One of the earliest examples of distance learning was an advertisement for a short hand correspondence course that appeared in the Boston Gazette in 1728. (Wikipedia, Distance Education)
And almost 300 years later, Wilmington University offered its first online course. In the fall of 2007, a BBM 300 level class was given a trial run. The course wasn’t promoted, it was just quietly introduced. At the conclusion of the course, staff members were enlisted to call each student to get feedback.
Wilmington University has come a long way since then. After this trial period, we started promoting online programs in 2008. Our first programs offered fully online were Human Resource Management and Business Management.
Today, in the spring of 2014, Wilmington University offers over 80 online programs – undergraduate and graduate, concentrations, and certificates. These programs cover a huge range of subject matter, from behavioral science to computer security, sports management and health care administration. Even traditional degree programs include classes online.
Bring Your Own Device(BYOD) is an industry and educational buzz phrase that’s been getting a lot of attention lately. Businesses and educational institutions have modified their rigid technological requirements in favor of a more relaxed acceptance of employees and students using their own technology in the workplace and classroom.
For online students, using your own technology is nothing new. And students that choose to attend classes completely online must rely completely on their own ability to manage technology.
Faced with a dizzying array of technology tools, laptops to desktops, tablets and smartphones, how do online students decide which tools will work best for them?
Sometimes students don’t make any new choices, but simply use their home computing system without investing or changing technology when they enroll in an online course. And that’s fine.
Wilmington University’s recommendations for students interested in online education are very basic:
convenient internet access
online research capability
computing skills that include proficiency with Microsoft products, including Word and PowerPoint
Wilmington University also recommends the use of certain internet browsers.
For the student interested in buying new devices or software, your status as a Wilmington University student entitles you to educational discounts at Dell, Apple, and JourneyEd. Com. You can find student purchasing information on this page.
Is BYOD liberating or nerve wracking? When you are buying technology, do you consider your needs as an online student?
How do you take notes these days? Can you type faster than you can write with pen and paper? If you’re using your laptop to type notes during lectures or meetings, you may want to rethink that practice. The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/taking-notes-by-hand-benefits-recall-researchers-find/51411) recently reported on a new study of note taking practices. This study shows that students have a much higher rate of knowledge retention and comprehension when handwriting notes rather than typing.
“When I type notes, I find that I’m not really listening and comprehending the information. It seems it goes in one ear and out the other while transcribing what the speaker is saying,” said Adam Voyton, Instructional Technology Project Specialist at Wilmington University’s Educational Technology Department.
There’s a scientific basis for Voyton’s impression. An experiment conducted by Jean-Luc Velay at the University of Marseille (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110119095458.htm) demonstrated that the brain uses different areas when writing longhand as opposed to typing. Writing by hand engages the sensorimotor memory part of our brain that helps us recognize letters.
The report in the Chronicle of Higher Education states that even though note taking on a computer results in more detailed transcribed notes, long hand note takers have more conceptual understanding of the material, and in some cases, even more factual recall.
But fans of technology shouldn’t despair. Instead of a pencil, why not break out a stylus pen and take notes on a tablet? You’ll have the best of both worlds – the advantage of notes taken electronically combined with the higher brain retentive action of long hand writing.
Khushbu P. is yet another Wilmington University student who is busy expanding her future through a co-op experience at SSD Technology Partners. A Computer and Network Security major, Khushbu desires to work in the information security field after graduation, in hopes of landing a position with a government agency. She feels her co-op experience has helped her get closer to attaining that goal because of the hands-on experience she is immersed in from day to day.
Obtaining this hands-on experience was the very reason Khushbu contacted Office of Cooperative Education director David Caffo about co-op opportunities. Her advice to other students who might be considering the co-op program? Take advantage of the free elective space in their programs. “Most students don’t use free electives to their benefit, and I thought the co-op program was a wonderful idea. It gives students the opportunity to see how the real world works, to get experience to put on their résumés, and this helps them land a job faster.”
Vienna, an undergraduate Information Systems Management major and Math minor, obtained a co-op position within Wilmington University’s Office of Institutional Research. When asked what prompted her to pursue a co-op position, Vienna cited her busy lifestyle: “I love being on the move and constantly doing something, so the co-op position seemed like the perfect solution.”
Vienna’s post-graduation goal is to obtain a full-time job working for Disney, and she feels her co-op experience has helped her toward attaining that goal because of the valuable workplace skills she has gained. Vienna says she has learned relevant computer skills, has become more detail-oriented, and has become a more confident and skilled communicator thanks to her co-op experience. Through her work as a co-op, Vienna feels she is a useful and helpful asset to the University. Wilmington University co-ops like Vienna contribute significant work to their organizations – work that is also relevant to their field of study and/or career focus.
When asked if she would recommend the co-op program to other students, Vienna says, “Absolutely! This experience has been so wonderful and I have gained so much. I hope that everyone else gets the chance to have a similar experience.”
A series of conversations with Dr. Sallie Reissman, Senior Director of Online Learning and Educational Technology at Wilmington University, a leader in the field of online learning. Since 2000, she has guided Wilmington University as the institution first implemented online course work, leading to fully online courses in 2007 and then the fully online degree programs that Wilmington University offers today._______________________________________________________________________ Do you think electronic textbooks will eventually replace textbooks?
Dr. Reissman says, “Yes! There will probably always be printed fiction books, but textbooks will surely go completely digital sometime soon – just like newspapers and magazines. Textbooks have learning concepts that change often, particularly in scientific fields.”
Traditional textbooks are similar to old ‘static’ online courses, lacking in interactivity and student feedback.E-textbooks take learning further with interactive elements. Don’t know a word? You can instantly define it within an e-textbook. Plus, students can instantly test their comprehension of the material within some e-textbooks. Built in videos add to the experience and deepen learning.“Plus, e-books are green,” said Reissman, “so there’s no cost for printing. It’s faster to deliver the content to students, and easy to update the edition.”“However, the e-publishing industry is still evolving,” she said, “I would advise e-textbook publishers to include high quality learning objects and plug-ins to their textbooks.”Have you taken a class that used an e-textbook? What was your experience?
Jennifer is an undergraduate Marketing major who is currently in her senior year at Wilmington University. She heard about the co-op program from the instructor of her Consumer Behavior course, and decided to pursue a co-op position in order to gain relevant work experience for a career in marketing. “It was a good way to get my foot in the door,” Jennifer says.
Jennifer obtained a co-op position right here at WilmU, in the University Relations/Marketing department, and the experience has been very rewarding. Jennifer says, “I really like that this department includes me. I get invited to every meeting.” She has been developing her skills in advertising, particularly Google Analytics and Google AdWords. By promoting these valuable skills through the social networking site LinkedIn, potential employers have already reached out to Jennifer – and she has not even graduated yet! In addition, the co-op program’s flexibility has allowed to keep her two other jobs while attending school full-time.
Jennifer’s story is a great example of how a co-op position provides hands-on experience related to a student’s major field of study or career focus. Gaining practical on-the-job experience, developing confidence, gaining professional contacts, and testing applications of academic theories are just a few of the ways students can benefit from a co-op position.
A series of conversations with Dr.Sallie Reissman, Senior Director of Online Learning and Educational Technology at Wilmington University, a leader in the field of online learning. Since 2000, she has guided Wilmington University as the institution first implemented online course work, leading to fully online courses in 2007 and then the fully online degree programs that Wilmington University offers today._______________________________________________________________________
Susan Cain’s latest book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts, has started a lot of people talking about the differences between introverts and extroverts and how they function in society. We asked Dr. Reissman who she thought would perform better in an online classroom, introverts or extroverts?
She said, “The beauty of online learning is it works for any type of person because of the variety of communication options. The student is in charge of their communication preferences.”
In face to face courses, extroverts can take over the conversation and introverts may not speak up. Introverts may feel shy, or they just prefer to take some time to think and plan their response. Extroverts like to talk through their thought process.
“Online learning allows both types of learners to participate fully,” said Dr. Reissman.
Extroverts can reply to a discussion board by recording themselves with a webcam and uploading their response to Kaltura (WilmU’s video building block within Blackboard). Introverts can write their thoughts down and take their time responding to the instructor. An introvert that has difficulty making eye contact might find an online video response ideal.
With an online classroom, the playing field is leveled to provide equal opportunities.
Giving students equal opportunities to learn is a key component of the set of principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
Sandra Bennett is an Instructional Designer for Online Learning at Wilmington University, and the winner of the 2013 Blackboard Catalyst Award – Exemplary Course. Her expertise in UDL has led her to encourage her students to try new methods of expression and action while she provides appropriate supports.
“I have found that in my online courses that it is best practice to offer many opportunities for alternate engagement, representation, and action,” said Bennett. “I have also made small adjustments to course materials and evaluation methods that have created tremendous benefits for my students and myself.”
By recognizing that students – introverted and extroverted - come with many different kinds of knowledge, aptitudes, and needs, UDL breaks down barriers to learning that may have existed in a face to face classroom.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How does that affect your learning, online or in a traditional classroom?
This blog is for Wilmington University students. It has information on student services, academic resources, and tips to help students achieve their educational goals.