Presenter – Patrick Keough Semi-Retired Photo/Art Instructor and DL Administrator
Another semester of online teaching has come to an end. I submitted my last set of grades yesterday and woke up this morning with the realization that I didn’t have to check into the discussion boards for my various art and photography online classes. I actually have some down time until classes kick back in on January 9th. Its going to take me a day or so to get used to this change in my routine. I retired from full time college administration and teaching 2 and 1/2 years ago and after a 6 month hiatus went back to work teaching what I love and am passionate about. Art History, Computer Art and Photo Appreciation.
I love what I do and am very happy to be retired and able to work from home or anywhere there is a WiFi hot spot. Many people don’t realize just how demanding online teaching…
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I’ve spent the entire summer upgrading and retooling all my online courses for the fall semester that kicks in tomorrow and Monday. I’m always excited about the start of a new semester, even though I’ve been teaching college level art and photography classes for 30+ years. I officially retired from full time college administration and teaching 2 years ago however I’ve worked my way back up to taking on a full load of online classes this fall to include Computer Art, Art History, Photo and Art Appreciation.
I now teach for 6 North Carolina Community Colleges from home, local coffee shop or anywhere my travels take me for that matter. It’s empowering to be able to teach my classes from anywhere in the world – as long as I have a wireless connection and my laptop computer I can access and teach my classes and connect with my students. That…
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Sally Roy recently created a video detailing the pros and cons of online learning. The project profiles real students who have had experiences with online education and features their discussions around the positive and not-so-positive qualities of online and offline education.
Excerpt from this Project…
“To log in or not to log in? That’s the question for thousands of students like you, who now have options that their parents didn’t have when it comes to obtaining higher education. No longer does a student’s college debate center solely on the old question about state schools versus private education. Online schools have become legitimate sources of knowledge and career training, and students now have another major decision to make when it comes to choosing a school.
As the idea of earning your education online becomes more socially acceptable, more students are choosing to earn their education through online schools every year. It fits easily into busy schedules and can be a life-saver for nontraditional students who have concern like work and parenting. And although traditional college students—that is, students who have just finished high school and are heading to college for the first time—are also enrolling in online schools, many students have questions about the differences between online and offline schools.
Their concerns are not necessarily eased by the swarm of information, facts and figures that are offered by dozens of different online schools. It can be overwhelming to attempt to take in all of this information at once, and it’s easy to lose sight of what your number 1 concern ought to be: is online school the best choice for you?”
Comments are welcome and encouraged…
Harnessing the Tools and Technologies for Online Teaching.
E-Learning is growing at such a rapid pace because it is…..
• Market Driven
• Student Driven
• Technology Driven
• Budget Driven
Education at all levels is changing very rapidly (understatement)
Question we must all ask ourselves…
Do we want to be behind the technological curve or ahead of it?
If we want to stay ahead of this technological wave then we must harness and effectively implement the technology we have at our disposal for delivering and assessing our course content.
1. Master the LMS (Learning Management System)
Moodle / Blackboard / Angel etc.
2. Look at your CMS as your teaching / learning hub.
From your CMS platform you can add a variety of “open source” tools that can enhance / enrich the online learning experience.
3. What other online tools/applications do you want to incorporate into your CMS
Skype, YouTube, ITunes U, Join.me, Twitter, Blogging, Jing, Photobucket, Flickr, Voicethread, to name a few.
4. Develop an online teaching methodology that is a reflection of your personal teaching style and draws from some e-learning best practices. An approach that enables your personality to come through. An approach that lets students know there is a compassionate, engaged, enthusiastic teacher on the other end that sincerely cares about their learning and success. This is the biggest challenge or online educators in my opinion and will take the most time so don’t get frustrated as you are climbing this learning curve.
Each tool/application in the CMS plays a specific role in delivering (and/or assessing) your course content (instruction) and then you add additional tools to broaden and enhance the functionality of your course.
Within the CMS
• Discussion Forums
• Assignment Manager BB / Advanced Uploading of Files Moodle
• Lessons / Create Web Pages/Glossaries
• Test Manager (BB) – Quiz Function Moodle
• Blog / Wiki / external links
Open Source (Outside CMS)
YouTube and Vimeo
Great for embedding tutorials that either you create or find on Youtube into your course. YouTube for lectures under 10-15 minutes and Vimeo for over 15 minutes. Anything you ever wanted to know about Photoshop for example is in a tutorial on YouTube. You just have to sift through and find and embed the best most viable tutorials for your lesson.
