Horizon Report 2015: Notre Dame and the Digital Horizon

In February, the Hesburgh Library Center for Digital Scholarship hosted the Horizon Report 2015 Event: Notre Dame and the Digital Horizon, which looked at emerging technological trends and how they will affect teaching, learning, and creative inquiry at Notre Dame over the next three to five years.  The Horizon Report is published annually, in collaboration with the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. The event was a collaboration with the Hesburgh Libraries, the Kaneb Center, OIT, and the Office of Digital Learning. It consisted of a welcome lunch followed by lightening talks that focused on:

 

Online Learning

The value of online learning is now well understood and set to impact education with its flexibility, ease of access, and integration of sophisticated learning technologies. How can Notre Dame use online tools to enhance the excellent education we already provide?

 

Badges / Blending of formal and informal learning

Badges allow for reward incentive and progress monitoring with online learning. Incentives like this are increasingly prevalent with blended learning environments. The term flipped classroom refers to a pedagogical model where the in-class time with students is primarily focused on problem solving activities, rather than presentation of information.  The prerequisite information is reviewed by students prior to coming to class.  Many classrooms are being flipped in an attempt to integrate active learning. Blending this with traditional lectures promotes hands on, real world application of concepts that foster curiosity-based learning among students.

 

Data-Driven Learning and Assessment

Online applications and tools generate a lot of data as faculty and students use them.  Universities around the world are developing tools to help analyze the data in ways that can help us understand and predict student success or failure.  Learning progress can be monitored through data analytics services, providing a more personalized learning experience.

 

Makerspaces

Makerspaces are workshops that offer the tools needed to carry out ideas from start to finish.  These tools often include traditional shop tools used in woodworking, but they also include newer technologies conducive to rapid prototyping such as 3D printers, laser-cutters, and CNC machines. Makerspaces help students develop critical skills in design, engineering, and creativity, preparing for their careers.

 

Bring-your-own-device

Many institutions and organizations are supporting the use of personal devices. Students and educators are bringing their own devices into the classroom and connecting them to the University’s network.

 

Understanding the findings of the Horizon Report is important for the Notre Dame community.  These trends are set to have great impact on teaching and learning in the coming years. Implementing them properly and understanding their impact will prepare our students for the future.


Active Learning With Echo360

Echo360 is an active learning platform designed for use in higher education. It has many applications for digital learning, including:

  • Lecture Capture: Learning is optimized with lecture capture and webcast capabilities. Echo360 features 1080 pixel, high definition capture with the ability to schedule recordings in advance and publish automatically. These features make the system well-suited for remote teaching. Instructors can record course presentations on Mac or PC from their home or office, or they can capture lessons right in the classroom.

 

  • Instructional Content Management: Echo360 provides a Learning Library that streamlines the content management process, storing all materials in one place. Instructors can search and filter through their content. Materials are easily shared through the university’s learning management system.

 

  • Student Engagement: Echo360 allows instructors to cater to different learning styles. Students are able to follow videos, notes, and discussions at their own pace. With discussion threads and an active learning platform, students can ask questions and engage in course discussion in real time. Instructors can also build polls and quizzes directly into their presentation.   

 

  • Analytics: Instructors can access an analysis of course performance and individual progress. Further, instructors can establish what success metrics are most important to them, and prioritize the metrics they want to focus on.

 
Digital learning through Echo360 creates a unique opportunity for multi-media student engagement, bringing material beyond the traditional classroom.

Remind App: An Easy Way to Connect

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Remind is an app that helps teachers to connect with their students, sharing quick reminders about course related information. With the app, classes can connect:

Easily. Teachers sign up for the app and create a class through it. Students then receive a class code which they use to participate in course messaging.

Safely. Phone numbers are kept confidential in the class messages to ensure privacy. Teachers can only message the class collectively, not individually. They also serve as administrators and can access the message history.

Efficiently. Messages can include scheduling, voice clips, and image or document attachments. The app allows you to see who has viewed attachment content.

At No Charge. Teachers, students, and parents can use the app for free.

This Remind app is an easy way for teachers and students to stay connected about course updates.

 

Piazza Has the Answer

Students often have similar questions about course material making it is inefficient for instructors to respond to multiple emails, especially in large lecture classes. Piazza provides a solution using an answering board system to minimize repeat inquiries.

 

Piazza is an online platform that allows professors and students to efficiently collaborate in a single space. To use the system, students post questions on the Piazza site. Instructors, TA’s, and other students can respond, providing feedback much more quickly than professors could on their own. Answers serve as a collaborative space, as students can continually contribute to and develop an answer. Posts needing immediate attention are highlighted, so the professor can get to them quickly, and updates are shown in real time. Pizza also benefits the instructors, allowing them to see when in the term the most questions are being asked, and how student discussion aligns with class lecture.
The Piazza system is easy to set up and free for instructors. It has been used at Notre Dame since 2011, and is very successful.  As of fall 2014, there were about 64 Notre Dame classes using Piazza, and this number is expected to grow.  If you are interested in learning more about Piazza, contact Kevin Abbott (kabbott@nd.edu) at 631-8707.