Oregon Wetlands for Educators-first try at using My Brainshark

The on-line learning tool I reviewed was My Brainshark http://my.brainshark.com/Home.aspx

This tool allows the user to quite easily add voice over or music to a Powerpoint, photo albums, etc. I took the challenge and made my first mybrainshark Powerpoint using slides describing wetland types and functions. The program makes it easy to follow, but I quickly realized how many imperfections I have in my voice. I will blame most of the voice recording on the phone connection :). I also need to learn to breath more quietly in the phone–it picks up every breath. For those of us who have special folders just for Powerpoint presentation, this is a fun and useful tool to have experience with.

If you really want to learn more about wetland types, I have pasted a link to the presentation here: http://my.brainshark.com/Wetland-Types-and-Functions-3-30-15-105453507

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A Day In The Life Of Blended Barb

Final cartoon

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How To Manage Your Forest

The online How to Manage Your Forest series of narrated PowerPoints is nearly complete    (http://extensionweb.forestry.oregonstate.edu/programs/how-manage-your-forest) and while the series have value as web-accessible publications, combining these programs with Face2Face classroom time in a hybrid format seems to hold the potential for realizing more value by reaching larger and/or new audiences and changing the focus of the F2F time to discussion and hands-on application instead of lecture.

Enrollment is envisioned as a fee-based, defined time period structure.  The HTMYF materials may be used selectively around various themes, such as Silviculture, Forest Health, Business Management, etc.  It is possible to do a “full meal deal” offering sort of like our traditional Basic Forestry Shortcourse workshops but that may involve much too long  a time frame to be practical in a hybrid format, shorter “chunks” seem to be more workable but that’s something that will need be explored as we learn more about who the audiences are, their expectations, learning styles, etc., etc.

It is likely that at least initially, the participants will be mostly family forestland owners. Partly because that’s who the material is primarily developed for and who I’ve been focused on with the BFSC workshops.  But as I gain experience with creating and offering hybrid courses and the audiences that are attracted to the material and format then hopefully the courses can attract other audiences such as teachers, Master Naturalist inclined folks and others.

At this point, my knowledge of hybrid courses might be best described as slightly greater than a wealth of ignorance.  This course has been helpful in understanding some of the concepts and tools applicable to hybrid learning but it’ll take some hands-on experience to learn how to balance the online and F2F activities.  My initial thought was to arrange the material with a weekly topic focus in order to move things along at a reasonable pace and to keep everyone focused and on the same page.  Participants would receive a to-do list of online activities such as reviewing the HTMYF materials, suggested readings, suggested activities and possibly some blogging/Q&A stuff and so on.  The F2F time would be spent discussing the material, doing further activities/exercises and so on as appropriate for the topic being discussed.

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Hybrid Study Skills for OSU Open Campus in Klamath County

I would like to create a Hybrid Study Skills course for use at our Klamath Falls OSU Open Campus site (and hopefully others in the future).

OSU Open Campus is a program which focuses on three specific goals: career and college readiness, degree completion, and professional and economic development. There are currently six OSU Open Campus sites throughout the state: Tillamook, Hood River and Wasco County, Madras, Prineville, Coos and Curry County, and Klamath County. Currently, Klamath Falls’ focus is on degree completion.

In 2013, OSU made a partnership with Klamath Community College to provide support for students completing an online OSU Bachelor’s in Agricultural Sciences degree after completing their Associate’s degree at KCC. This can save the student over $50,000.

As a part of this program, a student completes their first 120 credits at KCC. The student then transitions to complete their final 60 credits via OSU’s Extended Campus (Ecampus) online courses. Since the majority of classes offered at KCC are face-to-face, it can be a significant transition to the strictly online classes OSU offers to complete the Bachelor’s degree.

Creating a hybrid study skills class would ease the transition from strictly face-to-face to strictly online classes. The course would blend elements of both styles of learning to slowly accustom students to online learning while bringing to light the advantages of working with two institutions. For example, OSU offers online chatting with tutors for online students. KCC has a Learning Resource Center to assist its students. Basically, pooling the resources from both institutions would give the student a greater support system, and, in turn, improve their success. This course would allow the student to reflect on which subject areas they could use help in as well as recognize the different study methods necessary for online classes.

I intend to use the online portion of the class to introduce material and allow students to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of their current study regimens. Online time would also be spent discovering the resources available from OSU. Face-to-face time would be spent sharing the study skills that are or are not working for individuals, brainstorming possible strategies for improving academic success, as well as exploring resources available on-site at Klamath Community College.

Overall, the goal is to make the transition from face-to-face classes to online classes less daunting to the students and, therefore, improve student success.

