HEQCO Report on Online Learning [visualized]

By | July 31, 2013

HECQO released “How Online Learning Affects Productivity, Cost and Quality in Higher Education: An Environmental Scan and Review of the Literature” by Tom Carey and David Trick.

Tom will be at Brock University on August 7 to discuss this report with 25 eLearning folks from 16 Ontario Universities.

The report is split into 3 parts:

  1. Literature Review
  2. Environmental Scan of emerging developments
  3. Observations and Policy implications

Literature Review

As indicated by the title, the report looked at quality and cost of online learning versus face-to-face. I’m disappointed that our focus on quality is still suspended at comparing it to face-to-face”. The findings can be unsurprisingly summarized by a combination of  “No Significant Difference” and too complex to determine.

Environmental Scan of emerging developments

Open Textbooks

There are many open textbook initiatives from Washington, California, NY, and of course, my favourite: BC Campus.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Giulia Forsythe

Learning Analytics

Predictive and interactive learning systems that can identify students at risk early and provide them immediate feedback hold a lot of potential.

Recently, I was excited to see Open Learning Initiative present how analytics could be used to help students and iteratively improve a course.


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Giulia Forsythe

As OLI has recently birthed Acrobatiq we should be conscientious of who owns learner data and why that matters.


cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Giulia Forsythe

MOOCs

The word MOOC is mentioned 138 times.
For many of the points mentioned about MOOCs, I seem to have a corresponding visual note.

Difference between a cMOOC and xMOOC.
The report makes a suggestion that Ontario consider converting the ubiquitous “Special Topics” courses into a cMOOC (self-directed learning, multiple expert facilitators).


cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Giulia Forsythe

Types of Learners in MOOCs
From Phil Hill’s analysis of MOOC dropouts and types of learners.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Giulia Forsythe

xMOOC = stimulus-response (video-quiz)
This drawing was done for an article about how disruption isn’t really that new and that MOOCs are essentially just low level behaviourist tasks akin to Pavlov and Skinner’s work. The report itself does not go this far, but it does warn that higher level thinking skills should be our goal and to be wary of low level tasks indicating “learning”

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Giulia Forsythe

Of note, the report references the work done by Sinclair College as part of a Department of Labor grant. I would like to add that the grant’s stipulation was that all original materials were to be released under creative commons.


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Giulia Forsythe

Optimizing Student-Intructor interaction time

Some things hold true, no matter the modality. Faculty-student interaction time is important. Chickering & Gamson said so, back in 1987.


cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Giulia Forsythe

Though I do agree that technology can make interactions more efficient. I’m not a fan of the “flipped” terminology but I do like the idea that students make the best use of their time in the classroom by being actively engaged and participatory in class instead of sitting like a vessel waiting to be filled with knowledge from the lecture. So if that’s flipping, then flip away.


cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Giulia Forsythe

Peer Grading

This drawing was done for an article critiquing Peer Grading but the report is very optimistic about its ability to allow students to receive timely feedback.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Giulia Forsythe
The report cites Joordens, S., Desa, S., & Paré, D (2009) study indicating that 4 peer reviews are reliable and can provide deep, meaningful learning experiences beyond the multiple choice test.

Just-in-time and Enabling Peer-to-Peer interactions


cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Giulia Forsythe

Policy Implications

In short: Collaborate more.

  • with other Ontario institutions
  • with other Canadian & international institutions
  • and

  • Provide incentives to do this

The Learning That Matters Most

The report concludes that ultimately, Ontario should foster “instruction that enables learners to develop new ways of knowing – and doing and being – that will prepare them to face the challenges of our times.”

The report mentions Quality 214 times. Having just read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, it’s quite difficult to look at the word Quality the same. I won’t slip into Phaedrus’ rabbit hole here because that would require a few posts on its own. Instead, I’ll point to the inter-planetary double-take as the shining example of what Quality learning means to me.


cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Giulia Forsythe

One thought on “HEQCO Report on Online Learning [visualized]

  1. Pingback: Tom Carey’s reflections on the HEQCO report on online learning and productivity: 1-Catching a teachable moment

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