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EDTECH 505: Far West Laboratories Proposal

Dr. Thompson had us “practice” writing a request for proposal (RFP) document. In this document we had to plan how to execute helping Far West Laboratory with their need to educate their school clients.

The pdf document at Google Docs

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EDTECH 523: VoiceThread Moderation

I think this is a reflection on what was done for the VoiceThread moderation:

Voice Thread moderation

How do you help students interact effectively in an online course?

A few of us have posted examples of how we help students interact effectively in our discussion areas. Although Chris has not held online discussions with students, she likes the small group approach. In addition she likes the idea of having students be facilitators. Bret  confirms the importance of using multimedia and unique opportunities to engage a discussion. James also likes the idea of having student facilitators and freshness to the content, but cautions against overwhelming the students with too many new ideas or tools to learn. Sarah points out facilitator involvement is crucial, yet the facilitator needs to be careful to not become the discussion. Let the students be the discussion by finding a balance between facilitator input and student contributions. Earl stresses modeling effective communication so novice participants experience what they are expected to do in the discussion. So far our discussion has focused on group size, discussion format or setting, facilitator involvement that may involve student facilitators, and modeling what we expect of the participants. What other suggestions do you have about how to get students to interact in a discussion forum or even with wiki collaborations? We have a few more days left for this discussion, so please provide examples from your classroom, experiences with online learning, ideas from the readings, or unique perspectives you’ve acquired while in this or other online classes. What has motivated you to interact in our online courses?

How do you sustain online discussions?

A few people have shared aspects of online discussions including how the discussion is launched, what happens during the discussion, and how to prolong it. Kathryn stresses the importance of using open-ended questions to allow for freedom of expression of ideas. Bret cautions instructors to not assume that an open-ended question will guarantee student participation that stays focused on the topic. How would you build community building into the online discussion that may be more natural to create in a face to face environment? Sarah seeks the perfect balance between structure and flexibility. What suggestions do you have about how to create flexibility while still giving enough structure so students feel safe in the environment? Earl suggests extending discussions with hypothetical situations. With that in mind, what do you suggest we do to get people who have not posted to this discussion yet, to post to the discussion? Do the facilitators send out personal invitations to the discussion? Do we respect that for this discussion we are graduate students and therefore have the choice to participate or not? If you are working with adults like we are, but who may not be as comfortable with the online world as we are, how would you lure them to volunteer their ideas in an online discussion?

How do you keep a presence in online discussions without taking over the conversations?

So far, everybody recognizes the importance of having the facilitator being a part of the discussion. Kathryn points out that creating a social presence by providing feedback to participants. James suggests instructors target the posts that are not getting many responses by replying directly to those ideas in an attempt to stimulate discussion based on what is said in the neglected posts. Sarah’s audio file was not loading at the time I crafted this summary.  Jessica recommends brevity while including leading questions to further the discussion. How do you suggest a facilitator follows these recommendations without overwhelming the discussion? How does one provide feedback, but not so much that it curtails further discussion?

How do you use online discussion in your blended courses?

So far we have heard a few ways people can use online discussion areas to allow for collaboration or submission of individualized perspectives on a topic. Glori has her students do mini-case studies by perusing the literature and deciding what they would incorporate into their own practice. Adam does a sort of jigsaw where he posts questions about themes in geography and allows students to self-select which ones they will respond to. Then he challenges students to visit a different theme and contribute to its thread. Bret confirms the uniqueness of using discussion forums as a review area for essay exams. He commends Adam for using the discussion area to stimulate student interactions and follows up with questions about procedures for doing such discussions. Kathryn suggested using the discussion areas as a place to do summarizing activities or for students to provide feedback on the course without having time constraints you can have in the face to face classroom. Sarah not only uses discussion areas as a place for students to brainstorm, but since it is out in the open, she can also give feedback and approve their ideas before students prematurely commit to a topic that may not be as fruitful as originally anticipated. What are some other concrete examples of ways you can engage students in an online forum?

EDTECH 523: Create an Evaluation Instrument

In EDTECH 523 we created a synchronous presentation and were required to watch other presentations as well. To focus on other people’s presentations, we were asked to create an evaluation guide that we could fill out during the presentations. After the groups finished, we emailed our presentation form to the respective group. I’m connecting to my evaluation instrument by having a link to it here as it was uploaded to WordPress. The other link is to it living in my Google Doc area. Finally, I did a copy and paste of the document and put it at the end.

Create an evaluation instrument R3

Evaluation instrument at Google Docs

Purpose of this assignment: Create an evaluation instrument for evaluating the quality and appropriateness of synchronous instruction.

Lesson:

Yes/No or N/A

Comments

Classroom Mechanics:
Introduction to the lesson:Could be a poll on the screen or an activity on the whiteboard- just has to be something students can do to amuse themselves until the session starts
Participants welcomed
Presenter reviews classroom controls
Audio and/or video enabled for participants
Students do something in the classroom  other than just sit there.
Presenter records session
Students are encouraged to raise hands if they have questions
A copy of the ppt slides if applicable
Web links are available
Presenter remembers to turn off recording
Lesson includes:

