Session Ten: Final Project


Session Ten:  Final Project Summary

Link to Final Project:

Project Description:

The purpose of this project was to find/develop an online rubric that could be used as an online teacher training tool and course evaluation tool for online education at College of the Desert community college.  The project consist of four parts:

  1. Reviewing multiple established online rubrics used in higher education.
  2. Reviewing studies on student success in online courses with an emphasis on Basic Skills students.
  3. Reviewing and testing California State University Chico (CSUC) Online Rubric by having College of the Desert full time online teachers apply rubric to their own courses and then provide feedback on strength, weakness, wording, length, addressing Basic Skills students, and other comments.
  4. Connecting Best Practices Training & Research to CSUC Online Rubric to better match Basic Skills student population at College of the Desert.

The six domains of the Rubric for Online Instruction that was reviewed:

  1. Learner Support and Resources
  2. Online Organization and Design
  3. Instructional Design and Delivery
  4. Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning
  5. Innovative Teaching with Technology
  6. Faculty Use of Student Feedback

Why you think the project you are doing is worthwhile to you?

This final project directly relates to my sabbatical.  My sabbatical includes not just completing the eLearning certificate at CSUSB but also applying this education to improving student success-

·      By creating Basic Skills English and ESL hybrid and/or online course shells to share with department faculty at College of the Desert.

·      By improving online courses at COD through providing professional development in best practices for all online instructors (with an emphasis on COD’s Basic Skills student population).

Since my college has just approved a new required training program for all online teachers, I began to think in terms of creating a checklist or rubric that teachers could apply to their own online courses.  When I contacted the current and former Chairs of Ed Tech, I was surprised that the Ed Tech committee was already considering using CSUC’s Online Rubric.  Although the committee had chosen this rubric, they had never had the online faculty review it.  After consulting with Dr. Newberry on this development, I revised my project to include having COD’s online faculty test the CSUC rubric and provide feedback.  I then polled all full time online teachers and have included comments on the rubric.  I next linked the rubric’s specific six domain categories to the newly required @one online training and related research studies.

Application of this final project will include-

First, I will use faculty input to revise CSUC’s Rubric to best meet the needs of College of the Desert.  The revised rubric will then be sent out to COD’s online faculty for further input.  After a second draft, the rubric will be submitted to the Ed Tech committee for Academic Senate approval as part of the new online teacher training.

Secondly, I plan to recommend to the ED Tech committee that COD consider adopting this rubric in place of the current evaluation form.  Currently online courses are evaluated with the same criteria form as face-to-face course.  A new online evaluation rubric will require an approval of the Administration, Faculty Union, and Board.

Detailing the content area, the grade level, and other considerations that both make the project you take on useful to you?

Last year only 58% of English students successfully passed online courses at College of the Desert (College of the Desert, 2013).  The success rate of English students in pre-collegiate level courses was below 50%.  The college hasn’t ever offered ESL classes online for fear of failure rates.  While our face-to-face success rates are over 70% (College of the Desert, 2013), clearly we need to find better ways to help our online students successfully complete these courses.

Completing an eLearning certificate will give me the skills to become an online teacher, but one teacher’s course load has little impact on a college’s overall success rates.  My goal in finding a rubric for evaluating online courses at COD, is to apply the knowledge I am learning at CSUSB in a way that impacts all of our college’s online classes.


Influence design choices that you make in doing the project.

I decided to create this project on WordPress because after using it for my ETEC 648 Blog, I knew it was user friendly and could be designed to allow comments from my instructor, classmates, and work colleagues. I wanted to be able to email the link to online faculty at COD, and continue to elicit responses as I further develop this project throughout my sabbatical.

I’m finding that the rubric pdf design is somewhat un-user-friendly.  When it comes time to create the final draft of the rubric, I plan to make it an online response through either a poll or quiz software.  Any suggestions; I could use help with this?


Your development process, discuss your results and provide your bibliography.

I owe a huge thank you to my many colleagues who gave very detailed feedback on the CSUC Rubric.  Overall the online teachers liked the rubric and found it helpful for reviewing their online courses There are some issues with clarity/language, questions over student-to-student services, student readiness, effectiveness of technology innovation, accessibility, and updating.   The suggested changes were minor and manageable.  Honesty I was amazed at the consensus among faculty who have responded so far and am very optimistic that we will be able to make necessary changes to create a rubric that reflects the needs of our online student population at College of the Desert.


Cassens, T. (2010, January 1). Comparing the Effectiveness of Online and Face-

to-Face Classes among California Community College Students. ProQuest LLC.  Retrieved from:

Chahino, M. (2011, January 1). An Exploration of Student Personality Type and

Success in Online Classes. ProQuest LLC.  Retrieved from:

College of the Desert.  (2013).  Online Class Data Book in Support of Enrollment

Management.  Palm Desert, CA:  College of the Desert.

Evaluating Online Courses.  (N.D.)  Retrieved from Michigan State University Online


Harrell, I., & Bower, B. L. (2011). Student Characteristics that Predict Persistence

in Community College Online Courses. American Journal Of Distance Education, 25(3), 178-191.  Retrieved from:

Hukle, D. (2009, January 1). An Evaluation of Readiness Factors for Online

Education. ProQuest LLC.  Retrieved from:

Johnson, J.  (2013, Sept.).  The Use of E-Learning Tools for Improving Hispanic

Students’ Academic Performance.  Journal of Online Learning and

Teaching, 9(3).  Retrieved from:

Li, G. (2012). Literacy Engagement through Online and Offline Communities

outside School: English Language Learners’ Development as Readers and Writers. Theory Into Practice, 51(4), 312-318.  Retrieved from:

Kaupp, R. (2012). Online Penalty: The Impact of Online Instruction on the Latino-

White Achievement Gap. Journal Of Applied Research In The Community College, 19(2), 8-16.  Retrieved from:

Kegelman, N. (2011, January 1). Online Courses at a Community College: A

Study of Student Characteristics. ProQuest LLC.  Retrieved from:

Menager-Beeley, R. (2001). Student Success in Web Based Distance Learning:

Measuring Motivation To Identify at Risk Students and Improve Retention in Online Classes. 

Muse Jr., H. E. (2003). The Web-based community college student: An

examination of factors that lead to success and risk. Internet & Higher Education, 6(3), 241. doi:10.1016/S1096-7516(03)00044-7

Park, H., & Kim, D. (2011). Reading-Strategy Use by English as a Second

Language Learners in Online Reading Tasks. Computers & Education, 57(3), 2156-2166.  Retrieved from:

Phillip, A. (2011). The Online Equation. Diverse: Issues In Higher Education,

28(3), 20.

