#ET4Online – It’s a wrap!

The OLC Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium was a great conference and learning experience!  With nearly 700 and 350+ virtual attendees from 25 countries and 43 states, it was a great opportunity to learn how a variety of institutions are creating flexible learning options for students through the application of educational technologies. There were also 38 vendors and 8 launch pad exhibits that provided a unique ability to think beyond the current deployment of technology at our institutions while seeing what additional solutions may be available to help solve instructional problems.

The focus on online learning continues to be mission critical for universities and colleges in higher ed.  Blended and online instruction is also growing rapidly in K-12.  As we look to the future, it is helpful to collaborate and share experiences at conferences such as #ET4Online.

Here is an infographic from the Online Learning Consortium on “Keeping Pace with the Changing Face of Online Learning“:

To access the full report, please see the 2015 Infographics - OLC page.

To access the full report, please see the 2015 Infographics – OLC page.

#ET4Online – Developing and Implementing a Faculty Workshop for Active Learning Classrooms in Higher Education: A Case Study


Session Details

Nate Evans (Michigan State University, USA)
David Goodrich (Michigan State University, USA)
  • Shared Google Doc by Session Participants
  • Goal is to experience active learning while learning how best to leverage the room.
  • MSU has 8 active learning classrooms and 3 flex spaces with moveable furniture.


  • Online Module 1 – Background to Active Learning Classrooms
  • Online Module 2 – Best Practices and Mini-Lesson Prep
  • Day 1 – REAL Room Tech and Faculty Panel
  • Day 2 – Faculty Mini-Lessons
  • Session Slides
  • Leveraging “Communities of Inquiry” and “First Principles of Instruction“. coi
  • Plans for the future to change from a 4 session to a 2 session academy.
  • Gathering student satisfaction and research are part of the next steps.


#ET4Online – Thought Vectors in Concept Space


Session Details

Gardner Campbell (Virginia Commonwealth University, USA)
  • 646 with 350+ virtual attendees from 25 countries and 43 states at OLC.  There were 38 vendors and 8 launch pad exhibits.
  • Emergence Technologies – Things that happen out of complexity or that can’t be known in advance.
  • Technologies of Emergence
  • The connectedness of things is what the educator contemplates




  • The thought vectors from learners in a shared learning space where concepts emerge. Language itself is a technology of emergence.
  • Help students to envision complex alternatives.
  • VCU’s New Media cMOOC: Live in Concert [Video]

  • How can we make the entire experience a learning environment. The syllabus, the outline, etc.
  • Can you syllabus be interactive enough to teach?  Can you insert questions into the syllabus to prompt students such as: “Do you have a blog?” And then branch out to guide them on how to create one.
  • What would it look like to put “Easter eggs” in your course for students to uncover or discover?
  • TAGSExplorer


  • Academic Learning Transformation Lab – “ALT Lab models and inspires connected learning for a networked world through faculty development, student engagement, communities of practice, and technology enhanced active learning. We cultivate distinctive experiences of deeper learning fostered by high engagement for student success.”

#ET4Online – Discovering and Developing a Highly Effective Model for Supporting Online Programs and Projects At Your University


Session Description

Dan Hillman and Robert Haley
Boston University, USA
  • Session Presentation [PPT]
  • Key principles for putting courses together:Commitment to instructional design of the highest quality, high level of faculty involvement in design and delivery of course content, support at every stage of the student life cycle, strategic technological innovation
  • 17 fully online programs with more than 3,000 students.
  • 26 staff supporting.


  • Design side for online courses and prep for launch (yellow), and then the delivery goes over to the student side (orange area).  With the blue area being the “utility belt”.
  • All courses are built by instructional designers.  Faculty don’t have access to the course content development/authoring tools.
  • Course Development


  • Student Services – These are what makes thing special. Providing wrap around student and faculty support as the courses are running. Giving attention to the students… encourage instructors to send welcome messages.  If a student hasn’t logged in, they will notify the instructor and raise a flag.
  • Team – Combined staff of Instructional Designers, Student Services Coordinators, Media/Technical Specialists.  Instructional Designers focus on course design.There are 4 teams made up of: 2 instructional designers, 1 senior instructional designer, 1 senior student services coordinate and 1 student services coordinator.
  • Courses are designed in a 6 month process.
  • Student Services focus on assisting students:


  • The “Team Utility Belt” provides faculty with multimedia support and development needs.
  • Boston University uses Blackboard for course delivery and Adobe Connect for live office hours and classrooms.
  • Investigation Teams are set up to review additional options and tools like: plagiarism, student orientation, student ID verification, accessibility, analytics, student outreach, retention center, voicethread, etc.

#ET4Online – Reducing the Costs of College New Directions for Faculty eAuthoring


Workshop Description

Noreen Barajas-Murphy
University of La Verne, USA
Erin Gratz
University of La Verne, USA


  • Session Presentation [PPT] and Slideshare
  • Session Outcomes: Define eAuthoring course content taxonomy, Identify the benefits of collaboration between instructional designers, librarians, and faculty in the design and publication, Analyze cost savings to students, Review data of student learning using eAuthored content vs traditional textbooks
  • Does custom publishing work to improve attitude and learning outcomes? – Romine and Banerjee 2013
  • Content can be compiled in course management system or curated in an external system like Ginkgotree.
  • LEVELS: regular textbook, custom textbook (course cartridges), compiled resources say in Blackboard, external curated resources in systems like Ginkgotree, e-authored textbooks, and e-authored interactive adaptive texts

faculty + librarians + instructional designers + time = key to success in e-authoring

  • What are 3 bullets of actions you can take on your campus in the near future to enhance collaboration and the building of eAuthoring.
  • Textbook costs have increased 82% from 2002 to 2012. Custom textbooks and content via OER resources can help reduce costs.
  • Concerns shared as who owns this content?


#ET4Online – Learning Personafied: Employing UX Research Methods in Online Teaching

Session Description

Jessica L. Knott
Michigan State University


  • Agile Development Process
  • UX – User Experience Research
  • Target the user experience for enhancing the course experience for students.
  • Session Slides
  • User experience focuses on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations through obeservation techniques.
  • Polls and Surveys – Wedgies is a site for polling.  Other tools:  Google Forms, Qualtrics, and more.
  • A/B Testing – Place 2 options in front of users and see what they do.
  • How do we maximize/optimize: content, audiences, usability, contextual experiences for students.
  • Have you ever done a user A/B test with students to see which course home page they like better?
  • Lynda.com has a good overview of user experience testing “Foundations of UX: Usability Testing
  • Personas are valuable for empathy and to put yourself in your students’ shoes. They can inform design decisions, help you identify student groups for feedback, help identify team composition.

How can we as educators intentionally design our courses that contribute to effective learning using the principles of #UX?

#ET4Online – Burn the Box: Emerging Technologies That Educate, Engage, and Empower


Session Description


  • Todays learners are no longer traditional. They are mobile, social, connected, etc.
  • Nearpod – This is a live classroom presentation tool for synchronous activities that offers polling and student response.  Can be used as class is beginning for welcome and for introduction, attendance, in class quizzes, etc.
  • Camtasia – This is a screen capture tool that allows you to create screencasts.  Recording your screen and your web cam is possible. Welcome messages for students, course tours, lectures, student feedback, etc.
  • Session Presentation Prezi

Let’s burn the box and change the way we educate, engage, and empower our students.

#ET4Online – Teacher Tank

Session Information

The Sharks:
Tanya Joosten (University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, USA)
Bonnie Stewart (University of Prince Edward Island, Canada)
George Siemens (Athabasca University, Canada)

The Panelists:
Chris Walsh (Zaption, USA)
Chad Jardine (GoReact, USA)
Derek Wessler (Junction Education, USA)
Shaunak Roy (Yellow Dig, USA)
Michael Atkisson (DropThought, USA)
  • Junction Education – Offers a curated content delivery service.  A course home page, lesson page, student analytics. Faculty have the ability to tweak content. Concerns with duplicating functionality with the lms.
  • Zaption – Offers a way to interact with video. Turns video into active learning experiences. Interactive videos lessons for blends, flipped, and online learning.  The platform, find, add, share and track views.  Interactions include quizzes and notices. Tracking responses and download the stats with actionable analytics. There is a free version with $90 per instructor per year license for the full version.
  • Yellow Dig – Is a social learning platform.  It offers a system to create posts and allow comments from students.
  • Goreact – Online video assessment solution for student presentations and for instructor feedback.  Comments are discussion threads and are time stamped.
  • DropThought – Provides opportunity for students to provide formative feedback.  To be used for instructional continuous improvement.  Students provide feedback through dropthought which is then viewed by instructors.

Overall, many comments from the sharks on concerns about replicating technologies and tools that are replicated in existing LMSs. Clarity is needed for faculty and educators on what the product serves to offer as a solution. Where the rubber meets the road and at the end of the day, how will this new X improve my teaching and my students’ learning.

#ET4Online – Beyond Alt-metrics: Identities and Influence Online


Workshop Details

Bonnie Stewart
University of Prince Edward Island, CA


  • Networked Scholarship – Higher education | what people had for lunch and the intersection is where Bonnie spends her time!
  • Conceptual Tools – They way we think and who we are as educators.
  • Our Inheritance – Scarcity of Knowlege
  • The idea of the university comes out of the concept of scarcity that knowledge is rare, that the university is a place to gather the resources that is known and to gather resources that are passed on and you go to the university to gain knowledge.
  • Now we have “Knowledge Abundance” and that changes what we do.
  • Sometimes we treat education as the digital tools are sufficient.  If all of what you are doing can be done with a computer than you are missing the opportunity to take advantage.
  • Sometimes we hand the data off to the vendor.  BUT if we had everything over to vendors we are missing the individuals effort to contribute.
  • Structure of Abundance = Networks (Closure, Borkerage, Degree, Closeness, Betweenness)

Networks are not just for consuming, but connecting… For social aspects and not just for information.


