Think of the online environment as just a different kind of classroom for interacting with students.
Before you start...
Create a list of goals or objectives for what students should learn after participating in your online course.
Based on your goals or objectives, create an outline of what elements your course will contain, and what topics it will cover.
Consult with a technology advisor over the best tools that are available to help you achieve your goals.
AAHE's Seven Principals for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education Good Practice in undergraduate education:
Encourages contact between students and faculty
Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students
Uses active learning techniques
Gives prompt feedback
Emphasizes time on task
Communicates high expectations
Respects diverse talents and ways of learning.
Learning Theory In Ed Tech
Behavioralist Theories of Learning – Skinner, Gagne
Cognitive Theories of Learning – (Information Processing Theory, Cognitive Overload, Chunking), John Anderson, Richard E. Mayer
Constructivist Theories – Bruner, Jonassen (More and more, I think these can be seen as the method or pedagogy, based on theories)
Constructionist – Seymore Papert
Shades of Constructivism
Early educational technology methods were heavily behavioralist, but constructivist approaches dominate in educational technology today.
Cognitive constructivism might be viewed as falling more into the realm of educational psychology and is focused on how the learner constructs knowledge internally
Social (radical) constructivism focuses on how knowledge is constructed through social interaction
How do these approaches align with a modern or postmodern worldview ?
Learning should be an active process.
Learners should construct their own knowledge rather than accepting that given by the instructor.
Collaborative and cooperative learning should be encouraged to facilitate constructive learning.
Learners should be given control of the learning process.
Learners should be given time and opportunity to reflect.
Learning should be made meaningful for learners.
Learning should be interactive to promote higher -level learning and social presence, and to help develop personal meaning.
Meaningful Learning According to Jonassen, meaningful learning occurs when learners are active, constructive, intentional, cooperative, and working on authentic tasks. J onassen, D. H., & Strobel, J. (2006). Modeling for meaningul learning. In D. Hung & M.S. Khine (Eds.), Engaged learning with emerging technologies (pp. 1-27). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Human learning is a naturally active mental and social process.
Meaningful Learning (Cont.)
Through communities of play and work, learners develop skills and knowledge that they then share with other members of those communities with whom they learned and practiced those skills.
During that activity, learners are continuously constructing their interpretations of their actions and the results of those actions.
Learning is most meaningful when it is intentional.
Meaningful Learning (Cont.)
Meaningful learning requires a meaningful task, and the most meaningful tasks are those that emerge from or are at least simulated from some authentic context.
Meaningful learning is often collaborative. Humans naturally work in learning and knowledge-building communities, exploiting each others skills and appropriating each others’ knowledge.
Meaningful Learning (Cont.)
It is important to point out that these characteristics of meaningful learning are interrelated, interactive, and interdependent.
Jonassen believes that technologies can and should and should become the toolkit for meaning making. This is the theory behind his concept of mindtools .
These concepts of meaningful learning, socially constructed knowledge, and social presence all tie into the new crop of social software applications that have suddenly swept the world
Characteristics of Effective Web Courses
Simple organization of each web page
Effective layout reinforces the message
Material is relevant -Explain the relevance of the material so students do not doubt that they are spending their time usefully.
Objectives are explicit - Make sure that the objectives of the course (and the web pages) are clear for the students
Assignments relate directly to objectives - The students need to see that the work they do achieves the objectives of the course. Students should not think that assignments are merely busywork.
Simple Organization of Each Web Page
Essential information presented concisely (e.g., in an outline) - It is much easier to read text on hard copy than on a computer screen, so keep text on the screen to concise kernels of information.
Link to Internet resources - Provide links to resources that are known to be available on the Internet and that complement the material presented on your web pages.
Refer to extensive text available in hard copy - Refer students to books, articles that may be in a course pack of readings, on reserve in the library, may be checked out of a library, or purchased.
Dimension lends complexity - Depth provided by links, color, and graphics. Complexity of the subject is reflected by the links among the pages while each page itself is simple and direct
Attractive impression - Reader (student) enjoys working on the web pages. The use of color complements and enhances the presentation. Pages are organized to be aesthetically pleasing.
Effective Layout Reinforces the Message
Main elements come first - Draw attention to the main points of the subject without additional elements that could distract from this focus.
Outline form - Emphasize the importance of the informational points and the relationship among them.
Graphics - Graphics should exemplify and complement the information on the web page.
Incorporate assessment - Performance of the students on assignments and tests will provide the information that can assess the success of the course and the program to which the course belongs.
Artifacts & Electronic Portfolios
Small pieces - Students remain engaged in subject by working on many small pieces spread out through the semester.
Frequent assignments – They don't have to be worth a lot of points. Even just requiring people to log in weekly to contribute to forum discussions helps keep them involved and creates social presence.
Students learn by doing - Give students many assignments so that they learn by reading, analyzing, and writing about the subject.
Assignments are short - Assignments are focused on specific information and concepts, so students learn to identify the main point.
Use a rubric - Short assignments readily lend themselves to grading with a rubric.
Few test questions - Tests are worth relatively little, so cheating is not probable.
Test questions involve decisions - Use the test to encourage the students to re-read and re-examine the material to discriminate among alternatives.
Student progress/status - Easy for the student to check on status and progress in the class through a web interface.
Reach the instructor - Response of instructor in less than 24 hours, but in less than 3 hours between 8 AM - 5 PM
Social Presence Theory has been around since the 1970's and is a very important concept for instructional design of online courses.
In a nutshell, social presence describes how well-connected the students feel to the instructor and each other. - Has a community of learners developed in the course?
A high level of social presence will create a warm, cooperative, and approachable learning environment. (Encyclopedia of Educational Tech.)
Increasing Social Presence Instructors can use the following strategies to increase familiarity among learners and between learners and instructors:
Including learner profiles
Integrating an introduction time at the beginning of the course
Develop welcome messages from the instructor
Incorporating audio and video messages
Using humor and emoticons such as :-) or ;-)
Demonstrating caring, addressing learners by name, and striking up casual conversations
The Instructor Sets the Tone The visibility and participation of the instructor is critical for a successful online course. The instructor increases social presence by:
Promptly answering e-mail
Providing frequent feedback
Contributing to discussion boards
Sharing information and experience
Include a welcome page or message from the instructor(s).
Ask students to introduce themselves, or maybe tell something unique about themselves at the beginning of the course.
Include an online syllabus at the beginning of the course that tells students exactly what is expected in the course and when major assignments will be due.
Keep the navigational structure simple. Students shouldn't have to search for files or spend more than five minutes trying to figure out what the assignment is.
Use collaborative work in large courses to ease your burden for grading and to increase social presence for the students.
However, don't overuse group work.
In large classes, use TA's and structure assignments so that they can grade assignments for you.
Require students to post to a forum two times a week and to respond to two other postings every week. Assign a few points for doing this.
Grade them on the quality or thoughtfulness of their responses.
Once groups have formed for projects, assign roles that change every few weeks: group leader, spokesperson, secretary, etc.
Use quizzes to check for understanding, but keep points low to discourage cheating and allow students to retake the quizzes until they get an acceptable score. Set quizzes to change order of questions each time.
Be very visible in your course. Don't go away and leave it for a few days. Check in and respond daily. Respond to people's comments in forums and engage in dialog with students. Answer emails on a daily basis.
Grade and return assignments promptly. Keep gradebook updated and current.