Colin Simpson’s ed tech must-reads of the week

An online engagement framework for Higher Education from Online Learning

One of the most commonly expressed concerns about teaching on-line – particularly from educators more comfortable in a classroom – is that it can be much harder to engage learners. In 2018 Redmond et al. explored the research literature around this and identify five key themes – social, cognitive, emotional, behavioural and collaborative engagement. (Perhaps echoing and building on ideas of teacher/social/cognitive presence). In this invaluable paper, they go on to propose a framework of strategies to bolster on-line engagement.

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An Entangled Pedagogy: Looking Beyond the Pedagogy—Technology Dichotomy from Postdigital Science and Education

Another common issue raised in discussion around technology enhanced learning and teaching is about how we find the balance between pedagogy and technology when it comes to institutional decision making. Tim Fawns makes the worthwhile point that it isn’t an either/or conundrum. Technology and pedagogy are inextricably entangled and it is virtually impossible to discuss one without factoring in the other in practical terms.

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Ouriginal chief defends Turnitin takeover against monopoly jibes from Times Higher Education

Something for the “well he would (say that), wouldn’t he” files – Andreas Ohlson, former Ouriginal CEO, now Turnitin Senior VP downplayed suggestions that the recent merger of the two anti-plagiarism giants would be bad for competition while speaking at the European Conference on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism. Of perhaps more interest is the titbit he dropped about the future focus for the company being on on-going assessment – presumably in recognition of a need for support of wider assessment modes with the rapid growth of AI based services.

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Why haven’t the students who complained about missing f2f lectures returned to them from Twitter

At the peak of the pandemic lockdowns, some students were highly vocal about feeling ripped off by their institutions in being denied face to face lectures, even calling for partial refunds. Anecdotal evidence is suggesting that, now that universities have largely returned to face to face delivery, many students aren’t turning up or engaging. This tweet thread from @Dr_Paul_Penn explores some possible causes and the extended discussion is well worth a read.

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Wordtune – (A great) Artificial Intelligence based writing assistant from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Coming back to the growth of AI based writing tools – Wordtune is a freemium browser extension that offers suggestions for alternate wording for any writing done in the Google Chrome browser. It claims to support contextual rewriting, tone switching and shortening/expanding text. I maintain a healthy skepticism but it is important to stay abreast of what the students might be looking at.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 and is employed by Monash University’s Education Innovation team. He is also one of the leaders of the TELedvisors Network. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner