Webinar Series

Current Research Topics in Virtual Reality

Hosted on: February 6, 2020 2:00 p.m. EST

Investigating the very latest in virtual reality research topics with expert speaker, Dr. Sabarish Babu of Clemson University.

Introduction to Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence: How it Can Shape Education

Hosted on: November 6, 2019 2:00 p.m. EST

Dr. Jerome McClendon shows how machine learning and artificial intelligence can shape education. Biography: His research efforts lie at the intersection of artificial intelligence and human centered computing. Research is focused on the design implementation and evaluation of intelligent computing systems that mimic human behavior in the following score areas of interest robotics and autonomous systems conversation or natural language.

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Is there a common standard / examples for neural / deep learning networks that the community can find? That way we don’t have to reinvent the wheel everytime we research something new (e.g. websites, APIs)?
> Jerome (00:29:50.005): I think that yes, it is standards in both the software that you use and also the data that is available. For the software that is being used, you can actually use a lot of different frameworks. Examples may already be publicly available websites that you can download. One of the most famous examples is called the “Missed Data Set” in which you use the networks whereas it recognizes hand written characters. So that’s usually like the example, as far as getting to an API and using the data set. There are plenty data sets available if you want to train your own deep neural network or machine learning along with the step by step instructions. So, to just summarize the point is, is a lot of instructional information out there. They can step, or they can give you a step by step guide on how can you deploy and develop a deep neural network.
If you provided online training could adaptive learning system be used to provide more/less difficult material to help with the student’s progress throughout the course?
> Jerome (00:42:36.414): Oh, yes. For sure. So, definitely. So the way I would imagine something that you could use adaptive learning in that situation is, if you actually had a data set of past people and their problems, and then you actually collect data from them, and had them save what are some of the challenges that they have been working out this material or should you or give me like provide suggestions on. Ok, maybe you should’ve included this problem or not included this problem, then you can use basically a machine learning approach and take the data from that training set to train and adaptive learning system to personalize the lessons to the student or the person learning their time, so can machine.
How easy is it to determine if an AI algorithm is not working correctly? Seeing that AI will be more prevelant in the workforce it seems logical to have measures like this in place since AI automates things? (This is in regards to the garbage in / garbage out Microsoft Twitter chatbot)
> Jerome (00:53:00.414): So that’s a very active research area right now. Kinda goes into two areas. A lot of people are trying to solve the bias with, especially in the medical field, because a lot of research has been done recently. Well actually, a hospital got suid last week because they realized one of the AI systems that they actually deployed was bias. So this is a very active research area and which that people in which people are trying to solve. The best way to actually solve bias within your AI system is to make sure that the data that you’re collecting is diverse. So you need to actually collect the input data from a diverse set of people. In regards to determining if AI is working correctly, the symbol, I mean, I guess the first answer you should be able to tell from the output but sometimes it would be hard to distinguish from output if it’s working exactly how it should be, but another active research area is something called explainable in, which the artificial intelligence system can actually explain why it made certain decisions to a human. So that is one research area that is actively being explored. Because I guess the issue with machine learning is especially deep neural networks is that is kinda like a black box. You just get data to it and images output, some kind of function or some kind of answer. So, people are are trying to actually change that blank box and make it more transparent.

Using Research to Reflect on Teaching Practice

Hosted on: July 13th, 2018 2:00 p.m. EST

A guide for two-year community and technical college instructors on how to use collected data to reflect on the effectiveness of teaching strategies and approaches. The webinar shows how teachers can use data points from their own grade books and student surveys to analyze their teaching practices and reflect on improvement or to adopt new approaches.

CA2VES Webinar Series: Using Research to Reflect on Teaching Practice Q&A Sessions

  1. Would you recommend that a 2-year college instructor reach out to a 4-year research institution to find out how to do research?

Response: Absolutely. If you can find someone at a 4-year institution to help you understand that correct methods to set up data collection or begin a research project, definitely take advantage of this partnership. Professors at 4-year institutions are usually trained in how to conduct research collect and manage data and can be a great resource.

  1. Is there a recommended practice in analyzing research data? I don’t have a background in this.

Response: This really depends on your research question and what you are trying to find out. If you have a large data set you might need to use a statistical software program such as SPSS or Mplus. However, if you don’t have a background for doing this then you probably don’t need this. In general, I would recommend that you consider what your questions is asking and organize your data in a way that will help you see trends that will help you answer this question. For example, if you want to know your class average for each of your five sections of General Electricity that you have taught for the last five years, you might want to set up a spread sheet listing each of the five sections by year taught. Then you might calculate the aggregate average of each year or organize the information in other ways to look for trends that might help you answer your question.

  1. How would a 4-year institution use the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) theory to conduct a research study on a 2-year institution?

