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Effective Group Work in Online Classes

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Effective Group Work in Online Classes. Presented at the 2012 Texas Blackboard Users Group meeting. Presented by Lisa Bunkowski and Rob Worley.

Effective Group Work in Online Classes. Presented at the 2012 Texas Blackboard Users Group meeting. Presented by Lisa Bunkowski and Rob Worley.

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  • 1. Effective Group Work in Blackboard Lisa Bunkowski, Ph.D. & Robert Worley, Ph.D. Texas A&M University Central Texas Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 2. Agenda  Topics:  Reasons for using Groups and Group Tools  Creating shared student workspaces in Blackboard  Examples of Group Activities & Grading Rubrics  Getting the most out of your students  Challenges & Suggestions for surmounting them  Discussion, Q & A Effective Group Work in Blackboard Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 3. Reasons for using Groups and Group Tools Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 4. Reasons for using Groups and Group Tools  Create online learning communities  Facilitate Team, Groups, Peer Review, and similar assignments  Foster “connected” learning styles Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 5. Notes:  As suggested by Steven R. Aragon in his essay 2003 essay “Creating Social Presence in Online Environments,” my course begins with a welcome message and includes discussion threads as well as a more structured, collaborative learning activity to “increase learner-to-learner interaction.”  Steven R. Aragon. “Creating Social Presence in Online Environments.” New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education Winter 2003: 57-68.
  • 6. Notes:  Elizabeth Hayes and Daniele D. Flannery have noted that much of the literature on women and learning concludes that “women tend to prefer learning in ways that allow them to connect new concepts to personal experience; to integrate cognitive and affective learning; and to engage in communal as opposed to solitary knowledge- building.”  Elizabeth Hayes, and Daniele D. Flannery. “Adult Women’s Learning in Higher Education: A Critical Review of Scholarship.” ERIC Speeches/ Meeting Papers; Information Analyses 1995: 1-14. ERIC Digest.
  • 7. Notes:  Online courses, according to David M. Anderson and Carol J. Haddad “permit – and often encourage – dialogue and connectedness,” and thus they complement this “connected” learning style. Of particular importance is their assertion that the online course environment provides students “with opportunities for self expression that role socialization may inhibit in the face-to- face environment.”  David M. Anderson, and Carol J. Haddad. "Gender, Voice, and Learning in Online Course Environments." JALN March 2005: 3-14.
  • 8. Creating shared student workspaces in Blackboard Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 9. Creating Groups Making use of the Blackboard LMS Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 10. Setting up the Group Parameters Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 11. Select the Group Tools & Members Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012 Alvarez, Taylor Bunkowski, Lisa (Instructor) Cook, Philippa Lopez, Sarina Matthews, David Smith, John Zeng, Michael
  • 12. Add the Group link to the Course Menu Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 13. Examples of Group Activities & Grading Rubrics Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 14. Examples of Group Activities & Rubrics Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012  Group tools used:  Discussion  Collaborate  File Exchange  Email  Sophomore-level Course: History & Culture of Latin America  Collaboration on a Research Project
  • 15. Examples of Group Activities & Rubrics  Collaborative Research Project: • Each group will research the independence movement of a specific country in Latin America.  Your group will work together to produce a multimedia presentation and text component. This presentation will be shared with the class during Week 8.  You group will moderate a discussion of the project.
  • 16. Examples of Group Activities & Rubrics  Each person will work on a different aspect of the topic. Your grade is based on your contribution. You will NOT be penalized if others in your group fail to complete their assigned tasks.  Each person is responsible for the following:  Five-page examination of their part of the topic (decide as a team, which members will cover which portions). This material will be shared with the class during your Collaborate presentation.  Two (2) images that illustrate your topic, to include in the Collaborate presentation, properly cited.  Three (3) annotated sources for the group bibliography which will be shared with the class. (You may use web resources, but the must be academic/scholarly sources).  Use the group File Exchange to share your completed individual work, and use your group discussion forum to discuss the project.
  • 17. Examples of Group Activities & Rubrics Grading Criteria/Rubric for the Project Participation in Group Discussion (10 pts possible): Discuss assignment of individual topics, share work, compile completed group project for instructor to share with class. Presentation Contribution (40 pts possible): Content and format of your presentation materials, relevance of the information you included, proper format (grammar, punctuation, spelling, originality, full citation information, annotated sources), posted in time for group members to review (no later than Sunday of Week 6), participation in Collaborate session by discussing your portion of the project. All Class Discussion (10 pts possible): Respond to student questions about the project, and actively participate in discussion of the other student projects. Total Possible: 60 points
  • 18. Examples of Group Activities & Rubrics Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012  Graduate-level Course  Peer Review of student work  Group tools used:  Discussion  Chat (now Collaborate)  File Exchange  Email
  • 19. Examples of Group Activities & Rubrics Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 20. Notes:  Criteria discussed in the Peer Review: The student's discussion of author's thesis: clarity, importance The student's discussion of the author's use of evidence: relevance, strength, credibility The student's organization of their critical review essay: clarity, arrangement of ideas, guiding the reader Mechanics of the student's essay: spelling, grammar, punctuation Overall effectiveness of the student's essay. What did you learn from reading this critical review?
  • 21. Getting the most out of your students Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 22. Challenge Your Students Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012  More complex, challenging tasks can be accomplished by a group effort
  • 23. Challenge Your Students Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012  Students can find engagement with each other, the course materials, and the instructor through group activities
  • 24. Challenges & Suggestions for surmounting them Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 25. Challenges and Suggestions  Playing Referee!  Students working in groups can generate conflict – making you feel like a referee.  Suggestion: make sure you are enrolled in each working group. Monitor their progress, and step before it becomes a crisis. Often just knowing you can see their progress will help the less active to step up their game.  Have a clear grading rubric! Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 26. Notes: The “slacker”  I occasionally find that a student will “slack” while others do the work. His or her peers will often tattle on the offending student.
  • 27. Notes: The “slacker”  By being enrolled in each working group, they all know that I can see what is going on – who participates in the group’s discussions and other activities – and who does not.  There is no need for them to “tattle” – and the grading rubric makes it clear that these folks will not negatively affect the grade of their group, nor will they benefit from work they have not done themselves.
  • 28. Challenges and Suggestions  Putting out Fires!  Things do not always go as planned.  Suggestion: be prepared with a Plan B; be creative and flexible! Monitor group progress and step in with the new plan, the back-up files, or the creative solution before it becomes a 3-alarm fire! Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012
  • 29. Notes: The site is down!  My example: I had a class working with an external web site of WWII memoirs. The site is based out of Russia.  While I was attending a conference, the site went down and students could not access the database to work on their projects.
  • 30. Notes: The site is down!  I turned to the Internet Archive to find a cached copy of the web site. I copied their research materials, and posted these as pdf’s to the file exchanges of each group.  This was a serviceable work-around to keep the groups on track until the site came back up.
  • 31. Lisa M. Bunkowski, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of History lisa.bunkowski@ct.tamus.edu Robert M. Worley, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Thank you for joining us! Texas A&M University Central Texas. Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference. 10-26-2012

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