MERLOT Conference 2009 – San Jose

If you need a break from your first life, consider Second Life!

Posted in Conference Info by cguenter on June 22, 2009
Friday Karu paints as Olivia Hotshot looks on.

Friday Karu paints as Olivia Hotshot looks on.

Second Life (SL), a 3D virtual world that is created by its millions of residents from around the world, is providing ever-engaging opportunities and situations for educators and their students. There will be two 3-hour preconference hands-on sessions at MIC ’09 (Thursday, August 13) to provide attendees with skill development and educational use in SL. Ann Steckel and I, representing California State University, Chico, will conduct these sessions inworld as our avatars, Olivia Hotshot and Friday Karu respectively, and as our face-to-face, good-natured selves in real life. I guess you could say that our sessions will be held in mixed reality! You Have Your Second Life Avatar. What’s Next? (9-12 noon) is geared for educators who have an avatar, but aren’t sure where to begin. There are several interactive tasks planned such as modeling  communication and social skills of SL. We will take a field trip to help you get your avatar looking professional and then visit some SL settings as a group to see educational examples in use.  The afternoon session (1-4 PM), Next Steps in Second Life: Creating Quality Experiences for You and Your Students, is designed for those who are considering or are ready to begin implementing a bit of SL in their teaching and/or professional development. Participants will experience several activities including some building skills, establishing SL groups, use of multimedia in SL, and  how as an instructor you might share and disperse information and content in a SL setting.

Olivia Hotshot and Friday Karu look forward to their two MIC '09 presentations!

Olivia Hotshot and Friday Karu look forward to their two MIC '09 presentations!

Both sessions have prerequisites. You need to have an avatar created, you need to have SL installed on your laptop, and you need to bring your laptop to the session(s) you are attending.

Our intent with these sessions is to present examples of Second Life use in higher education,  refine the Second Life skills of the participants, provide investigative and immersive experiences in SL educational environments, and conduct and model SL educational field trips. We believe that SL offers creative teaching and professional development opportunities for teaching and learning for instructors and students and we are excited to share!  Participants will receive some SL freebies we have made such as MERLOT T-shirts and books for their avatars!

Ann Steckel brings her instructional technology skills, teaching experience and well known SL expertise to these sessions. I bring my own high level of curiosity and over a decade of recognized online teaching experience. Together we think we have planned some highly engaging, immediately useful, and downright fun sessions for participants. We are able to take 15 participants for each session. We hope you will consider joining us for the morning or the afternoon, or both during the preconference workshops at MIC ’09. We look forward so seeing you inworld and at MIC ’09!

Here are some related SL links to whet your interest.

What is Second Life?

Educational Uses of Second Life

Virtual Environments Enable New Models of Learning

Olivia and Friday are interested in your use of Second Life and invite you to participate in this poll.


A Team Always Wins: Students as Key Collaborators

Posted in Conference Info, Keynote, Session by vkwong on June 19, 2009

Victor Wong and Gerry Hanley

Prior to 2006, MERLOT was represented on our campus by one or two “lone rangers”, and MERLOT had limited impact on our large decentralized campus.

Fast forward to 2009.  Rather than “lone rangers”, we now have a team of a dozen faculty, staff, and students going to the MIC 2009, with a similar number of sessions/workshop accepted for the MIC 2009 program (see list below for a preview).

How did all this happen?  With some funding help and a lot of teamwork.

In 2006, we tried an experiment and sent a small selected group of faculty and staff, mostly first-timers, to explore the MIC 2006 and to kick-off a new team on campus for MERLOT.  We spent our first year together meeting and building a team – a cross-disciplinary MERLOT community of practice of faculty and staff on campus – and the team won the MERLOT Institutional Stewardship award in 2008.

Most importantly, through a grant in 2008, we added students to the mix and remixed the team to focus on the deployment of good learning objects in gateway undergraduate courses on campus.  We selected graduate students with tech savvy and domain expertise in these courses, and they became our key and fearless collaborators on the team.  Through this teamwork, the cross-disciplinary MERLOT community of practice on campus has grown in 2009 to include chemistry, English and composition, foreign languages, mathematics, medicine, nursing education, physics, psychology, teacher education, and statistics.

My point is simple.  If you’re a “lone ranger” on campus for MERLOT, and you want to see greater impact at your institution, my advice is “Get a Team!”  A team always wins.  Furthermore, make students the key collaborators on the team and, if at all possible, bring them to the MIC!

By Victor Wong, University of Michigan

Here’s a preview of the MIC 2009 presentations and workshop by faculty, staff, and students from the University of Michigan.  The graduate students, as key collaborators in this team effort, are in italics.

Joel Vaughan, Dave Childers, and Brenda Gunderson, “Bottom Up Faculty Development”, Saturday, 10:00 – 10:30 am

Jay Holden, “Creating an Interdisciplinary Collection of Learning Objects to address Basic Skills”, Saturday, 10:45 – 11:15am.

Irene Knokh, “Baby Steps, Introducing Instructional Technology”, Saturday, 10:45 – 11:15am

2-hours Hands-on Workshop:
Perry Samson, “Let Them Bring Their Laptops!  Incorporating Learning Objects into Lecture”.  Saturday, 1:30 – 3:30pm

Michigan MERLOT Team Award Presentation:
Nancy Kerner, Brenda Gunderson, Brian Malley, Lynne Crandall, “Innovative Use of MERLOT”, Saturday, 2:15 – 2:45pm

Tanya Breault and Nancy Kerner, “The Process of Integrating Learning Resources into a Large Introductory Course, Saturday, 5:30 – 6:00 pm

Perry Samson, “New Evidence from the Trenches: Laptops are Good!”, Saturday, 5:30 – 6:00pm

Plenary Presentation:
Carl Berger, “Recognition, Reward, and Tenure: You’ve Got to be Kidding!”, Sunday, 8:00 – 9:30am

Dave Childers, Joel Vaughan, and Brenda Gunderson, “Make them YOURS: How to Package LOs”, Sunday, 10:00 – 10:30 am

Jonathan Maybaum, “Giving and Getting Credit Where Credit is Due”, Sunday, 10:00 – 10:30am

Porscha McRobbie, “Actualization of mathematical and abstract subjects using computer-based guided tutorials”, Sunday 10:00 – 10:30 am