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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Teaching Open Online Literacies Using Knowledge Integration Techniques (TOOLKIT)

Roz Hussin (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA)
William Lopez (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA)
Additional Authors
Julia Torquati (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA)
Session Information
July 8, 2014 - 3:30pm
Blended Models and Course Design
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Innovation and Experimentation
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Governor's Square 11
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Information Session 2

Leveraging Professional Learning Networks (PLN) and Open Online Resources (OER) through Metacognitive Connectivist Coaching to incorporate Web Literacy Standards into higher education core curricula

Extended Abstract

Too much to teach, too little time…

There is only so much that you can fit into a course syllabus. One college-credit only constitutes one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction plus two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks. The list of course objectives and expected learning outcomes must be finite, measurable, and proportionate to the quantum of credit hours designated for that course, while fulfilling the overall aim of the program or degree in which that course is a part of. This Carnegie (Raubinger et. al, 1969) credit hour formula has been widely adopted by institutions of higher learning worldwide, is trusted by accreditation boards that govern most major professions, and was originally guided by the demands of the real-world industries that eventually employ the graduates of the credit hour system.

However, in recent years, even Carnegie itself has begun to question the validity of its own measurement system (Carnegie, 2012). The rapid development of internet access, mobile technologies, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), plus the plethora of political, socio-economic and cultural changes that resulted, have revealed huge gaps in competencies and literacies needed for efficient work performance in both academia and real-life industry, for which academia prepares its graduates to function in. In other words, the curricula of current college courses may no longer be sufficient for ensuring the delivery and development of the necessary real-world competencies and literacies expected of college graduates.

For example, the curricula for pre-service teachers and school counselors needs to incorporate 21st century Web Literacies (Belshaw, et. al., 2013), as these future educators need to be relevant to the students of tomorrow. The existing traditional 3R literacies - Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic (Curtis, 1795) - are no longer sufficient. Yet, unfortunately, 5R Connectivist Competencies - Reach (out to others), Respond (in context), Research (for content), Reflect (on learning), and Reiterate (to improve) - are not overtly taught in the context of "open online learning" in our undergraduate education degrees (Hussin & Kim, 2013). When certain content is not included in the "Overt or Written Curricula" of a course (Olivia, 1997), the resulting "Null Curricula" (Eisner, 1985, 1994) - the untaught or neglected topics give students the message that these elements are not important in their educational experiences or in our society. As a result, graduates risk entering the workforce unprepared.

To avoid this current outdated "fixed-curriculum" model of education, Downes and Siemens, the two founding fathers of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), believe that the solution is to do the exact opposite. "When you don't select a certain set of canonical contents, everything becomes potential content" (Downes, 2012). The EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research advocates that we embrace such Connectivist Learning culture by maximizing the Web 3.0 Open Online environment, "using technology in transformative ways… engaging and relevant to students' lives and future plans" (ECAR, 2011).

Rather than trying to build everything from scratch autonomously, one solution is to leverage the power of Professional Learning Networks (PLN) and Open Online Resources (OER). Crowdsourcing content from colleagues, peers, and the open online community, not only allows faculty to save time and energy, but it also enriches the course content, as expertise from a variety of resources can be solicited. As advocated by Cormier (2008), the "community acts as the curriculum, spontaneously shaping, constructing, and reconstructing itself and the subject of its learning." The instructor is no longer the "content expert", but instead, becomes one of many "collective sources", and the course syllabus expands beyond the narrow scope of the existing 3 credit hours. Instead of merely covering the list of course objectives as outlined in the original syllabus, the learning opportunities then become limitless and can be customized to each individual learner's needs.

In order to implement this in mainstream higher education, given the time constraints as well as the rapid growth, change, and advancement of technology, both faculty and students must face a steep and demanding Professional Development (PD) learning curve. This requires a total revamp in teaching philosophy and deep-dive immersion through Metacognitive Coaching, Just-in-Time Learning, and Connectivist Rhizomatic collaboration.

In this pilot case study, the faculty and instructional design team developed TOOLKIT - Teaching Open Online Literacies using Knowledge Integration Techniques. The end result was "hard-fun" learning (Papert, 2011) for all parties involved - students, faculty and instructional designers, in addition to the targeted course redesign goals, which were:
• Authentic demonstration and documentation of literacies and competencies
• Formative and cumulative ongoing e-portfolio for future job seeking
• Lifelong skills for self efficacy and Heutagogy (Hase & Kenyon, 2000)
• Enhanced course outcomes - Core Curricula and Hidden Curricula (Snyder, 1970)
• Higher student satisfaction and retention rates

The proposed presentation for this conference would include informative presentation slides, a demo walk through of the actual redesigned courses, and hands-on live participatory engagement between the conference participants and other invited educators from the larger global online community. All participants in the conference would be given access to the TOOLKIT resources in Google Drive, an invitation to join the actual course G+ Community space, as well as membership to the original PLN learning spaces, comprising two MOOCs: Open Online Education 2013 (#OOE13) http://www.ooe13.org and Workshop on Open Ongoing Connectivist Massive Open Online Courses (WOOC-MOOC) http://shell.venture-lab.org/wooc .

Lead Presenter

Roz Hussin is currently an Instructional Design Technology Specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. A graduate of Cornell University and an Architect by profession, she began teaching as an adjunct faculty in Architecture while practicing in industry. She eventually shifted to full-time academia and academic management at an international university, while simultaneously going back to grad school in instructional technology, and establishing a broad footing in the field of instructional design and curriculum development. While serving as the Associate Director of Academic Quality Assurance and International Corporate Development, her work took her to over a dozen countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the United States. Other previous positions include Nebraska 4-H Curriculum Coordinator, Adjunct Faculty at Southeast Community College, instructor for the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy Program in Lincoln Public Schools, College Access Coach for the Lumina Foundation KnowHow2GO program, Program Technology Tutor for TRIO Educational Talent Search, and Camp Director for various summer and enrichment programs. Today, her roots in architecture continue to influence her out-of-the-box instructional design strategies.