news, collaboration and innovation!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Web 2.0 and Change in Higher Education

I found a new online journal yesterday--The Knowledge Tree--tagged as Australia's premier e-journal of learning innovations.

Edition 15 is dedicated to the infiltration of Web 2.0 tools into teaching. Since the concept of Web 2.0 is only a few years old, the practices discussed are definitely from innovators and early adopters. In the lead article, How Did a Couple of Veteran Classroom Teachers End up in a Space Like This? Extraordinary Intersections Between Learning, Social Software and Teaching, Ganley and Sawhill (2007) explore how the integration of blogging into their teaching transformed their practice. The truth of one statement caught my eye.

"There is ... a new form of tension in today’s classroom: between the students we once were and the students we now find ourselves teaching, a tension between what we have to teach and what our students want to learn, and a tension between their passions and interests and the Academy’s curricular obligations."

I am reminded of the digital divide between Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. Today's students fundamentally process information differently from their predecessors. My mother retired from teaching high school in 1998 noting the change in students even then. Ten years later, the NET GEN has reached our college and university campuses enmasse. However, higher education, in general, is still stuck in the Industrial Age. Of course, there will be tension.

"[M]any teachers who do not have difficulty releasing old ideas, embracing new ways of thinking, may still be as resolutely attached to old ways of practicing teaching as their more conservative colleagues. That’s a crucial issue. Even those of us who are experimenting with progressive pedagogical practices are afraid to change" (Hooks 1994, qtd in Ganley and Sawhill).

Hall and Hord (2007) reiterated that change occurs gradually as individuals "come to understand and become skilled and competent in the use of the new ways (p.4). They indicated that most changes in education take 3-5 years to implement at the high level, and for each new adopting unit such as a school, district, or state, the countdown begins all over again for another 3-5 years. Mort (1964) chronicled educational innovations from the 30s, 40s, and 50s and concluded that the time lag between perception of a need for change to the introduction and diffusion of an innovation to meet that need was 50 years. Rogers (2003) also found that a "considerable time lag was required for the adoption of educational innovations" (p. 61), usually 25 years. So, how is technology affecting this process?

Hall, G.E., & Hord, S.M. (2007). Implementing change: Patterns, principles, and potholes. (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

Mort, P. R. (1964). Studies in educational innovation from the institute of administrative research: An overview. In M. B. Miles (Ed.), Innovation in education (pp. 317-328). New York: Columbia University Teachers College Press.

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: The Free Press.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hearding Cats

I found this ad on YouTube. Sometimes working with people to to get them to accept a new idea is like herding cats.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Innovate-Live webcasts

Innovate ( is published bimonthly as a public service by the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University and is sponsored, in part, by Microsoft. Innovate-Live webcasts, produced as a public service by ULiveandLearn allow readers to synchronously interact with authors on the topics of their articles.

You may register for the April/May webcasts at Webcasts will be archived and available in the webcast section of the article and in the Innovate-Live portal archive shortly after the webcast. All times are Eastern Standard Time (New York). You may use the world clock at to coordinate with your time zone.


April 24, 208
11:00 AM EST
Preparing e-Learning Designers Using Kolb's Model of Experiential Learning
Authors: Joni Dunlap, Jackie Dobrovolny & Dave Young

May 12, 2008

1:00 PM EST
Moving from Theory to Real-World Experiences in an e-Learning Community
Author: Ana-Paula Correia

May 14, 2008

11:00 AM EST
Game-Based Learning: A Different Perspective
Author: Karl Royle

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Technology Integration Standards K-12

"Effective integration of technology is achieved when students are able to select technology tools to help them obtain information in a timely manner, analyze and synthesize the information, and present it professionally. The technology should become an integral part of how the classroom functions -- as accessible as all other classroom tools." -- National Educational Technology Standards for Students, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)

*NETS Standards for Teachers (2000) include the following benchmarks related to technology integration. Performance indicators for each standard provide specific outcomes to be measured when developing a set of assessment tools. The Standards focus on teacher education programs and provide a framework for implementing technologies in teaching and learning across the U.S.

T-I Teachers demonstrate a sound understanding of technology operations and concepts.

T-II Teachers plan and design effective learning environments and experiences supported by technology.

T-III Teachers implement curriculum plans that include methods and strategies for applying technology to maximize student learning.

T-IV Teachers apply technology to facilitate a variety of effective assessment and evaluation strategies.

T-V Teachers use technology to enhance their productivity and professional practice.


*Note: ISTE will release the new teacher standards in June at NECC 2008 in San Antonio. The revised student standards were release in 2007. The revised standards for administrators will be released in 2009.


In addition to standards for teachers and students, ISTE also established Technology Facilitation Standards for teacher education or professional development programs that prepare candidates to serve as building/campus-level technology facilitators. ISTE and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) worked together to develop a set of performance assessment standards for initial and advanced endorsements in the areas of Technology Facilitation and Technology Leadership.

The focus of the Technology Facilitation program is on developing professionals able to teach technology applications; demonstrate effective use of technology to support student learning of content; and provide professional development, mentoring, and basic technical assistance for other teachers.

