Stop Texting Me! Enhancing Presence and Personalization Using Multimedia

Concurrent Session 2

Brief Abstract

Minimizing the use of “all text” in online learning may create opportunities for deeper levels of instructor-student engagement addressing issues of presence and personalization. This Discovery Session explores efforts to increase student engagement, reflection, and learning outcomes through the use of multimedia in an online e-portfolio development course.

Presenters

Dr. Rob Harper, EdD, is an associate director for the Online Master’s Degree and Certificate Programs in Medical Education and an assistant professor for the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in partnership with the University of Cincinnati College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services (CECH), offers graduate-level accredited programs for physicians and other healthcare providers involved with or interested in medical teaching and learning or educational research. Dr. Harper comes from a K-12 teaching and higher education background in leadership, teaching, and program administration. Most recently, he was an assistant professor in the Educational Leadership Program at the University of Cincinnati. He brings a unique perspective to the leadership of the online MEd program as he has served as an administrator, instructor, facilitator, and has been a student in online courses. This 360 perspective of online education will help inform and support the students, staff, and leadership of the MEd program. His research interests include online education, technology and online professional development, school leadership preparation, and social justice education. Dr. Harper graduated from the Urban Educational Leadership Doctoral Program at the University of Cincinnati in June 2008. His dissertation was titled, “The Professional Development Needs of Urban Principals in Ohio and Their Perceptions of Online Learning”. He completed his master’s degree in educational administration at the University of Cincinnati in 2005. Prior to pursuing his graduate level work, Rob was a music teacher for twelve years. His undergraduate work was completed in 1992 at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Extended Abstract

Background

Online learning has historically been very text-based from every aspect of delivery; whether through course syllabi, instructor communication, student interaction, the structure of learning units, or the discussion board.  Yet, the very notion of online learning suggests employing technology tools that may best engage students, foster deeper reflection, and enhance, if not improve student learning outcomes by engaging various learning styles.  The use of multimedia materials in online learning is not something that is unique to a particular generation of learners and should not be viewed as “trendy” or meeting “the next generation of online learners’ needs”.  Infusing multimedia materials in all learning experiences and reducing the amount of text only delivery, promises to meet all learners’ needs by enhancing presence and personalization.

 

Purpose

The purpose of this Discovery Session is to share several strategies used to implement multimedia materials in an online graduate level course; to engage participants in a constructive dialogue about best practices related to the use of multimedia in online education; and to seek out collaborative research opportunities to further explore the engagement, reflection, and learning outcomes of using multimedia materials as related to presence and personalization in online education.

 

Context

The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), in partnership with the University of Cincinnati College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services (CECH), offers an online master of education degree for physicians and other healthcare providers involved with or interested in medical teaching and learning or educational research. The program began in fall 1999.  The focus of the program is on adult learning, curriculum and instruction, and medical education evaluation and research. The program is offered entirely online with no onsite requirement. Everything from orientation through final masters project defense is conducted via internet and telephone using web-based course management and conferencing applications.

Student outcomes upon program completion are to prepare medical educators with the knowledge, skills and dispositions:

  • To be reflective of their teaching and their impact on learners;
  • To engage learners through a variety of strategies to ensure growth in knowledge and learning processes to become independent lifetime learners;
  • To collaborate with peers and others in creating learning communities;
  • To be knowledgeable and current in their areas;
  • To engage in research to improve educational practices;
  • To understand the principles of teaching and learning;
  • To know effective teaching strategies;
  • To understand performance assessment and program evaluation;
  • To understand research design.

The program delivers a rigorous curriculum focused on applying principles of pedagogy and andragogy for effective teaching, identifying the major forces influencing practice of adult teaching and learning, applying the concepts, theories and practices associated with attitude formation and change, developing evidence-based educator portfolios and developing, implementing and evaluating medical education curricula in a rigorous fashion that produces research or scholarly outcomes.

Intervention

A capstone experience of the program is the completion of a course CI6075 Field Experiences Practicum where students develop an evidenced-based e-portfolio.  Recent efforts to increase presence and personalization in this course related to multimedia materials include:

  • a video introduction to the course;
  • video announcements;
  • multimedia discussion board threads;
  • multimedia responses to discussion board posts;
  • synchronous instructor-student meetings;
  • embedded multimedia in learning units including “high-tech and low-tech” learning activities;
  • audio and video feedback (instructor to student and student to student);
  • multimedia introduction to e-portfolio;
  • development of a multimedia e-portfolio;

 

Session Outcomes

The outcomes of this Discovery Session are to share several strategies used to implement multimedia materials in an online graduate level course; to engage participants in a constructive dialogue about best practices related to the use of multimedia in online education; and to seek out collaborative research opportunities to further explore the engagement, reflection, and learning outcomes of using multimedia materials as related to presence and personalization in online education. 

Through collegial interactions, the session hopes to accomplish these outcomes as well as stimulate participant collaboration related to research on presence and personalization in online learning; on learner satisfaction and engagement; on connection to new strategies for implementing multimedia materials; on linking to new multimedia technology tools; and to modeling effective multimedia instructional practices.