A Call for Builders!

Come Build with the Learning Technology Center as we discuss the Educause 2023 Top 10 Information Technology Issues this Spring.  Image by Wokandapix
Come Build with the Learning Technology Center as we discuss the Educause 2023 Top 10 Information Technology Issues this Spring. Image by Wokandapix

The Educause Top 10 IT Issues describe the foundation models that colleges and universities will develop next year and beyond, acting on what was learned in the pandemic and framed by the three building blocks of leadership, data, and work and learning. In 2023, thinking is giving way to doing. The old foundations—from enrollment to credentials to the campus to decision-making—are showing signs of wear. Existing foundations need to be examined and strengthened. New foundations may need to be developed. Institutional and technology leaders are building solid foundation models for higher education.

Come build with the LTC this Spring as we do a focused study of portions of the report to explore these new foundation models: leadership (Leading with Wisdom); data (the Ultra-Intelligent Institution); and work and learning (Everything is Everywhere). The Educause Top 10 IT Issues 2023: Foundation Models, are Builders Group modeled on a book club format; participants are expected to come prepared to discuss short key readings inspired by the Top 10 IT issues to explore these foundation models, tackle challenges, develop recommendations, and craft solutions.

This series is appropriate for educators, leaders, administrators, and technologists. By the end of our sessions together we hope to foster cross-campus communication and networking while providing feedback to help shape the future of Whitewater’s technology strategy. We hope that you will be able to apply what you have learned to your teaching or administration. While each session is connected, it is not required to attend them all. Anyone with interest can join as few or as many as able.

Wednesdays 3:30 – 4:30 pm
McGraw Hall 19A and Online via Webex

February 8. Educause Top 10 IT Issues: Foundation Models
February 22. Leading with Wisdom
March 8. The Ultra-Intelligent Institution
March 22. Everything Is Anywhere
April 12. Solving Challenges: What Can We Do Now?
April 26. Applications: Recommendation for the Future and Foundations to Build.

LTC Construction crew:
Eric Loepp, Director of Learning Technology
Dana Wagner, Assistant Director, Learning Technology
Ted Witt, Teaching Learning and Technology Consultant

TED Tips – Issue 24: Winter Break!

As the 2018 Fall Semester concludes, I want to reflect on the first six months of writing this blog. It has been a great honor to share discoveries, explore new ideas, and write about topics related to Technology, Education, and Design. I hope that these TED tips continue to inform and inspire as we celebrate teaching and learning at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater.


Winter Break

Over the last six months, we have explored the difference is between a Learning Management System (LMS) and a Digital Learning Environment (DLE). This distinction is important as it helps to lay the foundation for some of the key decisions applicable to the migration from D2L to Canvas at Whitewater and throughout the UW System.

Canvas has been a source for several posts. The LTC Canvas peer mentors shared some of most important lessons learned while working with Canvas in the classroom. We looked at ways to support communications in Canvas and the importance of making a good first impressions. We explored grading and using Speed Grader in Canvas.

What are some different ways technology can be used in the classroom to support your teaching learning? Tools like Poll Everywhere can increase student engagement and interaction. “23 Things for Digital Knowledge” provided activities that can build student fluency in digital literacy.

TED Tips have explored the 2018 NMC Horizon Report and its view the trends, challenges, and developments in educational technology as it impacts higher education. Using the Horizon Report provides a lens to highlight pilots and innovative work taking place on campus like Adaptive Learning.

The blog will continue to promote workshops sponsored by the Learning Technology Center and its many partners and collaborators. For example, there is a series of upcoming Canvas workshops this winter: Canvas Open labs, hands on workshops for newcomers to Canvas, Construction Zones to help instructors move their courses from D2L to Canvas, and deep dives into single topics to help with your teaching. Grading in Canvas and building and using rubrics will be explored in early January. For a full list of times and locations of the upcoming winter Workshops visit the LTC. https://blogs.uww.edu/instructional/2018/12/12/canvas-workshops-winter-2019/

The next session in the 2018-19 UW-Whitewater LEARN Center/Learning Technology Center Workshop Series: “Back to Basics to Balance Workload” is Thursday, January 10th from 10:00am to 2:00pm in the University Center. This four hour workshop includes lunch and is designed as a hands-on activity to help prepare for your spring classes! Session Four: Setting the tone early saves time in the long run: Crafting your syllabus and engaging students before the first day of class and beyond.

