I know that a number of students are looking to complete their graduate certificate in K-12 instructional computing applications, and due to low enrollment this summer, we had to cancel IDT 7063.  However, we will be offering this course during the fall 2013 semester.     Here is a brief description of the course.

IDT 7063 – Seminar in Instructional Computing
Catalog Description:  Analysis of issues and trends related to instructional computing and instructional technology in K-12 classrooms.
Prerequisite: Six hours of coursework in IDT.
Course Dates: August 24, 2013 – December 12, 2013
Instructor: Dr. Michael M. Grant (me)

IDT 7063 in Fall 2013 will focus on leadership for instructional technology in K-12 schools.  IDT 7063 will align with the tenets of ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards for teachers (NETS-T) and for technology coaches (NETS-C). In addition to examining current trends and issues with integrating technology, such as one-to-one programs and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD/BYOT) policies, we will consider broader grade-level or school-level issues, such as digital citizenship curricula, levels of technology integration, funding initiatives through small grants, and teacher professional development.

This course is currently undergoing a major revision and update to reflect the most current issues, trends, and skills appropriate for technology integrators.  So, the syllabus is in flux. If you have any questions, though, please feel free to email me.  I hope you’ll consider registering for this course and please share it with anyone you feel may benefit form this information.

I wanted to let you know about an exceptional opportunity.  A former professor of mine, Dr. Lloyd Rieber, will be offering a free online course (MOOC). Dr. Lloyd Rieber is a fantastic teacher, and he speaks in a language students can understand.  I cannot offer a higher recommendation for learning than with Dr. Rieber. As a graduate student, I had the pleasure to team teach with Dr. Rieber on multiple occasions, and Dr. Rieber participated on my dissertation research committee.  While I do not know exactly how this course will be organized, I can say that Dr. Rieber creates and delivers the highest quality instruction.

For you current students, this would be a great learning experience to both learn about Stats and live a MOOC.  Friends and colleagues, you may be able to recommend this opportunity to some of your students or friends.

Here’s the announcement and links:

From: Lloyd P Rieber <lrieber@uga.edu>
Subject: “Statistics in Education for Mere Mortals” a MOOC offered by Lloyd Rieber

I’ll be offering a MOOC on the topic of statistics in education. The MOOC runs from August 4-September 9, 2013 on Canvas.net https://www.canvas.net/ .

Well, the course will be open and online (and free), but we’ll have to see if the “massive” part happens.

Here’s a link to the course site:

I designed the course for “mere mortals,” meaning that I designed it for people who want to know about and use statistics as but one important tool in their work, but who are not — and don’t want to be — mathematicians or statisticians.

An important course requirement is that you have to be able to put up with my sense of humor (or lack thereof).

Here’s the formal course description:

This short course will provide a hands-on introduction to statistics used in educational research and evaluation. Participants will learn statistical concepts, principles, and procedures by building Excel spreadsheets from scratch in a guided learning approach using short video-based tutorials. Examples of specific skills to be learned include scales of measurement, measures of central tendency, measures of variability, and the computation of the following: mean, mode, and median, standard deviation, z (standard) scores, Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (r), correlated-samples t test (i.e. dependent t test), independent-samples t test (i.e. independent t test), and a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA).

The course is designed primarily for two audiences: 1) educational professionals who would like to be more informed about how to compute basic statistics and how to use them intelligently in their work; and 2) first-year doctoral students who want a short and friendly introduction (or brush up) to basic statistics before taking full graduate-level statistics courses. However, this course would be useful to anyone who wants a good, short, hands-on, friendly introduction to the most fundamental ideas of statistics in education.


