Monthly Archives: April 2014

Augmented Reality is coming…

We exist in a awkward point in time.

Information has been given to the public domain, our media purchases and software live in the cloud. We can access this data from a device that we carry in our pockets… and we do!

photo by UltraSlo1 (flickr)
photo by UltraSlo1 (flickr)

However – we have to hold this device and look down at it. This method of access creates walls between us and the rest of the real world. This is a temporary situation. Not long from now, people will look at this moment in time as incomprehensible. How could we function that way? (Just as they will when they release car control to computers and they think back to the bygone days when hundreds of thousands of people used to just drive willy nilly with no assurance of safety – and thousands would die every year.) The difference is that we have been driving cars for decades now. We won’t be accessing information by staring down at our pocket computers for more than a brief blip in time.

Google Glass is but a prototype. It is still bulky and crude.

prototype device from Brainstorm that could record all of a person's senses for another to playback
prototype device from Brainstorm that could record all of a person’s senses for another to playback

The future interface will be completely slick and integrated. Trust me.

Peer into the future with me and tell me, do you think we are ready as a society to handle this? Do we have protections in place that will allow us to walk around without seeing ads everywhere?* Do we have ethically unchallenged leadership that sincerely cares?

Ready or not, this blip we are living in, will be over soon.

*As if this wasn’t already a problem.



Flipping your class

When considering whether to flip your class, consider this: No one says you have to flip every single lecture. In fact, it’s probably easier inside your department politically if you just flip a couple of lessons.

Can you think of a few homework activities, that through the semesters, your students have always found especially challenging? Maybe those lessons should be the ones you flip. That way they can complete the assignments within a group in the classroom and with you and/or your TAs right there to help out.

There are some other advantages to only flipping a few classes as well. Throwing in a few flipped classes now and again will keep things fresher for the students. Having change-ups like this is more likely to create situations where the students are successfully learning in your class. Remember, humans learn when active, alert and practicing… not by sitting behind a desk and falling asleep.

Using TED-Ed to re-envision massively online or flipped courses

Dr. Margaret Schedel had wanted to flip her classroom before the whole MOOC concept starting sweeping SBU, so it seemed like a plan to try not only flipping her class, not only by recording the standard lectures and using class time to work on the hands-on parts of computational arts, but also by making those lectures open to a wider audience using Coursera. This allowed for a massive group of students to synchronously go through the class with her own face to face students.  Grading is accomplished through simple computer grading assessments and through peer assessments of larger projects. A large amount of student interaction is accomplished via forums.

Changing things up a bit, we thought we would now try to take those same videos and put them through the “create a lesson” process of TED-Ed. These lessons go up into the wild as asynchronous content – though a class can still assign them to be completed according to whatever schedule is chosen. The world still has access.  They have computer graded assessments built in – that can bring you back to the video for a video hint if you get the answer wrong. It also has discussion forums, to interact with the instructor or other students. Here is the first lesson that we put together based on the week 10 set of videos:

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.04.09 AM

An instructor can create lessons like these, using any youtube video. This is really powerful.


Coursera Partner’s Conference

Dr. Meg Schedel is over in London presenting for Stony Brook University at the Coursera Partner’s Conference.

Meg's selfie at our poster.
Meg’s selfie at our poster.

31 March – 1 April, 2014   |   London, England
Co-hosted by the University of Edinburgh and the University of London

The second annual Coursera Partners’ Conference brings together university officials, faculty members, instructional designers, program managers, technology specialists, and teaching support staff from across our partner organizations for two days of lively discussion about MOOCs, online and blended pedagogy, and emerging trends in higher education. It is intended to provide an opportunity for members of the Coursera community to learn from each other and share their experiences in designing, creating, and delivering MOOCs, and to discuss the rapidly transforming landscape in higher education.