Friday, November 30, 2012

Using a Back Channel - Life after TodaysMeet

Update July 2 2018. Sadly TodaysMeet has retired. Now to find a replacement. Newsletter "TodaysMeet is Shutting Down - Six Alternatives to Try"

Here are some options:

I have been using a simple tool when teaching via webinar, It is being used in education for a variety of other purposes. Let me explain how I use the tool, I’ll  show you how it works and then share some other uses.

I use it as a back channel for participants to ask questions. The term back channel is used in politics and diplomacy to mean “a secret, unofficial, or informal channel of communication” (The Free Dictionary) It is also used to describe “ the practice of using networked computers to maintain a real-time online conversation alongside the primary group activity or live spoken remarks” (Wikipedia) The chat feature offered by most web conferencing tools is a type of of back channel. To get people accustomed to the tool I use it first as a warm up activity.  I ask people to share something new they have recently learned.  The activity helps me get to know the participants and they use the TodaysMeet application.  This way I know they can use it when and if they chose. I then invite participants to give me feedback or ask questions during the webinar training session.  It has worked well especially when working with larger groups when my ability to hear individuals is compromised.  Even in smaller groups, it gives participants another avenue to ask a question.

This link will take you to a demonstration on how to set up a meeting and how to contribute. This tool is free and easy to use.  No account needed.

Here are some examples of how others have used the tool.

  • Penny Kuckkahn: The best example would be when a group 4-5 were interviewing some community members at the museum the students took notes using the tool.  Then they had all the notes in one place and created a presentation from those notes.  Rather than having to pull together their handwritten notes.
  • Penny Kuckkahn: When several people go to the same conference together It is a great way to keep connected and know where each other are going and what is happening at the sessions. You also then have all resources right there for you after.
  • Angie Rondello: A colleague of mine has used it while the class watched a movie. Students were able to comment and ask questions while the movie was going without interrupting the movie. (students used school laptops or their own device)
  • Angie Rondello: I've been in a sectional workshop where they used it for the audience members to ask questions. The feed was displayed via LCD projector and there was a panel answering the questions and/or the main presenter would answer during the presentation.
  • Deirdre Bonnycastle. Use by study groups or for meet ups - easier than Twitter.
  • Gloria Hofer. This is a great way to aggregate student's thoughts, questions and reactions during a lecture and then capture it in the transcript!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

#CFHE12 Wk #4 my favorite speakers

The focus of week four was on the impact  of data analytics on education: is it a fad? What are the consequences of data-driven education? How does (or should) this drive change in higher education? My favorite speakers this week were John Baker, Founder, President & CEO and Erik Duval, Professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Erik Duval, spoke about Open Learning Analytics October 31 session with Erik Duval  (slides) His focus is on
using learning analytics to make the student and the teacher more powerful.  Dashboards are designed to help learners visualize their learning so they can be better drivers of their learning, thus more powerful.

I especially like how Eric likened the learning analytics movement to what is called quantified self.  Data is used to trigger self-reflection. The Quantified Self is “a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person's daily life in terms of inputs (e.g. food consumed, quality of surrounding air), states (e.g. mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels), and performance (mental and physical).[1] (

Highlights from our Nov 2nd #CFHE12 sMOOCher “Meetup”

SMOOCHERS: Smart MOOCs Higher Education Research Subgroup Oct8-Nov18 Current/Future Hi Ed

  • Clarify availability of resources before, during, esp. AFTER the scheduled time of the MOOC
  • "One-Click" link to login, AND to get to recording after
  • In order for learning to take place the learner needs DO something with the content. "Requirements" might be useful...  vs.  "recommendations"  vs.  laissez faire ??? When is a "requirement" not a "requirement"?   "Assignment"???? WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE "REQUIREMENTS" OR "ASSIGNMENTS" MORE EFFECTIVE?  CHANGE THE NATURE OF THE REQUIREMENTS?  CHANGE THE RELATIONSHIPS?  HAVE SYNCHRONOUS SESSIONS WHICH WOULD EMBARRASS THOSE WHO HAVE NOT KEPT UP? BE CAREFUL...  that "requirements" don't work as DISINCENTIVES to participation in sync sessions (for fear of being embarrassed by revealing non-compliance or non-preparation)
  • Is attending a MOOC like auditing a course?
  • Frank Parker suggested creating different layers of involvement.  The first layer may be one of exploration with the content, the next layer would consist of more involvement with the content. providing this framework may help people with different goals know how to navigate the course.
  • Steve Kaufman suggested that we are in such a rush to put things online, that we don't think about how content is being delivered. Let alone, effectiveness
  • Completing or surviving a MOOC. Frank Parker suggests that completing a MOOC may be complete nonsense. What participants may want to do is to take a taste and move on.
  • Dale Parker would like to see the whole course and all material at the beginning so can pick and chose what to participate in and access.
  • Finding a cohort with like interests may help promote dialogue and conversation.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

#CFHE12 sMOOCher “Meetup” Friday, Nov2, 1:00 PM ET

The TLT sMOOCher (Smart MOOCs Higher Education Research Subgroup) group is what Paul Glader refers to as a MOOC “meetup” in his blog post How In-Person Meetups Are Fixing The Problem With MOOCs.  (reference via Penny Kuckkahn.) This is our time to add some love to what Nan Zingrone reminded us could be a loveless MOOC.  We will talk together about the content of #CFHE12 week 4 and the impact of data analytics on education:

  • Is it a fad?
  • What are the consequences of data-driven education?
  • How does (or should) this drive change in higher education?
Let's also talk about our #CFHE MOOC experience.

Please put November 30th and Dec 7th on your calendar for our
final MOOC report out during FridayLive. The exact date will be determined soon.

This link will take you to a summary of insights from our October 26th FridayLive midterm report as well as some individual goals for the second half.  Please add your goals.

See you Friday!