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Transform Education (IBM CROWDSOURCE)


Transform Education (IBM CROWDSOURCE)

Technology is rapidly changing the way we teach and learn. What change, innovation, or disruption, are you experiencing?  

This crowdsource solution was started as an initiative to provide insight and explore synergies with IBM. It is strictly an exploratory project and will hopefully lead to a more formal synergy and partnership. Your thoughtful contributions are greatly appreciated.

*Crowdsourcing to harness the power of a collective knowledge will be the future of problem solving. Let's learn from each other.

Members: 104
Latest Activity: Jun 14, 2013

Discussion Forum

The price of higher education -- it must come down. 3 Replies

The price of higher education is increasingly becoming out of reach for many people -- especially given the current economic environment and the perfect storm that continues to build within the…Continue

Started by Daniel Christian. Last reply by Nandan Choksi Jul 29, 2012.

iPad vs Laptop 2 Replies

I am also working on an initiative at our university and in the process of buy new hardware. I chose both tablet and laptops (Apple) because of the limited creation aspect on the iPads. One of my…Continue

Tags: academy, technology, computing, apple

Started by Andria Stokes. Last reply by Brian Guthrie Jul 28, 2012.

Technology and Higher Education 1 Reply

Higher education has been and continues to be disrupted by technological innovation.  One of the challenges we face as members of the academy is to fully embrace the fact that our customers/students…Continue

Tags: education, higher, technology, learning, mobile

Started by Terri Horton. Last reply by Gray Kane Jul 26, 2012.

tech in prof ed 2 Replies

As an architecture professor, I have worked with changing technology my entire career (30 yrs). As a professional school we have an obligation to keep pace and/or lead the profession in understanding…Continue

Tags: kits, tool, school, proffessional

Started by Mark Christian Childs. Last reply by Mark Christian Childs Jul 26, 2012.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Ian C. Colquhoun on June 14, 2013 at 7:19pm

Hi there all,

This message is soooo long overdue -- my apologies; it's been a very busy year (isn't it always?!).

So, last August, I communicated to the group that I was heading to the biennial Congress of the International Primatological Society (IPS) to participate in a workshop on a living database on nonhuman primates.  The workshop focused on the "All the World's Primates" (AWP) living database, and it was a great success.  An arms-length reviewer (with an academic research background in web databases and web-based education) gave the AWP website a resounding thumbs-up.  His assessment was totally concordant with the feedback I received from students who had used the AWP database in my "Issues in Primate Conservation" course (which is what I presented to the workshop).  One particularly telling comment I got from one of my students was that although the peer-reviewed academic literature can be a challenge for students to navigate (because there can be competing interpretations/explanations, which can leave students grasping for clarity), they liked the fact that the descriptions of individual primate species in the AWP database were each provided by a field primatologist who had experience with that species.  This was taken by the students as clarity -- they were getting information directly from experts, and they liked it.

So, I would say that, where they exist, living databases look like they could be immensely valuable pedagogical tools -- not just for student research, but also where a faculty member utilizes a so-called "blended" curriculum that involves web-based presentation of information alongside traditional lecture or seminar presentation of material.

The AWP database requires either an individual or institutional subscription in order to access the full range of material that has been accumulated in the database.  However, for anyone who is interested, the public side of the database can be viewed at:


Comment by Daniel Christian on August 9, 2012 at 1:13pm

Thanks Ian for the comment here. Hope things go well next week for the workshop. Keep us posted.

Comment by Ian C. Colquhoun on August 9, 2012 at 12:40pm

At a time when students seem to treat online research resources (e.g., journal articles, etc.) as the preferred, or even as the only valid, form of academic information -- heaven forbid that they might have to delve into the journal stacks at the library, pull a bound, hardcopy version of a journal, and photo-copy a particular paper -- very powerful research tools that professors can bring to the attention of their students are so-called "living" databases that are available online.  Prepared and updated by specialists in their given fields, living databases can streamline the research process for students by directing them to current and recent peer-reviewed material.  This connects the student to the contemporary peer-reviewed literature on a particular topic/field, and frees the student from having to sort out the many lines of research (which may often produce conflicting results) by providing them with a "state of the field" perspective.

I have been involved with one such living database for the last several years ("All the World's Primates"), to which several hundred primatologists, all with field research experience, have contributed; each has summarized the available data on the primate taxon, or taxa, with which they are most familiar (e.g., I have summarized the available data on two primate species, the black lemur and the blue-eyed black lemur).  The result is a monumental amount of information on the Order Primates, a treasure-trove of data for both researchers and students.  In fact, next week I will be participating in a workshop at the biennial Congress of the International Primatological Society in which we will be examining the development and current state of the "All the World's Primates" database, its future development, and its use in the classroom (I'll be presenting on this last facet of the AWP database).  After the Congress, I'll update the Discussion Group on how this form of technology might be used going forward.

Comment by Nandan Choksi on July 27, 2012 at 1:26pm

I think that the idea that education must keep up with every technological advance is outdated and counter-productive. Productivity is a function of stability and profit (monetary and academic) is predicated on the quality and quantity of use that the final consumer gives to the product. You can have the most advanced technology in the world but if most people use only a small part of it then all the extra bells and whistles are useless. It is best to have something that is simple, useful, cheap, and durable -- and technology is no exception to this rule.

