Online vs. Paper Evaluations – David Ernst (U of Minnesota)

David Ernst

Full notes are available by downloading: David Ernst – Evaluations

Main Outcomes of the study:

  • On a 1-7 scale, there were more 1,2,3 and 7s for online evals than paper in EVERY question.
  • 21% less people completed online assessments
  • The averages of the 1-7 ratings were similar between the online and paper even though the online was more polar.
  • Online DID reduce cost, better accessibility and increase students perception of anonymity
  • Past research supports that online open-ended questions had larger responses than in a paper format.

Vinton G. Cerf – Google Chief Internet Evangelist

General Session - Educause - Vinton G. Cerf

Vinton was an excellent way to kick of the annual EDUCAUSE in Dallas. I have attached the Tuesday Morning Notes – Cerf, but here are the highlights.

Full video is available here: Mediasite – Uncovering Computer Science

New Internet Statistics

  • There are about 400,000,000 servers
  • There are 1,000,000,000 users
  • There are now 2,500,000,000 mobile devices
    • How does this influence how we are designing content?
  • Asia is the main source of Internet use
    • What Will the influx of languages mean for the content on the Internet

Computer Science may be an oxymoron

  • We have only a few real CS theories, but much of our work is done through brute force solutions
  • Many of the most important things (how long it takes a program to run, does it have bugs, security issues) we do not have working theories in place for
  • Some solutions to the security problems we are facing are growing, such as digital certificates that will protect the DNS system created back in 1979

Information Decay (when digital files will not be accessible in te future because the software that made them is not available) is a real problem.

User Driven / Self Service ways of thinking have changed the way we look at things

  • Will the amazon culture effect Education?
  • Net neutrality may take this power away

We need a new national program to boost interest in CS, Engineering and Tech

  • CS enrolments are droping
  • Global warming may be a new challenge that can invigorate our education system like sputnik did.

Going to EDUCAUSE 2006


On monday I will be leaving for the 2006 national EDUCAUSE meeting in Dallas, TX. This year the three keynote speakers are:

  • Vinton Cerf – CIO Google – “Uncovering the Science in Computer Science”
  • Ray Kurzwell – Founder Kurzwell Technology
  • Georga Neugent – President of Kenyon College

There are also a number of breakout sessions I am interested in attending. Here are a few:

From Today’s CMS to Tomorrow’s Learning Support System

Higher education has successfully embraced the notion and implementation of course management systems (CMSs) as the newest element of the integrated enterprise information technology infrastructure. This provocative session will focus on what we must do next to support truly transformational approaches to learning for the next generations of students. The session represents the impact and potential for which EDUCAUSE has selected course management systems for recognition through its inaugural Catalyst Award.

Gaming as Pedagogy: Teaching College Economics via a Video Game

Videogames are highly effective for teaching complex concepts and keeping students engaged. Our presentation will feature ECON100, an online game for college credit now under development at UNCG. ECON100 not only teaches economic principles, it incorporates multidisciplinary content, online chat tools for student collaboration, and built-in assessment to evaluate learning.

Understanding and Improving Learning in the Online Environment

Accompanying the rapid growth in online education is concern over the effectiveness and quality of teaching and learning. This presentation will share the results of four studies of “eCore,” fully online undergraduate core courses. Collectively, these studies provide empirical-based findings to guide faculty engagement and student learning in the online environment.

Verbal Immediacy: Effective Online Interactions

This session will describe the results of a study investigating the effect of visual and verbal immediacy cues on interaction, motivation, and learning in an undergraduate course delivered completely online. Implications for instructional design and teaching in a technology-mediated learning environment will be described.
Educause is arranged so that for each break out time, there are about 15 sessions broken into 7 tracks based on the subject. Tracks include topics such as IT infrastructure and facility development for learning enviroments, and security. I am most interested in spending time in track 7 which deals with emerging teaching styles and technologies. In this this track there is a focus on reporting back data about how paticual cutting-edge inititives functioned.

