Week 24: Summarize, assess and contribute

List of links to all my posts for the year

Library of Alexandria

Week 1 – Getting started with Program For Online Teaching class

It’s just my presentation and a description of my own experience about online teaching and my particular expectative with this program.

Week 2: Teaching and Learning Online

Starting with the program readings, and identify the elements I feel would help me to reinforce the way I like to teach. I’m still in the exploring period.

Week 3: Pedagogy and Course Design

I’m going deeper in the study of the book material, the web material taking notes and highlighting.

Week 4: Pedagogy and Course Design II

My try applying a template to the planning of a course session related to Concept Maps. Good exercise!

Week 5: The Slippery Online Syllabus

This week helps me to discover the Online Syllabus one of THE most important documents created for the online class. Really good and useful!

Week 6: Internet Skills, html code and embedded Videos

A practical exercise embedding videos. Not especially new for me…

Week 7: LMS – “to be or not to be”

My first shade of difference with the author (Reading the chapter 6 of Ko&Rossen) in relation to the role of LMS and CMS.

Week 8: LMS – “to be or not to be” (the continuous discussion …)

A good week! because I could see preliminary reinforced my intuitive arguments about the role of the LMS. This post demanded a great effort to express my ideas.

Week 9: trying to catching up…

Taking notes about the reading material, a rather poor reflecting post…

Week 10: open platforms for online courses

Good reading and a good practical week. I discovered a tool (engrade) that I’m using today!

Week 11: Intellectual Property and Accessibility

A post with which I am not satisfied. Probably because the uninspiring reading material.

Week 12: Resources Online

There are obviously weeks that are more or less inspiring. The OER is a topic of special attraction for me. This week I researched several reference websites as expressed in the post.

Mid-year post

A list of links to all your posts so far. It’s refreshing to read this post to identify my personal progress.

Week 13: Creating Class Elements Part 1: Images and screenshots

The activities of this week I gave a good learning in managing my images on Flickr, as expressed in the post content.

Week 14: Creating Class Elements Part 2: Audio and video

A tough week in which I learned a lot. A productive week, as showed in the post.

Week 15: Screencasting and multimedia

Another productive week with building materials with the help of different web tools.

Week 16: Our Students Online

This week included a lot of reading I really enjoyed with. These moments are a good time to analyse and draw conclusions.

Week 17: Classroom Management and Facilitation

Good reading and reflection!

Week 18: The Course (or Learning) Management System

I think it was the week with further analysis and reflection. I Party analysis of the role of the LMS / CMS to project a pedagogic and strategic discussion.

Week 19-Web-Enhanced, Hybrid and Open Classes

It has been a useful discussion about MOOCs.

Week 20: Educational Technology and Instructional Design

I am very happy with this week. From the discussion on “Educational Technology and Instructional Design”, I’ve developed a particular line of reflection on an instructional design model.

Week 21: Introduction to Online Education Theory

Another week with which I am happy because it allowed me expand on an interesting theoretical discussion.

Week 22: Personal Learning Networks

As I wrote in this post, one of the things that I find particularly interesting is to collect ideas and inspiration from outstanding lecturers, teachers and writers.

Week 23: Presentation

This is my presentation on Week 12: Online Resources.

A summary of my conclusions

  • Although 4-5 hours a week seems reasonable, some weeks I spent a few more hours. In the beginning I didn’t realize how much more time I’d expend in my researches.
  • Although my comments on the blogs of my colleagues often was not what I had wanted, I have improved my writing and I must admit it is very encouraging to receive comments!
  • This program gave me the opportunity to explore different theories, inspiring ideas and experiences.
  • In short, the program has exceeded my expectations.

W22: Personal Learning Networks

One of the things that I find particularly interesting is to collect ideas and inspiration from outstanding lecturers, teachers and writers.