TF-I Technology Operations and Concepts

TF-II Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences

TF-III Teaching, Learning, and the Curriculum

TF-IV Assessment and Evaluation

TF-V Productivity and Professional Practice

TF-VI Social, Ethical, Legal, and Human Issues

TF-VII Procedures, Policies, Planning, and Budgeting for Technology Environments

TF-VIII Leadership and Vision

The Technology Leadership program standards are aligned with the six NETS for Teachers 2000 but extend the performance expectations of each standard. These increased expectations reflect preparation for serving as a director, coordinator, or technology integration specialist at the district, regional, and/or state levels, assisting teachers as well as technology facilitators in their efforts to support student learning and educator professional growth with technology.

TL-I Technology Operations and Concepts

TL-II Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences

TL-III Teaching, Learning, and the Curriculum

TL-IV Assessment and Evaluation

TL-V Productivity and Professional Practice

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Online Statistics Resources

Since I am not a "math person," I am having trouble getting statistics just be reading the textbook. So, I decided to see what resources are available online. Below is a short list of what I found. I really like the Hyperstat text and WISE resources.

*Hyperstat online textbook— by David M. Lane (Rice University). A very readable online statistics textbook, with good discussions of ANOVA and probability. Written by a social scientist. What makes this online text unique is that each chapter also contains an extensive list of links to other resources (articles, online calculators, books, etc.). So even if you don't prefer Lane's style, you will find links to other sources you'll find useful.

Web Interface for Statistics Education [WISE] (Claremont Graduate University) A special feature of WISE is the sequence of interactive tutorials on key statistical concepts (sampling distributions, the central limit theorem, hypothesis testing, and statistical power). The tutorials use dynamic applets that allow the user to explore relationships on their own. Guided exercises are designed to help the learner to take full advantage of the applets to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts and logic that underlie much of inferential statistics.

Online Statistics: An Interactive Multimedia Course of Study is an introductory-level statistics book. The material is presented both as a standard textbook and as a multimedia presentation. The book features interactive demonstrations and simulations, case studies, and an analysis lab.

Electronic Statistics Textbook begins with an overview of the relevant elementary (pivotal) concepts and continues with a more in depth exploration of specific areas of statistics, organized by "modules," accessible by buttons, representing classes of analytic techniques. A glossary of statistical terms and a list of references for further study are included.

*Statnotes: Topics in Multivariate Analys is really more of a small encyclopedia than a text. There is no attempt at organization or flow. Rather there are a bunch of articles on various topics, some quite good. A good place to look up statistical topics -- not a good place to get started with the basics.

*Introductory Statistics: Concepts, Models, and Applications by David W. Stockburger (Southwest Missouri State University). Comprehensive, conventional, well-written statistics text with a behavioral science slant. While it gives a very good explanation of the basics, it doesn't cover ANOVA beyond one-way)or regression beyond simple linear.

*Mutivariate Statistics. Concepts, Models and Applications. by David Stockburger. The place to go to learn about multiple regression, factor analysis, cluster analysis, discriminant analysis and much more.

UCLA Statistics e-book—

SticiGui Online Text (from Berkley)—

Java Demos for Probability and Statistics:

Normal Probability Calculation Demonstrations from Seeing Statistics:

Rice Virtual Lab in Statistics

  • HyperStat Online: An online statistics book with links to other statistics resources on the web.
  • Simulations/Demonstrations: Java applets that demonstrate various statistical concepts (downloadable)
  • Case Studies: Examples of real data with analyses and interpretation
  • Analysis Lab: Some basic statistical analysis tools.

SPSS On-Line Training Workshop (free tutorials and clips)

SPSS Tools (has free tips, tutorials, FAQs, macros, and scripts)

*Annotations from the Graphpad Library.

Faculty Development and Technology Integration--research proposal

I am currently taking my final course for my Ph.D.--before I begin working on my dissertation (that is if I finish my two independent study modules--which I plan to do by May). I put off taking Quantitative Research because I am not really a math oriented person and I knew it would be a killer class. Well, I was right. At first I had a little problem with the course project since we can't propose a descriptive research project--it has to be experimental or correlational. Everything I want to research seems geared toward descriptive research. So, I had to modify my idea for an experimental design.

Purpose of Study: To determine whether participation in an 8-week faculty development course will influence instructors’ attitude toward and integration of technology in their teaching practices.

The following research questions will be used to guide this study:
1. What relationship exists between instructors’ participation in the faculty development course (Facilitating Learning Online) and their integration of technology in teaching?
Ha: There is a statistically significant difference between FLO (Facilitating Learning Online)-trained and Non-FLO trained online instructors with respect to their integration of technology in teaching.
Ho: There is no statistically significant difference between FLO (Facilitating Learning Online)-trained and Non-FLO trained online instructors with respect to their integration of technology in teaching.

2. Does instructors' use of technology in their teaching change as a result of their participation in the faculty development course (facilitating learning online)?
Ha: There is a statistically significant increase in instructors’ integration of technology in their teaching following participation in the faculty development course.
Ho: There is no statistically significant difference in instructors’ integration of technology in their teaching following participation in the faculty development course.

