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IET researcher and project officer blogs

Listen to Barbara Illowsky on the Journey of Collaborative Statistics! (Part Two)

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Thu, 24/07/2014 - 15:33

Originally posted on :

This is the second part of an interview with Barbara Illowsky, OCWC Educator ACE Award winner, Professor of Math and Statistics at De Anza College and co-author of the OpenStax College open textbook Introductory Statistics (previously Collaborative Statistics). Read the first part of this interview to find out more about Barbara, De Anza College, the impact of high textbook costs, student savings, how Barbara was involved in changing State policy and her involvement with OpenStax College and Connexions.

Improving the Textbook Collaboratively 

Later in the interview I asked Barbara is there was any difference between authoring/creating an open resource such as Collaborative Statistics, and other material that Barbara has contributed to the Connexions platform, in comparison to materials Barbara uses in her own classroom.  You can also hear more about Barbara’s incorporation of the Vietnamese New Year gambling game of Tết into her Labs (mentioned in my earlier post: “It’s…

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Listen to Barbara Illowsky on the Journey of Collaborative Statistics! (Part One)

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Thu, 24/07/2014 - 15:11

Originally posted on :

Earlier in the year I posted transcribed excerpts from an interview with OCWC Educator ACE Award winner, Professor of Math and Statistics at De Anza College and co-author of the OpenStax College open textbook Introductory Statistics (previously Collaborative Statistics) Barbara Illowsky. You can find my original post on the OpenEd13 interview here, which is still worth checking out for an overview of the interview and key quotes. However, I’m now pleased to announce that you can now hear this fascinating interview in full!

Introducing Barbara and De Anza College

Listen to Barbara introduce herself:

https://oerresearchhub.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/barbara-intro.mp3

Barbara on De Anza College, the students who attend and some of the challenges they face. Quoting Martha Kanter “we accept the top 100% of students who apply” Barbara also tells us why she doesn’t use the term “remedial”:

https://oerresearchhub.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/barbara_deanzabackground.mp3

OER has an important role to play at colleges such as De Anza. Barbara told us…

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LASI@MK learning analytics summer institute

Together with Bart Rienties, I hosted visits from Shaun Boyd (NMIT, Australia, Victorian Higher Education and Skills Group Fellow), Shreeharsh Kelkar (MIT), and Adam Cooper (CETIS, Bolton) on 8 July 2014.

We organised a Learning Analytics Summer Institute (LASI@MK) event in association with these visits. This formed part of the worldwide series of LASIs organised in conjunction with the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR). The event was also associated with the European-funded Learning Analytics Community Exchange (LACE) project.

LASI@MK included short presentations from:

  • Linda Price on the long history of learning analytics at The Open University
  • Avinash Boroowa on the development of an ethical framework for learning analytics
  • Doug Clow on the systemic implementation of learning analytics
  • Vicky Marsh on links with quality enhancement and quality assurance
  • Shailey Minocha on the use of learning analytics in virtual environments
  • Zdenek Zdrahal on predictive modelling
  • Adam Cooper on the LACE project

It also included more extensive presentations by

  • Denise Whitelock on the SAFeSEA project
  • Shaun Boyd on the implementation of analytics at his institution
  • Shreeharsh Kelkar on MOOCs, software and the study of learning.

Understanding student mindsets

At the beginning of July, working with one of our pro-vice chancellors, I presented to our vice chancellor’s executive (VCE) about understanding student mindsets.

We made the links between mindsets and learner persistence. Keeping students on board is a two-way process, universities retain and learners persist.

No matter how excellent a university course, students are likely to be distracted while studying it by significant life events. This is particularly true for part-time students, whose studies continue for longer. When the going gets tough for our students, it’s not good course design that gets them through, or good teacher support alone (though that certainly helps). Our students also need the resilience to carry on, and to cope with the extra challenges that life throws at them

This is where mindsets come into the picture. How can we help our students to develop persistence and resilience; how can we help them to understand that ability is not innate but is the outcome of focused work, and how can we help them to develop a deep approach to study? Research shows that it is possible to change mindsets, but to do so across a university requires systemic change.


Learning analytics: answering the FAQs

The conference venue: Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

At the end of June, I was invited up to Scotland, to talk about learning analytics at the Society of College, National and University Librarians (SCONUL) summer conference. I focused on some of the frequently-asked questions about learning analytics, with the emphasis on the role and perspective of libraries in this area. What are learning analytics? Why are they used? How can they be used to help produce desired learning outcomes? What different types are there? What are the ethical issues? How can they be used in libraries?

