Tag Archives: blended learning

Journal Entry – PIDP 3240 – Week 4


Change is not only coming to higher education; it has arrived. In Teaching Naked, Bowen (2012) discusses the impacts that are coming to university campuses and links them to similar revolutions in the distribution of journalism and music. Two recent articles I read pose differing opinions of how universities are reacting to this change. Some universities seem posed to lose their perceived value of prestige (Kinsley, 2016) by offering more and more open online courses, often for free and some even for credit. Other post-secondary institutions, particularly those that have lost status compared to their higher-priced competitors, are reacting by actually raising tuition (Askner & Bothner, 2016), using the notion that a higher price indicates higher quality, not unlike how Champagne can fetch prices higher than sparkling wines of similar quality from other regions. Similarly, there is a battle for control of access to academic research, to the extent that Russian neuroscientist has created a controversial site that allows free access to over 47 million academic papers that normally would be only available behind expensive paywalls (Resnick, 2016)


What does this mean for the post secondary system? Does the fear of the unknown actually create more rapid change within colleges and universities (Wheeler, 2016), which are build on a foundation of innovation and expanding thought? Bowen (2012) suggests that colleges should challenge assumptions like time-based teaching and even look at how space is configured and accessed to react to not only a change in technology, but in learning itself. I am actually quite excited to see what the post-secondary world looks like in another 20 years, and whether or not some of the new innovations like badging, gamification, and adaptive learning (Wheeler, 2016) have taken hold fully.


I see so much potential in the emerging trends of education, particularly in how this translate to life-long learning and professional development. Will we get to a place where the workplace and the classroom are fully integrated? Will we still feel in 20 years’ time that the knowledge students get in their first year classes will be largely irrelevant by the time they graduate (Dougherty, 2016). Perhaps the whole notion of graduation and degrees will have changed, and employers will be looking for more competency based evaluations and endorsements like those that populate our LinkedIn profiles will carry true weight. Is the google degree that far off?


I believe that we will get to a place where it is no longer questioned that content is freely accessible and that the value in paying for an education is in the understanding of how to interpret that knowledge. Open content is being delivered by open courseware, and now even syllabuses are being shared in the open realm (Karagnis, 2016). The curators of open content will have a responsibility of not only maintaining the resources, but also for being the new gatekeepers that allow us to find the most relative information out of the cloud.

I started a massive online open course (MOOC) last year (ironically, it was a MOOC on how open education is changing the post-secondary space) through Stanford Online, and quickly realized that although the content was relevant and engaging, participating in discussion threads with thousands of others from around the globe meant being constantly bombarded by attacks on my inbox with the latest response to a thread, many of which even started to include spam and clear advertising links! Sifting through the noise became too much of a distraction, so I abandoned it a few weeks in.

I have a colleague who likens what is happening with higher education to handing someone a library card and telling them everything they need to know can be found in the New York Public Library and to go and help themselves. Without systems in place that will allow us to filter, and people available to discuss the meaning of what we find, even if they are at the end of a phone or on an ooVoo chat, we will be lost.

I, for one, am happy to pay a bit for that filter and a smaller community of learners around me, no matter how far apart physically we may live.


Askner, N., Bothner, M. (2016) Status-Aspirational Pricing: The “Chivas Regal” Strategy in U.S. Higher Education, 2006–2012. Administrative Science Quarterly. Retrieved from http://asq.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/01/29/0001839216629671.full#sec-14

Bowen, J.A. (2012) Teaching Naked: How moving technology out of your college classroom will improve student learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Dougherty, I. (February 16, 2016) Money won’t fix what’s wrong with post-secondary education. iPolitics. Retrieved from http://ipolitics.ca/2016/02/16/money-wont-fix-whats-wrong-with-post-secondary-education/

Karagnis, J. (February 18, 2016) How a “Syllabus Commons” Could Change Higher Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/How-a-Syllabus-Commons-/235330

Kinsley, M. (February 5, 2016) How the Internet will disrupt higher education’s most valuable asset: Prestige. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-the-web-will-disrupt-higher-educations-most-valuable-asset-prestige/2016/02/05/6bddc1ee-c91e-11e5-a7b2-5a2f824b02c9_story.html

