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.

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