Friday, May 3, 2013

Being Remarkable! EHS Senior Students Complete Standford MOOC

This fall, Stanford University hosted a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called, "Designing a New Learning Environment." Lead by Dr. Paul Kim, the course invited participants to interact globally to design learning environments  of the future.
I saw a post from, Brendan Murphy, a former grad school colleague, and thought that it might be a good learning opportunity paired with the Secondary Academic program study that Edina Schools has been working on. I forwarded this on to our Teaching and Learning Coordinator, Randy Smasal, who then contacted Stanford. Smasal wondered if Dr. Kim would like to use our district as a case study for groups to consider as a design project. Ultimately a couple of groups developed projects based around Edina, and we are working to incorporate some of their ideas. Additional projects from the course can be found here.

When Smasal shared this with building leaders, our high school principal, Bruce Locklear, and assistant principal, Eric Nelson wondered if it might be a good activity for some of our seniors, who due to calendar anomalies needed to make up 8 hours of work to comply with graduation requirements.
We incorporated the MOOC option into our Senior Extended Learning Opportunities Course.

Roughly a dozen students initially signed up for the course, which included over 20,000 participants from around the world. In the end, the following ten students completed all of the course requirements for the MOOC. Their projects can be found here, and here.

Kristen Woodhouse 
Emilia Seery
William Benjamin
Aditya Salagram
Brooke Scheerer
Lexi Worthy
Reid Hirschey
Paige Thompson
Sara Eslamlou
Tyler Norgren

Given that many of the students were taking blended courses at EHS, the students chose to focus their projects on Blended Learning and how that has impacted their learning in high school.

Last week, we were contacted by Roz Hussin, an Instructional Design Technology Specialist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln to inform us that 9 of the students had met the course requirements, and if she could visit with the students on behalf of Dr. Kim via a Google Hangout.

During the hangout conversation, the students talked about the blended learning courses they had participated in, and how they felt, "it has prepared us for our future!" One student mentioned that in the blended American Literature course, she felt she had learned much more than in a traditional face to face class. In AP Economics, students were able to go back to listen over again to the flipped video lectures, and felt better prepared to take the AP exam. In Mass Media, students commented that they had been exposed to a wide variety of tools to demonstrate their learning, and had published their final projects to an authentic audience. 

Hussin asked the students about whether they had put together a digital portfolio (ePortfolio) of their work. Some of the students had, using a blog in their Project Lead the Way course, and just this year, Valey View Middle School has begun incorporating  ePortfolio's using Google Sites for student-led-conferences. Then Hussin asked a question:

Dr. Kim is working on a book, scheduled to come out in December around the topic of designing learning environments. Would you students be interested in contributing a chapter around blended learning, and your experience in the Designing a New Learning Environment MOOC?

The students enthusiastically replied YES!! 

It was thrilling to see these remarkable students share their learning experiences and step up to the opportunity to collaborate globally during the class, and step up to the publishing opportunity provided to them today by Dr. Hussin and Dr. Kim. With some collaborative effort this summer, they will have the opportunity to be published authors during their first semester of college, and share the positive ways blended learning has impacted them in Edina! Remarkable!
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