Great for embedding powerpoint slide shows / lessons directly into CMS instead of linking to them for download.
I use these tools for screencast tutorials. You can record your screen and your voice as you demonstrate a technique in Photoshop or In-Design for example. Jing for quick and dirty and Screenflow for longer presentations. These can be linked or embedded directly into Moodle or Blackboard.
Audacity for Audio Editing Podcasts
Excellent (FREE) audio editing software. Very shallow learning curve to let you create audio podcasts (MP3’s)
Enhanced Podcasts (Illustrated with images / video)
Great for demonstrating “hands’on” activities like a dissection in Biology or Chemistry Experiments.
IMovie, Movie Maker or Camtasia will allow you to create visually sophisticated enhanced podcasts for your lectures and demonstrations.
Once I create these I will upload to ITunes U, YouTube and/or Vimeo and embed them into my courses. These do not have to be fancy or highly sophisticated productions. I usually have a student keep an eye on my video camera as I demonstrate a basic lighting technique on the sweep for example. After class I put a title on it – edit out any bad spots and then embed it into the Blackboard or Moodle class.
Low budget way to share your screen with students for “real-time” synchronous critiques. Just send the students a link and they are viewing your screen. You would use this in conjunction with Skype so you can all have a conversation while discussing a Photoshop technique or critiquing an image.
Skype (online office hours, conference calls and screensharing)
Google Hangouts! Great for lectures, demonstrations, critique sessions and student meetings or real time lectures.
I find skype and google hangouts bot invaluable for office hours and online meetings. Students seem to be very open to meeting me on skype to discuss a project, look at work or just discuss a school or personal issue.
Twitter for Reminders and Course Updates
We have faculty using Twitter for sending out updates (reminders) to students about various course related projects, due dates, course changes and share short bits of information. All students are asked to create a course twitter account and subscribe to the instructor. I see a lot of possibilities with this tool.
Great for storing images or have students place their work in a central location for you to evaluate and/or critique.
Another excellent quick and dirty voice with images application that you can embed into a discussion board or anywhere into a CMS.
WordPress Blog for easy web e-portfolios, journeling, travel logs, marketing.
I am a big proponent of blogging for educational purposes and e-portfolio’s. All my student set-up a portfolio blog the 2nd year of our Photo Program. They set-up pages for each discipline like Portraiture, Sports/ Action, Fine Art, Documentary, Commercial Illustration in addition to posting their artist statements, resume’s etc. Click Here for an example from one of my graduating students. Ira Morris BloG
Excellent and expansive resource for instructional podcasts and video content. You just have to search for topics that relate to your course and download the podcasts and embed them into your course. All ITunes U colleges must sign an agreement that everything they upload to ITunes U is free to anyone who wants to use it in their online courses for edicational purposes. There is a vast array of Photo History Lectures in ITunes U for example. Why reinvent the wheel when someone has already created and made available excellent photo/art media content.
This is the student link to my College ITunes U site. I have over 200 audio and enhanced podcasts in my various photo course tabs. Students can download my podcasts (lectures and demonstrations) to their mobile devices or watch them while sitting at their computer. I do all my exam reviews as podcasts and students download them and listen before taking the exam.
Photobucket and Flickr
Online repositories for storing, sharing and commenting on images. You can have students post a link to their photobucket album or flickr stream to the discussion board and then you can review – post comments and help with editing and sequencing their pictures. Flickr seems to have more functionality for editing and sequencing than photobucket.
IMovie / MovieMaker
IMove for Mac users for making quick enhanced podcasts and instructional videos – Movie Maker is the alternative for PC users as far as being easy to use and enables you to create videos that can be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo or Itunes U.
Take a PowerPoint and add narrative then save as a mov. or MP4 file
I would imagine this software is going to be invaluable to effective online instruction and a big time saver for those of us who are burned out with typing.
Yammer – Educational Social Network
Check this cool “free” educational social networking tool out. Essentially like a facebook interface for communicating and engaging students and colleagues on a variety of topics. You can embed video and audio into it as well. I use that as a communications tool for all my Distance Learning Faculty at my college for sharing ideas, accomplishments and anything related to distance learning.
YouTube – Thousands of Instructional Videos and Tutorials on just about every subject.
