Friday, January 23, 2015

@ONE Course Introduction to Online Teaching and Learning Week 2

This week the course focused on two issues: Course Essentials (Policies) and Course Design.

Course Essentials
This is all about setting the tone and expectations for students with clearly defined and articulated polices about the following (course policies that should be provided in multiple locations, including in the online course syllabus):
Netiquette. See for specifics (may want to use and have students "agree" to these rules as a condition of participating in the class)
Drop policy. This does not apply the same in noncredit as it does credit, as well as the fact that our classes are hybrid so there is F2F/onground time to communicate attendance/participation expectations and  policies, but I do feel that if our classes were offered at a high percentage online or fully online, this would be very important. Here’s advice from the @ONE course:

·       You should establish a requirement to have students actively complete a task or a set of tasks by a particular date in order to avoid being dropped for not showing up, commonly referred to as a "no show.”

·       Engagement in the academic activities of an online course constitutes "attendance" in an online course. 

·       Establishing a clear drop policy and communicating it to your students in your syllabus and in your course content (and even including a reminder in a week one announcement) is an important step towards a successful start to your course.

·       You may want to consider creating a "Check In" discussion forum and require students to participate in the forum, following your clear instructions, prior to a specific day early in the course: Day 3, for example. Establishing an early drop deadline may be especially helpful if you're dealing with a large number of students hoping to add your course.

·       There may be two parts to the policy, one for "no-shows" and another for what if they stop engaging after their initial appearance (and possible submission of work) in the course.

·       Resource for students about what it means to them to drop a class at the College Companion.

Late work. Again, in noncredit we do not formally assign grade, so the repercussions of late assignments are minimal. I prefer to make students understand that meeting deadlines is very important for successful transitions to credit and workplace situations, but our eight-week terms go by so fast, and at 12 hours per week per class, I try to be flexible with deadlines for students who have legitimate reasons for having missed a due date. If the student does not communicate with me, I just give a “0” in the Blackboard gradebook.  Mid-term, I either point students to the Gradebook or give them a printout and a chance to catch up on missing assignments.
Advice and resources from the @ONE course: It's important to be clear and firm and remember that policies about late work really do protect students who work hard to meet your scheduled deadlines. Many instructors have witnessed students (or have experienced themselves as students) take advantage of weakly structured courses and earn similar points for assignments that hard working, efficient students earned. You may want to consider explaining to your students that your policies are established in an effort to create a fair, equitable learning context for all students. This may help them understand that their interests really are being represented in a "no late work" policy.
Here are some suggestions provided in the @ONE course about late work policies:
·       University of Wisconsin suggestion (I like this – be clear about expectations and take into account students’ hectic lives)
·       Chronicle of Higher Education article (refers to Kenneth Bain, who has written a lot on developmental ed – I agree for teaching writing, especially, build in flexible deadlines for each step of the writing process/drafts – to allow students the opportunity to finish with the best product possible – the portfolio approach
·       The Hub overview of legitimate reasons for accepting late work
·       A Different Take on Late Policies blog post by Pat James (I totally agree with her, by the way)

Communication.  Be clear about when you are available, how you prefer to be contacted, and how quickly you will respond to inquiries:

·       Set boundaries. Let students know when you will and will not be available with days and times.

·       Be clear about your response time (48 hours is a good target to shoot for).

·       Tell students that they should use the Q & A discussions because you check those more often than you do your email. Let them know that you will answer their questions there on a daily basis. Bonus: Students then see each other's questions and your answers and benefit from each other's queries. 

Synchronous / Live Time Communication Tools: phone, Skype (with IM), Google Hangouts (limited to ten students online at a time), Google Air (allows for more participants, Instant Messaging, and CCC Confer

Note: If/when I use synchronous, I’ll use Blackboard Collaborate (since it’s in BB), Google Hangout, or Zoom (free, easy, fast, can share and mark on documents while still seeing the other person on video), which I recently got the chance to experience while on the Writing Center hiring committee. I need to set up and try BB IM – I think that would be awesome because I’m on BB a lot – and students can chat with each other, I believe.

Asynchronous: Delayed Communication Tools: email (some issues sometimes), discussion board (will set up a “Student Lounge” and a “Q & A”), Twitter (excited to try and use, as described in Michelle Pacasky-Brock’s Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies – see summary - as a widget), social networking (not so much into this but I am “friends” with some students on LinkedIn), blogging (have done this but not with hybrid class yet)
Technical Requirements: MCC has this page on requirements for BB, so I can link it. However, for Burlington English, the requirements are different. I have informational materials to share with students, as well as the contract and info on extra equipment.

Class Philosophy: This defines your teaching style, your tone, and further sets expectations for your students that aren't defined in your policies. Since I teach hybrid, I go over this the first day of class. Sample from @ONE:

This class is a community. We all have the same objective: to learn. Online students often feel isolated but it’s important to know you are not in this alone! I need each of you to approach our online class with a great attitude and a willingness to help each other. Many problems and questions can be resolved by asking a fellow student. I am always here to help you but I truly believe your experience will be better if you communicate with your fellow students throughout the semester. Let’s work together to make this semester great for everyone!

My @ONE assignment 1 for Week 2: Three Course Policies

Class Philosophy
I am sure that you are taking this class to improve your English communication skills. You are lucky!  This class uses a communicative approach.  What is the best way to improve your English?  Use it!  Practice, practice, practice! Communicate with me and your classmates and help each other.

  • If you have a skill to teach or knowledge to share, do not hesitate to assist others. The best way for many people to learn and to develop your own skills is to teach what you know to others.  
  • If you feel lost and do not know what to do, please do not hesitate to ask a question. You can do this in the “Student Lounge Q&A” discussion board.
Like anything, what you put into this class is how much you will get out of it. I give 100 percent to my job, and I expect you to give 100 percent in this class!

