Session Three: Best Practices

Standard
  1. After reviewing the Quality Matters Checklist, what are three best practices you can extract. List each one and explain its significance and importance. Be sure to give an example of how using this idea would make either delivery or assessment better in a specific eLearning context.
  •   “Use patterns and activity structures to make students comfortable with process so more of their effort can go towards learning content”” (Newberry). The first week I spent twice as long studying just trying to determine what my teachers would be expecting each week. In the two classes that follow the same activity pattern, I know what to expect; however, in another class each week changes, so I am constantly second guessing myself about what I should be doing in that class. I always tell student that student success begins with just figuring our teachers’ expectations and assignment schedules.
  • “Weekly assignments work better to keep students engaged than fewer larger assignments” (Newberry). I think this will be the hardest to implement in college writing where students are writing 5+ page essays; however, I see the merit and think it would benefit basic skills students to have lots of smaller weekly assignments.
  • “Students often seem to communicate with me more if they can hit “reply” to a message I have sent. … there is at least one email each week in their inbox that they can use to continue the conversation” (Newberry).   Since younger students consider email obsolete, I would suggest using BB Mobile App and sending out an Announcement to students’ cells at least weekly. This reminds them to stay on track.
  1. After reviewing the readings (and other sources that you locate on your own) what are some ideas that you can take from the work of Chickering and Gamson? How well do their suggestions map to online education in general? How well do they map to the students and/or content you might teach or develop for?
  • Good Practice Uses Active Learning Techniques– To often students are passive readers. By connecting Discussion questions to reading comprehension, students are forced to be active learners.
  • Good Practice Develops Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students– Online Learning seems to epitomize the Student Centered classroom. While students may or may not feel the same level of social connection as in f2f, without doubt, online students do interact with their peers a lot! Since I have doubts about the frequency at which my students access BB or email, I’d like to know other options for student to student texting without forcing students to give away their cell numbers?
  •    Good Practice Encourages Contacts Between Students and Faculty- Email, BB Announcements via mobile apps, Skype Office Hours, and even Word Document Review are all technologies that have given students significant interaction and access to communicate with instructors. I’ve realized that since many of my students are only on campus two days per week, that interaction via tech is equally important in f2f classes.
  • Good Practice Gives Prompt Feedback– I’m sure I’m not the only one who has another online class in which they have yet to receive any feedback. Three weeks into the quarter, I’m already past what I did week one. In my own classes I give myself a one week deadline for returning assignments. I’m in the minority- most of my colleagues take 2+ weeks to return papers. I just feel that students won’t be as interested in my comments if they’ve already moved on to their next assignment.
  • Good Practice Emphasizes Time on Task– Every semester I tell students to expect 2+ hours of HW for every hour in class, but they never believe me. In an online class, I think many students are working and or have families, so time management is particularly crucial. I will occasionally have a top student wite down a timeline for how much time they spent on an assignment. I think it helps students to know what their classmates are doing.
  • Good Practice Communicates High Expectations– I have my Pronunciation students create their Introductions on Youtube and then post to BB Discussion. It’s always interesting to me to see how hard they work on these knowing that anyone on the Web will be able to see it.
  1. According to the text, what are Objectives, Outcomes and Competencies. Provide an example of each.

In my research I found that many Universities use these words interchangeably or contradict themselves in definitions. At the CA community college level we may have slightly different definitions than here at CSUSB, so I am defining them as we would at the CC level-

  • Objectives- This seems to be a fairly common definition- “A learning objective should describe what students should know or be able to do at the end of the course that they couldn’t do before” (What Are Learning Objectives). My college is more narrow in its definition and identifies objectives as specific skills, for exp: By the end of the semester my Grammar students will be able to write in passive and active voice.
  • Outcomes- The CCC system uses the term Student Learning Objective and it refers to what students will be able to do at the end of a semester; it’s broader than an objective. For example; student will be able to write 1-2 page narrative essays free of major grammatical errors.
  • Competencies- While Objectives and Outcomes refer to the knowledge acquired through education, Competency refers to the life/work skills that can be performed as a result of the acquisition of Objectives and Outcomes (What is Competency?).   Exp: Students who successfully complete Speech will have the ability to answer phones and communicate in a professional manner.

