The LectureTools Blog

Will MOOCs be the End of the College Campus?

Posted by Christopher Machielse on Wed, February 27, 2013

MOOCs allow students to access courses from anywhere
Photo: Ed Yourdon

From Coursera to edX, “MOOC” has become one of the top education buzzwords of 2013, with some of the most powerful brands in higher education like Stanford, MIT, and the University of Michigan offering courses for free. These Massive Open Online Courses have been growing in number over the past year, and with over 2.7 million “students” on Coursera alone, it is easy to see why MOOCs have become the topic de jour.

With courses being taught online for free from the Harvards, Stanfords, and MITs of the world, will there be a place for the physical college campus experience in the future?

MOOCs share some characteristics of disruptive technologies

Wired notes that MOOCs have certain traits that have traditionally been held by disruptive technologies. MOOCs are serving people who aren’t already enrolled in college, making content free and accessible to those who otherwise would miss out. Additionally, with materials online, students have some flexibility with their schedules that students who must be in a brick-and-mortar room at a specific time do not.

MOOCs also are now at the point where their quality is allowing them to be desirable to “upmarket” users as supporting technologies like bandwidth and online sharing have proliferated. While they are not yet sufficient to meet the needs of many college students, they are beginning to approach a more rigorous standard that will increasingly meet the needs of consumers.

 

Why MOOCs aren’t ready to replace “traditional” colleges just yet

On paper, MOOCs sound like the revolution in education that we have been waiting for. But it isn’t that simple. While the features of MOOCs – captured lectures, the ability to discuss material with fellow students, and practice assignments – parallel or are similar to the traditional classroom, MOOCs have yet to see the same success.

Most importantly, only a small fraction of students who enroll in MOOCs go on to complete the course. This phenomenon is so pronounced that it caused Richard McKenzie, a UC—Irvine professor, to leave his Coursera “Microeconomics for Managers” course because of his 37,000 students, “fewer than 2 percent have been actively engaged in discussions.”

Professor McKenzie viewed uninformed or superfluous responses from students in discussion forums as an impediment to the learning of the students serious about completing the course. In this arena, MOOCs may not meet the standards of the traditional university because students in many cases may not be coming from the same level of commitment as their college-enrolled counterparts. Without tuition to pay or an official transcript, many who register for MOOCs could be enrolling simply out of curiosity – the stakes are low. Unlike the full-time student in a university who could be wasting tens of thousands of dollars in tuition for not devoting their full attention to a course, a Coursera user can leave a course at any time with no real consequences.

Though some MOOCs are beginning to offer certifications for students who want to prove their work in online courses, even the co-founder of Coursera doesn’t think they will reach the value of a traditional degree from one of the MOOC-provider’s partner institutions.

 

Lessons from MOOCs that can be applied to higher education via blended learning

MOOCs aren’t ready to replace the classroom experience for the majority of students yet. But, there are a few qualities of MOOCs that can be used in a blended learning class (i.e. combining both face-to-face instruction and online elements) to improve student learning and satisfaction.

Among these are providing ways to students to ask questions and get answers digitally. Personal capture (PCAP) and lecture capture videos are also great resources for students to access when studying after class, even if they are on a physical campus. Ultimately, digital tools and practice problem sets can enhance student learning in any course setup because they increase the opportunities for students to engage with material, think critically, and learn in the way that is most effective for them

 

How Students Consume Complex Concepts with Blended Learning

Attend our free webinar -- Snacking on Substance: Active Learning Cuts Rich Course Content into Bite-Sized Chunk -- to learn how students at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine consume complex concepts with some help from lecture capture and a student engagement system.

Topics: Active Learning, traditional teaching methods, Online Education, MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses, emerging technologies in education, Teaching with Technology, Educational Technology, Web Applications

LectureTools Acquired by Echo360

Posted by Chelsea Jenkins on Wed, November 07, 2012

 

An Active Learning Platform


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In 2005 Dr. Perry Samson started LectureTools at the University of Michigan as a research project with one goal: to revolutionize the classroom and to engage students with their laptops and cellphones, regardless of class size. 

LectureTools launched commercially in August 2011 and has since been adopted by professors at over 30 universities and colleges across the United States, Canada, and Asia. Today, we are excited to announce that we are joining forces with Echo360, whose lecture capture technology is in use at over 600 schools across the globe and backed by Steve Case's Revolution Growth.

LectureTools: An Active Learning Platform on Vimeo.

Echo360 provides not only resources, but also a like-minded vision and talented employees that will help us achieve our long-term goal of building an active learning platform that revolutionizes the way people teach and learn using technology in and out of the classroom. This is not the end of LectureTools, rather, a new beginning, and current accounts will not be affected. LectureTools will always exist and it will continue to improve as a stand alone product. It will also be developing an integrated solution with lecture capture and other active learning features. 

We would like to extend a special thank you to our early adopters, who have given us amazing feedback and their continued support. We look forward to continuing our work with you and the Echo360 team.

 

To a new beginning, 

The LectureTools team.

 

Samson is also a co-founder of the Weather Underground, which sold in the summer to the Weather Channel, with a group of former students. LectureTools also sprouted with a dedicated group of recently graduated U-M students including Jason Aubrey, Bret Squire and Sharanyan Ravi. Aubreyco-founder of LectureTools, joins Echo360 as a product manager while Squire and Ravi join as developers. 

