Next year there are elections in the Netherlands and political parties are already publishing their programmes. Due to the strict policy (budget cuts) and smart investments, government deficit has been reduced significantly. That means that there is money to spend and the different parties are claiming their priorities.
One of the priorities for many parties is more money for hiring more teachers in higher education. Although the workload of many teachers is high, I have my doubts if this will solve the problem.
Education is changing in higher education. One of the important changes is the digitization in education. I hear many universities and colleges say that blended education will be the default. This means that education will be a mix between classroom teaching and online learning. This change means that the role of a teacher is changing, but also that more disciplines need to be involved to develop and run a course. Teaching has been a one man job for many centuries and I think it is time to rethink our perception on this
Education has become a complex balance between content, technology and pedagogy. It is very hard to find people that are subject matter expert, as well as tech-savvy as well as up-to-date on pedagogy (so no urban myths) and think about effective ways of examining learning outcomes - all at the same time. In addition, in most universities staff members also need to be researchers, grant experts, and (PhD) student supervisors. These are too many roles to ask of one person.
So we need to disperse these roles to a team of people, each with their own dedicated role and expertise.
In the last two years at TU Delft Extension School we have pushed that a teacher forms a course team to develop and run a course. The minimum for a course team is:
Instructional designer: expert on how to technically implement your course in your platform.
Copyright officer: to correctly use and reuse (open) content.
Data Analyst: lots of data is generated that can be analysed and used to improve the course experience.
Additional specialists for online labs, simulations, games, etc.
This approach has helped us to develop high quality online courses, but also lifted some of the burden from the shoulders of the teachers.
Conclusion: new perspective of teaching and support
Investing in extra teachers in higher education might seem like a proper way of spending extra budget. Investing in better course teams will have a much bigger effect to unburden teachers. Don’t invest in extra teachers, make existing teachers much more effective by properly supporting them. So better value for money!
To tackle the challenges of providing top-level university education, Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam (LDE) have joined forces. Through this partnership three universities with complementary specializations create a world-class platform for educational research, innovation and training: the Centre for Education and Learning (CEL).
The LDE Centre for Education and Learning now seeks to appoint a Professor of Higher Education with a focus on teaching and learning processes in a digital environment. The Professor will be formally appointed at Delft University of Technology.
You will work closely with the online learning team of TU Delft, the Online Learning Lab of University of Leiden and project Online Onderwijs of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
First, the chair covers the whole domain of higher education and includes the scientific reflection on research and theory development in the broad field of higher education. Subareas of higher education research and theory development include 1) students and their study success, 2) teachers and their teaching success, 3) learning environments for on-campus, online and blended teaching and learning, 4) special topics such as assessment, internationalization, diversity, and educational policy, and 5) teaching and learning in individual disciplines.
Second, the chair has a focus on teaching and learning in a digital environment, for instance online and blended forms of education followed by data analytics of these learning processes. New knowledge is to be created in this relatively new field of research. The three LDE universities are among the forerunners in this field and consider it of the utmost importance that these innovations are as much evidence-based as possible. The chair holder can rely and build on existing expertise within CEL and its pillars in the individual universities. It is expected that the chair holder brings the various researchers together and promotes knowledge exchange and joint knowledge creation. The research will enable evidence-informed university policy making, evidence-informed development of new university teaching projects, evidence-informed continuous professional training of university teachers, and will ameliorate teaching and learning theory.
This week I'm attending the EDEN annual conference in the beautiful Budapest. Nelson Jorge, Sofia Dopper and me wrote a paper about the TU Delft Online Learning Experience. This is a pedagogical model that supports the development of our courses and strives for increasing quality. The creation of the OLE was an important step for TU Delft, contributing to the development of online courses in a more systematic and consistent way, guiding all course development teams through the realisation of several shared educational principles.
At the Gala Diner of the conference we received the EDEN 2016 Best Practice Inititative Award for our paper. The award is not just for the paper but for the whole initiative of designing the model and implementing it for our courses. I see it as a great appreciation for the work we are doing with the TU Delft Extension School.
Online Learning Experience model
The OLE holds 8 principles to support course teams in the design and development of online courses. The model was elaborated based on the foundations established by distance learning experts (Moore, 1991; Keegan, 1996; Palloff & Pratt, 1999; Garrison, 2000; Peters, 2000; Anderson, 2003; Garrison & Anderson, 2003; Salmon, 2011; Salmon, 2013; Bates, 2015) and the know-how of the TU Delft Online Learning Course Development Team.