During the morning session of the workshop, presenters will share evidence-based strategies for creating a more learner-centered syllabus and share tips for engaging students from the first day (and even before class begins!). After a lunch discussion, participants will learn more on how to better utilize Canvas in their courses in a way that clarifies organization and sets expectations in a more transparent manner. Participants will end the session with time to revise their syllabi, first day activities, and/or Canvas course pages and share their materials for small group feedback.

Participants will leave with:

  • An overview of best practices for syllabus development
  • Experience with a variety of first day activities that can increase student engagement and sense of community
  • Ideas to organize their Canvas course pages
  • Revised syllabi/activities to enhance student engagement

To register for this workshop: https://my.uww.edu/signup/Registration/Details/15867

Thank you for taking the time to read these posts! TED Tips will return in 2019. Topics next year will build on and support some of the upcoming workshops with TED Tips planned to explore several types of rubrics, building them in Canvas, design of a course homepage, navigation, analytics, and many others. I hope to experiment a bit more in format and content and hope to record the occasional complementary podcast! Until then, have a great holiday break, recharge, and relax! See you next year!

– Ted Witt
Teaching, Learning, and Technology Consultant


LTC Canvas Peer Mentors http://www.uww.edu/icit/ltc/canvas-portal/peer-mentors

Canvas Workshops Winter 2019

LEARN Center/Learning Technology Center Workshop Series:  “Back to Basics to Balance Workload.”  Session Four: Setting the tone early saves time in the long run: Crafting your syllabus and engaging students before the first day of class and beyond. https://my.uww.edu/signup/Registration/Details/15867

TED Tips – Issue 17: Important Developments in Technology for Higher Education — 2018 NMC Horizon Report

This week, I conclude the three part series exploring the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report. The report “identifies and describes the higher education trends, challenges, and developments in educational technology likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry.” This week focuses on developments in educational technology.

These developments were chosen because they are likely to drive technology planning and decision making and are organized in time intervals related to their approximate time of wide spread adoption. The report identifies seven broad categories of technologies, tools, and strategies. The categories help us understand where we are today. The developments look ahead where we may be going in the future.

Categories of Technology

Consumer technology are tools originally created for recreational or consumer use. As the technologies become more utilized, they have been used as learning aids. Examples include: drones and wearable technologies like fitness trackers. The move from physical textbook to shorter videos highlights this “consumer demand” driving change in the classroom.

Digital strategies enrich teaching and learning by repurposing older activities for the modern digital classroom. They often reinvent conventional ideas to create meaningful 21st century experiences. The transformation of a pager to a cell phone to a smartphone exemplifies this march towards digitalization. Other examples include: The use of location intelligence (GPS), digital makerspaces, and applying concepts of gamification to the classroom.

Enabling technologies transform what we expect of our devices. The classic example is the voice activated computer as depicted in Star Trek; but more commonly realized through Alexa, Siri, and the Google Assistant. Those enabling technologies allow us to do more things. The trend towards cord-cutting is another example.

Internet technologies represent the underlying digital infrastructure. Internet technologies allow us to interact seamlessly and connect more devices in more ways. The “Internet of Things” is an example of how more components in the wired world are being connected to the internet. Another way to think about this is the idea that the Internet is a “utility” — along with the corresponding Digital Divide that highlight inequalities in the infrastructure.

Learning technologies are resources specifically developed for education. They help make learning accessible and available to all. Our digital learning environment is an example. Learning environments are increasingly customizable and personalized. Online courses and the related mobile learning platforms expand the access of education. Adaptive learning is another example of a learning technology. Larger systems like Lynda.com have been developed that offer training and learning at our fingertips. Fully online programs have redefined higher education possibilities…and created new opportunities.

