UW Schools Have Strong Showing in New US News Report

The magazine U.S. News and World Report released a new report ranking the quality of online degree programs. Here’s how some University of Wisconsin schools ranked:

School Category Rank
UW Superior Faculty Credentials and Training 48
UW Superior Student Engagement and Assessment 123
UW Superior Student Services and Technology 15
UW Green Bay Student Engagement and Assessment 41
UW Green Bay Student Services and Technology 158
UW La Crosse Student Engagement and Assessment 157
UW La Crosse Student Services and Technology 168
UW Oshkosh (Graduate Nursing) Student Engagement and Accreditation 80
UW Madison (Graduate Engineering) Faculty Credentials and Training 5
UW Madison (Graduate Engineering) Student Engagement and Accreditation 1
UW Madison (Graduate Engineering) Student Services and Technology 1
UW Milwaukee (Graduate Education) Student Engagement and Accreditation 142
UW Milwaukee (Graduate Education) Student Services and Technology 69

Social Media for Education Explored at UW-Milwaukee

UWM’s Learning Technology Center received an emerging technology grant from the University of Wisconsin System to examine the implementation of social media (Facebook and Twitter) into 12 course sections in the spring semester of 2010.  The evaluation of the implementation resulted in support for continued exploration of social media in the classroom this fall; over 80% of students were satisfied with the experience.  The results were shared at the New Media Consortium conference in Anaheim, CA, as well as at the Sloan-C Emerging Technology conference in San Jose, CA, and the session was highlighted by the Chronicle of Education (see  http://chronicle.com/article/How-Social-Networking-Helps/123654/).  

The UWM LTC is now offering workshops on social media (register at: http://LTCWorkshops.uwm.edu).  For more information visit: http://uwmsocialmedia.wikispaces.com/ or e-mail Tanya Joosten, tjoosten@uwm.edu.

Progress Report: UW-Milwaukee and the D2L ePortfolio Pilot (May 2010)

During the 2009-2010 year, UWM supported 30 faculty and approximately 700 students in the use of the D2L ePortfolio.  Pilot participants ranged across numerous programs and disciplines. The disciplines, colleges and units on campus represented by this group include: Administrative Leadership, Anthropology, Architecture, Business Administration, Education, English (Composition and Business Writing), English as a Second Language, French, Japanese, Journalism and Mass Communication, Library internships, Nursing, Sport and Recreation, Translation, Graphic Arts, and Visual Arts.
The staff of the Learning Technology Center provided support and resources for the instructors in these courses. Faculty and instructors were initially selected for the pilot based on their ability to use D2L; given the similarities between the D2L interface and that of the ePortfolio, we were pleased to find that they were able to assist and provide basic technical support and training for their students. We were encouraged to see faculty use the ePortfolio in projects that were small, well defined, and very specifically designed to employ the ePortfolio.
The kinds of uses to which the ePortfolio were put reflected the diversity of the disciplines in which it was used and the formats in which the courses were offered. 
For example, instructors in Translation and Educational Psychology (online courses), Anthropology (a blended course) and Geography (a face-to-face course) used the ePortfolio to create semester-long projects in which the instructors were able to add in-depth commentary and students could comment on their peers’ work.  Support for students in these courses was minimal; indeed, we were pleased to see that the instructors for the online courses that used ePortfolio, even for courses that had high enrollments, identified an increase in social presence in their courses without a corresponding increase in the amount of time devoted to technically supporting the use of the ePortfolio with their students. 
Another use of the ePortfolio was for program-level requirements.  In Nursing, Graphic Design, and Education, students began using the ePortfolios to assemble their materials in introductory or capstone courses.  We were again pleased to see that the D2L ePortfolio was able to replicate and at times improve on the tools they had used before to create portfolios (paper- or digitally-based).  On the whole, funneling student ePortfolios through D2L course sites also reduced significantly the technical barriers that students had encountered in using other ePortfolio tools and allowed instructors to maintain control over the process (where we feel it belongs).
Embarking on our second year of the pilot, we are initially very excited about the new version of the ePortfolio (3.0) and feel that instructors will responded positively to its improvements.   In addition to supporting ongoing individual instructors and program-level uses, we are also expanding our use of the ePortfolio into new areas.  We are putting together a pilot group of students who will use the ePortfolio to document and track learning in General Education courses.  We are working with instructors in Freshman Seminar courses to create ePortfolio assignments in courses that capture students’ first-year experience.  We received a UW system Curricular Redesign grant for working very closely with a group of 7 instructors in the Cultures and Communities Program who will use the ePortfolio for service learning projects and for crafting digital stories.  Finally, we are beginning conversations with student support and professional development units on campus in order to discuss how co-curricular transcripts could be easily and intuitively added to students’ ePortfolio to reflect a more holistic university experience.