From Ko & Rossen, Chapter 14: “Taking Advantage of New Opportunities”, I have found interesting proposals on activities that I would like to further develop in relation to online teaching:

  • Training covering teaching methods and curriculum development
  • Methodologies about Lifelong Learning
  • New ideas and technologies
  • Short online courses and tutorials in particular software platforms and tools

Another example is Dean Shareski, in the video “Sharing: The Moral Imperative“, arise questions and reflections of value for the analysis about the personal culture of sharing:

  • Why would I do this? (sharing)
  • Is this worth my time?
  • How do I make it valuable and meaningful?
  • and also about the culture of sharing of our educational institutions:
  • Is this an obligation?
  • Does my institution see value in sharing?
  • How will it help my students?
  • Sharing has always been part of the teacher’s job

A good and inspirational Video from Alec Couros, “Teaching and Learning in a Networked World (2010)“, which mention own and others ideas, as:

  • Connect with others: colleagues who are local, and more internationally. Build a personal learning network, as with Twitter.
  • Create a culture of sharing: in schools, within the structure, sharing resources (David Wiley’s “open content” — without sharing there is not education).
  • Stephen Downes: (we) should move beyond the idea of education as being something provided for us, and toward something we create for ourselves.
  • Will Richardson: about the 21st Century Learning – explore what happens to traditional concepts of teaching when we can learn anything any time?

My Personal Learning Network

I started the creation of a personal site with iGoogle for some years ago, connecting my favourite news sites, my blog, additional interesting blogs, Web 2.0 tools and some useful personal bookmarks, both in English and Spanish.

The last time I have reflected a lot about the way I’m working with my personal learning, specially using technology to expand my learning network.

This picture reflects my preliminary conclusions.

PLN

W 21: Introduction to Online Education Theory

Really interesting article Larry Sanger, Individual Knowledge in the Internet Age (2010), especially regarding the three common strands of current thought about education and the Internet:

  1. The instant availability of information online makes the memorization of facts unnecessary or less necessary.
  2. The virtues of collaborative learning as superior to outmoded individual learning.
  3. Lengthy, complex books, which constitute a single, static, one-way conversation with an individual, are inferior to knowledge co-constructed by members of a group.

Larry deepens around the strand of Unnecessary Memorization. Inevitably, if I say that I know something is because I remember. The bad reputation of memorization is associated with the mindless and not reflected repetition.

This article discusses other arguments worth mentioning:

  • if you read an answer to a question, you usually need fairly substantial background knowledge to interpret the answer.
  • you need knowledge in order to know what questions to ask.
  • a good education is not merely to amass a lot of facts.
  • If you do not have copious essential facts at the ready, then you will not be able to make wise judgments that depend on your understanding of those facts
  • we should “learn how to learn”
  • the ability to learn new things is more important than ever “in a world where you have to process new information at lightning speed.”
  • “Children are going to have to reinvent their knowledge base multiple times.

I stopped a little longer in the article: George Siemens, Networks, Ecologies, and Curatorial Teaching (2007). Interesting reflexions on what he calls learning ecology around which I have built the attached presentation.

 

W20: Educational Technology and Instructional Design

A hard week full of definitions, reflections and summaries. But at the same time, and there’s the key, an entertaining week. This week included subjects of particular importance to the design of learning content and activities with the support of ICT.

Instructional technology

As explained by the definition, the term educational technology is often associated with, and encompasses, instructional theory and learning theory.

But the definition is not what matters most to me. The question surrounding our thinking is how we do to make this technology really helps us to improve education at least in the environment of our work and academic activity.

Clearly, we can achieve great benefits such as:

  • Accessible educational materials
  • Attracting and motivating students
  • Support the development of reading and writing skills

Personally, it helps me a lot to know other experiences, theories, models and recommendations. But what helps me is tracking innovative academic experiences.

Instructional Design

It is a subject that has fascinated me. In the design of any content or learning activity assume a huge responsibility with the goal of improving student learning. But if it does not help?, If you do not have the time and sufficient resources?, If we fail to involve teachers interested?, If we do not consider aspects of prior knowledge, context, time?, To name a few. These questions arise precisely because we are interested in finding answers.

Instructional design models

We have all known at some time models like ADDIE, Dick and Carey and others.

A particularly attractive model is The Backward Design, to assist teachers in designing or redesigning teaching materials to enhance learning understanding. This model and the related conceptual framework: “Understanding by Design” was developed by recognized educators Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. This model is well suited for the academic community and two of their biggest contributions are:

  • The “backwards design” instructional design model
  • The “Six Facets of Understanding”

As I show in my particular slides summary

The backwards design model centers on the idea that the design process should begin with identifying the desired results and then “work backwards” to develop instruction. This framework identifies three main stages:

  • Stage 1: Identify desired outcomes and results.
  • Stage 2: Determine what constitutes acceptable evidence of competency in the outcomes and results (assessment).
  • Stage 3: Plan instructional strategies and learning experiences that bring students to these competency levels.

