Same course, same professor, same exam: no bus ride. Take an online course!

I hope all my readers in the northern hemisphere have had as good a summer as we have had here in Vancouver, and you have come back renewed and ready to go in the continually interesting world of online learning.

In particular, I hope you switched off as much as possible from work over the last couple of months, so I thought it might be helpful if I gave a quick summary of what happened while you were away. 

The annual survey of online learning

Image: Wikipedia

All the reports on the 2018 survey are now available on the Canadian Digital Learning Research Association (CDLRA) web site, including regional reports for:

  • Ontario
  • Québec
  • Western Canada
  • Atlantic Canada

Also, a number of institutions and government representatives have informed the CDLRA that the 2018 survey results have been influential in policy-making within their organizations. Several institutions have now put in place more comprehensive data collection on their online learning activities as a result of the surveys.

The Canadian Digital Learning Research Association has now received almost all the questionnaire returns from the 2019 survey of online learning and distance education in Canadian post-secondary education. Once again there has been a good response rate (just under 70% with still a few more returns expected), although the response rate is down from last year’s very high rate of 82%. This is mainly due to a lower response rate from smaller institutions and institutions that do not have online learning courses. Late returns are still being accepted.

With some evidence of survey fatigue setting in, the CDLRA is planning to make some changes next year to the survey. Once these changes have been finalised over the next few weeks institutions will be informed directly as well as through this blog.

The CDLRA will be presenting the results of the 2019 survey and the changes for 2020 at Contact North’s Global Summit on Online Learning in Toronto on October 8.

In case you missed it….

I didn’t blog much in July and August – hey, I was on holiday, too! – but there were two or three significant posts that you may have missed:

So you want to be an educational technologist….

Good interpersonal skills are essential for an educational technologist

Advice for those who are looking for a career in online learning, educational technology or instructional design.

Book review: Open and Distance Education Theory Revisited

A review of a new book edited by Insung Jung. She states that:

there is a pressing need to revisit the time-honored theories developed in the era of correspondence education and traditional distance education, review accumulated research evidence regarding the appropriateness of these theories, and refine and update the theoretical frameworks to reflect the changing environments.

The future of higher education

Image: Vidyo, 2019

I did two blog posts on this important topic. The first was a review of a report on this topic by the online journal Academic Impressions.

This prompted me to put my own thoughts on this topic – and particularly the role of online learning – in the form of a news report from 2030

It’s a fairly lengthy and relatively optimistic view, but that’s because this is what I would like to see happening. I am thinking of doing a more dystopian – and perhaps more realistic – one in a few week’s time.

As my post is set in the mythical country of Cascadia, some have interpreted this post as Western Canada and the Western USA breaking away from their respective countries and forming a new republic. This was NOT my intent. However, there are two elections coming up soon…..

Let me know if you share my vision for the future of online learning – or if you have a different one.

Removing the barriers to innovation in higher education

Image: Jésus Gil Hernandez, Leadership Summaries

Another policy post, this one prompted by an article by Melissa Morriss-Olson. I added considerably in my post to her list of what is needed for innovation in higher education.

Second edition of Teaching in a Digital Age

The second edition of my online, open textbook, Teaching in a Digital Age, is coming along well. This will also be ready for publication at Contact North’s Global Online Learning Summit.

The first edition – now translated into 10 languages – has been successful beyond my wildest dreams so I am not making major changes. However, the book is nearly five years old now, urls have gone dead, and I need to cover some of the newly emerging technologies, to include more recent research, to give more emphasis to skills development, to examine more recent developments with MOOCs, and to make the book more interactive.

I am planning though to keep the first edition also online, as it is now embedded in so many courses.

So back to work…

I will be focusing on the second edition of my book, but I will also be posting at least once a week on topics as they arise, including first drafts of new sections of my book. Your feedback, as always, will be most welcome.

Have a great 2019-2020 academic year in online teaching.  


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