November 2 2014

Capstone : Practicum Course Interactivity

OBSERVATIONS & ARTIFACTS  of  Practicum Course Interactivity

teacher-student and student-student 

“Interactivity is not inherent. It must be designed.”

“A course for online delivery involves designing active and collaborative learning activities that take full advantage of digital communication.” (DePaul Teaching Commons. 2014) .

I have learned this to be the case from my practicum, personal teaching experience and completing this PD series on best online teaching practices. It is not as easy as the theory would suggest. It is not a matter of taking your classroom materials and placing them online in a series of PowerPoint presentations , drop box documents and spreadsheet assignments. It is much more than that. Successfully developing  an online class is re-designing course content to  actively engage students, it is providing real-world collaborative projects to extend learning and nurture higher order  thinking. It takes time, and patience and skill.

By design, my practicum Instructor  does not get involved with discussion board topics.  Detailed instruction on what & when  to post are very clear and performance is assessed based on this criteria. Students are solely responsible for completely this portion of the week’s coursework. Students are tasked with  various discussion topics, but the most interaction occurs when  group projects are assigned as part of the week’s learning exercise. Teacher strengths are demonstrated in these areas of interactive activities, group projects, and collaborative game exercises. The activities concentrate on student-student interaction and are student-content focused.  Good Illustrations to enhance content are the lemonade game, product features team and negotiations game. In each case the “game” exercise reinforces concepts from the lesson content through an interactive hands-on activity.

Artifacts that illustrate student-student interaction:

Negotiations Game activity: Clear instruction was given:





Negotiations Game- Team A



A total of 10 student-student interactions occurred before agreement was reached for this team in the challenge.



The following week a follow-up discussion thread was used for student reflection on the game activity. This prompted students to evaluate and share what they learned from the experience.

neggame followup








The personal ledger activity is  another illustration of reinforcing course content with a hands on activity. This exercise involved tracking revenue and expenses for a week and again reflecting on how well they did and what they could do to improve. This activity also had a discussion forum followup activity which allowed for student-student interaction in the form of suggestions for fellow classmates.personledg







Artifacts that illustrate Teacher-Student interaction:

Teacher-Student (one-on-one) interactions in both the private discussion threads and Have a Question forum are definitely  where my master teacher shines. Timely, positive and professional  feedback is delivered  routinely. This is where the instructor’s interaction contributes most to student learning and is the primary type of student interaction.discussion





Students also routinely post in a reflective business journal. The business journals are student posts in the blog/wiki each week as part of a final business plan project. Posts are evaluated and assignment feedback is given as part of the weekly grade.




Examining the types of interactivity utilized in my practicum course has provided a variety of new and interesting methods to engage students and enhance learning. The use of the discussion board forum for team activities that reinforce course content is a unique and innovative use of this tool. Interactivity between teacher and student can be personalized in the private discussion thread to ensure each student understands instruction and gains the necessary direction to succeed in the online environment. Intentionally not being involved in discussion boards allows students to direct their own learning and take ownership of the online experience.




“Developing an Online Course – Teaching Commons.” Developing an Online Course – Teaching Commons. DePaul University. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.