3. What relationship exists between participation in the faculty development course (facilitating learning online) and their teaching perspectives?
Ha: There is a statistically significant difference between FLO (Facilitating Learning Online)-trained and Non-FLO trained online instructors with respect to their teaching perspectives.
Ho: There is no statistically significant difference between FLO (Facilitating Learning Online)-trained and Non-FLO trained online instructors with respect to their teaching perspectives

4. Do instructors’ teaching perspectives change as a result of their participation in the faculty development course (Facilitating Learning Online)?
Ha: There is a significant change in teaching perspectives as a result of instructors’ participation in the faculty development course (Facilitating Learning Online).
Ho: There is no significant change in teaching perspectives as a result of instructors’ participation in the faculty development course (Facilitating Learning Online).

5. What relationship exists between instructors’ participation in the faculty development course (facilitating learning online) and their attitudes toward technology use in teaching?
Ha: There is a statistically significant difference between FLO (Facilitating Learning Online)-trained and Non-FLO trained online instructors with respect to their attitudes toward technology use in teaching.
Ho: There is no statistically significant difference between FLO (Facilitating Learning Online)-trained and Non-FLO trained online instructors with respect to their attitudes toward technology use in teaching.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Deadline Fast Approaching--Microsoft Ultimate Steal Deal

Microsoft is offering a fantastic deal for students. Get Microsoft® Office Ultimate 2007 for just $59.95. I've seen this version sell for $485 (upgrade) to $695 (initial purchase).

Deadline: Midnight April 30, 2008

Microsoft® Office Ultimate 2007: Perpetual license includes the following applications:

•Access™ 2007

•Accounting Express 2007

•Excel® 2007

•InfoPath® 2007

•Groove 2007

•OneNote® 2007 (electronic notebook--great for research)

•Outlook® 2007 with Business Contact Manager*

•PowerPoint® 2007

•Publisher 2007

•Word 2007

Microsoft Office 2007 Compatibility Pack--for those of you who have not moved to the newer version, this pack will allow previous version to read 2007 (docx) documents. I have 2007 and sometimes forget to save retroactively.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why Technology Integration?

Today’s students grew up with technology; it is a part of their everyday lives. Technology is revolutionizing how we think, work, and play. Many homes have computers and Internet connections. Technologies such as MP3 players, cell phones, and laptop computers have the ability to empower users in a whole new way—especially with user-created Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, and YouTube. The way we interact with the Web has changed from a pull-down model to an interactive, push model. Our students EXPECT technology to be used in the classroom and as a part of their learning experience.
More and more studies show that technology integration improves students’ learning processes and outcomes because students become actively engaged in the learning process. George Lucas’ Educational Foundation, Edutopia, the Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) found that, "when used in collaborative learning methods and leadership that is aimed at improving the school through technology planning, technology impacts achievement in content area learning, promotes higher-order thinking and problem solving skills, and prepares students for the workforce.” reported that “
Another reason for technology integration is the necessity of today's students to have 21st Century Skills. The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory defines Digital-Age Literacy as the following:
  • Basic Literacy: Language proficiency (in English) and numeracy at levels necessary to function on the job and in society to achieve one's goals and to develop one's knowledge and potential in this Digital Age.
  • Scientific Literacy: Knowledge and understanding of the scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity.
  • Economic Literacy: The ability to identify economic problems, alternatives, costs, and benefits; analyze the incentives at work in economic situations; examine the consequences of changes in economic conditions and public policies; collect and organize economic evidence; and weigh costs against benefits.
  • Technological Literacy: Knowledge about what technology is, how it works, what purposes it can serve, and how it can be used efficiently and effectively to achieve specific goals.
  • Visual Literacy: The ability to interpret, use, appreciate, and create images and video using both conventional and 21st century media in ways that advance thinking, decision making, communication, and learning.
  • Information Literacy: The ability to evaluate information across a range of media; recognize when information is needed; locate, synthesize, and use information effectively; and accomplish these functions using technology, communication networks, and electronic resources.
  • Multicultural Literacy: The ability to understand and appreciate the similarities and differences in the customs, values, and beliefs of one's own culture and the cultures of others.
  • Global Awareness: The recognition and understanding of interrelationships among international organizations, nation-states, public and private economic entities, sociocultural groups, and individuals across the globe.
“I’m not comfortable with technology” or “this is the way I was taught,” or “this is how I’ve taught for 10-15-20 years,” or “I don’t want to seem dumb in front of the students” can no longer be viable excuses. As society changes, the skills needed to negotiate the complexities of life also change. At the turn of the century (1900s), a person who had acquired simple reading, writing, and calculating skills was considered literate. There is an information explosion. Our students must learn HOW to access the information, HOW to analyze and evaluate it, HOW to use it to make personal and socially responsible decisions, HOW to communicate across cultures for interpersonal and presentation needs. Education can no longer be expected to disseminate a discrete body of knowledge and we must change our view of what it means to be “literate” and “educated.”