July 29, 2014

Report on three years of mobile learning at Abilene Christian University

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Schaffhauser, D. (2011) Mobile Initiatives ‘Breaking Down the Walls of the Classroom’ at Abilene Christian U Campus Technology, October 24

This article summarizes some of the conclusions from Abilene Christian University’s report on three years of using iPods, iPhone and iPads. Over 80% of faculty and students use mobile learning now in their studies.

Director of Educational Innovation Bill Rankin comments:

we’re going to see the classroom space becoming less and less about the place where people discover information and more and more a space for collaboration for stuff I’ve discovered or made elsewhere. The elsewhere–the real world experiences–become my primary classrooms, which is going to have massive implications on how we design spaces, how much space we decide we need, and on what we do on scheduling and courses.

All I can say is ‘At last – someone’s got it!’ Well done, ACU.

Blackboard gets into data analytics

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© Datapult, 2011

Schaffhauser, D. (2011) Blackboard buys into data analytics Campus Technology, February 8

Interesting report on the purchase by Blackboard of iStrategy, a data warehouse and analytics company.

Blackboard Analytics is a suite of programs that provides business intelligence operations for higher education institutions, including analytical reporting and data warehousing. The goal, said the company in a statement, is to help their customers “make better use of data to inform important decisions across the institution.”

See also:

e-learning outlook for 2011

Implementing e-portfolios in a two year college

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Schaffhauser, D. (2010) Cultural Shift at a Community College: E-Portfolios Go Campuswide Campus Technology, August 12

This article on an excellent e-portfolio implementation strategy at a two year college in Farmington, Connecticut, is more about change management than e-portfolios. If you are trying to get faculty buy-in to e-portfolios, this article is a good place to start.

Using business intelligence tools at Florida State University

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Schaffhauser, D. (21010) Florida State U Transforms Reporting with Business Intelligence Campus Technology, April 26

This article shows how business intelligence (BI) tools have been implemented at Florida State University, initially for HR and Finance, and for research project management, and now for the student information system.

Why is this important for e-learning? Because BI tools enable front-line decision-makers to get immediate access to data to support decision-making, and eventually this will spread to academic decision-makers.

At the moment, FSU has focused dashboard applications on mainly administrative data. However, once the university has set up the student information system data for BI analysis, instructors planning courses will be able to look at enrollments trends, for instance. So if a new or updated program on microbial infections in the School of Nursing is being planned, the program director will be able to see how student demographics, grades and completion rates have changed over the last few years. If she finds more and more of the students are not coming straight from school, but are working in hospitals, for instance, and already have degrees, the program could move more to e-learning and flexible delivery, and could break out some of the courses into a self-standing certificate. To get that kind of data now in most institutions would require a special request for a report to the IT department or the Registrar’s office. With BI tools, the program director can drill down immediately, play around with data, and customize the reports for her own use.

One of the great ‘scandals’ is that we are investing huge sums in technology in universities, yet we have no data relating investment in technology to academic performance. The way financial reporting is done in universities and colleges at the moment makes this very difficult to do. However, once the data bases are set up properly, BI tools will make this much simpler. So I suggest we watch this development very carefully. It has great promise.

Declaration of interest

My son is a knowledge architect working on strategies for business intelligence at Oracle, a major provider of BI tools.

Quality podcasting in social work

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Schaffhauser, D. (2010) Producing a Podcast: Lessons from U Buffalo School of Social Work Campus Technology, 24 March

This is the first of two articles on the use of podcasting at the University of Buffalo to attract students into taking social work programs from the university. I particularly liked this article because it goes the various steps the School faculty have taken to ensure quality podcasts, both in terms of content and sound quality. It illustrates the importance of working in a team, with both content and media production professionals.