COMMUNITY & In the Online ClassroomCOLLABORATION
F-2-FAs Educators, we all know the importance of community, a group of people who share common emotions, values and beliefs, which are actively engaged in learning together and from each other; and collaboration, when individuals work on a shared goal in the classroom.What do you do to foster both of these in your f-2-f settings?
RESEARCHResearch shows that community and collaboration are equally important in an online setting.
HANDBOOK OF ONLINE LEARNING“Research over the last decade within a community of inquiry model has found that students’ sense of community in a learning environment sustains productive discourse and enhances learning. That sense of community involves goal-directed collaborative interaction, trust, and mutual support.” (39-40)
HANDBOOK OF ONLINE LEARNING“In the community of inquiry model, high teaching presence is defined as student perception that the teacher is providing effective course design, facilitating productive discourse, and providing direct instruction. In a large study of f2f and online learners, Shea et al. found that high teaching presence was associated with a greater sense of classroom community for both types of learner.” (40)
HANDBOOK OF ONLINE LEARNING“…the most highly predicted pedagogical techniques for the online future in higher education were group problem solving, collaborative tasks and problem-based learning.” (18)
HANDBOOK OF ONLINE LEARNING“In an online classroom, the most effective means of achieving learning outcomes is the use of active learning and collaborative techniques that encourage students to become empowered learners.” (383)
DISTANCE EDUCATION: A SYSTEMS VIEW“Since, in distance learning settings, normal communication is conveyed through an artificial medium, we must find ways to achieve “social presence.” (230)“In an earlier study of computer mediated instruction, Cheng et al. reported a higher completion rate for those learners who worked collaboratively (90 percent) than for those who worked independently (22 percent).” (231)
ONLINE LEARNING: CONCEPTS, STRATEGIES, AND APPLICATION “In an online environment, a sense of community is promoted through strong interpersonal ties that provide support for learning and prevent feelings of isolation. Viewing a community as what people do together rather than as a geographic location where tasks are accomplished is the focus for integration of virtual online communities into the educational process.” (84) “…instructors need to place as much emphasis on establishing the appropriate instructional climate as on providing appropriate content, particularly when they want to reap the meaningful educational benefits of attempting to create an online learning community.” (86)
GOING FROM F-2-F TO ONLINEWhat translates well? What challenges are there?
CASE STUDY #1: GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHERRead through the intro discussion board postings in your handout.Be prepared to discuss: What type of information is typically given voluntarily? Is it enough to begin developing a sense of community? What else might you want to know? How could you adapt the assignment to make it more meaningful?
ASSIGNMENT ADAPTATIONStructureWithin Blackboard 9Using other Web 2.0 tools or productivity software?
RESEARCH“embedding the use of technology designed for connecting, such as Facebook, twittering and blogging, might increase the social presence of all of the students as well as the teaching presence of the instructor.” (Young & Bruce, 2011)“Connecting people’s names and faces is a first big step to forming bonds.” (Misanchuk & Anderson)
TOOLS TO USE Glogster http://www.glogster.com/ Create a multi-media poster to express yourself. Voice Thread http://voicethread.com/ Transforming media into collaborative spaces with video, voice, and text commenting. Bb9 Wiki or Wikispaces http://www.wikispaces.com/ Easy-edit web pages used for collaborative writing/editing. Bb9 Journal or Blogger http://www.blogger.com Create a blog Jing http://www.techsmith.com/jing/ Screenshots and screencasting Social Networks (FB, Social Go, Ning, Classroom 2.0, Curriki, LinkedIn, Google+)
CASE STUDY #2: MAKING LEARNING COLLABORATIVERead the assigned case study in your handout.Discuss in your small group. Brainstorm solutionsPresent to whole group
STUDY A In a traditional classroom, you typically lecture on this particular topic (___________________). However, research shows that lectures are not the best methods for transmitting content in an online setting. In fact, Educause recommends limiting video/audio recorded “lectures” to 5 minutes – only to clarify key points. How can you deliver your traditional content, make sure students are “getting it”, and facilitate collaboration in your new digital setting? What tools will you use to do this?
STUDY A: RECOMMENDED TOOLS H2O http://h2o.law.harvard.edu/index.jsp Discussion board that eliminates rushing to post first, forces students to think on their own before reading others’ posts, and increases critical thinking because students cannot automatically respond to anyone – especially taking the easy way out by responding to only those they agree with. Still allows for viewing all discussions at the conclusion.
STUDY B Students spend lots of time in your traditional classroom developing lesson plans and units. They work collaboratively to make them interdisciplinary and learn to give constructive feedback by doing peer to peer evaluations. You also spend a great deal of your time meeting with individual students and teams during class as well as giving students written feedback on their drafts. You have been asked to teach a section of this course online. How will you maintain this collaborative approach in the new environment? What tools will you use to facilitate your approach?
STUDY B: RECOMMENDED TOOLSCCDT: Collaborative Curriculum Design Tool http://learnweb.harvard.edu/alps/tfu/design_ ccdt_about.cfmThis design tool allows students to create lesson units using the Teaching for Understanding model and provides opportunities for collaboration from other course participants, instructors, and outside participants (such as classroom teachers). It also allows completed works to be published publically on the web.
STUDY C Pre-service teachers need to practice teaching and receive feedback on their performance. To facilitate this in your course, you typically have students co - teach the course with you. That is you have them work in small groups to present information from each chapter of your text to the class or have them model what they have learned by teaching a mini - lesson in their content area. You believe this is an important component of the professional development they undergo while in the college of education. You are now teaching the course online. How can you embed this practice into your new course structure? Will you have them model traditional face -to-face instruction, online instruction best -practices, or both?
STUDY C: RECOMMENDED TOOLSZentation http://www.zentation.com/about_free.phpSynchronize video of you teaching and PowerPoint slides together in a single presentation format. Zenation allows viewing of body language & teacher presence in addition to the content to better get an overall view of student’s performance. Blogging comments allow feedback from viewers, and questions can be answered asynchronously.
STUDY D Your students are working on a group project in your online course. Traditionally, you ensured that all students were participating by allowing class time to meet, brainstorm and work. You fear that students will not contribute to the group process equally when they are not meeting face to face, worry about students collaborating from a distance, and have concerns about the entire collaboration process being asynchronous. How can you assess student participation and provide opportunities for both asynchronous and synchronous collaboration on the group project?
STUDY D: RECOMMENDED TOOLSYugma for Skype https://www.yugma.com/This version of Yugma works with your Skype account to add desktop sharing, file transfer, presenter switching and marking capabilities to your video conference with up to three people for free. It also allows you to record the session so voice, text, and sharing interactions can be reviewed.
CONSIDERATIONS IN CHOOSING A TOOL Private or public Course objectives and skills learned Ease of use Cost
RESEARCH“Best practices to strengthen bonding include simple tasks such as collaborative decision - making related to communication protocols, and required and ongoing student postings in online discussions. In addition, use of synchronous instant messaging to enhance camaraderie, asynchronous communication for deeper discussions, and instructor modeling of thoughtful responsiveness with a personal tone all can help build classroom community connections.” (226)
RESEARCH “With the elimination of time and place constraints, instructors can create innovative assignments and interactions in a global context. According to Robinson and Hullinger (2008), small group discussions and projects can provide an emphasis on higher level thinking skills of synthesis and decision making, which in turn create a more challenging learning environment and deeper learning. Such meaningful academic experiences provide students with relevant accomplishments and satisfaction that build learning communities, enhance the quality of student engagement, and decrease dropout rates (Park & Choi, 2009).” (226)
RESEARCH “…in order to create a strong sense of community and to help students engage with learning in online courses, instructors need to find ways to help students feel more strongly connected with each other and with the instructor and to facilitate activities that more actively involve students in their own learning. Instructors who purposefully design learning activities to create opportunities for students to learn about each other, thereby decreasing transactional distance and increasing social presence (Robinson & Hullinger, 2008; Rovai, 2002), are likely to improve learners’ sense of classroom community.” (227)
MORE RESOURCESCheck your handout for links to more resources that may be fun to explore!