Online Course Evaluation: Intro to Data Analysis

edx_introdataanalysisexcel
Introduction to Data Analysis Using Excel is available on edX. Users can learn how to use the features in Excel to process data. The course is free and self-paced. This evaluation covers unit 1. The rubric that I used is from Quality Matters.

My thoughts: Unless you’re incredibly motivated to learn Excel or are already familiar with the program, this course will be frustrating. The content of the video poorly aligned with the type of questions asked on the quiz and what students were expected to do in the lab exercise. The supplemental reading materials were not that helpful, which were links to Microsoft support for Excel. In general visual references would be more effective if users are not familiar with the program’s interface. As a result, I found the lab exercises difficult to complete. It’s pretty clear that the course designers wanted the users to learn three skills manipulating the data into graphical charts. It would have been more effective to demonstrate these skills using a 3-minute video using a screen recording software and then providing sets of data for users to practice , instead figuring out what the technical terms mean and then guessing how to perform the action. Having the quiz after students had a chance to experiment with the data and charts would seem more logical. Being that this course was self-paced and poorly organized, resolving problems without an instructor were particularly acute.

The course is also accessible though smartphones by installing the edX mobile app. However, viewing the data on the spreadsheet was difficult. I didn’t download the mobile version of Excel to see if the data could be converted into graphs using the touchscreen and fingers. Assuming that it can do that, another recommendation would be to simplify the data for the mobile version and putting each data set on a separate sheet. edX has other courses that are specifically designed mobile devices.

2=well aligned, 1=some alignment, 0=no alignment

Course Introduction Grade

Comments

1.2 Students are introduced to the purpose and structure of course 2 Overiew of the course also includes the purpose and course objectives/outcomes; syllabus
1.4 Course policies with which learner is expected to comply are clearly stated 1 Recommended effort 2-4 hours per week
1.5 Technology requirements 2 Previous excel programs are compatible
1.7 Instructor self-introduction 1 Image with short description
Learning Objectives
2.1 Course objectives and outcomes are measurable 2 Create, represent, calculate, filter
2.2 Module level objectives aligns with course level objectives 2 From what I could tell yes: perform data analysis using tools in Excel
Assessment and measurement
3.1 Assessments measure learning objectives and consistent with course activities and resources 2 Quizzes and lab exercises
3.3 Specific descriptive criteria used for evaluation of learner’s work 1 Stated how overall grades are calculated; No mentioned of how exercises will be graded
3.4 Assessment instruments are sequenced and varied 2 Quizzes and exercises
Course Activities and Learner Interactions
5.1 Learning activities promote achievement of stated objectives 1 The idea is good but video poorly demonstrates the skills that are needed
Additional comments:

 

Discussion boards are provided but designed for students express their opinions; they retitle to Help Board

Unit 1: Introduction to reporting in Excel

  • Lectures are professionally made; also with English subtitles; 8 minute video
  • Quiz not very clear; ambiguous answer choices and video content does not match information covered in quiz
  • Lab is downloadable Excel exercises with data; 3 exercises to practice the skills and learn how to use features in Excel. Problem #1:
For the “Yearly Category Revenue” display the total for each year as a separate line.

Comments

1. Create a total line in the range B7 to H7 Didn’t understand how to do this; not explained in the video
2. Select the “Yearly Category Revenue” chart.
3. The data source for the chart is highlighted.
4. Drag the highlighted selection to include the total row (B7 to H7) Didn’t understand how to do this; not explained in the video

 

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Watch “How Your Brain Can Turn Anxiety into Calmness”

Today I felt unusually calm due to what I did the previous week. On Wed, Th, and Fri I did intermittent fasting with no meat on those days. On Sunday I went to public bathhouse in the countryside and did close to two hours of meditation, which was a combination of positive affirmations; and clearing thoughts and focusing on the breathing. The sense of peacefulness made me curious to learn more about the topic. A search on the internet led Dr. Rossman’s lecture. His recommendations were different. Key points were:

  1. The idea of neuroplasticity to state that the brain has the ability to change
  2. Accept and not worry about things we cannot change; take actions for the things that we can
  3. Look for answers from the wisdom part of the brain
  4. Imagining a peaceful comfortable place with particular attention to each of the senses

Twitter Newbie Notes

The purpose of this page is to use, document, and better understand two social networking tools LinkedIn and Twitter to see their potential for active learning potential.