Response: A 4-year research university would probably not use a lens this specific in a study they are conducting, but this would be a very appropriate focus for an individual professor wanting to reflect on their own teaching practice. An instructor could take Vygotsky’s concept of ZPD as a focus to examine their teaching practice. This could be done through a post mortem reflection on how content is organized in the course to make sure content is organized appropriately. This instructor could verify their initial assessment through grades, their personal recollection or journal notes, student surveys, or other data sets to make sure that content and the course is organized in a way that is not asking students to learn things they are not ready for or need assistance to access.

  1. Has there been any research on getting student feedback more often than at the end of the semester term?

Response: I am not aware of research pertaining to the efficacy of collecting data more or less frequently but there probably is some if you look. I would say more is usually better then less, and I would collect as often as you need without disrupting your class flow. Some instructors (e.g Clemson) are only required to have a feedback session at the end of a semester term. Other instructors provide a survey at midterm to give them another data point halfway through the semester or to aid them in an upcoming evaluation or negotiation with administration. To be more responsive, an instructor could setup a feedback mechanism, at the end of a lesson or class, to find the effectiveness of a new instructional item that was introduced to the class (e.g. discussion). Don’t be afraid to let the students know that this is a new instructional item that you as the instructor would like to introduce to the lesson; people sometimes are afraid of change so informing them up front will help smooth the transition.

  1. When evaluating the assessment comparison between past years, if you see a decrease/increase in performance what would a researcher look for when evaluating how that metric changed?

Response: If you see a change in student performance try to think of something you may have changed in your instructional approach that might influence student outcomes. If an instructor changes the question type from say multiple choice to open response on an assessment then that might be an indicator of why the change occurred. It could be that the content delivery prior to the assessment was delivered differently than in the past throwing off the assessment metric. However, be careful in how you draw your conclusions. Just because there is a correlation in the change in assessment type with a change in student performance doesn’t mean that this caused the low performance. It could be that the instructor just forgot to give students the study guide for that assessment.

  1. Is there research showing that it is more effective when trying something new in your classroom (e.g. discussion group) to introduce it in one class or half or all classes rather than simultaneously?

Response: This really depends on research study you are setting up or research the question you are trying to answer. There could be very good reasons for an instructor to follow this strategy. The experimental nature of this strategy allows the instructor to compare student outcomes to see the effectiveness of the new teaching strategy. An expert in research methodology could help assist with setting up a research study to look into the best approach. Comparing within a semester or year could help with result outcomes. It is a good idea that if you are doing experimental research to examine your teaching practice that you have a control group with which to compare.

 Any suggestion for how to get administration on board for research/grant projects?

Response: This can be challenging as administrators often feel that the focus of instructors should the quality of their teaching rather than conducting and sharing research. However, if you do your homework, you have a good chance of getting your administrator’s support. I would start with conducting a literature review to find out the authorities of your research interest and what they are writing about it. Write up a research proposal clearly outlining your plan and use the information from your literature review as support. Try to identify funding sources that you think would be most likely to fund your project. And do not give up. If your administration does not provide funding, at least get their verbal support to add to your proposal that you submit somewhere else. At the very least, do what you can to collect data on your topic on your own. Having some evidence to include with your proposal can be a deciding factor.

Using Digital Tools to Support Personalized Learning

Hosted on: October 31st, 2017 2:00 p.m. EST

Personalized learning is increasingly becoming a topic of interest among educators at all levels. As technology increases our ability to engage learners, it also allows for the personalization of learning as never before. Please join CA2VES for a webinar on ways you can personalize and redline your learning environment.

Career Pathways

Hosted on: August 31st, 2017 2:00 p.m. EST

Join the CA2VES team as we discuss educational pathways with Dr. Hope Rivers, Executive Vice President for the SC Technical College System. Dr. Rivers will share several unique academic/industry models for SC as well as best practices to attract technical college students into advanced manufacturing career fields.

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Working with MEPs

Hosted on: July 27th, 2017 2:00 p.m. EST

Synopsis: Join CA2VES for a conversation with Chuck Spangler, President and CEO of the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP) and Andy Carr, Senior Vice President of Operations for SCMEP. You’ll learn what an MEP does within a state, what training opportunities are available and how you can get more involved. There will also be time to ask questions and engage with Chuck and Andy on topics of interest to you.

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Strategic Partnerships

Hosted on: May 31st, 2017 2:00 p.m. EST

Synopsis: This webinar discusses strategic partnerships between academic institutions, industry, government and non-profit organizations supporting workforce development needs. You’ll learn how to create and sustain partnerships that address advanced manufacturing education and workforce development solutions.

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Instructional Design

Hosted on: April 28th, 2017 2:00 p.m. EST

Synopsis: EducateWorkforce is a powerful tool in the hands of technician educators and their students. Join us for a webinar this Friday where you will learn all about it’s features and benefits. 

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Can you tell us what ATE means?

ATE stands for Advanced Technological Education, a program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) supporting the development of innovative approaches for educating highly skilled technicians for industries that drive the nation’s economy. Because community and technical colleges are the major centers for technician education, the ATE program focuses much for their support and funding with these institutions. CA2VES was formed to provide research based digital resources and leadership to the technical college and ATE community. http://www.atecenters.org/

What other course categories other than manufacturing and FAA is EducateWorkforce looking into?