* Lloyd P. Rieber
* Director, Innovation in Teaching & Technology for
*   the College of Education
* Professor, Department of Career & Information
*   Studies
* 203 River’s Crossing
* The University of Georgia
* Athens, Georgia  30602-7144  USA
* Phone: 706-542-3986
* FAX: 706-542-4054
* Email: lrieber@uga.edu
* http://lrieber.coe.uga.edu/
* http://www.NowhereRoad.com

I have just received word from our librarians here on campus fantastic news.  ERIC has announced that they have restored full-text access to articles from 2005 to 2013.  This is great news!  Here is the announcement below.

ERIC Restores Online Access to Full Text from 2005-2013

ERIC has restored online access to more than 21,000 full-text PDFs with publication dates from 2005-2013.  These are documents and journal articles with permission to provide the full text that were previously restricted due to privacy concerns. Restrictions also have been lifted on the release of newly indexed, copyright-cleared full text with publication dates of 2005 or greater.

ERIC will continue to accept requests to restore access to older materials via the online form, and maintain the updated list of released documents. The Spotlight and alert areas on the ERIC home page at eric.ed.gov are kept up-to-date to keep you informed of the latest developments.

As you can see from the announcement above, you can request older documents from ERIC.  I had previously heard that ERIC had decided to prioritize their restoration based on those documents that were accessed or used or requested most often.  The online form to request older documents seems to be in this same direction.

Busy hands need no decoration
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: MD. Hasibul Haque Sakib via Compfight

I came across this blog post in my Zite feeds yesterday, and I thought that I should really share this for how timely it is to some of my students.  Right now, my doctoral class in academic writing is in the process of writing drafts of their literature reviews. So, I thought they might like a little support or scaffolding to help them write better (or stimulate their writing).

I know that students sometimes struggle with how to “say things” in their writing.  What I like about this post is that is organizes the different types of statements/arguments that you may make.  For example, here is a section under the “Argue” heading.


  1. Along similar lines, [X] argues that ___.
  2. There seems to be no compelling reason to argue that ___.
  3. As a rebuttal to this point, it might be (convincingly) argued that ___.
  4. There are [three] main arguments that can be advanced to support ___.
  5. The underlying argument in favor of / against [X] is that ___.
  6. [X]‘s argument in favor of / against [Y] runs as follows: ___.

via 70 useful sentences for academic writing.

Another Resource

Another resource that I use in my writing class is provided by UC Davis, and it has some excellent tips for academic writing, particularly with ways/methods to say things and verb tenses.

From Dr. Philip Pavlik, Institute for Intelligent Systems and Department of Psychology.  If you have a chance to go and hear about Betty’s Brain, I highly encourage it.  This is a fantastic example of technology-supported/enhanced learning in an open-ended learning environment.

Betty’s Brain: An open-ended learning environment that helps middle school students develop metacognitive strategies for learning science
Dr. Gautam Biswas, Vanderbilt University
Wed March 27, 2013 4:00pm – 5:20pm Cog Sci Seminar – FIT 405

Over several years, our research team has developed Betty’s Brain, an open-ended multi-agent environment that utilizes the learning-by-teaching paradigm to help middle school students learn science. In Betty’s Brain, students teach a virtual Teachable Agent (TA) called Betty using a visual causal map representation. Once taught, Betty, can answer questions, explain her answers, and when requested by the student take quizzes, which are a set of questions created and graded by a mentor agent named Mr. Davis. The TA’s quiz performance helps students indirectly assess their own knowledge, and it also motivates them to learn more and improve their TA’s quiz scores. Overall, the learning and teaching task is complex, open-ended, and choice-rich. Thus, learners must employ a number of cognitive and metacognitive skills to achieve success. At the cognitive level, they need to identify, understand, and represent important information from online resources in the causal map format, and use the affordances of the system to assess Betty’s progress using quizzes. At the metacognitive level, they must decide when and how to acquire information, build and modify the causal map they are creating to teach Betty, check Betty’s progress, reflect on their own understanding of both the science knowledge and the evolving causal map structure, and seek help when necessary. Their cognitive and metacognitive activities are scaffolded through dialogue and feedback provided by Betty and Mr. Davis. This feedback aims to help students progress in their learning, teaching, and monitoring tasks.

