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Online and Blended Teaching: Notes from the Field – The Craft of Teaching

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Online and Blended Teaching: Notes from the Field – The Craft of Teaching


SPEAKER 1: Let me start
just by welcoming everyone to the Practice Teaching event
that’s about online and web learning, notes from the field. This is going to be
structured with a panel. We have two experts and
two people experimenting in various fields, who are
currently PhD students up at the Day School. So we will have 10 minutes
for each of our panelists to offer some notes. And then we’ll have a
discussion from 12:40 to 1:30. We’ll both ask questions. So our panels ask
each other questions. I have some quick
announcements first. We’re coming to the end
of our practitioner notes for the quarter. We still have more. For a following student
event with the Ethics Club, they’re doing a workshop. It’s drawing out a pick
through your comments to elaborate on this session. That will be on the 18th. Then on June 8th,
they’ll be back for a Philosophy of
Teaching workshop, just cornerstoning the teaching
portfolio for the summer. So without further ado, I’ll
introduce our panelists. First we have Bill Rando, who’s
the Director of the Chicago Center of Teaching, here in
the University of Chicago. Our second panelist is
Emily Joy Bembeneck. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
Yeah, that’s it. SPEAKER 1: Who is the
Associate Director of Pedagogical Innovation
at the Graham School. And then our two
PhD students are Adam Miller, who works
in History of Religions, and [INAUDIBLE],,
who’s in Theology. So I’ll turn it
over first to Bill. BILL RANDO: Thank you. And thanks everybody for coming
to join the conversation. I decided that what I want to
do is give the 30,000-foot view. I want just to say a
little bit of context about online teaching
and learning. And part of that means
a little bit of history. Because particularly
when we think about some of the attitudes
that you may have or that your colleagues may
have about teaching online, I think you’d understand it. Understanding a little
bit of the recent history of talking about even the
last 10 years is helpful. From my perspective,
this panel, there are a few questions that
I’m trying to explore. Which one is why should I
care about online teaching and learning? Why should I even pay
any attention to this? If I am interested,
what can I do about it? The opportunities
are not many here, for graduate students
who do online. And if they are, they’re
not always visible. So if I’m interested,
what can I do about it? And if I do decide
to start engaging using online tools to reach my
students or reach new students, how can I do it well? So those are three key
questions that I had in mind. Let me back up and then
talk about how we even think about online
teaching and learning, at least in this
country right now. I was reading an article from
International Educator, which cites so much of how people
think about online teaching and learning is still
embedded in the idea of MOOCs. Raise your hand if you
know what a MOOC is. Almost everybody. A MOOC is a Massive
Open Online Course. Or is it Online Open? EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
You were right. OK. BILL RANDO: Massive
Open Online Course. And I don’t know if you guys
were around and were paying attention back in, say, 2008. Back in 2008, and the
years that followed, ’09, ’10, and ’11, this
country, especially the world– but certainly this country. I can’t necessarily speak
for the whole world, but certainly the
United States– got hit by what can
only be described as sort of a MOOC tidal wave. It was freaky, as a person who’s
been a Director of a Center for Teaching for
the past 30 years. I’ve never seen
anything like it. Every conference, it was all
anyone was talking about. MOOCs, MOOCs, MOOCs, it
was all our organization– I’m have an
[INAUDIBLE] Plus Group. I have a national group. And for those years,
MOOCs, MOOCs, MOOCs. Massive Online Open Courses. Online teaching. It was really quite intense. Some people describe the height
of this intensity happening at around 2011, when two very
famous computer science faculty members from Stanford,
Sebastian [INAUDIBLE],, decided to make an online course
about artificial intelligence. And this thing, maybe
you were aware of it, sent shockwaves across
the world, basically. I want to quote this article. The article says
“When the two decided to take their course,
Artificial Intelligence, online and offer it to the
students anywhere in the world, they quickly attracted 160,000
students from 190 countries, despite very little publicity. OK? There were famously
more students from Lithuania
enrolled in the class than there are members of
Stanford’s entire student body. And this was at the height. So a couple of amazing
things here to me. Number one, it was amazing
that higher education was in the news, like,
for years, right? And two, that higher
education was in the news because of teaching. I mean, this just
doesn’t happen. It was quite something exciting,
but also maybe terrifying. And to many people,
it was terrifying. So there was backlash. There was a
considerable backlash around many academics about
this tidal wave called MOOCs. And there was a backlash
of the overblown claims of what online teaching
could do and would do. And there were even
a number of people who described the MOOC
phenomenon as an instrument of neo-colonialism. As another way for powerful
countries to invade places with fewer resources. There were questions. Is this really education? What will this do to the
traditional classroom? Is this the end of the
traditional classroom? Is this the end of
the faculty role? And of course, the
ever-present question, what are the motives here? Why are we doing this? Do we really need classes
with 160,000 students taught by two people? You know, whatever. So the point is, in
the ensuing years, this otherwise-innocuous
tool, online teaching, became pretty polarized
in the academy. And then the wave, as
waves do, dissipated. And here we are
now, some 10 years later– well, not
even 10 years later– and the environment that
we’re in now, in part, was created by that MOOC craze. The MOOC craze– and most
people agree– is kind of over. Doesn’t mean there
are no more MOOCs. Universities are still
creating and making MOOCs. They invested a lot of
money in this stuff. Professional education,
accreditation education is often organized online. But they’re not MOOCs anymore. They’re what we call SPOCs,
Small, Private Online Courses. Maybe people are just more
comfortable with them. Many, many universities and
departments of all kinds, because of this giant
wave, committed to and continue to teach a few
courses online every year. And I’m still surprised. Colleagues of mine all over
say, oh yeah, I teach 3-2, and one of the courses
I teach is online. Very prominent but
not overwhelming. That’s the matter. But maybe a bigger thing is
that this tidal wave of MOOCs saw a huge rush of
new technologies that are on our
campus, on campuses all across the country. And what is more common now
is that these technologies are being used within the context
of traditional classrooms, blended classes,
flipped classes. And this is true everywhere. So the idea that the
technology of online learning, it’s not in the news
anymore, for one thing. But it’s happening, OK? The cranes may have ended,
but the work has not. So as people are moving
into the faculty field, or graduate students are
thinking about their career, I do think it is helpful for
us to continue to ask questions about enhancing our pedagogy
with the technology that is online. So asking questions like,
can online technology enhance the learning
of my students? That’s a legitimate
question to think about. Whether or not you’re
teaching in a traditional way, is there a tool that I could
use to make my students’ learning more powerful? But if I were to
do this, how would I have to change my teaching? And maybe when I get
a job and I might get asked to teach
a course this way, how is that going to
change my teaching? And would I like that? Is that still the kind
of teaching I want to do? Maybe yes or maybe no. And then I think we also have to
ask a question, if I’m teaching in my field and I’m not
employing online technologies in some of the ways that
we’re going to see here today, if I’m not employing them,
what are my students missing? Is there some
learning experience that I could be giving
my students that I’m not giving them because I haven’t
employed this technology? And I think these are
interesting questions to think about as we look
at the examples today. So that’s our context. And now I’m going to
hand it over to Emily to take us down from
