Posts filed under 'Teaching and Learning'
Wow - Mohawk was buzzing this past week. Unfortunately, I couldn’t participate in everything, but CEDP and Apps for Health were very worthwhile. Kudos to Roberta Burke, Christy Taberner and their crews and to Valerie Mitanoff and Jenna Pettit for keeping the the communication flowing.
At CEDP, it was great to meet faculty from multiple colleges who were eager and/or willing to overcome fear to experiment with educational technology to meet students’ need for differentiated instruction as well as align to their institutions’ strategies. Their questions and concerns were similar to those at Mohawk. They were a good reminder to double check understanding on a top concern.
- A colleague at a sister college had to undergo an audit from Access Copyright. A good reminder that Copyright Law and attribution | academic integrity apply in online learning environments. Before, you would submit your courseware through the Book Store | Media Services where adherence to copyright was confirmed. But with many course resources living in eLearn@Mohawk, there is no process. To assist, the new templates for eLearn@Mohawk added a Resources sub-heading on its Module Overview page. Tracking the resources you use in each module will help cover you if copyright questions arise. And why not model proper citing for students and populate the Resources section in APA format! Check out Mohawk’s updated Copyright policy and connect with your Library with any questions or concerns.
Apps for Health’s panel presentation on Gamification sparked some thinking - the very idea that ‘gamification’ may be ephemeral. The three panelists of game designers proposed as sound instructional design is better understood, the reference to gaming will fall away. Structured activities that engage, challenge, and assess progress define the current buzzword, gamification, and have always defined sound instructional design.
A great observation by Andrea Bielecki (Invivo and Spongelab) highlighted further merging or more holistic thinking. A few years ago, a company may have considered its marketing strategy and then how a web presence might be factored into the mix. Nowadays, strategies would include all media - a company wouldn’t dream of excluding online in its initial strategy and budgeting.
I wonder how far are we from experiencing all players in education, considering the online requirements in teaching and learning and planning accordingly from the start? Rather than designing and developing a course and then figuring out what to put online, considering that online learning and the use of educational technology is just now part of our learning ecology. With this realization, the necessary players - SMEs, technologists, and designers - can come to the table and be given the time to collaborate and build (education’s strategy and budget) the best teaching and learning experiences.
May 21st, 2013
Plagiarism appears rampant at secondary and post-secondary institutions. TurnItIn has recently released interesting research on a number of facets relating to academic integrity. Here’s an example:
- The Sources in Student Writing: Post-secondary: Captures information and feedback from 900 institutions worldwide, it presents a comprehensive perspective on the top sites used in students’ writing. From this infographic, you can connect to the full white paper.
To assist you in communicating plagiarism issues to your students, TurnItIn has re-crafted the spectrum of the 10 most common cases into student-friendly language and graphics. With a Creative Commons license to re-use freely for educational purposes, consider adding it to eLearn as a springboard to discussion or individual review. You can also read the entire 19 page report here.
A final aid in your efforts to teach students academic integrity is an interactive rubric to assist with your assessment of their understanding of resource evaluation. The SEER rubric, developed in collaboration with educators, has 5 criteria and 5 levels of performance ready to go! Because of its Creative Commons license, I was able to re-build it in eLearn@Mohawk. If you would like to associate this rubric with your Dropbox folder(s), please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you are keen to inject more academic integrity activities and safeguards into your courses, stay tuned to the CTL PD calendar. There will be sessions targeting plagiarism and academic integrity during June and August - months the college’s focus turns to quality and innovation.
Until then, don’t hesitate to contact your colleagues in CTL with any questions or concerns.
April 26th, 2013
Momentum is building with blended learning and CTL supports this momentum in many ways. Add a series of blog posts providing useful distinctions for Mohawk on the terminology surrounding blended learning to the support. Communication and collaboration require we come to the table with common understanding
This week’s crib sheet focuses on two communication points:
1. communicating blended learning in your course(s)
2. eLearning versus eLearn@Mohawk
Communicating blended learning in your courses
Mohawk faculty provide engaging and interactive learning environments in both physical and virtual spaces. But how are we communicating the difference to peers and most importantly to students?
Perhaps a post-work analogy works best. You decide to have a mixed drink after a long week of work e.g. gin and tonic. You pour the gin and add the tonic to create your libation or blended drink.
You decided to mix your course delivery. You design and develop f2f activities for the physical classroom. You design and develop virtual | online activities for the virtual classroom. Combining them creates your blended or hybrid course. Ideally the f2f and virtual complement similarly to the gin and tonic and are equally refreshing to the consumer!
