This course is scheduled to be designed in the summer and taught and evaluated in Fall 2006.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Thoughts on Innovate Readings

Thoughts on the readings:

The Distancing Question in Online Education Glenn Russel http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=13

The whole idea of addressing the affective dimension in online education is very important. UDL principles make this a central component to the design. The article talks about the different things the instructor can do to make the connection with the student, including office hours and discussions, but I also think that the presentation of the information can have an affective response. This idea is making me wonder about my idea of using Spanish in the assignments. I don't want any student to feel insulted because they think that the message the Spanish is sending is that they can't understand English. Although I know that the students who really need the translations would be the recent immigrants who struggle with English. Even though many of our students speak Spanish, I am not sure how many can read Spanish fluently and if the translations would be of any help. Although composition stresses communication and the objective of the translations would be to provide support for students who many not understand the assignment, I wonder about the politics of using Spanish in an English course. I wonder if I would be able to do an informal survey of the students in current composition classes and if this would give information to use my decision.

Having support material readily available can also have an affective response on the student. Can they find something easily? If something is confusing, does something on the page help to clarify that? I think that the audio and video components can help with this. They will not be presenting new information but presenting the information in a new format may help the students understand the assignment better. Having materials such as external links to helpful sites and sample papers can help students increase their sense of efficacy.

Breaking the Barriers of Time and Space:More Effective Teaching Using e-Pedagogy by Peshe Kuriloff http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=64

The authors mention the "rhythm of twice weekly assignments to keep students attention but not overburden" and I have to think about how the deadlines themselves can keep students engaged especially if they are working collaboratively. One way to do that is to have regular deadlines and send email reminders. The constant contact from the instructor is important.
I would like to provide the students with an "opportunity for self expression" as the author suggests so I have to research how WebCt can help with the student web pages. The ideas of "student mentors to provide guides for peer reviews" I thought was interesting but I'm wondering what did the mentor students get out of it. Was this a service activity? were they paid? I also like the ideas of "making all writing and feedback public" I agree that being able to see everyone's papers and the types of comments which they receive can help each student with their own writing. It can teach them to avoid some errors which they still have not committed and it can show them the type of things that their classmates are doing right so they can try and emulate that.

Using Instant Messaging for Collaborative Learning:A Case Study by Susana M. Sotillo http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=170

I had thought about the idea of using webcams. I am not going to use this technology this time around. Maybe as they become more popular and as become convinced that this would not be an added burden to the students then I may rethink it.

Designing Instructional Articles in Online Courses for Adult Learners by D. Verne Morland and Herbert Bivens http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=8

This article covered much of what I have already read elsewhere only that they contextualize it by providing their own exaple of an instructional article. The key ideas are that pages shoud include concise information which communicates content knowledge. In other words, provide a quick review of the readings from the text. The four components of androgogy which must be presented in each instructional article are: 1) why does the student need to know this--"what's in it for me"; 2) students learn experientially--tie it back to thier lives; 3) prefer learning as problem solving--want to achieve something tangible; 4) believe the topic is of immediate value--"how is this going to help me now" The authors suggest that four type of activities are used case studies, role playing, simulations, self-evaluations. This will require some rethinking of my assignments.
Another two things to remember that ties back to everything else is that students are task-oriented and self-directed. This means they need something to do and the flexibility to get it done their own way. The something to do needs to tie back directly to the course objectives and the form of assessment must be clear so that that can inform their methodology.

The Future of Course Redesign and the National Center for Academic Transformation:An Interview with Carol A. Twigg by William H. Graves and Carol A. Twigg http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=218&action=article

I thought this was interesting and the article lead me to two composition course redesigns which I'm going to look at. They are Brigham Young University: English Composition http://www.thencat.org/PCR/R3/BYU/BYU_Overview.htm and Tallahassee Community College: College Composition http://www.thencat.org/PCR/R3/TCC/TCC_Overview.htm.

9 Comments:

Blogger Rich said...

Typically, when thinking about affective think about student:teacher, student:student, and student:content. Ways to make each one of these relationships stronger, online, is important. I suspect using Spanish to reinforce ideas, or to provide different sorts of examples, will be useful. That way non-Spanish speakers won't be at a disadvantage, yet the material won't be redundant. As it is an institution that is English, you still have to keep that is the primary, obviously.

You might save some room for Spanish replies to English questions, too. That is, if a student is unclear about how something grammatically or stylistically works, you might explain it some in Spanish as a comparison. In Spanish we do X, and you can hear how that works. Well, in English it works like Y, and here's how that sounds too.

Online courses work outside time and space. And, typically, with students who are bridging the gap between adolescents and adulthood, they need time and space boundaries. We use asynchrounous and synchronous in our class; there are some spaces. There are some timelines. But, they're flexible, too. This is purposeful. Providing something routinely, like every Tuesday night X is due, every Thursday night Y is due...helps to maintain focus.

I really like the idea of webcams as support tools, but other than that, they may not be needed.

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