Learning analytics FAQs from Rebecca Ferguson


OU Media Player June 2014 release

Dr Nick Freear's blog - Fri, 18/07/2014 - 14:39

I'm happy to be reporting on a new release of the OU Media Player that happened in mid-June.
This release fixed a number of bugs, including one relating to Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8, and another involved fixing security warnings for non-secure audio/video media files when the Player is embedded on a site via HTTPS.

There were also a couple of enhancements. One entails hiding the title panel on pages that are Open University branded. This has proved to be a stumbling block in some deployments, as the titles are not always meaningful to the public (they may be used internally to distinguish tracks), and it looks odd to have multiple copies the OU's shield logo.

Another feature we added was Google Analytics for the legacy Open2.net media embedded in OpenLearn. This is feature isn't visible to the end-user. However, it is important so that we can track and report on usage. Based on this, I can already report that the Player is currently embedded in something like 2000 places and receives approaching 4000 plays per month.

Analytics tracks some "events" for the Player, currently, "play", "pause" and the audio/video track is "ended", . GitHub: ../mediaelement ../mep-feature-googleanalytics.js. We're interested in doing more with the Player analytics, so please watch this space.

You can see the full release notes for version 1.1.9.

Open Knowledge Festival 2014

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Fri, 18/07/2014 - 11:52

Originally posted on :

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to head to Berlin with colleagues Rob Farrow and Martin Weller to participate in the Open Knowledge Festival (#okfest14) Open Minds to Open Action at the amazing Kulturbrauerei… Thank to everyone we spoke to over the course of the festival; it was great to meet old and new friends alike!

In addition to our Twitter activity (check out @mweller, @philosopher1978 and @beckpitt for more) I’ve created a Storify to capture a small selection of the amazing array of activity that took place during the Festival… Enjoy! #feedbackwelcome

Don’t forget to also check out the @OKFestival team’s Storify channel here.

Kulturbrauerei (Photo credit: Beck Pitt, CC-BY)

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5 Things That People Don’t Realize their Librarians Do #librarians

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 14:48

Originally posted on bluesyemre:

  1. Librarians are teachers. Many libraries have computer classes, which can include teaching a room full of people how to use Microsoft Office, how to use the internet safely, how to set up accounts and stay safe on social media, or how to use photo manipulation programs. Some libraries even teach computer programming classes. Librarians also do a lot of one-on-one tutoring if there isn’t a class that specifically covers the need of the patron.
  2. Librarians are tech savvy. Whatever computer classes librarians are teaching, or when we have to help a patron troubleshoot their own technology, we have to be computer and technologically literate in order to help. We have to know the basics of computer technology, at the very least. Most times, however, we know more, and if we don’t know the answer off the top of our heads, we know how to find it.
  3. Librarians are advertisers. Libraries…

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Elise Adamson on OpenStax College Textbooks

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Fri, 04/07/2014 - 16:47

Originally posted on :

Earlier in the week we heard from Paul Shaber on his experiences of using OpenStax College (OSC) textbooks. Today we’re going to hear from two more educators, who I was fortunate enough to speak with earlier in the year: Elise Adamson and Adrienne Williamson. This post is dedicated to excerpts from Elise’s interview and you can find Adrienne’s interview here.

Thanks to both Elise and Adrienne for taking time out to speak with me!

Elise Adamson 

Elise Adamson (Wayland Baptist University) is Professor of Math and Physics. Elise has been using the OSC Physics book with students who are largely studying to go into medicine. She is the first in her University to be using the materials and had support from both her bookstore and colleagues for using OSC. Sapling introduced Elise to OpenStax, her “first exposure” to open educational resources (OER).

Listen to Elise tell us more about how…

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Adrienne Williams on OpenStax College Textbooks

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Fri, 04/07/2014 - 16:03

Originally posted on :

Earlier in the week we heard from Paul Shaber on his experiences of using OpenStax College (OSC) textbooks. Today we’re going to hear from two more educators, who I was fortunate enough to speak with earlier in the year: Elise Adamson and Adrienne Williamson. This post is dedicated to excerpts from Adrienne’s interview and you can find Elise’s interview here. Thanks to both Elise and Adrienne for taking time out to speak with me!

Adrienne Williamson 

Adrienne Williamson (University of California, Irvine) is a Biology Education Researcher, in receipt of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant. Adrienne first found out about OSC textbooks whilst she was running a Coursera MOOC (Preparation for Introductory Biology: DNA to Organisms) and David Harris of OSC got in touch via email. OSC Biology was subsequently incorporated into the MOOC which had 38,000 students enrol onto the course. Adrienne tells us…

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Siyavula Educator Survey Results: Impact of Using Siyavula (Part IV)

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Fri, 04/07/2014 - 09:30

Originally posted on :

This is the final part of a four-part series of blog posts co-authored by Beck Pitt (OER Research Hub researcher) and Megan Beckett (Siyavula). You can read our posts on the Siyavula educator sample and background to the study here, more on education in South Africa here and more on educators’ attitudes and behaviours toward OER here. This post features some of the findings relating to questions specifically about Siyavula open textbooks and their impact on educators and students.

As a recap, the following research findings relate to 89 educators who have used or currently use Siyavula open textbooks. You can read more about the sample group and background to the study here.

Siyavula display (Photo Credit: Megan Beckett CC-BY)

Siyavula Open Textbooks

We asked educators how they first became aware of Siyavula textbooks, as this is of particular interest to Siyavula. Respondents could give more than…

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OpenStax College Student Survey Results (Part II)

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Thu, 03/07/2014 - 16:15

Originally posted on :

Welcome to part two of the OpenStax College (OSC) student survey findings. In this post we look more closely at some of the findings relating to the use and impact of OSC open textbooks.  You can check back to Part I for the background to these findings, an overview of the sample and the main research findings relating to OER behaviours and attitudes.

Please note that as commented on in Post I, these survey findings relate to both informal and formal students who told us they have used, or currently use, OSC open textbooks. As previously noted, further work needs to be done to better understand the results that follow.

OpenStax College Textbooks 

Nearly 60% of survey respondents told us that OSC textbooks were required reading and that they did not purchase any other textbooks for the course (57.8%, n=26). 34.0% of respondents told us they were using OSC…

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Siyavula Educator Survey Results: OER Behaviours and Attitudes (Part III)

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Thu, 03/07/2014 - 10:23

Originally posted on :

This is the penultimate post of our four-part series of co-authored posts by Beck Pitt (OER Research Hub researcher) and Megan Beckett (Siyavula) on the Siyavula educator survey findings. Previous posts focused on the Siyavula educator sample and educational contexts in South Africa. The final post will focus on educators’ attitudes and use of Siyavula. Today we’re looking at some of the findings related to OER behaviours and attitudes, the impact of OER on educators and open licensing.

As a recap, the following research findings relate to 89 educators who have used or currently use Siyavula open textbooks. You can read more about the sample group and background to the study here.

OER Behaviours and Attitudes

84.1% of survey respondents told us they had used open educational resources (OER) (n=58) with just over half of all respondents telling us that they had adapted OER to fit their needs (55.1%, n=38). Nearly 30% of educators who have…

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Clint Lalonde (BCcampus): Reflections on an Open Textbook Sprint

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Wed, 02/07/2014 - 17:00

Originally posted on :

We’re excited to work with all our collaborators and, as you may have picked up in previous posts. we’ve just started to work with BCcampus in British Columbia, Canada. More specifically, we are working with BCcampus Open Textbook Project, an initiative that is producing forty open textbooks for use by educators and students in British Columbia. The project is currently creating open textbooks in the “most highly enrolled subject areas” in the province, having previously identified OER/open textbook material that can be reused and incorporated into the planned textbooks.

During June 2014, educators came together to collectively author a Geography open textbook over a period of four days! Manager of Open Education, Clint Lalonde, kindly agreed to tell us more about the sprint. Read on for more on the project, why they chose to adopt the sprint method, how they made it a success and why they chose Geography as the…

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OpenStax College Student Survey Results (Part I)

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Wed, 02/07/2014 - 14:17

Originally posted on :

As was mentioned at the end of March (see earlier blog post) in addition to carrying out an OpenStax College (OSC) educator survey (for updated results see here) we also asked students about their use of OER and OSC textbooks. The bulk of respondents to this survey were drawn from the November OpenStax incentivised newsletter. We did, however, ask interested educators who had participated in the adopter survey if they would like to administer the student survey and three colleges participated in this activity. Some provisional findings were reported back at CNX14 early in April; one college survey closed shortly after this point; responses received have been incorporated into the analysis that follows. Thanks to all of those who participated or administered the survey; we really appreciate it!