Consider how this analogy differs from the following: “We meet f2f (gin) on Tuesdays, but Friday is your blended class | learning”. Friday is actually the virtual or online learning (tonic) for your blended course.
eLearning versus eLearn@Mohawk
With CTL as your go-to spot for assistance with both eLearning and eLearn@Mohawk, understanding the differences between these two terms really helps us to help you. We can direct you more efficiently to the right CTL contact or team.
Mohamed Ally from Athabasca University, in Theory and Practice of Online Learning, provides a helpful definition:
“the use of the Internet to access learning materials; to interact with the content, instructor, and other learners; and to obtain support during the learning process, in order to acquire knowledge, to construct personal meaning, and to grow from the learning experience” (2008, p. 3).
This builds on the earlier explanation by Bonk and Reynolds (1997) stating eLearning:
“must create challenging activities that enable learners to link new information to old, acquire meaningful knowledge, and use their metacognitive abilities; hence, it is the instructional strategy and not the technology that influences the quality of learning” (p. 171).
This is Mohawk’s branding of Desire2Learn’s learning management system (LMS). It is the college-wide platform supporting your teaching and your students’ learning. For more information on D2L’s learning suite, check out this info page.
Connect with eLearning Services in CTL for more information. And stay tuned for more crib notes!
Ally, M. (2008). Foundations of educational theory for online learning. In T. Anderson (Ed.) Theory and practice of online learning. Edmonton: AU Press.
Bonk, C. J., & Reynolds, T. H. (1997). Learner-centered web instruction for higher-order thinking, teamwork, and apprenticeship. In B. H. Khan (Ed.), Web-based instruction (pp. 167-178). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.
March 8th, 2013
We know from learning style theory that there is no one best way for students to learn. The “Four Stages of Learning a New Skill” initially developed by Noel Burch provides a model for learning. This model of moving from incompetence to competence helps us to identify the instructional supports required to assist someone with learning a new skill and building confidence.
1. Unconscious Incompetence – One doesn’t know what they don’t know.
Inability to see the usefulness or value of the skill is characteristic of the first stage of learning a new skill. The individual doesn’t know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. The individual must understand the value of the new skill before he/she will be able to move onto the next stage.
Teaching Strategy: One of the first principles of adult learning theory is to demonstrate the relevance of this skill in the real world. Build interest and understanding. You might use a case study, scenario or recent article that depicts why this skill is important in their field of study.
2. Conscious Incompetence – feels overwhelmed by learning the new skill and lacks confidence. Oh my, now they know what they don’t know.
Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in overcoming the deficit. The individual may feel overwhelmed by the learning of the new skill.
Teaching Strategy: Connect new learning to something they already know. Build confidence. Make learning appealing: gaming strategies may make learning fun. Sequence the learning, break it down, and outline the steps or parts. Will you move from simple to complex or from unified picture to specific parts? Provide support: use study partners or collaborative learning projects, and discussion groups.
3. Conscious Competence – the new skill requires effort and concentration.
The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill requires effort and concentration. There is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.
Teaching Strategy: The skill may be learned incrementally. Provide opportunities for practice, reflection and continuous feedback. What worked well? What might I do differently next time? Give feedback to others.
4. Unconscious Competence – the new skill is done with ease - mastery!The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task.
Teaching Strategy: Provide opportunities to apply this learning in new situations, to teach others; present on a panel, make a poster, or create an occasion to apply learning in an authentic situation that would benefit others. Reward and celebrate excellence.
March 7th, 2013
Do you use any of these types of assignments: essays, projects, performances, products? If so, then you need a rubric for grading and giving feedback. A rubric clearly identifies your expectations for performance, clarifies grading, reduces subjectivity and provides consistency between raters. A well designed rubric means never having to say you are sorry.
There are basically two types of rubrics: (Click on the University of Waterloo link to see a sample of each type).
· Holistic rubrics group several different assessment criteria and classify them together under grade headings (see Appendix A).
· Analytic rubrics, on the other hand, separate different assessment criteria and address them comprehensively. (See Appendix B). This is important if the criteria have different weightings.
There are 3 steps for creating a rubric.
1. Decide what criteria or essential elements must be present in the learner’s work to ensure that it is high in quality.
2. Decide how many levels of achievement you will include on the rubric.
3. For each criterion or essential element of quality, develop a clear description of performance at each achievement level.
Guidelines for Using Rubrics:
Develop a rubric for each assignment.
Give students a copy of the rubric in advance.
When you mark the assignment, circle or highlight the achieved level of performance for each criterion.
