1. How I survived teaching my first online course (and actually enjoyed it!) Susanne A. Sherba Department of Computer Science
2. My top ten tips . . .for preparing and teaching your first online course.
3. A bit of history … For the past several years, the University has been encouraging us to offer summer courses. Analytical Inquiry (COMP 1101) Meets general education (common curriculum) requirement Online version of this course first offered in Summer 2012 Offered as a condensed (5-week) course Delivered via Blackboard 13 University of Denver students 6 sophomores, 3 juniors, 4 seniors Students logged on from various geographical locations: Denver area (9), out-of-state (2), out of the country (2)
4. 1. Gather your technical resources. Where will you host your course? What tools will you use? Don’t forget about FERPA. Who (if anyone) will provide technical support for you and your students? Recommended book: Ko, Susan, and Steven Rossen. Teaching Online: A Practical Guide,Third Edition. New York: Routledge, 2010.
5. Technical Requirements and Technical SupportTo be successful in the course, you will need reliable access to acomputer and the Internet and the ability to send email. TheUniversity of Denver currently has the following requirementsfor laptops: http://www.du.edu/uts/laptops/specs.html.Information about support is available at: http://www.du.edu/uts/helpdesk/student.html.You will also need to become familiar with Blackboard. Thewebsite http://portfolio.du.edu/blackboard contains how-tomovies, handouts, and quick start guides.
6. 2. Take an online course yourself. It helps to experience online learning from the student’s perspective.
7. 3. Reflect on your teaching style.“You will fashion tasks and exercises that emphasize studentcollaboration and de-emphasize the traditional role of the instructoras the central figure in the pedagogical play.” [Ko and Rossen, 2010]
8. Course Learning Objectives By the end of this course, students will be able to: Explain basic computing constructs. Apply these computing constructs to the creation of various projects, including animations, drawings, stories, and games. Reflect on ideas and solutions and be able to propose alternatives.
9. The Scratch Interface and Scratch Blocks
10. Using Multiple Costumes
11. Discussion Assignment
12. Discussion Forum Post
13. Responses to the Post
15. Programming Project 2
16. Blocks to TryDancePartyBlocks.pdf
17. Strategies Discussion - Example 1 When Im stuck, sometimes Ill try picking a new sprite at random to see what comes up. Ill do it a couple times until I find one that sparks my imagination. Ill also try playing what I have so far a couple times and imagine that Im seeing it for the first time. What would I want to see next? Whats missing? It can help! I really wish that I had this great of an imagination when it comes to this kind of stuff. I think much more "black & white" (if that even makes any sense). I might have to try that out and see if something jumps out at me! Keep it up.
18. Strategies Discussion – Example 2 when I get a stuck on designing, usually I would like to check the use guide at first. if I still cannot find out the answer, then I would google it. Sometimes people will make a video on YouTube to describe step by step, and then I can follow the video to finish my design. Videos are really helpful. I like all the ones weve been assigned to watch because its so easy to follow them exactly. Sometimes when its written on paper its much more confusing than when its being shown to you. Thanks for sharing that , I just replayed the video and solve some problems.
19. Strategies Discussion – Example 3a Ive really had some problems when it comes to certain problems, so I have been getting stuck often. I have moved from my strategy of hitting my head against the computer to actually re-reading what it is I dont understand. A lot of times it was just something that didnt process the first time around. However, once Ive re- read the directions and I still dont seem to get it I look at the reference guide. The reference guide will not tell you the answer but will help you to find a way to piece things together to make it more understandable. After that if I still am not understanding I try to walk away from it for a while for a few minutes try to see if maybe the answer would make sense if I take my eyes off of it. IF all of that fails, I post on Blackboard to see if maybe anyone else has some better ways to help me out. Overall its all about the directions and reading and even re-reading.
20. Strategies Discussion – Example 3b I think you make a great point about just stepping away from the computer sometimes to clear your head when youre stuck. This is a strategy that I use all the time on research papers, and I certainly think it applies to scratch projects as well. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and refocus your thoughts to help uncover where your mistakes are
21. Project Feedback – Example 1 The biggest issue that I see with your project is that there are a lot of commands associated with pressing a key, but Im not sure what keys to press when I play the game. Maybe consider changing your key commands to [broadcast] blocks instead.You can use the broadcast and receive blocks to connect each piece of the story without having to press a specific key. Hope this helps..... Hi XXXXX, This was a really great project! It had some awesome concepts! I think this will turn out really well. When I played the game, after I clicked "yes" to continue it didnt continue, the game just stopped. I think that you might want to look back at lab 10, to continue the loop of the game. I really enjoyed playing this! Hope this helps! Best of luck
22. Project Feedback – Example 2• After looking at your project again, I did see a couple areas where you might consider a few modifications. During the part where the guide tells how to apply the wax, you might want to find a way to show the bottom of the skis, instead of the top. A beginner might be confused and put wax on top of their skis. Also, it would be nice to be able to start the guide over again at the end (in case the user makes a mistake inputting info).