Each one of these online tools and applications can help you deliver and assess your course content and some will enable you to engage your students effectively in the online environment.
The trick is to know WHEN and WHERE and HOW to use them most effectively to accomplish whatever learning objective you are addressing.
You must be aware that these online tools and applications are constantly evolving and changing and you have to retool your courses accordingly.
Online faculty must accept the reality that there is no standing still in the world of e-learning. We are life long learners and essentially students as well – the online environment has forced us to be facilitators / moderators and guides to the learning journey instead of the sage on the stage.
Those educators who are aware of this reality and ready and willing to navigate the digital / technological terrain will be the most successful, in-demand and marketable.
It hit me hard this morning that I am actually retiring from my teaching and Distance Learning administrator positions in less than 3 days. I can still remember when I was hired for my first position with a Community College back in 1979. I had recently been discharged from active duty as a military photojournalist and somehow stumbled upon a job opening at Central Carolina Community College in Sanford NC looking for someone with photography skills. I was working in a low pay darkroom job making next to nothing so I submitted an application and remember being surprised when they offered me the position as Audio/Visual Technician 33 years ago. I got my first taste of working in academia back at that small college in Sanford and it was soon after that when I decided to use my G.I. Bill and go back to college and earn my Masters of Fine Arts degree from East Carolina. I realized pretty quickly that I was not going anywhere in the educational system without a masters degree so I only stayed in that first state job 2 years before heading to Greenville and enrolling in graduate school at the School of Art.
I’ve been working for Community Colleges and other state agencies ever since, even while going to Graduate school back in the early 80’s I kept a part-time job working in a media center at Beaufort Community College.
Its been an amazing career journey and consider myself extremely lucky to have had so many exciting opportunities and learning experiences since leaving Long Island for the US Army in the early 70’s. Over the years I’ve meet some wonderful people and made many great friends who have contributed to my growth as an artist, photographer, teacher and eventually administrator for distance learning. Being the Distance Learning Director here at CCC has been a great challenge and incredible learning experience. Education has changed so rapidly over the years. The evolution and growth of distance learning has played a big role in the direction of education and will continue to be a major factor at all levels of teaching and learning.
I actually have no real intentions of retiring from work in general. Pursuing my art, photography, writing and painting are going to be a big part of my next career journey. Also applying everything I’ve learned about distance learning and teaching art and photography in the online environment into the private sector.
Life is as exciting as you want to make it and I don’t look at retirement as an end – I see it as a new beginning and look forward to having more time to pursue those things that truly interest me like my own personal photography, making art and taking what I have learned in the past and applying these varied skill sets to my future.
I am handing over the Distance Learning position at Carteret Community College to Mary Walton who I am sure is going to do a great job moving the college forward in all aspects of distance education. David Hisle will be taking over this blog and I wish them both the best of luck and success.
I want to leave you all with a web site and video that I think offers some valuable insight into the future of education. It can be looked at as scary or a little intimidating for those of us working in the traditional college environment – however I believe we must move forward with our eyes wide open as to the changes coming due to the incredible power of the internet and digital technology. Check out Epic2020 (The Video below is also on the web site)
CCC Instructional Technologist Pre-Ah Hill and I participated in the annual Think-In at East Carolina University yesterday. “Think-In 2008 showcased faculty from around the state utilizing technology to educate students in the classroom – both face-to-face and distance education classes. Participants made presentations via laptop poster sessions and included course and instructional technology demonstrations.”
This event was an excellent opportunity to see what other institutions are doing in the realm of instructional technology, in addition to sharing what we are doing at our college and the Community College System. The great thing about the Think-In is being able to get new ideas from other innovative faculty and instructional design staff from around the state. Each booth showcased a specific innovative application of technology such as the virtual hospital, using video to give feedback to online students, second life for educational purposes and a variety of other creative uses of technologies in the classroom both online and in the traditional class setting.
Pre-Ah Hill explains how we incorporate Blogging, YouTube and Itunes U at Carteret Community College and demonstrates how these technologies can be applied to the online class environment. You can scroll down to the bottom of the ECU Think-In page and watch the web cast of yesterday’s event. Click Here for ECU Think-In and Web Cast – Scroll Down Page.
Project Coordinator, Ginny Sconiers from Academic Outreach at ECU does a great job every year coordinating this unique event. I always come back with new ideas and contacts and that’s what the Think-In is all about!