Updates from UW Milwaukee

UW-Milwaukee has been very busy over the past few months with its faculty development programs. Each year we partner with the Sloan C organization to offer our blended course redesign program fully online to an international audience; this program remains unusually popular, more so even than the Sloan C’s own online course redesign program. We are also offering our blended and online faculty development program to our own faculty, of course: this past year we completed 4 cohorts of nearly a hundred faculty, and anticipate a continuation of this high rate of participation this coming year.
For the first time, the LTC, in conjunction with the Provost’s office, awarded formal certificates to our faculty who have completed our faculty development program, offered an online or blended course, and who write a pedagogical reflection on their redesign experience. This first time we awarded 15 certificates, and there are another 40 or 50 faculty who have applied for the next round of awards.
The UWM campus is especially eager that as faculty redesign their courses, their work reflects a known standard of excellence for online and blended learning. For this reason, we have developed a handbook on peer course evaluation, which we are using to offer workshops for faculty who wish to learn how to evaluate their own and their colleagues’ courses. We are also strengthening the role of student evaluations by building a “front end” for Qualtrics so that department or program representatives can automatically download CSVs of the enrolment for all their online courses, which can then be distributed to students via a unique email link to the course survey.
Finally, the Provost’s office and the LTC have announced the Joanne Lazirko Award for excellence in the use of teaching technologies. This award, named for a late colleague who was a pioneer in the use of learning technologies in her courses, is offered annually together with a cash award of $1500.
Submitted by Alan Aycock

Second Life Activities at UW Milwaukee

The UWM Second Life pilot is now entering its third year starting in Spring 10, with over 60 instructors receiving faculty development and almost 20 instructors adopting it for their own courses. Second Life is a virtual world which provides access to a network of information, organizations, people, culture, and languages not easily available in real life. It increases retention through engaging and interactive activities. Second Life creates a status-leveling effect for students from diverse backgrounds. It increases social presence by providing a media rich 3D environment. And finally, Second Life offers an immersive environment for experiential learning.

Invited Presentations:

2009, November 6th. Student Perceptions of Second Life. Presented at EDUCAUSE 2009 Online.

2009, November 5th. Harnessing Social Networking Tools to Build Connectivity and Learning Community in Online Courses. Presented at the 2009 EDUCAUSE Annual conference.

2009, November 4th. The Top-10 Questions You Should Consider When Implementing Second Life. Presented at the 2009 EDUCAUSE Annual conference.

2009, October 30th. Using Second Life to Meet Your Pedagogical Needs More Effectively.  Presented at the First UW-System’s LTDC Technology Conference.

2008, October 17th. Transformation for Online Learning. Presented at Youngstown State University Annual Distance Learning conference.

Conference Presentations:

Joosten, T. (November, 2009). Best Practices for Using Second Life for Teaching and Learning. Presented at the 2009 EDUCAUSE Annual conference.

Joosten, T., and Stalewski, S. (November, 2009). Student Perceptions of Second Life. Presented at the 2009 EDUCAUSE Annual conference.

Joosten, T. (July, 2009). Using Second Life and Desire2Learn to Best Meet Your Learning Objectives. Presented at the Desire2Learn Fusion annual conference in Minneapolis, MN.

Joosten, T. (June, 2009). Meeting Your Pedagogical Needs More Effectively: How to Best Use Second Life. Presented at the Sloan-C International Symposium on Emerging Technology Application for Online Learning in San Francisco, CA.

Joosten, T. (March, 2009). Virtual Worlds (Second Life) Constituent Group Discussion. Facilitated at the EDUCAUSE Midwest conference in Chicago, IL.

Joosten, T. (October, 2008). Second Life in Education, Panel Presentation. Presented at the EDUCAUSE Annual conference in Orlando, FL.

Joosten, T. (August, 2008). Evaluating Second Life as mediated communication to facilitate learning. Presented at the Distance Teaching and Learning Annual conference in Madison, WI.

Joosten, T. (June, 2008). An Example of Second Life in a Communication Course: Human Communication and Technology. Presented at the Games, Learning, and Society Annual conference in Madison, WI.

Submitted by Tanya Joosten, UW-Milwaukee