Quality Online Course Initiative Rubric & Checklist.  (2010).  Retrieved from

University Illinois:

Ramezani, K. (2010, January 1). The Implications of Using Online Classes with

At-Risk Students in an Alternative School Setting. ProQuest LLC.  Retrieved from:

Rey, J. (2010, January 1). The Effects of Online Courses for Student Success in

Basic Skills Mathematics Classes at California Community Colleges. ProQuest LLC.  Retrieved from:

Rubric for Online Instruction.  (20140.  Retrieved from CSUC:

Shank, P. (2007). (Not) Making it Hard(er) to Learn, Part 1. Online Classroom, 4-

8.  Retrieved from:

Slate, J. R., Manuel, M., & Brinson, K. H., Jr. (2002). The “digital divide”: Hispanic

college students’ views of educational uses of the Internet.  Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 27(1), 75-93. doi:10.1080/02602930120105081

Taylor, V.  (2003, May 12).  Excellence in Online Teaching and Strategy.  Retrieved

from:  De’Anza College Rubric-$146

Wilcox, B. L., & Wojnar, L. C. (2000). Designing a “Best Practice” Online Course. 

Retrieved from: 



Session Nine: Plagiarism & Cheating


Session 9:  Plagiarism and Cheating

1. Thinking about an online class you teach or might teach, what is the most likely issue related to plagiarism and/or cheating with which you would anticipate dealing?

In my experience, 90% of the plagiarism I see is the result of not knowing how to properly cite research.  I typically get about one out and out copied paper a semester.  On the other hand, I get about 20% of the students who have neglected to properly cite a paraphrase and have “accidently” plagiarized on the first paper of the semester.  I think most students understand that copy words equates to cheating, but they haven’t grasped that copying ideas without giving credit also equals cheating. 

2. Identify and explain the steps and measures you would take to reduce the occurrence of plagiarism/cheating identified in item 1.

First,  I spend a great deal of time teaching citation.  I also use Safe Assign (Plagiarism checker) as a teaching tool.  On the first assignment I show students exactly what I see.  It’s a shame that SafeAssign only shows students the % of copied work but doesn’t show the actual highlighted paper with links to the sources.  When students see the instructor view and we go through various examples of properly and improperly quoted and paraphrased text, it’s much clearer for students.  I’m able to do this as a f2f class but I think it would be trickier online.  I think I would narrate the sample papers so students could see the highlighted text but hear my explanation.

Second, I require multiple steps in the writing process:  freewriting/mapping, outline, annotated biblio, first draft with peer review, then final draft.  The steps equate to as many points as the final draft which means students need to complete the whole process to pass. 

Thirdly, as a linguist I know my students grammar and vocabulary capabilities since they are second language learners.  When a student suddenly produces complex syntax, I meet with them to discuss the work.  The toughest cases are when you can’t find the work on the internet, so you suspect a friend or professional has helped.  I approach those meanings with simply asking if the student had too much help because in all fairness I can’t prove the student has “cheated”.  In at least half the cases, students admit someone has helped them.  I then quiz them about vocabulary in the content.  If a student can’t tell me the meaning of a word, it helps them recognize that they haven’t just gotten “help”. 

Finally, I volunteer train our writing tutors.  Unfortunately, our tutors are often the culprits in “over-helping” students by correcting their grammar, vocab, etc.  Our tutors are asked not to write on the students’ papers.  They can give advice but the student should be doing all the writing.  I also require students to submit tutoring receipts that list the name of the tutor they worked with.  That way I can speak with a tutor if I begin seeing a pattern of them helping too much.

3. What does research tell us about the reasons students give for plagiarism/cheating. Remember to cite your sources!

I agree with Dr. Newberry when he says the majority of plagiarism is the result of students not correctly citing references (Newberry, 2014). “Students are surprisingly unclear about what constitutes plagiarism or cheating,” said Mr. Wasieleski, an associate professor of management (as cited in Perez-Pena, 2012). 

According to Donald McCabe, a professor as Rutgers and leading researcher on cheating, “there’s [no] question that students have become more competitive, under more pressure, and, as a result, tend to excuse more from themselves and other students, and that’s abetted by the adults around them (as cited in Perez-Pena, 2012).  I think there is more pressure on high school students trying to go directly into four year universities, so statistically cheating has gone up among this population (Perez-Pena, 2012). 

Let’s face it, the internet has made cheating easy.  When all a student has to do is cut and paste, it’s tempting. 

Internet access has made cheating easier, enabling students to connect instantly with answers, friends to consult and works to plagiarize. And generations of research has shown that a major factor in unethical behavior is simply how easy or hard it is.

A recent study by Jeffrey A. Roberts and David M. Wasieleski at Duquesne University found that the more online tools college students were allowed to use to complete an assignment, the more likely they were to copy the work of others.

The Internet has changed attitudes, as a world of instant downloading, searching, cutting and pasting has loosened some ideas of ownership and authorship. An increased emphasis on having students work in teams may also have played a role (Perez-Pena, 2012). 

It’s interesting that working in teams may be contributing to copying.  We place so much emphasis on student-centered learning that teacher might be the source of some copying issues. 

4. Evaluate your participation in the discussion this week. Provide at least one quote from the discussion that supports your evaluation.

I find participation somewhat challenging in an asynchronous discussion.  I’ve tried to think how discussion could be structured in a way to allow for contributions at varying schedules, but I can’t think of a solution. There’s just no way to get a whole week’s worth of work done on Mon/Tues without a student needing to complete the discussion later in the week.  Does anyone have any suggestions for this?

My contribution this week is based on my years of teaching, so I hope it is useful-

Schools and Teachers can deter cheating-

  • If class size are kept under 35, teachers can get to know their students and the students’ abilities. I can easily recognize complex syntax and vocabulary when a student suddenly turns in a brilliant essay yet all of their other work is below average.
  • Cheating policies need to be strictly and uniformly followed. If you are the only “bad” guy in the department, students wishing to cheat will just take other teachers.
  • Major essays should be broken down into process writing with weekly graded parts; this eliminates putting so much emphasis on the final draft essay which could be purchased or plagiarized. To my knowledge “paper mills” only sell essays, not the freewrite/mapping, outline, and multiple drafts with revision and editing comments. If a student needs all of that and each draft receives a significant portion of the grade, the “paper mill” essay won’t help.
  • While I appreciate Dr. Newberry’s concern of copyright out of respect for students, when it comes to plagiarism checkers, I personally believe they are a valuable teaching tool and deterrent. I would like to point out that the version of Safe Assign my college uses allows students the option of whether or not the company can store their paper. I’ve noticed that this is not the case at CSUSB.
  • I would suggest that multiple choice test make cheating too easy; short answer or paragraph responses are better even if they are more work to grade.

5. Identify the student you think was the most important participant in the Blackboard discussion. Explain why and provide at least one quote from that student’s contributions to the Blackboard discussion.

I chose Rachel because her response reminded me of why it is so important to find assignments that students are truly interested in.  She said, “I really dived into my project this weekend and am actually having fun with it!”  This is what learning should and can be.  I actually felt the same way working on my project, and I know it’s because we were allowed to chose projects that were relevant to our professions.  A teachers, we should all remember to be flexible with assignment topics in order to let students choose projects they will feel excited about.

6. Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.

At the end of the day, I fall into the category of instructors who just aren’t willing to police my students.  The idea that a professor uses binoculars to watch students during test seems absurd to me.  Don’t get me wrong, when Safe Assign uncovers a student who has copied a whole or nearly whole essay, I fail that student for the assignment.  In my whole career I have only had to fail a student for a whole course when they plagiarized two essays.  The number of students who blatantly cheat is fairly small, so I don’t plan to spend a ton of time worrying about it. 

A few months back I had a student come meet with me; he had failed my course three times and had plagiarized at least one assignment every semester.  This student had gone on to take the course with a much easier teacher and he had passed.  Unfortunately, once he got to Freshman Comp he lacked the skills to pass.  He actually came to see me so he could apologize because he finally understood that if he had worked harder to master my class, he would have been ready for the next level.  It took the student years before he finally learned that cheating hadn’t helped him, but at least he finally got it.  Eventually cheaters figure out which skills they are lacking, and if they don’t then maybe they never needed those skills to begin with. 


Newberry, B.  (2014).  Session 9 Plagiarism and

Cheating [Lecture Notes].  Retrieved from Blackboard:

Perez-Pena, R.  (2012, Sept. 7).  Studies Find More

Cheating, With High Achievers No Exception. New York Times.  Retrieved from:

Session Eight: Portfolios and Authentic Assessment


Session 8

  1. Provide a project update. What is your working title?

eLearning Rubric

I hit a bit of a snag in that I discovered that my college’s Ed Tech committee has recently submitted Chico State’s Rubric for Online Learning: to the Board as part of our Online Learning Training for new faculty. My original plan was to create my own rubric from scratch, but now I have been asked by the Ed Tech Chair to look at Chico’s Rubric and consider ways I might adapt it to our school’s needs. I’m now trying to decide whether I create a separate section for assessing how the course is meeting Basic Skills students’ needs, or if I should incorporate the various criteria into the already existing sections.

  1. How is your project connected to eLearning?

This is as connected as it can get since I am creating a rubric to assess all of our online and hybrid classes.

  1. How is your project relevant for you?

Improving the success rate of online students at my college is the entire point of my sabbatical. My interest in studying in the eLearning program at CSUSB is minimally about my own instruction but much more about how I can help other teachers at my college improve their classes. I believe having a comprehensive rubric for evaluating online classes as part of our training for all new online teachers will lead to improved success. Our most recent data shows that the success rate of our online classes is up to 57.4%, but that’s still considerably lower than our f2f classes that are at 71.6%. I want to see that online percentage closer to our f2f classes.

  1. What are the three most interesting/relevant/informative/important articles in your bibliography for your project?

Cassens, T. (2010, January 1). Comparing the Effectiveness of Online and Face-to-Face Classes among California Community College Students.

Without doubt this has been the most useful article. This dissertation focuses on exactly my topic- the success rates of CA community college students in online classes (taking into account basic skills, first generation, ESL, etc.).

Kaupp, R. (2012). Online Penalty: The Impact of Online Instruction on the Latino-White Achievement Gap. Journal Of Applied Research In The Community College, 19(2), 8-16.

This proved to be the most useful for data showing that Latino students are twice as likely to drop online CA community college classes.

Menager-Beeley, R. (2001). Student Success in Web Based Distance Learning: Measuring Motivation To Identify at Risk Students and Improve Retention in Online Classes.

This article was the most surprising. Up until now I have not offered any ESL classes online because I doubted the success rates. I strongly warn my ESL students against taking online classes. Much to my surprise, this article documents that ESL students are actually more successful in online classes than f2f because the asynchronous communication gives them more time to process the information and respond. Wow- this has me totally rethinking offering ESL online.

  1. What is authentic assessment in your context. Please explain important details like grade level, content area etc.

In college ESL classes authentic assessment happens daily.

In a non-credit ESL classroom that would be Comprehensive Life Skills English, student are learning to communicate in the real world. For example, socio-dramas are a great assessment tool. If students are studying modals (can, could, will, would, may, might, etc) I might ask students to act our a restaurant scene between a waiter and a customer.

In credit ESL classes our emphasis is on Academic and Professional Fluency. Since much of the focus of our classes is on preparing them for non ESL classes, the focus is on college English which isn’t necessarily what comes to mind when one thinks “real world” = authentic assessment. It’s easier to see the real world connection to the assignments that are more job related. For example, the Pronunciation students search for a job, apply for the job, and must participate in an oral interview specifically for this job. I create the type of questions I think the perspective employer would likely ask.

  1. What are three types of portfolios? Choose one type of portfolio and explain how you could implement it in some eLearning setting.

  • Reflective
  • Learning
  • Performance or Demonstrative

Reflective Portfolio

Reflection Portfolio

I really like the simplicity of the above prompts. I would like to use a Reflective Portfolio as my final assignment. I would list the course objectives and ask students to reflect on how their work demonstrates the knowledge of the objectives.   I think the final part about what student will do with this knowledge in the future is the most important. I don’t think I have shown students a clear picture of how/why they will need essay writing and MLA/APA citation in their future classes. I think I might ask them to email interview their next semester teachers to ask about the types of writing and researching they will use.   My hope is that if students can see a scaffolding of skills, they might recognize the importance of building a strong foundation in my basic skills classes.

  1. What is competency based learning? How could this impact your career?

I know competency based learning is the new hot trend being pushed by the Department of Education, online learning sites like MOOC, the Business Industry, etc. but for ESL teachers this has been around forever; we just called it the Communicative Approach. The idea is that English language classes are trying to teach English skills for various purposes: academic, real life, or for a specific employment. This describes a bit about how the Communicative Approach resembles Competency Based Learning-

I think one area where they differ in online education is with assessment. From what I have read, the benefit of competency based online learning is with the ability for students to self-pace and complete skills at their own pace. So far I haven’t thought in terms of designing a self-paced class. I think I could and should do this with my grammar courses. To be honest, I don’t know if I can do this at the community college level because we are funded by FTES which is linked to weekly attendance based on a semester length course. Hmmmm, now I am curious if it is even an option in credit community college classes? According to these articles, there are pilot programs going on in community colleges, but no CA colleges are listed. Even though it seems like a perfect fit for community colleges, it looks like Universities are leading this movement-

  1. Evaluate your participation in the discussion this week. Provide at least one quote from the discussion that supports your evaluation.

When I first started at my college I’ll never forget seeing a descriptive writing assignment where students were told to describe their rooms- terribly boring ineffective topic. Now students are asked to write a cover letter applying for a job of their choice, and they have to use descriptive language to show why/how they are a strong candidate for the position.  It’s not innovative but it is brimming with practicality.  I want students to connect the writing we do in English with other writing in their lives: either other courses or in life.  I can assess different writing strategies in a variety of modes.

I’ve tried letting students use an assignment from another course in my class where they would focus on their essay organization, documentation, and sentence skills.  The problem was that I had a tough time evaluating an assignment with another teacher’s requirements.  For example, I commented on one student’s paper that she needed to use “I” for her own ideas; however, she later told me that her other teacher has said she wasn’t allowed to use “I”.  I let another student use a letter she had written her child’s teacher, but that too was hard to assess since it was challenging to understand my student’s exact objectives; for example, did she intend her tone to sound stern or not?  Had she meant to be friendly or rude?- it required a discussion between us.  So I guess the answer is yes using authentic assessment is more work for the teacher.  I do think it is valuable and can work well using real life scenarios (that the teacher sets up), but it is challenging to asses actual real life abilities.

  1. Identify the student you think was the most important participant in the Blackboard discussion. Explain why and provide at least one quote from that student’s contributions to the Blackboard discussion.

I was most surprised by Laura’s posting this week on the lack of computer skills her 8th graders have.  For a few years now I have felt like the computer mastery of incoming Freshman is just amazing.  If I can’t make something work or want to find a good youtube that relates to the class, I just ask the students.  I look around at young kids and they seem to have better technology skills than most adults.  It really surprised me that her 8th graders are having trouble.

Hi Christen,

I too have tried portfolios at different points in my teaching career and they ended up as a mess of papers in folders. …and kids lost much of it. However, with the online opportunities, I think it might be easier to have portfolios. I would not want to have to go through all of them at the end of the semester, or school year however. Maybe, there is a way for students to present their best work on a portfolio. I am thinking maybe I could try it with my 8th graders first. They might like building their own website. It would take a lot of direction from me though. I am finding that kids are lacking many computer skills in work processing alone. Many have no idea how to make a PowerPoint and it is an assignment they are responsible for. I think I have to lower my expectations and just get the kids started and do what we can.  Laura

  1. Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.

I wasn’t really a fan of portfolios before this week, mostly because of my outdated image of overflowing folders full of a whole semester’s worth of work and yet always missing some key piece. I have to admit that the combination of e-portfolios and reflective portfolios has me reconsidering my aversion. I am certain I will give my students a reflective assignment; whether or not I have them actually attach the work remains to be seen. I guess as long as it is online, there really isn’t any reason for them not to include links to their assignments.

Session Seven: Link to Graded Discussion Rubrics


Discussion Board Post

11-13th = 1st post

14-17 = 3 comments


Original Criteria

Points Possible

Points Earned

Made the minimum number of required discussion post by the deadline



Made the minimum number of comments by the deadline



Posting accurately respond to prompt questions



Responses demonstrate synthesis of reading applied to real life understanding



Posts & comments asked questions to facilitate conversation



Posts & comments included links to outside readings





(30% of course grade)




Points Possible

Points Earned

Made the minimum number of required discussion post by the deadline



Made the minimum number of comments by the deadline



Posting accurately respond to prompt questions



Responses demonstrate synthesis of reading applied to real life understanding



Posts & comments asked questions to facilitate conversation



Posts & comments included links to outside readings





(30% of course grade)




Points Possible

Points Earned

Made the minimum number of required discussion post by the deadline



Made the minimum number of comments by the deadline



Posting accurately respond to prompt questions



Responses demonstrate synthesis of reading applied to real life understanding



Posts & comments asked questions to facilitate conversation



Posts & comments included links to outside readings





(30% of course grade)


Mortimor Mugwump Instructor Manager

Posted Date:June 18, 2014 8:47 AM


What are some models of professional development and what makes them work or fail?


Sarah Connor

Posted Date:August 11, 2014 9:39 PM



“One shot” workshops seem to be the type of professional development I have received in technology.  As I have said many times, the SMART Board training I received a couple of years ago was a one day event.  We were bombarded with basic information and sent back to our rooms to start using this technology.  Some people took the information and ran with it.  Most of us left frustrated.  Every year I request on-going professional development for technology use in the classroom and it seems as though it is put on the back burner every time. 


Sam Elliot

Posted Date:August 11, 2014 11:57 PM




The effectiveness of the SMART Board training’s format should probably be questioned. I would think that some technology trainings like this would be “one shot wonders” because after all how many SMART Board trainings could us Early Adopters go to. The flaw in the training was probably the design of the training. it sounds like you were not able to practice what you were learning. It is important to give the teachers time to actually practice what they are being trained on in a setting in which they can receive guided practice otherwise the information would be useless.


Sarah Connor

Posted Date:August 12, 2014 7:40 PM




I absolutely agree.  We were told the basics and not given the opportunity to practice what we learned.  I remember being very eager to use the SMART Board when I got back to the classroom, but time didn’t allow.  At that point, there was no follow-through to make sure that questions were being addressed and quality examples were being provided for each grade level.  I plugged in my SMART Board last week to introduce ClassDojo to my students and I was thrilled! 


Sarah Connor

Posted Date:August 12, 2014 7:44 PM




I believe additional training is being provided over the next two weeks (too late, sadly, for the window that opened yesterday).  We were asked, however, to send one teacher from grades K-2 and one from 3-5 to receieve the training and report back.  My biggest issue here is that MAPS for Kindergarten looks different than MAPS for first grade.  I might be mistaken in this, as I don’t remember all the details that were given in our rushed introduction.  I’m hoping that when we meet tomorrow I’ll feel a little more comfortable getting started.


Sarah Connor

Posted Date:August 14, 2014 5:10 PM



Thank you for the information on the site!  I think most people feel the same.  We need to be actively participating in trainings in order to increase the chances of retaining the information that we receive.  It’s very frustrating to be bombarded with information while sitting in uncomfortable seats and hope that I remember all that was blasted my way.


Sam Elliot

Posted Date:August 13, 2014 5:48 PM




It is sort of lightly tragic when I come across a binder or some other takeaway from a workshop of years gone by that I have not touched. In the early to mid-2000s when there was a glut of money there seemed to be a lot of these kinds of workshops. There was a lot of money to be spent so there was a lot of excess spending. Being broke the last seven or so years has taught us to be a lot more strategic when spending money.


Sarah Connor

Posted Date:August 14, 2014 5:14 PM




It makes me wonder… do they not realize that we all know how to read the standards ourselves?  There were some obvious shifts, but I’m fine with someone telling me that the information is there for me to view.  I know how to omit what has been shifted to another grade level (although I probably won’t).  As far as the strategies go, I know that when we had the training over the last year, I felt like they were regurgitating strategies that I have heard about over the many years I have been in education. 


Renata Phillips-Lee

Posted Date:August 14, 2014 7:43 PM



Some of the models mentioned in the reading include one shot wonder workshops, Professional Learning Community, Inquiry Team Approaches, Lesson Study, Just in Time, and Performance Support System Approach.

“Qualities of professional development include awareness raising, ongoing support, being connected to the schools mission, meeting the actual needs of the teachers and students, use of communities of practice, career-long learning networks, interactive opportunities and ongoing connections between the training and the expectations of the school including evaluation systems”.   