The rise of social media technologies have changed communication and interpersonal relationships. Students communicate and collaborate quickly online. While research used to be the domain of the library, Google has become our primary search engine. Social networks, crowdsourcing, and issues regarding online identity and privacy fall in this category. Students can use sites like Facebook and Instagram to share and retrieve information and multimedia quickly.

Important Developments in Technology for Higher Education

Developments in Technology for Higher Education

Developments in Technology for Higher Education

Finally, visualization technologies are a growing set of tools that allow for large sets of information to be analyzed and displayed. They enable easier data driven decisions by making the complex simple.  Large sets of information can be visualized in real time.  New areas of virtualization and augmented or mixed realities fit into this broad category. Another example is 3D printing.

With the categories in mind, I want to briefly identify the important developments in educational technology for higher education as identifies in the Horizon Report. A key criterion for inclusion in the report was its potential relevance to teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in higher education.

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

Analytics Technologies: Data and big data are being used more frequently to support higher education…and there is a continued focus on measuring learning. Using “grades” as an analytics tool for students to measure their success is nothing new. Instructors, students, administrators and teachers are relying on more high tech analytics to provide insights to complete their tasks. For examples, analytics technologies can help identify at-risk students and trigger interventions. Analytics can be used by students to guide and improve their own learning and by teachers to improve outcomes and tailor content in the classroom. Post education career options can be enhanced by connecting into resources liked LinkedIn that offer data-driven, analytics to help customize pathways to employment.

Makerspaces work by bringing together experts and novices from a variety of disciplines to design, build, invent, and rethink various products. Makerspaces connect higher education and industry. These spaces often include computers, power tools, 3D printers, and other technologies. A perceived benefit of makerspaces is that it engages learners to develop hands-on learning.

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years

Adaptive Learning: Last week we explored a pilot project on Adaptive Learning here at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Adaptive learning is one technique for providing personalized learning, which aims to provide efficient, effective, and customized learning paths to engage each student. Finding the correct applications, developing the pathways, implementing the solutions, will take time.

Artificial Intelligence is no longer in the realm of fiction! Amazon uses it to predict products you may be interested in (and they want to sell); google uses it to guess what you will type next and search for; advertising uses it to find ways to connect individual products to users. Self-driving cars appear imminent. In education, Artificial Intelligence is becoming increasingly utilized for implementing today’s leading pedagogical trends, such as personalized learning. Analytics technologies allow us to do descriptive and diagnostic work; artificial intelligence will allow us to do more predictive and prescriptive work.

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

Mixed Reality is an emerging environment where digital and physical objects co-exist. The augmented reality game Pokémon Go is an example of this intersection. In education, virtual reality simulations have be used to train and asses medical students; first responders have trained in mixed reality environment overlaying hot-spots and other hazards. In the social sciences mixed reality tools have allowed for the virtual recreation of historical landmarks and allowed students to interact with virtual residents.

Robotics: The Harvard Business Review notes… “We expect the global industrial robot population to double to about four million by 2020, changing the competitive landscape in dozens of fields — from underground mining to consumer goods and aerospace manufacturing.” They go on to provide an example: “Foxconn, which employs more than a million workers in mainland China, plans to automate 70% of its assembly work within the next three years.” Higher education faces a significant challenge: preparing students for success in the next generation workforce and addressing corresponding emergent societal challenges.

I hope this exploration of the 2018 Higher Education Horizon Report has provided a window into the future. The report is provides a lot of ideas to fuel our themes of Technology, Education and Design. Next week offers a change of pace as I will provide updates from the 2018 Quality Matters Connect conference from St. Louis!

