The use of online discussion in both blended and fully online courses has made clear that those exchanges are more productive if they are structured, if there’s a protocol that guides the interaction. This kind of structure is more important in the online environment because those discussions are usually asynchronous and minus all the nonverbal cues that facilitate face-to-face exchanges. But I’m wondering if more structure might benefit our in-class discussions as well.
Students struggle with academic discourse. They have conversations (or is it chats?) with each other, but not discussions like those we aspire to have in our courses. And although students understand there’s a difference between the two, they don’t always know exactly how they’re supposed to talk about academic content when discussing it with teachers and classmates. Would providing more structure provide that clarity and make the value of discussions more obvious to students?
One of the implicit aims of higher education is to enable students to become better judges of their own work. This paper examines whether students who voluntarily engage in self-assessment improve in their capacity to make those judgements. The study utilises data from a web-based marking system that provides students with the opportunity to assess themselves on each criterion for each assessment task throughout a programme of study. Student marks were compared with those from tutors to plot changes over time. The findings suggest that overall students’ judgements do converge with those of tutors, but that there is considerable variation across achievement levels, with weaker students showing little improvement. Whilst the study is limited by the exigencies of voluntary participation and thus consequential gaps in the data set, it shows how judgement over time can be demonstrated and points to the potential for more systematic interventions to improve students’ judgements. It also illustrates the use of the web-based marking and feedback software (ReView) that has considerable utility in aiding self-assessment research. READ MORE
By Maryellen Weimer, PhD
I’ve been rereading some of the research on student self-assessment and thinking about how students develop these skills. They are important in college, all but essential in most professions, but they’re rarely taught explicitly. We assume (or hope) they’re the kind of skills student can pick up on their own, even though most of us see evidence to the contrary. Many students, especially beginning ones, routinely overestimate their ability and underestimate the difficulty of course content. How often did I hear this comment about my courses: “A communication course? Gotta be a piece of cake. I’ve been talking since I was 3.”
The research corroborates what we see in our classes. READ MORE
This is the first in a three-part series on Gamifiying Your Instruction. The series is written by Karl Kapp, professor of instructional technology and internationally known author of two books on gamification, both co-authored by ASTD. Imagine you have just been assigned the task of “gamifying” some of your training program. Where do you start? How do you begin to think about using game-elements and game-thinking to create instruction that is engaging? How do you get started? READ MORE
A few weeks ago, four leading lights of the learning business – Michael Allen, Julie Dirksen, Clark Quinn and Will Thalheimer – released a call to arms. Their Serious eLearning Manifesto laments the sorry state of eLearning and asks those who agree to sign a manifesto pledging to commit to producing eLearning that is relevant, performance focused, contextual and interactive. The basic delineation between what is and what should be can be seen in this breakdown they supply in their manifesto:
Linear, click-and-read courses are pretty common and usually held up as the worst of online training and cause of boring courses because they’re mostly information dumps with little focus on how the learner can actually use the course content.
They may be the worst of elearning. Or perhaps not. Let’s review some common reasons why these types of online courses exist and what we can do to fix them so that you’re not producing boring courses.
READ MORE How to Avoid the Curse of Boring Courses
Every year seems to bring us new technologies that once fit more neatly into science fiction stories than reality. Augmented reality sounds pretty futuristic, but with the help of mobile technology, it’s made its way into everyday life for some of the population. Read More –
I remember with horror and embarrassment the first multiple-choice exam I wrote. I didn’t think the students were taking my course all that seriously, so I decided to use the first exam to show just how substantive the content really was. I wrote long, complicated stems and followed them with multiple answer options and various combinations of them. And it worked. Students did poorly on the exam. I was pleased until I returned the test on what turned out to be one of the longest class periods of my teaching career. I desperately needed the advice that follows here.
Flipped classrooms are more common in the traditional educational classroom setting – and yielding some pretty interesting results. Here are some results from Clintondale High School near Detroit:
- Before Flipping: 50% of freshmen failed English
- After Flipping: 19% of freshman failed English
- Before Flipping: 44% of freshman failed Math
- After Flipping: 13% of freshman failed Math
This year’s British Education and Training Technology Show, known as Bett, took place last month and marked the 30th anniversary of this behemoth of the conference calendar.
More than 35,000 delegates packed into the ExCel Centre in East London along with 700 exhibitors hoping to catch the attention of those charged with kitting out their institution with the latest technology solutions – from big hitters such as Samsung, Google and Microsoft, to small start-ups hoping to get their products noticed for the first time.
UNC pharmacy professor Russ Mumper “flipped” his Basic Pharmaceutics II classroom, then conducted a study that shows a significant improvement in learning outcomes.
The results are described in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education article, which includes a link to the study results to be published in February 2014 in Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges. (READ MORE)
Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education
Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education — the best teachers and schools don’t exist where they’re needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching.
Educational researcher Sugata Mitra is the winner of the 2013 TED Prize. His wish: Build a School in the Cloud, where children can explore and learn from one another. Full bio »
By Liz Boltz Ranfeld
A few weeks ago, I had to accompany my husband out of town for a week of medical tests. That meant my presence was required in two places at once: in my classroom and at the hospital. I didn’t want to cancel classes, so I decided to try something new. I arranged to meet with each of my students online for about 15 minutes to discuss the first draft of their first composition paper.
read more….Why I Love Conferencing Online with My Traditional Classroom Students
Not all online courses are created from scratch. Many—if not most—are online versions of courses that have previously been taught face-to-face. In these cases, where an instructor or instructional designer is adapting an existing face-to-face course for online delivery, assessments already exist.
But to be effective in an online environment, the assessments that worked perfectly fine in a face-to-face classroom may need to be tweaked or even replaced. Why? Because the online teaching and learning environment presents the following seven challenges to traditional assessment implementations…
“Involvement on a community of pedagogical discourse is more than a voluntary option for individuals who seek support and opportunities for growth. It is a professional obligation that educational institutions should expect of those who teach–for the privatization of teaching not only keeps individuals from growing in their craft but fosters institutional incompetence as well. By privatizing teaching, we make it hard for educational institutions to become more adept at fulfilling their mission.
The growth of any craft depends on shared practice and honest dialogue among the people who do it. We grow by private trial and error, to be sure–but our willingness to try, and fail, as individuals is severely limited when we are not supported by a community that encourages such risks. When any function is privatized, the most likely outcome is that people will perform it conservatively, refusing to stray far from the silent consensus on what ‘works’–even when it clearly does not” (Palmer, 1998, p. 144).
Palmer, P. J. (1998). The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Check out the webinars from the Center for Language Education and Research (CLEAR) at Michigan State University. This group offers a number of free Interactive Apps for language educators.
Also check out their YouTube channel with introductions to the many RIAs they offer FREE