30,000 feet to maybe– EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
Not quite sea level. BILL RANDO: Not quite sea level. All right. Thanks. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
So I’m Emily. I work [INAUDIBLE] technology
in the University of Chicago Continuing Ed school. And we have a
unique place where I get to do a lot of
innovative projects and work with
different technologies. So like Bill was saying,
it’s hard to find opportunity to use that online. If you want to talk to me
about that, [INAUDIBLE] do. We do very cool
stuff with alumni that’s more like these
SPOCs, still, essentially. And also, that I [INAUDIBLE]. And I think I want to
mostly talk about how do you think about online teaching? Instead of thinking of it as
just a set of technologies, maybe, or as a set of gadgets
that you can use, really, about the goals you
have for your teaching. I think for all of us,
it’s definitely how do I engage my students in this? How do I have deep
conversations? How do I really pull
out their insights and make them see the
text, the material we have a little bit better? Sometimes people think that with
online teaching, it’s less time and it’s less personal. And I would say, it’s only
those things if you believe it. So one of the things we focus on
when we start thinking teaching online learning more
than non-online teaching, how can I really
use this in a way to convey more of my
passion for this text? How can I use this
to really bring out the personality of students? How can I use this to make
my classroom and my teaching more personal? So I like to focus on
how to build communities of your students
using technology, how to use tools to make
conversations happen inside and outside
of the classroom in order to reach the kids. We may go, like, flipping
classrooms or something along those lines, which is
just thinking about how do I use my class time and
basic wisdom to really be more engaging and interesting? One of the reasons that I
think the MOOC craze died is because it’s a very
impersonal experience to many individuals. You watch a lot of
videos by yourself. You can talk to people online,
but not many people do. And the technologies
are not built in a way to emphasize that. A lot of things we’re
learning about tools is tools have inner biases. You need to be aware
of those and make sure that you’re not looking
at conflict of interest. With the classes that we do
have is, they’re smaller. They’re private. It’s a little more like a
small family, for example. They’re completely
focused on session. So it’s really much
focused in more. But instead of say, we’re going
to meet on Wednesday afternoon, it’s we’re going to talk
about the [INAUDIBLE] for this entire week. And how do you speckle
conversations over time? How do you keep engaging
people over time? What’s it like to have a
conversation from last week that can still be found? Those are the sorts
of different kinds of ways to motivate
your teaching, if you’re teaching online more
than you need it now. And I have to say, if I were
just going to give some quick tips that we can talk
about more another time– and I’ll probably have questions
for these guys, [INAUDIBLE]—- I would say that
you, as instructors, are the most important
part of what’s happening. Not technology. Not the school. Not even the counselors. They’re limited by your ability
to engage with your students. And when you’re online, you
know, it’s not your face. It’s more how do
you talk and text? How do you read
what someone says and see what’s interesting,
and pull that out? How are you present, even
when you’re not in the space? It’s really thinking about
this notion of a presence, I think, in a different light. So that has a lot of
the leads there real, up there, and with my work. So presence, I would
say, is you really have to plan out your questions. So I know that
when I was teaching regular sections, section
questions and stuff, really, I didn’t think too hard about
online classes and online text. I know just generally I want
them talking about and thinking about it. But when you’re online,
if you have a question and they’re saying,
well, [INAUDIBLE] you have to really
think about, what do I really want
them to think about? To get people engaged online,
you can’t just stare at them. You can’t just wait for
someone to be uncomfortable. That doesn’t work so well. So you have to have
clear questions. Not only do you need
a clear question, but you need to
model that behavior. So if someone responds
to that in a great way, respond to them. Answer them. Show what you want
everybody to do. You’re more than just
an expert or a person to ask questions to. You are a university. So when you’re in
conversation, you need [INAUDIBLE] as
much as anyone else. So I think that’s where most
of this content, it really helps being present, in
terms of I’m available, you can come directly
to some of this stuff. But having this
conversation, I think that’s what we have to say. And you have a good
response to it, and then they ask you
to talk some more. All those are really just
how you get into discussions, right? And online, it’s as simple,
just slightly different, clear passion and
good articulation, and spread out over time. So I guess I can’t
think of anything else? BILL RANDO: About– EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
Well, conversation. BILL RANDO: I know it
makes a difference. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
And it’s so easy to think of something else. BILL RANDO: I will
say, just one thing. Which is that people have
focused on the barriers to engage learning that
technology can create. But the fact is, There there
are also aspects of engagement that the technology affords. And I’ll just give
you one example. A faculty member
of psychology who I worked with, not here,
but my previous institution, and she had taught, I think it
was Abnormal Psych, many times in a setting like this. And then for the first
time, she taught it online in a SPOC, a Small
Private Online Course, with about this many students. But they were all
over the world. But they were enrolled
in the course. And she had what I sometimes
called a Brady Bunch, I don’t know what’s the
formal name for that? EMILY JOY BEMBENECK: I
mean, it’s really overall– BILL RANDO: Yeah. You know what I
mean by Brady Bunch? Here’s the story and there’s
Jan and there’s Alice. But there’s a whole class. And their heads are all bobbing. And what she found, and
what she said at the end, is that it was the best class
discussion in Abnormal Psych that she’d ever had. It was something about those
boxes that freed students to speak, and they had
to listen more carefully. Because all the
rules are different. So you’re at a
heightened-perceptual experience. And you would think,
oh, who’s going to talk in these little boxes? Well, everybody did, actually. SPEAKER 2: You can’t
hide in your book. BILL RANDO: You can’t
hide in your book. That’s right. And she was
surprised about that. Like Anyway, that’s
what I would say. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
Yeah, I would say so. In a synchronous example,
where I’ve been talking about asynchronous. So over time, thinking of this
example where you’re mediating distance through
online technology. So having pretty much
video screen, for example. And I think what
works best, honestly, is when you join those two, when
you have something that’s going on outside of your classroom. And then whether
you’re synchronous, trying to video screen, or
face-to-face in your classroom, the conversation is not
contained within that time. It’s really an
ongoing experience. And we know, from our
research, that students, most of the learning
that happens at college happens outside
of the classroom. All that development
of themselves and huge amounts of
learning concepts that we’ve learned in
context, in your classroom, happens outside to
being things embedded in your life, where it’s
important to really bringing out their insights. And I want to hear how you
guys have actually done it. [SIDE CONVERSATIONS] EVAN: Are we all set? Thank you, Erin, for inviting
me to be part of this panel. And thank you,
everybody, for coming. So just a quick bit about
the course that I work with. It’s offered through Central
Methodist University. It is a small,
private university in Fayette, Missouri. It started out as a
proper campus university with in-seat classes. And recently they’ve
been increasing their online offerings. The course I teach is called
Religion, [INAUDIBLE].. It is fully online. And it is accelerated. From front to back, it
is eight weeks long. So it’s intensive in
reading and writing. But I’ve got time to
[INAUDIBLE] what I assign. Most of my students are
non-traditional students. It’s staggering. The majority are
nurses, for some reason. And most of them have children,
are no longer working. They’re working 40-hour,
60-hour weeks, taking kids to their practice and stuff,
while taking two other classes. [INAUDIBLE] I am proud of them. I couldn’t do it. So I wanted to give
you just a quick tour to show you the infrastructure
I’m working with. First page you can
see when you see is just an announcement page. And this is a dummy
course for the future. There aren’t any students
enrolled in it yet. The Announcement page
is just quite a bit like a separate syllabus online. They have a syllabus. But the assignment’s up
on the Announcement page. They have a convenient
place to see what they’re expected to do. The next page that I’ll show
you is resources and materials, which is students can find the
syllabus, find the assignments, study guides, things like that. And then required videos
and you see these here. Most of the videos
that I assign are through just a film database
through the university’s library. And they’re like, 30,
40-minute long overviews of entire religions. So they’re not super
in-depth or anything. But they do the trick. I also assign
videos from YouTube. There’s a guy, David Henry,
at Boston University, he has a YouTube channel called
[? Mercy ?] for Breakfast. So his videos are nice to
introduce the study of religion and how it’s different from
theology and things like that. At least the kind of
group studies that I do. Unfortunately, I
don’t have a way to measure whether the
students actually watch these videos, including the ones
that are on the films database. Maybe they’re in it,
but I’m not hip to it. Maybe I should look that over. The next page, I’ll show
you the assignments page. And here I’ll just open
up a couple of these so you can see
what it looks like. As a student, you’ll come in. You’ll see that you have,
during the first week, a number of assignments to do. Each week is pretty much
free discussion forum and either a quiz or
a test, alternating. The first week is
kind of a softball. Like, now that you’ve studied
religion for a week, what do you think, kind of thing. And then the last week, I’d
say that’s more intensive, things [INAUDIBLE]. We’ll meet, as the
course happens, in the discussion boards. Obviously, that’s
where it has to happen. I have two stock assignments. We’ll see the second
and third of these two are Internet Resource
Report and Ask a Question. I’m using online tools in an
online forum, kind of there. On the Internet Resource
Report, I provide my students with links to
religious study blogs. Like, religion and cultural
web forum, or sites here, all types of
studies of religion, work study project, all
those kinds of things. And I ask them just to read a
blog or listen to an interview and summarize it and
give their take on it. I think it’s a way
for them to find responsible sources within that
religion. you know what I mean? There’s a lot of
garbage on the internet. So I’m trying to give them
good sources to move around in. The third forum is just
an Ask a Question forum. They can ask me a question. They can ask each
other a question. It’s really an
informal conversation where we’re trying to
mimic the classroom experience as best as we can. Much of the time I find
us asking each other about the points of confusion
in what they wrote online. They help each
other all the time. And in the first
forum [INAUDIBLE],, that are [INAUDIBLE],,
the first one is really where
everything happens. That’s where I put my
textbook-based conversation. Even the textbooks I use,
just Gary Kessler’s Studying Religion– An Introduction Through Cases,
and Craig [INAUDIBLE] Religion, I should say, I guess, now. I’ve been teaching
since August, 2013. So I feel like
almost three years. We have five terms per year. So I have a number of terms
under my belt, not too many. When I first started
teaching the course, I just inherited
a stock syllabus with just Kessler’s textbook. And the forum questions
weren’t super great. They were more geared toward a
religion appreciation course. One of the questions
was something like, out of the Buddhist theory
of Anatta or no self, and the Hindu theory
of Achman or self, which one do you like the best? Things like that. And I don’t know. Not the best. So just last summer,
I had the opportunity to redevelop the course. So now my syllabus and
use the [INAUDIBLE] every other online teacher. I’m not the only teacher
who teaches this class. There are two or three– So I brought Craig
Mark’s textbook in, because he provides a coherence
or the same theoretical driving engine in respect
to social theory. So he asked them to explain what
[INAUDIBLE] is talking about in this textbook– because
it’s real theory-heavy– and then apply it to a
case study [INAUDIBLE].. Some weeks I’m successful. Some weeks I am not. The most successful
example of that practice is if the chapter
in Mark’s book where he talks about if there’s
a way to nationalize constructed reality, and we’re
reading about the [INAUDIBLE] textbook where [INAUDIBLE]
sacrifice, his head becomes one cast, arms become another
cast, that sort of thing. So it’s particularly
easy to illustrate what Mark was talking about. Some weeks I don’t have
anything that clear. So there’s a problem
there, and that’s where I’m really trying
to work on my courses, making them talk to
each other, is better. How it is I keep things
rolling in the forums, I try to ask really
engaging questions. Like, I have a point or
two that I want you to get. So I just make it really
clear what’s the question. This is where I
think you should go. And then at the end of
the week, after they’ve written their responses–
and the assignment is one initial post and
two comments per, and there are always
requirements to make sure they’re engaged
in a serious way. After that is over, I
will put in the forum publicly a summation
post that is way longer than what they’re asked to write
and it clearly points forward. And when you get
later in the class, it also reaches back
to try to create a thread of conversation. And then when I’m
ready [INAUDIBLE],, I’ll try to pick out
one strength in the post and leave it in a private
comment [INAUDIBLE] weakness or something
like that where they can work toward changing
how they approached it. And a lot of times,
I’ll try and do it. Studying religion as an
academic is kind of difficult when you’re a nurse. Because you’re being
introduced to a distant subject like helping [INAUDIBLE]. But let’s see. I guess the course is
always a work in progress. Like I said, I’m trying
to put the textbooks into other conversation
with each other. And I could very easily stand
to put more time into responding individually to students. But I do what I
can with like when I work well with [INAUDIBLE]. But ultimately, I find
that my students come out the other side having
arrived at the goal that I hoped they
would, and that is to use a certain set
of critical thinking tools and use religion as an example
throughout the course, what I emphasize
throughout the course, that these tools can be
used to talk about even culture broadly. And they seem to arrive there
through application each week, [INAUDIBLE]. And they’re also really happy to
discover that the course is not just going to be talking about
metric theology, which is what they think it’s going to be. [LAUGHTER] And at this university. So they’re typically
surprised when they learn about it– yeah. The goal for me is
critical thinking. It’s not religion appreciation. That’s not where
I’m at, so I want to teach critical thinking. And I think bringing these
textbooks into the conversation helps me achieve that goal. And I try to use technology
to make that happen. SPEAKER 2: Thanks, Evan, and
thanks again to [INAUDIBLE].. Thanks to all of you. I’m proud to be far and away
the least experienced member of the panel. And I’ll give you my
[INAUDIBLE] from the field on the basis of the
one and only experience I’ve had teaching online. From this past semester
that’s just finished, and I was thrown not really
in the deep end, because there was a bit of hand-holding. But I could get
a sense of what’s it like coming to this
like, from zero experience, just having a first crack at
it, seeing what that’s like. I look forward to
hearing suggestions of how this might be
improved for the future. So this past semester I’d
been teaching at Dominican University at [INAUDIBLE]. I’m representing, here,
the blended side of things, the web-enhanced course in
that this semester I had no classroom, teaching Introduction
to Interfaith Studies at Dominican University– conventional classroom,
three-hour seminar once a week. But when I applied for and
was hired to teach the class, I was asked up front if I
would be able to incorporate an online module, online
course with several modules of Interfaith Youth Core,
