What is the first thing you think of when thinking about large lecture courses? A sea of lost faces? Students falling asleep, facebooking, texting or cheating on exams? Large lecture courses are sometimes treated as the neglected sibling or a “necessary evil” in higher education.
What if it were possible to make large lecture courses more engaging while maintaining a sustainable workload for faculty and staff members who run them? What lessons can we learn from MOOCs that might be applicable back at home on campus?
These questions are the topic of an event to be held December 9 at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst by the Northeast Regional Computing Program (NERCOMP). For more details, see nercomp.org/index.php?section=events&evtid=298
We invite faculty who are interested in COMSOL Multiphysics to a local event and encourage them to share information on this potentially great learning experience with students.
COMSOL is used by to engineers, chemists, physicists, biologists, and anyone else interested in modeling and simulation of real-world multiphysics systems: simulations that involve multiple physical models or multiple simultaneous physical phenomena. More
Boston University has become a member of ELI, the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. ELI is the main national organization devoted to the enhancement of teaching and learning through technology; it is a subgroup of EDUCAUSE, the general association of higher-education IT organizations. BU has previously participated online in events such as the 2013 Spring Focus Session on Learning and the Massive Open Online Course. Our membership allows us significantly discounted rates on participation at ELI events in person as well as at a distance, and will make it more affordable for interested faculty to benefit from these events.
For anyone at BU looking to learn more about instructional design and educational technology or get more involved in these fields, the Northeast Regional Computing Program (NERCOMP) is hosting an event on October 21 in the Albany area from 9am-3pm.
NERCOMP’s description of the event:
“The field of instructional technology and design has been continuously evolving as teaching strategies adapt to the rapid advance of technologies. We have become quite familiar with related terms, such as Instructional Technology, Instructional Design, Curriculum Design, Course Development, and Academic Technology, to name a few, and yet questions remain about their meaning in higher education. What do they mean on your campus? What responsibilities does an Instructional Designer or Academic Technologist have? Are they involved in technical support? E-learning? Curriculum and instructional design? Faculty development? System administration? While most of these types of activities are in play at your institution, answers to these questions will likely vary depending on campus organization, culture, academic program, and other factors. More
Boston University has something new to offer those who use a survey tool to conduct research or course evaluations, offer tests and quizzes, get student feedback, and analyze data. A group of IT Partners from SED, CAS, ENG, SMG, and BUMC, together with IS&T, have purchased a site license for Qualtrics, a highly advanced yet easy to use survey tool. This means you should not have to pay for your own or a department survey tool license as long as the site license is renewed. It’s provided at no charge — to students, faculty, staff, students, even guests sponsored by a department.
To access Qualtrics, visit www.bu.edu/qualtrics and enter your BU login name and Kerberos password. On-line, you can create a survey, collaborate with others in and outside the University, distribute to anonymous or invited participants, view results, and build reports. Response has been very good. It’s a simple and productive tool. Introductory courses are now offered; you can sign up online.
Many new tutorials on educational technology tools are now being offered through the training calendar within TechWeb. In July and August there are sessions available on Blackboard Learn, WordPress, Qualtrics survey design, NVivo, Digication ePortfolio and BUworks (SAP). Sign up for hands-on sessions to learn how to use any of these tools.
BU offers a scanning and scoring service for a variety of paper-based needs including course evaluations, surveys and exam scoring, as well as data collection and professional form design. The scanning and scoring staff’s mission is to collect, analyze and report all these varieties of data in a manner that is effective, timely and accurate.
BU’s high-speed OPSCAN scanners can read both ink (black or blue) and pencil marks (#2). Quizzes and midterm exams are processed within 48 hours. Final exams are guaranteed to be processed within 24 hours, including item analysis and statistics. Scores can be provided via email.
Reports from course evaluations and surveys are generally available two to three weeks after receiving the evaluation or survey package, and within a week for data collections. Raw data and results can be provided electronically in database-compatible format for your own analysis. The scanning and scoring service also offers its extensive experience in forms design and scanning projects; its staff can assist you in tailoring forms that are intuitive and will accurately capture data needed for a project.
The Scanning Service is available to BU faculty, researchers, staff and departments, and can also be requested by outside clients or institutions. The cost varies by service. Visit links to learn more about BU scanning services in general, or specifically about test scoring, course evaluations, surveys and data collection, or custom form design.
To highlight the best work of their students, the College of General Studies – where all students produce an interdisciplinary ePortfolio as part of their program curriculum – recently introduced an ePortfolio Showcase. Out of over 1000 student ePortfolios, each team of faculty nominated a student that it thought produced the best porfolio. A peer mentor and the assistant dean for interdisciplinary learning selected the winners from among these: three freshmen (Kyle Cowper, Natalie Fritz and Nicole Jefferson) and a sophomore (Nahomi Velasquez). The winners received a $100 gift card from the BU Bookstore. Screenshots of the winners now scroll across the screen of the lobby at CGS, and Nahomi Velasquez’s winning portfolio is available for public viewing on the web.
BU’s School of Hospitality Administration (SHA) has recently adopted ePortfolios as a way for students to display their accomplishments in the program’s required internship courses. ePortfolios allow students to document and showcase what they have done in their professional career while studying. The ePortfolio requirement encourages students to start thinking about their career paths from their first internship, by gathering materials and documents that they may find useful in charting their future careers. The many documents they post include: a résumé, a cover letter, a sample thank-you letter to an interviewer, a LinkedIn profile, information about jobs applied for, reflection on a mock interview, an elevator speech, documentation of a networking event, and a reflection on the experience. This ePortfolio documentation helps students make the job-search process an integral part of their SHA career.
In the coming months, BU Educational Technology, Training and Outreach plans to offer free training workshops on NVivo open to all interested BU faculty, staff and students. But if you can’t wait, or you’d like to focus more deeply on particular advanced topics, you may be inerested to know that QSR International (the creators of NVivo) have a special offer on paid online training webinars in June. If you enroll in one, you can enroll in a second of similar duration at half price.
90-minute workshops on special topics are $125 per course, or $95 for students. If you enroll in any one, you may enroll in a second at half price. (This applies only to purchases made between now and June 30.)
- Analyzing Text in NVivo: for those who are new to NVivo or for those who have used previous versions of QSR software.
- Working with Media Sources in NVivo: for those who are new to NVivo or for those who have used previous versions of QSR software who are working with media and image files.
- Classifying Data and Coding Queries: for those who have taken a prior course or have experience with importing and coding data in NVivo.
- Datasets and Web Content: for those with a special interest in survey data or social media content from the web.
- Literature Reviews and NVIvo: for those who would like to learn how NVivo can be used for a literature review.
Six-hour workshops are offered over the course of one week, Mon-Wed-Fri, 2 hours each day. The cost of each workshop is $325, or $295 for students. Enroll in Essentials, and enroll in Further Analysis at half price. (This applies only to purchases made between now and June 30.)
- NVivo Essentials: A basic introduction to NVivo that will provide you with the fundamental information and practice you need to get started with your own project.
- Further Analysis in NVivo: Go beyond the basics to asking questions of your data and your analysis using categorical date like demographics, grouping tools, coding queries and visualizations.