eLearning Frenzy

eLearning is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.


Live Blog

BbWorld – Last Keynote: Sugata Mitra

Sugata Mitra is Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, England. He is best known for his “Hole in the Wall” experiment, and widely cited in works on literacy and education. He is Chief Scientist, Emeritus, at NIIT. He is also the winner of the TED Prize 2013.

Mitra has been described as a polymath by the University of London, as his 30 years of research spans a wide range of disciplines.

Sugata Mitra, put computers in “a hole in a wall” in the slums of India.  His book Beyond the hole in the wall covers what happened afterwards.

Talk should be filed under self-education:

Why is it the way it is right now?  With Helicopter you tell children “do not touch it” wait until someone tells you what you have to do….that is the education system we have to day.  From an age when you can press a button and blow things up….but a computer is not like that.

How can teachers change when they are driven by an ancient examination system that they have to teach to? System was engineered for the 19th Century.

14 years ago Sugata Mitra put a computer in a slum in India. He used to make courses for people who had money.  Who has decided that slum children won’t make good programmers?  From this frustration he put the computer in the wall.  The students taught themselves and each other!

Students taught themselves English in order to use the computer he left there.  8 year olds were teaching 6 year olds how to work the computer.

Girls between 11-13 invent a system of adminitration to give everyone access to the machine.

English Language gets better.  Get bored of the games on the machine, find new games and discover google and EVERYTHING changes.

Children discuss what else they can do with the computer and how the community can maintain the computer so that it never goes away and never breaks down (that doesn’t happen – big challenge for technology durable computer for rough environments)

Speech to text software helps students improve their speaking skills. Students download the speaking Oxford dictionary to check against for Speech to text.  They invented the pedagogy!

Student start to learn BECAUSE I’m not there!  Students were completing educational objectives by themsleves.

One student makes a small breakthrough and then reflects to the rest of the students!

Students can reproduce individually w/out help what they did as a group with aids months later.

These ideas are being applied to schools in UK.  Get a group of children, ask them to make groups of four (allowed to use 1 computer with an internet connection)  Give them one question to solve. (Bringing the properties of Hole in the wall into the classroom)

Children will go to almost any length to find the answers.

Self-Organized Learning Environments – Hole in the Wall learning method. Self Organized learning environments need a boost….the admiration boost (grandmother effect – positive affirmation)  The Granny Cloud

Schools in the Cloud!



BbWorld Session: Incorporating Student-Centered Activities within Blackboard Learn Courses

Session Title: Incorporating Student-Centered Activities within Blackboard Learn Courses
Thursday, July 11 9:25 – 9:50
Venetian|Palazzo Congress Center, Bellini 2003

Erika Wilkinson
Dean of Online & Continuing Education
Central Penn College

Being student centered must spill into every aspect of university life.

The Approach:

Start with Literature Review, Get Buy-in, Highlight non-student centered policies and develop professional development sessions.

Definitions & Review of Activities  (wikis to discuss class policies, journals for refleciton and dbs for collabo)

Instructor Centered vs. Student Centered

Don’t just stand there and share your expertise.  Involve the students, be collaborative.  Its about how you engage with your students.

Things (Topics that can be discussed)  Give Students options, get student buy-in and opinion on what they want to look into.

People (How you view it) – How you engage with students is important

Process (How the Information is shared)  Same thing every week (PPT, Discussion, Assignment)Have students post lecture notes (outline) by group.  Include your students!

Teaching is now how many posts are in DB or if curriculum is uploaded.  Teaching is how you are engaging your students!

Class Policies – Provide opportunity for students to take ownership of course requirements – Use Wiki with students to determine class policies:  Allow Student Editing, Allow Student Commenting, Decide if participation is graded.  “Class are we going to allow late work?”  “Should there be a penalty”?  “Should Extra Credit be available?” Post rationale.

REFLECTION – Provides opportunity for students to engage in learning. Bb Tool:  Journal – Weekly or Monthly entries, allow users to edit or delete, permit course users to view journal (Private vs. public), graded journal.

Journal Activity – Reflect on your personal goals for the class as they align with the course objective.  By the end of each week post a reflection on how this weeks assignments aligned with your goals and any modifications you anticipate in behavior for upcoming assignments.

Collaborate – encourage students and teachers to learn from one another. Bb tool: DB, WIKI, COLLAB SESSIONS.  Have students work together on review assignments for upcoming exams or presentations.