Yes/No/ N/A

Comments
Lesson objectives
Polls for formative assessment
Polls to keep students engaged
Student expectations shared
Questions for students to answer that they will turn in later
Shares files students can download as take-away info
Presenter provides files students can download so they can follow the lesson as it happens
Ppt slides are uploaded to a share screen or are shown from presenter’s computer as a shared screen.
Students are used to help advance the lesson
Encourages student-student interactions.
Encourages student-content interactions.
Students use whiteboards or the equivalent  to answer questions.
Formative assessment is done so the presenter can see if the lesson was successful
Student product is used somewhere in the lesson to either evaluate student work or to give an example of what can be done at a student’s level
Presenter is organized so that there are not unnecessary lulls
Presenter speaks clearly
Presenter speaks slowly enough
Presenter speaks loud enough
Some sort of closure
You can tell there was a reason this worked better as a synchronous lesson than an asynchronous one

Other comments:

EDTECH 523: module 5 summary

For Module 5 your summary should include information about the following:

    • Complete the required reading and review materials provided on synchronous tools and strategies.
    • Develop a lesson to be delivered synchronously using appropriate instructional strategies.
    • Practice delivering your lesson.
    • Create an evaluation instrument for evaluating the quality and appropriateness of synchronous instruction.
    • Post the completed evaluation instrument and your reflections to the Evaluation of Synchronous Instruction forum in the MAIN discussion board.
    • Please, also submit your completed evaluation instrument to the appropriate link in the Module 5 activities for grading.
    • Submit discussion idea and/or lead a discussion.
    • Participate in ongoing discussions. Apply critical thinking and questioning strategies to your discussion posts.

 

Module 5 was fun because it got me back in the Adobe Connect classroom which is always a challenging environment to be in because it is so convoluted. Preparing for Bret and my synchronous lesson has also been fun because it is collaborating with someone who is intelligent and knows more about our topic than I do. This means I get to learn something while doing this project and have someone who can patiently handle my questions when I get lost. In contrast, since I bought the Adobe eLearning suite in the fall, I have Adobe Presenter which takes PowerPoint files and uploads them to the Adobe Connect server. It was a nice opportunity to refamiliarize myself with the software.

My evaluation instrument was somewhat incomplete so I revised it as I reviewed the synchronous sessions. Interestingly, when I evaluated the Photoshop lesson presentation I realized I had not planned on evaluating something that was not necessarily like something listed in chapter 6. Bret and I have been trying to figure out how to adapt what we want to do to fit one of the suggested activities in chapter 6 and still be within 10 minutes. I think we have a clue what to do and I hope everybody who wants to be a part of our audience will join us and the other presenters on Thursday, May 3. It was also a relief to see that there will be at least six people in our audience. We were not sure what type of audience we could count on so we can now plan breakout rooms and student activities better.

It makes sense that chapter 5 in the Learning in Real Time text is applicable to Module 6 since it covers formative assessment, how to integrate it into the class, and how to pick up on non-visual body language. Since that chapter may need to be a part of the Module 6 reflection, I won’t go into more depth here. I will share a few ideas about chapters 4 and 6, though.  For chapter 4, I found their analysis of various online teaching settings to be accurate based on what I’ve experienced. I used to IM with my students when they had a quick question and at times we would mosey on over to our virtual office to use the whiteboard for further explanation. Explaining dimensional analysis through IM can be done, but using a whiteboard is much easier. Although I have never taught or taken a class in a MUVE, I think that is what second life is like so I expect I will experience it when I take the class that has us use second life. Although I’ve attended webcasts, I’ve never led one. Although I have had a few online teaching opportunities, I’ve never actually been able to hold an online lecture or class session for students who were expected to be physically present. My current teaching situations are one-on-one and my previous one had live sessions as optional features for the students. I could do them as often as I wanted to, but they were never required to attend a session. I hope that one day I do get to have a real online class with real students that will be “my” students that I get to usher from one lesson to the next. The activities in chapter 6 will be very useful once I have the setting and the bodies with which I can practice.

Program Evaluation Final Project EDTECH 505

The project for EDTECH 505 was a huge challenge and from what I understand, it strikes fear in all EDTECH students. We are expected to evaluate something real. I was no longer in the classroom and have no official affiliation with any schools. I know I was terrified about how I was going to accomplish the project.  I thought about all the resources I have and all the people I have had conversations with about things that may be appropriate for the project. A former boss, who is also like a mentor, came to mind. At the time, she was the superintendent of a Regional Occupational Program I used to work with. We had had a conversation about hybridizing some of the ROP courses. Although I have never had an opportunity to teach a hybrid course, I think they are the ultimate way education can be done. The goal of this project was to see if I created a course her teachers would actually use, how they thought about using the course. They did not use the course I wrote because it was summertime, but if they had shown interest in using it the following academic year, I would have hosted it for them.

Somewhere along the way I picked up the website URL hybridclassroom.net because I wanted to make Moodle classes for teachers. At one time I thought my first million would come from selling pre-made units or courses in a Moodle format to classroom teachers who wanted to hybridize their classes. The Certificate in Online Teaching I did at Merritt Community College taught me how to design and structure Moodle courses, and the class I took from Moodlerooms taught me how to be a Moodle administrator. I was motivated to try Dr. Fujii’s teachers out as possible clients because I really want to influence online learning in a positive way. No I did not charge them anything for what I did for them. I was earning course credit for the project so it would be wrong to accept any pay. What Dr. Fujii and I wanted to figure out is if her teachers who showed an interest in hybridizing their classes would be receptive to the course I designed for them in Moodle. Unfortunately I can’t put a link to the course because the ROP owns the materials I used. I can, however, link to the report I wrote for EDTECH 505.