Class Communication
Practice good online manners, also called “netiquette.” If you are not sure what this means, you can watch this
BrainPop movie (press CC to see the closed captions). Do not write, say, or share anything online that could be offensive to your classmates. Be respectful, courteous, positive, and helpful online, as you are in the classroom.
I will send class announcements through Blackboard to your email address on record. To make sure that you receive class information by email, please log in to SURF, online at to make sure that your contact information (address, phone number, and email address) is correct so that you receive notifications from me. Watch this short video that shows you how.
You can email me at kreyes @ or call me or text me at (760) 555-5555 anytime you have a question or comment. I usually do not answer my office phone, so leave a message with your first and last name, your question or comment, and how you would like me to respond (by email or phone call). I will reply within 24 hours except on holidays.31  I will reply to you by email.
If you have a question or comment that is not personal that you would like to pose to me and the entire class, post it to the “Student Lounge Q&A” discussion board.

You need to participate in this hybrid class by completing online activities for three hours per week. To not be dropped from this class, complete Activity 1 Week 1 Discussion Board Assignment #1 - Introduce Yourself by Sunday evening at 7 p.m.  If you do not do this activity, I will assume that you are no longer interested in taking this class and will drop you.  Again, if you have any questions or problems doing this first assignment, please contact me as soon as possible. You also need to attend class regularly. Absences and not doing the online work will negatively affect your progress.  I reserve the right to drop you from the class if you have excessive unexcused absences or do not actively participate online.

Late work
You need to complete all assignments on time.  If you need extra time, I am flexible.  You just need to have good communication with me. I will extend due dates if you communicate with me early and have a good reason to request extra time to complete an assignment. Remember that if you need help with an assignment, you can visit the Academic Support Center, located at the CLC across from the reception area, or the Community Learning Lab, room 131.

Note: I had to revise the bold part in the Participation section to receive full credit for this assignment because what the grading rubric requires; however, I doubt I would include this in a hybrid noncredit ESL class.  We are way more lenient because we do not assign grades, students don't pay for classes, the classes meet for 12 hours per week.  Of course, I may reconsider this in the future!

Course Design

Effective course design includes the following elements with a focus on student-centered learning:

·       Objectives (found on the course record of outline + see CIAC’s shared resource of CCC curriculum database links)

·       Navigation (the top level, visual organization of your course content, which  should be accessible from the top layer with a minimal number of clicks; visually appealing, integrating imagery and color to communicate additional concepts or stress important areas of a page; develop a video tutorial welcoming your students and briefly pointing out the highlights of your navigation)

An effective course navigation is one that:

1.      Instructs students to the proper "starting place" in week one.

2.      Includes an orientation or tutorial of some type provided to get students going the first week.

3.      Clearly guides students to self-contained and clearly titled learning units.

4.      Separates course related content (information that is relevant to the entire term, like a syllabus) into its own area.

5.      May include a special area or communication method offered for students to engage in dialogue or conversation about course related issues.

6.      Clearly distinguishes where important messages/announcements from the instructor will appear.

7.      Uses visuals to communicate or emphasize the content organization.

With MiraCosta’s very own Lisa Lane providing a sample of her Moodle course tour!

·       Course Map (overview of the organization and flow of your course's main content; "chunking" out your course content and developing a visual roadmap for your course)



·       Learning Units (self-contained content areas of a pre-determined durations, organized around a specific theme)

·       Learning Objectives (provided within each learning unit to clearly communicate to students precisely what they will be able to do after successfully completing the unit that they could not do before. Learning objectives begin with an action word, are clear, concise and measurable – AKA SWBATs; Avoid using verbs that are not measurable like "learn" and "understand" – instead use new Bloom’s Taxonomy verbs - see my previous post on the revised Bloom taxonomy from the summary of the LINCS online course I completed a few weeks ago - again with this cool tool that shows good examples of learning activities for each learning objective)



·       Learning Activities (opportunities for students to receive feedback on their performance)

My @ONE assignment 2 for Week 2: Course Road Map and Learning Objectives

Course Title:  NCESL 45 – English as a Second Language Level 7

This is an 8-week integrated-skills class. The duration for each unit is one week. There is one week of review, assessment, and federally-mandated testing built into the road map for this class.

Unit 1: Learning a New Language, Learning a New Culture (1 week)

Unit 2: National Symbols (1 week)

Unit 3: Learning a New Educational System (1 week)

Grammar Focus: Comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs

Listening/note-taking: American Education System

Reading: MiraCosta College class schedule

Writing: Comparison / contrast paragraph – similarities and differences between two educational systems

Unit Overview: In this unit you will learn about the American educational system, including vocabulary and terminology used in the application and enrollment processes for higher education, which will provide you with knowledge to facilitate your transition to credit academic and Career and Technical programs in the United States.  You will compare and contrast the educational system of the United States with that of your native country or other country in which you have lived.

After successful completion of this unit, you will be able to…

1.      Identify key information in a lecture.

2.      Interpret key information from an authentic text using a variety of reading strategies (for example, comprehend vocabulary words and phrases using context clues, make inferences, skim, scan).

3.      Compose a well-organized, coherent paragraph comparing and contrasting two educational systems.

4.      Revise content, organization, grammar, and mechanics in your writing from feedback.

Unit 4: Career Choices and Educational Plans (1 week)
Unit 5: The Brain, Learning, and Memory (1 week)

Unit 6: Structural and Natural World Wonders (1 week)
Unit 7: Connected Lives in the Modern Era

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