Jorge, Nelson; Van Valkenburg, Willem; Dopper, Sofia (2016). The TU Delft Online Learning Experience: From Theory to Practice in Teixeira, Szucs and Mazar (2016). Conference Proceedings EDEN 2016 Annual Conference. ISBN 978-615-5511-10-3. License CC-BY 4.0
Here is the presentation Nelson presented at the conference.
And the link to the model explaining all the principles. Below is the video of teacher's perspective of Online Learning Experience
After an European tender procedure Delft University of Technology has selected a new LMS supplier. After 17 years we are saying goodbye to Blackboard and are going to migrate to the cloud-based platform of the Canadian Desire2Learn: Brightspace Learning Sytem. I'm very pleased with the result of our tender based on best value procurement. We have selected a partner that is eager to work with us for the next 10 years with a product that fits our strategy and is ready for the future. The new platform not only includes the full Brightspace Learning Environment (including ePortfolio, Learning Repository), but also their full Learning Analytics platform, including their predictive Learning Analytics system.
Before we started with our tender we noticed that the traditional tender method of listing all our requirements gave such a long list, that no supplier would meet all requirements. So that selecting the best solution would be hard. That is why we changed to a best value procurement. In stead of listing all the requirement we wrote down our mission, strategy and goals we wanted to reach with the conditions (price ceiling). It was now up to the suppliers to use their expertise and know-how to provide us with the best solution they could offer within the conditions.
It also meant that they didn't need to provide us thick offers. It was limited to 2 pages for their performance substantiation, 2 pages for their risk file, and 2 pages for their opportunity file. Next to the paperwork each supplier could send 2 key persons that would be interviewed according to a standard list of questions (first question is why are you a key person?).
The most interesting is in the interviews and dossiers that we are looking at relevant dominant data. So no marketing talk, but real measurable data that can be verified. So for example, not "we have done many successful implementation", but "we have done 83 implementations in the last 2 years. Of which 79 were on time and within costs. The industry standard is 80%". This also meant that during the tender the people that will do the implementation would need to be involved. And that really improves the quality of their dossiers (if you involve the right persons).
The grades of the dossiers and interviews are based on a system that starts at 6. If you have dominent information it can go up to 8 or 10 or down to 4 or 2. So no dominant data means a 6. These grades are converted into a subtraction of the price. Combining that with the price of their offer leads to a ranking. The number one goes to the clarification & verification phase.
In the clarification & verification phase we worked together with the team of Desire2Learn to create the plan (a whole list of deliverables) and to verify their dossiers (If that doesn't work out or the verification shows error we would move on to the supplier that was ranked second). We are not buying a platform, but a plan to implement their platform. Yesterday we have finished this process and we have (provisional) awarded the tender to D2L.
Desire2Learn (D2L) is a Canadian based company founded in 1999, that is still run by the founder John Baker. According to the Ovum decision matrix for selecting an online learning platform D2L is:
Brightspace received the highest overall technology assessment score, obtaining at least a top-three rating in all 15 categories. Not unexpectedly, Brightspace received a perfect score for student performance and retention. D2L offers analytics-driven progress monitoring capabilities from within Brightspace, and in 2012 the company partnered with IBM to deliver the Smarter Education Solution, which incorporates an intervention management system and predictive analytics. Although D2L is ahead of other OLP providers when it comes to integrated analytics – and in particular predictive
analytics – the company upheld its promise to drive successful learning outcomes and its reputation for providing an open learning platform that can easily integrate with other education technologies by partnering with IBM. IBM is more attuned to predictive models and data systems, and together the two companies can help institutions leverage student data in meaningful ways. Separately, D2L also achieved a perfect score for accessibility. Its accessibility program is integrated into its R&D lifecycle, and designs are regularly reviewed with its Accessibility Interest Group, which demonstrates its commitment to this category. D2L combines all of its capabilities with impressive training and support services, and a high-touch approach to customer engagement. For example, D2L has designed custom training sessions at the request of some of its customers to help institutions learn more about topics such as accessibility. Ovum anticipates that as the industry moves into the next phase of OLP purchasing, vendors with strong support services around its solutions will be particularly appealing.
Although at its core D2L is a technology provider, it also has a strong focus on pedagogy and how enhanced learning experiences can help address the skills gap when students move on to employment. As a result, D2L received the highest score for the capacity to support next-generation online teaching and learning. The Brightspace platform moves away from a one-size-fits-all approach and is instead highly personalized to meet differing student needs. Furthermore, D2L was ahead of its competitors in addressing demand for competency-based learning and adaptive learning.
Ovum recommends that as a market leader, Brightspace by D2L should be included in an institution's list of OLPs. Moving from managing to improving learning, Brightspace meets the core functionality criteria defined in this ODM, and although its brand awareness could be stronger in certain regions it is certainly strong in North America and among its competitors. The company is continuously evolving its offerings to meet the needs of the higher education market.
Implementation & Migration
So after all the formal and legal stuff around the tender, now we can start the actual work. We have formed a great team of people from D2L and TU Delft that will run the project under the project management of Erna Kotkamp. We are very lucky we have someone as Erna in our team. With her passion, drive, skills and eye for detail, I'm convinced this will be a successful project that will give our lecturers and students a platform for the next ten years.
Update 30 June: Stand-still period has ended and the contract is signed.
On Thursday I presented at the Qualtrics Live Event in Amsterdam. I was asked to present about our MOOCs as inspiration for the other participants (about 25). At the end of the presentation I got the question what we are doing with Qualtrics. Although I gave the presentation I'm not the one that is handling our Qualtrics activities. It was a good thing that Sara and Jan-Paul had joined me at the event!
Use of Qualtrics
We use qualtrics in 5 different ways in our MOOCs.
In all our online courses we have pre-, mid- and post-surveys. These surveys are mostly the same, although there are some custom questions per course. Before the surveys are added to the course, we ask the course teams if they have any specific questions to ask. In total we have more than 100,000 responses to these surveys.
The second category are surveys for course teams to get data for their research. Usually the questions in these MOOCs are related to the topic of the courses. This is a fast and cheap way to collect data from a very international group of learners. For example, the course team of framing included survey where participants were asked to respond to a certain 'frame'. Their interest was to find difference depending on the cultural differences of the learners.
As improvement of the EdX Quiz module
The EdX Quiz module is rather basic and lacks the advanced logics that qualtrics has to create custom paths through a survey. Because we link the user id of the edx platform to the specific survey response, we can link their response to their other results and activities in the course.
On our website and in direct emails to our learners we use marketing surveys to get more insights about our learners. We even offer a professional education course about this, starting in a couple of days.
Support surveys for our learning interventions
Our research team does not only analyse the data, but also does learning interventions in some of our MOOCs. Around these interventions they use surveys to get additional information from the learners. One of the learning interventions was a learner tracker. The research team presented this at the Learning Analytics for Learners workshop last month in Edinburgh (paper).
Dan Davis, Guanliang Chen, Ioana Jivet, Claudia Hauff, Geert-Jan Houben (2016). Encouraging Metacognition & Self-Regulation in MOOCs through Increased Learner Feedback. In Learning Analytics and Knowledge 2016 Learning Analytics for Learners Workshop. [ Bibtex ]
our surveys include questions that are similar to those of the UW research
If we look at the survey data (for 10 courses), the results are:
80% of both groups of students (developing and developed countries) reported they had taken an online course before;
12% of students from developed countries that had taken an online course before, never completed any course, and 16% from developing, which means that
88% of students from developed countries that had taken an online course before state they completed at least one course, and 84% of students from developing countries.
Here we see that many students actually completed at least one course in both groups, but overall percentages are still slightly “in favour” of students from developing countries.
If we look at the platform data (example of one course):
The average grade of developing countries is 3,73% vs. 5,55% for developed, and the passing rate is 2,93% vs. 5,26%.
There are more students from developing countries that hadn’t really started the MOOC (i.e. had a grade = 0), 91% vs. 87%, but even among those that did (grade > 0), the average grade is lower (36% vs 40%), as well as passing rates (32% vs. 47%).
Only when you look only at people who received a certificate, the average grade is basically the same.
Because Sara is very good, she also had some comments about shortcomings of the original research:
It tries to compare the result of their survey about completing any course ever to per-course completion rates. While it acknowledges that they don’t really have the actual data for comparison, it is still misleading to mention it alongside it, because in reality, it doesn’t tell us anything. They have no idea how many students in general completed at least one course already in developed countries.
The comparison is problematic even further because of very different sources of information. While the completion rates are actual, true numbers, the survey is an estimate, that can be largely biased. We know that more students that receive a certificate in the end complete even the pre-survey (compared to the actual passing rates), which may also be true in this case, i.e. more engaged students completing their survey.