23. Project Feedback – Example 3• I love the song! And this is a classical game! But could you tell us how to play it first? When I played it first, I pressed up arrow and down arrow. I did not know I should press W and S.
24. Project Feedback – Example 4 I like your project although I do not like quiz. But could you display the right answer if my choice is wrong?
25. 4. Start early! Preparation took more time than my face-to-face course Rethinking my approach Learning about and choosing online teaching tools and techniques Designing and setting up the course (and revising the course!) Discovering and creating material that is useful for online learning
26. 5. Create a detailed syllabus.. . . and find a way to make sure the students actually read the syllabus. Parts I added to my face-to-face syllabus Explanation of online format My expectations for the time required to complete this course Instructor availability Classroom etiquette Technical Requirements and technical support
27. Description of Online FormatThis course is being offered in an online format. It will coverthe same information as the on-campus course. Students whosign up for this course should be self-motivated and self-directed.You will need to take the responsibility to stay currentwith the course and complete assignments on time. This is not aself-paced course.You will have weekly assignments anddeadlines.
28. My ExpectationsThis course is a condensed course. The course will be fiveweeks in duration. That means that every week of this coursecontains twice as much material as a normal 10-week course.You should plan to spend a minimum of 20 to 25 hours perweek on this course. It is your responsibility to plan your weekso that you can complete all assignments on time. The first fourweeks of this course will begin on Tuesday morning and end onMonday at 11:59 PM Mountain Time Zone. The final week ofthis course will end on Friday (July 20) at 11:59 PM MountainTime Zone. All due dates are listed in Mountain Time. I willpost the material for the following week on Friday afternoon.
29. Instructor AvailabilityPlease post all course related questions to the appropriate forum ofthe Blackboard discussion board so that all class members can benefitfrom the questions and responses. I will try to answer any questionposted on a discussion board within 24 hours during normal businesshours (M-F, 8:00 A.M – 5:00 PM). Questions posted over theweekend will be answered on Monday. Please keep this in mindwhen submitting questions and planning for assignment deadlines. Ifyou email me a course related question, I will ask you to post it inthe discussion forum.For personal matters, please contact me via email. I will try torespond to your email within 24 hours during normal businesshours. If you do not hear from me within this time frame, pleaseemail me again. Emails send over the weekend will be answered onMonday. Please keep this in mind when submitting questions andplanning for assignment deadlines.
30. Classroom EtiquetteStudents enrolled in this course are expected to be respectful ofeach other and the instructor at all times regardless of the typeof communication (e.g., discussion boards, email) being used.
31. 6. Engage your students early and often. Decide how you want them to participate. Reward them for their participation! Maria H. Andersen. “Can Math and Discussions Boards Compute?” (http://www.maa.org/columns/tech/dec2011- jan2012.html) Help them to get acquainted. Communicate with them frequently, both as a group and individually. Add a “social” aspect to the course. Solicit feedback.
32. The way you award points may vary … Maria H. Andersen. “Can Math and Discussions Boards Compute?” (http://www.maa.org/columns/tech/dec2011- jan2012.html)
33. Q & A Discussions in my course Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Number of 10 12 20 19 Topics Total Posts 26 44 51 73 Average Posts per 2.6 3.7 2.6 3.8 Topic Median Posts per 2.5 3 2 3 Topic Minimum Posts per 1 1 1 2 Topic Maximum Posts per 4 7 7 8 Topic
34. My “rubric” for questions and answers
35. Update …
36. 6. Engage your students early and often. Decide how you want them to participate. Reward them for their participation! Maria H. Andersen. “Can Math and Discussions Boards Compute?” (http://www.maa.org/columns/tech/dec2011- jan2012.html) Help them to get acquainted. Communicate with them frequently, both as a group and individually. Add a “social” aspect to the course. Solicit feedback.