 Date  Comment
 9/7 1 hr. Completed retweet; it was about twitter for education but mostly about how to use twitter; very helpful for a newbie; located here http://bit.ly/2bXbDrs. One recommendation was to view twitter chat; helped to better understand twitter; #lrnchat and also https://twitter.com/lrnchat. Interesting; questions posted on homesite and discussion, replies on hashtag.
 9/7 1 hr. More twitter navigation. One thing I don’t like is that there is no editing options for tweets. Another Twitter experience I still find confusing is this: you click on a hashtag and it provides info that’s very distant from original tweet. Nokia image said “explore from anywhere” from couch and so I thought it had something to do with virtual worlds due to VR hashtag; the HT had nothing to do with nokia; Not sure what the purpose of the tweet was; seems like a poorly connected advertisement.
 9/3 1 hr. Goal was to send a tweet with a hashtag; hashtags are subjects of messages; clicking it will find others who have used the same hashtags. My tweet was to let people know I was using a video editor app; created and searched a hashtag to see if others also using this app but came up empty; did a search of app name (powerdirector video editing) in Twitter and that provided list of other users. https://twitter.com/ALLSTAREDU 
 9/2/16 for 1 hr. Created a Twitter account; thought about purpose of the account. Did some basic navigation; followed edtech@boisestate. The look and user experience is similar to FB.

Smartphone App Evaluation: Video Editing

Cyberlink_videoApp

Power Director is a video editing software for mobile devices. Users can import videos, images, music, and use the built in tools to create a video using their smartphones. I would recommend this app. It was easy to use with nice in-app tools for making videos. A comparison review coming soon.

Strengths:

  • Free to download and use
  • built in video tutorials that shows how to start using tools
  • nice editing tools
  • easy to use

Weakness: only available for Android devices

Learning objectives that are best met: 

  • Develop and use multimedia features and skills on smartphone: audio, video, images
  • collect information outside the class environment
  • explain, show, analyze

How can it enhance cognitive, social, instructor presence:

  • Cognitive: Information presented through both the visual and audio channels deepens understanding; experiential learning for user
  • Social: students can share and critique eachother’s work; possibly collaborate as a group assignment: pool resources, discuss through storyboarding, each responsible for particular section
  • Instructor: video introductions for class assignments and information; improves social presence for async online classes; video demonstration of an example

Sunday’s Snack

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Wow this came out nice!~~ Potato egg salad on toasted bagel w melted pepper jack. I used mustard mayo from the store and added parsley, olive oil, touch of worcestershire, seasonings, and chia seeds to give it texture. Definitely recommend the bagel; the crispy chewy taste makes a nice combination.

Improving m-Learning Experience

Recently I made a course in Moodle designed to help faculty develop skills in instructional technology. The course is asynchronous online and mobile friendly. But from a mobile perspective, the user experience is not all that great especially with smartphones. You can access the content and search for information but it doesn’t allow learners to complete assignments. Assignments were entries for online discussions, blogs, evaluate an online tool, create screencast, and design a blended lesson. Educause (2015) stated one of the problems with mobile learning is that it doesn’t allow students to create meaningful learning experiences even though ownership continues to rise. A part of this is due to a lack of proper infrastructure and faculty development in utilizing this technology. A problem that I see has to do with the physical size – small keyboard and screen size. The keyboard makes it impossible to do any kind of writing except for phrases and a few sentences.  The screen size could also make it difficult to view fine details such as texts, images, or videos.

One idea to further explore is a voice-to-text app. This would allow users to review literature and jot down their ideas using their voice. The user could then focus on using the keyboard to do editing rather than writing. Previously I tested a desktop version of this tool to transfer sections of a reading passage to a word document so that I could use the tools within Microsoft Word. The flow from voice to text was pretty smooth, and so the experience should be similar on a smartphone because the microphones are just as capable if not better. Google Doc has a voice-to-text app built into their desktop application but have yet to add it to their mobile version (Note: they do have a keyboard/speech recognition app). Until that occurs you can download this tool from other companies. One thing that could affect usability would be how well the software can recognize speech.

Second problem that came up while viewing the mobile course was reading PDF documents. These are primarily designed for devices with large screens and so reading them with a smartphone was not practical. It is possible to copy the text from a PDF document and paste it into a two-column word processing document to improve legibility but it doesn’t help if the documents have charts or images because these don’t transfer. It would seem logical that mobile PDF readers would have some sort of responsive feature built into them. There is a way to create responsive documents using an authoring software like Adobe Captivate and so this would be option for creating documents in the future, but unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the answer for existing documents.

For educators who are interested in developing a better user experience for mobile learning, they should consider the smallest device first. The largest number of mobile device ownership is the smartphone (Educause, 2015) and so this could mean the greatest potential impact for learning. The learning platform and interactions would probably have to be redesigned specifically for smartphones so that it will allow them to do higher order thinking. An example of this was done by educators in Singapore who redesigned elementary science lessons, which allowed students to do all learning activities using a smartphone. They called it Mobile Learning Environment and the results showed that students had higher achievement (Norris, Hossain, & Soloway, 2011). The idea would essentially do the same thing for adult learning. For adults, who have bigger hands and fingers, it would mean incorporating different activities to accommodate this but also in the way that they learn.

Educause stated that top three uses for mobile devices were social networking, music, and games. Education was #14. Educational uses were to search for information, access courses, communicate with students and teachers, and using educational apps. Because social networking is number one, better understanding how this could be used for learning would be a must. My personal experience has been to access content to learn about the opinions of others, asking for help from a community, and/or learn about a technology. Communication is another major purpose using the phone and instant messaging, although from personal experience as a graduate student at Boise State we didn’t uses it for this purpose. Live meetings and chats were not emphasized because it was an asynchronous online course. Many educators have touted Twitter to be very useful for communications and other educational activities. More planning should be done to better understand this tool to see how it can develop both social and cognitive presence.

