The implementation of a successful elearning strategy for Higher Education can be born from many places. Students from all walks of life look to different institutions that can provide access to the programs and certificates they need to pursue the careers that they wish to enter. When left on their own, Universities and Colleges can choose to lure in mature students looking to upgrade, and enhance their online course offerings to meet that need. For example, the University of Waterloo has an impressive online catalogue of courses provided by their Centre for Extended Learning. This program alone offers over 240 courses in over 40 subject areas. Although this is just one example of an Ontario University, there are a number of others such as Ryerson and Western that have started to recognize the competitive advantage in providing this service.
Storytelling is something that I have always enjoyed. Whether it is reading a novel to elementary students, or crafting a narrative of events that I have been part of, I have always found it useful. It is one of the oldest methods for educators, and is one that I feel is often forgot or under utilized within classrooms. Malcolm Gladwell has to be the pre-eminent example that exemplifies how teaching through stories makes learning more meaningful. When you can provide a real life example of your concept or theory in action, it makes it more tangible and allows the audience to become invested in the material presented.
I don’t think I would have ever seen the value behind the story of the development of Pesto’s Chunky Pasta line, until I heard it told by Malcolm Gladwell. However, it teaches a great lesson about diversity and how the pursuit of one perfect pasta sauce is a fallacy. Not every student learns the same, and not every palate wants a sweet pasta sauce. I reflected on this very lesson when I began my search for a platform that I could use to best illustrate and showcase my story.
“Knowledge is not a transferable commodity and communication not a conveyance.” This quote by Von Glaserfeld denotes a shift in thinking in how curriculum and consequent lesson planning should be designed. Meaningful learning occurs when the learner discovers the content on their own, by utilizing prior knowledge to help interpret what they are trying to rationalize (Glasersfeld, 2008).
Currently there are a number of different messaging apps that are in use across the globe. Apples iMessage, Japan’s Line, China’s WeChat, Silicon Valley’s WhatsApp, Waterloo’s BBM and Kik Interactive, Microsoft’s Skype and Lync as well as Google Hangout are all messaging systems that have garnered different corners of this market, however, there is no one clear leader of the pack.
For the longest time BBM was seen as the frontrunner for all enterprise and corporate users that wished to have secure group and individual conversations. However, the past five years have not been kind to BlackBerry and in 2012 and 2013 more and more smartphone users outside of the Blackberry world have been anxiously anticipating the release of a BBM app they can use on their devices, but to no avail. The former administration didn’t understand the current climate in this market and when CEO Thorstein Heins vetoed the rest of the board from pursuing this, they lost a huge portion of their users and left the door open for other devices and messaging services to take its place.
The article as written by Lenski, Crawford and Crumpler and involves a topic that garners little discourse in the world of pre-service teachers and beginning teacher induction programs. However, the authors of this study contend that it is a major area of concern that should dominate more attention and one that requires more in depth research and study to reconcile the issues arising due to the increase in diversity of today’s classrooms.
As stated in their introduction the national average of white teachers in the United States is over 90%. The issue facing pre-service teachers entering the profession is that classrooms are becoming increasingly more diverse and that current education programs are not adequately preparing them for that reality. The authors contend that any programs that currently purport to be address this are following a model that encourages teachers to adopt “difference blindness” and view each student not as individuals with different heritages, religious beliefs, or The authors of this study try to address this issue with the creation of the Beyond Awareness Project. This project contends that if pre-service teachers are trained to act as ethnographers as well as teachers, they were tasked with learning more about their own culture, and becoming participant observers that learn about their students cultures, religious practices, social-economic status, and how they can use this to see their students as individuals. This perspective would then allow them to guide decisions in the classroom.
The two institutions I decided to dissect are the West Valley College and Virgina’s Techs plan. Both universities primary focus is to expand on fully online distance education courses as well as provide more blended courses with enhanced multimedia enrichment.
With the overwhelming amount of options available to higher education institutions, it is pertinent that due diligence and proper attention be given to the various offerings that currently exist in this domain. Numerous post-secondary institutions have realized over the past decade that the need to develop strategies and methodologies designed to take advantage of these new offerings.
In a recent article posted by Clay Shirky on the issues facing Higher Education, he addresses increased tuition costs, and how as a result of a series of temporary solutions over the past 40 years they have created a crisis. These decisions have been made in order to preserve a set of practices that have been in place since their existence. Shirky contends that tuition has risen steeply due to various factors. One of which is the competition between universities to entice the best and the brightest. This has caused staff sizes and faculty numbers to balloon and lead to the creation of unnecessary facilities and labs: and today’s students are footing the bill.