37. Individual CommunicationXXXXX,I wanted to check in with you because it appears you are fallingbehind in the course. Lab 3 and programming Project 2 were notuploaded before the deadline. Also Quiz 1 was not completed beforethe deadline. Remember that all deadlines are in Mountain Time.Please contact me as soon as possible to let me know what is up.Thanks.Susanne
38. Virtual Student Lounge (1) Hi All! If anyone reads the threads I would greatly appreciate if someone could give me some tips or tricks about how to organize getting work for this course done. I tend to split up the work throughout the week, but some of the Scratch labs take me hours at a time (Im learning slowly but surely). This is my first online class, does anyone have an effective study and work method? How do you guys like to split up the work load for this class? THANKS! Hey! This is my first online course as well so we will see how we both fare. I think the checklist that has been put in place is very helpful! Just giving a quick glance at everything to determine which takes top priority is what I tend to do before I dive in to everything. However, if I find something that really helps, I will post it and I hope you do the same!
39. Virtual Student Lounge (2) Thanks XXXXX! I am glad Im not flying solo over here! I will be sure to send anything your way! Thank you!!! I work all day so I split the class into nightly sections. For example, last night I watched some of the tutorials and did Lab 4, and tonight I am doing some discussion and Lab 5. Hope this helps, it works for me just to make sure I have a manageable portion at a time without trying to do too much in one sitting or fall behind.
40. Weekly Feedback Survey1. Do you like the online learning environment so far? Why or why not?2. Did you have any problems with any of the items in this week’s modules? If so, what were they?3. How many hours did you spend learning the material and completing this week’s assignments? • Less than 15 • 15 - 20 • 20 - 25 • More than 254. Are there any other comments that you would like to share?
41. Responses Week 4 – Question 1Do you like the online learning environment so far? Why or why not? I have enjoyed it so far, making a game this week was especially fun. This week was really difficult learning the lists and the variables. So, I didnt really like the online learning environment this week. There are pros and cons. I like being able to work at my own pace when I feel like it, and receiving feedback online. Sometimes I wish questions could be answered immediately though, which is impossible in the online setting. Yes, I love the flexibility that online learning offers. For sure! I like the online discussions and working from home has been easy for this class. I like the online learning environment because of the time I can set aside.
42. Responses Week 4 – Question 1 Yes it has been going well. Yes, online learning give you time to think by yourself and if it happened in classroom students will just ask the professor for assistant I already adapted the online learning environment. Because I can manage my time flexible. I am going to keep putting in the same answer because I love learning online. I love going at my own pace and being able to do what I need to do whenever I want to do it. It is perfect for my learning style! My only problem is that other students do not often post in the discussion section, which makes it difficult to participate there.
43. Responses Week 4 – Question 3How many hours did you spend learning the material andcompleting this week’s assignments? Less than 15 1 15-20 4 20-25 6 More than 25 1
44. 7. Think about the layout of your course. Strive for a simple, intuitive design. Consider how you group elements of your course. Think about navigation. Provide prompts that guide students through the course.
45. Course Menu
46. Week 1 Modules
47. Module 1-3: Dance Party Introduction to this Module Discussion Assignment – Giving Directions Algorithms Using Multiple Costumes Lab 3 (link) Programming Project 2 (link) Example Projects Blocks to Try
48. “How-To” Video Tutorials
49. 8. Assess your course . . . and, if possible, receive feedback from colleagues. California State University, Chico’s Rubric for Online Instruction (http://www.csuchico.edu/roi/) Quality Matters Rubric (http://www.qmprogram.org/ rubric) Assessing Online Facilitation (http://humboldt.edu/aof/ aof.htm)
50. 9. Expect the unexpected.
51. 10. Have fun!
52. Final Project Discussion (Student) Is there any way to delete what is stored for the answer to a question? I have a question repeating over and over again until the answer is correct, then it goes to another repeated question with similar answer choices. When I run the script, it keeps the answer in memory for the second question and moves on. Here is a screen shot that will make more sense. < screen shot not shown> Is there a way to insert something between the repeats to clear the stored answer before it asks the second question?
53. (Student) I think I figured out a workaround using an [if/else] block that accomplishes the same thing, but Im still curious if there is a way to to delete the stored answer. Heres my workaround: <screen shot not shown> (Instructor) Yes, this looks like it will work. Nice work around! (I did post another suggestion as well.)
54. (Instructor) Good question. As far as I know, the only time the blue answer variable changes is when the user replies to a question. However, you could create your own variable and "copy" the answer into it. Something like this should work: <screen shot not shown> I created the variable called "my answer" and then set it to a space. Does this make sense? (Student) This definitely makes sense. I love that theres so many different ways to write similar working scripts!