– Ted Witt
Teaching, Learning, and Technology Consultant

2018 NMC Horizon Report
Citation: Samantha Adams Becker, Malcolm Brown, Eden Dahlstrom, Annie Davis, Kristi DePaul, Veronica Diaz, and Jeffrey Pomerantz. NMC Horizon Report: 2018 Higher Education Edition. Louisville, CO: EDUCAUSE, 2018.

Examples and further Reading:

Learning Analytics: https://tech.ed.gov/learning-analytics/

Makerspaces: http://isam2018.hemi-makers.org/

Adaptive Learning: http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/trends/2923-the-role-of-adaptive-learning-in-education

Artificial Intelligence: 7 Roles for Artificial Intelligence in Education by Matthew Lynch

Augmented Reality: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271706077_Augmented_Reality_application_in_Higher_Education

Robotics: Building Tomorrow’s Robots by Gregory Mone

The Age of Smart, Safe, Cheap Robots Is Already Here

TED Tips – Issue 15: 23 Things for Digital Knowledge

Two weeks ago in TED Tips Issue 13 one of the solutions to the challenge of Digital Literacy caught my attention. When digging deeper into that solution, I realized that the “23 Things” course was easily adaptable, well designed, and loaded with great examples. It has potential application in the classroom and for personal development. It’s also free! Let us explore this solution this week: “23 Things for Digital Knowledge.”

What are “23 Things for Digital Knowledge”?

23 Things for Digital Knowledge

23 Things for Digital Knowledge

The University of Edinburgh’s 23 Things for Digital Knowledge is an award winning, self-directed course. The course aims to expose you to a range of digital tools for your personal and professional development as a researcher, academic, student, or professional. The aim is for you to spend a little time each week, building up and expanding your skills. There are 23 “Things” to explore: ideas, tools, and tips related to Digital Literacy. The program is free to anyone who has access to a computer and the internet.

The University of Edinburgh’s program was itself inspired by previous iterations of similar activities. The original program started as part of “Learning 2.0 Program” at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County in the USA in 2006. That was a discovery program designed to encourage staff explore new technologies at ran for 8.5 weeks. In its current open source iteration as published by the University of Edinburgh, the content is free and self-paced.

How does it work?

Each “Thing” starts with an introduction, a definition or description usually accompanied with a short video or two. There are links to brief reading material. There is a “hands-on” task and further digital exploration. For example, Thing 4 is about “Digital Security.” It defines the terms and explores some use cases. It links to brief reading on “Using Apps Safely and Security” and a practical guide on keeping smartphones safe. Next, you explore the settings on your own device and have the opportunity to change them. Then you research and discover the privacy policies of several applications, websites, and social media services. Finally, there an opportunity for reflection and additional resources and research for further discovery.

The 23 Things are grouped into couplets of related content and activities (with one exception). One hour per week per thing is recommended. The content is further organized into four “focused blocks”: Digital Awareness, Social Digital, Collaboration and Sharing Tools, and Digital Play and Experimentation. The full set program could easily fit within a semester…or a compressed timeline like Winterim. The entire program could be adapted to support a variety of different learning objectives, courses, or programs. Almost every person could benefit from enhanced digital literacy.

Team Application

23 Things for Digital Knowledge has also been adapted for team applications. The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) completed the 23 Things as a team, trying each of them, and discussing those experiences during weekly meetings. That group tried to embrace the course motto and keep things as flexible as possible – but they did set up an internal scratchpad using a shared Google doc for everyone to participate. Maren Deepwell, CEO, provides some insight:

“The experience of taking part as an individual was really rewarding for me. Being in a leadership position means that I don’t often get the opportunity to collaborate or learn alongside colleagues in my day to day work as equals and courses such as this allow me to step back from responsibilities and instead focus on asking questions and discovering new things. The range of topics that the course covered really challenged my digital knowledge and there were plenty of things that I hadn’t really engaged with before. Other tools or platforms were more familiar, but looking at them with a fresh perspective was useful.”

What are the Things?

