Online Learning in the Second Half
In this podcast, John Nash and Jason Johnston take public their two-year long conversation about online education and their aspirations for its future. They acknowledge that while some online learning has been great, there is still a lot of room for improvement. While technology and innovation will be a topic of discussion, the conversation will focus on how to get online learning to the next stage, the second half of life.
Tuesday Sep 19, 2023
Tuesday Sep 19, 2023
Tuesday Sep 19, 2023
In this episode, John and Jason talk about going back to school, chat about how conversations have shifted to AI this year, ideate around making assignments unAI-able, and briefly rant about how AI detectors don’t work.
Join Our LinkedIn Group - Online Learning Podcast
Dr. Brandeis Marshall’s Medium Article: What’s UnAI-able Follow Dr. Marshall on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandeis-marshall/
Jason’s LinkedIn post about his AI detection testing this fall - Prove me wrong!
EdUP Podcast with Jason Guyla and Wilson Tsu of PowerNotes
We use a combination of computer generated transcriptions and human editing. Please check with the recorded file before quoting anything. Please check with us if you have any questions!
[00:00:00] John Nash: You ask me like, what am I doing differently now, this year is I'm abandoning decade longs teaching strategies that I've used in online courses.
[00:00:08] Jason Johnston: That's impressive, John, that you're, that you're changing,
[00:00:14] John Nash: I'm changing
[00:00:15] John Nash: I'm John Nash here with Jason Johnston.
[00:00:18] Jason Johnston: Hey John. Hey everyone. And this is Online Learning in the second half, the Online Learning podcast. Yes.
[00:00:24] John Nash: We are doing this podcast to let you in on a conversation that we've been having for the last, now two and a half years about online education. Look online learning has had its chance to be great and a lot of it is, and there's still a lot that isn't.
And so I'm wondering how can we get to the next stage? What do you think?
[00:00:44] Jason Johnston: Let's do a podcast and talk about it. What do you think? I think
[00:00:49] John Nash: that's great. What do you want to talk about today?
[00:00:52] Jason Johnston: I would love to talk about back to school. Here we are coming back to school. The students are returning either virtually or in person. Parking is an issue again as and I'm assuming it's the same at your institution as it is Absolutely. At mine. Are you still biking to work? I am.
[00:01:10] John Nash: Oh, good for you. Yes. Yeah, on an e-bike. So it's a lovely little ride and so I, I do pedal, but I probably don't pedal as hard as I could. Because it's too alluring and fun to push the little electric accelerator lever and just go.
[00:01:26] Jason Johnston: Technology enhanced commuting. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. That's good.
You're not dealing with the same kind of parking issues. I'm still, I'm back in, I'm still back in 2023, where we used to use fossil fueled driven cars and look for parking spaces among everybody else.
[00:01:46] John Nash: Yeah. Which my professor at the University of Wisconsin noted that the parking permit is really just a hunting license.
[00:01:54] Jason Johnston: That's exactly it. Yeah. Yeah. I had to go way out into the woods earlier this week in order to get myself and get myself my parking space. It's good. Here we are. Back at school. But but online does make it a little easier to park if everybody was online. As we're approaching back to school, John maybe, maybe there's some people that are joining us kind of partway through this podcast and haven't joined us from the beginning.
But as a little bit of an introduction I'm an administrator at a large SEC school in Tennessee. I'm the executive director of online learning and course production. And so my big thing is not teaching in the classroom, but helping instructors develop courses for the classroom, for the online classroom, and as well as supporting instructors on how to teach online.
So that's kind of what my day-to-day is about. How about you, John? What do you do day to day these days?
[00:02:55] John Nash: Day-to-day, I'm an associate professor of educational leadership studies in a large SEC institution in Kentucky. Smart listeners can just figure out where we work. And then I am the Director of graduate studies in the same department.
And we are on all online instruction department. So I'm teaching online. I'm helping advise students who are in an online programs master's education specialist doctoral programs. And I also direct A laboratory on design thinking at my institution. And so have to think about ways to humanize online learning and how might that happen in this second half of life for us and these coming years for online both P 12 and higher ed.
[00:03:43] Jason Johnston: That's right. Yep. So we've been having this conversation for a while.
And really he said that two and a half years, that's really just. Post my dissertation conversations. Really? Yeah. For the last two and a half years. John, I was thinking that we really, maybe we need to play up this whole blue versus orange kind of thing a little bit more in the podcast. Are you a sporting event person?
[00:04:07] John Nash: I'm always a supporter of the teams of my institution. Yes. And then and do I go to all the football games? No. Do I do, I like to watch football. I like to watch our team play football. Yeah. I'm a baseball fan, so San Francisco Giants, in case anybody caress who are orange, by the way, they wear orange.
Oh, nice. But yeah. You.
[00:04:31] Jason Johnston: Not too much. My my son particularly is really into it that's what pulls me into it. And then I'm always supportive. I like rooting for the home team.
There's something really wonderful about being part of a community to have shared interests and just some things to do together and to talk about and to rah.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:04:53] John Nash: I'm smart enough to know that and when I'm in a room I, I root for and support for all my alma maers and every institution I've worked for
[00:05:01] Jason Johnston: yeah. Yeah, that's right. So go Vols as we head into the football season this weekend.
[00:05:06] John Nash: Go Cats.
[00:05:07] Jason Johnston: And I think we might have to relive this again when I think we're gonna meet up maybe somewhere in November.
I think it's gonna be in Kentucky this year we'll have to play that up somehow. We could do a live podcasting episode.
[00:05:19] John Nash: Yeah. Maybe. Yeah,
[00:05:21] Jason Johnston: where we can I'll have very little to say about the actual football, but we could talk about other things.
It could be a big analogy for us about
[00:05:28] John Nash: we could march the respective stadium. If it's up here Yeah. March the stadium and interview people about how they feel about humanizing online learning.
[00:05:35] Jason Johnston: Yeah, exactly. That would be a, that'd be a perfect avenue event for doing that. That's good.
John, as you're going into this this fall, we're kind of coming at it from slightly different. I. Directions. You as a teacher and as a program administrator and myself, more from the development end of things and supporting teachers , are there any ways that you're approaching this fall semester differently, and I guess particularly about your online classes than you have in the, in previous fall semesters?
[00:06:11] John Nash: I am, I'm having been engaged in conversations about AI in particular with you over the last six months and you and I have both been using ChatGPT since November of 2022. Last year when it first came out, watching it evolve and but really in more so in earnest, thinking about how to use it differently as we kick off the fall.
And so I have been changing the way I approach my lesson plans and my graduate doctoral program courses. I've been thinking about revamping the curriculum in a way that has more active and more human centered approaches for the learners so that they are more of a community now than ever before in the projects that they're doing. They do a single project on their own as a part of their dissertation development. But I have not been so thoughtful as I am trying to be this term in getting them to really become a community of learners as they create their own pathway through their dissertation work. And and AI, generative AI models have been helpful to me in developing that.
I think also just from an institutional standpoint, we've changed here at my university because now we have mandated policies for entering text into our syllabi about how AI will be used, generative AI, can and should or will be used in the courses yeah. That's that's on the surface of everything.
And then the other thing I'm doing as we kick off the fall is just watching how my p 12 sisters and brothers navigate these waters and thinking about how they're going to either, ban or use or integrate AI as a tool to support teachers to think about changing assessments or what they're gonna do about equity and access.
And so those are just all all on the forefront of my thoughts this fall.
[00:08:07] Jason Johnston: Yeah. Yeah. I think you've covered some pretty big areas. Working with your students and particularly in regards to their assignments or big assignments. Yeah. Policies as a school, as a institution, and then, How you personally then are the people that you support and that you are helping to guide and consult with and Yeah.
And direct and so on in terms of their own work, particularly in the P 12
[00:08:33] John Nash: and my colleagues here at my institution. And I'm fortunate to sit on a university level advisory board to think about our broad policy work over time here at this university. But so I'm worried about and want to help teachers across this sort of spectrum because professors have a long way to go, I think in thinking about how to be.
Thoughtful of integrating or not integrating generative ai and as do you know, P 12 teachers and principals. I think one of the big questions I'm helping people think through and even think through myself is what kinds of things are un-ai able and how might those be? Activities that students and learners can do, so that we feel like the generative models are used in a way that support the path up to these un-aiable events, like public demonstrations of learning demonstrations of context, critical thinking that can happen, live, as it were, but still in the context of having generative AI help teachers and learners get there. I'm not at all advocating that we just go back to Blue Books. That's not that's not what I'm talking about. That's one. Some people are, I know, and I know that's one sort of spectrum of the milieu of un-aiable stuff.
Writing in a blue book, that's un but the question becomes what is the assessment that you want to do that really demonstrates the learning? And for me, that's not Blue Books. That's sort of stuff on the other side, which is, yeah, these public demonstrations of learning opportunities for students to show what they know on their feet.
Can they think on their feet? Can they defend their decisions? Can they use metacognition and reflection to make good decisions and talk about what those are. Work in teams, AI doesn't work in a team. Those sorts of things I think are really interesting to me. They're old and they're old school techniques that I just think have now really risen to the top.
I was on a webinar a couple of days ago from the group Getting Smart and they're in the Pacific Northwest and they were talking about the ways in which AI might penetrate the the P 12 space and the way in which teachers might be rethinking what they do. And a comment that came across was that because of all the AI able assessments that now just exist, most everything that happens now and teaching and learning is you, if you can, it can be answered with an AI prompt.
So the Thought was, is this gonna drive more teachers to think about ways in which they can get to these more interesting deeper learning assessment approaches that they wouldn't have otherwise thought to do, but now, because AI has made obsolete or uninteresting or cliche, all of the assessment techniques, they had been using -- five paragraph essays, other kinds of written work they may abandon that because there's no guarantee that students are really learning anything when they do those Now.
[00:11:26] Jason Johnston: Yeah, I like that phrase about AI able or un-AIable that's good. Can we go into this fall, assuming that most students we say most students. Let's break it up a little bit. Can we go into the fall, assuming that most undergrad students first are familiar enough with AI that they could use it if they wanted to use it?
[00:11:50] John Nash: I don't know what the percentage of use is, but I think I, I go in assuming, just assuming, yes. 'cause a couple of things. I think good things accrue to instructors that just assume the penetration is high. And it goes back to my comment a minute ago, which is that if you assume that is, then that puts you in a position where you need to really rethink how you're going to assess the learning that you want students to do.
Because if you assume that everybody's using AI to do the written work, then you can you have to rethink all that. Yeah. Yeah. And it's not a dire situation. It's actually it's, for me anyway, and I hope there's a lot of people that think like I do, it's a celebration because it gives you the opportunity to really dive into the mind of the learner and what you want them to achieve and share the joy of them going through that journey and achieving that outcome.
[00:12:41] Jason Johnston: Yeah. Yeah, I agree. The temptation and tendency to take the easiest road is always there for all of us. We're busy. It, it's easy just to, as we've talked about before, just copy over. Our canvas shell from last fall and do the same things again with our students. And much of that is fine, but this is a great opportunity for us to really rethink and retool and revamp for the sake of our students to be able to think about what it is that is maybe forcing us now to, to to take a new, fresh approach to some of these ways of learning and exploring our subject matters.
[00:13:33] John Nash: Yeah. In fact, so one thing that I've done a reversal on a longstanding online activity that I've used which is the discussion board. I think I'm gonna dump them. I. And, our conversation for our listeners I go back an episode or so to our conversation with Enilda Romero Hall and what discussions really play.
Also to our episode with Michelle Miller, where we also talked about discussion boards. But, about 11 years ago, I wrote a paper for the. Journal of Research on Leadership Education on ways to reframe asynchronous discussion boards because they were virtually un-accessable-- it was, post once reply twice, and what do you get from that? And that really frustrated me because it was a field of dreams mentality. If I build this discussion board, the students will come and nothing's further from the truth. And so I thought about ways in which the students could have a question that they must answer in the process of having a discussion to lead up to that answer.
And then you could assess the answer. And I also capped it at no more than 300 words. So you could write a mile. You had to be concise, be thoughtful. So I wrote up this scheme and published it in the journal. And it got good feedback because other professors were feeling the same way.
Learning designers, like there was, how do we assess these things? And so this was great. And then here I am using this for the last decade, and now I've decided I'm not gonna use discussions anymore because they're totally AI able. Now, I don't think the students in my courses, which are pretty scoped and they're really interested in their topics, hopefully, they've told me they like having these discussions, but ultimately the thing that I grade is really that answer at the end of that week long discussion. That 300 word answer is AI able. And I'm not I'm not certain people will run to it, but I don't see the pedagogical value in this so much anymore.
When I can rethink, thanks to generative AI's help, new ways to have high impact activities that don't have to be lengthy, that can still move as formatively to the goal that I have for them to learn. And the, and they're pretty much un-AIable 'cause it's team-based work or it's stuff that we do discussions in class that they have to use and they can't, so I think that's a big change.
You ask me like, what am I doing differently now, this year is I'm abandoning decade longs teaching strategies that I've used in online courses.