During the conference I will be carting around my MacBookPro and will be running skype (id: gagnonmadison) and I have been debating doing some podcasting as well. We will see how that goes, but expect back reports of what I am learning, who I am meeting, and possibly some audio and photos.

A few days in Boston

The last few days Sarah and I have been exploring Boston and visiting her brother Christian. It is now raining so we are taking a day indoors watching band of brothers episodes and playing on the internet. Our feet are so exhausted from the last 3 days of non-stop walking so really the rain is right on time!

Our first day we spent learning the “T” system (Boston’s subway) and the walking the “Freedom trail” which is a 3 mile walk from central to north-east Boston highlighting the state buildings, churches and other historic sites that server a purpose during the revolution of the nation.

The paintings at the state house especially moved me. After learning early American history through the economic lens of common college history classes, I was surprised by the art in these historic locations. A number of paintings in the State house make it quite clear that the early revolutionaries viewed themselves as a people who knew “The God of Israel” and were acting out in His providence. I was inspired to imagine how the people that were drafting documents of independence from England had even a minute understanding of how they were authoring such an amazing nation.

Our second day involved a day of successful shoe shopping for Sarah, visiting the MIT campus and technology museum, then heading out for fresh oysters and a wonderful meal.

This morning we headed out the museum of fine arts mainly for a textile exhibit, which we later found out was under construction. We had fun nonetheless, seeing modern work such as Picasso, early American arts and crafts furniture, and ancient Egyptian sculpture.

Back Porch – Round Two

So after about a week Mike and I set aside a few days to really make some progress. We had the most difficult task ahead of us: Within the least amount of time, knock out the old foundation and replace it.

So thats what we did. Jake, a neighbor of ours dropped off a couple of extra house jacks and we completed jacking the room up on a set of 4×4″ posts that were connected to the walls. Since we had to replace the bottom board of the walls themselves we had to jack them up separate from the floor. The floor was supported by crawling underneath and supporting with cinder blocks and shims.

Once we trusted the supports we knocked out the wood and old brick. We were amazed with how easily it came down. Check out these videos!

Dave removing wood and turning it to Dust

Mike removing brick and walk around of floating room

To replace the foundation we removed the old brick and set cinder blocks on a layer of mortar on top of the existing footer that was poured from when the room was built. Basically the blocks were just stacked using a cement glue to hold them together. The weight was really on the corners because the back side of the room is connected to the rest of the house, but we added extra support on the back as well. On top of the blocks is a green treated barrier on which the new 2x12s set. Basically, we put the whole thing on stilts!

More Photos: http://photos.ywammadison.org/thumbnails-68.html 

Back porch – Round One

Sarah and I have chosen to get working on the basement and kitchen so we can have a couple more rooms to rent by august. To have more rooms we need a biger kitchen, and to get a bigger kitchen we are going to expand onto the back porch. Here in lies the rub.

The back porch had some soft spots in the floor which I learned was caused by an insect that has slowly been eating away at the wood over the last 50 years. Becasue the wood wasn’t dried and the porch foundation was sealed shut, we have a very humid condition which allowed the bug to survive all there generations. On top of it, the brick that this sits on is in REALLY bad shape as well.
This weekend I began what I thought would be a one or two day ordeal. The idea: jack up the structure and replace the bad brick with good cinderblocks.

I stated tearing off the siding and the layer of thin wood underneath when I heard a loud bang sound. I froze as I figured that the wood was so bad that it was giving out and the porch was going to rip off of my house. I just stood there, waiting for the next sound. Luckily it didn’t come. I went inside and told sarah I was in over my head and she got me to start calling buddies. Thank God for community.

bad wood picture

Greg came by and definatly gave some confidence to the situation. Then I set up a work day for the next day.
Mike Butak and Paul Allen came by to help out, and Casey made it over to consult and drop off a jack. After all is said and done for the day, my porch is preatty much floating on some jacks and I now know how bad the situation is.

Next weekend Mike (as well as anyone else I can find) and I are going to knock out the bad wood and brick and replace it.

Click here to check out more photos from this project