Renata Phillips-Lee

Posted Date:August 14, 2014 8:08 PM



I forgot this link I wanted to share and was not able to edit my last post:

 You’re familiar with the Flipped Classroom… has a model of professional development for teachers called Flipped Professional Development ( FlippedPD). It’s a personal coaching company. The five key elements of Flipped PD:

Planning and Documentation: create a personalized Google document for the first coaching session that is sahres between the teacher and coach where individual goals are set, digital resources are linked and workshop notes are recorded

Personalized Digital Content: create a collection of customized digital resources and content 

Redularly Scheduled Professional Development: ongoing, embedded professional development. Regular coaching sessions during the school day 

Personalization Through Coaching : similar to athletic trainers, connect to content, experts and colleauges and, provide interest and skills assessments 

 Communities of Learning: collaboration with other educators  based on grade level, content area, or interest.  

of course this is not ideal for every situation but in certain situtions  I can see it working for some.  

You can learn more here:


Sam Elliot

Posted Date:August 15, 2014 10:44 PM



I know that EVERYONE hates having a PowerPoint read to them during a presentation. But isn’t it even worse when the presenter says “I’m not going to insult your intelligence by reading this to you” and then sits there to let the audience read it.

There may be a certain element of a “no win” situation when it comes to staff development. It’s interesting presenting to one’s own staff. When I have done this I am amazed at how checked out MY OWN FRIENDS can be during a presentation. AND I AM INTERESTING! This discussion did come up in another course about how we never should try and read the mind of the audience because we do not really know what they are taking in and what they are not. 

Session Seven: Discussions Tests & Quizzes


Thanks to my classmates who inspired me to learn to insert a bit of multimedia into my Blog!

Right Answer

  1. Overall, how well did your rubric work?

Overall I think my rubric was fair and hit upon all the areas I wanted to assess. I had to guess at what the due dates might have been for first post, but I think my assumptions based on the first post date work. My rubric was quick to use; however, focusing on one student at a time was a challenge. I don’t know whether BB allows instructors to view all post and replies from one student at a time? I had to cut and paste the discussions together to view one student at a time. This would take too long if I were doing an entire class.

 Session Seven: Link to Graded Discussion Rubrics

  1. Identify and explain the strengths of your rubric.

Ease was the main strength because it could be completed quickly. I think it got to the core of looking at both quantity, deadlines, and quality.

  1. Identify and explain one weaknesses of your rubric.

I found a couple of weaknesses-

  1. First, I didn’t include a comment section and I found I really needed it. I’m not sure students wouldn’t truly understand my feedback without a short explanation.
  2. Second and most importantly, it is unreasonable to use my rubric on someone else’s assignment without knowing the requirements of the assignment. I assumed that this discussion followed the same guidelines as our own class discussion, but I don’t know for sure. Also, I was developing a rubric for what I would require, so two my requirements (questions & links to outside readings) wouldn’t be requirements of these students.
  3. What changes would you make to your rubric now that you have used it?

I wonder about adding a comment box? I know it would slow grading and since this is a weekly requirement, I really would want something that could be completed quickly, so I’m not sure I would use it.

I think maybe I could avoid the comment book by revising my categories to be more specific.  Here is my original and a revised version that is both shorter and I hope more clear.

Original Criteria Points Possible Points Earned
Made the minimum number of required discussion post by the deadline 20%
Made the minimum number of comments by the deadline 20%
Posting accurately respond to prompt questions 15%
Responses demonstrate synthesis of reading applied to real life understanding 15%
Posts & comments asked questions to facilitate conversation 15%
Posts & comments included links to outside readings 15%
Total 100%

(30% of course grade)

Revised Criteria Points Possible Points Earned
First Posting accurately responded to prompt questions by the first deadline. 25%
Made the minimum number of comments by the deadline responding to classmates’ posting and asking questions to facilitate conversation. 25%
Responses demonstrate synthesis of reading applied to real life understanding. 25%
Posts & comments included links to outside references beyond class readings. 25%
Total 100%

(30% of course grade)

4.  Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.

Grade Negotiation Cartoon

I really enjoyed reading Down-and-dirty Guidelines for Effective Discussions in Online Courses because it provided such specific guidelines for facilitating online discussions. I was especially struck by the suggestion of giving students a break from discussion. I’ve watched discussion post taper down in all of my online classes- regardless of the level of participation by instructors. I realize some of this is natural attrition, but I also think the decline is students just tired of the discussions in general. I’m not sure what the solution is because my fear is if-

  1. I were to only use discussion varying weeks, students would be confused by the changing format and this is something Dr. Newberry warned against.
  2. If I just gave a mid-semester break and didn’t require discussion one week, would students “come back” and get back on track the next week?
  3. So instead, could I switch things up and make really easy/different/fun types of discussion post occasionally?

Overall my take away this week is that I need to be far more diligent in keeping up with my students’ discussion boards. I actually really hate reading/grading asynchronous discussions. I am CERTAIN that I spend the time writing useful info that students never see because they don’t go back and reread the whole discussion or look for replies to their post. It just feels like a waste of time, so I tend to be sloppy about doing it. After reading this week, I can see that my sloppiness is leading to student sloppiness. I’m hoping if I follow the suggestion we read this week, students will begin producing the posts I hope to see.

Session Six: Grading


1. Give three purposes for grading in an online class. Explain each one and then provide an example or guideline for accomplishing each purpose.

1.    Unlike a f2f class where instructors an see non-verbal cues to assess student comprehension, online teachers must rely more on grading assignments. 

2. You have been called to consult with a university which is about to create a brand new totally online graduate program in leadership education. As part of your consultation you have been asked to provide a short written policy (for the student and instructor handbooks) related to grading policy. List (bullet list) the top five issues your policy will address.

1.    Grading Options:  letter grades, pass/no pass, audit, etc.

2.    Best Practices timeline for grading

3.    Use of Learning Platform’s Grade book

4.    Creating rubrics using course objectives and outcomes

5.    Appealing Grades

3. As part of the consultation with the university on creating an online program you have been asked to create a rubric that can be used across all program classes to grade the online discussions. The idea is to provide a single rubric that is generalized enough to provide a guide for student engagement in the discussion, and for instructors to be able to grade the discussions with a minimum of effort. Students in these classes are all professional educators with a college education. Each class is required to have one discussion each week and the discussion is the only planned method for student-student interaction in the class. It has been decided that discussions will be worth 30 points and this represents 30% of the total points available in the session. The rubric you create must be simple for the instructor to use but specific enough so that students clearly understand what they are to do and why they get the grade they receive.


Points Possible

Points Earned

Made the minimum number of required discussion post by the deadline


Made the minimum number of comments by the deadline


Posting accurately respond to prompt questions


Responses demonstrate synthesis of reading applied to real life understanding


Posts & comments asked questions to facilitate conversation


Posts & comments included links to outside readings




(30% of course grade)


List of Sample Rubrics:

4. Choose a topic that is familiar to you and create three excellent learning objectives. Explain why the objectives you create are excellent.

First off, I think community colleges define Objectives and Outcomes differently, so I’m sharing examples of both; these are course Objectives and Outcomes.  The terms are similar, but not interchangeable.  Objectives are the specific skills that lead to outcomes.  While Objectives tend to be technical language that students may or may not be familiar with, Outcomes are broader more general terms that all students should understand.  It’s important that assignment Objectives be tied to the overall course.  I don’t  that these Objectives and Outcomes are “excellent” but they do give students a clear understanding of the skills they will attain upon successful completion of my Reading & Writing I course.

Student Learning Outcomes:  

1. Demonstrate understanding of academic reading strategies and the paragraph writing process

2. Recognize and use patterns of organization to effectively produce unified coherent paragraphs

3. Read, revise and edit writing

Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

1.     Apply phonetic, syntactical and contextual strategies to comprehend new vocabulary in readings and to use appropriate vocabulary in writing.

2.     Identify main ideas and supporting details in paragraphs, and the central point of 2 to 3 page readings. Use a dictionary and thesaurus to locate a word’s pronunciation, spelling and meaning to facilitate clarity and fluency in oral reading and writing.

3.     Apply appropriate study strategies such as note taking for student success in reading and writing.

4.     Demonstrate competency in the writing process of prewriting, drafting, revising and editing paragraphs.

5.     Form focused topic sentences with clear topics and controlling ideas.

6.     Form support sentences with major and minor supporting details and conclusion sentences that relate to the topic sentence.

7.     Identify and use appropriate word choice in paragraphs.

8.     Identify and employ transitions and connectors to show unity between ideas.

9.     Identify and use coherence elements such as key nouns and consistent pronouns in paragraphs.

10. Demonstrate the ability to identify and apply basic rules of sentence structure, grammar and punctuation in academic writing.

11. Participate thoughtfully in self and peer review revising and editing processes.

12. Produce several drafts of a paper through a series of revisions using a computer.


5. Describe an eLearning activity that will have students meet one or more of the objectives you just created.


Assignment Narration Paragraph


            For the next two weeks the class will focus on understanding what narration is and how to write in this mode in academic paragraphs. Narration writing tells a story of an event or experience.   There are four basics to good narrating:

  1. It reveals something of importance to you (your main point).
  2. It includes all of the major events of the story (primary support).
  3. It brings the story to life with details about the major events (secondary support).
  4. It presents the events in a clear order, usually according to when and where it happened



What’s Required Where I can read about it
Rhetorical Mode: Narrative

Tell Me a Story

  1. Reals Skills Chapter 10 121-137
  2. Week 3 Reading B.B. “Narrative Writing”

  1. “In Learning to Read” Malcom X overcomes a major challenge of being illiterate by teaching himself to read and write. Being in your first semester of college, you have likely already had to overcome significant obstacles simply to be here at COD. These might be emotional, financial, cultural, geographical, academic, etc. Write a narrative essay describing how you overcame a challenge(s) to become a college student.
B.B. Week 3 Reading:


  1. “Learning to Read” Malcom X
Academic Word List, Sub Group 2:

  1. Complete the Sub-Groups 2 practice. Your score results will automatically be saved to your BB grade book.
  2. Use a minimum of 10 words from the AWL, Subgroup 2 in your paragraph.
B.B. Vocabulary file


  • Follow the Four Basics of Narration
  • Have a clear topic sentence that reveals your main point in an interesting and engaging way.
  • Use time order transitions and organization to introduce the major events of the story.
  • Include descriptive details that describe the events through your eyes; remember who, what, where, when, why, how. Consider sensory details.
  • Write a concluding sentence that brings the story to an end and tells the reader why the experience was important to you.
  • Use a variety of academic vocabulary
  • The paragraph should be 1 ¼-2 pages. Typed double spaced MLA format.
B.B. Week Two Reading:

  1. Paragraph Structure (Review if needed)
Due Dates Assignments
Tuesday 9/2 Post a written or video Journal on Discussion Board week 4-

Describe communication struggles/challenges (oral, aural, written, technical, etc.) you have faced during your first month in school. Write about your feelings and describe your reaction to the events of your story.

*To create video journal- follow directions under BB Materials.

Thursday 9/4 Respond to a minimum of two journal entries on Discussion Board. Offer solutions for overcoming the described communication obstacle.
Thursday 9/9 Pre-writing- Using the Writing Center Pre-writing software-

Create a Cluster/Wed/Map to generate a topic and supporting details for your narrative paragraph. Submit you prewriting to your Success Group’s Discussion Board titled Narrative Assignment

Tuesday 9/9 1st Draft of paragraph due. Submit to COD E- Tutoring-

You will receive Tutoring comments within 48 hours.   Please use these comments to improve your final draft.

Tuesday 9/16 Final Draft of paragraph due. Submit on BB Assignments under Safe Assign- Narrative Paragraph

6. Explain how you will grade the student work in the above activity. For example you may want to provide a rubric or describe other methods used.

1.    Student Self evaluation submitted with Assignment-  

Narrative Paragraph Checklist

Criteria Self-Check Professor Smith’s Check
Title is attention grabbing and clever. Rate A-D? =
The topic sentence tells-

  1. Begins the event of the story, or
  2. Indicates what lesson has been learned, or
  3. Makes a broad statement on a “life lesson”
Which type (a-c)?
A setting has been described telling with whom, where, and when the story takes places. Whom?



The plot has been told in a series of events in chronological order or order of importance. Which organization method?
The story is Cohesive: uses appropriate transition

Words and sentence.

Count the number of transition words:
The conclusion states-

  1. what you learned, or
  2. gives advice, or
  3. makes a prediction or
  4. makes a connection to life lessons
Which type (a-d)?
Rich, colorful, precise language is used, and the choice of the words seems accurate, natural and not forced. Content words have not been repeated more than 3 times. Rate A-D? =
10 words from the Academic Word List 2 have been used and highlighted? YES or NO
A lively voice imparts a personal flavor and interest that is you and shows intense engagement with the topic and your reader. This paragraph “sounds” like my personality? YES or NO

In one adjective describe yourself=

Does the paragraph’s tone match that adjective? YES or NO

This paragraph has been reviewed by a tutor or teacher? How many times did you see a tutor?

How many times did you meet with Professor Smith?

This paragraph has three or less grammar errors per page, so errors will not distract Reader. Rate your certainty?   A-D

Did you read the paragraph out loud to yourself? YES or NO

What grade do you think you will earn on this paragraph? Rate-A-D? =

2.    Instructor evaluation returned with Edited Assignment-  

Narrative Paragraph

Check List & Scoring Guide

Objectives: further development of pre-writing strategies, emphasize organization and structure guidelines for an academic paragraph, present major events of a personal story with relevant and interesting details, use time order organization and transitions.

Part 1: Pre-writing & Drafting                                                 Maximum          Actual


  • Assignment guide brainstorm 10 ____
  • Graphic Organizer 10            ____
  • Topic sentence & Outline 10 ____
  • Draft 1 10 ____
  • Peer review 10 ____

Part 2: Final Draft

Maximum          Actual           

FORMAT (10 points)                                                                                                 Score             

  • MLA formatted header, last name and page # ,

title centered, first line of paragraph indented ,

margins on both sides , text double spaced , space

after punctuation , font size, font type.

PUNCTUATION and MECHANICS (5 points)                          

  • Periods, commas, apostrophes, and quotation marks,
  • capital letters & spelling.                                                             CONTENT (15 points)                         
  • The paragraph clearly tells a story in a way that brings

the story to life for the reader and shows why the

experience was important for the writer.

  • The paragraph is interesting.
  • The paragraph shows that the writer used care and thought.

ORGANIZATION (40 points)                                              

  • topic sentence: introduces the event in an interesting and

engaging way, uses adjectives & adverbs.

  • major events: 3 or more major events of the story listed in

time order, uses appropriate time transitions.

  • minor supporting details: 6 or more detail sentences

that clearly describe the events, relevant to event and topic,

help to bring the event to life for the reader.

  • concluding sentence: brings the story to a logical end,

shows why the experience was important for the writer.

VOCABULARY (10 points)

  • Uses 10+ AWL words subgroup 2
  • Correct word form 10            _____
  • Correct word choice

GRAMMAR and SENTENCE STRUCTURE (20 points)                                                       

  • Subject-verb agreement, word order, sentence structure,

verb tense, parallelism, articles, pronouns, adjective

and adverb use.


Peer-edited by: ____________________ on date:



  Total Possible Actual Score
Part 1


Part 2





7. Explain how you will provide feedback to the student in the above activity. Include an example of your feedback if possible.

The Online Educator’s Complete Guide to Grading Assignments :

1.    Use a Rubric checklist.  Ask students to self-evaluate and turn in their responses when they submit the assignment. Fill out my own rubric to return paper.

2.    Write a narrative on overall impressions and send out in the form of an email with the rubric and paper attached.  *Create a bank of comments, as not to retype the same phrases over and over.

3.    Provide proof-reading editing correction symbols next to mechanical errors directly on assignment.

8. Quote your best entry from this week’s Blackboard discussion. Explain why you chose it and what it demonstrates about your understanding, learning process etc.

I chose this because I think my response describing Safe Assign shows hoe grading in the best case scenario is actually a teaching tool.

This is off topic, but I want to share since it is part of grading- One thing I LOVE is Safe Assign. It’s an option on BB and where students submit their work on SA, and it scans the paper for plagiarism. It highlights the suspected plagiarism and provides a link to the website where the info was copied. It also gives a percentage of how much of the assignment is quoted or plagiarized. Since I have a 25% or less max on quoting in essays, this really helps students see how much of their paper is simply copied and pasted. It even shows me if that student or another student has turned the same paper into another class at my college or another college. Students are blown away by this. In class, I demonstrate a “test” of SA on the first assignment and show the whole class everything I see. We go through examples that show up highlighted as possible plagiarism and we look to see if the info is quoted and cited properly. We also discuss cases where only a couple of words were changed and we discuss why this doesn’t qualify as paraphrasing and is in fact plagiarism. It’s really the best tool I have found to teach citation and paraphrasing! I honestly don’t know why more teachers aren’t using it. It has drastically cut down my students plagiarizing and eliminated their denial when it does happen. The one drawback- it can’t find translated info from foreign websites.

Grading links back to Teacher Presence. My students are always shocked by the amount of comments and editing symbols on their first assignment. I’m often disappointed with colleagues who simply write “good job” on a five page essay and give no explanation for the grade. Part of teaching is giving feedback- both positive and negative. Something I have really worked on this past couple of years is balancing positive feedback, so that it’s not overly negative. Just as we need to know what not to do, it helps to know what we should keep doing well.

9. Identify the student you think was the most important participant in the Blackboard discussion. Explain why and provide at least one quote from that student’s contributions to the Blackboard discussion.

I really appreciate Laura’s comment about allowing students to participate in self assessment and using their rubric responses for part of the points.  I’ll admit that when I head one of my colleagues does this for the full grade, I thought she was nuts, but when Laura described doing it for part of the points, it made it sound like something I want to try.

Rubrics are a tricky thing. I use them all of the time. Last week, just to calibrate, I had a parent, student, and myself complete a rubric for the student’s assignment. The rubric was worth 20 points. The mom and I gave 16 points and the student gave himself 15. We were very close. I love rubrics for helping students evaluate their own work and to give me a point of reference for more objective grading. I find some rubrics that are embedded in our online program too vague sometimes. Other rubrics are too specific and can only be used for one assignment. is a website where you can make rubrics and use ready-made rubrics.

10. Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.

This week I was reminded by Laura that grading needs to involve multiple people.  First, there needs to be a grading policy that everyone in the department agrees to.  This is hard but worthwhile because our students need consistent assessment if we are going to accurately scope and sequence skills from one level to the next.  Second, I learned that rubrics are worthwhile.  There have been times where I have felt lazy and didn’t want to spend the extra time filling out my rubric, but I know this helps me look at the students’ work objectively.

Nobody talked about this, but I think it is worth saying that as teachers we need to own up to the occasional error we make when grading.  If a student comes to you and questions a grade, be open to listening and changing the grade.

Session Five: Teaching Presence

  1. In your own words, define Instructional Presence.

While Instructional presence in a face to face environment suggest a physical presence in the classroom/office, in an online class, instructional presence has more to do with how a class has been instructionally designed in a way that the instructor is present to students. Instructional presence = Overall sense that a teacher is “present” in an online learning environment by providing information, assistance, feedback, and evaluation in a timely manner.

  1. Name three things that your instructor identifies as contributing to Instructional Presence. Explain why these are, or are not consistent with your definition of Instructional Presence.
    1. Starts with the initial contact teachers make with students via announcements and emails
    2. The weekly contact of teacher “lecture/content” and directions
    3. Teacher interaction on Discussion Boards and Blogs
    4. Timely evaluation
    5. Timely responses to Emails
    6. Office hour contact either f2f or via Skype
    7. Regular contact with students using varied media (email, Discussion Board, Blog, video, etc.)
    8. Quality of Exchanges outweighs quantity.
    9. Instructor presence keeps students motivated.

I think the key to instructional presence comes down to regular timely exchanges. If students only see random irregular contact from teachers, they will likely model the same approach to their own online effort.

