Exploring Online Discussion in E-Learning
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Exploring Online Discussion in E-Learning

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Exploring Online Discussion in E-Learning

Exploring Online Discussion in E-Learning

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  • 1. Exploration of Online Discussion Mary Loftus
  • 2. What are we going to look at?
    • MSc. in Software & Information Systems
    • The Student Experience
    • Effective Online Discussion
    • The Research Experience
      • Working with Facilitators to explore the Role of Feedback & Expectations
      • The Feedback Tool
    • Using the Literature to Develop a Model for Managing Discussion
      • The Role of Facilitator
      • The Role of Online Student
      • The Learning Model
  • 3. The MSc. SIS Programme
  • 4. MSc. Software & Information Systems
    • 2-year fully online Masters programme
    • Co-created & co-delivered by IT department, NUI Galway and Regis University (USA)
    • MODEL = short, accelerated, 8-week modules
    • Continuous assessment: weekly assignments, discussion forum, final exam
    • Structured & Intensive
  • 5. MSc. Software & Information Systems
    • New programme: launched in 2004-05 (now in its 3 rd year)
    • Student recruitment and retention has been high
    • Mix of experienced and new on-line facilitators
    • Cross-cultural issues (Ireland & USA)
  • 6. MSc. Software & Information Systems
    • Core Modules
    • MCT611 - Computer Architecture and Operating Systems
    • MCT610 - Software Engineering
    • MCT612 - Application Programming
    • MCT613 - Database Architecture
    • MCT614 - Database Concepts
    • MCT615 - Database Administration
    • MCT616 - Oracle 9iAS Portal Server
    • MCT617 - Enterprise Portal Design & Development using XML
    • Elective Modules
    • MCT618 - Object Oriented Design
    • MCT619 - Object Oriented Programming
    • MCT621 - Artificial Intelligence
    • MCT622 - Real-Time Systems
    • MCT623 - Graphics Programming
    • MCT620 - Distributed Systems
  • 7. MScSIS Weekly Cycle
  • 8. Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • 9. The Student Experience
  • 10. The Student Experience
    • Very Powerful Learning Experience
    • Highly Participatory
    • Structured & Managed
    • Student Centred
    • Encourages Student-Student Interaction
    • Role of the Internet
  • 11. Effective Online Discussion
    • When discussion was good it was very, very good!
      • Forced students to absorb course content
      • Facilitated sharing of experience
      • Perspectives from different students forced reconsideration
      • Encouraged students to test & explore course material
      • => Much deeper learning than individual could expect working alone
  • 12.
    • When discussion wasn’t so good we only reached the first of these stages:
      • Forced students to absorb course content
      • Encouraged students to test & explore course material
      • Facilitated sharing of experience
      • Perspectives from different students forced reconsideration
      • => Much deeper learning than individual could expect working alone
    But… it didn’t always work
  • 13. What would ensure that discussion would work better?
    • Feedback from the facilitator to each student?
    • Solution : Design a web based interface to help facilitators evaluate student contributions
  • 14. The Research Experience: Working with Facilitators to explore the Role of Feedback & Expectations
  • 15. Research Project
    • The research project examined feedback as a means to ensure quality discussion
    • Concentrated on Facilitator  Student feedback
    • Designed an online tool to facilitate this feedback process
  • 16. Research Project Process
    • Began with an Online Discussion and a reversal of roles
    • Student became facilitator & Facilitators took the participant role
  • 17. The Facilitator/Student Discussion
    • The Discussion resulted in both sides appreciating the lot of the other!
    • Researcher developed an appreciation for the student-centred learning model
    • Facilitators reflected upon and evaluated their assumptions and approaches
    • It also highlighted the potential for a mismatch in expectations between students and facilitators
  • 18. Discussion – Student Expectations & Issues
    • Expectations
    • Expecting lectures
    • Expecting facilitator to provide ‘the answers’
    • Unsure of norms & expectations
    • Frustrations
    • Focused on the facilitator – rather than peers
    • Seeking reassurance & validation from the facilitator
    • Engaging with content rather than with other students
  • 19.
    • Expectations
    • These are adult learners – no lecturing
    • Encourage students to engage with each other
    • Support students to work together to find and evaluate knowledge
    • Assessment – how to assess discussion
    • Frustrations
    • Students dumping long posts - not responding to others
    • Lack of student-student interaction
    • Facilitators’ feedback seemingly ignored
    Discussion – Facilitator Expectations & Issues
  • 20. What did we learn?
    • Clarify Expectations!
  • 21. The Feedback Tool
  • 22. Built on MScSIS Discussion Rubric
    • Consistency of Participation
    • Content of Posts
    • Responsiveness
    • Multiplier:
      • x .5 for 1 post
      • x .8 for 2 posts
      • x 1 for 3 posts
    • * Rubric developed by MSc SIS Facilitator Team
    • 2
    • 5
    • 3
    • _______
    • 10
    • x .8 (for two posts)
    • Result: 8
  • 23. To Develop The Feedback Tool
    • Enabled Facilitator to Analyse WebCT posts
    • & Immediately assign marks
  • 24. Report generates ‘Discussion Score’
    • All marks are collated and an overall mark calculated
  • 25. Will this Tool address the Issues?
    • The feeling at the end of this project was that no, creating dynamic discussion involves more than a simple feedback mechanism.
    • Such a tool will help clarify expectations and measure outcomes – but it is not enough to power the discussion dynamic
    • Also the analysis of separate student posts will not capture the subtleties of a complete discussion
  • 26. Developing a Model for Online Discussion From the Literature
  • 27. A Discussion Model
    • Feedback is important, but more is involved:
    • Need to Build a Learning Community (Salmon, Palloff & Pratt, Garrison & Anderson)
    • Clarify Values & Expectations (Brookfield & Preskill)
    • The following must be clear & explicit
      • Role of the Facilitator
      • Role of the Online Student
      • The Learning model (Garrison & Anderson)
    • Teach students how discussion should work
  • 28. Role of Facilitator
    • Facilitate a collaborative learning environment:
    • Invite students to Learn from each other
    • Facilitate Social Interaction
    • Align Discussion with Learning Objectives & Assessment Requirements
    • Share & Discuss Assessment Rubric
    • Clarify Background & Objectives for each Discussion
  • 29. Role of Facilitator
    • Model desired Discussion Approach – Open, Enquiring, Testing, Experimenting, Evaluating
    • Provide Structure & Encouragement to fan the flames of Discussion
    • Provide Feedback
    • Acknowledge & Reward Collaborative Effort
    • Summarise the Learning that Emerged from Discussion – and the Evaluate the Process – so Students will be able to Repeat it
  • 30. Role of Online Student
    • How to Explain Discussion to Students
      • Apply ‘real life’ experience to topic
      • Break down the topic
      • Ask Questions
      • Explore & Try Things out
      • Listen to what other students say
      • Build on each other’s Contributions
      • Use a Team Approach
      • Finally Evaluate the topic and your Learning
  • 31. The Learning Model
    • Student Centred
    • Driven by Student Interaction
    • Social Constructivism – knowledge is constructed collectively and developed as a result of a social interaction
    • Ideas should be tried out and tested
    • Explain This To Students!
  • 32. Will this model work for you?
    • Perhaps!
    • But:
      • Every course will have different priorities
      • Every facilitator will have their own style
      • Every set of students will present different dynamics
  • 33. Resources to help Develop your Model for Discussion
  • 34. Brookfield & Preskill
    • Respect
    • Assume good intent
    • Invite students to discuss good discussion
    • Invite Student  Facilitator feedback Critical Incident Questionnaire
    • Promote Critical Thinking
  • 35. Palloff & Pratt
    • Build a Learning Community
    • Promote a Collaborative approach to learning
    • The Group vs. the Individual
    • The process:
      • Set the stage
      • Model the process
      • Guide the process
      • Evaluate the process
  • 36. Garrison & Anderson
    • Build a Community of Inquiry
      • Social Presence
      • Cognitive Presence
      • Teaching Presence
  • 37. Salmon
    • 5 Stage Model
    • Guide Students through:
      • Access & Motivation
      • Online Socialisation
      • Information Exchange
      • Knowledge Construction
      • Development
  • 38. What would your model look like?
  • 39. Summary
    • Effective Online Discussion
    • Expectations
    • Discussion Assessment
    • Model for Managing Online Discussion
      • The Role of Facilitator
      • The Role of Online Student
      • The Learning Model
  • 40. List of references
    • Brookfield & Preskill, Stephen. (2005). Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms (2nd Edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    • Palloff & Pratt. (2004). Collaborating Online: Learning Together in Community . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass .
    • Garrison & Anderson. (2003) E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice . RoutledgeFalmer
    • Salmon, Gilly. (2003). E-Moderating: The Key to Teaching and Learning Online (2nd Edition). UK: Taylor & Francis
  • 41. Links to Papers
    • Black, Alison. (2005) The Use of Asynchronous Discussion: Creating a Text of Talk
    • Herring M, (2002) Using Discussion Boards to Integrate Technology into the College Classroom
    • Knowlton. Dave S., (2001) Promoting Durable Knowledge Construction through Online Discussion
    • Rovai , AP (2002) Building Sense of Community at a Distance