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Applying hybrid learning to a new forest health program

Before joining the Extension Hybrid Learning study group, I had already been experimenting a bit on my own with hybrid learning techniques, without calling it Hybrid Learning or really knowing what I was doing. For example, I’ve started teaching our Basic Forestry Shortcourse in a “flipped classroom” format. I give assignments ahead of class time for participants to read an Extension publication, view a narrated slideshow, or watch a video. Then we use the in-class time for discussion of the subject material in small and large groups. This allows us to use the class time to explore more deeply particular concepts that are most relevant to the participants, rather than the old one-way lecture format that I used to use. The flipped classroom model was presented to us during the study group as a commonly used practice for hybrid learning.

I used the Hybrid Learning study group as an opportunity to start framing a new program that is in my work plan for this year. I’m working with several other collaborators to create a short training program for forestry & natural resources professionals, as well as volunteers, that will help these individuals recognize the signs and symptoms of a couple of very high priority exotic forest pests. We want more trained eyes on the ground (or more accurately, in the trees) to aid in the EDRR (early detection and rapid response) should these insects arrive in Oregon.

From the outset, I knew that I wanted to have some online resources for this program, for participants to be able to refer to before, during and after the training. I also felt that some face-to-face elements would be essential for participants to be able to practice their identification skills and to interact with expert instructors.

I’ve come up with a draft model for my “Forest Pest Detector” program that consists of a couple of online modules followed by a face-to-faces session. One of the things that Cub and Jeff stressed during the study group is that in a true Hybrid experience, the online and face-to-face elements are integrated and that there is interaction between students, instructors, and the content in both settings. I’m not sure that I’ve achieved that. Stay tuned for the launch of our program sometime next year.

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Hybrid Course: Career as Life Journey

When the opportunity to participate in the Extension Hybrid Learning Study Group came up, I could immediately see the possibilities for my work with OSU Open Campus.  OSU Open Campus is a new initiative of the division of Outreach and Engagement.  Its’ purpose is to work with community partners in counties across the state, to build college and career readiness, increase degree completion and support professional and economic development.  This work may include a variety of projects, depending on the unique needs of each community.

I came to OSU Open Campus with a background in career counseling.  As I began to connect with prospective OSU students, I found that they were often unsure of their educational direction and career path.  Though career planning books and online tools are abundant and many are very good, it can be confusing and overwhelming to work through their systems by yourself.  College and university career centers have much to offer but commonly, students do not access them until graduation time, if then.  A hybrid career planning course could be a great way to provide students with access to a systematic career planning process that includes opportunities to connect and learn from others as well as substantial time for guided personal reflection.

The course that I began to develop would include four modules:

  • Know Yourself – Assessments of skills, interests, personality and values with analysis
  • The World of Work – Job types, work environments, trends, occupational research
  • Tools and Skills – Resumes, cover letters, interviewing
  • Building Connections – Online and in-person networking, testing options, creating a plan

The course would utilize a variety of online learning tools that will engage students with each other as well increase their familiarity and comfort with using them.  These may include blogs, discussion groups, Linked In, Voice Thread and Google Groups. I would plan the course so that it could be facilitated by OSU Open campus coordinators, whether or not they have career counseling experience.

Before moving forward to develop this course further, I am in process of connecting  with the OSU Career Center to consider making this a collaborative effort.  I believe that the possibility exists to create a hybrid course that could be a win for online and on-campus students as well as prospective students across the state and even beyond!

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Hybrid Course Development Plans – Private Pesticide Applicator Pre-License Training Course

The opportunity to participate in the first-ever OSU Extension Hybrid Learning Study Group (Spring 2014) was a great experience and the opportunity I’ve been looking for to begin the process of creating a new learning environment for individuals preparing to take an Oregon private pesticide applicators license exam.  A “blended” or “hybrid” course can offer the best of both worlds (face-to-face instruction and online) when designed and implemented with new types or re-designed engagement activities fully integrated into both platforms.  My goal is to utilize blended learning technology to improve the overall training experience and comprehension through increased learner engagement  via online (independent study, discussion forums, etc.) integrated with on-site workshops.  This course also works well for individuals preparing to take a “laws and safety” exam needed for a public or commercial pesticide applicator license.  In addition, I will work with ODA to develop a system that awards applicator recertification credit for online participants.

In a nutshell, my plan involves the NE Oregon Pesticide Applicator Training  team (Walenta, Williams, Cowan, Kiemnec, Stock) to re-design the traditional NE Oregon Private Pesticide Applicator Pre-License Training course into a hybrid course which offers expanded training opportunities.  Currently, the annual pre-license training event is delivered on-site in each county (Union, Baker, Wallowa) via 4-hour face-to-face workshops which does not allow enough time for in-depth training of all pertinent study material.  The objectives for the “hybridization” of our traditional course are to: 1) engage learners in training activities prior to the delivery of on-site workshops; and 2) enable learners to develop greater comprehension of key information and knowledge required of licensed applicators.  The general format of the course will include 4 online learning modules and one onsite workshop (per location).  Modules will be expected to be completed prior to the onsite workshop.  Once the course is developed the course would be made available for to use in their own local pre-license training events in Oregon.

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