Screenshot of OpenStax College November newsletter (http://tinyurl.com/ljthgrh)

It is worth noting that more work needs to be done on this provisional survey…

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Educator Paul Shaber on OpenStax College Textbooks

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Tue, 01/07/2014 - 12:41

Originally posted on :

Early this year, I had the opportunity to interview several OpenStax College using educators on their experiences of using the materials. Paul Shaber, of Fruitland Schools in Idaho very generously took time out to participate and sent me the following written responses to a series of questions regarding his use of OpenStax College textbooks and his experiences. Thanks so much, Paul!

Please could you tell us your name and position and say a few words to introduce yourself.

Paul Shaber, I am a high school teacher at Fruitland High School in Idaho, a small rural school with about 460 students. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Ed with certifications to teach Physics and Math.

What do you think are the biggest challenges in education today?

I’d like to discuss two: 1. Money is a big deal. I have a cohort who retired from working in industry and he is regularly unimpressed with…

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Siyavula Educator Survey Results: Educational Contexts (Part II)

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Tue, 01/07/2014 - 06:48

Originally posted on :

This is the second of a four-part series of blog posts co-authored by Beck Pitt (OER Research Hub researcher) and Megan Beckett (Siyavula). You can read our posts on the Siyavula educator sample and background to the study here, more on educators’ attitudes and behaviours toward OER on Thursday and more on the impact of Siyavula on Friday. This post provides more information on different educational contexts in South Africa and concludes the overview of our sample.

As a recap, the following research findings relate to 89 educators who have used or currently use Siyavula open textbooks. You can read more about the sample group and background to the study here.

Educational Contexts 

South Africa’s basic education system consists of public and private schools. The public schools are government funded and it is these schools that received the printed Siyavula textbooks. Each province is responsible for…

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OpenStax College Educator Survey Results (The Return!)

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Mon, 30/06/2014 - 15:15

Originally posted on :

As some of you might remember, I keenly blogged some of the provisional OpenStax College (OSC) Educator survey results whilst I was in Houston for CNX2014 in April. Since then, there’s been some very minor changes made to these results and so I’m pleased to be able to correct these in a revised version of the post I originally published with some other additions (such as the sample overview table below). Most of the text is verbatim with % adjustments but look out for some bonus extra findings!

You can read more about the background to the work, and the methodology (e.g. what hypotheses we were looking at) in the original blog post. In the meantime, read on…

Sample

As noted in the previous blog post, and as in the table below, we recruited participants to the questionnaire via three channels (OSC email adopter list, introductions to educators from…

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Siyavula Educator Survey Results: Sample (Part I)

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Mon, 30/06/2014 - 09:06

Originally posted on :

This is the first of four co-authored blog posts (written by Beck Pitt and Megan Beckett) examining the preliminary Siyavula educator survey results. If you attended the open textbook webinar on 28 May 2014 (watch it here!), you’ll be aware of how both Megan and Daniel’s perspectives and contextualising of the survey results for Siyavula and OpenStax College, respectively, really benefited the research findings overview. To capture and extend some of the discussions in the webinar, Megan kindly agreed to contribute to a couple of blog posts for this week’s open textbook research week.

This post focuses on the sample and background to the study with forthcoming posts on the different educational contexts in South Africa, OER behaviours, attitudes and open licensing and educator opinions on the impact of Siyavula open textbooks.

Background to the Study

The OER Research Hub (OERRH) and Siyavula began collaboration in Fall 2013, following…

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What’s Happening During Open Textbook Research Week?

Dr Beck Pitt's blog - Sun, 29/06/2014 - 20:52

Originally posted on :

If you follow us on Twitter (and if not, check out @OER_Hub), or if you read my earlier post, then you’ll know that tomorrow sees the start of our Open Textbook research week!

First, a big thanks is due to everyone I’ve been working with over the past few weeks; in particular special shouts outs to Megan Beckett (Siyavula), Clint Lalonde (BCcampus) and Dani Nicholson (OpenStax College).

As you can see we have an all star line-up of open textbook providers that we collaborate with, and a week packed with not one, not three, not seven but TEN blog posts. Here’s a breakdown of the week, day-by-day:

  • Monday sees a revisit of the OpenStax College educator survey results and the first of four blog posts with Megan on the work we’ve been doing with Siyavula.
  • On Tuesday we’ll be hearing from Paul Shaber, an…

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