All aboard the MOOC train!


Train wreck at Montparnasse 1895

Many like Nathan Harden are saying that the MOOC signals “The End of the University as We Know It.” Free online higher education, Harden argues, is part of the shifting sands for established higher ed institutions in the U.S. If you put much stock in 20-30 year predictions (I don’t), schools like EMU run the… Read more »

Human connection and ed-tech in Mennonite higher ed


In the January 7th issue of the Mennonite World Review, president emeritus of Fresno Pacific University, D. Merrill Ewert, laid out a few of the 21st century challenges facing Mennonite higher education. They include: A broken financial model (including reduced congregational support of colleges) Rise of the for-profits (University of Phoenix, et al.) New faculty majority… Read more »

Case study: Online video for recorded lectures


For the "streams and floods" unit, Doug stood in a local stream and held forth. (Click for the lecture video on YouTube.)

One of the exciting things about my work at EMU has been to hear periodic stories of adventurous faculty members experimenting with educational technology on their own. As the “ed-tech guy,” one might assume that I should be the one with all the cool ideas that I then take around and show the faculty, so… Read more »

Case study: Student portfolios with collaborative online documents


Note: Not professor Medley's desk. (Photo by PenRX via Flickr/CC.)

As the fall semester was getting started, I received a request from Mike Medley, professor in the Language and Literature department and coordinator of the TESOL minor here at EMU. He was looking for ideas on how to better handle documents in his 400-level “Methods of Language Teaching” course. According to Mike, “This course requires students… Read more »

Case study: Highly synchronous online course


Hand-drawn visualization of our online classroom, matching technologies with familiar objects. (Click for full-size.)

At risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m going to write again about my first significant online course design and facilitation experience: the online restorative justice class at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), which ran this past spring (and will run again this coming spring). It was what I would characterize as… Read more »

Partnering with faculty for online instructional design


Photo by Teo Romera via Flickr

This week I found a helpful article by Laura Lea on the Moodlerooms blog… Best Practices: Sharing the Lanes of Design and Facilitation in Online Courses I’ll get back to this article in a minute, but first let me set some context for how it factors into my work… In my role as Distance Learning… Read more »

Change of venues…


photo by tonystl via Flickr

After four years of life in the campus of Eastern Mennonite University, the majority of which was spent as a graduate student, but also these past five months after graduation working full-time for Information Systems, I’m returning to my home state of Iowa. It’s been a tremendous gift to be part of such a wonderful… Read more »

Notes from the Teaching, Learning, and Technology conference at JMU


Keynote speaker, Jim Groom of Mary Washington, showed us his exploded open class - #ds106

[Editor’s note: It’s been far too long since I’ve posted here, and I need to address that with something more substantive than a mere copy/paste of my notes from this awesome conference today at neighboring James Madison University. But until then…] I hopped on my bike this morning wearing flip-flops, which quickly ended up being… Read more »

The frailty of community in MOOCs



Now that the PR hysteria around MOOCs has died down and there are actual courses running, I’m trying to track the experience of MOOC students, some of whom are blogging about their experiences. Here’s a helpful piece from Audrey Watters that talks about the peer feedback system in Coursera, one of the big two MOOC… Read more »

An ed-tech ecosystem…always evolving


Ed-tech Ecosystem Aug 2012

When I started my work in May, my task was deceptively simple: Help EMU standardize on a web conferencing platform to facilitate a synchronous online classroom experience. Virtual/online class sessions had been used previously in a few of the graduate programs here at EMU, but with no standardization. The Nursing and MBA programs used GoToMeeting,… Read more »