Optimize educational technology to assist with grading.
Include any additional comments that do not fit within the rubric’s criteria.
Decide upon a final grade for the assignment based on the rubric.
For more information on creating rubrics go to the Mohawk College Libguides.
February 28th, 2013
Creating lively discussions in an important active learning strategy.
This free Facilitator’s Guide has some great tips for conducting lively discussion (http://www.workshopexercises.com/DiscussionTips.htm)
A. Create an attitude for discussion
e.g. Before your session begins, strike up personal conversations with individuals. This forms a connection that will help support discussion later.
B. Twenty discussion tips
e.g. Set up your discussion question with a story, problem, challenge, definition, etc. Then lead naturally into the question. Don’t hit them cold turkey with a question.
C. Facilitator Response to stimulate participation
e.g. Deflect answers given to you to participants in the group.
D. Useful Discussion Bridges
e.g. “Can you think of a situation where this would not be true?”
E. Facilitator Movement to Encourage Discussion
e.g. If you ask a discussion question and you don’t get a response, move to another spot in the room and rephrase the question.
January 24th, 2013
This week, Tony Bates of Contact North, released the first report for 2013 on online learning.
The framework he used was 5 wishes for the future of online learning. See if his wishes align with your own.
WISH 1: FOCUS ON PEDAGOGY
According to Bates, online learning reached its tipping point in 2012. We are ripe for a shift from should we be teaching and learning online to how do we design and deliver learning experiences that are powerful, memorable, engaging, and inspiring.
WISH 2: SERVICE STANDARDS
While help-desks are expected to expedite technical issues in real time, academic time appears, at least in some cases, to be untouched by the fast culture of the internet. Commitment to provide and sustain support for students at all points of access - whether they are learning and engaging with college on campus or a county away.
WISH 3: STRONG FOCUS ON “GATEWAY” COURSES
This one may be the most disruptive, but also the farthest down the road; you may want to sit down. Access for all to common | gateway | foundational courses.
Imagine a North America-wide opportunity to secure the first two years of a university program (or all of the general education component of a college Certificate, Diploma or Associate Degree) at a cost of no more than $90 for each three credit course. Imagine taking these courses on demand, anywhere at any time and that they were transferable to any post-secondary institution in North America.
WISH 4: WIDESPREAD DEVELOPMENT OF E-APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS
Canada’s demography is such that we will experience significant labour shortages, especially in trades, as baby boomers retire and the economy continues to expand…In one sector alone - construction - some 260,000 new hires will be needed across Canada between 2013 and 2021. Some 300,000 positions remain vacant for three months or more in Canadian small businesses and enterprises because there is a lack of skilled individuals to fill them. Ontario is expected to face a shortage of 364,000 skilled workers by 2025.
Building hyflex learning and training that can service people in remote locations efficiently and effectively should be a priority moving forward.
WISH 5: ANALYTICS, DATA, AND EVIDENCE
Think BIG DATA. Developments in the past few years allow us to track patterns, interactivity, and mastery. The power at the institutional level is evident. However, this power has not translated to analyzing and informing on online learning.
Yet we cannot get an accurate and up-to-date snap shot of the current state of online learning in Canada. Provinces do not track online learning developments in any significant and consistent way and our estimates of the scale of activity, completion rates, student satisfaction and strategic impact of online learning are largely “guesswork.” In a world of complex and sophisticated analytics, simple and reliable data is not available for reasonable policy and strategic review and analysis.
Points to Ponder
We do not have access to a genie and a bottle. What could we do to make these wishes come true? Or should we be wishing for other things? As always, comments are encouraged.
Read Contact North’s full report.
January 18th, 2013
Implementing the principles of universal design in online learning means anticipating the diversity of students that may enroll in your course and planning accordingly. These ten key elements will greatly enhance the accessibility and usability of your course for students with and without disabilities.
Click on the link for instructions for each step!
Source: http://ualr.edu/pace/tenstepsud/ Retrieved January 3, 2013
Table of Contents
Step 1: Develop content first, then design.
Step 2: Provide simple, consistent navigation.
Step 3: Include an accommodation statement.
Step 4: Choose CMS tools carefully.
Step 5: Model and teach good discussion board etiquette.
Step 6: Use color with care.
Step 7: Provide accessible document formats.
Step 8: Choose fonts carefully.
Step 9: Convert PowerPoint™ to accessible HTML.
Step 10: If it’s auditory make it visual; if it is visual make it auditory.
Some of these Steps (9, 10) might require some technical assistance. Be sure to contact your Instructional Technologist if you need assistance!