  •  Price of admission = public identity
  • If you know some people here, you don’t know someone is there unless they signal. You can lurk, but you can never fully experience the network if you are not public.
  • Many-to-many Communications – Rather than broadcast “TV”, with many-to-many there are threads of conversation between people.

  • Some nodes have more influence than others.  Some users have greater spheres of influence and reputations.
  • Knowledge abundance enables us to create ourselves as network node, forming webs of visible (&invisible) connections.
  • Networks have their own logics.

  • In abundance… the gates are open and you do not need a diploma or a piece of paper credential to come in and contribute knowledge. So in an era of social networks that people with ideas don’t have to be those with higher credentials.
  • Altmetrics: a manifesto – “No one can read everything.  We rely on filters to make sense of the scholarly literature, but the narrow, traditional filters are being swamped. However, the growth of new, online scholarly tools allows us to make new filters; these altmetrics reflect the broad, rapid impact of scholarship in this burgeoning ecosystem. We call for more tools and research based on altmetrics.”
  • What is a scholarship of abundance? Identities and influence: a study.  Bonnie spent 3 months on Twitter and followed people. What are the network signals of credibility and how do you build trust.
  • The number of followers on Twitter is often the 2nd most view information beyond the name. What is that person’s influence.  Also people look at the number of tweets. This gives an understanding of how long they have been on Twitter and how active you are.  These numbers contribute to interest in getting a followers.  Your bio also gives you an identity or belonging.  Now with Twitter you get photo/video metrics and favorites. Favorites are a way of signaling and your level of engagement.
  • The findings: in profiles the institutional affiliation doesn’t matter, individuals cultivate reputation, visibility, and audiences.
  • Common interests are important for social following and affinity.
  • Influence = perception of capacity to contribute.
  • Also important is a capacity to “stand out” and make yourself unique.
  • The biggest piece is contributing to the knowledge network.  That “matter-ing matters”.


  • Some voices get to matter more than others and there is still social bias.
  • In looking at identities and influence, we are in a time of public scholarship of abundance (consuming and sharing new ideas, disseminating information, brining public into the conversations, connection broadly, brining more of the self in the work being done, etc.) and yet it is also more because it exceeds the boundaries of the “institution”.


  • Higher ed no longer has a monopoly of information. We need to learn the recognize what is being done as valuable and learn to engage with the scholarship of abundance. The old status model of what counts is no longer.
  • We need to open the gates of many-to-many communications.


What signals will you send about your identity?  How will you help learners cultivate their network?  How will you contribute to the knowledge abundance network?

#ET4Online – Connected Learning


Keynote Session Details
Mimi Ito
University of California, Irvine, USA


  • How can we help young people find those that share knowledge and expertise while sharing enthusiasm and excitement about learning.
  • Learning in an era of abundant connectivity.
  • We have new challenge yet also new opportunities.
  • The “Digital Youth Group Quiz” #digitalyouth – 3 Questions: 1) What percent of americans aged 16-29 read a book in 2012? Answer 83% via Pew Young Readers Survey 2) In 2009 how many hours per day did US kids aged 8-10 spend with media? Answer 7 hours 38 minutes via Kaiser M2 Survey 2010 3) How many text messages, on average, do teens aged 13-17 send in a month? Answer 3417 via Nielson 2011 with girls sending more than double than boys.
  • The Gallup 2013 poll goes from 76% engaged in elementary to 44% in high school.
  • 45% of college students demonstrate very little learning in their first 2 years of college (Arum and Roska)
  • College tuition cost up 538% since 1985. Source = College Board
  • More than half of bachelor’s degree holders under the age of 25 are unemployed or underemployed.
  • There is a culture class of in class vs out of class.  Institutional structures that were created long ago vs a connected culture we are in now.
  • Meet Abigail, Age 14 – She is accesses a wide range of fan fiction through wattpad. She published her own work. She had an interest, engaged and received support and community through peers which then lead to new opporunities, such as she can publish her wiriting.
  • Online affinity groups have a learning path similar to: INTERESTS which leads to PEERS which leads to  OPPORTUNITY
  • Connected Learning (a learner pursues something they care about or a stake in) and Affinity Networks (support of peers provide new opportunities) = Connected Campus (summer of minecraft), Scratch, #Phonar
  • Digital Media Learning Initiative:


  • Connected Courses – Active Co-learning in Higher Ed
  • Who is your #learninghero? – having relationships in your life of those that have had an impact in your life around the passion of learning.
  • 2014 Gallup-Purdue Index Report – 1) Project based learning spans semester 2) Students that connected with their professor:

“If graduates had a professor who cared about them as a person, made them excited about learning, aand encouraged them to pursue their dreams, their odds of being egnaged at work more than doubled, as did their odds of thrining and their well-being.” 

  • Learning in an era of ABUNDANCE connectivity? The university is only one node of learning that can happen in a day.  That the connected learning has production centered, shared purpose, and openly networked interactions. 

The connected learning network – connects real world opportunity for the relationships and networks that students can have through affinity group interaction.

Learn more: