Author Archives: Jim Groom

Social Annotation Sites and Wikis as Disruptors: Classroom Salon and PBWorks

Are you looking for a way to encourage your students to slow down their reading process, to read texts closely at the word, phrase and line level, and to draw on textual evidence in their summative and formative writing? This session will feature the benefits and highlight the tools of Classroom Salon, a socially networked annotation site created at Carnegie Mellon University.

You will learn how to set up an account, load texts, prompts, and tags on Classroom Salon, and how to incorporate Salon into the reading and writing assignments and learning management systems (LMSs) you already

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use in your face-to-face, hybrid, and distance classes. If you teach classes with readings in the public domain (such as Early American Literature), you will be able to use Salon in lieu of an anthology and as a supplement or alternative to your college’s LMS.

This session will also demonstrate how a wiki (such as PBWorks) can be used both as an alternative or supplement to your college’s LMS and as a vehicle for the publication of collaborative and individual student work.

Note: I have selected the Carnival Showcase as my Session Format, but depending on the needs of the conference, I could also give a 20 or 45-minute presentation in the afternoon.

EagleICE: Experiences of MOOC Noobs

In January 2013, the UMW Computer Science department launched a new online learning experience for high school students. The course, called “eagleICE”, introduces the basics of computer programming in the context of Web application development. Students in the course will learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ajax, and jQuery and create social media themed web applications. This course is being offered as an open online course, with 25 official participants. Some participants are taking the course for high-school credit through agreements with area high schools, some are taking the course for fun, and still others are taking the course for dual-enrollment credit and receiving high school credit and 3 UMW credits for CPSC 110 Introduction to Computer Science. In addition to the high school students, several adult learners have signed up to take the course including a teacher at one of the area high school as well as adults with an interest in the subject. The course content and assignments are the same for all of the enrollment types.

Students engage in the course material asynchronously through streaming video, lab assignments, discussion forum and interactive exercises found here: The faculty instructors, Drs. Stephen Davies and Karen Anewalt, deliver most content. Additional support and community building activities are provided by

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a group of seven UMW Computer Science students who are mentoring the high school students.

The primary course goal is to introduce students to the type of creative problem-solving that is the essence of computer programming. Within our department, we’ve noted that often students don’t come to college planning to be computer science majors, in part due to lack of exposure to the discipline. Most area high schools do not offer computer science courses, probably because people with the necessary expertise are lucratively employed in industry. We hope to inspire students to continue to study the discipline when they attend college and instructors to consider offering traditional courses in their schools.

Teaching an open online course is a completely new experience for us. Neither Karen nor Stephen has taught or taken an online course. At the conference we’ll be reporting on things that are working well and mistakes that we’ve made along the way. Early challenges have included:
· Issues with video quality of screen shared text
· Some participants experiencing choppiness in video streaming
· Students misunderstanding the course schedule in the asynchronous environment
· Extensive communication from parents without accompanying communication from students.
Hopefully others will be able to learn from our experiences.

Student and Faculty Perceptions of Electronic Textbooks at the University of Virginia

Imagine a college class with no textbooks…at least no textbooks with paper pages and spines. That’s exactly what happened in 16 classes for 693 students at the University of Virginia (UVa) during the Fall 2012 semester. Partnering with Internet2 and EDUCAUSE, UVa participated in a pilot study involving the purchase, distribution, and use of electronic textbooks, or eTexts. In the pilot study, publishers provided UVa access to eTexts for all students in selected courses for free, and students had access to the materials until the end of the semester. For the most part, the eTexts were simply digitalized versions of the paper version of the textbook, but special annotations and markings could be utilized by instructors and students alike through the software that provided access to the eTexts. In this first phase of the distribution of eTexts, UVa obtained baseline assessment information about students’ perceptions of the eTexts on a variety of issues, ranging from ease of use, methods of access, effectiveness in facilitating learning outcomes, and satisfaction in comparison to paper versions. Moreover, course instructors were surveyed or interviewed about their perceptions of the eTexts on issues related to future motivations to use eTexts, use of the various features of the eText software, effects on student learning and quality of interactions with students, and accessibility difficulties.

In this presentation, UVa Associate Vice President and Deputy Chief Information Office Michael McPherson and Director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education Karen Kurotsuchi Inkelas will present the results from the Fall 2012 baseline assessments and note the implications of the findings in terms of the use of eTexts in courses

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at UVA in the near and long-term future.

Currently, we are still collecting the faculty assessment, but we have preliminary results from the student assessment. In general, the student respondents did not feel that the eTexts enhanced their learning needs. The overwhelming majority of student respondents (62.9% to 88.7%) were either neutral or did not feel that the eTexts facilitated superior learning over traditional textbooks in a variety of areas, such as: understanding ideas and concepts taught in class; engagement with the course content; organizing and structuring learning; and interaction and collaboration with classmates or the professor. However, these low results may be due in part to the fact that most students reported that they did not use the eText interactive features, such as annotations and highlighting. Regarding user-friendliness, the majority (52.9%) of student respondents indicated that the features and navigation of the eText (through the use of the Courseload software) were easy to use, despite 41.3% indicating initial difficulty using the eText and Courseload software. Finally, the student respondents indicated that the following factors would be important when considering the purchase of future eTexts: costs less than traditional textbooks, accessible without an internet connection, available for more than only one term, and easy portability. The full results from the student assessment, as well as for the faculty assessment will be presented during our presentation.

Pinterest in the Classroom: Case Studies in History and American Studies

This presentation will explore the use of Pinterest in three classes (two American Studies seminars and one History seminar) during the Fall 2012 semester at the University of Mary Washington. In line with Clive Thompson’s argument about this form of social media published recently in _Wired_, I hope to

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show how using Pinterest’s visuality and platform simplicity/flexibility helps to teach students to navigate larges amount of information available online, organize that data, present it to an audience, and finally self-reflect on a given subject.

The Many Applications for MDID3

MDID3 is an open source multimedia management system with innovative tools for discovering, aggregating, and presenting digital media in a wide variety of disciplines and learning spaces. MDID3 serves as a powerful platform for building innovative, web-based multimedia applications with custom interfaces for teaching, learning, and sharing. Packing a powerful presentation tool in the Media Viewer and compatible with text, image, audio, and video file, MDID3 is an ideal system for creating and housing unique collections.

Continuing the tradition of a freely shared educational resource, MDID3 is distributed free of charge under an open source license and is used at many institutions across the United States and around the world, primarily for the teaching and study of art and art history. However, the uses for MDID3 are not limited to the arts. Build your own apps and custom interfaces on top of MDID3—it’s the ideal place to keep your data while you stay in complete control of how you display it. At JMU, MDID3 was used to create JMUTube, which lets faculty upload videos and create playlists to share with their students using a simplified interface. Another project with a custom interface built on MDID3 is the Furious Flower Poetry Center ,

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a showcase of publicly shared videos from the 1994 Furious Flower Poetry Conference hosted at JMU.

Our goal is to introduce other Virginia schools to this free, open source educational resource using the Digital Carnival Showcase format. We would like to demonstrate JMUTube, the Furious Flower website, and the Desktop Media Viewer that is used to view MDID3 presentations. We would like to share information about how other schools can utilize MDID3 to store data and build their own applications.

Digital Open Textbooks: Increased Student Access and Outcomes

Access and affordability issues continue to be areas of concern for higher education institutions of all types. While academic leaders struggle to control the core cost of attending college (tuition and fees), many studies point to other financial causes of lower college completion rates. Chief among these is the cost of course content – specifically textbooks. Market and technological changes have created an opportunity for institutions to dramatically lower costs and increase access to textbooks.

This presentation will

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report the findings from the first year of a digital textbook initiative in which 991 students in 9 core courses in the Virginia State University School of Business replaced traditional textbooks with openly licensed books and other digital content. The university made a deliberate decision to use open textbooks that were copyrighted under the Creative Commons license. This decision was based on the accessibility and flexibility in the delivery of course content provided by open textbooks. More students accessed digital open textbooks than had previously purchased hard copies of textbooks. Higher grades were correlated with courses that used open textbooks.

The issue of copyright was invisible to the students but it had defined their experience. The ability to download various file formats was essential to the seat-license process but it was only possible because Creative Commons freed the content from its traditional moorings. We were able to track downloads because students were allowed to freely download the content. They were able to store it on the device or devices of their choice and they were allowed to keep it. This level of flexibility and accessibility provided students with unlimited access their textbooks. This feature also changed the value proposition. Since students now had permanent access to content, the value was in the information and not in the textbook as a commodity. This flexibility will potentially create more value as more students and faculty shift towards low-cost, accessible digital content.

The attendees of this session will benefit by:
• Learning about available new content and publishing models in higher education;
• Understanding that there are efficient and inefficient ways to deliver digital course; and
• Learning how digital content can be leveraged to increase student access to course material;
• Hearing about improvement in student grades and retention based on the introduction of open digital content; and
• Hearing how the integration of digital content makes for more dynamic and collaborative delivery of course content.

Creating a Free, Open Learning Management System (Mostly) within the Google Ecosystem

This presentation showcases how one faculty member at Radford University uses free and open web-based resources to define

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a learning management system for an online technology course. The resources enable students to develop a variety of projects within meaningful, purposeful environments while receiving valuable feedback on all works-in-progress. Communication, content delivery, and even student evaluations are all managed primarily within the Google application ecosystem.

A collaboration oasis at Virginia Tech? Room 3080, a configurable and networked learning space

What happened when a traditional rows-of-workstations “computer lab” became a highly configurable and networked learning space? What expectations and practices changed for the university instructors and learners who gathered in this space to conduct professional development courses, for inquiry groups, and for various kinds of meetings?
This “enhanced” panel presentation will offer audio and visual artifacts—images, audio, and video—of the goings-on in Rm. 3080,

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a new learning space and “incubator classroom” created by the Center for Innovation in Learning at Virginia Tech. Panelists will add commentary to contextualize and explain the multimedia artifacts.
Long-term changes in understanding about learner cognition, affect, and knowledge creation are becoming apparent—if unevenly—in the arrangements that instructors select and create to foster interactions among learners. The new learning space of Rm. 3080 exemplifies a commitment to new pedagogical models of active learning supported by the power of design and by an attention to physical presence that foster greater student engagement. “Front of room” is used thoughtfully, instead of by default, and the use of “zones” within the larger space offer opportunities to reimagine both individual and collaborative work within a “studio” or “atelier” model (Long & Holeton, 2009; Brown, 2006). The “guide at the side” may be an instructor or a fellow student; likewise, either may become the “sage on the stage” for episodes of direct or “curatorial” instruction (Siemens, 2008).
Is such a pedagogical shift encouraged by a space that features highly configurable furniture and physical arrangements, one that includes the availability of multiple presentation modes and network access? What new situations of learning have Rm 3080’s inhabitants created (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989; Cornell, 2002)? How have they configured the room and what kinds of social interactions occurred (Suchman, 1987)? This presentation will share and analyze what collaborators, instructors, and learners have done with this space.

Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32-42.
Brown, J.S. & Adler, R. Minds on fire: open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. EDUCAUSE Review, 43(1), 16-32. Retrieved from
Cornell, P. (2002). The impact of changes in teaching and learning on furniture and the learning environment. In N. Van Note Chism and D. J. Bickford (Eds.), The Importance of Physical Space in Creating Supportive Learning Environments (pp. 33-42). New Directions for Teaching and Learning 92. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Long, P. & Holeton, R. (2009). Signposts of the revolution? What we talk about when we talk about learning spaces. EDUCAUSE Review, 44(2), 36-49. Retrieved from
Siemens, G. (2008). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. Paper presented to ITFORUM, 27 January 2008. Retrieved from
Suchman, L. (1987). Plans and situated actions: The problem of human-machine communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

OERs at Work: In Foreign Languages & In State Systems

The Basic Online Language Design

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and Delivery (BOLDD) project is a faculty-driven initiative seeking to provide quality open content and resources to instructors, language professionals and instructional designers developing foreign language classes and curriculum. California State University and the Oklahoma Board of Regents wanted to improve learning and reduce costs by integrating open education resources with existing library and local content to provide more choices for faculty and students.

This presentation demonstrates how these two projects, though vastly different in scale, collaborated with MERLOT ( to implement the infrastructure, share web services and create the meta-data necessary to store, retrieve and share content from a variety of local and open sources. Further, by partnering with MERLOT they were able to achieve their goals at a fraction of the time and cost of building and maintaining their own repository.

Scholar 2.0: Public Intellectualism Meets the Open Web

In a recent lecture before the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Harvard law professor Larry Lessig argued that the current infrastructure for scholarly communication is not consistent with the objectives of The Enlightenment. Rather, the system is more consistent with the reality of the “elite-nment.” That is, for the most part, knowledge created by academics is placed mostly in outlets that can be accessed only by “the knowledge elite.”

Knowledge dissemination is not a new concern. What is new are the many simple solutions not being embraced by the academy. There was a time when we had to rely on publishing companies to help us disseminate the knowledge we generated. The Internet has changed that dramatically. When “Web 1.0” (the “static” Web) came into being, one needed to be a coder and/or to master complicated software to self-publish to the Web. However, now that “Web 2.0” is mature, nearly anyone can self-publish to the Web. Thus, there has never been a better time to be a public intellectual.

If the notion of being a “public intellectual” discomforts you, perhaps you would be more comfortable with the idea of allowing your intellectualism to be public. In his seminal book on open access publishing, Willinsky (2005) argues for what he calls The Access Principle:

“A commitment to the value and quality of research carries with it a responsibility to extend the circulation of such work as far as possible and ideally to all who are interested in it and all who might profit by it (p. xii).”

Willinsky goes on to state that advances in computer-mediated communications mean that a commitment to the access principle now necessitates embracing these technologies “to do as much as can be done to advance and improve access to research and scholarship” (p. xii).

So, what would a truly

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modern day scholar/public intellectual do? This presentation is designed to engage the participants in a critical conversation about modern forms of knowledge dissemination afforded by the modern, open Web.