TATA Ineractive Systems (2013) stated that the top two places that mobile learning occurs is on the couch and in bed. The home was a popular place with other locations being cited inside the house. The home does provide an ideal situation for learning: the environment is comfortable, stable internet connection, and usually free from distractions. But it complicates the process of designing effective learning experiences for a smartphone because a laptop or desktop computer would seem to be more effective and just as convenient. It could be that they like the convenience of moving to different locations at will. The other idea is that they are not really studying and instead are using the mobile device for entertainment activities. Other places that students like to study are library and outdoors when the weather was nice. In Korea, I often see studying done in coffee shops and learning academies, which has an environment that’s similar to a school. To determine effective learning for smartphones, the studying location should be identified. Also important to know is if serious learning can be done using a smartphone. This can be influenced by the subject or work. Some learning may be ideal especially if it requires the person to be outside.

The article from TATA made a reference to Bob Mosher’s and Conrad Gottfredson’s Five phases of Learning. Mobile learning is well suited for phase 2, learning to learn more using the internet to search for information. Phase 3 was to apply knowledge and the challenge is to find an effective way to do this with a smartphone. The recommended practices for mobile learning was to make it simple and in small chunks (TATA). I like the ideas of smaller chunks but making it simple to me, is not the answer. Smartphones are sophisticated technology and so learning should be designed to match the technology. The fact that people would rather use mobile devices at home instead of laptop or desktop indicates that they prefer to learn this way.

Learning with smartphones

Advantages: lightweight and most portable among mobile devices, comfortable, great for accessing and viewing content, searching for information, plenty of productivity apps, communication through video, phone, messaging; data storage

Disadvantages: keyboard is inconvenient, screensize could be a problem, multitasking not as fluid

Goal and ideas are to see if we can use smartphones to create learning activities and experiences that are more than just searching and accessing information. It should require an application of knowledge, practicing, creating, analyze.

Ideas: use discussion board with higher frequency but reduce length of each entry; design a lesson using a smartphone.

Idea: develop a course that focuses specifically social networking and specifically designed for smartphones and so it creates a unique experience from a tablet or laptop.

 

 

References:  
D’souza, T. (2013). Creating mobile learning that works. TATA Interactive Systems. Retrieved from http://www.tatainteractive.com/pdf/Creating-mobile-learning-that-works.pdf

Chen, B., Seihamer, R., Bennet, L., & Bauer, S. (2015). Student’s mobile learning practices in higher education: A multi-year study. Educause Review. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/6/students-mobile-learning-practices-in-higher-education-a-multiyear-study

Norris, C., Hossain, A., Soloway, E. (2011). Using smartphones as essential tools for learning. Educational Technology May-June. Retrieved http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.456.3319&rep=rep1&type=pdf

  • Mobile learning environment: used by singaporean school; redesigned lesson so all activities could be done on smartphone: activities focused on collaboration, self-directed learning, inquiry based learning
  • Better achievement: reasons were students could learn and do all assignments on their smartphones and spend more time learning.
  • smartphone is the idea tool due to portability; better laptops
  • schools in U.S. showed that use mobile have more motivated students and higher achievements

Challenges in Blended Learning

Notes

Kineo, The Oxford Group. (2013). Blended learning–Current use, challenges, and best practices. Retrieved from http://www.kineo.com/m/0/blended-learning-report-202013.pdf

  • Designing and developing is difficult; companies have less than 50% people who have expertise in blended learning to properly manage this kind of learning (p. 4).

 

http://issues.org/29-4/the-online-challenge-to-higher-education/

Key component of online educational world are MOOCs; Talks about the history of MOOCs; problem is that high quality are are expensive to produce but offer as free service; likely that they need to charge to cover development costs; talked about “pixar” branch?? kid version of established university??

Moocs and educational reform: State legisation is pushing for higher education online; giving credit for online courses ; univ as place of researach led to high cost we know today.

Some things better suited for online such as manipulation and visualization of data; other things still better in class such as speaking and presenations; still need humans to evaluate writing; big bulk of research still in person because learning needs to be hands on.

Blending for success: near future best education will combine the online and offline; Clay christenson said there is possibility that blending learning will eventually lead to completely online education.

In the beginning: they talked about flipped classes; useonline for lecture and first order learning, use in class for higher order learning; facutty development in online, offline, and blended learning will be key to its success.

From credentials to speedier degrees: colleges may use online for introductory courses; this would reduce time to finish; class time could be used for discussions and advanced research; things that online does not do well: discussion seminars, research, writing, and student faculty interactions; big challenge/uncertainty is going to be what’s going to happend to traditional f2f universities.

Evolving business model: online courses expensive to develop; require interactivity; textbook publishers also entering online education; online is good at providing content and information, making assessment; offline good at discussion, mentoring, research