Experimental studies run in middle school classrooms show that students learn science content and do develop some metacognitive learning strategies as they interact with Betty and Mr. Davis. However, a number of students fail to complete their teaching task because they lack an understanding of a number of the cognitive and metacognitive skills needed to become successful learners. We discuss recent additions to the Betty’s Brain system, primarily a model-driven assessments methodology for characterizing and evaluating the students’ actions as they learn in the environment. Our goal is to make the scaffolding provided by the system more relevant to the student’s current learning activities. This translates to a context-relevant, mixed-initiative conversational format for adaptive scaffolding, and we demonstrate that this helps students develop the cognitive and metacognitive skills they need to achieve success in their learning task.

Short Bio
Gautam Biswas is a Professor of Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Engineering Management in the EECS Department and a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) at Vanderbilt University. He has an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai, India, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Michigan State University in E. Lansing, MI.

Prof. Biswas conducts research in Intelligent Systems with interests in hybrid systems modeling, simulation, and analysis, and their applications in two primary directions: (1) diagnosis, prognosis, and fault-adaptive control; and (2) their applications to develop STEM learning environments in K-12 classrooms. The most notable project with educational applications is the Teachable Agents project, where students learn science by building causal models of natural processes. He has also developed innovative educational data mining techniques for studying students’ learning behaviors and linking them to metacognitive strategies. He is currently working on projects that combine computational thinking with visual programming to help K-12 students develop a deep understanding of STEM content using model-building and simulation, and then applying these models to address real-world problems. His research projects in embedded systems and learning environments has been supported by funding from NASA, NSF, DARPA, and the US Department of Education. In one of the projects, working on Data Mining techniques to enhance aircraft diagnostic models in conjunction with Honeywell International researchers (NASA NRA) he won the 2011 Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate Technology and Innovation Group Award for Vehicle Level Reasoning System. He has published extensively, and has over 300 refereed publications.

Dr. Biswas is an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Prognostics and Health Management, Educational Technology and Society journal, International Journal of Educational Data Mining and the Journal of Metacognition and Learning. He is currently serving on the Executive committee of the Asia Pacific Society for Computers in Education, a member of Executive Board of the Artificial Intelligence in Education Society, and is the IEEE Computer Society representative to the Transactions on Learning Technologies steering committee. He is also serving as the Secretary/Treasurer for ACM Sigart.

As part of the IDT Studio workplace experiences, our University of Memphis IDT graduate students collaborated with the Memphis Redbirds to redesign the curriculum materials that accompany their “Education Day.”  The original materials were created by the Akron Aeros and were redesigned and repurposed to align with Tennessee’s state standards and additional grade levels.

You can find out more about the “Education Day” curriculum materials at http://redbirds-education-day.weebly.com. If you would like to know more about the how the materials were developed, check out http://redbirds-education-day.weebly.com/about.html

This curriculum guide provides materials to help educators “hit one out of the park” during Education Day with the Memphis Redbirds. The ideas and lesson plans included are offered as a guide for educators to create relevant educational experiences for Education Day participation.

via Education Day at Autozone Park – Home.

I just wanted to bring to your attention a doctoral-level course that all students in IDT and ICL should consider for the Spring 2013 semester.  IDT 8500 is referred to as “the writing class” by our students.  The course description says,

“Students will critique academic research findings and synthesize research findings into an original, coherent and structured document. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours.”

This course is focused on (a) academic writing and (b) evaluating and synthesizing educational research.  The primary project in the course is a literature review.  However, I believe most students would say we do a lot more than just work on a review of related literature.  Doc students have questions about things, processes, how things work, what is considered good, etc.  We try to answer all of your questions along the way. 🙂  Above all, students are definitely better writers at the end.