Also, they compare their “completion” to per-course “completion rates”. But, our completion rates are actually certification rates, while their “completion” is completing the course with not necessarily receiving a certificate. Furthermore, students may understand very differently, what does it mean to complete a course, possibly connected to their intentions. We have no idea how many students in our courses would say they completed the course. So this is another point why these numbers can hardly be compared to the regular “completion rates”.
On a per-course basis, the number of “registrants” is rather high (usually only around 50% of students does anything in our courseware), which is very far from the 2% of “registrants” they identified in their sample, which further shows that their completion numbers and course completion numbers can hardly be comparable.
Their study is conducted only on people between 18-35 years old. As we know there are many students above 30 (30 is usually the median) in our courses, this is hardly representative of all MOOC users.
The researchers based their conclusion solely on self-reported survey data, but tried to compare their result to actual per-course completion rates, which creates a false sense that students from developing countries actually complete more courses than their peers from developed countries. While the high completion rates among students from developing countries may still be a surprise, it is important to keep in mind what we are actually looking at. Both platform data and survey data of ours revealed that somewhat more students from developed countries complete courses, or receive a certificate. In most of our research we combine the survey data with the platform data to get more accurate results and less user bias.
De verkenning is bedoeld als handvat voor universiteiten en hogescholen die zich (willen) richten op de inzet van open en online onderwijs. Het doel is drieledig:
de belangrijkste randvoorwaarden en regelgeving identificeren en toelichten;
voorbeelden presenteren uit de praktijk van een onderwijsinstelling om te laten zien wat er binnen de huidige kaders mogelijk is;
een vergezicht bieden naar de opschaling van open en online onderwijs: in hoeverre moeten randvoorwaarden en wettelijke kaders worden aangepast?
Er zijn totaal vijf thema's waar deze drie aspecten worden toegelicht. De thema's:
begeleiding van studenten;
implicaties van tijd- en plaatsonafhankelijk onderwijs;
erkenning van online onderwijs in formeel onderwijs;
delen van leermaterialen.
Natuurlijk gebeurd open en online onderwijs al jaren, maar er is nu wel de ontwikkeling om dit op grotere schaal te gaan toepassen. Volgens de auteurs zijn er vier argumenten voor het aanbieden en faciliteren van open en online onderwijs:
effectievere besteding van contacttijd
flexibilisering onderwijs en onderwijs op maat
rijkere en internationalere leeromgeving
Belangrijke vraag hierbij is of de huidige wet en regelgeving deze ontwikkeling in de weg staat.
Hieronder enkele interessante observaties uit het rapport:
de definitie van contacturen wordt nog vrij veel beperkt tot fysiek bij elkaar zijn, terwijl online begeleiding net zo waardevol kan zijn voor een student.Virtueel contact wordt nog vooral als aanvulling op het fysieke contactmoment gezien. Ten onrechte volgens mij.
de huidige wetgeving laat zich nog erg beperken door fysieke grenzen. Door online onderwijs vervagen deze en de huidige regelgeving heeft hier verduideling nodig en misschien ook wel aanpassing.
Op basis van de wetgeving is het geen probleem om een vak te vervangen door een MOOC. Wel is dat nodig als een instelling student verplicht stelt om het certificate te halen. Vrijwel alle mooc providers bieden alleen nog maar een betaald certificaat aan. Volgens de wet kunnen deze kosten niet doorberekend worden aan student en dus moet er een alternatief georganiseerd worden (aparte assessment, vouchers oid).
Online onderwijs biedt studenten mogelijkheden om een individueel leerpad op te stellen. De huidige werkwijze via de examencommissie is niet opschaalbaar. Er worden door verschillende instellingen naar alternatieven gekeken. De TU Delft kijkt naar een Credits for MOOCs alliantie.
Al met al een uitstekende verkenning over de complexe wet en regelgeving in het onderwijs. Zeker goed om te lezen.
Op zondag staat Tegenlicht in het teken van de slimme universiteit. De aflevering gaat over de toekomst van de universiteit. Hieronder de promovideo van de uitzending:
Rondom de uitzending worden regelmatige Tegenlicht Meet Ups georganiseerd. Aanstaande woensdag organiseert Studium Generale in samenwerking met Lijm & Cultuur zo'n avond over de slimme universiteit. Ik ben een van de sprekers die avond. De toegang is gratis, dus kome vooral langs in Delft.
