Online as Utility

I just replied to a Facebook question about the online / hybrid / face-to-face modes of teaching.

For those of us who grew up with computers from an early age, we just expect to have the information and resources available on-demand.

Online course sites will become a "utility" in the same way that we expect to have electricity to turn on the lights. It is something that all users will expect to be there - and the control will be more in their hands whether they want to "flip the switch" or not. Just like electricity - they will consume online course sites at different times and rates based on personal preferences -- and they will become instantly frustrated when they are missing or inaccessible. (Ever attempt a PowerPoint presentation with a blown-out bulb in the LCD projector? Multiply times 30 students in a section.)

We're over-thinking the questions relating to online education. There has always been distance education; the only things that have changed are the tools we use to accomplish the task. I think that the "trinity" is actually "on-site / off-site / independent." Instructors who are not willing to support the service of Online Course sites are basically removing the fuse and ensuring their students sit in the "virtual" darkness.
James Falkofske -

Plagiarism: Preventing or Punishing?

I stumbled across a great set of presentations from Douglas Johnson who serves as the Director of Media and Technology for Mankato Public Schools in Minnesota.

Of particular interest is a presentation titled "The Fence or the Ambulance: Are You Punishing or Preventing Plagiarism in Your School?" When you view the handout he has posted online you will see Doug's Qualities of LPP (Low Probability of Plagiarism) guidelines.
Here is the list:

  1. LPP projects have clarity of purpose and expectations.
  2. LPP research projects give students choices.
  3. LPP projects are relevant to the student's life.
  4. LPP projects ask students to write in a narrative rather than an expository style.
  5. LPP projects stress higher level thinking skills and creativity.
  6. LPP projects answer real questions (which students would ask).
  7. LPP projects involve a variety of information finding activities.
  8. LPP projects tend to be hands-on.
  9. LPP projects use technology to spur creativity.
  10. LPP projects use formats that use multiple senses.
  11. LPP projects can be complex, but are broken into multiple steps.
  12. LPP projects are often collaborative and produce results that are better than individual work.
  13. LPP projects have results that are shared with people who care and respond.
  14. LPP projects are authentically assessed.
  15. LPP projects allow the learner to reflect, revisit, revise, and improve their final projects.
  16. LPP projects are encouraged by adults who believe that given enough time, resources, and motivation, all students are capable of original work.

Each of these points is accompanied by a paragraph which gives context and strategies.

The presentation handout then goes on to present grading rubrics and assignment instructions which would be delivered to students.

James Falkofske -

Bloom's Taxonomy updated for the Digital Classroom

I found a presentation by Joshua Coupal on which explains Bloom's taxonomy of learning as it relates to the digital classroom. If you haven't yet seen - it is a free way to create dynamic and interactive presentations (rather than the same old PowerPoints).

Joshua Coupal created a great presentation which also demonstrates extremely well how might be used.

Check out his presentation at:
James Falkofske -

11 Reasons Why a Tablet is Better than a Whiteboard

I came across a great article written by Jim Vanides of HP in which he argues 11 Reasons Why a Tablet PC is Better than a whiteboard.

Three key points are the ability to continue without erasing, the ability to capture and share notes from your presentation, and the ability to face your audience (rather than facing the whiteboard).

Great article on points I've similarly argued in the past. (But... if an expert from HP says it, it might carry more weight. *grin*)
James Falkofske -

Charter Cable Out of Service in St. Cloud

Something is gone horribly wrong again with Charter Cable. I can only get to a few websites (like Google) with almost all others resulting in a "Network Timeout" message. I can't even check my email or send a message to complain (even is failing to load) - so... I decided to "say something" here. It has been down for 2 hours so far (maybe more... I only checked after I got home from work).
James Falkofske -

New Studies Suggest eLearning Advantage over Traditional Classrooms

The article "The Evidence on Online Education" posted in today's Inside Higher Ed website suggests that online learners have definite advantages over face-to-face learners.

Evidence suggests that the students in well-designed "blended" classes perform the best, followed by online students, followed by face-to-face students.

This is an improvement over past studies which have suggested "no difference" between face-to-face and online modes of delivery. The key factor appears to be the "time to study" which is more flexible using online delivery methods.
James Falkofske -

MnSCU eFolio Summit

The 2009 eFolio Summit will be held on August 5th and 6th at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

eFolio is an web-based software application which allows any resident of Minnesota to create a free, online portfolio.

The summit will cover how the eFolio site can be used in assessment of student learning, in building program pages to support accreditation, and tips and techniques for building content in the application.

The website for more information is:
2009 eFolio Summit
James Falkofske -

OpenOffice as substitute for Microsoft 2007

OpenOffice is a free, open source software suite which provides virtually the same productivity tools as Microsoft Office 2007. The software uses the familiar menus structures of the Microsoft 2003 Office suite. In May 2009 the OpenOffice version 3.1 was released. For students on a tight budget, this is an easy and legal way to get productivity software for completing assignments.

The "hitch" is that for best compatibility, everyone should save their documents in the 2003 "Compatibility" mode. At this time, instructors should do this anyway as not to disenfranchise students using older computer systems and software.

OpenOffice Ninja is a site with articles to help users of OpenOffice get the most utility from the software.
James Falkofske -

Inkscape - open source drawing program

Inkscape is an open source drawing program available on SourceForge.
What GIMP is to Photoshop, Inkscape is to Illustrator.

Tuxmagazine has an "Introdcution to Inkscape" (pdf) which helps new users get started.
Additional tutorials are available from Inkscape, InkscapeTutorials, and a step-by-step lesson in how to create a logo with arched text is available at Sixthings.

Inkscape is available in multiplatform (Windows, Mac OSX, Linux) and is also available in a portable version to run off a USB memory drive.
There is even a plug-in which assists in creating 2-D animation.
James Falkofske -

Nursing by Cell Phone

I just heard a great program on Minnesota Public Radio (The Story - by American Public Media).

The show was an interview with Jo Holt, a student in nursing school.

She is using patients' own cell phones to record photos and detailed voice instructions for follow-up care once patients leave the hospital (especially relating to wounds and dressings). This helps the patient understand exactly how to care for their own health - providing easy and individualized patient care.

Also - this use of technology could help patients communicate back with doctors and nurses to determine if a follow-up visit is needed.

When I heard it ... it made so much sense.
It could probably extend to dental and other health professions - to help patients know "what to look for" in the follow-up care.

Here is the link:
Nursing by Cell Phone Story and Podcast
James Falkofske -

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