Notes on Yesterday’s Session on Teaching and Learning in a Digital Age

A program on Teaching and Learning in a Digital Agewas held at the Young Research Library on May 2.  Various faculty members attended and some emailed their notes and reactions.  Below are edited versions of those responses.  The agenda for the program is at the bottom of this posting. (Scroll down.)
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From: Prof. Toby Higbie
I was only able to attend the Senate event on and off due to teaching duties. I arrived in the afternoon, and so missed the session with the deans. 
From what I saw, there was quite a bit of critical engagement with teaching technology.  The general mood was neither Luddite nor Pollyanna.  One theme that emerged was that some types of learning are well-fitted to the online format, while others are not.  However, there wasn’t any real agreement about which was which. There was a disconnect between the way faculty and administrators talked about online issues.
One administration did bring up MOOCs, but  the faculty presenters (who had all created online courses) we not particularly interested.  In the afternoon there was a showcase of perhaps a dozen online and hybrid courses.  Clearly there is a lot of creative energy coming from the faculty.  This was the most sustained and largest conversation on teaching I’ve ever seen among UCLA faculty.  So if only for that, the event was a success.  In the wrap up Jan Reiff noted that during a recent meeting with state legislators it was clear that legislators believe all faculty are afraid of technology.  So one task is to find a way to talk about our teaching practice that makes the innovative blended approaches more visible.
Marta Brunner of the library kept up a constant Twitter feed, which is a nice record of the event.
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A listing of Marta Bruner’s Tweets During the Event of May 2, 2013 to which Prof. Higbie referred:
1. Marta Bruner 
Observation that funding seems to gravitate toward fully online courses rather than tech’ly enhanced courses #TLsummitUCLA
2. Marta Bruner 
Main concern going forward should be robust infrastructure to support broad range of approaches to teaching. #TLsummitUCLA
3. Leah Lievrouw ‏ 
#tlsummitucla …and developing course tech and materials takes more faculty time/effort, not less
4. Marta Bruner 
Caroline Tam Kong on her experience with two fully online courses. Q: Where does learning happen? How can we help faculty? #TLsummitUCLA
5. Leah Lievrouw ‏
#tlsummitucla  resources a key question: who will get what $ to develop…and who gets the IP?
6. Marta Bruner 
At this point, UCLA has no policy regarding delivery of existing courses online, per Troy Carter #TLsummitUCLA; need assessment now
7. Leah Lievrouw ‏@Leah53 
#tlsummitucla Troy Carter: how to insure value of the residential experience and enhance with technology?
8. Marta Bruner 
Per Troy Carter, discussions of quality in online courses must focus on hybrid- how tech can enhance in person learning #TLsummitUCLA
9. Marta Bruner 
Intellectual property is growing concern in courses as more online elements are integrated into delivery #TLsummitUCLA
10. Leah Lievrouw ‏@Leah53 
#tlsummitucla summit should help faculty understand what tools we already have and how to use them well
11. Leah Lievrouw ‏@Leah53 
#tlsummitucla undergrad survey reveals tech-savvy students *not* sold on online courses
12. Marta Bruner 
Surveyed seniors identified impacts of technology on their own learning outcomes. #TLsummitUCLA
13. Marta Bruner 
Surveyed students hate powerpoint slides with text but like with diagrams/videos #TLsummitUCLA
14. Marta Bruner 
UCLA students conflicted about online discussions in courses #TLsummitUCLA
15. Marta Bruner 
Pat Turner, dir of undergrad ed, talking about UCLA Senior Survey results #TLsummitUCLA
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From Prof. Malina Stefanovska
What I retained from the meeting is the students’ opinions; they mostly do not want courses entirely on-line. They want the human presence of the professor and of the others (By the way, the Dean’s presentation was an example of what the students hated about PowerPoint presentations: a text which we get to see, and then to hear it read again.)
Second – as for the “hybrid” courses – most of us are using some form of them occasionally when needed. For example, we use discussion forums or boards. It helps the students who are too shy to speak in class and those are quite a few. But just posting the lectures online is not a great tool. The best courses are more interactive and that is appropriate for certain fields/disciplines and certain audiences more than others. The best judges of that are the professors who should be helped and kept informed. I think the forum and the afternoon workshops showed that.
A MOOC, if I understand correctly, is a “for profit” venture ultimately and who would profit from it should be discussed. I was a little alarmed at the “piling up” of work on the TAs.
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From Prof. Phillip Bonacich
In the morning session, representatives from the Anderson School, the Medical School, and Engineering showed how internet resources could be useful and could improve the quality and availability of professional school education.  There was almost no discussion of MOOCs for standard undergraduate courses controlled by outside providers in order to reduce costs. There were only occasional allusions to this elephant in the room.  EVC Waugh described the pressure from the legislature to reduce costs and from potential providers seeking to profit.  Judy Olian, Dean of Anderson, referred to Bill Gates’ prophesy that soon there would be only 20 universities.  David Schaberg, the Humanities Dean, said that MOOCs did not teach students how to think collaboratively in groups and doubted that computers could teach and evaluate style.  Dean and Vice Provost Pat Turner informed us that 60% of students at UCLA would not like to take completely online courses.  A NY Times article describing an eloquent protest by the San Jose State Philosophy Department directed toward a MOOC supported by the administration there can be found at the link below:
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Agenda of the Event
Sponsored by the Academic Senate, the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost, the Office of Instructional
Development, the Office of Instructional Technology, and the University Library
May 2, 2013
Young Research Library
All sessions in the Conference Center (11360) unless otherwise noted
9:15 Continental Breakfast
Video clips from campus online courses will be available for viewing
9:45 Introduction: Campus Overview
Linda Sarna, Chair, Academic Senate
Scott Waugh, Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost
10:00 Challenges & Opportunities: Deans’ Perspectives
Deans Neil Parker (Medical School), Judy Olian (Anderson),
David Schaberg (Humanities), Dean and Vice Provost Pat Turner
(Undergraduate Education), Gary Strong (University Librarian)
11:15 Getting Started
Troy Carter (Chair, Undergraduate Council), Jim Davis (Vice Provost for Information Technology), Caroline Tam Kong (Social Science Computing), Larry Loeher (Associate Vice Provost, Office of Instructional Development), Christopher Lynch (Director, UCLA Online Master of Science in Engineering)
12:30 lunch break
1:15 Lessons Learned So Far
David Glanzman (Integrative Biology and Physiology/Neurobiology), John Mamer (Anderson), William Roy (Sociology), Jan Reiff (History/Statistics), Otto Santa Ana (Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies)
2:30 Concurrent Sessions (YRL Research Commons)
– Explore UCLA’s innovative technologically enhanced and fully online courses. Demonstrations of courses from the College, GSEIS, Anderson, Geffen, Art & Architecture, Extension and TFT by faculty and design teams creating them
– TAing an Online Course
– Taking a MOOC: Faculty Experiences as Students
– Launching your Course with Library Collections & Services: Where to Start
3:30-4:00 Next Steps