[00:15:56] Jason Johnston: That's impressive, John, that you're, that you're changing,
[00:16:02] John Nash: I'm changing
I've also changed about how I feel about the role of writing as a marker for how smart someone is. And I'm thinking about my, my shift I remember was when I was listening to Jason Gulya's podcast, he was interviewing Wilson Sue from Power Notes, and Wilson quoted Kirsten Benson at University of Tennessee, Knoxville saying something to the effect of "we shouldn't let words get in the way of good ideas."
And because generative AI is opening the doors for a lot of great ideas to hit the marketplace-- a marketplace, that is predicated on people writing good English. And so that marketplace is now open to English language learners, neurodivergent learners citizens of cultures who express themselves in oral traditions or pass on knowledge in ways other than writing.
And now that can be. Put together in ways that are packaged for those who have the resources. If you're gonna write a grant, the philanthropists, the foundations, their stock and trade is good, written ideas, expression of ideas in written form. And that doesn't mean that all the people that I've just noted don't have good ideas.
They do. They've been boxed out, one could say. So that's another shift I've made. Because we want to be able to get to the ideas, not necessarily whether you can write them down.
[00:17:24] Jason Johnston: I caught your sporting reference too. Boxing out. Yeah, that's good. Maybe I'll start to say, go Vols every time I hear a sporting reference from you.
[00:17:35] John Nash: Sure you can try. When it comes to the basketball part, you might have a problem, but yeah. You can wish, you can have wishful thinking.
[00:17:41] Jason Johnston: Ah, so those are fighting words now, aren't they? Here we go.
[00:17:46] John Nash: Here we go. But what do you think of that idea? What do you think of this notion that generative AI is shifting the way online courses are designed, particularly when assessments have been relying on written word?
[00:18:01] Jason Johnston: Absolutely. It's all well and good if you are part of a program where it's really more about the ideas than the final product. But it's hardest hitting in those programs of writing. So it's not just about the ideas, it is actually about the communication of such ideas.
As you kind of alluded to. The other area is actually programming. So it's not just about the idea of what you're gonna do in your program, but it's actually about the programming computer programming language specifically. Like the coding You mean the coding? Yeah, actual coding.
And I've said this before in talking to people, let's focus more on the process and the product, right? How can we assess the process that the students are going through versus the product with a little bit of pushback from some people and one of the other, and I'm sure there's lots of other examples of this, is in language colleges.
So they're teaching new languages to people. It's not just about the process, it is actually about the product, about how can you articulate yourself in this new language in the end of the day. And there are a lot, so there are a lot of shortcuts to that product as we know. So in some programs, That is not as impactful as other programs.
So I just, academic programs, you mean? Academic programs? That's this insinuating We were just talking about coding, so I wanted to make sure Oh yeah. Academic programs. Exactly. Yeah.
[00:19:23] John Nash: So do you think just as Orange is the new black is process, the new product?
[00:19:30] Jason Johnston: I think so. For a lot of us, and maybe even some of these kind of product focused, and I don't mean to diminish them by saying product focused.
It's just a different emphasis on where the work is really happening. And probably some of those some of those programs can do with a little bit of shifting as well. Towards the process, but yeah, I like that process is
[00:19:53] John Nash: the new product. Then. What do you think the implications are for instructors regardless of where they sit in the grade spectrum from K through 20?
What's the implication for those that have relied long, have relied for a long time on the product and given less thought to how process should now be product.
[00:20:18] Jason Johnston: Yeah, I think there are a lot of implications as you said, of kind of a reworking and a rethinking and you're kind of talking about you're back to school, shifting some ways that you are changing.
I've had a lot of conversations going into the fall about . OpenAI ChatGPT impact. And often the top concern is around academic dishonesty. And that Is a focus on the product. It's a concern that product, someone's gonna take a shortcut and they're going to produce a product that is not their own product.
And so it's been really helpful, this kind of idea of looking more at the process of breaking down , those steps so you're evaluating along the way. So rather than giving 30% on that final big essay you break it up into smaller chunks. And so you're looking at outlines, you're looking at ideas, you're looking at ways in which you can see under the hood on that process, whether it's through a Google Doc history or through this tool that we've talked about Power Notes and you've already referenced where you can watch the process kind of unfolding as you go along. I had a great conversation last week where we do a community of practice and it just shows that there's a lot of people really interested in talking about this. And I was really impressed that there I had about 20 faculty in a Zoom room plus a number of staff, instructional designers and administrators.
Another handful of those people on top of the faculty. And it wasn't people that were like gung ho. These weren't people that had already, it was a mix, probably 50 50 mix of people that had used. ChatGPT or have not used it. So it wasn't like people that they're here because they're like so excited about using AI in the fall.
They're here because they had some concerns and that was really kind of one of the top concerns. But we really had some great conversation about that process end of things, and particularly around breaking it down. And also, I just thought we had a really great conversation about kind of getting to know your students and this is where it comes back to this humanizing idea.
The instructors were really interested in this idea of having early examples of students. Work that were amiable, that wasn't their word, that's your word that I'm placing on it. But this is exactly at early examples of student work that were low stakes in terms of grading that were amiable, for instance, like personal experiences, what you're hoping to get outta this class, this fall, how your experiences relate to this class, those kind of things.
That it's a personal work of their own writing low stakes. So they didn't have any incentive really to cheat on it. And then using that as a way to get to know your students and your writing so that when you have more products later on, you've got a bit of a bit of a history already with the students and you can maybe identify whether or not they have used AI in their writing.
And if they have, or if you think that maybe they have, it's not a got you moment like this, " TurnItIn tells me that this is 86%, possibly ai." Rather. It's a, "Hey, this feels different than your earlier writing. Let's talk about this.
[00:23:35] John Nash: Yes. Yes. Exactly. And I had one of those conversations with a student of mine a few days ago because I am, people would be shocked if I said, I don't encourage my students to use these tools. I do. And as they do that with me, or they do it on their own and share what they've done, I learn about what I need to do the scaffolding work, to have it be a helpful tool to them because one of my students used it to get some stuff, and it was immediately obvious to me.
This is the other advantage, I think, Jason, of you and I using these tools in depth, like crazy people since November, is that you can spot the ChatGPT
3.5 stuff like, like that. And and it was there. And then, so we did, I had the conversations said, look, Yeah, I like what you're trying to say here and is the direction we want -- it looks very different from what you're writing, so, you were using some large language models to support you here. "Yeah, I was." And 'cause we talked about that. "Yes, we have." So let's talk about now what role this can really play for you and how it can be helpful and then go forward.
Yeah, I also wanna give credit where credit's due.
And actually this is a nice tie in. When I talk about things that are un-AIable, I have this idea only because of Brandeis Marshall's post on Medium, which is entitled exactly the same, "What's Un-AIable" -- and it's lovely. And there are three things from her perspective, contextual awareness, conflict resolution, and critical thinking. These are the things that are not AIable and that are launch points for instructors to think about ways in which they have students demonstrate their learning.
And so I think that's great. The other thing that's neat, Jason, is that Brandeis Marshall is going to be a keynote speaker at the Washington meeting of the Online Learning Consortium.
[00:25:17] Jason Johnston: Nice. Oh, that's great.
[00:25:18] John Nash: So I'm excited about this because as learning designers think about their online work and any other work per se how these sorts of things can be brought to bear as assessment points.
[00:25:31] Jason Johnston: Yeah, that's great. And it's exciting the OLC fall, because John Nash and Jason Johnson are gonna be there, and we're gonna be talking about online learning in the second half.
That is actually the name. They let us slip that name in there, even though it's a, a blatant plug, yeah, for our podcast.
[00:25:50] John Nash: That's okay. We just took a page from the Car Talk textbook of shameless Commerce.
[00:25:56] Jason Johnston: Yes. Shameless Commerce. Yeah. So we're gonna be there in the fall in DC fall of 23 if you're listening to this in in 2023.
Tell me those three things that they said again.
[00:26:08] John Nash: Dr. Brandeis Marshall in her piece called "What's Un-AIable" published on Medium, and we'll put the link over there to that are as follows, contextual awareness, conflict resolution, and critical thinking.
Because AI just can't, it can't provide contextual awareness. It doesn't have any, it can't resolve conflicts per se, not like humans can, it can advise how I might approach a problem, but, and it can't think critically, not like the kinds of questions that humans need to ask in the context of, say, a meeting, or in a dialogue.
These are the really useful points of departure for instructors as they wonder what they should do now, what should they measure now that AI can do everything else, maybe, in the worst case scenario.
[00:26:57] Jason Johnston: Yeah. And this may be a good point too to jump in and it's not a popular opinion necessarily, but I've had to make this point this fall with people, is that we cannot detect it using tools.
Reliably. Not that it can never be detected, but we cannot reliably detect the use of AI using tools. I heard, again, from somebody at a at a a kickoff talking about the tools that they used for detecting AI with their students. And, I go into this with an open mind and I'm like, okay, maybe they're, they've gotten better.
And so I had Chat four create a English 101 assignment for me based on a prompt, an actual prompt from an English 101 class, and then went through the major AI detectors to see if it would detect it. And none of them did. None of them, they all thought it was human. So It doesn't prove everything.
It's just one test, but it does prove one thing, which is it's just not reliable. We just can't depend on reliability at this point, and I'm not sure that we ever will because of the ongoing development of AI, because of the nature of these large language models, which is that it makes novel content.
And or aggregated, it's may not be really novel, but it's aggregated in such a way that it is not detectable from, it's not plagiarism. No. It's, as you've pointed out in the past,
[00:28:24] John Nash: it's generative. So there
It's been generated, it's never been written before.
[00:28:30] Jason Johnston: That's right. So it may be dishonest to use it when you're pretending that it's your own, but it's not plagiarism in the classic sense.
And so that it cannot, in a TurnItIn sense it cannot go back in point to where it came from conclusively. So when I stuck this English 101 ChatGPT in to TurnItIn, and they've got AI detectors, it said it was 0% AI created and I didn't change a thing. I didn't change one single thing in the in the essay and it said it was 0%.
It, I was surprised it didn't even do you know how like weather.com or whatever it's. If there's ever any question about some rain in the air, it's always like 49%, right? Yeah. So it, so you look back and you say, ah, yeah, I guess it was pretty close kind of thing. But it just kind of rides that middle point so often because especially in Kentucky and Tennessee, it never knows really when it's gonna rain.
And so I was surprised TurnItIn was so sure of itself. It said 0%. It wasn't even like a 0.1% chance that this is AI. It's said 0%
[00:29:39] John Nash: That these models are so unreliable at detecting AI written work is extremely problematic because the implications of a false accusation are so huge for students.
To have a plagiarism or an academic dishonesty charge leveled? That triggers all kinds of things. And in a situation where it isn't the case, That's very bad. So a false positive, which is one of the other problems. So it's very, it's going the other direction now. It can't, the models have gotten so good, and if you're prompting them, you didn't even try to prompt it very complexly did you? Or the complex? No, it wasn't,
[00:30:19] Jason Johnston: It was, I'll be honest, I did it just slightly complexly. But it's, this is not beyond the work of our students. So I gave it the assignment. I did ask it to include a couple of errors. And to do it on college level writing.
[00:30:36] John Nash: I think it's hubris on the part of these companies to suggest that they would even have a detector, because it gives this false promise to a lot of instructors who then think that they can rely on this. And the early empirical research out there says, these don't work. And actually they tend to set false positives for English language learners and people from non-English speaking cultures.
Even OpenAI in its own research and its public statements say, "we cannot reliably detect AI written work." Thank you for bringing this up again, because we should be talking about this almost every episode. AI detectors don't work. Don't use them.
[00:31:11] Jason Johnston: Yeah. Prove us wrong. Listeners, if prove us wrong, if, but we're talking reliably. I'm not saying it never works. No. This is so reliable. It cannot be used as a reliable means. And Yeah. If
[00:31:21] John Nash: The risk is too high to ruin a student's life. You're right. So if I ask Alexa if it's gonna rain today, it may say there's a 12% chance at four o'clock, but if it gets that wrong, there's no penalty. Yeah. But getting this wrong here is really bad.
[00:31:37] Jason Johnston: Yeah. And it, it creates a division between you and the students. Yeah. It puts you on the wrong side of this whole thing where, and I think just the kind of effort that would be put into the policing of this versus -- not that's never our job as administrators and as teachers and so on.
We need to be, we need to be helping students develop integrity. In their academic writing without question, I'm not against that at all, but but it just puts us on the wrong side of the the handcuffs, in terms of the, in terms of just trying to police students in that way.
[00:32:17] John Nash: a lot of law enforcement metaphors right there.
[00:32:19] Jason Johnston: Whew. Better than sports. Oh I'll g I'll throw it puts us, it makes us more of the referee than the coach. Listen years ago that a good sports
[00:32:29] John Nash: metaphor, my, my sister-in-law years ago put a stake in the ground about using sports metaphor.
She said, I'm gonna stop saying things like the ball's in their court. I'm gonna start saying things that families, you know, do like, okay, it's their turn to drive the carpool.
[00:32:46] Jason Johnston: Yeah, that's good. I identify with that a lot more than I do the I bet, yes. Than the sports. Although I get the sports analogies.
You and your van as well. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. That's good. Yeah. The other thing I was thinking about as we approach this fall, I've had some great conversations. I was part of a kickoff for for one of the colleges here where their whole kickoff was to talk about ai in, and I didn't know of any other colleges doing this, but their whole kickoff, they had me come in to give some kind of context, a little bit of a keynote kind of thing.
