Posts Tagged ‘online learning; benefits of online learning; overcoming fear of speaking’

Connecting the parts of a hybrid class

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

From Judith McDaniel 

          I do like teaching hybrid classes.  From my perspective, they combine the best of online and face-to-face experiences for my students. 
          I enjoy meeting and interacting with students in person.  Some information is easier to convey in a lecture and powerpoint format when I am there to answer questions, sense what is clear to them and monitor what is not. 
          Online discussion groups once a week also work well for me and the students.  They have three days to read the material associated with the prompt, respond to it, and then agree or disagree with a fellow student.
          One day early in the semester, to give them the feel of a discussion, I used our in class time to divide my 20+ students into two groups.  I set up a proposition based on the article they had read for that day, assigned one group to “pro” and one to “con,” gave them 10 minutes to confer with the group and then started the debate.  Some seemed to enjoy the exercise, a few participated reluctantly, and several said not a word. discussion
          I noticed those students, and when the online discussions began the following week, I monitored them closely, encouraging those who seemed reluctant to advance an opinion.  Within a couple of weeks, everyone participated, everyone was advancing and questioning opinions based on evidence from the reading. 
          At the end of the semester, I did my usual evaluations, online and in person.  As we sat in the classroom, the students talked about how much they had learned from the online discussions, how much they had enjoyed learning one another’s opinions.  “I wish we could have known one another in class as well,” said one woman.  “Yes,” chimed in another.  “I never knew who was who in class.  I’d like to have put a face to the names in my discussion group.”
          Of course. I assumed they all knew one another, they were, after all, all majors in the same department.  But this is a large university and for the most part they were strangers to one another in our face-to-face class.  The next time I teach this class, that won’t happen.  I will make sure we work in groups, match names to faces and opinions. One easy option is to encourage them all to post a photo with their profile on the classlist.
          But it has made me wonder.  What other dots have I failed to connect between the online and in class portions of this course?

High Expectations

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

from Jan Schwartz

3402679343_43636d4958I sat in on a series of 4 webinars, last week conducted by Allen Interactions.  The presenter was Ethan Edwards and he talked about Allen Interaction’s process in developing computer based elearning and training.  He described and demonstrated the concepts of context, challenge, activity and feedback.

I had a number of great take-aways from each of these webinars, but the one that sticks in my mind is not really about course design or content.  It’s about expectations–expectations for student performance and not being afraid to set the performance value at 100%.  This is easier to do online because each student can have multiple chances to learn the material at their own pace.  If a course is properly designed for education, not just knowledge transfer, then the assessment is really not in the quiz, but in the performance of course activities that allow repeated tries with feedback.

In most schools I’ve attended the passing grade was 75%.  Based on 100% being excellent, I think 75% is mediocre.  How many mediocre people do we want in the world, or in our professions?  How can we change expectations in our schools and in our communities of practice, whatever that may be?

Photo credit: Flikr, Steph Anderson