a non-profit organization– many of you may be
familiar with it– that works primarily with
college students, not only, to build a whole knowledge
base and through its literacy component, but
also a sort of kind of [INAUDIBLE] and cultivates
certain kinds of attitudes for promoting
interreligious solidarity and being emphatic
among young people. So Dominican University
and Interfaith Youth Core have worked together to
create this online course that is intended currently
to be attached to conventional
classroom settings. People all over the
country are doing it. So Dominican is the
flagship program, where it’s taking place. But it’s available to
teachers at any institution if they want to have an
interfaith leadership component to a course
that they’re teaching. It was strongly
suggested to me that this would be important for me to
engage with since this is– Dominican is where
this got started. And they want to be
able to monitor it. So on the one hand, I’m walking
you through the history here. I hope this is instructive. On the one hand, I
have a lot of freedom with interfaith studies. It was an inherited course
that had been taught before, but they said very
clearly, do what you want. But it’s still
their own syllabus. Teach it however you
want to teach it. But in some way, please draw
on [INAUDIBLE] materials. So it’s on me to decide
how I was going to do that. And early on, I sort
of decided, well, I can go one or
two ways with this. There are surely
more, but I thought up two ways of doing it. Either I can build my course
around interfaith leadership as a kind of organizing
problem, and then [INAUDIBLE] material that I’ve
got as my expectation to associate these students to. Could it be the
core around which I am educating other issues? Or I can make this
material really work for me in the [INAUDIBLE] I
want this course to have. I ended up going with the
latter rather than the former. And as a result, the enhancement
of my course by these web resources is surely
more rudimentary than it might have been. I certainly did not put
this to its maximal use. So I think it’s a
good way [INAUDIBLE].. It’s reassuring to
see that you can inherit an online expectation
and do something actually kind of conservative,
conventional with it, and I hope, still, effectively,
while recognizing there’s always more that’s available. So what I ended up doing was
treating the Interfaith Youth Core course, this
online course that can be attached to
[INAUDIBLE] classrooms, I wanted to treat it,
essentially, as a primary text. So I’m teaching this
course on Introduction to Interfaith Studies, I
think, if I had designed– I designed the course. But if I had named
the course myself, I probably would have
called it Introduction to Interreligious Studies. Maybe that’s an inside
baseball problem. But I didn’t want to be
exposing students not just to the interfaith movement
in the sense of people who are proactively engaging
in interfaith dialogue for the sake of improved
interfaith relations. That’s a key part
of what I’m doing. But I wanted them to
experience that as part of interfaith interaction
writ large, as a history of interreligious
entanglement, where, I mean, talking about EGs. And then this
course becomes an EG of a certain kind of
interreligious engagement that’s by no means
the only [INAUDIBLE].. So I wanted my students to
be learning how they’re doing things and practice
[INAUDIBLE]—- Oh. EVAN: I thought [INAUDIBLE]. SPEAKER 2: OK. Sorry. We have this. I wanted students
to be experiencing what materials in this course
created to lead students at any one of these
other institutions through the process of
becoming an interfaith leader. I wanted them to
have that experience. I also wanted them
to be operating on another level of
service, saying, well, what are they doing here? What are the priorities? What’s the rhetoric? We didn’t ultimately get
that [INAUDIBLE] material. That was an ideal
agenda that we only really scraped the surface of. That was the kind
of logic there. What I ended up having the
students do, because I had– you know, new teacher,
make the mistake that most new teachers
make which is totally overload the syllabus. [LAUGHTER] Way too much reading,
way too much going on. And I found my students struggle
to keep up with everything. So in the second half of the
semester, I dialed it way back. I cut a lot of the readings out. And instead of asking everybody
to watch all the videos and do– I knew I wanted to have them
do some sort of presentation on these modules. But I ended up just
splitting them into groups and having each group
present on one module. And that’s all they ended
up being responsible for. So they didn’t get
too deeply into this. So say we had a group
presenting on module 4, Cultivating an Appreciative
Knowledge, which is a sense of–
and I think they’re hopeful that this
is going to be more than religious appreciation. I talk about
appreciative knowledge as a sense of not just learning
factual data about tradition, but trying to get inside
what’s the internal logic of a religious community. Why is it that people think
and behave the way that they do and what sort of runs– with what kind of effective– So if a group was
working on this, I had them watch all the videos. These videos range from
five minutes to 15 minutes. And most of them– I’m not going to
actually do much of this. Most of them have
people who could tell– [VIDEO PLAYBACK] [MUSIC PLAYING] – Over the past half-century,
the topic of diversity has become more prominent in
American lives and public discourse. Nowhere is this more clear
than on college campuses. Student leaders are trained to
identify, navigate, and support issues that arise to racial
and ethnic diversity, class diversity, and diverse
gender and sexual identities. We have a radar screen for
these different dimensions of identity, so that we can
better notice and pay attention to them. And interfaith leaders
do the same thing for religious diversity. As inter– [END PLAYBACK] SPEAKER 1: OK, thank you. So this is along the lines
of the kind of videos. They’re introductory
videos where you give a sort of
overview of the module. Then there are videos drawing
on a lot of the [INAUDIBLE] they got in their orbit– students from various
college campuses, and where they work,
for nonprofits, a whole range of settings,
talking about their own experiences. And it’s organized in a very
flashy and easy-to-digest way. They also have readings. I didn’t choose any
of these readings. And some of them were
already on my syllabus. Most of them were not. For the students that
were giving their group presentation, I want them
to select at least a reading and try to guide us through
what’s going on there. Basically I have students teach
the class for a half an hour on this material, on the
one hand, trying to teach us what’s going on in the
module, but on the other hand, giving us some sense of their
evaluation of the module in light of what we were doing. So that was the dream. I didn’t have them
deal with any quizzes. I didn’t have them deal
with any of the discussions. And so that’s where
I made a choice that this was going to be a
more conventional classroom [INAUDIBLE]. Were I to do it
again, maybe I would try to draw them more
deeply into the discussion. Maybe I would have them on the
weeks when they’re presenting, instead of posting on our
in-class discussion board. Maybe I’d have them
forget that one and instead post on the
inter-institutional discussion board. It’s more of a
resource that they have which seems to work very well. And students in any of
the institutions that are using the blending
course in their own classes can interact with each other
on the discussion board. So anybody in any of these
sections across the country can interact with one another. And I think that maybe
was a missed opportunity for me this semester. But that’s something
that’s available. So that’s a sense of what I did. Again, this was a pretty
minimal web enhancement. But what’s interesting,
where I’ll leave this, is that we’re, in the
Dominican Theology Department, now looking at what it
would mean to turn this set of modules– this design– for use blending with
conventional classroom. What would it mean to turn it
into an entire online course? In other words,
could we– and we’re working on this this summer
as a project– trying to make it open more
broadly to provide some sort of certificate
in elementary faith leadership that
would open this up beyond the comprehensive
classroom– still make it available for
people who wanted to connect it with their classroom,
but ultimately provide opportunities for
Dominican seniors, theology seniors, and in the case of
minors, things like this, to be involved. Could they be the equivalent
of a kind of online TA, helping to steward
the conversations, helping to draw on
their experiences in the divinity curriculum,
maybe get credit or get some sort of additional
certification through this. In other words,
we’re looking at both making this more
fully online but also try to find ways to tie it
back into the curriculum and use this as a way
to enhance the learning experience of the
students in the theology program [INAUDIBLE]. So there’s some interesting
aspects of this on the horizon. But yeah, this is my first
crack at online learning. I’d be happy to hear if
there’s– think about this. So should we maybe
give panelists a chance to get a slice of pizza. Do we want to go around, maybe,
and just introduce ourselves. I’m sure there are ranges
of experience here. And not– BILL RANDO: Everybody
yes to the pizza thing. [LAUGHTER] SPEAKER 2: Why don’t we
let panelists get a bite. If we just go around and
hear from you who you are and whether you’ve
had experience with online teaching. NICOLE: I’m Nicole. I’m a graduate student
in chemistry, actually. But I’ve heard that many of
[INAUDIBLE] are all fantastic. So tank you for this. Right now I’m adjunct teaching
a section of General Chemistry at [? Washington ?] College. So that is an evening course. We meet for a four-hour block
lecture on Tuesday evenings. And we have a lab on
Saturday mornings. And this is the last
week of the course, but in retrospect, I
definitely probably should have increased the online
component of participation. Because a major barrier for– my students also had jobs and
were mostly nursing students and had many ways of coming
to campus an extra day. It was a significant
barrier for a lot of them do things like
attend office hours or go to one of the
tutors in there. And I encouraged them to– we had a chalk site
similar to this, and I had a discussion board. But I was always like,
especially [INAUDIBLE] questions or you can email me. And eventually after the
first couple of exams, I got students
regularly emailing me. But the discussion, I think that
I should have started all in. I should have used
the discussion board after I realized that there
were these barriers to coming to campus as a band-aid measure. And if I had framed it in
the beginning of the class, I think I could have gotten
better discussion online. CECILIA LO: I’m Cecilia Lo. I actually work for IT Services. And I support using
technology for teaching, so [INAUDIBLE] campus. So we also have support for
other technology for teaching, [INAUDIBLE]. So I’m going to see
what you guys are using and how we can help better. And actually, I work
with Emily with her MOOC for this university. JULIE: Hi, I’m
Julie [INAUDIBLE].. And I work for the library. My role’s in team
learning, actually. So in all the ways
that the library thinks about how to support research
and teaching traditionally, we also think about how to
do that for online classes and online learning as well. [INAUDIBLE] I also have a special
[INAUDIBLE] public policy and international relations. So it’s a full
plate, but I haven’t taught online in ways that
we’ve been talking about today. But in the spirit of broadening
of what we think [INAUDIBLE],, I would say yes, I
do have experience. HECTOR: My name is Hector. I’m a second-year PhD student
here at the Divinity School. I have no experience
teaching, except for being a TA, of course. But I know there’s teaching
[INAUDIBLE] teaching. But I am [INAUDIBLE]
see about building an online course for [INAUDIBLE]
seminary [INAUDIBLE].. So I definitely do perhaps
a couple of people here who [INAUDIBLE]. And I have a question later on. You’ll go around
with questions later? SPEAKER 2: Yeah, sure,
once we get around, we’ll open it up
for participation. HECTOR: I’ll hold
my questions then. SPEAKER 1: Thank you. NATHAN HARDY: I’m Nathan
Hardy, PhD student here at the Divinity School. I’ve used you know, chalk and
things like that [INAUDIBLE],, especially to distribute
readings or handouts or prompts in ways that allow
me to not have my act together by the time class is there. So I can I do it on Friday
or Saturday, especially. It’s really useful for me. And then they can submit
responses to this. It’s not really
discussion boards, but more for the
email option to show. The more intensely I’ve
thought about online teaching is my wife took an online
abnormal psychology class, actually. And this was very much
like you have a textbook. You read it. You do these quizzes. You write three short papers,
and there’s a midterm final that you have to go to a
testing center to take. And just thinking about
the way that that actually worked really well because
she had to closely read an entire textbook in
order to do the quizzes, but also that’s not aways
the best use of your time as a student or as a teacher
when you’re grading this. So I don’t really have
any conclusions about that as a level of other papers. WILL: I’m Will. I’m a first-year MA, so I have
a ways until I’m teaching. But I recognize that this
is going to be something I have to work with one day. And I also, when I
took two or three years off between my undergrad,
I did three or four MOOCs to keep myself busy. So I have an interest
in doing something with internet teaching one day. STEPHEN: I’m
Stephen [INAUDIBLE].. I’m a PhD student here. And my teaching experience
is with [INAUDIBLE].. JACOB MERLIN: I’m Jacob Merlin. I’m a PhD student here
in the Divinity School. I don’t have experience
teaching in an online format, but I think since
MOOCs started, I’ve dabbled in and out of
different offerings. And I continue to
be amazed by what is available free of charge. It’s just incomprehensible
some of the stuff that’s available free of
charge [INAUDIBLE].. KEN SAWYER: My
name’s Ken Sawyer. I teach at McCormick Seminary
here in my department. I did my training here
and at the library school. And as a recovering library– [LAUGHTER] –particular set of needs
in my face-to-face classes, in my hybrid classes. And I’m just completing my
fourth completely online course with students around the world,
in Korea, in Afghanistan, in the Philippines,
and across the US. [INAUDIBLE] 20 students. So I also have
some administrative responsibilities, and I
know that as job-seekers, I know that each of you will
seek a job where you’ll need to bring a readiness
or a willingness or even a set of skills
that can be attained online. The smaller the institution
that you work at, the more likely that your
supervising team will be completely
incompetent in online materials and that most
of your senior colleagues will be resistant. So this is an aspect
of differentiation of your own readiness
to serve, but then also to display the kinds of
skills that should characterize the next generation
of full-time faculty so that there is an aggressive
component of differentiation in the set of skills that
any school that is sensible will be asking you for. This is a curious time,
but this conversation about online education has been
[INAUDIBLE] system going on for 20 years. So this very generous
introductory conversation, could also connect
each one of us to the ongoing texts
and best practices and strategies that
characterize those who show their scars
from online teaching. GRADUATE STUDENT: Hi,
my name is [INAUDIBLE].. I’m a PhD student here
at [INAUDIBLE] religion. I haven’t had much experience
with online teaching [INAUDIBLE] I’ve
had is like using Canvas and [INAUDIBLE] right
now, and Canvas [INAUDIBLE] at all. [LAUGHTER] SPEAKER 1: Thank you. [LAUGHS] GRADUATE STUDENT: But I
still also like learning, by needing to learn new
perspectives to using media, online teaching and
[INAUDIBLE] on Canvas, and how to make that
not just like the way to check [INAUDIBLE] readings
but a way to [INAUDIBLE].. YUNG HO: Hi, my name Yung Ho. I’m a post-doc in
social science. And I also
[INAUDIBLE] this year. And the university
I’m going to, they don’t require me to do
online teaching, though. But [INAUDIBLE] question was
almost 80%, 90% they asked me, and this, what do you think
about online teaching? Or what do you think
about blended teaching. Or are you ready to do that? That was almost [INAUDIBLE]. So I am very aware
of it, and I think I should prepare for
something very urgently. SPEAKER 1: Hi, I’m
[? Grace Kelly. ?] I’m the [INAUDIBLE]
coordinator here and a PhD student at the Divinity School. I’m kind of surprised
that something hasn’t been
articulated, which is like the skepticism that’s often
felt towards online teaching. So I am simply a voice for that. There’s [INAUDIBLE]. I TA a class in the
[INAUDIBLE] Department. And one of the things
that’s [INAUDIBLE] students is [INAUDIBLE] slowly
attend [INAUDIBLE] students. So I’m interested
in hearing about how to incorporate something like
that in an online platform, yes, an online platform. BILL RANDO: Can I just make a
comment on something I heard, which is, there’s
a real tension, I mean, from my
