Teague's Tech Treks - 10 Rep Learning

Learning Technology & Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague

By

Adjuncts’ Participation in Online Discussion Forum Discourse

 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9

The word, “Hospitality” may be considered quaint and belonging to a “vintage” past, but it holds great meaning of invitational welcome. Although originally referring to welcoming others to our homes, might “hospitality” extend to online venues as well?

In other words, Is it possible to practice hospitality in online environments?

Growing up in California, there was always someone(s) arriving for a visit. Hospitality meant that there was someone ready to greet, something ready to eat, and something ready to do for all who came to visit. At least two out of three of those same principles are embedded throughout the GCU participation manual and applicable for online courses, especially in the following:

Ready to Greet/Something to Do:
1.) “Active engagement through weekly discussion forum contributions on 4 out of 7 days or 5 out of 7 days” (p. 8) provides both the academic and social support needed for students’ active engagement (Dolan, 2011; Hrastinski, 2009) and social connectedness (Diep, et al., 2018) in our online courses.

(2.) “Post an introduction to the Class Wall. Respond to all student introductions on the Class Wall” (p. 4) and accompanied by the Class Wall Introduction Template (p. 4-5) provides a Ready to Greet and Something for Students to Do as they long on to the course with a helpful scaffold template so students do not have to wonder how to succeed.

(3.) Although “Responsiveness” is listed in the Classroom Management section (p.5) of the Online Faculty Policy Manual, it is also an important component of online invitational hospitality and being engaged online. Responding quickly to students’ posts is a very important facilitation technique throughout a course but especially in the opening days of class.

Responsiveness is also imperative for technology issues that may arise for students. I believe in specific bread crumbs to help students log-in and participate so, in my online courses, I create a “Help Forum” with my “Course F.A.Q.’s” which are clear, concise instructions for issues that may arise or have happened in previous courses. Important information, such as my contact information, the course calendar, due dates, assessment rubrics, and assignment checklists provide necessary scaffolds that bolster students’ comfort levels and communicate hospitality.

I intently watch the course forums, my email, and students’ responses to my Introduction Forum to make sure that there is active presence and discussion. I respond to every student by name and I pick out threads of commonality or interesting items in their introduction. I asked students to also reply to each other by name and sign every post. These practices continues throughout the course. Sometimes, intensive guided practice is needed for students who are new to online courses or to the LMS. Lately, I’ve found that a quick Skype or Zoom session where I can share my screen with students is very effective.

Additional Something to Do: Participating with and involving students in building online collegiality is a catalyst for constructivist communities of practice online, (Lave and Wenger, 1998; Wellman and Gulia, 2018). Toward this goal, I create online Scavenger Hunts in Google Docs and short 30-second games in Quia or Educaplay to encourage light-hearted course and colleague participation.

The adult learners we serve are busy, over-scheduled, and often completing course assignments late at night and on the weekends. As instructors, we when follow engaging participation policies, we invite them into a safe, accessible, welcome space, and we set the stage for invitational learning. Through these behaviors, we approach the valuable goal of practicing online, invitational hospitality.

Your Turn: Do you think it is possible to create hospitable online spaces and/or online discussion forums?

If so, would you share your ideas?

 

References:

Diep, A. N., Zhu, C., Cocquyt, C., De Greef, M., & Vanwing, T. (2018). Adult learners’ social connectedness and online participation: the importance of online interaction quality. Studies in Continuing Education, 1-21.

Grand Canyon University (2013). Online Faculty Training Policy Manual: Retrieved from: https://cirt.gcu.edu/documents/frc/on_demand_workshops/mentor_recertificatoin/online_faculty_policy_manual_031513_v3_1pdf

Hrastinski, S. (2009). A theory of online learning as online participation. Computers & Education52(1), 78-82.

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice. Retrieved June, 9(2).

Wellman, B., & Gulia, M. (2018). Net-surfers don’t ride alone: Virtual communities as communities. In Networks in the global village (pp. 331-366). Routledge eBook.

 

By

Nerd Research Minute – August 6 – Reducing Distance Online

Repost from Education Dive: 

Reducing ‘distance’ is key to online learner success at this link: https://www.educationdive.com/news/reducing-distance-is-key-to-online-learner-success/521166/

Responsiveness and individualized feedback addressing learners by name are just two of many practices that build a bridge that erases distances in distance learning.  Methods to close the “transactional distance,” or the space felt between a faculty member and a student in the learning process, include opportunities for in-class dialog, peer-to-peer video, text exchange, and/or exposure to campus culture.

 

Source:

Carter, J. (April, 2018). Reducing ‘distance’ is key to online learner success. Education Dive blog, retrieved from: https://www.educationdive.com/news/reducing-distance-is-key-to-online-learner-success/521166/

 

~~~

More Nerd Research Minutes

By

Teachers Tell All: Ten Tips for Online Course Success

By

Curriculum Chunks Optimize Learning

Chunking content guides learning through content scaffolds organized in logical progression.  Our brains process information best through progressive and logical sequencing. Which is why in a play, Act I always preceds Acts 2, 3 and so on.

Karla Gutierrez at Shift’s eLearning Blog posted three ideas to consider when “chunking” eLearning content:

Consideration #1: Rank and prioritize content

Begin with your curriculum standards or Common Core standards. Then, Gutierrez writes, “organize information in a logical and progressive way by defining modules, then sections and finally topics. Start by separating conceptually related content in large pieces and use them as modules. Divide modules into smaller pieces, these will become your sections. Continue this process until the content divided into themes or topics.”

Consideration #2: Organize the content on each screen appropriately

Transition from one content point to the next. I think it is important to embed “back” and “next’ arrows for easier flow. I recently reviewed a course without these simple-to-add tools and the cumbersome navigation was distracting.  Gutierrez explains, “The truth is learners tend to scan content…they don’t ready 100% of what is on the screen. By chunking information you can get them to learn what it’s really important. So remember: start with basic and broad concepts and build upon them. If a screen seems to have a lot of text, strategically cut it into 2 different slides.”

Gutierrez provides 9 tips for organizing information at screen level:

  1. Organize content on the screen clearly, and in a logical flow.
  2. Place suitable amount of information (Short paragraphs of no more than 3 to 4 sentences is recommended)
  3. Use white space appropriately to increase the screen’s visual appeal.
  4. Preferably each paragraph should communicate a single thought or idea.
  5. Avoiding long and complex sentences is a must.
  6. The transition from one ‘chunk’ to another should be smooth.
  7. Use bullets and numbering to convey the main points.
  8. Break content into steps if possible.
  9. Rewrite, reorganize and synthesize your content when moving classroom based content online.

Consideration #3: Think in terms of the students working memory

Gutierrez cautions, “Remember that learners DO NOT want courses loaded with text-heavy, time-consuming content. Therefore, don’t include all content that is in front of you. Ask yourself first if you really need to include all the information.”

Once you determine what is the most relevant, add links to the remaining or extension content or create an infographic to convey information. Also, query students as the course progresses to ascertain their level of comfort and mastery of the information provided. This will greatly add to the effectiveness and longetivity of the inevitable re-writes “tweaks” of your course content.

3 Considerations when Chunking eLearning Content

By

Hybrid Courses Preferred

Research validates what teachers already know: integrated instruct makes a difference in learning.
Source: University of Houston. “College Students Score Higher In Classes That Incorporate Instructional Technology Than In Traditional Classes.” ScienceDaily 25 March 2008. 31 March 2008 <http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/03/080324125154.htm>.

Skip to toolbar