DB example – Give students roles in managing their own discussion


Begin on small scale, communicate new approach with students, use Bb tools to:

  • engage students in their learning
  • encourage students to reflect on their learning
  • motivate students by empowering them
  • Encourage students and faculty to learn from one another

BbWorld13 – Blackboard Learn’s New Social Learning Network

Live Blog for the BbWorld13 session: Blackboard Learn’s New Social Learning Network

Presenters: Melissa Stange, Francesca Goneconti Monaco, Terry Patterson

Session Description:

This presentation will cover the following:

  • Differences between existing social networks & Bb learn’s new global learning network
  • Benefits of using Bb’s Social Tools
  • How to implement
  • Lessons Learned
  • Answers to common concerns
  • Q&A

Session Begins at 2pm:

Overview of Social Learning Tools:

What is Social Learning – not one clear definition.  We all have different ways of describing it.  Introduced back in the 70’s.   Learning that takes place at a wider scale than individual or group learning, up to a societal scale, through social interrogation between peers.

“Learners learning from each other”

Why Now? – Because of the expectations and needs of today’s active learners.  For today’s students in our highly connected, information intensive world, learning is a 24/7 enterprise and the traditional school day is no more!

What students want in education mirrors what they experience outside of education.

Easily connect with educational community online.  (facebook not ideal) Educational network is different.

Educational Network – current and former classmates, professors, clubs, committees.  (not just friends).  In current social network it is hard to identify who is in your educational network.

Desire to keep networks separate! 60% of students say they want to keep academic and social lives separate.  Same amoutn think it is important to have an online forum to communicate with other students.  Cautious of mixing academic and social lives.

What are the tools?

Global Learning Network that connects users across/within institutions and countries.

How students see networks:

Facebook = Social
LinkedIn = Professional
Blackboard = Learning

Profiles – (photo/description) & Profile Wall.
People – Ability for users to discover learning network online.  Directory of entire institution, courses, global learning network
Spaces – Ad-Hoc group area.  Spaces can be created in less than a minute by anyone for anything.  (Study groups, research projects, interest groups, departments)
Messages – Asynchronously communicate 1 to 1 and with a group of people

Social profile tools go beyond basic and reach out to global connections.  Cloud gives identity, social lets you connect, collaborate and communicate.

Plan – Find early Adopters (Departments, programs, etc) Discover issues, questions and impact on faculty staff, students.

Policy – Find and fill gaps on current policies. Create new policies to fill in gaps.  Clear policy and where information is stored with affected parties on campus.

Procedures – Develop procedures to apply policy changes. Who implements/manages the procedures.

Implement – Pilot Group then full release.

Educate – Social Media vs. Social Learning

Usage, Intellectual Property, Harassment, social Accountability & Responsibility

FERPA directory information

Town Halls & Email Alerts

Bb Demos

Within 1st 1/2 hour 72 people adopted.  Made MyBb a tab.

Reporting on SysAdmin tab is on the Road Map. has great FAQs and a communication & Adoption toolkit as well as videos on Youtube.

There’s more to learn video – a day in the life of a student using social learning tools.

BbWorld13: Blackboard Certified Trainer User Group

Title: BbWorld13: Blackboard Certified Trainer User Group

Kristine Duncan
Sr. Manager Consulting in


  • Benefits of Blackboard Certified Trainer Community
  • Future Vision of Community
  • Your Certified Trainer Experiences beyond the program
  • Q&A


  • Update CV, Resume with new Credential
  • 15% off of Blackboard Materials License
  • Access to Certified Trainer Community
  • Opportunities to Present at BbWorld Conferences

Benefits in the future

  • Quarterly professional development meetings/presentations
  • Quarterly renewal opportunities
  • Newsletter/Articles about training
  • More active online community
  • Advanced Certified Trainer Program

BbWorld 2013 Session – Effective Interactive Tools and Web 2.0 Projects Promote Student Learning & Engagement

Session Title: BbWorld 2013 Session – Effective Interactive Tools and Web 2.0 Projects Promote Student Learning & Engagement

Shu-Hui (Susan) Chang, Ph. D.
Director Distance Education
Computer Science Department
Iowa State University

(Seated and waiting for session to start)

Sound Teaching Pedagogies, Interactive Components and Effective Technologies are the hallmarks of an engaging online learning experience.

Distance Learning Evaluation Guide from American Council on Education

Before integrating interactive components in your course, focus on design.  (Systematic Design complete with Objectives, weekly modules, & technology that accommodates different learning styles)

Integrating Interactive Components

  • Build Online Community
  • Engage Learning
  • Facilitate Student instructor and student student interaction

Start from beginning.  Include media in Introductory Activities (Don’t be afraid to do audio/video).  Let the student start out as course content owners.

Use Case Study’s for group projects to build online learning community.  Students research their own project and comment on each other’s reports.

Use real-time Chat sessions – (Text chat is fine)  Guide the discussion by providing rules of the road so that the students know what to focus on.  Prompt with each question.  For example: What is Web 2.0?

Stream lecture-ets (5-15 minute) lectures that connect to Learning Activities.

Be Collaborative with Wikis, have students build the content and then provide feedback on each other’s section.  Include positive feedback and constructive Criticism in comments.  (provide netiquette guidelines for flaming etc)


Use Shutterfly to Introduce yourself to the class.  Incorporates photos and text.
Use Prezi – Give students a research topic to present on (eg. Network Topology)


Presentation Tools
Prezi, Brain Shark, Knovio,, PhotoSnack,

Video Tools
TED, Animoto, Capzles (Capzles Classrooms), Jing, Podsnack(Custom Flash audio players), Tubesnack (create video playlists and sharew ith others)


Audioboo(record sound to cellular device and attach picture to sound), Instagram, (creates a social network using cell phones)

Community Tools maps, brainstorming diagrams), Voki, Classtools (create interactive games, quizzes etcc), Wikis, Facebook, Blogger,

Other Tools
Blabbberize, Glogster, Quizlet, Toon Doo (create cartoons games), Fodey (fake newspaper), Pixlr (photo editor), Pintrest

BbWorld13 Breakout Session – Micro-blogging to Increase Engagement

BbWorld13 Breakout Session – Micro-blogging to Increase Engagement

Sprang from: Implementing Twitter into classes as a teaching tool.

Use hashtag #teachwithtwitter to share best practices.

Use of twitter came about from challenge of increasing retention.  What does engagement mean?  Connecting all institutional constituents to the activities of learning, discovery and the academic topics of study.

Twitter allowed use of social media in classes and beyond, tied to institutional mission, programmatic learning outcomes, & class objectives.  Connect to thought leaders in the industry to apply what they are doing to academic work.

Tell students to BYOD to class.  “If I find you on Facebook, “I get to post your status”.

276 students, 13 hasthtags and 10 professors.

Twitter is:

  • a great way to have students do research
  • a great way to connect with thought leaders in industry
  • a great way to engage students and faculty
  • a great way to affirm student knowledge  (retweets, favorites etc..)

Students felt more connected.

Twitter is not:

  • A way for instructors to STALK students
  • A home work reminder tool!

Follow every major leader, mover/shaker in your field.  Prompts prof to prompt students to look at questions they should be thinking about!

Engagement uptick:

Building relationships via tweets and re-tweets.  Students that may not interact in face-to-face environment may feel more comfortable in the twittersphere.  Gain insight into your students through micro-blogging.

Affirming students by:

  • Followers
  • Retweets/Mentions
  • Favorited
  • Direct response/reply
  • Start a hashtag trend!

Bonus Results:  Creating Twitter pages for professional/business uses

In Blackboard – Use Twitter widget to display twitter feed!

Resources: will shorten URLs  (also tracks clicks)
HootSuite, TweetDeck  (HootSuite allows you to schedule tweets – making them relevant to when your followers are reading their feeds)Twitonomy – Metrics on Tweets

Lessons Learned

  • Will continue to do this
  • More training for everyone (hashtag/mention use)
  • Help students understand Twitter (be clear on assignment layout)
  • Don’t assume all Gen Y students are tech savvy
  • Students were afraid of doing it “wrong” based on “multiple choice” mentality
  • Better Balance of quantifiable pieces with softer side

Twitter Assignment 1: Hashtag, you’re it!

  • Current event searches

Twitter Assingment 2: Follow you, Follow me

  • Making Connections to industry Leaders (make a professional account)

Twitter Assignment 3: Tweet That, Tweety Bird

  • Sharing ideas with others

Blog at

Up ↑