This list can serve as a valuable tool to use when creating learning objectives, assessments and even competencies (Santacaterina. 2007)

 

  Cognitive Domain Levels Verbs Used for Objectives
Lowest level Knowledge define, memorize, repeat, record, list, recall, name, relate, collect, label, specify, cite, enumerate, tell, recount
  Comprehension restate, summarize, discuss, describe, recognize, explain, express, identify, locate, report, retell, review, translate
  Application exhibit, solve, interview, simulate, apply, employ, use, demonstrate, dramatize, practice, illustrate, operate, calculate, show, experiment
Higher levels Analysis interpret, classify, analyze, arrange, differentiate, group, compare, organize, contrast, examine, scrutinize, survey, categorize, dissect, probe, inventory, investigate, question, discover, text, inquire, distinguish, detect, diagram, inspect
  Synthesis compose, setup, plan, prepare, propose, imagine, produce, hypothesize, invent, incorporate, develop, generalize, design, originate, formulate, predict, arrange, contrive, assemble, concoct, construct, systematize, create
  Evaluation judge, assess, decide, measure, appraise, estimate, evaluate, infer, rate, deduce, compare, score, value, predict, revise, choose, conclude, recommend, select, determine, criticize
  1. List the six levels in Bloom’s taxonomy. Now list one eLearning task, question or assignment for each level.
  1. Remembering– In a low level writing class Narrative Essays are standard. Instead of the usual pre-writing, why not using a sketching App and let students draw a series of pictures; then they can create audio to narrate the story. “StoryKit is a free app that offers an easy way to combine videos, photos, and text to create a storybook and share that information. Students can create ‘books’ that showcase their knowledge.”(Edudemic).
  2. Understanding– Have students do character and plot summary to show reading comprehension.       “SimpleMind is mind mapping app that students (and teachers!) can use to brainstorm, collect, and organize their ideas. Users can easily add links, cross link pieces of their mind map, organize and reorganize branches of the map, and share their mind maps”(Edudemic).
  3. Applying– Students need to be able to apply what they have learned to real life scenarios. In a very low language class I would have students use Mapquest directions to one of their favorite places and orally record themselves giving directions without partners being able to see the map.       Partners then have to sketch what the map should look like. “Screen Chomp is a free app that is a basic doodling board with markers. Users can record audio/video with their device (or upload a file), then use the drawing tools to sketch out ideas” (Edudemic).
  4. Analyzing– Students need to be able to analyze data and a good way to do that is by having them turm information into charts. “Easy Chart is a free app that offers basic chart-making tools. Users can select bar, line, sidebar, or pie charts to organize their data”(Edudemic).
  5. Evaluating– Getting students to evaluate sources is huge. Have students post a reference on the discussion board, and then ask each classmate to respond to a criteria of questions for evaluating a classmate’s source. Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages: http://olinuris.library.cornell.edu/ref/research/webcrit.html
  6. Creating– In teaching Phonics, Stress, and Syllables, I have students create haiku poem. Try letting students set their poem to a beat. “GarageBand. This offers a host of tools from various musical instruments to beatbox jams and electronic drum kits for users to create, edit, save, and share their musical creations” (Edudemic).
  1. According to the text, what is “learner focused teaching”? How does this concept relate to the work of Chickering and Gamson? Provide some ideas for providing “learner focused teaching” in an eLearning setting and give at lest one example.

To simplify Palloff and Pratt in Assessing the Online Learner, learner focued teaching takes the emphasis off what the instructor is teaching and puts it on what students are learning.   The teacher then becomes the facilitator for what and how students comprehend the information (2009, p. 24). This is especially true in online learning where teachers are seen as course designers, and students take a more active role in researching and processing information. Ed Tech Students might be asked to take Good Practices of Chickering and Gamson and apply them to their own online teaching. For example, Good Practice Gives Prompt Feedback- dr. Newberry describes making Mondays his day to give his online students feedback on the previous week’s work. In your own classes, how do you manage staying on top of grading?

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

Overall this week really honed in on best practices and thinking about how we teach online. As I thought about Bloom’s Taxonomy and Chickering and Gamson’s best practices, I really tried to think how I could uses these strategies in both f2f and online classes. I liked the lessons so much that I forwarded Dr. Newberry’s Tips to a few of my online colleagues.

  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 suspect my classmates will like seeing the specific Apps that I connected with Bloom’s Taxonomy. I can’t take credit though. I had an online class over the summer that gave us the assignment to find an App for “Creating”; unfortunately, I no longer had access to the great class discussion on that topic, but I did find an interesting article about this topic. I just rethought how I could best use the Apps in my own classes.

  • Remembering–  In a low level writing class Narrative Essays are standard.  Instead of the usual pre-writing, why not using a sketching App and let students draw a series of pictures; then they can create audio to narrate the story.  “StoryKit is a free app that offers an easy way to combine videos, photos, and text to create a storybook and share that information. Students can create ‘books’ that showcase their knowledge.”(Edudemic).
  • Understanding–  Have students do character and plot summary to show reading comprehension.  “SimpleMind is mind mapping app that students (and teachers!) can use to brainstorm, collect, and organize their ideas. Users can easily add links, cross link pieces of their mind map, organize and reorganize branches of the map, and share their mind maps”(Edudemic).
  • Applying– Students need to be able to apply what they have learned to real life scenarios.  In a very low language class I would have students use Mapquest directions to one of their favorite places and orally record themselves giving directions without partners being able to see the map.  Partners then have to sketch what the map should look like.  “Screen Chomp is a free app that is a basic doodling board with markers. Users can record audio/video with their device (or upload a file), then use the drawing tools to sketch out ideas” (Edudemic).
  • Analyzing–  Students need to be able to analyze data and a good way to do that is by having them turm information into charts.  “Easy Chart is a free app that offers basic chart-making tools. Users can select bar, line, sidebar, or pie charts to organize their data”(Edudemic). 
  • Evaluating– Getting students to evaluate sources is huge.  Have students post a reference on the discussion board, and then ask each classmate to respond to a criteria of questions for evaluating a classmate’s source.  Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages:  http://olinuris.library.cornell.edu/ref/research/webcrit.html
  • Creating–  In teaching Phonics, Stress, and Syllables, I have students create haiku poem.  Try letting students set their poem to a beat.  “GarageBand. This offers a host of tools from various musical instruments to beatbox jams and electronic drum kits for users to create, edit, save, and share their musical creations” (Edudemic).

8. 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 Laura’s posting for two reasons:  first, I appreciated that she opted for this topic on BB while most students went with Bloom; secondly, it helped me make the connection that Chickering & Gamson and Bloom’s Taxonomy really remind us that online teaching still shares the same goals as f2f, regardless of methodology.

Laura Mitobe
RE: Chickering and Gamson
COLLAPSE
Does the work of Chickering and Gamson still seem relevant?

Yes, it is still relevant. Most ‘best practices’ are written for the face to face (f2f) teacher. However, the principles of effective teaching are the same for f2f and online learning. The goal for both is to achieve student learning. Am I saying f2f classes and online classes are the same? No, they are very different in practice, but in purpose, the learning is the goal. The

strategies, materials, and learning activities must be developed to accommodate the online environment, compensate for f2f monitoring of understanding, and adjust assessments so that they demonstrate student learning online. In addition, instructor behavior is different. The instructor must be more available by email and/or discussions to answer questions, clarify, and provide feedback to students. Communication between the instructor-student and student-student should be carefully planned to create a sense of community.

How well do their suggestions apply to online education in general?

