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.
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.
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.
For various reasons in recent meetings, the topic of conversation has been our physical learning spaces. Even when the origin of the discussion was new technologies, comments usually reverted back to the basics. I thought this might be an opportunity to widen the discussion and consider how our learning spaces might be changing/need to change with the different needs and preferences of our students.
To spark your musings, you might consider some recent research, whose format is easily digested:
According to the Learning Pyramid, students retain only 10% of what they read, but 75% of what they practice doing! As Dr. Idahlynn Karre says, “Telling is not teaching!” Rather than cover course content, we must help students “uncover” learning.
When faculty provide active learning experiences for students, they create a more interactive environment thus engaging students in the learning process. Incorporating active learning strategies into a course helps students understand the course material, and maintain their interest during instruction. They are not just passive recipients of our knowledge.
The library has a host of resources posted on Active Learning Strategies, just click on the LibGuides.
A NEW online module as been developed and is accessible via eLearn@Mohawk for faculty who would like to learn more about incorporating active learning strategies into their face-to-face and blended learning classroom.
You can self-register for this module and review whenever it is convenient. It is easy.
1. Sign in to https://eLearn.mohawkollege.ca 2. On the Nav bar at the top, click on Self Registration.
3. Voila, a list of Course Offerings will appear.
4. Pick the course you want form the list.
If you have an active learning strategy that works well for you. Please share it.
Making the Most of the First Day of Class, Carnegie Melon University
Yes, you do want to review the course outline and learning plan with your students, right AFTER completing steps 1-7. This article by Carnegie Melon University provides some concrete step to get your class off on the right foot.
The first class meeting should serve at least two basic purposes:
• To clarify all reasonable questions students might have relative to the course objectives, as well as your expectations for their performance in class. As students leave the first meeting, they should believe in your competence to teach the course, be able to predict the nature of your instruction, and know what you will require of them.
• To give you an understanding of who is taking your course and what their expectations are.
These two basic purposes expand into a set of eight steps.
Thank you to those who gathered on Friday afternoon (basically the beginning of the summer’s reading week, no less!) and explored McGraw-Hill Ryerson’s potential contributions to Mohawk courses.
McGraw folks gave a wonderful overview of their products before we dove more deeply into faculty needs during targeted breakout sessions. Everyone left with new knowledge and, I believe, new connections to teaching and learning at Mohawk. That’s two very successful discovery sessions with more to come. Stay tuned!
If you are interested in attending an upcoming session, please contact your Associate Dean. S/he can keep you in the know. If you are unable to attend, but want to contribute, please post your questions, musings, observations, recommendations here and we can bring them forward.
Before I go, I just want to connect to one important aspect. Gaming has been moving out of the man caves and media rooms for quite some time. Simulations have assisted the cost and time of training and development in many fields. We’ve had Gaming Librarians, national conferences on gaming in education, countless books and articles, Mohawk has purchased game builder templates to assist, as well as developed and delivered a connected course, Video Games and Online Communities COMM 10147, by Scott Bunyan. It is definitely an impact worth investigating and likely a strategy worth implementing.
I perceive two aspects of gaming and simulations in education:
Just make it fun principle. In some cases, the cornier the better. Be it flinging birds at edifices or in space, shooting pellets at matching terminologies, or rounding bases because you deduced the right metal illness in Psychological Disorder Baseball, a kinesthetic element can ignite engagement and improve understanding.
Camp number two is the gamification of education in the sense that these games: provide instantaneous feedback; promote competition and achievement; and proffer staggered and frequent rewards.
How do you see these two perspectives complementing your students’ learning? Or maybe you don’t?
Have you tried gaming and/or simulations with your students? Which ones? Any advice, caveats, recommendations to share?
Many Mohawk community members were able to participate in a discovery session with Pearson Education on Friday afternoon (June 1st). It was informative to see the teaching and learning resources Pearson can provide and how their products and approaches could assist with Mohawk’s program development and delivery. Perhaps more importantly, it was a wonderful opportunity for people from across all of Mohawk’s communities to discuss their needs and share successes and challenges. Many great conversations were started.
Let’s keep the communication flowing and growing! And if you weren’t able to attend Friday’s session, please add your voice to the fledgling discussions.
Feel free to comment here on any thoughts that are percolating for teaching and learning at Mohawk. Also, keep your eyes and ears peeled for more opportunities to join the conversation.
Anything is fair game. For example:
Do you have feedback on embedding publisher’s content into your courses - challenges you faced or successes to share?
Care to suggest how Mohawk could move forward with these discovery sessions with interested publishers?
Generally, how do you see publishers’ content partnering with your course activities and facilitation of students’ learning?
Have you had the experience of trying to teach a class while students are distracted by watching the latest viral video of a cat on YouTube?
What are viral videos? How does a video go viral and what do they tell us about youth culture?
Kevin Allocca, YouTube’s trends manager, explains what happens when a video goes viral in a 7 minute TedTalk video.
He identifies three significant factors
Taste makers - those who have high cultural profile and can call attention to something and get the snowball rolling.
Communities of Participants – those who respond to videos in an imaginative way and create and share their own versions and interpretations.
Unexpectedness - the inherent ability of the video to surprise and delight.
There is a lot of engagement and creative energy out there that YouTube - like it or not - taps into and perhaps by understanding this can help us as teachers tap into that same creativity and energy in our students.
Leslie Marshall - Centre for Teaching and Learning