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Engaging online learners


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Presentation given during the Teachers Teaching Online MOOC on Saturday 28th June

Presentation given during the Teachers Teaching Online MOOC on Saturday 28th June

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  • 1. Engaging Online Learners Graham Stanley Teachers Teaching Online MOOC Saturday, June 28 2014
  • 2. Online Learning 10 20 30 40 50 Synchronous 10 20 30 40 50 Asynchronous 10 20 30 40 50 Engaging Learners 10 20 30 40 50 Mixed Bag 10 20 30 40 50
  • 3. Online Learning
  • 4. Question What is blended learning and why might I be interested in this?
  • 5. AnswerBlended learning is a mixture of both face-to-face and online learning “Current research suggests that the best results come from offering learners a blended option” Hockly & Clandfield, 2010
  • 6. Question What platform is best for online learning?
  • 7. AnswerIt depends! • What are you teaching? • When do your students have time to learn? • How much work do you want to do? • How much communication / interactivity do you want to include? • Synchronous or Asynchronous? • VLE (Moodle, Edmodo) or PLE (Blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc)? • Live classes (WizIQ, etc) or text chat?
  • 8. Question Synchronous or Asynchronous? Which is best?
  • 9. AnswerIdeally, a combination of both Synchronous if it’s easy to set a time to meet and you want to promote interaction Asynchronous if it’s difficult for everyone to meet at the same time and/or you want to allow people to study at their own pace
  • 10. Question VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) or PLN?
  • 11. AnswerHow much control/ownership do you want to have? How important is assessment to you? VLE – allows for greater teacher control; learners log in and are guided to activities; assessment is easy; once course ends, community usually ends PLE – enables greater learner freedom; learners set up different tools themselves; assessment trickier; learners build a PLN that can continue after course ends
  • 12. Question How much technical/online tutor skills should I have?
  • 13. AnswerMore than your learners and enough to enable you to support them with any technical issues they may have. • Familiarise yourself with the tools you are going to use • Be prepared to offer learners technical support if they need it • Consider taking a course if you think you need it
  • 14. Synchronous
  • 15. Question What is synchronous online learning?
  • 16. Answer Any online learning that happens at the same time e.g. a live class or chat
  • 17. Question Should I use a webcam?
  • 18. AnswerUsing a webcam helps humanise the learning/teaching If you don’t/can’t, then make sure you have photos of yourself and encourage your learners to add photos of themselves/complete their profiles If you use a webcam, become ‘camera aware’ – look at the camera (eye contact) not the screen and think about what learners can see in background, etc.
  • 19. Question Can I do it alone? Do I need a moderator?
  • 20. AnswerHow familiar are you with the platform? What kind of platform is it? e.g. with a webinar, it’s easier to have a moderator/facilitator and a presenter. If anything goes wrong, the facilitator can step in; it makes questions/answers easier; 2 is always better than 1
  • 21. Question How important is planning?
  • 22. AnswerMake sure your live class is well planned with a clear structure that is also logical. What is the aim/outcome of the class? How will you know if you have achieved the aim/outcome? Do you have enough variety and interaction planned?
  • 23. Question How do I know if there’s anyone listening?
  • 24. AnswerYour live class needs to be engaging and motivating – otherwise, why do learners need to attend it live? They could watch/listen to a recording. Ask questions, get the learners to interact and use the text chat
  • 25. Asynchronous
  • 26. Question What is asynchronous online learning?
  • 27. Answer Any online learning that is not ‘live’ e.g. via email or through forums, video, podcasting, etc.
  • 28. Question What about pairwork/groupwork?
  • 29. AnswerTry to build some pairwork/groupwork into your course – learners will like it Be careful not to make pairwork/groupwork too important in an asynchronous course Think about time zones when establishing groups – learners must be able to meet up with each other
  • 30. Question Should I use video?
  • 31. Answer Making videos is a great way of presenting content to learners, but requires a lot of time to prepare and good technical skills
  • 32. Question What about audio files?
  • 33. Answer Creating podcasts for learners to listen to is worth considering – they are very portable and learners can learn anywhere (while commuting, for example)
  • 34. Question How flexible should I be?
  • 35. AnswerMake sure the learners know how much time they need to spend learning/studying each week Set deadlines for assignments but be flexible and extend these if necessary
  • 36. Engaging Learners
  • 37. Question How important is socialization?
  • 38. AnswerVery important, especially at the beginning of a course. Provide plenty of opportunities for this to take place to help create a learning community Meeting and greeting and ‘getting to know you’ activities will help learners feel part of the learning community
  • 39. Question Should the learners establish objectives?
  • 40. AnswerAsking the learners to establish their objectives will help you know what they want to get out of a course and also give them something to aim for Revisiting these objectives later on will help the learners see what they have achieved
  • 41. Question How important are deadlines?
  • 42. AnswerIf you don’t set deadlines, then learners may never finish something or submit an assignment If deadlines are not realistic, learners may lose interest / hope
  • 43. Question What about netiquette?
  • 44. AnswerAlthough it sounds like an outdated term, it’s still worth establishing ground rules with learners. Think about:- respect for others, acknowledgment of other people’s ideas, humour (difficult to express online), emoticons (don’t overuse), capital letters (DON’T SHOUT!), etc.
  • 45. Question How can I keep learners interested?
  • 46. Answer Make sure the learners are invested in your course and make sure your content is interesting/engaging Remember that variety is the spice of life
  • 47. Mixed Bag
  • 48. Question What about using text chat?
  • 49. AnswerText chat is useful if people have slower or less reliable Internet connections Text chat can become a good space for socializing Text chat in Facebook groups or using Twitter (with a #hashtag) can be a great way to use this
  • 50. Question What about privacy?
  • 51. Answer Make sure the learners are happy about what is public and what is private on your course. Is their work public? (e.g. PLE) or private (e.g. VLE)
  • 52. Question Do I need a headset?
  • 53. AnswerWith live classes involving learners using voice, everyone should have a headset or headphones/mic and not use speakers as it causes feedback If you experience feedback, mut the mics and unmute them when someone needs to speak
  • 54. Question What should I do if the technical problems are insurmountable?
  • 55. Answer Keep calm and try to solve them, but if there are too many tech problems, call off the live class and reschedule for another day/time
  • 56. Question Where can I go to get help?
  • 57. AnswerLearn from others by joining online courses/sessions and take notes of the things that work/don’t work Do some reading or consider taking a course to help you
  • 58. Answer Nicky Hockly (2012) Webinars: A Cookbook for Educators The Round Nicky Hockly & Lindsay Clandfield (2010) Teaching Online Delta Publishing