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The UW-Whitewater Learning Technology Center (LTC) regularly explores ways that new technology may assist instructors and students in teaching and learning. The most innovative approaches occur through the LTC’s Emerging Technology Exploration Projects (ETEPs). ETEPs align with each tenant of the LTC’s mission (i.e., We Believe, We Support, We Innovate, We Connect, We Partner, We Lead). The ETEPs involve small groups of instructors, and students, who explore the use of a new technology through incorporating the technology into a course.
LTC staff support instructors in learning, and applying the explored technologies. LTC staff also evaluate the technologies, and make recommendations regarding further adoption on campus.
In the spring semester 2020, the LTC concluded a two-year emerging technology exploration project focusing on adaptive learning. The second year of the project focused primarily on the platform “Cerego,” which allows students a personalized way to learn course content that tries to reduce “cramming,” and includes a variety of analytics for instructors to track student progress.
A small group of instructors representing a variety of disciplines participated in the project during the 2019-2020 academic year. Some instructors had previously piloted the Cerego platform in spring 2019, and continued building upon their use throughout the academic year. Additionally, a few new instructors joined the academic year pilot to focus on using the platform to help encourage student retention. Finally, due to an upgrade with the platform, a small additional group of instructors joined only for the spring 2020 semester to use the new upgrade.
As a part of the project, instructors regularly met with LTC staff, and worked to find ways to meaningfully incorporate the Cerego platform into their courses based on their specific course goals. Initially, the LTC intended to host instructor sessions on campus where pilot instructors would share out experiences on their use of the platform to the campus community. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed those sessions to Webex presentations. You can view a video below by Josh Ireland, from the College of Education, describing his experiences with Cerego.
Student feedback collected by the LTC on the platform was primarily positive. At the moment, Cerego remains possible to use on campus but, due to funding considerations, we encourage you to contact the Learning Technology Center technology pilots team at firstname.lastname@example.org first if you are interested in using Cerego.
Josh Ireland - College of Education
During the spring 2020 semester, the Learning Technology Center worked with LinkedIn Learning and a small group of instructors to explore how instructors and students at UW-Whitewater could benefit from using LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) in their teaching and learning. The pilot instructors represented various disciplines and courses.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the pilot logistics, all of the instructors were able to adapt or modify their use for students during the move to remote teaching. You can learn about a few of the pilot instructors’ experiences piloting LinkedIn Learning on the ICIT Technology Services page for LinkedIn Learning [http://www.uww.edu/icit/services/linkedin-learning#TrainingDocumentation].
LinkedIn Learning offers videos and courses that may be useful for professional development, in addition, to use in courses. LinkedIn Learning is currently available to all students, staff, and instructors at the UW-Whitewater campus. The Learning Technology Center provides instructions for getting started with LinkedIn Learning [https://spaces.uww.edu/display/instructional/Accessing+LinkedIn+Learning]
During Spring and Summer 2019, the LTC led an ETEP exploring the use of the GoReact video software platform. The GoReact platform allows instructors and students to provide targeted feedback on videos. A small group of instructors from Education and Communication tested out the platform in their courses. The GoReact platform has not been adopted campus-wide, but feedback from students and instructors using the platform as part of the ETEP was largely positive.
As mentioned above, the LTC has been exploring adaptive learning. In academic year 2018-2019, the LTC collaborated with Dr. Matt Vick, a Professor in Education, to explore the use of the Realizeit adaptive learning platform. Realizeit is an adaptive learning platform that provides immediate feedback and data to assess student knowledge and progress towards mastery in a subject. Following initial exploration in the LTC, Realizeit is continuing to be explored on campus through Graduate Studies/Continuing Education. For more on the Realizeit pilot project, please see the following resources:
As part of a project exploring ways to increase student engagement, the LTC explored the student feedback platform Poll Everywhere in Spring 2018. Poll Everywhere allows students to respond to poll questions that instructors, or other students create, in real-time using their computers or mobile devices. Feedback collected on student experiences suggested that Poll Everywhere may have a positive influence on student perceptions of the course, including on the relevance of the class. Since Summer 2018, Poll Everywhere is currently available to instructors on the UW-Whitewater campus.
In Fall 2017, a small group of instructors explored “Cisco Spark” (now Webex Teams), a communication and collaboration tool that was new to the UW-Whitewater campus. A small group of instructors continued piloting “Spark” in Spring 2018 as part of the “collaborative tools” ETEP. Early feedback suggested that the tool could be particularly useful for online office hours and small group work. Feedback gained from students and instructors was used as the basis to create a “Teaching with Webex Teams Bootcamp.” The “Teaching with Webex Team Bootcamp” ran several times throughout 2018 and 2019. Webex Teams is adopted on campus, and continues to expand in use.
More information on the Learning Technology Center’s ETEP process can be found in the following book chapter:
Cole, A. W., & Weber, N. (2019). Use of emerging technology exploration projects to guide instructional innovation. In J. Qian (Ed.), Technology leadership for innovation in higher education (pp. 165-184). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7769-0