Courtesy of tlceducationalsolutions.com
Another formative assessment tool I discovered this year is the online response tool, socrative.com. This free tool allows you to build quick quizzes that students can access with their smart phone. The quiz can be student or teacher directed and results can be displayed immediately. It’s a fun activity, that allows you to quickly assess if material has been absorbed and understood or if more instruction is necessary . My personal favorite is the quick exit question , ” What did you learn today?”. This is a great tool to determine how effective I was and then I can modify my next lesson based on the feedback, if necessary.
I am intrigued by the assessment option referred to as the Word Journal.
The word Journal was introduced to me in the article , Technology-Enhanced Classroom Assessment Techniques by Jacqueline Mangien from Faculty Focus. I have used journaling as a means of student reflection and self-reflection in a number of my classes. This semester, I introduced blogging as an electronic form of reflection and to build student-student interactivity. I have found this form of assessment very effective and especially enlightening for me. Reflection is a great tool to decode and internalize a learning experience. This method of expression allows the student to self -assess and collaborate with peers , along with the instructors assessment of higher order thinking skills. It also adds a measure of the ‘authentic audience’ which tends to motivate students to do a better job.
A Word Journal defined by Faculty Focus:
In the Word Journal assessment, students summarize a lesson, concept, or text in a single word, then write a short narrative explaining their word choice. Encouraging students to write blog posts for their word journals provides a relevant and wider audience for their selections and allows classmates to comment on one another’s ideas. The professor might then collect the word journals and create a word cloud such as Wordle to visually display comment themes and elements from the responses.
Looking to engage my own new bloggers I tried a modified version of this lesson. Please check out my lesson instruction and outcome, on my student blog; Blogging with Mrs. C. Additional examples can be viewed on any student blog listed on the right, feel free to comment on your favorite. I’m sure my class will get a kick out of it!
Courtesy of :http://www.clker.com/clipart-6247.html
Has the time commitment required to create a course been a barrier that’s prevented you from agreeing to teach online?
I have been tasked with developing and teaching in a blended classroom for about 3 years now. The initial setup as well as the ongoing maintenance for my classes has been extremely time consuming, but it has , at the same time, been very rewarding. I was not intimidated by the daunting task of putting all my classes online as many of my colleagues have been in the past. Many are still overwhelmed. I view it as a challenge – yes, but also as an opportunity to develop and improve my skills as a teacher. I have found that once a course is initially established, it does become easier each time you teach it. However, my only experience is in a blended learning environment, I have not had an opportunity to teach 100% online class. I know, with the help of this and the other classes in this online series, that there are frustrations and obstacles in an online environment that I have not yet experienced.
I agree with the data presented in “Teaching Online- A Time Comparison” in regard to Course Preparation Time. Because delivery of instructions and content relies primarily on the written word, these instructions must be far more detailed. In the classroom environment you can explain and answer questions as they arise. For online content and instruction , you must anticipant potential questions and provide solutions up front. Providing this level of detail is very time consuming, significantly more when compared to in-class preparation. Cavanaugh’s study also identified an increase in Time Spent Teaching in an online environment. “This <electronic> communication has been found to be one of the most time consuming parts of teaching an online course.” Although “this time can be reduced by limiting student’s interaction”, by doing so you may jeopardize the quality of the course through misunderstanding of course content and/or expectations. Obviously limiting feedback, hinders our ability to clarify instruction and also prohibits students from learning from their mistakes. Cavanaugh’s study concludes that even for small online classes, time demands are significantly greater than for in-class courses. The question we must ask ourselves is, of course, does the additional time demand necessary to deliver a quality online class outweigh the benefits gained by teaching in this environment? Is it really worth it? I guess time will tell…..
According to the article,“The role you play in Online Discussions” ,by David Brown, the online instructor must be willing to take on multiple roles. These roles include community leader, discussion leader, manager , technical consultant and information resource person. Each role played adds value in multiple ways. I do not think we , as online teachers ,need to be masters at every role. ( Although, it would be very nice) Significant strengths in any one or more areas, such as Manager , information specialist or tech guru can in fact compensate for lesser expertise in another area, such as discussion leader. Do I think my master teacher could improve the student-student interactivity in the course? Absolutely. However, the course is strong in other areas and , as we are all discovering, there is only so much time in the day. It’s a process, one that evolves, grows and improves as we perfect our skills as teachers. We and the courses we teach are all works-in-process.
Ease the Uncertainty & Build Community.
A personal situation this week with regard to technology, lead me to review the article in our reading “Technology’s Impact on E-learning“. In this article, Hoffman stresses the need for preparation, mastery of the technology and keeping it simple in regard to unnecessary “bells and whistles”. What was not addressed is a plan to cover the inevitable ‘what if’ scenario. What if the internet goes down?
I am a firm believer in a backup plan, for most everything. It’s probably a result of preferring to be ultra-organized, and the comfort level that this organization provides. This week I did not have a backup plan for class without an internet connection! Yeah, talk about an OMG moment! This circumstance, lead me to a closer review our reading, when I got connected, of course. I found Hoffman did not address this particular aspect of technology and how to handle the issue in our online teaching. I thought I might offer some valuable tips of my own.
As part of your initial Course Introduction and Welcome page, and/or your Syllabus, offer an emergency contact number or email and recommend steps to take in the event that you cannot connect to your online course. Also I would highly recommend that students have at least thought about what they might do in this situation. The instruction might resemble the following:
What to do if you lose your internet connection:
- Don’t panic! Anxiety just adds to the stress and prevents you from thinking clearly and determining a logical plan of action
- Ask for help from a technical expert. They will be able to determine if the situation is temporary or more long term.
- Contact your instructor as soon as possible to inform them of your difficulty. Email or a post in the personal discussion board can be accomplished with a smartphone connection. Yes you will use data , but this is good use of your minutes. They need to know you have a legitimate excuse for not being ‘present’ on line.
- Have a backup plan. Chances are the entire universe in not without the internet for a prolonged period of time. Contact friends or other family members to see if you can connect at their location, and/or use their equipment. If you have a mobile device, tablet or laptop, relocate yourself to take advantage of that connection.
The key is to have a plan that you can quickly put into place, allowing for as little disruption to class as possible. Be sure to communicate your plan to your instructor.
This may seem obvious to many of us, but covering all the bases for a young or new online learner, can potentially alleviate that sense isolation that may be present in the online environment. It can also build teacher presence and improve your online community.
Hoffman, J. (2003, December 1). Technology’s Impact on E-Learning. WebJunction. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
Week 3 – How to Maximize Student Engagement
Jennifer Hoffman’s article Creating Collaboration states that “One of the current buzzwords in e-learning is collaboration.” Collaboration is not only key in online learning but the best traditional f2f models strive to incorporate collaborative exercises into the classroom as well. According to Rebeca Alber, in the article Deeper Learning: A Collaborative classroom is Key, “In preparing our students for college and careers, 21st century skills call on us to develop highly collaborative citizens — it’s one of the 4 Cs, after all.” Rebecca and Jennifer both agree that collaboration doesn’t just happen, and scaffolding as well as a supportive environment is needed to achieve effective collaboration. Online tools , such as discussion boards and email can be used to encourage collaboration and participant interaction.
Fundamentally, Hoffman explains, collaboration is used for 2 reasons; to achieve engagement and support learning goals. She also cautions us to not confuse collaboration with communication. True collaboration is much more difficult to achieve. It needs to be carefully directed by the facilitator but ultimately remain learner- centered. This then allows a more natural collaborative mindset to be integrated into our daily lives. Both online and f2f classrooms should strive to engage students with true collaborative experiences that will reinforce our ultimate goal of encouraging life-long learning.
Alber, R. (2012, December 31). Deeper Learning: A Collaborative Classroom Is Key. Edutopia. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
Hoffman, J. (2012, March 21). Creating Collaboration. WebJunction. Retrieved October 24, 2014.