Comment by ANGELO B MINGARELLI on July 27, 2012 at 3:10am
This is an important topic, of course and one that instructors (in the large sense of the word) need to be aware of if not be proficient in. As a mathematician one can imagine that such a tool could be advantageous to all, but it is not always the case.  I use it when I can but my greatest use of technology is in holding "virtual office hours". The days before a test, exam, etc. I will hold an hour or so on a (course specified) chat account at the university and answer all questions. In addition, use of a tablet simplifies everything, from writing long equations to drawing pictures... all from the comfort of (wherever you may be).   I find that live classroom use of technology tends to be marred with technical problems arising from e.g., poor lighting, faulty (or slow/antiquated) equipment, inadequate prep time ... all in all its use MAY interfere with the precious time we have, so I stick to the blackboard (still!). Well, more on this later.
Comment by Shelly Nice on July 26, 2012 at 5:25pm

One of the biggest disruptions I'm seeing is that institutions are installing technology into the classroom without understanding it from a pedagogical perspective. In addition, despite some really good technology, too much is overkills and dilutes the teaching process. Since I'm in charge of training our faculty on pedagogy AND technology, another problem is that no all technology is suitable for all courses AND all professors.

This is a great dialogue and I'm looking forward to being involved in this group.

Comment by Betsy Eudey on July 26, 2012 at 2:11pm

As others have noted, teaching technologies have been utilized since teaching began - we're now using more online/computer-based technologies than in the past, but their value is tied to their utilization as much as their design.  I teach in a region where some of my students still do not have access to high speed internet, do not have computers in their homes, do not have evening and weekend access to public libraries, and cannot appropriately access online course materials via a smartphone.  I also work at a campus that has 2-3 electrical outlets per classroom, limiting students' ability to charge computers, tablets, and phones while in the classroom, so many students lose use of their devices mid-class as batteries run out.  And our desks are not designed to hold a computer and a book or handout if these are needed.  We have enhanced use of technologies before we have developed an infrastructure that makes the use comfortable, accessible, and hassle-free.

I do think that technology can and will help students learn the "soft skills" that Kristie Rankin mentions, if we desire it to do so.  I incorporate service learning/civic engagement/activism into almost all of my courses, and have found that educational technologies have helped me to enhance communication among students, foster openness and awareness, promote connections over time and distance, allow access to information - print, audio, video - that expands understanding, etc. 

Comment by Gray Kane on July 26, 2012 at 10:36am

Technology is a tool, not an objective -- but too often in higher ed, we acquire the tool before developing the pedagogical objectives to use it. To a certain extent, this sequence makes sense: technologists who design the tool want to leave the pedagogy to the pedagogues and content experts. Therefore, the teaching techniques in books like Derek Bruff's Teaching with Classroom Response Systems, for example, appear almost a decade after the classroom response systems do. But this is a lot like developing the screw driver before the screw -- or even before realizing that we want to somehow affix two items together.

Educational technology companies currently beg for professor requests; they want to know what we want. However, we often end up stumped by our lack of understanding of what is possible. In other words, even when asked, we think about the technology, not about the objective.

We need first to devise the objective. Personally, I have worked on improving student retention and success by enhancing the sense of classroom community in my on-ground courses. To achieve this goal, I use classroom response systems and deliver course content almost exclusively through think-pair-share strategies: after I've provided students with content resources, they learn the content by first individually answering a question that demands higher-order thinking skills, then convincing their neighbors of their answers, revisiting the question individually, and often discussing the question as a class. Students reinforce their classroom learning experiences by answering variations of the same questions online. By relegating the responsibility for knowledge to the students and increasing their peer-to-peer dependency for working out their ideas and understanding, I've promoted a strong sense of classroom community that keeps even the less prepared students coming to class. Although I've read a lot of online teaching tips, and I understand the role of avatars, "meet & greets," and synchronous meetings; what I want to know is, How can technology help us develop a much stronger sense of community in the asynchronous environment? With that pedagogical objective posited first, now I want not to pass this off to technologists, but rather to brainstorm with them. This pedagogy-first dialectical process is what we are missing in higher ed.

Somehow, we need to bridge the divide between faculty and ed-tech companies and build pedagogy-first technology for 21st Century learning.

Comment by Kristie Rankin on July 26, 2012 at 10:14am

Technology in and out of the classroom is wonderful; however, what I am hearing from employers is that the students graduate with no "soft skills." Try teaching work ethic, positive attitude, social skills, etc, with power point, Tegrity, Wikis, blogs, etc. With the new gainful employment legislation on top of already stringent placement and follow-up requirements of the Perkins Act and Workforce Investment Act (which are directly tied to Community College funding), the community college finds itself in a precarious situation. We are trying to prepare not only the transfer student, but also build a better workforce. We are struggling with ways to incorporate technology and technology based Student Learning Outcomes, with the more traditional methods to create a student focused learning environment that engages and empowers rather than enrages and enables.

Comment by Linda Landers on July 26, 2012 at 9:43am

Technology used to authentically enhance student learning is a wonderful asset to teaching. When it becomes a means for the instructor to "check out" of teaching via endless PowerPoint presentations, it becomes a hindrance, not a help, to student learning. Bringing ideas to life is the purpose of technology in the classroom - not to squelch them by means of technology taking the place of the professor.


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