Resnick, B. (February 17, 2016) Why one woman stole 47 million academic papers — and made them all free to read. Vox Science and Health. Retrieved from http://www.vox.com/2016/2/17/11024334/sci-hub-free-academic-papers

Wheeler, D. (January 13, 2016) Technology and the Imminent Disruption of Higher Education: Is Fear the Path to the Dark Side? Academica Forum. Retrieved from http://forum.academica.ca/forum/technology-and-the-imminent-disruption-of-higher-education-is-fear-the-path-to-the-dark-side

Journal Entry – PIDP 3100 Category 4

“The flipped classroom is…essentially reversing the traditional order…this approach fits adult education’s values of active learner engagement and self-direction.” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p.207)


I first heard about the flipped classroom at an educator’s conference in 2013, and was immediately interested in learning more. When I saw this quote, particularly in context to the rest of the course and material I have been studying, it offered an opportunity for critical reflection, ironically enough. At first sight, the flipped classroom model, where the lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed (EDUCAUSE, 2012) offers an opportunity to maximize face to face time between instructors and students. The logic behind this is sound – why fill a student with a pile of new information and then send them home to figure it out by themselves, or with the help of their peers or parents who may know even less that they about the subject matter, when we can do the opposite.


As a concept it sounds simple enough – give the students the lecture to watch at home and work on their assignments with them in class, but in approaching the delivery sequence differently, we must also look at how we design and deliver each of the components in a different way as well. Rather than just delivering the content the same way, we will need to shift our role as educators and maximize the power of all of the technology available (Gillett, 2015). Simply flipping the classroom and sending students home with a lecture and doing the homework in class is what has critics of the approach talking about it as an ineffective method. (Atteberry, 2013)


As someone who has always enjoyed the solving of the problem more than taking in the theory need to do so, the flipped classroom offers a lot of appeal. An important insight is that the approach may not work for all subject matter or for all learners, so careful thought must be taken to ensure that what the learner is getting is best suited given the situation. Creating meaningful and engaging content that can be delivered remotely, and having giving students the tools to come to class prepared to act on their newfound knowledge are two things that are critical in the flipped classroom. One might even argue that flipped is the wrong word. For me, it’s more of a shift, as the new concept is still delivered before the activity, it’s just which portion of the learning the instructor spends the one on one time with the student that is reversed.


I see this as one of the most beneficial uses for educational technology, particularly in vocational training. Most vocational instructors enjoy most teaching the hands-on portion of their course. For a cook, standing in front of the class explaining how to use a knife is far less rewarding that showing someone directly how to adjust their grip and seeing the benefit that has on their productivity and control. To add to that, shop time is very valuable, and having students in in a classroom getting a theory lesson instead of spending as much time as possible on the tools kind of defeats the purpose. On that basis, bringing the flipped classroom to the trades is an excellent fit, the challenge for us as educators will be coming up with take home lessons that will precede the shop time in a new and inventive way, and not trying to just send them home with a recording of our face to face theory delivery.


EDUCAUSE (2012, February 7) 7 things you should know about flipped classrooms. In Research and Publications. Retrieved from: https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7081.pdf

Gillett, B. (2015, April 29) Education in the Digital Age. In Academica Top 10. Retrieved from: http://forum.academica.ca/articles/2015/4/29/written-by-bob-gillett

Merriam, S.B., Bierema, L.L. (2014) Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Emily Atteberry (2013, December 5) ‘Flipped classrooms’ may not have any impact on learning. In USA Today Online. Retrieved from: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/22/flipped-classrooms-effectiveness/3148447/


Education in the Digital Age

This is an interesting article by Bob Gillet on how education needs to change for today’s learner.

Education today is trying to find ways to serve the most connected generation of students in history. Yet, in many cases, much of what goes on in post-secondary educational institutions in Canada seems to mirror far more the past than the future. Ways of learning have changed dramatically, and we now have access to vast sources of information. But many classrooms look very similar to what they did 200 years ago. At the same time, we now see individual students carrying two or three mobile devices and being connected to the Internet and the world 24/7, except for those times when such connectivity is banned by individual professors or institutional policies.

Source: Education in the Digital Age