In the connected era, students will be most successful after college if they have a digital presence that promotes their unique abilities and strengths. Online instructors are poised to play a powerful role in the development of our students’ digital footprint. Students aspire to be like their instructors who actively model safe and professional use of digital tools and resources. Effective online teachers understand that engaging students in the web is an important part of becoming digitally literate and, as such, learning is not tied to a textbook. This principle emphasizes:
- Developing one’s own professional digital presence;
- Using and remixing digital Open Educational Resources (OER) to facilitate active learning;
- Establishing a learning culture that promotes curiosity and critical examination of online resources while fostering digital literacy and media fluency;
- Providing opportunities for students to create content that can be shared outside of a learning management system;
- Fostering a learning environment that encourages students to connect with and learn from a global audience.
The above principles inform the practices noted below, as taught in courses provided by the @one online network of educators – @one principles for quality online teaching
Applying the Principles:
Professional Digital Presence
I create learning materials for several open source software working groups and serve on their committees and I maintain a LinkedIn profile. After taking the @one courses and learning how to open up more with students, I created this website for the Capstone as the start of a portfolio. Tuesday I begin a 10-week course with Jumpcut.com to improve my video skills; I’m good at the tech and need help on audio and presenting my ideas.
I also plan to write about my research on Medium.com and link to those articles here in my portfolio. Creating a stronger professional digital presence is my primary goal for this semester. Additionally, I will take two certificate exams on topics I teach; to validate my professionalism with our students.
I ‘go back and forth’ on OER. I use all OER tools when teaching; however, at this time OER texts are not current enough for my students and freely available tutorials are drowning in advertisements. I do use OER for all conceptual learning; I find open source, quality articles and offer them to students. For tutorials, I often use LinkedInLearning.com and at two of the colleges I teach with, these videos are freely available for students.
Some courses do not lend themselves to OER. For example, this semester I am teaching MS Project and the software is expensive. I wrote a mini-grant to have six applications installed in the CSM computer lab; however, the lab closes at 4:30 and, as such, supports traditional student more than it does part-time, working students.
Next semester I teach a great class on cloud applications, that lends itself to OER. I wrote two OER grants for my home district that have produced great results. In Spring 19 I taught an Internet of Things course, all OER, and it was not a great choice. I can offer free learning materials; however, next time I will include hands-on electronics rather than digital only, for enhanced engagement. I wrote a mini-grant for Strong Workforce to create IoT Kits for students to check out for the semester. As such, the students’ Raspberry Pi and basic electronics will be free. The course will be ‘low cost’ and no longer ‘no cost’. In summary, I use as much OER as I can without reducing quality for student learning.
Learning Culture, Digital Literacy, and Media Fluency
Over the past few years, this area has been a major focus due to rapid changes in technology with artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies, Internet of Things, and significant complexity with hardware. I am at ‘worried’ with how our students will maintain living wage jobs in the technology sector over the next decade. Students are stunned when they realize we will actually do the full 54 hours of lecture and 108 hours of homework our course outline of record requires. Learning technology requires developing a course learning culture, engaging students in digital literacy, and guiding their media fluency efforts. As a CTE Program, students attend courses as a possible career avenue. Using technology at home is radically different than building technology.
I incorporate new technologies and foundational technologies in each course. We talk about multiple ways of learning and how learning takes place in the employment sectors. We explore digital literacy with papers on topics such as autonomous vehicles and IoT security. Students explore open source software development and the role of volunteerism in technology. And, we spend time learning about consumer, enterprise, and industrial technology sectors so students can find where they fit and what areas they wish to pursue.
Application of digital literacy includes students assignment such as:
Creating Content outside of a Learning Management System
In the Summer 19 section of Introduction to Web Programming, I created subdomains here at 2DegreeShift.com for students to code outside of the LMS. I note links below where you can see student work. **If you see a note that says this is not a secure site, feel free to proceed. I have the primary domain under https; however, the student subdomains are http rather than https. There is no risk to you, I have the server within GoDaddy professional services.
Students who code in an LMS tend to think of their work as a homework assignment. Students who publish their work on the web engage at more of a professional level and their efforts give them a sense of accomplishment. Below are 10 examples, from a class of 38.
This next example is of an IoT student working in Azure and with Arduino:
Encouraging Students to Connect and Learn with a Global Audience
Local and international startups utilize Angel.co for sourcing talent and introducing their products. Students in Internet of Things and Introduction to Web Programming created profiles on Angel.co, and resourced companies and roles they are interested in. We discussed amazing tech in development with these companies and I created lessons where they could select one of a series of jobs to explore in more depth. The following screenshot shows in-progress portfolios of students exploring and connecting well beyond the college:
Where I was: I used workforce-related tools and free materials such as integrated development environments, jobs websites, and coding tools.
Where I am: With @one classes, I incorporated free collaborative tools such as Slack and GitHub.
Where I’m headed: I’m developing collaborative projects, beyond communication, to reflect the current workplace and build a culture of building products as a team.