department, for myself, working with faculty and
with graduate students. I’m aware that because there are
a lot of robust opportunities for online teaching here. OK. But I’d know, as– what’s your name again? YUNG HO: Yung Ho. BILL RANDO: Yung Ho just
said, I know for a fact that out on the market, it’s
a question that gets asked. Even eight years
ago it kind of– a colleague of mine
did a pretty quick scan of the Chronicle of highed ed. And this is early in the MOOC. This was like maybe
in the height, which is still early in some ways. And I think 40% of
the ads for faculty in the Chronicle listed among
online teaching and learning experience, something like that. And I think it’s probably
more now because so many more places are doing it. But the point is,
too, what I also find is while that
might be in the ad, when the interview comes up, they
don’t need you to be an expert. And they maybe don’t even
need for you to have done it. But they want to know, what
is your attitude toward it? And that, to me, is a lot
of what this event is about, developing– maybe you have something
to say about it. Now you, of course, are
thinking of developing a course, and you’re– But you know, can you imagine
your course or something that you’ve taught falling
in these same ways? And that facility
to say, you know, I’ve never taught a course
online, however, here’s what I’m thinking about. You’re in. I mean, that’s enough. That’s enough. Because as you can see, this
skill is in the teaching, as Emily’s. The skill in doing
this well is your skill as a teacher, your ability to
frame and ask good questions, your ability to listen in
a seminar, or in this case, read what students are writing
closely enough that you can investigate their thinking. I think the putting
it up online, probably there will be somebody
there to help you do it. But the question is, can you– no, not always? OK. KEN SAWYER: No help. BILL RANDO: No help. OK. So I take it back. In some cases, I
think in large– Here there is, yeah. In many places,
they have a staff that will help you
do that or a person. But what’s more
important is this. How will you think about this? Can you envision teaching
your class online and how you’re going to turn
these tools into learning experiences and not
just technical schools. Anyway, that, to me is– from my perspective– the most
important element of this event is to give you a chance to start
envisioning and thinking about, what would it be like for me
to teach a course online– online or partially online? Or what if someone
gives me an online tool, like a bunch of videos? SPEAKER 2: But I
think it gets us back at Marie’s
question too, which I’d love to weigh in on and
invite others on the panel or otherwise to weigh in
on this, there’s a lot of– and certainly from
the perspective of the job market, the
people who are talking, you don’t necessarily
know except by discerning in the moment what
their attitude is toward online source is. This has been a question
for me from the beginning. I mean, when we started talking
about doing this today was, and thinking about
this too, it’s not just about the slew of resources. We didn’t just want
to come up here and say, hey, here’s
a bunch of things you can do and teach online. But what are we losing
teaching online? What are we gaining? What’s the balance? And how do we try to
find a way to teach well with certain kinds of
approaches that we actually do want to prioritize. We do want to prioritize it. We do want to prioritize. BILL RANDO: So you did it. How did you do it? SPEAKER 2: Well,
I didn’t really– BILL RANDO: OK, well,
and so that to me is an interesting conversation. Clearly you wanted to, yeah? EMILY JOY BEMBENECK: So let
me speak to this a little bit. BILL RANDO: Yeah, please. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK: So
[INAUDIBLE] online courses over six weeks. And we know it’s not very long. We know it’s not long enough. So we spent, say,
eight pages– a week on eight pages, not the slowest
you could read, [INAUDIBLE],, but relatively close. And we did that by two
different [INAUDIBLE].. I’ll describe this [INAUDIBLE]. At this point in
[INAUDIBLE] classes is the faculty
member who ran this. And she started the week
with a short, personal video that recorded in her office
at her desk with her laptop. And she just gave a brief
overview of these eight pages, and she kind of drew
out the important pieces she wanted to focus on and
then ended it with a question. And we assigned– these
classes have no [INAUDIBLE].. But we still told
them what to do. And what we told them to do
was write a short reflection on the discussion. Read the text closely,
and reflect on it. And then respond to
other reflections. And we had lots of alumni in
this class, about 40 or so who would do these exercises. And they were shockingly good. And they did workbooks. And then, on
Thursdays each week, they would get together
for an hour [INAUDIBLE] a Brady Bunch kind of
thing and talk it out. And [INAUDIBLE],,
the faculty member, is so well-suited to this. She has a– [INAUDIBLE]
kind of odd faculty member. You’ll be fine at U Chicago. But she just likes to talk
about the [INAUDIBLE].. She’s good at pulling
that conversation. She’s real blunt sometimes,
to make her point. She’s not afraid to tell you. She was very good at just
leading the conversation. And throughout the
week, she would come in and respond to these
reflections and maybe say, that’s a great point,
but what about this? And just the way that
you lead a conversation. And I thought that that
experience of reading a text online together
[INAUDIBLE],, it was probably our best class so far. And it was very
different than something you may find in a MOOC, which
is you know, [INAUDIBLE] We did a fantastic run on
neuroscience, which is great, but it’s not the same
thing as [INAUDIBLE].. I guess my point is, you have
to think about what you want to convey, and then
find people to help you if you need to
think about what’s the best strategy for that. How can you support
that and make it robust, even in this different concept? BILL RANDO: What
impresses me about that is how simple you do it. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK: Yeah. BILL RANDO: You
know what I mean? What you’re talking
about, let’s see– you go and you make
a video, a chance to sort of look your
students in the eye and say, this is what we’re
going to read. It gives a little human piece of
background when it was written. Now here are some things
I want you to think about as you’re reading this. Here are the questions
I’m going to be asking you and I want you to think about. This is not– EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
Yeah, it’s– BILL RANDO: I know. [LAUGHS] EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
One of the things Aaron said, when you
were talking, like, oh god, maybe I
didn’t do it right. Or maybe, you know, I just
didn’t– nobody does it right all the time. But I think that’s
part of the experience. BILL RANDO: Right. Just do it. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
Yeah, the feeling of I’m not an expert in this
or I need to correct something or whatever– BILL RANDO: Or my talk,
it’s been recorded, therefore it has to be perfect. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK: No! SPEAKER 2: I need to know
what I need, versus– EMILY JOY BEMBENECK: That’s
the best way to do it wrong, because then you don’t
feel like yourself. You don’t look personal. You don’t sound personal. SPEAKER 1: It’s polished. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK: Yeah! SPEAKER 2: And this is
just one of the [INAUDIBLE] we would show the
Youth Core videos. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK: Yeah. SPEAKER 2: And
students will be sort of chuckling, because it didn’t
feel real in a certain sense, because they were so polished. He was great, but the
videos were so polished. They were so finely
honed that there’s a sense that you’re
looking at a piece of art instead of actually engaging
in some kind of [INAUDIBLE].. You’re not in a
conversation, but still– I think one thing you’re
pointing to here– I don’t know if Evan
thinks about this too– one thing you’re
pointing to is the power of, for close reading,
just the bare requirement. And if you’ve got 1,500
students in a class, you can’t read all these things. But just the fact
that they’re doing it, the fact that they’re
writing a 300-word response on a page of the
[INAUDIBLE],, and then required to respond
to two more people. So they’re already
doing the work that they’re learning
from without needing to go through and respond to
everyone individually or– EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
And it changes from, like, I have to read anything. I don’t have time to
read it, not maybe to comment or anything. But I can make sure
they’re reading and responding [INAUDIBLE]. Your job changes a little
bit in certain fields. So being able to adjust
your perspective to where you fit in [INAUDIBLE]. [INTERPOSING VOICES] EVAN: The way that I’ve tried
to get all this to happen is just through asking a
leading question, right? [INAUDIBLE] Yeah, it’s really like
almost [INAUDIBLE] because, of course, is not the
same as being in a classroom with other people and
talking to other people. [INAUDIBLE] just
ask a question that helps get them thinking
about certain things. Like, be vague. Like, I ask tricky
questions on purpose. We talked about legitimation. I’m doing this
because x, y, z, so I have them think
about the difference between religious and
nonreligious legitimation. It’s a trick question. [LAUGHTER] And I tell them it’s
a trick question, but they all tried [INAUDIBLE]. BILL RANDO: Did you– HECTOR: Yeah, I had
a question about how does the special audience
reports influence your objectives,
your assessments? You mentioned that– Evan, you
mentioned that your audience were your clients. Usually, you know, this is
the second or third priority of their lives when
they’re professional. They have two jobs or whatever. They do this, you know,
1:00 AM to 3:00 AM, or something like that,
versus [INAUDIBLE] that could be, you know, the
typical student [INAUDIBLE].. At least individual will
be number one [INAUDIBLE].. Most students also
work [INAUDIBLE].. But, you know, there are
differences, for sure. [INAUDIBLE],, they
might not even be– they’re doing religion as– what do you call this– BILL RANDO: A hobby? EMILY JOY BEMBENECK: Hobby? HECTOR: –an elective, instead
of being a religious scholar or– is that [INAUDIBLE]? EVAN: Yeah, elective is good. [INAUDIBLE] hobby. HECTOR: OK. Hobby’s a good one. So how does that change
your actual structuring in the communities? EVAN: Well, I take into account
pretty significantly what other people [INAUDIBLE]– three kids, two jobs. Like I can’t ask too much. That’d be ridiculous. And second, I should note
that my classes [INAUDIBLE],, but they all apply
[INAUDIBLE] students there. And they pay, and
it’s accredited, and that kind of thing. And the most students I’ve
ever had is maybe 60, tops. There’s actually
only 20 people each. HECTOR: 60’s a lot. EVAN: Yeah, it’s a lot. SPEAKER 1: It is a lot. EVAN: It’s not too bad. Not 60,000. [LAUGHTER] But yeah. I take that into
account [INAUDIBLE].. I lost what I was going to say– HECTOR: So take into account,
what you plan, your objectives. Do you also take into account
when you grade assessments, or it’s always– EVAN: Yeah, when
I grade– oh yeah, the other thing I was going
to tell you is it’s not– I’m in a really
strange situation. My class is not an elective. It’s required. And because it’s a
Methodist university, and I’m pretty sure I have an
overwhelming number of nurses because of some strange
change in Missouri state law, nurses who are at one level
who want to be at another level have to get a BA. So of course they’re
already practicing nurses, so they turn to
online education. And my class is
required, so there’s just like floods of [INAUDIBLE]. Yeah. They’re not in it because they
want to be in it, which I also found particularly [INAUDIBLE]. They probably don’t care. And if they do care, it’s
because they’re health care professionals and
they want to learn about religions
to figure out how to best provide health care. And occasionally I’ll address
that if it seems like there’s a lot of nurses in the class. I’ll say, that’s
perfectly great. And I want you to obtain
that goal for yourself. I won’t really
play that ballgame, but I can help you
if you want to. So sometimes we talk about it. Sometimes we don’t. YUNG HO: Just [INAUDIBLE]
kind of [INAUDIBLE].. But I want to
understand why they want online teaching from
a university point of view. What’s the advantage
of online [INAUDIBLE]?? BILL RANDO: I’ll go into it. I mean, I think it’s
multiple motives, OK? There’s definitely
more than one. There are quite a few
schools out there right now that are struggling
to stay alive. They don’t have enrollments,
for a variety of reasons. Maybe the population in their
area has decreased, whatever. So motivation one
for online learning is staying alive,
getting new students. For others, it’s a money-maker. The school’s doing
fine, but this could be an additional revenue source. For others, there
is a sense of– there is a motivation,
very personal, of outreach. And as in the story that
I told at the beginning, for some educators, for many
educators, the idea of bringing something that was once
only available to a handful of lucky Stanford students and
so then, you know, and it’s programming, which
as you know, people who are into programming,
it is practically a reason. What I mean is, they see
programming as the path into joining the world. I mean, news people write a
lot about the power of coding and that it allows
you to join the world in a way that [INAUDIBLE]. So the point is
that the motivation is just we’ve got to get
this stuff out there. Right now we’ve got this
stuff that 20 students a year get to take. Half of them aren’t even
interested in it or whatever. You know what I mean! And there’s this world out there
that is dying to have this. So that’s a motivation. There’s all kinds
of motivations. For some people,
it’s putting the name of their school on the
map, just it’s sort of a– you know what I
mean, kind of thing. We just want people to
know that we’re here, and those are the ones that– I’m sure there are others. Maybe other people
know other motivations. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK: I’m going
to add one, which is impact. And that’s especially true here. You know, we did our MOOCs. We still do them and stuff. And I would say that
strategically, part of that is having our name known, sure. But if you think of the
top schools in the country, instead of having a
market share or something, we have an intellectual share. So if someone is
like, what expert can we call to talk about
the current economic crisis? Are they thinking Chicago or
are they thinking Harvard? And how do we change
that map a little bit? So that’s part of it, meaning
it’s not just the stakes, you know? What about [INAUDIBLE]. Do they think of us? Are they only
thinking of Stanford? Those kinds of questions. And so strategically,
it’s about where do you position yourselves
to kind of do that, while also serving
your goals of outreach, sharing knowledge to the
general public, access for people who can’t make it. It’s a complex mix of things. BILL RANDO: That’s right. Does that answer your question? YUNG HO: Oh yeah,
very, very helpful. SPEAKER 2: Because
it really is– YUNG HO: [INAUDIBLE], yeah. BILL RANDO: It is a very complex
collection of motivations. Did we miss one, or? KEN SAWYER: Not institutionally,
but individually, the majority of students in
my school are now part-time. And many are working
full-time, some in ministry, some in other professions. And so, for example,
we have a good number of nurses who take courses. And they understand themselves
to be in a form of ministry. And so they take on courses in
order to do better at the work that they understand
themselves to be called to do. And so it’s a way
of reaching students who may not be able to
be on campus in the way that full-time students are. BILL RANDO: There’s
a real equity justice element to some of this. And like across the board,
even those [INAUDIBLE] there are people out there who
need this and can’t get it. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
The majority of students in their education
now, paying students, are non-traditional, which
means they’re not 18 to 22. They’re not unmarried. They’re not without children. They have those
things in their life. And so if you really want
to serve your mission I should think what you have
to change in order to reach these groups and individuals. And that’s part of
what online can do. We’re hearing about
these professionals that you guys have. I have children,
and I have a job. I’m probably not going to go
to a classroom three hours at night, several
times in the week. It’s not going to happen–
not because I don’t care, I’m not smart, or whatever. It’s because it’s not practical. So adjusting yourself to be
able to reach those people is part of our mission. And to me, that’s an
essential [INAUDIBLE].. EVAN: A question about
MOOCs, if I can I ask. BILL RANDO: About what, MOOCs? EVAN: Yeah. Well, you mentioned
equity and justice, which really is interesting. And I was just wondering whether
there was any free online course for a university that
is accredited with [INAUDIBLE] that is usable– BILL RANDO: That– EVAN: I mean, we cater to
people who can afford to pay. And they get the degree. But as far as online courses
being open to everyone, those don’t result in anything. BILL RANDO: That’s correct. I mean, this is– I was somewhat in the
mix during the early sort of Coursera years. And Kathleen? EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
Kathleen [? Caller. ?] BILL RANDO: Kathleen
[? Caller ?] had met with her one time. When institutions as well as– numerous [INAUDIBLE] as well
as institutions like Coursera were trying to figure
out the mix of open and then the grading pace
and then the [INAUDIBLE] just to say the assessment piece
and the accreditation piece. And does it count, I think
was your phrase that you used. EVAN: Yeah. [INAUDIBLE] BILL RANDO: Right. For example, there
are pieces of it. I mean, Coursera, The
they have the courses that you can just take. And then you can
bump up a level. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK:
Yeah, but I mean, so there’s a new thing called
MicroMasters out, for example, in edX where for a substantially
more amount of money, you can get credit to apply to
a program at that institution. Or you can do something that’s
called a hybrid masters where you take some of
it online early. And then instead
of two years moving on to a residential program,
you spend six months. You get the same degree. You interact with
the same faculty. But you’ve spent far less money,
and it can fit into your life. So I think that’s a possibility. You’re not going to be graded. You’ll still be [INAUDIBLE]. SPEAKER 2: But even still
the free ones, I just– Briefly, even some
of the free ones I can envision– what
I’m trying to illustrate are kinds of students where
what they’re getting out of it very practically is a
certain kind of advancement within a position
they already have. In other words– BILL RANDO: [INAUDIBLE]
a lot of that. SPEAKER 2: –rather than
trying to get a degree in order to get a position,
something [INAUDIBLE].. And this is an active
conversation at Dominican with Interfaith Leadership. We’re saying, look, sure we
want students to [INAUDIBLE].. We can offer Dominican
students to [INAUDIBLE].. Other students take it– we can offer a certificate,
and their institution may be willing to
apply that credit. People working in nonprofits,
people working in journalism who can go to their editor
or go to their boss, like, here, Dan, I’m
thinking about doing this, getting a certificate
in Interfaith Leadership from Dominican University
which will help me in the following way or open
up a new kind of trajectory within their position,
it raises Dominican’s intellectual footprint
to say, now people are– well, I can get a certificate
from this institution and that in some way better
equips me for x, y, and z. So that’s just a thought on– NICOLE: I was going to say that
the [INAUDIBLE] in particular have actually seen the
important people getting jobs, but only in the context of
programming capabilities, because I think the
computer science fields tend to be a little bit more flexible
with strict degree structures, although that may be
tightening as computer science programs are more common. WILL: I think it’s
more a question of a different feel,
a more skeptical feel, I guess is a student– [INAUDIBLE] sort of realized,
I should try to [INAUDIBLE] computers just writing. I struggle with [INAUDIBLE],,
all these other sort of things that distract me. So to be a successful
student, I’m like, OK, I want to have my books
and my notebook and write notes and then divide my time so I
don’t have a computer attached to me all the time. That’s how I’ve grown
and matured as a student. But [INAUDIBLE] my
time as a student, long ago when I was an
undergraduate, we had classes. They print an extra book
with all the articles so you could look at it. It was a physical book. Now it’s all on the computer. And now in seminars I see
people don’t even print it off. I always print it off because
I like the physical thing. People just look. And so I wonder, are you
worried about making computers such a necessary part
of class structure, given people’s tendency for
them to become a distraction or thinking they might
not be [INAUDIBLE] when they’re looking at a screen? Or even if I have to read
an article on the computer, my eyes get tired. Are these things
people are talking about in terms of performances. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK: So there’s
a lot of research on this, especially [INAUDIBLE],,
and those ills, but also in education,
in generally, like how our students are
performing at the same level that they would in a
face-to-face classroom. There’s a lot of research
on both of those things. And I think the important
thing to give is flexibility. So if someone
doesn’t want to use their computer, if
they want [INAUDIBLE],, that should be
absolutely possible. If they don’t have access
to internet all the time, we should be
thinking about that. If they can’t have broadband at
home and watch videos all day, we should be
thinking about that. It’s more about, I
think, giving the option for how is that student
engaging with the material and how you can be
more successful. It’s not about enforcing a
strategy of what [INAUDIBLE].. SPEAKER 2: See, I would say,
just the forecast a little bit– next year we’ve been
talking about doing a session on student distraction issue,
not specifically pertaining to online teaching but as
something that’s on the radar for [INAUDIBLE]– put together. BILL RANDO: So
what’s fascinating– One thing about
this online shift that is always the
case with technology, any kind of new
technology shift– but nowhere has it ever
been bigger than it is in this shift– is
people become really obsessed with if it works. You know, is it working? And the interesting thing is,
we don’t know if this works, OK? Just FYI. [LAUGHTER] All right? We’ve never bothered
to wonder, well, don’t people get annoyed sitting
next to each other all day? You know, all these things. Or, what if you’re sitting next
to somebody you don’t like? How can you learn? In other words, the point is– and this was the
great challenge. So online comes as a type a way. And both skeptics
and believers said, we’ve got to figure
out if this works. And now our ends are so high,
we could do some major study that we never could do before
in traditional classrooms. But the big challenge– the deciding whether this works
or not, there’s no baseline. We don’t know if
college education in a traditional sense works. And so it makes– these asking these
kinds of questions may be more important than ever. I think it’s great
that we’re beginning to look at what are the effects
of X on student learning. EMILY JOY BEMBENECK: How do
you [INAUDIBLE] a lecture? I mean, we’re seeing
that lectures are not that effective. We can see. You can create different methods
in a face-to-face classroom. [INAUDIBLE] It’s better to do other things. And yet, what percentage
of [INAUDIBLE] still lectures [INAUDIBLE] in America? A ridiculous amount, even
though we know, in fact, that it doesn’t work the best. So great questions. Like Yung was
saying, [INAUDIBLE].. WILL: I was just basing
off of my own experiences and what you guys
have said already. I think it comes down
to how they’re teaching. Because I had one summer where I
was doing three online classes. And yes, it was biology and
statistics, which I already had no interest in, which was– [LAUGHTER] But I was also doing
an anthropology course. And the anthropology
course was fascinating. I loved the presentation. I found it to be
really engaging. The biology course– I cooked dinner while I
was playing the videos in the background, because there
was nothing about them that made me say, oh,
this is interesting. This is engaging. There was nothing
engaging about it. So a lot of it does,
I think, come down to how it’s actually
being taught. SPEAKER 2: Which is
the exact same thing that students do in
our classes every day. I either am like, wow,
this is really interesting. Or you sit back and you
go, well, what’s for lunch? [LAUGHTER] But the technology,
the shift, has made these standard
behaviors really present. And I think that’s
actually a good thing. NATHAN HARDY: One thing
that I’d like to mention, again, for those who
are seeking jobs, you may request [INAUDIBLE] from
your applying school for you to be trained as an
online instructor. The University of
Wisconsin in Madison has a good program, as does
[INAUDIBLE] Seminary in Dayton. They have a six-course
certificate program in online teaching. And some of the courses are
interesting, some not so much. But as you know, a
poorly done class can yield many good
lessons in demystifying the realities and challenges
of these online instruction. BILL RANDO: I think
we’re basically at time. SPEAKER 1: Please join me
in thanking our panelists. [APPLAUSE]

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