We would also like to say thank you to a few key players in the LectureTools story – University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Michigan TechArb, University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer, The National Science Foundation, our advisor Jim Sterken, and the instructors and students who have helped us grow.

 

 

Make your class more interactive: click below and become the next addition to our team!

 

 

 

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Topics: Online Education, LectureTools News, New Features, classroom engagement strategies, emerging technologies in education, interactive classroom technology, enhance student engagement, Teaching with Technology, Student-Instructor Interaction, Engaging Students in the Classroom, Classroom Response Systems, Educational Technology, instructor interaction, instructor communication, student engagement, student engagement strategies, Student Response Systems, student response, Flipped Instruction, educational networking, The Flipped Classroom

The Flipped Classroom: Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century

Posted by Katherine Pfeiffer on Fri, February 17, 2012

Have you heard of the flipped classroom? Imagine inverting the way instruction and homework is assigned. Instead of students passively learning during class time, students learn at home receiving instruction at their own pace. Class time is then open for an active learning approach where students get access to valuable time with the instructor. The instructor’s role changes from presenter of content to learning coach. 

Jon Bergmann and Jerry Overmyer discovered this solution when students were frequently missing class for school activities. They began by recording and annotating their lectures and posted them on-line for absent students.  Not only did the absent students use these materials, but, many students who did not miss class used the on-line materials to reinforce the classroom lessons. 

There is no one exact model, but a flipped classroom typically includes:

  1. Resources like videos and PowerPoint presentations that take place of direct instruction
  2. Time outside of school where students watch videos, follow lecture slides, take notes, and create questions.
  3. Class time for working on group projects, homework where they can have the teacher’s immediate assistance.

Providing students with videos of instruction and PowerPoint presentations to be reviewed outside of school allows them to learn at their own pace.  They may pause the video, take notes, write questions, re-wind the video, review for clearer understanding, or perhaps fast-forward.  The lecture material is always available for review allowing students to return and use these powerful resources to study and prepare for exams.

While in class, the once "home" work assignments become much more meaningful and have a greater potential of sticking in their memory.  Flipping the classroom gives students the chance to first study at home and then use class time to really learn and understand through doing.  Think of the science class. Instead of spending 3/4 of class time lecturing and only 1/4 conducting lab experiments, students can spend nearly all of class time in the lab!

If you would like to provide more in-class learning experiences give the flipped classroom a try.  There are many on-line resources available.

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Topics: Online Education, classroom engagement strategies, emerging technologies in education, Educational Technology, Flipped Instruction, The Flipped Classroom

2011: The Year of Ed Tech

Posted by Erin Klein on Thu, January 26, 2012

students using ipads in the classroom

The year 2012 holds a lot of promise for the field of education technology—but before we take the leap into the future, we should take a moment to reflect on the outstanding accomplishments of the past. It's equally important to emphasize why improvements in education are notable in the first place. Increasing the public's accessibility to educational resources, be they classroom-based or otherwise, is the most effective way to improve the quality of education in the U.S. and lead to a more productive society as a result.

 

The reign of the iPad

According to the New York Times, 2011 saw a growing number of schools begin to integrate use of the iPad into curriculum as a means of improving student understanding and engagement in the classroom. The devices are used for various academic pursuits, including analyzing literature through multimedia, playing trivia-based games in history class, and walking through complex math problems with step-by-step animation. Interactive platforms allow students to take a more hands-on approach to the problems that confront them at school.

 

Adult learning through mobile devices

Even more accessible and convenient than the iPad, mobile devices were also a notable medium for educational breakthroughs in 2011. Many colleges and universities across the country began encouraging adult learning through mobile devices last year taking advantage of the potential of podcasts as a means of broadcasting online lectures and videos through mobile technology

 

Shift in opinion regarding online education

Though the public may not be quick to catch on, over half of college presidents surveyed by the Pew Research Center reported a positive opinion of the value of online education (pdf link). This is compared to just 29 percent of the general public mentioned. Despite a less positive opinion toward the value of online education, its popularity has continued to grow in the past ten years, with 46 percent of graduates reporting to have taken at least one online class during their time spent in college.

 

steve jobsRemembering Steve Jobs

No article discussing the breakthroughs in education technology would be complete without referencing the contributions of Steve Jobs. Although his life was cut short in October of last year, he left an enduring legacy. Jobs was one of the first innovators to advocate the use of computers in the classroom, and his devotion to integrating technology into educational environments was clear with each new device Apple manufactured. The use of laptops, iPads, mobile devices and other technological devices in the classroom can be traced back to the convictions of one man.

 

The Year of Ed Tech

2012 promises to be a year of digital dominance as well, with products like ultrabooks and tablets taking center stage this month. But 2011 was a year that created a platform for bigger and better educational technology to come.

 

Photo credit: Fancy Jantzi


Jesse Langley specializes in writing about education, professional and personal development, and career building. He writes on behalf of Colorado Technical University.

Topics: Mobile Devices for Education, Online Education, Apple, Steve Jobs, Apple iPad in Education