About Eric

Eric Wignall is an educator, designed and media developer. He is currently Vice President for Enrollment Management at Ancilla College and has served in faculty and administrative roles at four universities including Purdue University Calumet, Governors State and Valparaiso University.

OTO 30 Dr. Jay Caulfield on hybrid course design

On Teaching Online podcast 30: Dr. Jay Caulfield on hybrid course design

Originally published 11/18/11

An interview with Dr. Jay Caulfield, author of How to Design and Teach a Hybrid Course.

Dr. Jay Caulfield is an associate professor and an associate dean at Marquette University, where she led the design of the college’s hybrid graduate degree in leadership studies. She teaches courses in leadership theory, organizational behavior, and research methods, and has extensive experience teaching over 80 hybrid courses over the past dozen years.

OTO 29 Using online interviews in education research

On Teaching Online podcast 29: Using online interviews in education research

Originally published 11/11/11

Janet Salmons talks about using online interviews as a research method and about her new book, Cases in Online Interview Research.

OTO 28 A conversation with David Warlick

On Teaching Online podcast 28: A conversation with David Warlick

Originally published 11/5/11

In this podcast well-known writer, speaker and educational technologist David Warlick talks about developing educational collaboration resources and communities like The Landmark Project, Citation Machine, Info-graphic a Day and 2 Cents Worth.

Welcome to On Teaching Online

Online teaching is a complex topic because there are so many aspects to cover– and many roles for online teachers to fill.  Online teachers must grapple with evolving technologies that communicate information. They have to manage that information, gathering it for assessment and feedback but also producing the content and learning materials that students will use. Teachers are called on to be media mogul, director, editor, star, scriptwriter and special effects whiz. It’s a daunting set of tasks.

Why do it?

Online teaching is what teachers are doing, using the available technologies to reach students. Prior to the Internet, before television and radio, teachers could stand in a classroom and lead students through activities, lecture and guide students through readings and teach in the space provided. The space has changed. Digital information systems are available that link teachers and students in powerful ways and across the planet. It’s crucial that teacher use the best methods, tools and techniques to support the teaching process.

The good news is, the tools and systems are getting easier to use and navigate. First and second generation technologies that required teachers to be computer technologists are giving way to easier-to-use applications and systems. When the first automobiles were produced every driver had to also be a mechanic. Cars became more complex as the technology changed, but the infrastructures supporting personal transportation– service stations, highways, streetlights and the rest– all became easier and safer to use. Today, online teaching and learning systems are at the early 20th century level of car and driver technology. It’s still good to know your way around under the hood, and there aren’t any airbags yet, but it’s getting better.

OTO 27 Every teacher has six jobs

On Teaching Online podcast 27: Every teacher has six jobs

Originally published 11/1/11

This podcast we talk about the six roles all teachers fill, and how those functions have changed in the move to online teaching.

 

OTO 26 The Innovative University with Henry Eyring

On Teaching Online podcast 26: The Innovative University with Henry Eyring

Originally published 10/24/11

Henry J. Eyring, Advancement Vice President at Brigham Young University-Idaho, is the co-author, with Clayton Christensen, of The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out.

In this interview he discusses innovation in the university. Traditional universities are a cornerstone of society and culture but serious economic and organizational pressures are forcing universities to change how they operate, or risk becoming obsolete. In today’s ultra-competitive environment, how can university leaders improve an endangered system?

Eyring worked formerly as a management consultant with Monitor Company, as the director of the MBA program at BYU’s Marriott School of Management and as a mission president for the Mormon Church in Japan. He is a director of SkyWest Airlines, the world’s largest regional airline.

OTO 25 Cooking with Moodle with Silvina Hillar

On Teaching Online podcast 25: Cooking with Moodle with Silvina Hillar

Originally published 9/25/11

Silvina Hillar talks about her Moodle 2.0 Multimedia Cookbook.  Ms. Hillar is a writer, course designer, Moodler, English Teacher, and a translator in every sense– teaching English to Spanish speaking students and writing this creative and example-rich book that translates open source technologies for online teachers.

OTO 24 The online teaching survival guide with Dr. Judith Boettcher

On Teaching Online podcast 24: The online teaching survival guide with Dr. Judith Boettcher

Originally published 9/10/11

I talk with Dr. Judith Boettcher about her latest book The Online Teaching Survival Guide (written with Rita-Marie Conrad).

This book organizes many of the e-coaching tips from her work in faculty development, providing a valuable resource for any faculty grappling with developing and delivering any blended or online program. Many faculty support centers and programs are using this book as part of their faculty development programs. Dr. Boettcher, with coauthors Rita Marie Conrad and Ana Donaldson, also have a new book out, Continuing to Engage the Online Learner.


OTO 23 Quality Matters with Dr. Kay Shattuck

On Teaching Online podcast 23: Quality Matters with Dr. Kay Shattuck

Originally published 9/3/11

In this podcast we talk with Dr. Kay Shattuck, Director of Research for Quality Matters (QM) about QM, online course assessment, and the QM framework.