See you next week!

w19-Web-Enhanced, Hybrid and Open Classes

The educational use of Internet pursues pedagogically relevant answers to enable the building (and improve) a sociocultural learning environment.

These teaching environments: face-to-face, hybrid or fully online need to answer the fundamental question: whom do I want to learn?

The educational use of Internet is not just about the integration of tools and web resources to the teaching-learning process in order to enhance learning. Internet main contribution is to incorporate means, resources, languages ​​and social interaction dynamics that enrich the relationship between students and instructors.

It is clear that the internet is more present outside than inside the classroom. Internet for education aims to “synchronize” the classroom with the reality existing outside the classroom. This process not only involves the insertion of technological solutions, but in the development of an autonomous, constructivist, critical, and collaborative learning environment.

What about the MOOCs?

MOOC

George Siemens makes an interesting reflection on MOOCs focused on two factors:

  1. The learning potential for society (globally)
  2. The learning theory and pedagogical models that influence different types of MOOCs.

Although George Siemens considers the latter as a secondary factor, it seems to me important to analyze regarding the MOOC Completion Rates.

The ratio of high initial interest registered participants and the high level of abandonment is related, among other factors, to:

  • The effect of initial attraction produced by curiosity
  • No evaluation of prior knowledge requirements

It is likely that the high registration of participants attracted by curiosity diminish over time and MOOCs attract really interested participants. On the other hand, curiosity has been for me a very important factor to learn (and to review) about MOOCs, although I have completed a few courses.

The requirements that currently use most MOOCs are simple test with a low level of evaluation. These assessment systems is still in its early stages of development, and include assessment methods such as Peer Review, Calibrated Peer Review or Automated Essay Scoring. These systems are currently being studied in depth by MIT Edx (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Read Stephen P. Balfour, ASSESSING WRITING IN MOOCS

The Course (or Learning) Management System

Wordle: CMS/LMSThe CMS/LMS is a technological tool, right?

Simplifying reasoning, we can say that technology and tools are constructed to facilitate and streamline the processes. At its core technology and tools are neutral. Their use depends on who is behind each tool.

A tool can trigger different effects. The result of the action of a hammer depends on whether the hammer is in the hands of a carpenter or a torturer.

Ideological tools?

But this simplification does not reflect the reality of modern tools such as mobile phones, operating systems, web browsers or CMS / LMS. The neutrality of these tools is in question, since they contain elements that guide their final effect. These elements, hidden at first glance, does guide or facilitate a particular type of outcome or include a pedagogical approach “embedded” as is the case of the CMS / LMS.

Lisa puts it well: “Today’s enterprise–scale systems were created to manage traditional teaching tasks as if they were business processes. They were originally designed to focus on instructor efficiency for administrative functions such as grade posting, test creation, and enrolment management.” Lisa M Lane, Insidious Pedagogy (2009)

In general, teachers are not aware of the pedagogical approach built on the CMS / LMS. Most use these web tools like neutral tools. They assume that they, the teachers, have full control of the pedagogical approach.

In my experience in supporting teachers in the use of LMS, I usually start with a session using the basic functions of the LMS. I reinforce the intuitive nature of the presentation and exercises, considering that most of the participating teachers will use a similar approach in the construction of their own content. In this way I build a basic structure, which becomes a template that each participant applied in the construction of their own subject as final work in a constructivist perspective.

My main criticism of the CMS / LMS is related to its inflexibility. The teacher maintains the role of generator of content and learning activities. What is worse, the use of a CMS / LMS as a simple repository of documents dramatically reduces interactivity and communication levels lower than those of the worst face-to-face session.

Is it possible to adapt a CMS / LMS to an innovative pedagogical approach?

Yes, building the course based on a pedagogic model, using for example the Three Stages of “Backward Design” proposal by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins:

  1. Stage 1—Identify Desired Results: What do I want students to learn?
  2. Stage 2—Determine Assessment Evidence: How do I check they have learned? how I measure the result?
  3. Stage 3—Plan Learning Experiences and Instruction: How do I teach to achieve the learning outcomes?

