Category Archives: Good Teaching

Setting Your Own Pace and Sequence: Self-Direction in Digital Learning

This blog post accompanies my presentation, Setting Your Own Pace and Sequence: Self-Direction in Digital Learning for National Conference of the United States Distance Learning Association.

PowerPoint presentation: Setting Your Own Pace and Sequence

Description: Self-paced learning isn’t dead! Learn the surprising results of research showing how students are more successful when at least one assignment is done out of the intended sequence. Explore modes of flexible self-directed learning in informal and formal education. Learn and share strategies for student success.

My Research

  • Lim, J. (2016). Predicting successful completion using student delay indicators in undergraduate self-paced online courses. Distance Education, 37(3) , 317-332. doi:10.1080/01587919.2016.1233050
  • Lim, J. (2016). The relationship between successful completion and sequential movement in self-paced distance courses. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(1). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2167

Resources

Bibliography

  • Anderson, T. (2003). Getting the mix right again: An updated and theoretical rationale for interaction. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 4(2). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/149/230
  • Delfino, M., Dettori, G., & Persico, D. (2010). An online course fostering self-regulation of trainee teachers. Psicothema22(2).
  • Lin Hsiao, J. W. D. (1998). The impact of reflective facilitation on middle school students’ self-regulated learning and their academic achievement in a computer-supported collaborative learning environment. (Ph.D.), The University of Texas at Austin, United States — Texas. ProQuest Digital Dissertation database.
  • Mager, R. F., & Clark, C. (1963). Explorations in student-controlled instruction. Psychological Reports, 13(1), 71-76.
  • Panadero, E. (2017). A review of self-regulated learning: Six models and four directions for research. Frontiers in Psychology8, 422. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00422
  • Perna, L. W., Ruby, A., Boruch, R. F., Wang, N., Scull, J., Ahmad, S., & Evans, C. (2014). Moving through MOOCs: Understanding the progression of users in massive open online courses. Educational Researcher, 43(9), 421-432. doi:10.3102/0013189×14562423
  • Roe, K. V., Case, H. W., & Roe, A. (1962). Scrambled versus ordered sequence in autoinstructional programs. Journal of Educational Psychology, 53(2), 101-104. doi:10.1037/h0047185
  • Schraw, G., Crippen, K., & Hartley, K. (2006). Promoting self-regulation in science education: Metacognition as part of a broader perspective on learning. Research in Science Education, 36, 111-139. Retrieved from  doi:10.1007/s11165-005-3917-8

Flipping Your Classroom: Practical Strategies and Ideas

This blog post accompanies my session, Flipping Your Classroom: Practical Strategies and Ideas, presented at the 2018 Nebraska Distance Learning Association Conference.

PPT

Definitions

Video Resources

Open Courses and Resources

Recording and Hosting Videos

Assessments at the Door

Resources for Teaching, Active Learning, and Engagement

Accessibility

For Further Reading

Jazz Up Student Engagement in Your Online Courses

This blog post accompanies my session, Jazz Up Student Engagement in Your Online Courses, presented at the 2018 Nebraska Distance Learning Association Conference.

PPT

 

 

Note that I have deliberately not included tons of sites and ideas because I wanted this to be simple and not too overwhelming. To pique interest.

Learn about Designing Significant Learning Experiences

Learning How to Learn

Caring

Human Dimension

  • Blog or discuss ways in which one’s personal life affects and is affected by the subject via WordPress, VoiceThread, Weebly, Edublogs.
  • Be an ethical, responsible member of a team serving others; tools to support groups: GoogleDrive and similar tools to support collaborative learning.
  • Observation of real-life human experiences related to the content; report back to the class.

Integration

Application

  • Analyze and critique an issue or case study, and organize and present it via Padlet.
  • Apply the skills in context; document ability with video via YouTube, Videoscribe, FlipGrid, or Animoto.
  • Create a recommendation for a corporation in a real-world problem/situation, build and present on GoogleSites or PowToon.

Foundational Knowledge

  • Create and share/narrate a mental map or conceptual structure of major concepts. Bubbl.us or Mindly the app or MindMeister.
  • Create a presentation: Explain & predict concepts and ideas. i.e. Prezi
  • Have students access and interact with primary sources of content – i.e. TedEd, Library of Congress, and more.

Online Tools

Fink Taxonomy and Tools v2 PDF Handout – Permission granted to reprint freely. Please share any adaptations.

What would you add? Feel free to comment and share. 

 

The Power of Collaboration

This blog post accompanies my session, The Power of Collaboration, presented at the 2018 Nebraska Distance Learning Association Conference.