Op 22 maart is er over hetzelfde onderwerp ook zo'n bijeenkomst in Breda waar ik ben uitgenodigd. De aankondiging komt op hun Facebook.
SURFnet lanceert een nieuwe initiatief om ICT start-ups in contact te brengen met onderwijsinstellingen. Het initiatief is een experiment dat start-ups met innovatieve ICT-technologieën en nuttige producten en diensten voor het onderwijs helpt hun weg te vinden naar toekomstige gebruikers. De start-ups hebben al een toepassing, maar nog weinig tot geen afnemers en staan op het punt te groeien.
Op de website startuppodium.surf.nl kunnen start-ups zich aanmelden. Onderwijsinstellingen kunnen die pitches vervolgens liken. Bovendien kunnen onderwijsinstellingen die direct met een start-up in zee willen, rechtstreeks met hen in contact komen.
Start-up Live Event Op 19 mei organiseert SURFnet tevens een Start-up Live Event, waar enkele start-ups hun product of dienst presenteren. Het programma biedt ruimte aan onderwijsinstellingen om in gesprek te gaan met de jonge ondernemers.
Vandaag verscheen er een rapport van het CBS over een leven lang leren (LLL) in Nederland. De auteurs Astrid Pleijers en Marijke Hartgers hebben op basis van de CBS-data onderzoek gedaan naar leven lang leren in Nederland en in vergelijking met andere EU-lidstaten. Hun conclusie is dat Nederland goed scoort qua deelname aan LLL vergeleken met andere EU-staten. Dit is een opvallende conclusie die niet strookt met de politieke opvattingen op dit gebied. Dus ben ik eens gaan kijken waar nu dat verschil in perceptie vandaan komt.
Definitie van LLL:
Leven lang leren volgens de Europese indicator bevat in principe al het onderwijs dat wordt gevolgd door personen van 25 tot 65 jaar. Hieronder vallen bijvoorbeeld werkgerelateerde opleidingen of workshops, maar ook initiële opleidingen in het geval van langstudeerders, of cursussen gevolgd in vrije tijd, variërend in duur, tellen mee.
In de Nederlandse politiek wordt vooral gekeken naar volledige (deeltijd)opleidingen die leiden tot een diploma. Dat zie je ook terug in stimuleringsmaatregelen:
De overheid stimuleert volwassenen om te blijven leren, ook als ze al een baan hebben. Onderwijsinstellingen in zowel het hoger onderwijs als het middelbaar beroepsonderwijs krijgen meer ruimte om maatwerk te leveren, onder meer via experimenten met vraagfinanciering, pilots van flexibele opleidingstrajecten en de introductie van certificaten in het mbo.....
Deze maatregelen richtingen zich op publieke onderwijsinstellingen die zich voornamelijk bezig houden met volledige opleidingen. In deze definitie is te zien dat ze het begrip veel breder opvatten. Dit sluit wat mij betreft veel beter aan bij de praktijk van een lerende. Iemand die fulltime werkt volgt zeker losse workshops en cursussen, maar vaak niet een hele opleiding.
Van alle personen van 25 tot 65 die in 2014 deelnamen aan LLL deed 16% een opleiding of cursus die bekostigd wordt door de overheid (minOCW en EZ). Van de 16% is ook nog de grootste groep onder de 30, oftewel een langstudeerstudent die nog bezig is met zijn/haar initiële opleiding.
Qua definitie geven de auteurs ook aan dat informeel leren op dit moment buiten de Europese indicator valt. De auteurs geven terecht aan dat dit een significant gedeelte van het leren van een werkende is.
De conclusie die de auteurs trekken is dat deelname aan LLL vooral plaats vind onder een selectieve groep in de bevolking, namelijk in een bedrijfssector waar verplichte bij- en nascholing is, zoals advocaat, huisarts, medisch specialist.
Als ik het rapport zo lees dan kan ik niet anders concluderen dan dat de politiek LLL veel te beperkt opvat. Internationaal zie ik de trend naar korte (online) cursussen en informeel leren, zoals met MOOCs. De politiek blijft nog veel te veel hangen op sturing via de publieke instellingen, terwijl het steeds meer de individuele lerende is in zijn werkomgeving bepaald welke cursus hij gaat doen. Het gaat de lerende om het vergaren van de kennis en niet om het certificaat of diploma.