CMS/LMS, to be or not to be?

I use the CMS / LMS, Blackboard and Moodle specifically in existing subjects in my university and for the construction of new subjects, in many cases related to teacher training or projects with universities in other countries, adapting to the educational objectives relevant to the subject and target group.

One of the most important advantages is the flexibility and participants have an advanced knowledge of Web 2.0 tools integrated into the course. This applies to social networks like Twitter and Facebook that students know and use every day on their mobile phones and tablets. Disadvantages highlight the lack of functions, already integrated inside of LMS like Blackboard and Moodle, enabling the delivery of assignments and evaluation in a personalized manner.

My contacts with other groups that implement similar models is invaluable, and allow the sharing of experiences and suggestions, which in this specific case can provide solutions such as:

  • WordPress Plugins (gradebook, submitting assignments, etc.)
  • Independent Web 2.0 Tool (e.g. Engrade)
  • Using an LMS in addition to assignments and assessments (proposed for Lisa Lane).

Regarding Jennifer Demski, Rebuilding the LMS for the 21st Century (2012), I agree that Web 2.0 tools and cloud-based technologies can enhance teaching and student centered learning. , I also agree when Jennifer says that is not enough to provide an LMS to blog or wiki functions. Why re-invent these tools when we can use social networking tools that already exists and that everyone uses?

Renewal or Revolution?

Experts in education for many years are pointing in the line of revolutionizing education in transforming a functional educational model to the industrial revolution that no longer serves us today. To mention a few: Ken Bain, John Biggs, Richard Felder, Jay Mc Tighe, Chomsky, Ken Robinsson. But we can go back in time and remember to Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator and philosopher who was a leading advocate of critical pedagogy.

Why do we tie to an educational model obsolete? What interests prevent their return? It is evident that as the economy, some people and groups are not interested in that change.

Classroom Management and Facilitation


Organizational and procedural measures to keep a class to move along.

I post my selection of the tips from Ko & Rossen, Chapter 11: Classroom Management and Facilitation combined with tips from my own experience. Is my intention to recommend these tips to the online courses I’m managing.

1. Record Keeping and File Management

  • On your own computer, create folders that reflect your course structure with subfolders for course content, Lectures, readings, videos, exercises.
  • Make sure your students specify how to identify the assignments files and mail subject, for example: first name + last initial + assignment name/number.
  • Set up folders for student assignment and messages in your email program and filter incoming messages to any folder automatically.
  • Take notes on the contribution of individual students
  • Create a shared spread sheet on Google docs with other teachers to record students participation.

2. Manage Communication and Manage Your Workload

  • The course primary announcement area will be Twitter
  • A good habit is to make regular announcements on a weekly basis.
  • Ask students to first post a question in the appropriate discussion forum and wait 24 hours for a replay before attempting to email the instructor

3. Encourage Student Participation

  • Create smaller groups of 5-6 students for the purposes of discussion topics and projects.
  • Specify a number of participation activities as required and graded.
  • Use online testing with automatic grading for at least one-third of your assessments.
  • Make at least one individual assignment with a small project group. Consider students use a peer-review rubric to evaluate themselves and other group’s members.
  • One third of the participation grade will be based on the student participation in the discussion forums.
  • Maintain a pattern of frequent visits to the online classroom (at least 2-3 times/week).
  • Prepare a FAQ of questions based on your experience.

4. Balance between Student and Instructor Centered Activities

  • Use Web 2.0 tools to allow students to generate content (Concept Maps, diagrams, short videos or podcast, etc.)

5. Foster Asynchronous Discussion

  • Start the major topic threads yourself
  • Address students by name and encourage students to signal topics and clarify responses.
  • Establish a pattern of frequent response to at least 2-3 times/week (best short but frequently activity)
  • Don’t try to respond to every posting. Encourage students to interact with each other, not only with you.
  • Provide feedback that stimulates higher-level thinking, like “What are the implications of your statement?”, “Does anyone want to add to/dispute/verify that?”.

6. Establish Instructor Facilitated Synchronous Communication

  • Limit each session to a maximum of 1 hour (20-30 minutes of the topic presentation, 20-30 minutes of discussion). Announce the time limit at the start.
  • Post the topics or agenda in advance.