Chickering and Gamson’s 7 Principles apply very well to online education. Research has identified characteristics of good teaching and the 7 Principles are closely aligned. Most of the lists of effective teacher characteristics are comparable. As demonstrated in the table below, the 7 Principles adapt to online strategies.

Chickering and Gamson’s 7 Principles

Application to Best Practices for Online Teaching

1. Encourage Contact between students & faculty

This can be accomplished online through discussion, chat and email. Frequent contact is important in student motivation.

2. Develop reciprocity & cooperation among students

Group projects, discussion, chat, Skype Help students discover resources and build community through discussions and collaborative projects. Instructor and students are a ‘team’.

3. Encourage active learning

Assignments should be relevant and involve students constructing knowledge as they explore the content. Students should find opportunities to discuss their learning online as they reflect and process in writing.

4. Give prompt feedback

Emails should be returned as soon as possible, instructor can comment on the discussion board, grades and feedback on work guide the student so they know if they are on the right track.

5. Emphasize time on task

Time on task = learning and assignments should be relevant to the online learner. Instructors should evaluate the time for students assignments and make sure the task can be done in the time allocated.

6. Communicate high expectations

Expectations should be communicated when the class begins and be available in print for review, as well as providing rubrics and explicit expectations for subsequent assignments

7. Respect diverse talents & ways of learning

Get to know your students and give choices for demonstrating learning, as well as, respect their prior knowledge and experience

Brophy (1986) identified teacher characteristics that bear similarities to the 7 Principles that increase student achievement:

Emphasize academic objectives
Establish high expectations
Allocate time
Pace students briskly, but in small steps that allow high rates of success
Adapt instructional materials to your knowledge of the students characteristics (get to know your students)
Give information, ask questions, provide feedback

Brophy, Jere (1986) Teacher influences on student achievement. American Psychologist, Vol 41(10), Oct 1986, 1069-1077.http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.41.10.1069

Smith (2011) identified the following top 9 teacher characteristics:

http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/philosophy-of-teaching/what-students-want-characteristics-of-effective-teachers-from-the-students-perspective/#sthash.nltQ4tSg.dpuf

  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.

Ultimately I decided that regardless of f2f or online, best teaching carries over. The most useful information I read this week were specific tips that came from Dr. Newberry- like designating one day to online grading, and the fact that students are more likely to respond to his emails that send new ones.  That’s the practical information that I can immediately apply to my own teaching.

References:

Chickering, A. and Ehrmann, S. (1996, Oct.) Implementing The Seven Principles:

Technology as Lever. Retrieved from TLT Group: http://www.tltgroup.org/programs/seven.html

Edudemic. (2013, Sep. 12). A Powerful App for Every Level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Retrieved from:

http://www.edudemic.com/blooms-taxonomy-one-app-every-skill/

Palloff, R. and Pratt, K. (2009). Assessing the Online Learner. San Francisoco:

Jossey-Bass Publishing.

Powel, M. (2013, Dec. 23). 5 Ways to Make Your Classroom Student Centered.

Education Week Teacher. Retrieved from: http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2013/12/24/ctq_powell_strengths.html

Santacaterina, L. (2007, March). Competencies vs. Learning Objectives. Retrieved

from:

https://umanitoba.ca/student/studentlife/media/Competencies_vs_Learning_Objectives_with_examples.doc

What is Competency? (N.D.) Retrieved from:

https://sph.uth.edu/content/…/Competencies-and-Learning-Objectives.pdf

What are Learning Objectives? (N.D.) Retrieved from Teaching Effectiveness:

http://tep.uoregon.edu/resources/assessment/learningobjectives.html

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10 thoughts on “Session Three: Best Practices

  1. Hi Christen,
    Am one person who gained from your presentation about the Apps and bloom’s taxonomy. It came out nicely how all the steps can be accomplished using a variety of technology.
    This kind of simplifies the work of the teacher and makes learning interesting because learners have a wide range to select what meets their needs.
    Thanks,
    Carolyne

    Like

    • Thanks Carolyne, I was once given the advice that if we don’t test out something we have seen within the first week, we probably never will. I hope you will look for some Apps that you can begin using this week.