Brian Gould (Health Sciences)
Andrew Connery (Engineering and Business)
Jeffrey Rankine replacing Nadine Ogborne (Interdisciplinary Studies)
For students requiring adaptive technology, be sure to contact Accessible Learning Services. The case manager will be listed on the student’s Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan (CAAP).
January 11th, 2013
Welcome back and happy 2013!
On December 11th, The Centre for Teaching and Learning (A227) was at capacity and buzzing with excitement after Dr. Joe Kim’s talk and the opportunity to learn about important projects underway to assist faculty with its commitment to provide high-quality teaching and learning resources and experiences at Mohawk. Relive or experience it for the first time here.
Our next Inspiring Minds (Reading Week 2013 – stay tuned for specifics!) will delve more deeply into Dr. Kim’s reinforcement of CTL practices. This next build toward Mohawk’s community of practice will provide discussions, tips, and examples to put three, quick wins into play:
- “Implement repeated testing with feedback through eLearn@Mohawk
- Refresh current presentation materials to enhance learning – online or f2f
- Take advantage of high-quality online resources freely available or develop your own online learning content with tools like lecture capture”.
If you don’t want to wait for Inspiring Minds, as always, Mohawk provides resources, ideas, and assistance for you! Connect with your Centre for Teaching and Learning for your course “quick wins” today.
January 11th, 2013
By Maryellen Weimer
Faculty Focus, Dec 10, 2012
From “the newsletter devoted to the art and science of better teaching”
Figuring out final grades feels like closure. It’s the last time we think carefully about each student we’ve had in this set of classes. Some of them have done so well, and if they are students we’ve had in multiple courses, we feel such satisfaction as we watch what they are becoming. They make teaching worth the work. But then there are other students—the ones who failed because it just wasn’t the time in their lives to learn this content, the ones who didn’t have the skills they needed to make it, and the ones who passed the course but never connected with the content, the teacher, and sometimes, not even with their classmates. These are the students who some days make us wonder why we even bother.
With courses ending so definitively, it’s easy to think that whatever impact you or the course might have on students is over. But learning doesn’t always end when the course does. Some insights and understandings are iterative and cumulative. Students arrive at them after repeated exposure, as the evidence mounts and their skills and experiences deepen. Other intellectual development happens when students are finally ready to learn. Most of us can recall one of those serendipitous student encounters in the mall. “Dr. Weimer, Dr. Weimer, do you remember me?” Sometimes I want to say, “How could I forget? You have a prominent place on my failures list.” Occasionally, one of those students hands me a gift. “I didn’t learn much in your course, but I didn’t sell the book back and just recently I read it. And as I was reading it, I remembered all sorts of things you said in class.” Perhaps I can cross that student off my failures list.
Some students can be very hard to read. It isn’t always easy to determine what effect the course is having, or will have. Recently, while out shopping, I ran into a former student whom I didn’t recognize at all. “You don’t remember me, do you?” she asked. I looked more closely. “No, I don’t.” “I was in your speech class at Berks,” she explained. “Oh, that could be,” I said. “What’s your name?” She told me and that didn’t trigger any recollection. Then she said, “I learned three things in your course that I use pretty much every day.” She listed them off and I started smiling. She had a solid grasp of what I hoped every student would take from the course. When I got home and looked in my grade book, I discovered that what she’d learned was worth far more than the grade she’d earned in the class.
Because course endings give us a false sense of closure, we can end up feeling more discouraged about our teaching than we should. There really is no way to know how our content, our teaching and or the experiences in our classes have affected students or may affect them in the future. Students can be profoundly changed by a course and the teacher may never find out. I have a colleague who loves classical music. It’s not his academic area, but his knowledge is expansive. I once asked how he got interested in music. “Oh, I had a music teacher—that’s how it started. You know, I’d always intended to thank him, to tell him how his introduction to music has resulted in a lifetime of pleasure. But I got there too late. I had to say my thanks at his grave.”
Teaching is an act of faith, not something we always readily acknowledge. I like the Biblical definition: “faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not yet seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Sometimes we do see the evidence; students excel and we share their success. But many times there is no evidence. A student passes through the course without appearing to have been touched. But faith is a substance, it’s something tangible to hold onto in the absence of evidence. As the current courses end and the year concludes, the influence of both continues. In this season of peace, hope, joy and love, may your faith be renewed and strengthened. What you do for and with student does matter. It makes a difference and that makes it so worth doing.
Click here to link to FACULTY FOCUS
December 17th, 2012