7. Planning Team Teaching Online

  • Team teaching online requires even more advance planning than the face-to-face option.
  • Ask students to send any emailed queries to both instructors.

 

Our Students Online, W.16

This week included a lot of reading I really enjoyed with. These moments are a good time to analyse and draw conclusions. Sometimes just to reflect about this experience, thinking about these surprising results, or trying to find what to do if?.

As Ko&Rossen say in the beginning of Chapter 10: Preparing Students for Online Learning. “learning online can be as exasperating for the student as for the instructor”.

Jakob Nielsen, College Students on the Web (2010)Nielsen

I did like this article, especially in relation with the myths about Student Internet Use:

  • Myth 1: Students Are Technology Wizards
    Students are comfortable with technology: But, except for computer science and other engineering students, students are not technology experts — or “digital natives”.
  • Myth 2: Students Crave Multimedia and Fancy Design
    Students don’t go for fancy visuals and they definitely gravitate toward one very plain user interface: the search engine. They are strongly search dominant.
  • Myth 3: Students Are Enraptured by Social Networking
    Yes, virtually all students keep one or more tabs permanently opened to social networking services like Facebook. But that doesn’t mean they want everything to be social.

Matt Richtel (NYTimes), Growing up Digital, Wired for Distraction (2010)

This article is about the distractions and time-wasters that students have always faced. But in this case is related to computers and cellphones, as a new challenge to focusing and learning.

The article mentions several descriptive examples that illustrate this problem.

Beyond the journalistic aspects, my attention was drawn to the importance of rest periods for brain activity. Brain studies suggest to researchers that periods of rest are critical in allowing the brain to synthesize information, make connections between ideas and even develop the sense of self.

The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2010ECAR

A really detailed study about the using of IT in the academic activity. I want to emphasize some points from the 2010 study that caught my attention:

  • It’s was interesting to confirm the increase of students between 30-50 years old and older, who have used social networking web sites. The percentage of students in the range 18-30 years old increases less and the students between 18-24 years old maintained the same percentage.
  • Another thing I considered interesting but not surprising is that despite the high use of social networks among students, and some integration into their academic experience with classmates, just about 30% had accepted university instructors as friends or contacts.
  • This study shows an overestimated student perception about their adequate preparedness on using IT in academic courses.

The 2012 study provides an excellent summary, with especially revealing aspects:

  • Importance of the combination of blending modalities and engaging learners.
  • Portable devices as individual platforms.
  • IT as a critical component for the academic success and the professional future.
  • Use of multiple communications options.

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQ are relevant for my courses

  • What are your policies for online tutoring?
    Detailed descriptions of our online tutoring policies are available on our online tutoring policies page. Basically, we respond best to short, specific questions.
  • How and where do I submit my coursework?
    You will receive detailed instruction at the start of your module. Information about your coursework and submission methods.
  • How do I get feedback on my work?
    Students are given feedback on the outcome of their performance in coursework and examinations. The information, comments and advice should encourage you to reflect critically on your work and help you to develop academically.
  • How can I prepare for online study?
    Depending on your experience of higher education, we offer a range of resources to help you to prepare. Your study materials will tell you if you need to do any preparatory work before your course or module starts.
  • What support will I get whilst I am studying?
    You will have a tutor. Your tutor will be your first contact for help with any study issues. Tutorial support can include tutorials by phone or by computer conferencing. Your tutor will support you by:
    – guiding you in your studies and helping you to understand the content of the module
    – giving tutorial support
    – giving you advice on setting up a study group with other students
    – providing constructive feedback on your assignments
    – monitoring your progress on the module

 

Week 15: Screencasting and multimedia

To start, I’d like to show a presentation about learning technologies I did in spanish in a conference.

I connected the mind-mapping activity precisely with Concept maps as a graphical tools for organizing and presentation of knowledge. I tried with different tools, some known as CmapTools and others unknown like LucidChart and MindMeister.

The screencast was recorded with Screen-o-Matic, I never used before. I’m surprised with great features and easy to use.

 

As for the polls and surveys I must admit I know several applications like SurveyMonkeyPollDaddy and Surveygizmo. I “converted” a survey I distribute before as a printed document and re-created in SurveyMonkey.

Survey: Why do you Dropout from the online program?

It was hard work, especially, as ever, recording over and over again until I’ve been fairly satisfied.