      Like

  2. Margarita

    Hi Christen,
    I enjoyed reading your blog as well as your BB posts. I would also say that Newberry’s tip on designating a grading day is genius! I have been teaching for 11 years and I have yet to accomplish the task of grading in a timely manner. This course is one of three online courses I’m taking for the Fall quarter. After the second week, I’m sure most of us have kept up the pace with the 648 schedule. I’m still trying to remember when assignments are due for another one of my courses. Assignments are broken up into steps and certain steps are due one day, while another step is due another. Talk about confusion! Learning about Quality Matters and Best Practices in this quarter and previous classes has allowed me to reflect on my learning within online classes, to either take the useful practices of my instructors and apply them to my own teaching, or make sure I don’t make the same choices other instructors have made when organizing a course. There is so much to keep in mind when developing, designing, and teaching an online course and only a small amount of it is the content.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I too am still struggling with a couple of my other classes that aren’t organized with the same weekly format like we have in 648. I have a Reading teacher who is teaching online for the first time this semester, and I am dying to forward her Dr. Newberry’s tips from this week. Seeing the stark differences has been a good way for me to reflect on what I like/do and /don’t like/don’t do in my own teaching.

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  3. Hello Christen just wanted to chime in on the idea you had here:
    ” Good Practice Gives Prompt Feedback- I’m sure I’m not the only one who has another online class in which they have yet to receive any feedback. Three weeks into the quarter, I’m already past what I did week one. In my own classes I give myself a one week deadline for returning assignments. I’m in the minority- most of my colleagues take 2+ weeks to return papers. I just feel that students won’t be as interested in my comments if they’ve already moved on to their next assignment.”

    This is undoubtedly one of the pitfalls as well as tech divides that separate f2f and eLearning. I have had several ( emphasize several) courses where, due to the perceived need to increase the cognitive load of the course to overcome the idea of it being online / eLearning that feedback as you stated was two- three weeks behind: neither timely nor effective. At this point the teaching moment has passed and the behavior not corrected it is my hope that we will discover a medium, transmission model or other technology being used for some other application somewhere yet to be adapted (as many great ideas and technologies are just that) to be utilized for just such a purpose. Blogging is a far cry from DB posting in a CMS / LMS but limitations still abound. I feel we are on the cusp of a great new era of interconnectivity, it will just take the right person asking the right question and our flat world will instantaneously become round yet again!!

    Great job with your answers above, just wanted to know if you’ve found any use for the 21st century digital fluency project. For my profession; I can envision great leaps and bounds as long as we can start and build from the basics and learn from previous mistakes.

    Like

      • My wife is a HS principal and we go to CTE and ED. Conferences together, we went to the last ACTE conference in las vegas and the key note was the co-author of the book and one of the founders of the project. I had been introduced to it prior to this in my undergrad coursework for the DSE credential as well and found it to be aligned very well with the common core principles, so i looked further and found out more at their site and through further ACTE studies.

        Great stuff and seems to be kind of the point with what we are attempting to do here in this course as well as in interjecting more relevance and context into the core curricula, bringing the “why I needto know this ” and ” how and when will i ever use this ” kind of teaching to ELA, Math and Science : through real-world application.

        And in answer to any of it being in our 648 stuff, no. I am just in my final few courses of the MA ed CTE program and all the ideas are coming together so i try and use them all in each of my courses so that I can get a true feel for where this leArning adventure will take me.

        If you get a chance to go to the ACTE conferences they are really well done and full of immediately usable classroom tech for all levels of instruction

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  4. Brian

    This was very nicely done. I especially liked that you have identified a key characteristic about your own students, the fact that they don’t use email as much as other technologies. This kind of thinking is great to see!

    Like

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