Great OLC Conference on Blended Learning!

Dear Commons Community,

The Online Learning Consortium’s Blended Learning Conference ended yesterday.  I must say it was very well done.  In addition to catching up with friends and colleagues, the entire conference was well planned and the program was excellent.  My congratulations to Liz Ciabocchi and Kelvin Thompson for their work on this.  I was amazed at how many attendees participated in the Technology Test Kitchen with Phylise Banner and her colleagues.  It seemed every time I went by, there were dozens of people participating in these “how to” sessions and demonstrations. 

Among the presentations, I thought Ryan Baker’s plenary session on Educational Data Mining, was first rate.  In fact, it was the best presentation I have ever heard on data mining and learning analytics.  It is obvious that he is a doer in the field of big data and not just a talker.  Dr. Baker, an associate professor at Columbia University, described his work on developing models using large-scale data from  student interactions in online learning environments. Much of this data represents student behavior in a fashion that is both longitudinal and fine-grained. This has allowed him to model and track many elements of student learning that were not previously feasible at scale: engagement, affect, meta-cognition, and collaborative skills. In turn, these models can be used in prediction of long-term student outcomes, and to analyze the factors driving long-term success.  He also proposed that the modeling techniques used do not have to be highly complex and that basic linear regressions are fine for most of what a faculty member or institution would want to do in this area.

In sum, a most enjoyable three days. Congratulations OLC and all involved with putting on this conference!


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