I thought it might be helpful to provide the full list of 23 Things. If you are interested in adapting the 23 Things program to your class, I would encourage you to try them!  Start with one or two and discover more of the program.  The entire course is built with Creative Commons licensing and is fully and freely adaptable. The supporting website  is free and the activities are varied and fun. I have provided some additional links in the resources section at the end of the blog this week. Feel free to reach out to me in the Learning Technology Center or leave a post in the comments to discuss it further!

23 Things for Digital Knowledge

Thing 1: Introduction
Thing 2: Blogging
Thing 3: Digital Footprint
Thing 4: Digital Security
Thing 5: Diversity
Thing 6: Accessibility
Thing 7: Twitter
Thing 8: Facebook
Thing 9: Google Hangouts/Collaborate Ultra
Thing 10: Wikimedia
Thing 11: Copyright
Thing 12: Open Educational Resources
Thing 13: Video (YouTube/Vimeo/MediaHopper)
Thing 14: Audio (Podcasts/SoundCloud)
Thing 15: Digital Curation
Thing 16: OneNote/ClassNotebook
Thing 17: Geolocation Tools
Thing 18: Augmented & Virtual Reality
Thing 19: Altmetrics
Thing 20: LinkedIn / Academia.edu / ResearchGate
Thing 21: Online Games & Learning Tools
Thing 22: Fun and Play
Thing 23: Reflection

– Ted Witt
Teaching, Learning, and Technology Consultant


The University of Edinburgh’s 23 Things for Digital Knowledge. http://www.23things.ed.ac.uk/

Original Learning 2.0 Program. This site was created to support PLCMC’s Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies and reward them for doing 23 Things. https://plcmcl2-about.blogspot.com/

“#23things – how taking part turned into a digital knowledge habit” by Maren Deepwell. CEO Association for Learning Technology. https://altc.alt.ac.uk/blog/2017/01/23things-how-taking-part-turned-into-a-digital-knowledge-habit/#gref

This 23 Things for Digital Knowledge program by Stephanie (Charlie) Farley of The University of Edinburgh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The materials are free to share, copy and redistribute in any medium or format. They can also be adapted: remixed, transformed, and built on for any purpose including commercially.

TED Tips – Issue 13: 2018 NMC Horizon Report — Challenges

2018 NMC Horizon Report Challenges

The New Media Consortium recently published its annual Horizon Report. The report “identifies and describes the higher education trends, challenges, and developments in educational technology likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry.” This week’s TED Tips is part two of a three part series exploring the Horizon Report. This week focuses on the significant challenges impeding technology adoption in Higher Education. The purpose of this blog is not to offer or propose possible solutions, but to report the challenges.

These challenges were identified because of their potential implications for policy, leadership, and practice. The challenges identified are likely to impede the adoption of technologies if left unsolved. They vary in scope and complexity. The Horizon report defines solvable challenges as “those we understand and know how to solve”; difficult challenges as “well understood but for solutions remain elusive”; and wicked challenges as “the most difficult…complex even to define, and thus required additional data and insights before solutions will be possible.”

Solvable Challenges:  Those that we understand and know how to solve.

Authentic Learning Experiences

Authentic learning experiences connect students to real world problems and immerse learners in environments where they can gain high practical, lifelong skills.  The challenge identified by the Horizon Report relates to the increased demand for students with skills directly applicable to the workplace and the perception that graduates may not have the skills needed. 

Possible solutions identified include vocation training, apprenticeships, and course projects situated in the community.  Job shadowing programs and project based learning through startups have become more common.  Colleges and universities have the opportunity to expand beyond their traditional roles.  They could provide instruction for more adults making mid-career pivots retraining from one industry to another.  Community colleges may offer a model to help provide access to apprenticeships and more direct industry experience.  “Learning by Doing” is a key tenant of programs like the LEAP initiative that reflect changes in this area.  Rethinking courses and programs to increase authentic learning opportunities seems something that is already underway at Whitewater especially as it applies to being “even better together” and the restructuring of UW-Whitewater and UW-Rock County.

Improving Digital Literacy

Technology has become essential to success in the workplace.  Are institutions of higher learning creating digitally literate students?   Digital literacy, however, is not strictly technical proficiency and competency.  Digital literacy also includes skills like:

  • netiquette
  • digital citizenship
  • understanding digital rights and responsibilities
  • articulating the boundaries between our personal, private lives and are more public persona. 

Solutions exist to help prepare students for digital literacy, for example, the University of Edinburgh in Scotland has developed a self-paced course, “23 Things for Digital Knowledge.”  These types of skills could become more integrated into existing curriculum.

Society is wrestling with some of these challenges too.  Consider the implications and fallout of the recent Facebook data “scandal”.  The use of social media and online consumerism has created buffets of data; various advertising and agencies are hungry to sample those delicious data items.  This creates additional ethical challenges and potential conflicts of interest.  There are implications for policy and leadership as drivers from other areas (like the need to track attendance) often lead to possible technical solutions that could potentially clash with student privacy concerns.   

Difficult Challenges:   Those that we understand but for which solutions are elusive.

Advancing Digital Equity

Another area that poses challenges to higher education is ensuring digital equity and opportunities for all students.  While MANY students use devices like smart phones and laptops, not all students have access to technology devices or can afford high-speed data.  While technology needs have expanded, the creation of formal policies to ensure equal access have often not kept pace. 

Adapting Organizational Designs to the Future of Work

Do the organizational structures of colleges and universities align with the practices of the 21st century workplace?  Do traditional educational models prepare students for success? Colleges and universities are finding new ways to integrate faculty from distance and interdisciplinary programs.  Technology creates new teaching and learning methods. More flexible degree paths and credentialing options provide new paths and opportunities for schools to offer new forms of stackable degrees and graduate programs.  There are possible consequences to the new models:  over two thirds of faculty members are now non-tenure, with half working part-time, often in teaching roles at several institutions.  In addition to changes in teaching roles, other services and programs may need to be re-evaluated.   What does do student services, which include financial aid programs, academic advising, and work-study programs look like?

Wicked challenges:  Those that are complex even to define, much less address

Economic and Political Pressures

While we have already identified some of the changes to staffing and programs, other economic and political pressures pose bigger, more complex challenges.  Several institutions, both for-profit and nonprofit, have closed recently.  Others have faced consolidations and mergers.  The Horizon report does not forecast an end to higher education.  However, other trends affecting higher education like changes in enrollments policy, tuition discounting, and funding through research pathways have forced all models to come under scrutiny.  There are opportunities.  As was identified in the authentic learning challenge, industry is looking to higher education to provide different types of education.  Foundations are looking to new community models and partnerships.   Can individual institutions adapt nimbly enough to meet these challenges?

Rethinking the Role of Educators

Not only is the future of higher education institutions in question, the role of faculty is changing.  New models of stackable graduate school degrees, competency based programs, online micro credentialing, and flexible learning paths have forced institutions to rethink the role of educator.  With an increase in the use and demand of technology, faculty need to be more tech savvy.  Many programs are becoming much more student-focused; as such, there is more demand for faculty that are facilitators and guides.  The role and expectations of tenure track instruction is changing.

The 2018 Higher Education Horizon Report provides a look into the future. It is a rich place to explore ideas connected to the themes of Technology, Education and Design. These glances can inform our thinking now, guide our planning, and inspire our journey.

– Ted Witt
Teaching, Learning, and Technology Consultant


2018 NMC Horizon Report
Citation: Samantha Adams Becker, Malcolm Brown, Eden Dahlstrom, Annie Davis, Kristi DePaul, Veronica Diaz, and Jeffrey Pomerantz. NMC Horizon Report: 2018 Higher Education Edition. Louisville, CO: EDUCAUSE, 2018.

UW-Whitewater/UW-Rock County Restructuring
UW-Whitewater LEAP program

University of Edinburgh, “23 Things for Digital Knowledge”: http://www.23things.ed.ac.uk/