And then they broke it down into different parts where they had teachers talking about what they're using and what they aren't using, approaches to research. They had some people coming in from oth other colleges. Any guesses to what this what college it was? Oh,
[00:33:32] John Nash: was it the college of Education?
[00:33:35] Jason Johnston: Nope. Do you have a second? Guess
[00:33:38] John Nash: the college, it wouldn't be a college of writing and rhetoric. Was it did it involve writing and rhetoric people?
[00:33:44] Jason Johnston: No, not really. Okay. That was College of Agriculture. And I was I was fascinated too because as I did a quick survey probably out of, out of the 60 faculty members that were there, I would say about about 58 of them had used ChatGPTor some sort of OpenAI to for something.
Anyways, they had at least played with it. So it was quite impressive. I think that there's ways in which I think that. Maybe we, or maybe it's just me, but maybe we have a little bit of a misconception sometimes about agriculture folks. But they seem to be quite on top of it in terms of really wanting to proactively think about using ChatGPT and AI this fall.
But one of my kind of approaches was talking about education under the influence of ai. Okay. So I use that metaphor because there's a couple different ways of kind of thinking about that, that we have no choice about it at this point. We are under the influence of AI this fall. Yes. From an assignment kind of, we, I wanted to talk about the writing end of things, about, about academic dishonesty and those kind of things.
But also not just about how do we create our assignments in light of ai, so make them unai and so on. But how do we then create assignments that leverage ai to help kind of take us to that next level. Yes. And so trying to make those kind of distinctions as well has been kind of a topic of conversation around here.
[00:35:24] John Nash: Thank you for raising that because we've spent a lot of time in this episode talking about what's un-AIable and getting to very human natured and getting to very human centered assessments, the public demonstrations of learning, the sort of deeper learning avenues. But I don't think we've talked enough about, and maybe this is a topic for future conversation, where are we best suited to leverage this crazy?
'cause there's a lot of good places to do that in the learning process. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:35:57] Jason Johnston: Yeah. I think we, we definitely need to round back to that. 'cause I think that there's some there are some amazing resources out there where people are giving different options. And there are also some different ways to think about it framing in terms of different kinds of assignments in what you're trying to get out of of the students in terms of their learning outcomes.
[00:36:15] Jason Johnston: So why don't we, why don't we put a pin in that one and come back and perhaps do a whole episode after we've talked to a few people. Speaking of, we've got some oh, we can't even, I'm not even gonna say yet, but we've got some exciting guests coming up. Yeah. So if you're listening to this now and we have further episodes, please keep listening because we've got some great guests coming up.
[00:36:33] John Nash: we got a get.
[00:36:35] Jason Johnston: We did. We gotta get, yeah. Yeah. So excited about that. And partly won't say anything too. 'cause we haven't actually recorded it yet, so we don't know. Absolutely everything will work out. But we're very excited about our fall and what we got laid out this fall.
Online learning podcast.com is our website as well as find our online learning podcast LinkedIn Group where you can say whatever you're thinking about this episode and whether or not you agree or disagree, would love to have more connection and communication.
[00:37:09] Jason Johnston: And if I can say one thing to you, John, before we close here, that this is maybe the most important thing coming from one SEC school to another: Go Vols.
[00:37:19] John Nash: Absolutely. I agree with you. Go Cats
[00:37:23] Jason Johnston: Thanks John.
[00:37:24] John Nash: Bye.
Monday Aug 21, 2023
Monday Aug 21, 2023
In this episode, John and Jason talk with Dr. Enilda Romero-Hall about applying feminist pedagogies to online classes, humanizing large online classes, ungrading, and why we love and hate discussion boards.
Join Our LinkedIn Group - Online Learning Podcast
Connect with Dr. Romero-Hall:
Susan Blum on Ungrading
Flip - Free Video Discussion from Microsoft
Dr. Enilda Romero-Hall, is an award-winning scholar, Associate Professor, and Coordinator of the Learning, Design, and Technology Ph.D. program at The University of Tennessee Knoxville. Dr. Remero-Hall also serves as the Program Chair for the AERA SIG Instructional Technology and Advising Editor to the Feminist Pedagogy for Online Teaching digital guide. In my research, I am interested in the design and development of interactive multimedia, faculty and learners’ digital literacy, and networked learning in online social communities. Other research areas include innovative research methodologies; culture, technology, and education; and feminist pedagogies.
(Please note - we rely on computer-generated transcriptions. If quoting, please check the original recording for accuracy)
[00:00:00] Enilda Romera-Hall: I'm curious to know what the listeners are going to say, what the comments are going to be. Did we say anything too controversial? I think that we need to have more conversations about online learning because there is a lot happening in this space. And yeah, it just keeps changing and evolving and the more conversations we have, the more we can brainstorm and think of ideas to put on the world.
[00:00:26] John Nash: I'm John Nash here with Jason Johnston.
[00:00:28] Jason Johnston: Hey, John. Hey everyone. And this is Online Learning in the second half, the Online Learning podcast.
[00:00:34] John Nash: Yeah. We're doing this podcast to let you in on a conversation that we've been having for the last two years about online education. Look, online learning has had its chance to be great, and a lot of it is, but a lot of it isn't.
So how are we gonna get to the next stage?
[00:00:50] Jason Johnston: That is a great question. How about we do a podcast and talk about it?
[00:00:55] John Nash: Yes, that's perfect. What do you want to talk about today?
[00:00:58] Jason Johnston: Today, it's not just what, but it's what with whom. Nice. Today really excited to have Dr. Enilda Romero Hall with us to talk with us.
[00:01:10] Enilda Romera-Hall: Hi. Thank you for having me here today. I appreciate it.
[00:01:14] Jason Johnston: Yeah. Dr. Romero Hall is a colleague here at the University of Tennessee. She's an associate professor in learning design and technology program. And she also I think one of the things that connected us, obviously the whole instructional design thing.
So right away when Enilda came, we also started around the same time. So it was easy to, easy to make friends when you don't, when you don't know anybody. But also the kind of research that Enilda does is significant and aspects of the things that we've been talking about John, but also from some different perspectives as well that we don't have.
And so I just really appreciate Enilda, you taking the time to talk with us
[00:01:58] Enilda Romera-Hall: today. Yeah, it's great to be here. I love talking about online learning. It's one of my areas of interest. And I was actually talking to a colleague who was visiting University of Tennessee Knoxville recently, and he was asking me, how's it going?
Have you met people here? Have you met any collaborators? And I was telling him that I was coming into my first year and I was really wanting to keep a low profile. And I said, then I started telling people that I was doing research on online learning and that was just impossible. Yes. But it's been great.
I've connected with the online learning group and different departments within the university, I think there is quite a bit of interest on online education and hybrid education, and I think that is something that attracted me to university of Tennessee Knoxville on the first place.
Yeah, so it's be, it's been
[00:02:57] Jason Johnston: great. Yeah.
And for our listeners that don't follow Dr. Romera Hall on social media low profile this year means only only five presentations internationally as well as, only I don't know, another five publications. And so yeah. Really. Anyways, yeah, that's good.
Why don't you tell us just a little bit about yourself and maybe your background and how you got to this place first. And then we'll get into some of your areas of interest in, research and how they apply to online learning.
[00:03:27] Enilda Romera-Hall: Yeah. Yeah, so I started to become interested in e-learning when I was in my master's program.
My master's program was also fully online. But I just happened to be at the location where my school or my institution was located, which was Emporia, Kansas which is a very small town in Kansas. And and that experience of being an online student but also being physically in the location of my institution was just very eye opening.
Because I had a connection to the institution, but I did not know any of my classmates. So there was a lot of interest in getting to know my classmates and making online learning more community oriented. And then I went on to do my doctoral degree at Old Dominion University. And the classroom environment that we had was a high flex learning environment.
So I was there with maybe 10 to 15 classmates, but many of my other classmates were literally all over the world. Italy, Egypt, Morocco, Alaska, so everywhere else. So again, I had another educational experience that was in an online learning format. And when you have those experiences and you are also studying instructional design and technology it just really makes you curious on ways where you can shape online learning and how to improve it.
So it was just a combination of my experiences as a learner and then guiding my research interest and then going into a faculty position and looking at my research agenda, it just it was just like a perfect match. So it's just, again, the connection of already having that experience as a learner, being a faculty member and teaching in those formats, and then doing research.
And in the process of doing that, I've also learned so much from so many different people. Learning about how to teach in an online learning format using a learning management system because that's what's required by your institution. What are birth practices for a learner center approach but also keeping in mind how to humanize the online learning experience.
I'm thinking through different frameworks. For example, I have connected and implemented so much of feminist pedagogy in online learning experiences. To again, keep in mind the learner and how to we make this experiences more social, more connected, more human, so I would say that has been like my journey into this research endeavor.
[00:06:40] John Nash: That's wonderful. as you think about humanizing online education going forward, what sort of aspirations do you have for the future of e-learning?
[00:06:52] Enilda Romera-Hall: Oh my God, there's so much. In a very basic sense I feel that the initial work has to be done with faculty. I think professional development is key to the very basic essence of humanizing online learning because we are still having conversations about the value of online learning.
And I think that comes with professional development and educating faculty members and teaching them this is what you can do. It, It is not easy. Um, I think that online learning presents lots of I, I don't wanna say challenges, but yeah, teaching challenges because in order to do it effectively, you have to invest and do the work.
But I think at the very basic core is yeah, investing in professional development and making sure that faculty are on board and know how to humanize online
[00:08:07] John Nash: When you think about faculty knowing how to humanize online learning, then it gets a little operational, doesn't it? But could you say a little bit about the way feminist pedagogical tenets might support that learning journey for faculty?
[00:08:21] Enilda Romera-Hall: Yeah, sure. There are no absolute set of tenets that one can follow. But I think at the very core feminist pedagogy focuses on giving the learner agency. I think that that is something that when we think of traditional learning experiences they tend to be very instructor focused.
So feminist pedagogy is about giving the learner agency including learners as part of co-creators of the learning experience. And that could be a multitude of different things. It could be from the very first day looking at the syllabus together, or it could be let's challenge the traditional format of already figuring out what we're gonna teach this semester and let's think about that experience together.
It could also mean thinking of looking at the type of assessments that we're gonna have for the class and including the learner as part of that experience. And it also considers power and authority, so it tries to avoid. This sort of like hierarchical format in which I am the instructor, you are our students, and this is the dynamic that we're gonna have in the classroom.
Rather it looks at bringing the student and their experiences and the value that those experiences bring to the conversation, the exchanges, the discourse that happens in the classroom. It also has a social justice element in which learning is not just kept within the virtual classroom or the physical classroom, but is giving back to society.
Best examples that I can think of is, creating open educational resources that can then be shared with another community of learners or other individuals. So there's, again, there's a different kind of dynamic that occurs when you're integrating feminist pedagogy.
Um, And one thing I always say is that's a framework that I can identify with and works for my learning experiences, but of course, there are other frameworks that can be also integrated or may work best for other instructors.
[00:10:54] John Nash: I appreciated how you are able to think of very simple entry points for faculty to adopt a feminist pedagogy by just thinking about just sharing resources and having dialogue is just part of the, is an entry way to even bigger things that they wanted. I appreciated that. I have more questions about that, but I wanted to see if Jason had something that, what struck him during that.
[00:11:17] Jason Johnston: I was curious about the ideas of agency and power and social justice I think are somewhat common to a lot of critical pedagogies as we're thinking about trying to reframe and trying to improve the way that we're doing educational work, whether it's face-to-face or online.
I was curious more about what is maybe specific to feminist pedagogy that we may not find in some of the other critical pedagogies.
[00:11:46] Enilda Romera-Hall: I think that one of the central ideas is the idea of equity. I've used the term feminist in different contexts and different institutions and often we think of just being centered about on, on women's rights, but there's an element of it that is um, related to equity for all. And I think that is a little bit different than other frameworks that are more centered on collaboration or bringing the use of online tools and, how do we use, use online tools so it centers on equity and making sure that learning is accessible to all.
So I think that it has an element of universal design to it. But it also has element of collaboration and accessibility. So to me it just brings all of those different concepts and frameworks together into one kinda umbrella. And that, that's why I like to consider it like my go-to framework when I am thinking of online learning.
The other part that I think it, why it resonates with me so much is because often we think of online learning with just putting content in an online platform, and it is very much content driven. So what are we going to teach? What's the assessment going to be like? And considering the learner is like a, an afterthought like, okay, everything's already designed and developed, and now we have the students come and take the course.
Whereas in feminist pedagogy there's still that flexibility. Despite an instructor thinking through what they're considering going they're going to teach, or what they're considering they're going to do for assessment, the learner is still gonna be part of the equation. And there's flexibility on how the approach is going to be integrated, into a course.
[00:14:02] Jason Johnston: That's really helpful. Yeah. And yeah, I've often had concerns about how, even in my own work, how often design happens in a vacuum. And it may just be the faculty member, it may be a faculty member, an instructional designer. But again, pointing back to what you said previously about how important that professional development is, that awareness is so that if the student is not part of that, especially initial design process, that at least there's some awareness to issues of equity within the design that they're creating at that point before they roll it out in front of the students.