While manufacturing and technical courses are our main focus, we also have courses such as Workforce Fundamentals, a skill building course for career success; Exploring Engineering, an exploration of career opportunities in engineering, and Pathway to Entrepreneurship, an introduction to how to launch a successful a new business. https://educateworkforce.com/courses/

Just in general, what other development foundations are out there?

This seemingly simple question is actually fairly complex. There are a quite a number of educational theories, paradigms, and frameworks most of which are indebted to the work of theorists such as Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget, Albert Bandura, and Anders Ericsson, to name just a few. These individuals all contribute to the idea that the learner should be the focus when designing instructional resources which is the consensus of current best practices in education and instructional design today. Educational frameworks such as the ADDIE Model, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Learner Centered Design (LCD) and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) are all rooted in this perspective. https://www.learning-theories.com/

Are there other development foundations that CA2VES has used other than UDL?

UDL is the development framework that CA2VES uses to develop online courses and other educational resources but we also use the work of other educational theories and models to inform our work. Best practice in instructional design is centered on how to engage, motivate, and accommodate the learner and we are always looking for ways to this when we design our digital products and resources. Our focus on meeting the needs of the learner is what has encouraged us to incorporate virtual reality simulations into our online courses to scaffold learning and provide skill practice. It is also what has encouraged us to apply game design elements to our courses so learners are more engaged and are better able to absorb digital content. https://www.gradecraft.com/

Why did CA2VES pick UDL? Is it because research has shown the benefits to learning?

Precisely. CA2VES selected the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) because of the depth of research showing that learners learn best when their needs are being met in a proactive and intentional way. As we mentioned earlier, there are many other excellent frameworks that have a similar ethos and goals in mind. UDL was also attractive to us because it is well known and broadly accepted by educational and governmental institutions. These attributes provided credibility for our online courses and digital resources.


Hosted on: March 31st, 2017 2:00 p.m. EST

Synopsis: In this webinar, you’ll learn about the instructional design process that CA2VES uses to develop the eLearning materials found on EducateWorkforce. Topics range from identifying your audience to evaluating effectiveness of learning materials.

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What is the pricing model for EducateWorkforce?

Individuals can access and evaluate the course material at no cost for trial and full course offerings on the courses page. Please contact info@educateworkforce.com to discuss the Class Section and Subsite options.

How difficult is it to setup a hosting environment for Open edX?

Open edX is a complex online learning platform that requires in-depth knowledge of server and hosting infrastructure technology.

Here are some links that will help you get started installing Open edX in your environment.

Releases – https://openedx.atlassian.net/wiki/display/DOC/Open+edX+Releases  (Links to an external site.)

Documentation – http://docs.edx.org/ (Links to an external site.)

What type of hardware is needed to use the EducateWorkforce platform?

Desktop computer with any common browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari). Refer the https://educateworkforce.com/resources (Links to an external site.) page for additional information.

How to register for an account on the EducateWorkforce platform?

Go to https://educateworkforce.com/register (Links to an external site.) page, complete the required fields then click the Create Account button to continue. Click the link provided in the activation email to verify that the registered email on the newly created account is yours. This will provide you with continued usage of the EducateWorkforce system after initial account creation.

How do I reach technical support?  

Click the Help Form located on the left side of any Learning Management System (LMS) page then submit your issue to support. An email will be sent to your registered EducateWorkforce account email. All correspondence is handled through email with EducateWorkforce support. Alternatively you can send email directly to support@educateworkforce.com.

Virtual Reality

Hosted on: February 28th, 2017 2:00 p.m. EST

Synopsis: We will be discussing the ins-and-outs of Virtual Reality including its various forms and how it is created. Join us and learn how Virtual Reality can enhance your initiatives!

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I realize it depends on scope, but what would a ballpark cost be to go through all the steps covered in this webinar?

VR development costs vary widely from application to application. It takes about 2-3 developers 2 months on average to complete the steps from the webinar. This site suggests a minimum VR development cost would be $5,000 for the simplest applications: https://thinkmobiles.com/blog/how-much-vr-application-development-cost/

Can you give us an example of how virtually reality is currently being used in a classroom setting? 

Desktop VR where users do not need special equipment to interact with the simulations are becoming more widespread recently. Our EducateWorkforce.com portal was designed to supplement classroom curriculum with online material including e-books, videos, and desktop virtual reality simulations. Students can run these simulations directly in their browser and can access the material at any time.

What specs are needed for a computer to run Unity and Audacity?

To develop with Unity, the minimum specs are Windows 7 with a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) that supports DirectX 9. Any computer built within the last 6 years should be able to run Unity. However, development is easier and faster with higher-end equipment. Audacity uses very few computational resources so it will run well on just about any piece of hardware.

As for running a Unity application after it has been developed, we target a budget laptop without a dedicated GPU. This represents the lowest common denominator in terms of end-user hardware. We recommend frequently testing application builds on low-end hardware to ensure all users will be able to run the simulations without issues.