  1. Who are the researchers most often identified with the construct of “Teaching Presence”?
  • Researchers Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. proposed that successful learning communities are a partnership of joint work of instructor and student presence. They are best known for their COI Model that suggest Teaching Presence  I”s the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes” (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001). “Teaching Presence includes three components, Instructional Design and Organization, Facilitating Discourse, and Direct Instruction” (Garrison, Anderson and Archer, 2000; Arbaugh and Hwang, A., 2006).
  • Raider-Roth, Professor of Education and Professor Carol Rodgers authors of Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice are two researchers best known for their theories on teaching presence. Rodgers and Raider-Roth (2006) discuss presence in teaching as “…an authentic relationship with students…”  that is a “…state of alert awareness, receptivity and connectedness to the mental, emotional and physical workings of both the individual and the group in the context of their learning environments and the ability to respond with a considered and compassionate best next step” (p. 265-266).
  1. What are the three types of presence that Teaching Presence requires? Name and describe each.
    1. Instructional Design and Organization- refers to the curriculum materials, evaluation methods, and timeline of activities/assignments.
    2. Facilitating Discourse- refers to the way in which instructors guide instructor/student and student/student interaction so as to keep students motivated.
    3. Direct Instruction-refers to the instructor as the content expert responsible for choosing the content of the lessons and overseeing the discussions in relation to content accuracy.

AND Unofficial Answer-

According to Larry Ragan, Director of Instructional Design and Development for Penn State, instructor presence consists of three dimensions:

  • Persona—This consists of the instructor’s personality, teaching style, and interests—all the characteristics that go into the students’ impression of the instructor.
  • Social—This refers to the connections instructors make with the students and those that students make with each other to build a learning community.
  • Instructional—This is the role the instructor plays in guiding students through the learning process.

  1. Choose one of the three types of presence named in item #4 and identify ways and instructor can create or improve this type of presence in an online class.

Techniques to establish instructional design and organization:

  1. Sending a preliminary email with information about the course before it begins.
  2. Create meet the instructor file or video on BB.
  3. Establish clear expectations of weekly participation and submissions for both instructor and students.
  4. Share professional links to interests, meetings, conferences, etc.
  5. Use the announcement forum to communicate and have students download BB app so that announcements come directly to cells.
  6. Provide timely weekly feedback to students, using a variety of formats.
  7. Monitoring student progress and utilize Grade book of BB.
  8. Actively problem solving with students in BB Discussion or Blog

  • I would ague that the medium of video curriculum content could fall under a combination of Instructional Design and Direct Instruction. In the four online classes I have so far taken, the commonality seems to be that all of the content comes from articles or text. I find that surprising and rather disappointing. I had anticipated that video would be better utilized. Granted certain disciplines lend themselves better to this modality, but surely attempting to reach varied learning styles through varied content modes is a good attempt at improving instructor presence.

Given that Instructor presence is related with Social presence, and that Social presence involves the ability of an individual to project themselves as a “real person” in the online learning environment (Garrison et al., 2000), it seems reasonable to think that even creating short video lectures would help teachers connect with students.

6.Explain how the readings this week (and your own research) connects with the Blackboard discussion.

I think the point of this week’s lesson is to highlight that instructors need to be more creative in how they establish instructor presence and more vigilant in how regularly they maintain teaching presence to make sure they are connecting with students.

I understood going into this course how important it was for students to model good online behavior by “showing up” regularly, but I really had never considered how the planning for this begins with the design and organization of the course. It’s reassuring to know that your teacher will send out the next week’s work and previous week’s feedback at the same time each week. I have one class that the teacher might post on Monday and work is due Friday and then the next week she post on Wednesday and it’s due the following week; I have no clue when to go online because there is no pattern in that class. Even though content wise it is my easiest class, I find myself doing the work at the last minute or even late because her lack of teacher presence has made it impossible to plan or stay motivated. If as a grad student I am so impacted by this lack of presence, I can only imagine how this must affect my community college students (especially the basic skills students).

Tips and Resources

Improving your teaching presence in distance learning courses (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

Jones, P., Naugle, K., & Kolloff, M. (2008). Teacher Presence: Using introductory videos in online and hybrid courses. Learning Solutions Magazine.

  1. Quote your best entry from this week’s Blackboard discussion. Explain why you chose it and what it demonstrates about your understanding, learning process etc.

I think this response goes to the core of my understanding the link between instructional design and teaching presence:

Teaching presence begins before the course commences as the teacher, acting as instructional designer, plans and prepares the course of studies, and it continues during the course, as the instructor facilitates the discourse and provides direct instruction when required (Anderson, et al, 2001).

If an online course is well thought out, students will know when the instructor posts, checks, and evaluates throughout the week, and students will know what format to expect to see teacher presence.  I think from a student perspective, we get frustrated with unpredictable teachers (be that f2f or online) who don’t “show-up” on time and regularly or don’t give feedback in a timely way.  Even a simple message from a teacher saying they won’t be available shows that they are still checking in and haven’t taken a break.  The bottom line is that we as teachers set the tone, so if we want our students to show a strong online presence, we need to do the same.

  1. Identify the student you think was the most important participant in the Blackboard discussion. Explain why and provide at least one quote from that student’s contributions to the Blackboard discussion.

I really appreciate what Carole added to this week’s discussion.  I find it very useful when classmates she apps with their own critiques.

I found this topic interesting and went further to read about tools that can support video feedback. I have to create time and try using some of them. Here are some which I found out:

Comment Bubble.
Google drive apps like, WeVideo, & Kaizena.
Web based screencasting tools like screencastify.
Explain Everything, Evernote & The Live Scribe Pen.
Another alternative to provide response and still make it interactive is by use of screencasts and audio.

Feedback via screencast: Jing is a free screen capture software which can be used to record anything you can see on your computer screen and record corresponding audio. The advantage of using this tool is that the student can see his/her Word document and listen to the explanations as the tutor highlights and corrects a sentence or a paragraph. It also allows the instructor to give more explanations without writing a long paragraph.

Some advantages of using Jing:

Very little initial training needed. It is easy to use and the recording does not add to the file size as the link can be copied and pasted in the student’s script.
It allows the instructor to provide more in-depth explanations while correcting on the student’s Word document.
Students can easily follow the explanations provided on screen.
This type of feedback could help with pronunciation and might be useful for students with dyslexia.
Students like listening to the tutor’s voice hence its more personal and memorable.
It is free.

Are there any disadvantages? What do you think?

Audio feedback:

Bejerano, A. (2008). Face-to-face or online instruction? Face-to-face is better. National Communication Association. 3(3).

  1. Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.
  • I’ve realized this week that student success begins with the thought put into instructional design. In week one or two of ETEC 500, I was irritated with hearing online teachers called instructional designers. To me that didn’t sound like the job of teaching and what I perceived to be the bulk of our instruction (which I thought took place during the quarter as opposed to before the start of the class). I was attempting to apply by f2f knowledge to online, but I realize that this doesn’t equate. So much of being a successful teacher is based on the effort put into planning and designing and organizing the online class. Most of successful tips for teacher presence fall under designing and organizing the course. I can see why teachers who are new to online teaching are so unsuccessful- they simply don’t understand what it takes to be present online.