[00:14:42] Enilda Romera-Hall: Yeah. I've actually, I have been teaching in higher education for the last 10 years, and I have yet to have a learning experience set from the very beginning and be set that way until the very end. Because I wanna know what my students are interested in and what are topics that we need to modify as we go along the way.
Or I might create an assessment and then realize that the students may need more time or they may need less time for it. So again, I think feminist pedagogy in my practice allows for equity because it gives me flexibility to change and modify as I see needed with the students that I may have that particular semester.
[00:15:36] John Nash: Is it also that it gives you multiple lenses through which to see learners and their experiences? You, I think you mentioned in some of your own reflections about that there's an intersectionality to this that is helpful as a professor and a researcher and a teacher.
[00:15:54] Enilda Romera-Hall: Yeah, absolutely. The students are very diverse and diversity comes in different forms, right?
In cultural background, Racial ethnic groups, learning experiences that they may have had, professional experiences that they have. And it's really important to identify who the learners are. And that shapes, moving the teaching experience moving forward. And I have reflected on this piece about intersectionality so much because the instructional designer in me thinks about the design and development of experiences without having any idea on who's gonna be the end user, the end learner, right?
Thinking through that piece is extremely challenging. And then again, I have my two hats of like instructional designer practice, and then my instructor practice. And as an instructor I get to modify and be flexible. But from the instructional design perspective, that's again, very challenging because the instructional designer may not get as much information or doesn't get the opportunity to have that flexibility.
So yes, intersectionality is very critical to the work that I do as an instructor, as a, at least that's how I see it. And is a lens through which I see my practice on a weekly basis.
Nice. Thank you.
[00:17:32] Jason Johnston: Talk to us a little bit about, okay. I'm gonna throw a challenge out to you now that we're getting into the things here.
Don't mean to put anybody on the spot, but here's one of our challenges. On the front end, as we are designing courses, we often ask about a class size. It's a pretty classic kind of question when it comes to designing an online course. How many people at one time is gonna be in a section here? Because that changes your dynamic quite a bit.
Talk to us about scaling courses, I think being reflexive or being thoughtful and responsive to your students is all well and good when you've got 15 of them and you're able to get to know them all personally.
But we've got courses that are like a hundred to 200 people inside of this course. Are there obviously the approaches are still good to keep in mind. Are there ways that it changes your thought about application, if you were in that situation?
[00:18:30] Enilda Romera-Hall: Yeah. That's a great question. Because I have heard from faculty who are teaching very large online classes and I think that there's an element of collaboration that needs to happen in this really large process to make the learning experience more fruitful for the student as well as a good experience for the instructor.
But a disclaimer before I move forward: I don't know how how much support I have for massive online courses.
I, so I think that, I feel I have certain feelings and emotions towards really large online classes. Because
you can say those feelings here.
Yeah. Because I feel that, you're not gonna get the same learning experience with a large number of students. You're talking eight, 100 plus students. That's, yeah. But I think that there are elements of collaboration that can happen that can allow students to connect with their classmates.
And allow the instructor to connect with the students. And I think in the best scenario that makes for teamwork, again, collaboration that can allow for reflection. And that can pro allow the instructor to feel connected to their to their students. But I don't know if I can give you a full answer when I personally feel that, there's a certain number of students that should be in a class, and there's a certain number of students that should not be in a class, right?
[00:20:26] Jason Johnston: Yeah, I think we have to be honest about our own feelings about it, but also just realistically if somebody gave you the challenge of, map the most effective route to drive to London, England. I would like to, but I can't I don't know how we get there from here.
If I just hop in my car today, now, there may be a way to do it, but I'm not sure exactly I can get it part of the way there, but maybe not all the way there.
[00:20:50] Enilda Romera-Hall: Yes. One thing about, really large online classes, Isn't it really like a MOOC, but a requirement for a grade? And I think that type of course design should be based on the MOOC literature and we know the completion rate of MOOCs.
So, why would we have that kind of expectation for a really large class that is offered as a regular semester course for an undergraduate student or perhaps a master level student? I don't know. I find it really challenging, to be quite honest. Yeah. And I have a student who is running a really large class like that, I, I don't even wanna say the number, but I find it very challenging.
[00:21:45] John Nash: Is part of that challenge, does it manifest itself because there's a disconnect amongst university leadership on what is the capacity of an instructor and what is the right number for any class? I love your idea of the fact that they should probably be considered MOOCs. Enilda, we met a colleague at another institution at the O L C Innovate conference in Nashville who confided in us that her institution's section caps, not course caps, section caps are 999 students.
Now that's not, that's never practically met, but they never hit that. But the fact that number gets written down as policy somewhere as a section cap just tells me there's a disconnect amongst leadership that what pedagogy really means in the institution and how knowledge should be constructed and how we should make students agentic and sort of the feminist pedagogical tenets, how can you bring those into a MOOC? Is there a disconnect amongst leadership and amongst instructional designers and teachers on what's going on?
[00:22:54] Enilda Romera-Hall: I think definitely there is. If I think about an online course, and the challenges that are already presented in terms of interaction between the student and the instructor, the student and the content, the students and the other classmates.
And then I multiply that by whatever number of students are in the class. That just seems like a recipe for, I don't wanna say disaster, but a recipe for a very challenging semester. And I don't know what the outcome of that learning experience is going to be for the student. And I know that I've seen a lot of discussion in terms of what is a good class size.
I don't know if I have seen a final publication or research on this, but I would personally be very interested in that number because there are limitations with how much you can reach a student when you are talking about 900 students.
I have 15 to 20 students in my class and I feel that I have to check in on them. They have live experiences that happen and that makes, the learning experience different for each of them. And there's a connection that has to happen between the structure and the student in order to really understand what's happening with them and how you can fully support them because you're not just providing content, you're supporting it learning student through their learning experience.
So I do think that there's a disconnect between the administration, instructional designers what the students want, and then what pedagogy really is. When you are thinking that it's okay to have 900 students, it really, for me is really a MOOC. But the difference between running a course at is taught in a regular semester as part of a student's requirement for graduation and a MOOC. It's completely different. The two are two completely different things to me.
[00:25:14] Jason Johnston: Yeah. And I think those are good distinctions in, if I can play kind of the other side a little bit, cuz I've had conversations with various administrators,
and so I think that I can see the side of, for instance, a lot of programs are kinda like funnels and they start really large and there's some, a lot of foundational information that needs to be gathered for the student. And if we think about the Blooms technology, it's all that base level of that pyramid to be able to build knowledge and, a lot of that can be done through automatic quizzes and assignments and TAs and all the kind of things that would happen in a really large course. And, but then other courses as the funnel gets smaller and smaller. Should have smaller class sizes so that students can have a little more personal attention from their teachers so they can have some mentorship so they can have some back and forth and those kind of things.
And I see that perspective. I think that if a student front to end all their classes are large and impersonal, I, I don't think that we are serving the student very well. However if it's a mix of courses, I think we could serve a student pretty well if students have a mix of courses, because I don't, I, I don't know what you think, but I don't think every, class has to be life changing, although I know it's our desire, as a teacher, But I think in some ways students can only handle so many life changing courses at one time.
And I also think that depending on what your objectives are for that course, it may be okay for a course not to be life changing and it just provide a foundational experience of information. Does that make sense?
[00:27:00] Enilda Romera-Hall: Yes, absolutely. I think the challenge is when those large courses are facilitated through a digital format, an online format and the kind of support that the students are gonna get and the kind of support that the instructor are gonna get, I think that when all those things are in alignment and they're well supported, I think.
I agree. I don't think every course needs to be life changing. There needs to be support for, again, the students and the instructor for it to be facilitated correctly. But I do think that for an instructor who is teaching online and is teaching online for the very first time or the very first few years in a really large class like that it can be very challenging.
Yeah, yeah I think it can be very challenging and I hope that they would have the support. I hope that the institution is able to provide the support that they need in order to, for them to be successful for this the students to be successful too.
[00:28:08] John Nash: I worry about, I wonder if our listeners will think we're conflating life changing with like boring or, I, there, I, how do I want to say this?
That I think. That the courses, we don't want them to end up being a stove pipe where it's just forgotten after the course ends because there ought to be some articulation across the curriculum that this is a foundational piece that builds on the next thing you do. So while you were in a large class, it hopefully was more of an experience than just a large lecture, but rather there was some chance that you take what you learned and you'll move it to the next piece.
Even in, I see it in doctoral programs, courses at the beginning still are a bit stove piped and in their own world, they don't get, they don't get articulated to the next piece. And I don't know if that makes sense or not, but I think that's part of the thing is that maybe it's not changing their life, but at least they remember what they learned.
So it, it applies to the next piece in the program.
[00:29:07] Jason Johnston: John, I don't mean to pick on you, but we're around the same age, and so I'm just gonna pick on you for a second.
Could you explain to our Our younger listeners what a stove pipe is. I think a lot of them might be scratching their head, like thinking about where the pipe goes on the stove.
[00:29:21] John Nash: Oh yeah. Or well, siloed, I should have said siloed. Yeah, siloed. Yes. But this, that imagining that all the content is inside a silo or a stove pipe and it goes straight up and doesn't get to touch the other sides or stove pipes.
And we think about these, they're called verticals, I think, in fancy business talk.
[00:29:40] Enilda Romera-Hall: Yeah, and I think that most educational experiences at the undergraduate level, half courses like that. I'm trying to think, but one course in earth science that I thought that was a general education course, right? It was probably the one earth science course that I took because I was a business major, but, it still was valuable to my undergraduate degree.
So I think that yeah, I think there's value to every course that you take. There are some courses that are going to be more impactful in your future careers and others that are just gonna be just general knowledge.
[00:30:19] John Nash: It would be wonderful if the specialized courses later in a student's undergraduate career, those professors knew of the general ed requirements they took, and they could even talk about and refer to that experience with the students.
So you remember when you were in your Earth sciences class, you covered these things. Now that we're in this business major though, these things are actually connected now. That would be wonderful.
[00:30:42] Jason Johnston: That would be ideal, yeah. Yeah, and I completely agree and I think it takes a lot of coordination. I do think that faculty too often are creating courses in their silos. They're handed a topic or a a syllabus and they're expected to move forward with it without necessarily thinking about those interactions among the other courses and where they are in the curriculum and how it's progressing.
[00:31:06] Enilda Romera-Hall: But I do wanna say I was actually talking to a faculty member in the College of Business and she was telling me about a course that she's teaching in the fall and how there are two courses that are very much connected. So she's actually gonna work on her course early on in the summer.
So the second the faculty member for the other course can avoid any repetition of content or can move to more advanced content in her course. So I think that in some settings those type of interactions and collaborations are happening. And actually in our learning design and technology and then the instructional technology program, we do have conversations about content that happen between myself and other instructors to, again, avoid repetition.
So I think that those conversations, again, are happening. We may not be as vocal about it but it, I think it's a good thing. I definitely feel that when you are in a program of study, you would expect faculty to connect and have conversations about the topics that are being covered.
[00:32:25] Jason Johnston: Yeah. That would be wonderful. Yeah. Yeah. I think the communication relationship is ideal. I think sometimes you can use some data and even student data, they often will tell you, I remember developing an online program and a number of the instructional designers we were working with were really getting into infographics, like having the students create their own infographics and so on, which I think is a really great idea for presenting material and presenting a synthesis of what it is you're learning without making them write another five page essay.
And so really unique, great idea, except that it just so lined up that the courses that were being designed, like every course the students were taking in that sequence that semester, they were making them create infographics. And the students were like, no more infographics. It's not that we don't like it, but it's like we're having to do an infographic now for every single course, like in the fourth week or something.
And that was just feedback from the students. It wasn't from any kind of overarching or communicative kind of thing between the designers or the subject matter experts. It was just students rising up and giving voice to that. And we're okay, we've heard you, we've heard you, and we'll either space these things out or we'll switch a couple of these assignments up and so
[00:33:37] Enilda Romera-Hall: I think student feedback is key. It helps us in so many different ways. And just to take that and go back to the conversation about large online courses, I think that if institutions are doing these large online courses and the feedback from the students is positive, then by all means
Because that's what should drive, decision and course design and improvement and things like that. So I, yeah, I. Yeah I think the idea of student feedback is extremely
[00:34:17] Jason Johnston: beneficial,
you asked a question about what the ideal course size, and I think the answer is, it depends, right?
Because, and it depends on how you approach it. I could imagine a small course with a very inflexible instructor could be less humanized than a large course that perhaps uses a lot of data and is able to respond to students needs in a different kind of way that is very flexible, perhaps, or, and even technologies or tools or approaches that are flexible could almost be more humanized in a hundred person course than in a 10 person inflexible course.
Does that make sense?
[00:34:59] Enilda Romera-Hall: That absolutely makes sense to me. And I think that there, the use of. Collaborative online tools can can be implemented in different ways that can allow for more exchanges, for more communication and again, beneficial to both the student and the instructor. I actually, I'm thinking like this is a great dissertation topic for somebody because again, I haven't seen it in the literature.
And I'm actually going to check. Check the literature after our meeting to see if there's anything out there, but just this idea of core sizes and is specifically in online learning settings. So
[00:35:43] Jason Johnston: yeah
just another great reason why people should be listening to this podcast. Not only humorous and helpful banter and conversation, but online learning, but it is ripe with dissertation topics and for for the research and ways that people can learn.
I would. I would agree. Yeah.
[00:36:00] John Nash: And NoDa, I learned that you and I share an abiding interest in UN grading and I, I implement un grading practices in one of my doctoral courses. It's an online course. You talk about it too, and I was looking at it, a crosswalk from un grading to the feminist pedagogical tenants to, and then I teach a design thinking course and I've affiliated with the design justice network.
And they also think similarly about emphasizing learning over sorting and judging and centering the voices of those impacted by the process at the heart of your work. Would you mind talking to us and everyone listening about the benefits of un grading as a consideration and taking forward the humanizing of online learning?
[00:36:52] Enilda Romera-Hall: Yes, absolutely. So I'm a huge proponent of going through the learning experience with the idea that you are there for knowledge and skill. I feel that it makes the learning experience more valuable to the learner rather than making sure you are checking every box as you're going through the semester, because then you're just going through the experience to do the work.
But are you improving as you're going through the experience? And this was particularly important to me because in my previous position, I was teaching to master level students who were preparing to be instructional designers in practice. So they were going to graduate and they were transitioning for whatever career they were in to be instructional designers.
So, the quality of the work that they did was very important to me because I wanted to make sure that they would graduate with knowledge and skills of an instructional designer and be able to get a job and be able to support their families or move forward with their career. I wanted them to be successful.
I focus on mastering skills through the design process. Much of my work as an instructor was really incorporating project-based learning in my courses. So they would have normally a semester long project. And in order for me to see a student growth, I needed to be able to have an assignment, give feedback to the student, allow them to implement the feedback, grow from that experience, and, continue that process through the semester until the very end.
So ungrading really allow me to, to embed that process into my courses and not have them focus on, "I did the needs assessment. I checked my box, I moved to the task analysis. I checked my box, I moved to, the, I don't know, storyboarding and I check my box." I wanted them to grow.
So it's so similar to, I'm thinking, going through a design thinking course where you need them, the student, to evolve and grow. And that was the approach that worked for me in that setting. And also another course that I taught is the course where the students had to work on their professional portfolio, which for me, a professional portfolio is an never ending process because you're always adding to your professional portfolio,
you're always editing. So I moved primarily from grading and assigning points to this really is a course where you pass or fail and really you're growing through the process, so I see you as passing as you're going through the process. So those were the main reasons why I integrated an on grading approach into my courses because the way I see it from the day the student walks into the course, the very first day of class, until they are ending the semester, they have already grown through that experience.
And having an upgrading approach really allows the student to focus on the task at hand rather than focus on, did I get this points, did I not get this
[00:40:35] John Nash: point? Yeah. And I've been subscribing to the tenants, but. Of Susan Bloom, who's at Notre Dame, and thinking about a reflective component at the end where the student then institutions still insist upon a mark or a grade being put into the grade book at the end, don't they?
And so something has to come up so students are having a dialogue with me or, and perhaps you and others about their growth and then maybe even suggesting what grade they think they they deserve based upon their own reflective processes on quality of their own work, how they've grown. Is that sort of how you're looking at it as well?
[00:41:15] Enilda Romera-Hall: We always have a reflection at the very end of the semester. One of the things that I have implemented through this process is we share all of our work. So whatever work the students do, I share it with with the class. They see each other's work. They critique each other's work.
I sometimes it's challenging because I think that students are not used to critiquing or giving feedback. That's right. So I have to integrate mechanisms into the course that allow for critiquing and giving feedback. Like I had the students this semester do a presentation. In addition to that, they had to create an online learning module and they were given their presentation by using the online learning module that they had created.
And then I had a Google document in which each student was required to ask a question one to two questions. And then they were required. They had a, we had another Google document in which they were asked to share a key takeaway from the presentation. And that allowed them to question, so question, give each other's feedback.
And then the key takeaway was like, what did you take out of this learning experience that you would like to share with the class? So yeah, having those reflections is ongoing. But then at the end of the semester, we always have another kind of like pow wow where we get together and talk about the final product that they have created.
And they find that to be very powerful because I may have seen the product throughout the semester, but they get to share and take ideas from each other and reflect on their experience and their growth. Yeah.
[00:43:10] John Nash: Yeah, really nice.
[00:43:12] Jason Johnston: Do you think that helps with student motivation when they're sharing with one another versus just directly sharing with the instructor?
I know a lot of, one of the criticisms of ungrading is how do I motivate my students? Which is a little bit of a lame question in some ways. If the grades are the only thing that you're using, if it's the only thing you're using to motivate your students, I think we need to be,rethinking how we're doing classes anyways, side tangent.
My question is, do you think I, is that helpful for student motivation?
[00:43:44] Enilda Romera-Hall: I think it is. I think that it makes them bring their A-game. Because everyone is going to see what you have created. At least in my classes, the students are creating things are doing projects. And I think that it makes them bring their a game like everyone is going to see that infographic that you created everyone's gonna read that blog post that you wrote about the guest speaker and I feel like I push my students even a little bit more because sometimes I would say we had a guest speaker.
You're gonna write a blog post about the guest speaker, and by the way, I'm gonna share the blog post with the guest speaker, which I have done. Yeah. So I do think that it makes them put their best foot forward. One other thing I was gonna say. And I don't know how that's gonna sit with those who listen or with you two.
But I am not a huge fan of discussion boards. But I remember one semester I did implement discussion boards and I said to the students this is for you and you're gonna participate on your own. I'm not gonna do the write a post and comment to two people. And the students actually participated a lot more than, in the past when I've had seen that, here's one post and comment to two things.
Because they just felt like it was a natural conversation. I think they felt less pressure, it just felt, again, more natural. So I think that the idea of assigning points to everything make students be more, make them more robotic in some instances and checking boxes through procedures.
So I think that sometimes it's okay to give the student the ability to do things because they want to, not because it's a requirement.
[00:45:52] John Nash: Yeah. I think it helps them think about themselves as becoming more of a knowledge colleague with you and me as instructor. Then as a sort of a power teacher learner culture, I think that they get to talk with you about their ideas and you give feedback and it culminates in a better product.
[00:46:14] Jason Johnston: And their colleagues, they're working on, they're working on knowledge creation together with their fellow students versus just with the teacher as well.
[00:46:23] Enilda Romera-Hall: Yeah. And I think that sometime having those conversations with the students is really important or create awareness to the students because I tell my students to me, you are instructional designers, because that's what they're working on, to me, you are, you're my future colleague, and the first day of class I tell them, look to your right. Look to your left. That might be the person who may hire you when you graduate. Treat each other. Treat each other like colleagues. Don't treat each other oh, that person who's in my group.
So sometimes setting the tone in the conversation with a student is very important too.
[00:47:04] Jason Johnston: Just a small note about discussion boards, I'm no lover of discussion boards, especially the, post wants respond twice, what feels like a ongoing trope almost. However, I do challenge people sometimes I get feedback from faculty who say students hate discussion boards.
I don't like 'em either, so I'm just gonna cut 'em out all together. My challenge is, figure out how then you're gonna replace that student to student connection. That's the challenge here. The discussion board is not the goal. The goal is student-student connection over the content and over their ideas and whatever else that they're promoting.
And so it doesn't mean that I'm in love with discussion boards and you have to have them, but it does mean that if you just. Think they don't work and students don't like them and you don't like them, you're just gonna cut it out all together in your class. You're taking a step back then even from some of the worst discussion boards.
You're taking a step back if you're giving no agency for your students to be able to say something to their entire class.
[00:48:09] Enilda Romera-Hall: Yeah. I actually integrated the, I think it was, it's called Flip. Oh yeah. Yeah. Into one of my classes and and then I thought it was like fun challenges the students could do.
I said... we were covering Learner Motivation that week, and I said I want you to read a journal article and then I want you to summarize it in one minute. That was a lot of fun. They seem to like that. So I think that thinking creatively through the process of how to interact with the student or.
Have the students share is, it can be fun. It can be yeah, we have to think of ways that the learner is going to engage, right? So I felt like it was, they have to read the journal article and then they have to synthesize it in one minute. And they seem to enjoy that.
[00:48:59] Jason Johnston: Do you tell them with or without the use of ChatGPT?
[00:49:03] Enilda Romera-Hall: No, but I didn't include that in my description of the assignment. I'm curious now if they used it or not. It is there for them to use, so
[00:49:15] John Nash: I think that's really neat to put a cap on it. Like I've done that also with. Just in discussion boards when I've used them, I put a cap on the last answer.
So 300 words, it can't, it's not a minimum, write at least three. It's no, please do not go over 300 words. Do not talk more than one. Flip is nice because they cut you off at one minute. But that forces learners also to think about what are the key cogent points I need to put in front of someone to really make my mission.
[00:49:41] Enilda Romera-Hall: Yeah. Yeah. That's what I was thinking too. Like you have to be very concise and you have to be very intentional on what you're going to say. There's an element there of synthesizing the research. So...
[00:49:56] Jason Johnston: definitely. That's great. Thank you so much for spending your time with us to have this amazing conversation.
We need to have you back at some point because I feel like there's so much more that we haven't even covered. And we could talk with you all day long, but we'll just have to we'll just have to leave that for another time if that's okay. And,. Is There Anything else that we didn't say or that you wanted to say your piece about before I said my piece about discussion boards.
I just had to get that out there. You said yours is there, but if there's anything else, is there anything else that you would like to say before we close off?
[00:50:31] Enilda Romera-Hall: I don't think so. I think I've said everything. It's been a fun conversation. I feel that we can talk about many other things as well.
I'm curious to know what the listeners are going to say, what the comments are going to be. Did we say anything too controversial? But no, I really enjoy that. I think that we need to have more conversations about online learning because there is a lot happening in this space. And yeah, it just keeps changing and evolving and the more conversations we have, the more we can brainstorm and think of ideas to put on the world.
Yeah. Thank you for having me.
[00:51:08] Jason Johnston: Oh yeah. Thank you. And you do a very nice job of updating both your LinkedIn as well as your website. Do you wanna direct people to one of those?
[00:51:19] Enilda Romera-Hall: Sure. You can connect with me at www.enildaromero.net. I'm also on Twitter at ERomeroHall and you can find me in LinkedIn Enilda Romero Hall.
[00:51:34] Jason Johnston: That's wonderful. And we'll put those links in our show notes as well. Online learning podcast.com is our website as well as find our online learning podcast LinkedIn Group where you can say whatever you're thinking about this episode and whether or not you agree or disagree, would love to have more connection and communication.
I think, John, and I don't wanna speak for you, but I'm going to right in this podcast
you do all the time. It's cool.
But I believe that part of our ideal for this podcast is not just to do a one way communication out to people. Yeah. To dispel our own ideas. We really would love to create a community around these ideas and hear from people.
We're not coming here with a bunch of answers for everybody, and we probably have more questions and answers. And so as part of that, we would love to hear from people. The space in which we're trying to do that right now is our LinkedIn group. And so if you've got any ideas about this, we'll post a podcast and please chime in and you can always find us at LinkedIn as well.
Send us messages and let us know what you think. This sound accurate, John?
[00:52:39] John Nash: That sounds accurate. We are filled with far more questions than answers and mostly just testing little hypotheses all the time. That's all we do.
[00:52:50] Jason Johnston: Yep. But it's great to have guests like Enilda, thank you so much with us to talk with us.
This has been a great conversation and thank you John as well. Yeah,
[00:53:00] John Nash: Thanks everyone. Take care.
Monday Jul 31, 2023
Monday Jul 31, 2023
Monday Jul 31, 2023
In this episode, John and Jason talk with Dr. Michelle Miller about how and if technology rewires the brain, artificial intelligence, online learning discussion boards, and her new book “Remembering and Forgetting in the Age of Technology: Teaching, Learning, and the Science of Memory in a Wired World.”
Join Our LinkedIn Group - Online Learning Podcast
Michelle Miller’s Website
Subscribe to Dr. Miller’s Substack Newsletter here
Michelle Miller at LinkedIn
Minds Online (2016 )
Remembering and Forgetting in the Age of Technology: Teaching, Learning, and the Science of Memory in a Wired World (2022)
James Lang’s “Small Teaching” book
Dr. Michelle Miller is the author of Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology (Harvard University Press, 2014). Her latest book is Remembering and Forgetting in the Age of Technology: Teaching, Learning, and the Science of Memory in a Wired World, coming out in 2022 with West Virginia University Press.
Dr. Miller is a Professor of Psychological Sciences and President’s Distinguished Teaching Fellow at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. She completed her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology and behavioral neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles, and currently writes, teaches, and speaks about maximizing learning in today’s technology-saturated and rapidly-changing world.
EP 12 - Michelle Miller final
Jason Johnston: [00:00:00]
Jason Johnston: My first question is, do you have a morning drink of choice?
Michelle Miller: Let's see. I drank about a quart of coffee with a lot of sugar. And as a cognitive psychologist too, I know that caffeine is actually , pretty good for focus and doesn't have too many downsides until we get into the afternoon.