PPT (minus the video clips)

A few recommended blog posts regarding collaboration

COIL: Collaborative Online International Learning

COIL is the higher ed version of what the videoconference projects I was heavily involved in till 2011. Read more from my recent attendance at a COIL Conference where I made connections between the two:

K12 Collaboration Examples Shared

Bibliography

  • Cifuentes, L., & Murphy, K. L. (2000). Promoting multicultural understanding and positive self-concept through a distance learning community: cultural connections. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(1), 69-83.
  • Martinez, M. D., & MacMillan, G. (1998). A Joint Distance Learning Course in American Government (No. ED428005).
  • Owston, R. (2007). Contextual factors that sustain innovative pedagogical practice using technology: an international study. Journal of Educational Change, 8(1), 61-77.
  • Sweeney, M. A. (2007). The use of videoconferencing techniques which support constructivism in K-12 education. Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Warschauer, M. (1997).Computer-mediated collaborative learning: Theory and practice. Modern Language Journal, 81(3), p. 470-481. Also at http://www.gse.uci.edu/person/markw/cmcl.html
  • Yost, N. (2001). Lights, Camera, Action: Videoconferencing in Kindergarten. Paper presented at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference.
  • For more videoconferencing related literature, see my research and dissertation.

 

Fending off the Webinar Woes: Designing for Interest and Interactivity

On Monday, Roxanne Glaser (aka @superdoodlegirl) and I co-presented for USDLA’s National Distance Learning Week webinar series.

The archived recordings are posted online.

An post-webinar online handout is available here. It includes resources that participants shared during the webinar.

Our slide deck is posted as well.

We focused on two major areas, after defining the challenges:

information design

cognitive and human interactivity

i.e. how do you make your message super clear and concise? And, how to you engage minds and provide opportunities to interact with each other and with you?

Check it out! I think you’ll enjoy it!

Tips for Teachers: From Being a New Online Student

Last year about this time, I joined an online fitness program called The Unbreakable Body. While it’s been helpful for my fitness (that’s a different story), I have found myself constantly reflecting on what it has felt like to be out of my element in something new.

Feeling New and Uncertain Online

I think that’s how our online students feel sometimes, particularly their first time.

Unsure. Second guessing myself. Wondering if I’m on the right track. Needing reassurance.

Every time I tried something in the site, I was online asking questions. I felt so much like I was asking stupid questions. Being a pain. Taking up too much time.

Let’s face it, freaked out! Trying to have the courage to face the big unknown. Dipping my toe in the water.

Girl dipping toe in water

Photo Credit: Max Pixel Free Great Picture

The Power of Encouragement

The thing that kept me going was amazing answers to emails! Answers came so quickly! Yes, of course, during business hours. I expect people to sleep. 🙂

The emails always made me smile!

  • They always started with gladness and joy that I was doing the program
  • Sandwiched in the middle was the answer to my question
  • Often the emails ended with something funny; always with an invitation to ask any other questions

How essential was that communication to keep me going!

Translating to Online Teaching

So how does that translate to our online teaching?

I’ve always felt that the first couple weeks in an online course are CRITICAL, and that one cannot OVER COMMUNICATE in the first weeks. Huge encouragement, calling, reminding, making sure everyone knows what to do. It pays off in a significant reduction in questions, confusion, and procrastination towards the end of class. For example:

  • I’m so glad you’ve joined this class.
  • Thank you for writing in with your question.
  • Let’s schedule a phone call and talk this over!
  • Awesome that you’ve gotten started with your studies! Congratulations on the first steps!
  • The sun is shining in my window as I write to you; I pray it’s shining on your studies too.

Be cheery. Be personal. Be you. Encourage.

Fast Response Time

A fast response time means so much. A face to face student can come stand in your office door. An online student only has your phone or email. Get back to them soon. Even if it’s just to say that you’re working on the situation and will get back soon.

As the nervous new online fitness student, I kept thinking and wondering about my question while I was waiting for an answer. A quick response set my mind at ease and sent me continuing down my learning path.

Experience Newness Yourself

If you haven’t experienced learning something new lately, find something new to learn. Doesn’t even have to be online. But feel that new-to-you feeling.

Then keep that in mind as you interact with your online students. Be encouraging!

 

Cowboys and Cats: Herding Instructors (to show presence) Without Getting All Scratched Up

I’m attending the IFWE 2016 conference in San Antonio, TX and live blogging sessions. The bagels and croissants are yummy!

Presented by: Samantha Penney (Indiana State University)

Cats and Cowboys are our roles as faculty and instructional designers. We are the cowboys herding the cats, faculty, to add instructor presence in their courses. We will discuss the cat’s characteristics and how we can use design to help herd them in the direction our trail boss wants.

Samantha is being super creative – as we come in – pull a cat or a cowboy out of a bag. What will we do?? I sense something creative coming!

Of course, she starts off with the Herding Cats video – love that video!

Definition of Instructor Presence

Community of Inquiry is the theory – teaching presence. (Anderson et al 2001; Davis & Roblyer 2005, Sheridan and Kelly 2016) – a sense of social and cognitive presence – how you tie that into the classroom – do students know you are there and are guiding their learning? being responsible to establish

What are Cats Like?

CartoonStock.com

CartoonStock.com

  • independent
  • they don’t care
  • they are opinionated
  • self-centered
  • social
  • hunting
  • balance
  • good at jumping
  • stretchy

What are Faculty Like?

  • Independent
  • Authority
  • Solitary
  • Sense of Ownership
  • Great Balance

Faculty may not always understand why faculty presence is so important.

Another great video for cat herding is the mythbusters video on the cat corral.

Kitty Treats

Interesting discussion around what “treats” can persuade faculty to be present in their online courses…

  • An empty box is so fun for a cat. How can we start instead of pushing a tool or strategy, but ask questions to find out what faculty want to do and what dreams they have.
  • Hearing from colleagues – faculty like to hear from each other
  • Food for workshops
  • Feedback sandwich: positive, negative, positive
  • Online teaching certificate course – with a stipend – requires meeting with an instructional designer
  • Tools like Softchalk etc.
  • Research that supports the best practices – nice overview and collection in this lit review by Chakraborty and Nafukho (2015)
  • An interesting set of roles of being present: facilitator, mentor, devil’s advocate, moderator, repository, etc. Question posed – how can we help take some of these roles off the shoulders of our faculty – ideas included co-teaching, adding resources to help reduce questions from students
  • Faculty want to play with tools at their own pace  – open workshops to play with a tool at their own time with someone on hand in case of challenges

Takeaways

Remember you are a cat also! We all need herding at one time or another. Remember how that feels. No one likes being herded!

The thing that’s clear is that instructional design and online course support is hugely about support and persuasion. And it takes relationship building to be a team between the online design expert and the subject matter expert.

Nice hands-on creative playing, Samantha!

Leave No Student Behind in Cyberspace! Innovative Strategies for Online Teachers

I’m attending the IFWE 2016 conference in San Antonio, TX and live blogging sessions. It’s Thursday morning, and sunny and cool in San Antonio!

Presented by: Kenyatta Phelps (Lone Star College – University Park)

Description: Are you stuck trying to find ways to improve your online classes? This session is designed to provide educators ideas on how to build an inviting learning space for their online classes using discussion forums tool. The presenter will show attendees how to incorporate OER and apps into discussion forums.

Social presence

  • You aren’t just overseeing – you are engaging with the students.
  • Social presence in discussion forums can build community, encourage deep reflection and learning, develop analytical skills, encourage the student to be the teacher/expert, and to have them apply concepts directly.
  • Give the adult learner opportunities to share their professional experience with the course.

Overview of Strategies

  1. Online learning activities need to be aligned to the outcomes.
  2. The discussion forums are assessed as formative assessments.
  3. Ways to get students to develop critical thinking skills – podcasts, questions, debates
  4. Collaborative learning – promote student interaction and interdependency… case studies, brainstorming, study rooms online, clarification of information
  5. Icebreakers – introduction activities – using video & audio
  6. Interactive lectures – micro lectures – short bits – we start online with PowerPoint “I won’t judge, that’s where we start, but it’s time to expand”
  7. Student feedback – ask students for feedback about the assignments, the assessments, the course, ask for feedback in a fun and engaging way
  8. Game-based learning – simulations, adventures

Specific Strategies

When students email you a lot, it’s because you’re not clear. Need more specifics added to the course if you are getting too many emails with questions about the course.

Include video clips within the discussion forum – and then set up very specifically what the students are supposed to do and when to post etc.

Transcripts for video clips – accessibility.

All Readable – A tool she uses for resources – like transcripts of videos etc – that allows for annotation etc. – this is a cool site for discussing right on top of the text…

Set up a scenario – embedded in real world – and have students work on that concept… i.e. scenarios from a work situation where they have to decide if these scenarios are ethical or not; using the group feature in the LMS discussion forum

Give students tools like MindMeister to do brainstorming activities

Use a whiteboard tool to have students share short answers to different things (embedding Padlet will work for this too)

Keep the tools within the LMS – but you can do that by embedding things

Use Animoto to create a video to introduce yourself (Soundcloud for audio) – hearing a voice makes you feel real to the students

There are poems and books and speeches in Spotify as well as music… can embed in the LMS for your students… (students will have to get an account though – but you can have them do that at the beginning of class); presidential speeches are in there too!

iTunes U is another great source of free lectures and content (but you can’t embed it; she tries to keep everything inside the LMS)

NPR recordings and podcasts (she teaches sociology)

Screencast-o-matic to record SPSS tutorials

She uses Google Forms for an “exit ticket” – asking students what they learned in class today – if they have any questions. Very quick feedback ending that day/session/module. Nice idea! With a catchy thumbs up/down graphic.

