Friday, January 30, 2015

@ONE Course Introduction to Online Teaching and Learning Week 3

This week the content of the course was “Designing and Evaluating Student-Centered Learning Activities.” Topics were the following:

·       Locating  (existing readings, existing videos, MERLOT) and creating content (online "lectures" chunked if a lot of content - linked back to learning objectives – written in html format, in external Web site, or posted in document; recorded audio files to accompany written giving students choices; using screencasting – new site and app for me Profcast and SonicPics app or w/video camera; sharing w/Slideshare, Google Presentations/Google Docs, PDF or RTF; audio; video – usual videosharing sites but also DotSub and Overstream; Web-based/app tools: Animoto, VoiceThread).

·       Accessibility issues and resources (High Tech Center Training Unit to learn about training resources and web accessibility information, How To Guide for Creating Accessible Online Content, Distance Education Access Guidelines

1.     Video content needs captions when the video is essential to student learning. Refer to the Caption Guidance provided by the CA Community College High Tech Training Center for more details, including information about the grant money available for captioning within CCCs.

2.     Audio content must be accompanied by a text-based transcript when the audio is essential to student learning.

3.     PDFs need to be searchable, rather than "images" of documents.

4.     Images need ALT tags.

5.     Design webpages with sufficient color contrast. Low color contrast combinations create challenges for users with vision impairments and color blindness. Use AccessColor to assess color contrast; Use VisChek to verify if documents or webpages contain significant color contrast.

·       Content design: create student-centered active learning experiences in which students interact, socialize, and learn, thus minimizing the isolation of online learning. Doing so often changes the instructor’s role (no more expert/sage on the stage – instead facilitator/guide on the side) and brings a shift in power (more accountability from the student)
Quoted in the course: A Guide to Student-Centered Learning, Brandes and Ginnis, offer the following core elements to describe this type of learning environment:

o   The learner has full responsibility for her/his learning

o   Involvement and participation are necessary for learning

o   The relationship between learners is more equal, promoting growth, development

o   The teacher becomes a facilitator and resource person

o   The learner experiences confluence in his education (affective and cognitive domains flow together)

o   The learner sees himself differently as a result of the learning experience


·       Developing learning outcomes: focus on what the student will deliver to demonstrate learning has occurred.

·       Aligning Activities with Objectives: learning activities support successful achievement learning objectives, ensuring that each unit (not necessarily every activity, though) provides opportunity for socialization through peer-to-peer interaction. Resources: Carnegie Mellon table of activity types for assessing mastery of learning objectives, * Bloom's Digital Taxonomy expansive and excellent wiki with “Quick Sheets,” and this interactive chart, which I have already referred and linked to in this blogs

I also located this “Padagogy” Wheel for Apps that support different activities aligned to Bloom’s Taxomony and the SAMR Model (interactive PDF file) – something to think about…

·       Other Tools for activities: Discussion boards, videos, wikis, blogs, digital storytelling, Google Earth, Google Maps, Tip on discussion boards: carefully craft the prompt (open-ended with opportunity for students to share personal stories/examples) so that is leads students into a process of inquiry and provides options for exploring, reflecting, analyzing, and contributing a range of responses; need to specifically require students to "reply" to each others' posts; include a clear due date for the post and the reply portion of the activity with staggered due dates for posts (e.g., by Thursday) and replies (by Sunday)

·       Evaluating Learning Activities: use rubrics for activities that could be graded subjectively; consider how rubrics will be applied – every activity or at specific times in a course; first step - reflect on precisely what skills or behaviors you are assessing in the assignment with an understanding of what you expect from an "excellent" submission;  RubiStar

·       Summative (exams, papers, projects, ePortfolios) v. Formative Assessment (practice; process not product; results inform steps to take for improvement not to judge learning; mistakes expected; feedback during the process; non-graded quizzes or quizzes that may be attempted multiple times and points are given for completion, not accuracy, discussions, blog posts, other peer-to-peer learning)

o   Tips for final exams: open-book, questions requiring synthesis or application of ideas (the higher levels of learning in Bloom's taxonomy), set a time limit and note in syllabus, set exam questions to appear one at a time giving total # of questions t beginning, integrate images, provide ample time/opportunity, don’t make answers available right away, use variety of questions/pools so that students see different sets of questions

o   Project-based learning (PBL-Online), ePortfolios (San Francisco State ePortfolio Website - resources and samples, My "Online Portfolio Adventure" compares a variety of e-portfolio platforms)

My Assignment for this week: Describe Contents of My Learning Unit Development Matrix


I feel pretty good about my course design for noncredit ESL. I confess that I don’t usually give so much thought to Bloom’s Taxonomy or objectives – they’re more just in my head – nor do I usually communicate them as clearly to students, but I think this would be a positive change in even on-ground classes.

What I usually do at least a few weeks before the start of a new term is the following: plan my themes by choosing the texts, grammar, and assignments that fit within those themes; organize my teaching materials (presentations, handouts); choose or create new materials; locate and note what I will use from the textbook for student practice/application; and then create outlines for each week in Blackboard with external links for supplemental practice.  I like to have everything together and planned ahead of time to be able to visualize on paper how one week’s content is built upon in the following week.  I always overplan and leave the final week of the class schedule as a “wrap up” week for review, presentation of students’ final projects, any final tests/quizzes, and a student evaluation of the class (survey on Blackboard) – oh, and also as a cushion for any unexpected events that disrupt the class schedule such as wildfires! Then on a calendar, I sketch out daily agenda for each day of my on-ground teaching / F2F portion of my class. 

Of course, this is my process on-ground blended or hybrid teaching; I see that teaching online requires quite a few more steps (and more time), including clarifying everything in writing (instructions to students) and making teaching materials (more) accessible. Since the classes I teach meet for 3+ hours per day, four days/week, it is difficult to imagine ever putting ALL this work online for a fully online course.  Plus, I’m not convinced (yet) that fully online language instruction is the best way for adult ESL students in the USA to study. I already have a lot of content and materials but they are mostly in text form; however, with this learning unit, I feel fine about how to flesh it all out in an online format and am excited to create materials that are specific to my student population (especially since I have some time now that I’m not teaching), not taken from some textbook.

1.     Title: Learning a New Education System

2.     Brief description: 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.

3.     Learning objectives:

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.

4.     Description of content item #1: PDF file of pages from college class schedule with audio or video (screencast) explanation and guiding/practice questions

5.     Description of content item #2: lecture screencast/YouTube video “American Education System” with accompanying note-taking form and comparison/contrast paragraph prompt

6.     Description of learning activity #1: “Reading a College Credit Class Schedule.” This activity will assess students’ understanding of learning objective #2.  Students will take a 10-question quiz on Blackboard.  This formative activity will be auto-graded with automated feedback to students. The multiple-choice and short answer questions will be based on an actual page from the college’s current class schedule. This activity will assess the verb “identify.”

7.      Description of learning activity #2: This activity will assess students’ ability to fulfill learning objective #3.  Students will post initial drafts of their comparison/contrast paragraphs to a blog within Blackboard and will provide feedback to at least two other students on their blog posts.  This activity supports the verb “compose.”



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