Jason Johnston: And I love those studies, you know, if I'm biased in any way in terms of my research, it is definitely with the coffee studies, because I completely ignore it has a negative title. I'm not interested in that kind of negativity in my life now. The positive ones, longevity increasing productivity. Increasing awareness. I love those coffee studies. Those are some of my favorites.
Michelle Miller: Oh, absolutely. That's a little confirmation bias before breakfast. I know, right? Right. Harmless, right.
John Nash: I'm John Nash here with Jason
Jason Johnston: Johnston. Hey John. Hey everyone. And this is Online Learning in the second half the Online Learning podcast.
John Nash: Yeah. We are doing this podcast to let you in on a conversation we've been having for the [00:01:00] last two years about online education. Look, online learning has had its chance to be great and some of it is, a lot of it still isn't.
And so how are we gonna get to the next stage?
Jason Johnston: That is a great question. How about we make a podcast and talk about it?
John Nash: I think that's a great idea. What do you want to talk about today?
Jason Johnston: Today's an exciting day, John. It's not just about what it's with whom. So we have with us today, Dr. Michelle Miller. And Michelle is the author of a number of books as well as a professor of psychological sciences at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. Welcome, Michelle.
Michelle Miller: Hi. Thank you. Thanks so much. It's great to be here today.
Jason Johnston: What else would you like our listening audience to know about you on the front end as we're talking?
Michelle Miller: Let's see. So I started out really in my career, if I could just hear a little bit of my origin story for those who haven't heard it [00:02:00] yet. Absolutely. You know, I started out in my graduate career. Studying just really kind of core topics in cognitive science and just really theoretical stuff.
So working memory, language, attention and so on, and how all those things come together. And got to do a great postdoc at Rice University, exploring what were then some very new technologies for functional brain imaging and so on. And it started out as a faculty member at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.
And just to set the scene a little bit Northern Arizona is it's very physically and geographically different and very distinct in many ways. Folks probably picture a lot of cactus and little road runners and things like that. And you know, triple digit temperatures up here in northern Arizona.
It's pine trees, grand Canyon mountains skiing and all that. And some very remote areas. And Northern Arizona University, historically has been really at the [00:03:00] forefront of a lot of kind of what we would have called distance education. It's a little bit of a dated term, now, but just to meet our mission of working with students and creating more opportunities in this unique remote landscape, we are also adjacent to the Navajo Nation and our institution sits on the traditional sacred lands of the Navajo or nation. And there are tremendous challenges of distance and access.
And so this has created this incredibly fertile ground for people interested in educational technology, but also all kinds of educational innovation. So that's what happened in my career after a lot of graduate students, I was prepared for a very, a narrow pathway on the traditional R one research institution.
And let's keep doing studies on these different narrow theoretical issues. And I still love that stuff, I think it can do so much, but it is a function of these different things in my career. I really [00:04:00] pivoted to looking at very practical issues and how we can take what cognitive psychology, cognitive science, brain science tells us, use it to live, work and especially learn better.
So that's what I do today. And I'm also a Long-term. I'm a fan of technology. I've never pursued it really professionally, but always interested in how can we adopt the next thing and what's coming over the horizon. And that's something that in Minds Online for those who have read that, that first book, it opens with me as a kid encountering a computer, which most kids didn't back when I was growing up in the seventies.
So that's kinda where I'm coming from and I think that's the context that I wanna offer to readers that today most of my own research is in applied areas, but I love kind of picking and choosing and almost translating some of this classic research and exciting new research to see how can we use this to, to help our students.
John Nash: I loved your sentence in [00:05:00] one of the opening paragraphs in Remembering and Forgetting, your new book. And you just said, "this interest in creating great college pedagogy is a major development." And I highlighted that and I said, gosh, yes it is. Could you say a little bit about why you think it is a major development?
I think we're have a fan base here and we agree, but what's from your perspective, feels different about this?
Michelle Miller: Right. And that is a, that is an important point too, that I like to use as context is that the things that I has to do, really, I think I think it was as part of a movement, I think that what we have here among people who I think are your podcast base here, we're the people who are really passionate about, yeah, by any means necessary bringing more opportunities for more learning to more people and doing so frequently, not always, but frequently through the lenses of these empirical ways of knowing of cognitive science and so on. But this is a big deal to [00:06:00] me. when I first started getting into this writing about educational technology and the applications, It struck me.
I always say there are folks out there, they will walk on hot coals for these innovations, there are people who are so dedicated. What is this movement about? Partly one little thread of it is I would call the course redesign movement that I got involved with, probably around 2005, 2006 I was I got shuffled off to some conference I went to, to basically to be nice after my e-learning center said, we gave you this grant for online learning, go to this conference, national Center for Academic Transformation. I'm like, all right, I'll go, but I, within an hour, I was like, this is speaking to me. So that's when I really started seeing the connections among these individuals out there, leaders who were saying, Look, these things in technology are happening.
How can we use them to, to reduce the cost, but also to advance learning as well? It was the first [00:07:00] time I'd heard people who were talking about eliciting student effort as the means to meaningful learning and really talking about engaging students in new ways, even in classes that were very large sometimes saying, yeah, we don't have to accept that just because Psych 1 0 1 has 300 students in it, that students just take two midterms and a final and go home.
So that was part of what I would see as this movement. And I would also say too, I started teaching our teaching practicum course for our graduate students around then. I think there's probably a little class like this sort of tucked away at a lot of graduate departments and it's an oddball that i, I took it and you might imagine ran with it. And when I started teaching that course, there was one textbook that was out there. I think it was, I don't know, it was really good for it time. It was called Teaching Tips. So it didn't have really a super coherent framework. There was a lot of like, "well, I do this in my class and students like it."
There was a lot of " like, "well, your number [00:08:00] one teaching strategy and philosophy: show up 10 minutes early to class."
That's, and that's pretty much it. So the advice was scattershot. It was not taking into account what I was seeing going on in the study of memory and attention. And it wasn't taking advantage of that.
And all that started to change. You started I would say that James Lang a really treasured collaborator and I don't know, hero of mine was writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, this powerful column about teaching. And his work started to evolve more in this more empirical, more conceptual direction.
And today we have this incredible international community of people who share these values and share a real passionate interest. We, of course we have differences of opinion, different favorite methodologies for getting there, but that's what I see out there.
Jason Johnston: Yeah and just talking about your book minds Online.
It was and is a significant book for me. I've been in a [00:09:00] couple different contexts where I've bought it for everyone that I have influence over to talk about. And it's partly because you do, I think, a great job of putting together a lot of the research, your own and other research on the front end.
But then you've got a chapter nine you call "putting it all together," which is set up in such a way that you then organize as you said, you're a practicum teacher. And I think that is very much how I read your work too, and you put it together in such a way where you can talk about the questions and then the tools and tech techniques and principles and ideas to actually put things into place. And I really appreciate that about your book. It just made for a very, it's a very practical approach to doing online, which I think is part of this movement as you've talked about over the last couple of decades.
Oh, thank you.[00:10:00]
The one part of the book that I. I have the page memorized because I referred to it. Yeah. It's not very many things. I'm not, this is not my typical orientation, but I think I've referred to it enough times. I see the number 41, at least in my hard copy book
In my head when I think about it.
But I just wanted to read it and then have you expound on this and what you've maybe learned a little bit since writing this book. This is from 2014, which is not that long ago, but there's still been a couple things. Yeah. One or two things that have happened since then. Yeah. But you wrote on page 41 you said that
"in another online class research collaborators, and I found that the number of discussion posts students made were the number one predictor of their overall course grade. even though these made up only a tiny fraction of course points. Based on this information I built in [00:11:00] more choices of discussion topics and began contacting students who weren't participating early on."
How has your kind of understanding of that either expanded or changed or are you like me where this is something that you've come back to over the years?
Michelle Miller: Oh, yes. And I remember exactly what you're saying. I mean, and, And this is one of these things that I think probably many of us in this community also have experienced, maybe the first time or two and I think that came out of the, out of one of my first iterations of an online, fully online course that we realize, oh my gosh, there's basically, I guess you would, you'd call it learning analytics but our evidence of student activity realizing, oh, wow, it's no longer a basically uneducated, guess what the heck is going on in the back row or over there. Or has this person even been to class?
We know, or we can know. And so in really delving into some of [00:12:00] those numbers, as a social scientist too, I'm like, oh, it is. This is fantastic data. I love it. So that data's our love language in social sciences. So we look at that and it was surprising.
And now that I think back at it too it, it also ties into something we might circle back to later. We'll see this issue of student motivation and engagement and decoupling that from points and grades. Boy, is that a big conversation too. So maybe there was a little glimmer of that, of me saying, oh, wait a minute, there's not like a one-to-one correspondence between the percentage in the syllabus allocated to your final grade and your actual level of engagement? Who knew? So those are some things, when I think back to that's what I would look at it now and say, yeah. And we realized again in this very very beginning, nascent ability to look at what students do it on online courses
to say, what do students even do when they come in? We, I [00:13:00] was realizing that, entirely outside of any design of mine, in that particular course, the discussion post with the discussion board students, they were coming in and checking on them. And that's what they would do first to ease in.
And I then I could look at that from my perspective and say, oh, wait a minute. If that were me, then I, yeah, I might do that too. Instead of like, "I'm gonna go and do the test for today in the first five seconds I'm logged on." I might poke around in discussions and see what folks have put down.
Mm-hmm. So, So that is true. But I do think that today especially of our students who've been through a few of these online courses there's definitely not a novelty factor in online discussion anymore. That, that has been long gone. And I think that there is a little bit of fatigue from them and from us with the post one, reply to two.
So I definitely think ways of shaking up discussions, ways of backing up and saying, okay, what is the purpose of this? Which no doubt in one of those early courses, I [00:14:00] probably, I was like, oh, okay, here's a tool. I'll do that cuz I'm, that's what you do, right?
I'll just focus on coming up with some neat creative choices of these as it talks about. And I did expand those and I'm, I think that they were more a, they were more of a social or humanizing purpose than a, we are going to have a debate. We are going to discuss a concept. So that's always been a little different in how I've used them, and I definitely deal with them in some different ways now.
Now, when I'm teaching a faculty professional development workshop online for example I teach, I, I help facilitate some that are very short. They're like a week. And those very now traditional ways of looking at discussions are not bad. Just to say, okay, here's what I want you to discuss.
Present this right, and then read over at least two other people's posts and say something and reply. So it's not like that has no function whatsoever. But there are lots of different ways, and this is where the creativity is starting to blossom. And where our [00:15:00] students, when they click in, maybe they stop and realize, oh, wait a minute, the, this is gonna be something a little bit different.
John Nash: It's a challenge to assess these discussion posts sometime I think instructors feel challenged to figure out how to assess them. I had that experience myself, and it was a field of dreams. We built it and nobody came. And and nothing really interesting happened. So I think that's was, it's useful to be able to think about that.
And then when you have such a situation where participation starts to tell you more about overall learning, that's a good feeling.
Michelle Miller: Oh yes. I completely, yeah. So it's like it can give us this wonderful window, but it's true. If we're sitting there with rubrics and word counts and what I've been putting out there recently is you can accidentally, you can create some pretty perverse incentives for students to type a lot of words and not have a lot of concepts.
So I think again, there's a place for that depending on. There probably are some courses where [00:16:00] okay, I want a very put together factual thing that responds in some particular way. When I use them and really this goes back a ways, I have tended to use them in I guess context that are more, there's hardly any right or wrong answers and good faith answers are full credit to me.
And I, in case your podcast listeners are falling off their chairs here and saying, how can that be? I am teaching psychology, right? And especially in something like an introduction to psychology course or a cognitive psychology course, which tends to be a little bit unapproachable for some students.
I frequently, what I'm doing, whether it's a face-to-face or an online class, is saying, okay, you just learned about this hypothetical theoretical concept. Let's talk about how you've seen this play out in your life or with students. Students love to talk about their favorite media so including podcasts.
So I'll say, Hey, have you seen an is there an example from a podcast you listen to, or a show you [00:17:00] watch and you're really passionate about, or a movie series that you're a big fan of? So that is, yeah, as long as they're getting in there and saying, oh yeah, this completely happened in this show.
Or oh, I was talking to my niece the other day and babysitting and this totally happened. Those kinds of moments I don't, yeah, I don't really sweat a whole lot of the assessment. Now. It means you that, that's why I talked a lot about choice there too, because I. In psychology courses. Yeah, you are talking about some of course sensitive issues, and so you wanna give people a little bit of opportunity to say, yeah, I'm gonna steer clear of that, that's a sore subject with me, I'm gonna steer clear of that.
But there's ways to do that or recently too, my graduate seminar, here's how we use them. And they work brilliantly for this. We will sometimes have guest speakers in my teaching practicum course, and one of the pre-assignment for this is something that I want my students to get in the habit of as professionals, which is go [00:18:00] Google this person and find some interesting thing.
You know, coming to speak with us. Oh, wow. Tell us about them. And so in the discussion you post some facts now. The twist is you can't post a fact that somebody else has already posted. So if they're writing about me and say, oh, she wrote a book called Mines Online, you can't have 20 people say that.
So you have to read all what's come, and then if you're late to the game, you're gonna have to dig up some more obscure stuff about me. So there's lots of other ways besides that traditional one, which I think you're alluding to, or you're sitting with the rubric and going, I don't even know.
John Nash: Yeah. I, and at the risk of listeners saying all they have is a humanizing online education hammer. And so everything the guest says is a nail. You're, it does sound like the, what you've built is discussions, or you're recommending that discussions center not on the arcane or a application of the facts but rather a dialogue on how it applies to the learner's lives, and thereby [00:19:00] creating community and creating and humanizing the process and then getting to outcomes nonetheless.
Is that fair?
Michelle Miller: Yeah. Yes. I think I, I think so. And that is, that is an important connection I think in our idealistic world. We are getting to know each other in discussion forums, perhaps in echoes of almost the early internet. And what kind of preceded social media with folks would say I've been just in this discussion or posting, and there's individuals who I've never met in person and never will, but I feel really close to them.
And when I, at the end of the day I'll probably rush off to my computer and say, oh, I can't wait to see what happened with thing that they were going through. Or again, see so-and-so with their great sense of humor, say what they posted or have this passionate debate. That's what we want.
Getting there as a challenge. But that's the ideal.
Jason Johnston: Yeah, and I've had these conversations with faculty members or administrators [00:20:00] frustrated because students often are frustrated with the text based and especially as you said, post once, respond twice kind of thing. And I think they're new tools out there that we've been talking about that maybe help a little bit in this way, but I often throw it back and say what are you trying to do?
And if you are truly trying to create a conversation, I know I don't like to be graded on my conversations with somebody. You know, if I was having a, sitting down having a coffee with somebody Yeah. And I felt you know, there's somebody with a grade book out saying that was a, that wasn't a great sentence, you know, kind of thing.
I don't think I would feel very free about the conversation. I don't think it would just roll forward feeling like everything is gonna be put to the test. Of this kind of particular litmus test that it has to be this particular way. Now at the same time, I think there are, there's a place for essentially doing assignments that are open for everybody to see.
And that's what some discussion posts are more so, less about humanizing, more [00:21:00] about creating an assignment that other peers can respond to and perhaps give some challenge back to and so on. But you just have to partly just figure out what are you trying to achieve here? And I think our online courses need to remember that just because it's a discussion post format doesn't mean it is crafted in a way to really help discussion happen.
Michelle Miller: Yeah, that's just so well put. And what an amazing analogy of, yeah, so we're sitting in that proverbial coffee shop, having some incredible, trying to have a good, deep discussion. And I'm the teacher, I have this understanding, and you're the student, and here's a person who's got the checklist running down.
I'm like I think you needed a semicolon there. That, that is terrible. But I think what we're converging on here too is, of course, creativity, but I come back a lot to something very similar to the concept of affordances. Instead of discussion [00:22:00] does this, and here's the way to do it.
Or you have to have it or not have it. What does discussion elicit as an interaction? What does it support? What does it support easily? What does it not support so easily? And yeah, you're right that the technology itself doesn't dictate post ones reply to two. But for anything you want to be an open assignment for other students to see, to unfold in an incremental fashion, to be text-based and to be asynchronous so that you can think about, it can be almost like a text conversation, but usually it's a type of interaction where we sit and we compose our thoughts.
So yeah. That's how I think about that.
Jason Johnston: Before we Run outta time here. I did want to talk a little bit about your other book, your more most recent book that we've been that John referenced earlier, and just to focus in on that a little bit more. A couple of quotes out of that I thought were interesting just on the front end, this gives a bit of a summary of the book, [00:23:00] which you stated as the questions at the core of this book, remembering and forgetting.
"Does technology enhance memory and by extension all of our other cognitive capabilities that depend on memory or does technology erode memory, making us dependent and getting in the way of creating new memories." And then you do an excellent job walking through this in various ways.
I think you take such a, I feel like such a moderate, cool headed approach to technology, which I appreciate. You are neither a pie in the sky kind of person, like it's the best, it's gonna save us from everything, nor are you the doomsayer, walking around with your, sandwich board, telling people that this is gonna be the end of us all.
Somewhere in the middle of those two I think we wanna be in terms of our conversations and it feels like you are in terms of your books. But I am curious about this [00:24:00] because oh, and there's this other quote that you're actually quoting Steve Pinker, which said. "New forms of media have always caused moral panics. The printing press, newspapers, paperbacks, and television were all once announced as threats to their consumer's brain power and moral fiber."
brings us to, having this conversation, at least at my university, saying, what in the world are we gonna do with ai? Is this the end of us all? Can we leverage this? Various conversations in between? I just curious what you think in your book as far as I could tell
you, you had one mention of ai, which is on the very first page. What would you, if you were to write another chapter outta this book? It's an excellent book, but. Given where we are today in 2023. Thinking about ai, would you still take a moderate kind of approach to it? Do you, would you see AI as an amplifier to our abilities [00:25:00] in education, or is it weighing into the threats a little bit
Michelle Miller: more?
Okay. And I, that's, thank you so much.
Just a little question for you.
No, yeah. Thanks so much for the characterization. I do love it. Sandwich board. I do walk down the middle of the line and as far as anywhere where I feel like, oh, I would go back and revise that, or where I really significantly kinda changed some of my views over the years, if not a change.
A strengthening of the position that, that social media is really different. So I would change, social media was the previous " oh my gosh, this is blowing up." And there too, based on the, on the research it, it's, it's a whole different kettle of fish in a way and operates on some of its own principles and has some of its own impacts in not all super positive ones.
But getting back to this AI thing, yeah, you could tell that I do take a somewhat of a long view of these things and we do, we look back at, I'm of the [00:26:00] Sesame Street generation and Sesame Street was definitely, was gonna scramble our brain and do all these bad things to us. And so I kinda, I look at anything I hear now and go yeah, that was, that was supposed to be true of television, which was also quite habit forming and had a lot of negatives and downsides that.
Were never anticipated. It is funny that we are at this point too, with chat, G P t I almost, harken back again to my seventies childhood, I think about how when computers themselves started to become part of the everyday landscape for people. And there were, we look at, we look back at it now and it's so laughable, but there were TV shows and books for kids and so on just saying what are these things?
Can they, do they, are they thinking? Do they have personalities? How are they different than robots? And I think when you're generating all of those narratives in your popular culture, you're definitely wrestling with what does it all mean? And it's also tempting to me to be a little blase about it too, as a cognitive scientist, [00:27:00] because, granted not at all in the form you see today, but when I was in grad school, we were looking at neural networks to do things. And we said, yeah this will be really practical eventually for doing more complex, more human-like solving a problems and things like that. But we were looking at how net neural networks work to just to address some of these things. So I, I say it, but we did clearly hit a tipping point.
I almost would liken it to things like email or social media, those kind of perked along at this really low level for a long time until they hit a certain point of power and usability to where we all said, oh my gosh, we have to change. We have to change everything. So we're looking at it right now and I do hope to be kinda revisiting a lot of these core questions in for minds online.
I wanna have that sort of perspective and consciousness that it's new, but it's also not in, in some ways. Mm-hmm. [00:28:00] Uh, Let's not completely run away with, "it'll be able to do everything human beings do." I think 30 minutes worth of interaction with it in reality disabuses most of us at that notion.
But I, I think too it gives us even more reason to start to build more flexibility into our courses. I think I've been writing a lot about that. If we do see it through that lens of it's a cheating tool. It's something that students can just run to when they're trying to grapple with something and develop their own skills.
We might ask and we might say, you know, what really increases the likelihood that will happen is rigid deadlines and a lack of a student-centered purpose in a course where it's about you need to do this for me. Yes. Instead of why are, what do you wanna get out of this course? And whatever you're here to get out of this course so that you can go on and succeed in the future might not be compatible with you relying on a chat G P T or something.
Something like that. As in a lot of [00:29:00] things, I'm like, okay. Take a breath, everybody. Let's take a breath. But let's also really acknowledge that yes, we finally are to the point where relatively natural human-like communication in visual and text forms is becoming more accessible.
John Nash: I wonder if I could ask you a little bit about something that my colleagues in the P 12 space have been worried about for a while, who are interested in school technology leadership, thinking about ways in which we can think, you know, and measured sober ways about the ways in which technology can be integrated into the curriculum and even in post-secondary but certainly this matter of whether phones should be in classrooms, these handheld computers that are actually quite powerful, but could be used in an interesting way.
And you talk a little bit in the first couple of chapters in actually in what chapter one, what technology does to us and for us and how this the notion of the brain getting rewired [00:30:00] gets so much traction and particularly amongst naysayers of use of phones in classrooms and the media that's in put in front of children.
Could you talk a little bit about the brain rewiring notion and why it gets so much traction and maybe what are some better ways to look at technology and the mind, especially as my P 12 sisters and brothers start to talk to parents and other pundits about this space?
Michelle Miller: Right. Boy, that's, that is a big one.
And I, and that's really great that you zeroed in on that. I swear something just pings in my own brain, every time I run across that trope of it's doing something to you. And there's also kinda, I think, a related spinoff of tropes that the look at digital interactions as a sort of a pollutant or contaminant or, you're consuming something and you don't realize what it's doing to you.
And it's an, it is an important question. But yes, of course cognitive psychologists, brain scientists, we say, "yeah, everything is rewiring your brains." Two in particular that I've written about as counter examples are reading. [00:31:00] That really, I've seen the brain scans of people who are reading, there are brain areas that are hitched up to other brain areas that never, never would've, I mean, you're just creating these new super highways between areas that formally were more, more roundabout as far as the connections.
And you can't undo it. Very easily. At least once you've learned to read you can't not read. It is a big thing learning to drive a car. How many, yeah, how many hours do we spend on that? Yeah. Right. And that, so it is, I do really think we ought to get out the word that cannot, just because something might impact your brain doesn't mean that it's nefarious.
You know, I talk about that one study too that went around years back showing oh, and people back when they could study people who were net naive who didn't use computers. And we teach 'em how to use a search engine and scan their brains and their brains are different. It's okay alright, yeah.
Teach them to jump rope and their brains are gonna be different. [00:32:00] What is special here? So there is that. Better ways to think about it. I do think or that it was social media and with applications and uses that are engineered to take you off of whatever you were doing and go keep doing them.
It's important for adults in this society to learn how to spot that and cope with it. And when I'm talking to college students, I'm a very big advocate of, "okay, you know, own your technology, not the other way around. And what is your strategy going to be to make sure, especially if you are a person like me who loves their tech, how are you gonna make sure that you're not going to miss out on things in your college education?"
And college students are perfectly capable and often tell me about strategies they have. For example, going on a vacation together, going on the big senior trip and agreeing not to be on their phones or posting selfies. So that conscious [00:33:00] determination I think is important. Now, when we get into younger kids now, I always, and I always say too, my, my specialty and my expertise is with adults.
So I, I wanna be sure not to overstep my actual expertise. But I don't think that, and I'm not gonna list an age or anything like that, but I think we all know that. Yes. When you have a lower level of maturity anywhere from being a preschooler to a younger teenager, do you have the ability to do that?
If I have difficulty putting my phone down because I notice some, I pick it up for one reason and I'm spirited away. If I have trouble with that, then somebody who's 10 is definitely gonna have trouble with that. So I do think that external management of, okay, we don't have our phones at school.
Right. Right. Or we turn our phones off when, or we collect the phones at night. That's another big issue is of course, sleep. And so on. That makes a huge amount of sense. So we need to develop those skills for management. But [00:34:00] at the earlier age, we, I think not leaving it to chance is important.
And really with my college students, we question a lot too of just wow. So as the assumption that I can't even park my electric car now without my phone or I, you know, it's for so long. We're like, okay, you kids put out down all your phones also. You need this to log into to school. You're gonna need it to park. I need it, you're gonna need it to order your food at lunch. All of these incursions, they may be good, bad, or neutral. But we can't just sit and accept them happening to us. We need to be drivers of that.
John Nash: So it sounds like it's really a matter of context with youth and perhaps those caregivers around them are thoughtful about when this is good to use and when it may not, because the, whether or not my brain is being rewired, which it is or is not that's a different matter from whether it's impeding me from getting to sleep or other practical matters, I think is what I hear you saying.
Michelle Miller: yeah. Yeah. And with kids [00:35:00] especially too, and this was true of television Definitely. Yeah. And our children is the issue of replacement. And to degree as well with adults, not so much, oh, the phone is doing something to me, but what am I not doing because I'm on the phone?
And how can I find those intersections? I might share that. I, I follow a hobby, a very exciting hobby of knitting, which actually has a lot of connections to the technology and was really revived by being able to search out certain things online and do certain things we couldn't do before.
But I realized that I was relying on it to store my patterns, to store the, to count my stitches and do all these things. And I recently went through and consciously said, no, I'm gonna take all of this offline. I'm gonna make it so I don't have to have my phone open in order to work on my sweater. These are now gonna be two separate things.
And so that's a small thing. But that's an example of, again, that the very practical, just, you know, don't panic, but. Let's look at what the trade-offs are. And for younger children, those trade-offs get very [00:36:00] serious when we're talking about things like physical activity, real-time interaction with peers, and all that important stuff.
