Embedding OpenSocial in Moodle

The CTSI team uses Moodle for online learning, and OpenSocial to embed applications into UCSF Profiles.

Lausanne-based doctoral student Evgeny Bogdanov recently combined the two, turning Moodle into an OpenSocial container. He describes how he embedded OpenSocial into Moodle by developing a Moodle plugin that interfaces with Apache Shindig:

“We present here a plugin that allows to bring OpenSocial gadgets into Moodle. OpenSocial gadgets are rendered via Apache Shindig (extension of version 2.0 that supports Spaces). Moodle is a Learning Management System used in many Educational Institutions (Universities) to manage courses. It is a plugin based PHP application that can be extended by installing additional modules…There are two different OpenSocial plugins for moodle.…This plugin was developed within the ROLE Integrated Project and is already used in 5 courses at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.”

 Read more:

Revamping Education: Where Are We Going With Online Learning?

Class Differences

How Online Innovators Are Disrupting Education” is the title of an interesting article published on the HBR blog that describes the rise of online learning in the U.S.

In fact, Education Department data from last year reported that “students in online conditions performed modestly better, on average, than those learning the same material through traditional face-to-face instruction.”

Other report findings include:

  • According to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning, approximately 5.6 million students took at least one web-based class during the fall 2009 semester, which marked a 21% growth from the previous year. That’s up from 45,000 in 2000 and experts predict that online education could reach 14 million in 2014.
  • Almost two-thirds of for-profit institutions now say that online learning is a critical part of their long term strategy.
  • The 21%growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 2% growth in the overall higher education student population.
  • Nearly one-half of institutions report that the economic downturn has increased demand for face-to-face courses and programs.
  • Three-quarters of institutions report that the economic downturn has increased demand for online courses and programs.

View the full report

The “first follower” is as important as the leader

 I was forwarded a great video from Opinder Bawa (UCSF’s CTO) today —  here’s the video and Opinder’s lead in. 

Kevin Grumbach mentioned in conversation the wonderful 5 minute video from a Ted talk about how being a “first follower” is as important as being a leader.

 Do check out the link below and I think you will find it as relevant as I did for what we are trying to do with team research, community engagement, health professional education, health care teamwork and the like.

From eLearning to WeLearning

When you think about online education, what comes to mind? I often hear things like:

  • I don’t like online learning — I like to be in the classroom where I can interact with other students.
  • I’m too social for online learning — online learning is too isolating and lonely.
  • Online learning is boring.

How about you? Share your preconceptions about online learning by commenting on this post.

Online learning is also known as eLearning (electronic learning). But let’s consider a different proposition. What if we engage in WeLearning rather than eLearning, or even iLearning?

iLearning (“I” Learning) — I want or need to learn something. I get on my computer or smart phone. I “Google” or use some more scholarly search tool to look up the information I am seeking. I choose from the available sites and information that seem to meet my learning needs. I learn what I need to know, and I might even discover related topics I didn’t expect would pique my interest.

eLearning (one example) — My employer requires periodic training on topics sucs as sexual harassment, human subject research, or HIPPA. I receive an email message informing me that I must complete the training online by some specific date. I log in and work through the units — slides that cover the material, with an occasional multiple choice question to check my knowledge.

WeLearning — I elect to take a course online. The course is billed as collaborative. I log on the first time and am asked to post my introduction. I read and reply to a few introductions posted by others, and our conversation begins. Soon, we become a community of learners. We are expected to use forums to sustain ongoing dialogue. We are expected to post assignments and then give and receive feedback among our scholar colleagues and faculty. We may be required to complete group projects. We learn with and from one another.

There is a time and a reason for each of these models, and many more. Designing Clinical Research for Students and Residents ONLINE is WeLearning.

CTSI Embarks on Fully Asynchronous Online Learning Journey

August 1, 2011 marks the official start date for Designing Clinical Research (DCR) for Students and Faculty. The majority of scholars will assemble on Monday and Wednesday mornings in the traditional lecture hall at the Parnassus campus. Twenty self-selected learners will take the course completely online via the UCSF Collaborative Learning Environment, AKA Moodle.

The online course site was made available to students at noon on Tuesday, July 19. At 4:14 pm that same day, the first student logged in, explored the site, and posted an introduction. By 6:00 pm, two more students showed up and began to interact with each other. Remember! The course does not officially begin until August 1.

This course about research also doubles as research. Co-faculty, Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD and Deborah G. Grady, MD, MPH along with researchers, Sarah Wilson, MD and Lawrence Haber, MD, as well as instructional designer and online learning consultant, Chrisanne N. Garrett, MAED will study the first offering of the online course. This small pilot study aims to answer the following question: how do learning outcomes, including knowledge and skill acquisition, and learner satisfaction compare between health science students who take the online DCR course and students in the traditional course?

The DCR course is structured to foster the development of students’ ability to write a clinical research proposal. For the final assignment, students write a five page proposal of their research study. We plan to take the twenty proposals written by the online students and compare them to twenty proposals randomly selected from the traditional course. Two K Program scholars, blinded to the author of the proposal, will read all forty proposals and rate the proposal based on the NIH scale of 0-9. We will then compare the scores of the online students to the scores of the traditional students. Additionally, we will collect formative and summative evaluation data from the online learners on both learning progress and satisfaction with the online learning environment.

This blog will serve as an ongoing report on the online course and, ultimately, on the results of the research study. Your questions and comments are most welcome.