#HigherEdScope: A New Frontier in Digital Development

Concurrent Session 2

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

#HigherEdScope is a co-hosted Periscope serial about online education that stretches the boundaries of the platform while also introducing online educators and administrators to pedagogy, tools, and strategies.  The co-hosts explore, experiment and share failures and successes.  Session participants should come, ready to participate, with mobile device in hand!


Jon Ernstberger, PhD is the Director of Online Instruction and Instructional Technology and is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at LaGrange College in LaGrange, GA. He earned his doctorate in computational mathematics from NC State University in 2008 and came directly to LaGrange College where he expressed early interest in digitally-enhanced pedagogical practices. In his directorial capacity, Jon is engaged in online instruction at LaGrange College at every level including teaching courses, overseeing LMS/courseware deployment, developing students and faculty (at multiple scales), guiding institutional policy, and helping to maintain compliance with authorizing and accrediting bodies.
Melissa A. Venable, PhD is a writer and online education advisor at BestColleges where she contributes to web content on topics related to college and career decision-making. In this role she also conducts an annual research initiative reporting online education trends gathered from a variety of stakeholders. Melissa is an adjunct instructor and course designer for Saint Leo University and the University of South Florida. She received her doctorate in instructional technology from the University of South Florida with research interests in distance education and online student support. Melissa is also a certified career coach.

Extended Abstract

Periscope is a relatively young social media venue, is owned by Twitter [1], and capitalizes on the widespread proliferation of smartphones and tablets for the use of broadcasting live, unconstrained video via mobile networks.  With over 200 million streams viewed by its first birthday [2], Periscope shows strong growth and potential.  What distinguishes Periscope from other live video feed services is the ability for viewers to interact via tweet-like messages and Hearts (a Twitter/Periscope-specific symbol similar to Facebook’s “Like”), synchronously, with the broadcaster.  This venue also seems to provide an opportunity for incredible creativity in production and exceptional convenience and mobility for viewers/participators.  An event at SXSW was formed for just this purpose. [3]


Periscope has found varied uses in education.  A quick search reveals that several colleges and universities use this new social tool primarily for streaming athletics or events that are focused on student activity[4].  However, those same searches revealed that there are few (if any) academic or development uses.


Inspired by @Topcastnow Podcast [5] and others, and in the boundary-pushing spirit of online instruction, the co-hosts of #HigherEdScope have produced a short serial that will be broadcast on Periscope and aired monthly from July to October.  The episodes of this series present basic online education pedagogy, innovative tools for digital courses, and effective practices in those courses.  The limits of this social technology are stretched using a variety of planned technological tools and high quality production techniques.  When finished, before the 24-hour availability expires, the videos are published to YouTube for continued viewing beyond the limitations of the Periscope platform.


The goals of this session begin with a discussion on the social media venue itself and its user base.  Then, the conversation will share the following: origins of and experimentation for the serial, topic and episode planning sessions, branding, use of social media to promote, timing of broadcasts, and general production practices. The session will conclude with participant questions and ideas for future episodes.


Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will learn about Periscope, it’s strengths and weaknesses as an ed tech tool in online education, and its social ramifications.

  • Session participants will learn about planning and production techniques that optimize the total Periscope experience for broadcasters and viewers.

  • All present will learn about ways Periscope can be used in education and in student engagement at their institutions.


Plans for Interaction:

  • All present will be part of a live Periscope broadcast of #HigherEdScope.

  • Participants will have the opportunity to submit topics for future scopes.

  • Attendees will have the opportunity to create/bolster a Periscope network.



[1] Koh, Y., & Rusli, E. M. (2015, March 9). Twitter Acquires Live-Video Streaming Startup Periscope. Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://www.wsj.com/articles/twitter-acquires-live-video-streaming-startu...

[2] Kokalitcheva, K. (2016, March 28). Here's How Much Periscope Has Grown In Its First Year. Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://fortune.com/2016/03/28/periscope-one-year-birthday/

[3] Igniting Creativity with Periscope. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://schedule.sxsw.com/2016/events/event_PP55965  

[4] Stoller, E. (2015, November 11). Pass the Cast Using Periscope | Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved April 14, 2016, from https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/student-affairs-and-technology/pass...

[5] TOPcast: The Teaching Online Podcast. (2015, April 3). Retrieved April 14, 2016, from https://online.ucf.edu/teach-online/professional-development/topcast/