Lessons Learned: Implementation of a Virtual Classroom


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This presentation provides lessons learned and best practices gained through the implementation of Wimba Classroom at The University of Southern Mississippi.

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Lessons Learned: Implementation of a Virtual Classroom

  1. 1. Lessons Learned: Implementation of a Virtual Classroom at USM Amy Thornton, M.S. Mary Nell McNeese, Ph.D. The University of Southern Mississippi
  2. 2. The University of Southern Mississippi <ul><li>Approximately 16,000 students covering all campuses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hattiesburg and Gulf Coast campus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4 satellite campuses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Course Management System </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blackboard Learning System CE 6 (formally WebCT) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hosted Off-site </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Why do we need a virtual classroom? <ul><li>Distance Learning program growth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Long Beach campus wiped out by Katrina (no meeting space) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online enrollments up: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fully online courses (Spring 08): 225 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Students enrolled in fully online courses (Spring 08): 4927 (38% growth from Spring 07) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Course Supplements (Spring 08): 288 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Students enrolled in course supplements (Spring 08): 5150 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Totals: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>513 courses using distance learning tools </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Wimba Classroom <ul><li>Hosted off-site </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated with Blackboard </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PowerLink </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Wimba Classroom <ul><li>Fully featured live virtual classroom that supports: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Audio </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Video </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Application sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content display </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interactive Polling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Breakout Rooms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E-board </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Phased Pilot <ul><li>Fall 2006 “Pilot” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1 course - managed outside of Blackboard </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Spring 2007 Pilot - 12 courses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>10 inside Blackboard; 2 per college as selected by Deans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2 outside Blackboard </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Received all-day training by Wimba </li></ul><ul><li>Added more faculty in March by invitation </li></ul><ul><li>Summer 2007 - offered university-wide </li></ul>
  7. 7. Lessons Learned from Pilot <ul><li>Have faculty sign a contract to participate in the pilot </li></ul><ul><li>Give the faculty your expectations at the beginning of the pilot and expected outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Provide incentives to the faculty (“goodies”) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Issues <ul><li>Do we integrate into Blackboard or use as a stand-alone product? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we handle requests to use as a meeting room outside of courses? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we handle guest presenters not affiliated with our institution? </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Authentication </li></ul><ul><li>Manual account management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Approximately 16,000 user accounts in Blackboard </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Privacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Course content delivery through e-mail </li></ul></ul>Do we integrate into Blackboard?
  10. 10. Meeting Room Requests <ul><li>Use in Blackboard </li></ul><ul><li>Activate Guest Access URL </li></ul><ul><li>Request Form </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.usm.edu/lec/des/forms/live_classroom_meetings/index.php </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Guest Presenters <ul><li>Used until ‘Promote to Presenter’ added in last upgrade </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-USM affiliates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Privacy Statement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Request Form </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.usm.edu/lec/des/forms/live_classroom_guest_presenter/index.php </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Now… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Faculty enable guest access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote the guest presenter </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Policy <ul><li>Training is not required but strongly recommended </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty Support is provided by the Learning Enhancement Center </li></ul><ul><li>Student Support is provided by iTech (IT Department) & Wimba 24/7 support line </li></ul><ul><li>Rooms are only to be used within Blackboard (must have Bb account to use) </li></ul><ul><li>There is no limitation on the amount of rooms a faculty member can create </li></ul><ul><li>Provide listserv for communication and collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Guest Presenter Access </li></ul><ul><li>Meeting Room Access </li></ul>
  13. 13. Faculty Support & Training <ul><li>Started with one 3-hour session </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Offered Practice sessions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Changed to 2 back-to-back sessions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1-hour Intro. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2-hour Advanced </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Current training </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1.5-hour Intro. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2-hour Advanced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1-on-1 instructional design assistance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In class instruction </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Training materials on Web site - http://www.usm.edu/lec </li></ul>
  14. 14. Student Support <ul><li>Student FAQ </li></ul><ul><li>Online Video Tutorials (in process) </li></ul><ul><li>iTech helpdesk </li></ul><ul><li>Wimba 24/7 Support Line </li></ul>
  15. 15. Best Practice Tips: To Get Started <ul><li>Letter to Students (good for fully online classes) </li></ul><ul><li>Live “Reception” </li></ul><ul><li>Start Slow </li></ul><ul><li>Include Technology Requirements in Syllabus </li></ul><ul><li>Be Prepared (plan ahead) </li></ul><ul><li>Be flexible and adaptable </li></ul><ul><li>Practice!!! </li></ul>
  16. 16. Best Practice Tips: In-Class (virtual) <ul><li>Lay out the ground rules </li></ul><ul><li>Provide an agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Give your students an opportunity to get used to the new class environment </li></ul>
  17. 17. Best Practice Tips: Engage your Students <ul><li>Keep it Interactive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use polling questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask students to participate vocally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow students to brainstorm in groups </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Give students something to do </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Require them to facilitate the discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Require students to take turns taking notes on the whiteboard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Require them to make a presentation </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Best Practice Tips: Engage your Students <ul><li>Use videos, music, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Use Internet materials (e.g., virtual field trips, online museum exhibits, simulations </li></ul><ul><li>Ask students to discuss their own experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Invite industry professionals to be guest speakers </li></ul>
  19. 19. Best Practice Tips: Ways to use the eBoard <ul><li>Have students doodle before class </li></ul><ul><li>Create a matching exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Create a slide with a blank grid. Assign each student to a grid and perform a brainstorming exercise with the Text Tool </li></ul><ul><li>Add an image of a map and ask students to use the Arrow Tool to indicate where they’re from. </li></ul><ul><li>Invite students to be guest presenters. You push out the slides and they use the eBoard tools. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Best Practice Tips: Group Work <ul><li>Tips </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the Break-Out Rooms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Restrict to small groups (2 to 4 students) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assign a specific task </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow breakdown time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure participants have access to the break-out room </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep breakout sessions short </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give precise instructions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assign specific projects or goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assign a student as a Breakout Leader, to keep order and manage the agenda </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give students a specific time when they should return </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visit each breakout room to check on progress and answer any questions </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Best Practice Tips: Break-Out Rooms <ul><li>Uses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bring back for a short presentation by group spokesperson </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have group lead class discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss assigned topics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brainstorm in smaller groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work on a specific project or assignment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work in a ‘lab’ environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop problem-solving skills </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Best Practice Tips: Video <ul><li>Keep in mind your student’s connection speed </li></ul><ul><li>Web cam (live video) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make the most out of it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Train yourself to look at the camera </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use gestures and motions the same way you would in a f2f environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If not using, post still pictures to get that human connection </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recorded Video </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Require to watch before hand </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Take a break to allow to watch </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 23. General Best Practice Tips <ul><li>Have required & optional chats </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Have optional sessions for extra credit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Get student feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Limit sessions to 12 or less students </li></ul><ul><li>Beware of dead air </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students get nervous when they can’t see or hear anything </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep the class moving…always have something going on </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Academic Uses <ul><li>Make-up credit </li></ul><ul><li>Prep for midterm/final exams </li></ul><ul><li>Student “group work” </li></ul><ul><li>Guest Speakers </li></ul><ul><li>Ask-a-librarian session </li></ul><ul><li>Office hours </li></ul><ul><li>Accommodate different learning styles </li></ul>
  25. 25. Academic Uses Cont. <ul><li>Recording of presentations (live and pre-recorded) </li></ul><ul><li>Make portable with downloadable mp3 </li></ul><ul><li>Office Hours </li></ul><ul><li>IVN Integration </li></ul><ul><li>During and after disasters (e.g. Katrina) </li></ul><ul><li>F2F integration </li></ul>
  26. 26. Non-academic Uses <ul><li>Staff Meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Orientations (e.g., Residence Life, Library) </li></ul><ul><li>Social Networking </li></ul><ul><li>Meetings w/ non-affiliates </li></ul><ul><li>Professional Presentations </li></ul><ul><li>Training and Professional Development </li></ul><ul><li>MS Wimba User’s Group </li></ul><ul><li>Student Organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty/Staff Interviews </li></ul>
  27. 27. Evaluation <ul><li>Review your archives to see what worked and didn’t work and what improvements can be made </li></ul><ul><li>Ask your students what they liked and didn’t like during the session (use an anonymous poll question) </li></ul><ul><li>Always be open to change and improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to ask for help! </li></ul>
  28. 28. Where are we now? <ul><li>Working on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing more online support materials for students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using Wimba Classroom to conduct workshops for our faculty at our other campuses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research Project – surveying 20 institutions on “Use and Impact of Wimba Classroom in Higher Education” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Approximately 90 faculty & staff have used Wimba Classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Inserting into IVN rooms to incorporate others types of video and for archiving </li></ul><ul><li>Mississippi Wimba User’s Group </li></ul>
  29. 29. Questions
  30. 30. Contact Information <ul><li>Amy Thornton, M.S. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>601-266-6197 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mary Nell McNeese, Ph.D. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>601-266- 4562 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul>