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Emerging Media & Learning Technology in Higher Education

An overview of different tools and trends in emerging media and learning technologies as related to teaching and learning in higher education.

About Emerging Media

Computers and the Internet have certainly revolutionized and challenged our relationship with information, but they have also introduced entirely new media - new, more participatory forms of sharing information. These integrate multiple modes of communication (text, images, audio, video, 3D renders, etc.) in a way that is inherently digital and was seldom seen, if not impossible, before the advent of ubiquitous computing.  Examples of new media include image-sharing sites like Flickr, Instagram or Pinterest, as well as alternative "broadcasting" methods like blogs, podcasts, Twitter feeds and YouTube or Vine channels.

Regardless of whether one participates in some, all, or none of these new forms of communication, the fact is that they are slowly changing the way we relate to knowledge and to each other. To learn more about the significance of emerging media in education and the workplace, see the following:

Link to Article on Neomillennial Learning Styles


Link to Article - Emerging Media: Prevalence and Impact in the Workplace


Learning Technology: A Brief Glossary

These brief definitions, obtained from each term's Wikipedia article, are intended as a general reference to help you navigate the different tools and trends associated with learning technology:

  • Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through delivery of content and instruction via digital and online media with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace. While still attending a “brick-and-mortar” school structure, face-to-face classroom methods are combined with computer-mediated activities.
  • Flipped classroom is a form of blended learning which brings an interactive engagement pedagogy to classrooms by having students learn content online, usually at home, and homework is done in class with teachers and students discussing and solving questions.
  • Game-based learning is a type of game play that has defined learning outcomes. Generally, game-based learning is designed to balance subject matter with gameplay and the ability of the player to retain, and apply said subject matter to the real world.
  • Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems and increase users' self contributions.
  • Hybrid Courses: see Blended Learning, above.
  • MOOC or Massive Open Online Course is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the Web. In addition to traditional course materials such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, many MOOCs provide interactive user forums to support community interactions between students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs).
  • MUVEs (Multi-user Virtual Environments) are closely related to Virtual Worlds. Both refer to interactive 3D virtual environments, where the users take the form of avatars visible to others. These avatars can be textual, two or three-dimensional graphical representations, or live video avatars with auditory and touch sensations.
  • Learning Management Systems (LMSs) range from systems for managing training and educational records to software for distributing online or blended/hybrid college courses over the Internet with features for online collaboration.
  • Virtual Classrooms are online learning spaces where moderators, presenters and participants can exchange ideas, share information, and conduct classroom activities in real-time. They use web conferencing applications, but are designed specifically for teaching and learning (for example, in blended courses) from Web-connected devices. The synchronous nature of Virtual Classrooms supports robust group discussion, communication, and interactive collaboration sessions.
  • Virtual Meeting Rooms are online spaces that use web conferencing applications to allow moderators, presenters and participants to exchange ideas, share information, and conduct meeting activities in real-time. They are generally designed for meetings, workshops, or presentations from Web-connected devices. The synchronous nature of Virtual Meeting Rooms supports robust group discussion, communication, and interactive collaboration sessions.

The Internet *IS* a Learning Technology

Web sites are the most commonly used tech resource in the classroom (PBS Survey statistics, Web sites used in 56% of classrooms)


Learning Technology at Otterbein

The CTL Studio is a learning environment designed for creativity, innovation, and collaboration. As part of Otterbein’s Center for Teaching & Learning, it provides a faculty-focused, safe, and knowledge-rich space for pedagogical and design support. See our Studio page for more information.

ePortfolios are content-sharing platforms designed to showcase evidence of learning and reflection along with your interests and accomplishments. At Otterbein, we use Digication as our campus-wide ePortfolio system. See our ePorftolio page for more information.

Virtual classrooms are online teaching and presentation platforms that let you conduct and record live sessions in which participants can view content, engage in real-time discussions, and work cooperatively using a wide range of interactive tools. At Otterbein, we use Blackboard Collaborate as our virtual classroom system. See our Blackboard Collaborate page for more information.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are Web-based suites of educational and communications tools that help faculty and students coordinate synchronous and asynchronous learning activities. At Otterbein, we use Blackboard Learn as our LMS. See our Blackboard Learn page for more information.

LibGuides (like the one you are reading now) collect information and resources related to a wide range of academic topics, from information literacy for students to course design for faculty. Faculty can also work together with a librarian to build LibGuides tailored to specific courses, programs, or projects. See the Library's LibGuides page for more information.

What About Social Media?

From a technical standpoint, social media and social networking sites are different from learning technologies as systems, but from a perspective of communication and functionality, the differences between them are minimal (you can even take a quiz on Facebook!). That doesn't mean they are they same, but rather that they rely on the same social (i.e., human) relationships, only with a different focus and intended outcomes. The same way that a traditional classroom, a corporate boardroom, and the area around an office water cooler all support or suggest different types of discussion and information sharing. These article might help you generate some ideas about how you could integrate social media into your teaching or research:

How I use Social Media
by Nancy White, Full Circle Associates
Co-author of Digital Habitats: stewarding technology for communities

Effective Social Media Practices and Good Online Teaching
Inside Higher Ed (Blog, Chronicle of Higher Ed.) 
by Dr. Joshua Kim, Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning

Emerging Technologies & Their Impact on Education

Link to Article: 10 Emerging Technologies & How Will They Impact Education in 2015?