Dr. Shattuck holds a leadership position with QM as the director of research. In 2008, she was honored as the Distance Learning Administrator of the Year by the Maryland Distance Learning Association. She was recently one of 25 invited online learning leaders who participated in a quality in online learning conversation with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The eight general standards in QM rubrics include:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives (Competencies)
  3. Assessment and Measurement
  4. Instructional Materials
  5. Learner Interaction and Engagement
  6. Course Technology
  7. Learner Support
  8. Accessibility

 

OTO 22 Google’s education evangelist Jaime Casap

On Teaching Online podcast 22: Google’s education evangelist Jaime Casap

Originally published 8/23/11

An interview with Jaime Casap, the Senior Education Evangelist on the Google Apps for Education Team at Google, Inc.

Five steps to password sanity

You suck at keeping your computers and phones safe.

I can write that because you are someone pressed into working on 12 different projects before the week is done on computers at work, at home, on local networks, on home wireless hubs and occasionally swimming in the wireless pool at Starbucks or Barnes & Noble. You have passwords for the cash machine, Blackboard or Moodle (or both), the student information system, the grading system, your personal email, Facebook, and countless other sites.

Do these sound familiar? qwerty123456asdfg or my favorite-  password? According to an experiment run by economist Dan Ariely one in 40 of you reading this have a password that is also your username. Even savvy computer users get lazy when it comes to passwords. Passwords are not just a pain, they’re an annoying pain. We are packed with passwords because we need them to access everything in our electronic lives. We have so many that we can’t remember them all and then procrastinate changing them.

The news is filled with reports of hackers breaking into companies and schools and stealing passwords stored in different data systems. There is a constant threat of people wanting to break into banks, companies, gaming networks you are a member of, like Sony’s PlayStation network, and to your own institution. Hackers are malicious (they break in and delete information) or larcenous (they use stolen identities and passwords to steal money) or pranksters (they have a joke to make or point to prove– maybe both).

So why not take five easy steps to protect yourself (and possibly your job)?

Five easy steps to password sanity

1. Change your passwords, across the board, every three months.

You may be cringing at this idea– thinking this sounds like a cross between a dental exam and a marathon– but it can be made much easier. Get a piece of paper and draw a three by four table, with plenty of space to write in the boxes. (Do NOT do this on a spreadsheet on your computer or in a digital form.)  Write “home” “work” and “devices” across the top columns. Down the left side, write the four dates a year you will change the passwords. Start with only the top row with the new passwords you will be using for networks, software, Amazon, data systems etc. How do you come up with good passwords?

2. Create passwords with psuedo-words

Passwords don’t have to be complex cryptograms. A few simple methods can help make living with passwords a little easier. For instance, don’t use a full word like password. That is much more secure asPas$werd8 (this is only an example, do not use this). Using a capital letter, a symbol and mixes of numbers makes it much more difficult to hack. Not impossible, but harder. If you don’t have a character limit use longer multiple-part word chunks– longer passwords are always harder to crack.

Five Tips To Better Password Security:
  • Don’t use only letters or only numbers.
  • Don’t use your name or the names of your significant other, children, schools or pets.
  • Don’t ever use your birthday, phone number, Social Security (or Social Insurance or License) number.
  • Don’t repeat the use of a password between settings– don’t use your work log-in, or any variation of it, for your home wireless network for instance.
  • Don’t use any full word that can be found in the dictionary — really– even foreign words.

3. Use a personal system to change your passwords.

In order to better remember passwords, without need of your handy paper password guide, use your own quirky system for each part of the year. 2B-or-Not_2b is a memorable password if you’re a fan of the Bard. Like colors or birds? Use a different color non-word like bluE or B!ue or blOO to start each of your four password seasons. Last winter I used a car prefix for my passwords: H0nda (capital and a zero instead of the ‘o’). I then used a simple word bridge before a number: last winter is was Pie (shut up, I was trying to lose weight).  So in my head all of my passwords for the winter were H0ndaPie20 orH0ndaPie30 or, for my bank account, H0ndaPie31417 — yes, pie pi. It made me smile every time I logged in, no matter how depressing the balance was. A friend of mine used the word Shove as a prefix to every password at a job he hated.

4. Change your passwords and your personal system every three months- everywhere.

It is essential that you change your passwords, and you can’t be lazy about this. There are security professional I respect who insist you change them every 30 or 60 days, but I’m willing to risk longer exposure with better, multi-part passwords. I no longer use my Hzero version of Honda as a prefix and never will again. I use a different word/symbol combo every time I change my password system, and change them all, so I can remember them all. On your sheet of paper, only write down the new passwords when you are changing them, and draw a line through the old ones you change as you log in and do it. This helps you keep track of every system you access and makes a clear departure for you to remember new passwords.

5. Don’t forget the systems that don’t get in your face.

If you have a wireless hub at home it’s unlikely you have ever changed the password after you set it up. Without prompting we forget these systems. (I know there are people reading this who have a wireless router like a Linksys or D-link that has a wild and unusual network name, like Linksys or D-link, and your password is “password.”) These systems are often left to sit, without good passwords and without important software updates. Look them up online, see if there are software updates or patches you should run and change the password. Your neighbors might like the free bandwidth they’ve been poaching from you but predators and thieves use open networks too.

Anti-virus recommendation:

If you have a Windows-based laptop or PC I highly, highly recommend a full-featured security suite to help protect against malware and viruses like Norton Internet Security 2011 (Single user but installs on 3 PCs). Norton tests against all sorts of threats and updates their software regularly.  I know there are some free anti-virus apps out there, but in this case you will get what you pay for.