IDT 8500 is appropriate for both beginning doctoral students and advanced doctoral students.  Students benefit from the course early on with research residency and later on prior to dissertation.  Some of the students’ comments about this class are:

Class should be offered more. There should also be a concerted effort to inform doctoral students about this course. It is TOO valuable for one to miss.

I am blessed to have been in this class and am better, professionally, for the experience.

This class was extremely helpful. I feel more competent and confident as a result of this course.

I hope you’ll consider registering for this course on Tuesday evenings in the Spring 2012 semester.

You may like to share this info with other students who are obviously jealous of your graduate degree program.

The University of Memphis
Graduate School Recruitment Fair

Monday, November 12, 2012
1:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Rose Theatre ● The University of Memphis

  • Step up, meet and discuss with University of Memphis’ graduate school counselors, faculty and staff about your future.
  • Ask all the questions you have about getting a graduate degree at University of Memphis.
  • Plus take advantage of a free GRE® Workshop at 5:00 p.m.
  • Learn more about financial aid, scholarships and fellowship programs.
  • You can even apply!

For more information visit memphis.edu/truebluefuture or (901) 678-4212

What's your superpower?

I would like to encourage all current students and alumni to consider nominating an IDT faculty member for the UofM Distinguished Teaching Award. This is a very prestigious honor for a faculty member, and I believe that IDT houses some of the best teachers in the university.  Here’s the info:

Again this year The University of Memphis will honor outstanding professors with the presentation of the Distinguished Teaching Award, which is funded and sponsored by The University of Memphis Alumni Association.  For faculty members to win the award they must receive nominations from other faculty, alumni, and students. The awards will be presented at the Spring 2013 Faculty Convocation.

Members of the Distinguished Teaching Award Committee earnestly solicit your nominations of colleagues deserving of the award, so that meritorious faculty can be recognized and rewarded. Please take the time to submit your nomination at the link below:

http://www.memphis.edu/dta_faculty (for faculty to nominate)

For the nominations to be considered valid, nominators must briefly provide their reasons for nominating the individual in the space provided on the on-line nomination form.

The nomination deadline is Monday, November 19. If you have questions, please contact:

Dr. Melinda Jones, ext. 2690

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Venspired.com (@ktvee) via Compfight

This announcement is from the AECT Graduate Student Assembly. It’s a great opportunity to hear from a leader in our field.

The AECT Graduate Student Assembly, in partnership with the Design & Development Division, presents a webinar:

My Top 10 Book Picks for the Compleat Instructional Designer from Outside the ID World
with Dr. Andrew Gibbons

Any field of scholarship draws energy from the ideas of other fields. This is especially true in an integrative field like Instructional Design, which combines technical concepts with abstract properties into interactions and environments that attract, engage, and promote growth and change. We can keep the field fresh and avoid becoming insular if we are constantly searching the literature of other fields, searching for inspiration and probing the boundaries of the environment in which we practice.

Where should we read? Pick up the course catalogue from any university and you will find some relevance in every college, every department, and every program. English? Who writes our instructional words? Art? Who creates our visual experiences? Theater? Who imbues our products with drama and the ability to engage? Physics? Who balances natural energies and forces to reach desired states? Religion? Who can help us understand awe? Architecture? Who can help us combine awe with structural integrity? Philosophy? Who can increase the underlying coherence and unity of our designs? Engineering? Who designs for a reliable, safe habitat?

We can’t apply theories and principles from other fields directly, but learning from them can help us frame our own theories and principles, and these will  enjoy the fruits of decades, sometimes centuries, of learned conversation. Our field is new, and it deals with innovation that proceeds at hummingbird pace, but humans remain humans, and serving them is the concern of our field.

The webinar will take place on October 5th, 2012 at 12:00 EDT
Register and Login at https://cc.readytalk.com/r/okyo2v4w2e6

This webinar will also be streamed on AECT’s GSA website. For any questions contact AECT GSA representative for the Design & Development Division, Colin Gray at comgray@indiana.edu.