Padlet for thoughts on the course – they can put their name or not – and they can see what everyone else says. This takes an open and courageous teacher!

Polleverywhere for polling. Can be embedded in your LMS (but it’s too small – so she uses Padlet more)

Easy way to bring in social presence – ask them who their favorite musician is and why – put it in Padlet

Audience member has a final project where students create a digital quilt to synthesize their learning in the course…

Game: Playspent – for students learning about poverty

Rice University’s CSI Forensics adventures

Create a discussion forum for “study room” or “student cafe” – create a place for students to talk to each other. She has a photo with the discussion forum to make it more inviting and friendly.

HaikuDeck – another presentation tool

Takeaways

Her specific Padlet strategies were a big hit!

The idea of embedding each tool / resource so that students are all in one place in the LMS.

Blended Learning and Flipped Classrooms: Practical Strategies and Ideas

Today I’m presenting for the faculty of Burman University in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. This post has the accompanying resources.

Blended Learning PPT

Andrews Resources

Definitions

Video Resources

Open Courses and Resources

Recording and Hosting Videos

Assessments at the Door

Resources for Teaching, Active Learning, and Engagement

Accessibility

For Further Reading

Reducing Procrastination with Frequent Engagement

overdue task list

Photo by AJ Gulyas. Creative Commons Attribution License.

Lately I’ve been thinking about procrastination in online courses. Procrastination can be caused by so many things – feeling inadequate for the task, a sense that the task is hard, deciding that other things are more important.

Have you noticed in your email habits that you tend to answer the easy questions, but if someone asks a hard question, you put it off?

It’s easy to procrastinate on just about anything, but doesn’t it seem like online learning exaggerates our procrastination? We get done what’s in front of us, what’s staring us in the face. But our distance learning is online, in the cloud, on our app. Easily ignored. Easily put off for another day.

What does it take to keep our distance learning right in our students’ faces?

Combating Procrastination in Distance Learning Industries

It’s an issue in all different kinds of distance learning, and there are a variety of ways to combat procrastination:

  • In mobile learning, apps like DuoLingo notify the user daily with a reminder to practice their learning.
  • In online courses, for both K12 or higher education, teachers can design frequent, low-stakes grading, using quizzes, practice quizzes, or short assignments.
  • In corporate training modules, content could be broken up into smaller, micro-lessons, with content and an engagement activity included in lesson.
  • In healthcare, remote patient monitoring can be embedded with regular tips and mentoring to assist patients with improving their health, such as Tactio Health, an app that provides digital coaching along with self-monitoring and/or remote monitoring.
  • In videoconference learning, such as courses or enrichment by content providers, learners probably don’t procrastinate during the live lesson. That’s the beauty of live, synchronous learning. However, there may be assignments or pre-work that is easily put off. Small, easy to manage, learning bites and activities can reduce procrastination or disengagement.

Examples of Frequent Engagement

So how do we design frequent engagement, and low-stakes grading into our distance learning experiences? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Feedback and monitoring. Tullis and Benjamin (2011) suggest that students need frequent feedback to help them learn to monitor their learning. If they have a clear understanding of which concepts they understand, and which need more study, learners can adjust their study time to spend more time on the concepts and skills that need to improve. So design frequent assessments that inform learners on their progress.
  • Daily quizzing. Wesp (1986) suggests for personalized instruction (isn’t all distance learning personalized learning at some level?) that daily quizzes can help students keep on track with making progress on their studies, particularly if the quizzes are designed in such a way that they don’t have a negative effect on poorer students’ grades.
  • Informal writing. Besides regular quizzing, informal writing can engage students regularly with the content, and keep them focused on their learning. In addition, Warnock (2013) suggests that frequent grading gives student confidence and keeps the communication flow between teacher and student. Informal writing can include journals, reading responses, one minute responses, or muddiest point paragraphs.

Now that you’ve considered ways to reduce procrastination in distance learning, what are you going to do about it? Don’t procrastinate! Pick one small idea and add it to the learning design you are working on today! Or this weekend. Or next week. …

Comment Invitation

Please feel free to comment below. What other suggestions would you give for reducing procrastination? What do you see as the benefits of frequent engagement? Are there any examples where you believe these ideas don’t work? Please share.

References

Tullis, J. G., & Benjamin, A. S. (2011). On the effectiveness of self-paced learning. Journal of Memory and Language, 64(2), 109-118. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2010.11.002

Warnock, S. (2013). Frequent, low-stakes grading: Assessment for communication, confidenceFaculy Focus.

Wesp, R. (1986). Reducing procrastination through required course involvement. Teaching of Psychology, 13(3), 128-130. doi: 10.1207/s15328023top1303_6