Jason Johnston: Well, your, Your recent book has a good healthy dose of cognitive myth debunking, which I appreciate as well as I think some practical mindedness to it. So, um, Really appreciate that. When you were talking earlier about taking a breath around ai I, I thought of this idea that we could do, for people that are listening, we could have a mindful moment when it comes to technology.
And I feel like that's what your writing's about a little bit. Taking a mindful moment, and we could say something like even right now, we could take a moment and say, breathe in your concerns about AI taking over our educational institutions. Now, let them all go. Or you could breathe in, concern that technology is rewiring the minds of our youth now.
Let that go. [00:37:00] Yes. So it's a, it is some, you know, if you ever wanna use any of that in any of your workshops now that's it's you're free to move forward and those listening right now, you could just re-listen to that part over and over again. Hold pause as long as you need to breathe these things in and then let them go.
Michelle Miller: I think you really captured the spirit of it. Thanks. I feel better already.
Jason Johnston: Okay. Good. Good. So do I. This has been a really wonderful conversation. It has and Michelle really appreciate you taking the time. How can people connect with you? After this podcast, after listening, what should they be reading?
Michelle Miller: Nice that you mentioned reading. One of my projects this year, which kicked off in January is what as we often do is I started a Substack and I, it's part of the drama. I, I quit Twitter a year ago. I kind of, mm-hmm. saw which way the wind was blowing and decided this wasn't serving my purposes anymore.
So it made one of those mindful [00:38:00] choices. Mm-hmm. And uh, at the same time got interested in, in Substack along with a lot of other academics and fascinating folks who write in the space. Now, I don't I don't always use it uh, the identical way they do. But yes, if they find my ck that I usually, every few weeks I send some things out and usually the focus is on research that's like they say roughly about a year old or less. I really do write about what I'm reading, and it's been a really good way to focus me, Frankly to, to say what is important out there? And that is, I'm getting back to my roots of what I think the value is that I provide to my fellow academics sometimes, which is okay, there's so much the research that comes out providing these sort of capsule summaries and talking a little bit more about what's the implications for our practice.
So that's, you can find on Substack and I also um, I, I do, I guess, lack of a better word blog post from time to time. I've I blog in frequently, especially when I have a book [00:39:00] out, but sometimes the spirit moves me, so I'll sometimes be writing more of a really an opinion piece. And so there was one recently on motivation and cognition, which is a perpetual favorite of mine to really wrestle with uh, well, uh, thing why I did leave Twitter for those who are super curious. So that's a big way you can find me.
I have a website. I, there's not a whole lot of action there, but it is the one-stop shop where you can see things like speaking topics. I love to speak about the role of memory in learning, for example and the role of motivation, all that stuff. And catch any blog posts that I might put up in that way. So it's Michelle Miller phd.com and LinkedIn because I'm using Twitter for professional or was using Twitter just for professional communications, I thought, you know what, let me just move all this over so you can also find me on link.
LinkedIn and follow me for things that I love to repost, that I see articles that are out there and yet another way to discover when I do write something like a, [00:40:00] or an article that comes out and some mainstream publication.
Jason Johnston: Yeah. And we've really been enjoying LinkedIn as a professional community of late.
So that's been a good space for us, which is actually the, one of the places that we connected, I guess more personally is with our current podcast and connecting with that, so. Well that's great. And we'll put your website, your sub. Link your books in our show notes, so those listening, please check out our show notes and check all those as well as check out anytime online learning podcast.com has all of our episodes and all of our notes there, as well as the link to our LinkedIn community.
So I'd love to hear from you and see what you think about all the things that we've talked about today. Right, John?
John Nash: Michelle I'm, I'm very concerned uh, for you and your knitting because of all the bevy of research that's out there about how it's rewiring your brain negatively.
Michelle Miller: Oh, definitely. Right. You think I've spent a lot of time on social media.
I [00:41:00] spent a lot of time making sweaters,
Jason Johnston: and we were obsessed. I heard about some kids who uh, all, all they, when they looked at other people, although they could see were two knitting needles.
Michelle Miller: Is that a raglin? Yeah. How's the neck as the neckband attached? Yeah. So yeah, that was a little off the cuff, but definitely an illustration.
Jason Johnston: It's so great to talk to you. Thank you so much for taking Thank you. All in touch. Yeah, thank you so much.
John Nash: Yeah, absolutely. Really looking forward to continuing the conversation online as we think about these things we've talked about today with you, michelle, thank you so much.
Michelle Miller: My pleasure. Looking forward to connecting and continuing the conversation as well. Yep.
Jason Johnston: Thank you.
Wednesday May 24, 2023
Wednesday May 24, 2023
Wednesday May 24, 2023
In this episode, John and Jason talk about their OLC Innovate 2023 Design Thinking workshop which asked the question: How Might we Humanize Online Learning?
Join Our LinkedIn Group - Online Learning Podcast
The JumpPage with the results of the design thinking session at OLC
Michelle Pacansky-Brock https://brocansky.com/ and article: Pacansky-Brock, M., Smedshammer, M., & Vincent-Layton, K. (2020). Humanizing online teaching to equitize higher education. Current Issues in Education, 21(2), 1–21. https://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/article/view/1905
The book chapter “Humanizing the Online Classroom” by Renée E. Weiss found in Principles of Effective Teaching in the Online Classroom (2000)
The idea of "Dehumanizing" education found in Paulo Freire's “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” and a more current 2020 article here "A Critical Approach to Humanizing Pedagogies in Online Teaching and Learning"
One article discussing Transactional Distance Theory in the online classroom
Also Whitney Kilgore, 2016 looking at Humanizing online MOOC experiences
And every educator should pick up John Nash’s Book: Design Thinking in Schools: A Leader’s Guide to Collaborating for Improvement
Monday May 08, 2023
Monday May 08, 2023
Monday May 08, 2023
In this episode, John and Jason record with podcasting friends from ASU and West Chester University at OLC Innovate 2023 to talk about (what else) podcasting and humanizing online education in the second half.
Join Our LinkedIn Group - Online Learning Podcast
Podcast Super-friends Links:
Course Stories Podcast at ASU
Course Stories, Episode #4: Don’t Fret Design: A Student-Centered Approach to Online Learning, with Brendan Lake
ODLI On Air at West Chester University
- The Thin Book of Trust: An Essential Primer for Building Trust at Work
Arizona State UniversityMary Loder is an Online Learning Manager at EdPlus, supporting Faculty professional development and training along with managing special projects in a variety of disciplines. She is also co-creator and co-host of Course Stories, a podcast where an array of course design stories are told alongside other designers and faculty from Arizona State University.
Ricardo Leon is a Media Developer Sr for EdPlus and is a co-creator and co-host of Course Stories. He has developed a number of other podcasts and various other forms of instructional media.
Brendan Lake is the Director of Digital Learning for the ASU Thunderbird’s 100 Million Learners project offering no-cost management education in 40 languages. He also moonlights as a music faculty member with ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
Timothy McKean is the Manager of Online Learning for the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU. He advocates for authentic assessment and ensures faculty presence and personality are highlighted in online learning. Tim can be heard as an online learning guest in several podcasts and youtube channels and does freelance audiobook and eLearning narration.
West Chester UniversityDr. Tom Pantazes is an instructional designer and podcast cohost with the Office of Digital Learning and Innovation whose research examines the practical applications of interactive and multimedia content in digital instructional environments. Towards this end, his work seeks to connect learning theory with affordances of various technologies as they are utilized with students. If he is not building Legos, you can catch him on Twitter @TomPantazes.
Monday May 01, 2023
Monday May 01, 2023
In this episode, John and Jason walk the vendor floor at the OLC Innovate Conference in Nashville, TN - April 18-21, 2023 and ask the vendors how their product is helping to humanize online education.
Join Our LinkedIn Group - Online Learning Podcast
Vendors we talked with:
D2L - BrightspaceD2L Teaching & Learning Studio Podcast
Join us in the next episode, EP 10, for a live OLC Podcast Superfriends Crossover Episode Extravaganza! And then in EP 11 we will wrap up our OLC Design Thinking Workshop on Humanizing Online Education.
Monday Apr 17, 2023
Monday Apr 17, 2023
In this episode, John and Jason talk about John’s use of AI in his doctoral mentoring and personal research, if prompt engineering will be a job, comparing large language models, detecting AI writing, and if AI can create a podcast theme song.
Join Our LinkedIn Group - Online Learning Podcast
AI Large Language Models to Test
AI in Research Tools
AI Detection Tools
Links and Resources:
How to cite ChatGPT in APA
The Various AI Generated Podcast Theme songs Google docPlease comment and let us know what you think and what you like!
“GPTs are GPTs: An Early Look at the Labor Market Impact Potential of Large Language Models” by Tyna Eloundou, Sam Manning, Pamela Mishkin , and Daniel Rock. https://arxiv.org/pdf/2303.10130.pdf
“Artificial muses: Generative Artificial Intelligence Chatbots Have Risen to Human-Level Creativity” by Jennifer Haase and Paul H. P. Hanel. https://arxiv.org/pdf/2303.12003.pdf
Opening theme music: Pumped by RoccoW is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial License.
Closing theme music: Eye of the Learner - composed and arranged by Jason Johnston
Friday Apr 14, 2023
Friday Apr 14, 2023
Friday Apr 14, 2023
In this episode, John and Jason talk about Jason’s recent bout with AI fever and what the rapid development of AI means for online education.
Join Our LinkedIn Group - Online Learning Podcast
Links and Resources:
Hard Fork Podcast: the Bing Who Loved Me
Blog post on how Claude works. https://scale.com/blog/chatgpt-vs-claude
Q*Bert history and a fun free web playable version here
AI Release Timeline
Nov 9, 2022 YouChat (You.com) - Public beta based on GPT 3
Nov 30, 2022 ChatGPT 3.5 - OpenAI
Feb 7, 2023 Bing Chat (now based on 4)
Feb 24, 2023 Facebook / META LLaMA Announcement
March 14, 2023 - ChatGPT 4 - OpenAI
March 14, 2023 - Claude - Anthropic AI (Quora / Poe.com / DuckDuckGo )
March 21, 2023 - Google’s Bard
“Artificial muses: Generative Artificial Intelligence Chatbots Have Risen to Human-Level Creativity” by Jennifer Haase and Paul H. P. Hanel. https://arxiv.org/pdf/2303.12003.pdf
“GPTs are GPTs: An Early Look at the Labor Market Impact Potential of Large Language Models” by Tyna Eloundou, Sam Manning, Pamela Mishkin , and Daniel Rock. https://arxiv.org/pdf/2303.10130.pdf
Theme Music: Pumped by RoccoW is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial License.
Monday Mar 27, 2023
Monday Mar 27, 2023
Monday Mar 27, 2023
In this episode, John and Jason talk about Jason’s first trip in a self-driving taxi, and how this might point to the future of online learning.
Links & Resources
Join Our LinkedIn Group - Online Learning Podcast
Jason’s YouTube video of his first trip in an autonomous car.
Waymo One - Autonomous ride-hailing service
Speedy Street Tacos, Phoenix
Sal Khan talks about Khanmigo
6 Ways ChatGPT Save Teachers Time: Edutopia
John’s strawberry smoothie recipe
8 fl oz unsweetened almond milk (30 cal)
¾ cup (170 grams) Chobani Zero Sugar Vanilla Yogurt (70 cal)
~150-200 grams frozen strawberries from your grocer’s freezer section (56-75 cal)
Blend relentlessly until smooth (John uses a Ninja brand smoothie blender)
How Might We Use Design Thinking to Humanize Online Education? April 19, 2023 at OLC Innovate in Nashville, TN
Theme Music: Pumped by RoccoW is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial License.
Friday Mar 10, 2023
Friday Mar 10, 2023
Friday Mar 10, 2023
In this episode, John and Jason talk about if technology in education will always let us down, and the concerns and opportunities with AI.
Links & Resources
Join Our LinkedIn Group - Online Learning Podcast
Jason’s YouTube video of the chat with Bing: Bing Chat Broke My Heart
Dr. Ian Malcolm Ethics Speech
Will elementary children in China put up with robot teachers?
Review of Literature on AI, Higher Ed, and Distance Learning: Where are the social scientists?
Systematic review of research on artificial intelligence applications in higher education – where are the educators? Link
The Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Online Learning and Distance Education Processes: A Systematic Review of Empirical Studies. Link
Ideas for Supporting Doctoral Student Writing
From Mushtaq Bilal’s tips on Twitter about smartly using AI to improve written academic work.
Check out this tweet and this tweet.
AI Businesses on the Horizon
Inflection AI, a startup working on a personal assistant for the web, could raise $675m, after raising $225m in 2022.
Character.ai — a company that hosts ChatGPT-like conversations in the style of various characters, from Elon Musk to Mario — is now valued at ~$1B.
Upcoming Presentations and Talks
UT TLI conference March 23rd 3-4:50 - first 500 free $20 after that.
“How Might We Use Design Thinking to Humanize Online Education?”John & Jason’s design thinking challenge session at OLC Innovate in Nashville
Wednesday April 19, 2023 - 3:45 PM to 4:30 PM
Message us on LinkedIn for details about the live meet and greet on April 20th
Theme Music: Pumped by RoccoW is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial License.