Thursday, January 24, 2013

New company: AdaptCourseware

In order to develop a rich community of courseware developers, there needs to be a variety of people, companies, and organizations whose aims, costs, and product offerings are different. On this front, over at the Higher Ed Management blog, Dr. Keith Hampson (who is 'publisher' of the site? Is he bounding blog entries and publishing them? Is this a boomer thing?) has an interview with Dr. John Boersma, CEO for Adapt Courseware. In the interview he discusses the company's courseware development process. Two things caught my eye, the first;

 We start by fine-graining course content – defining 200 or more learning topics for a typical three-credit course, each with its own set of learning objectives.
This is a time intensive process which, on face value, should increase the level of tracking student performance, and would allow for a wider amount of feedback. I've had similar thoughts of doing this for the CCSS for Mathematics, breaking down each standard into smaller sub-standards. In general I think this is a great approach, you can align your content to these smaller standards/topics, and build from there. In practice though I could see issues pop up around interpretation of standards, differences in the pedagogical theories of participants, and making measurable standards/topics from generalized ones.

The second was;

Academic object analytics look at the same data through another lens – just how effective is that instructional video, text, or multimedia interactive across all students? We work on continuously improving our content based on this feedback loop.
This is an area I would like to research at my home institution, utilizing learning analytics for resource, activity, or item analysis. Classical Test Theory has been used for item analysis for 50 some years, and I'm interested if there were a way to apply it, or other psychometric theories, to a larger scale.

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