Gideon's presentation at Sloan-C 2009


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WGU has a fully online “standardized independent study” system that excludes student-connecting structures like classes or cohorts. Instead, Learning Communities and Program Communities create connections. The presenter will discuss how he runs his medium-sized Learning Community and will foster conversation on what practices can be used elsewhere.

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Gideon's presentation at Sloan-C 2009

  1. 1. Supporting an Online Community of Inquiry for 700400Active* Mathematics Majors at Western Governors University<br />Gideon L. Weinstein<br />Mentor, Secondary Mathematics Education<br />*Things change really fast at WGU; this presentation discusses approximately how we did things in April 2009, but we’re already doing things differently only six months later.<br />
  2. 2. WGU “Courses”<br />“Standardized Self-paced Independent Study”<br />Several “Tasks” (Papers/Projects/Performances) <br />Final Exam<br />Learning Resources<br />(Interactive e)Textbook<br />Course of Study = extremely detailed study plan<br />Learning Community<br />Learning Community Mentor<br />
  3. 3. WGU Communities <br />Program Community - affinity<br />Permanent degree-based membership<br />Undergraduate Secondary Mathematics Education, or<br />Graduate Secondary Mathematics Education, or<br />Master of Arts in Teaching, or<br />Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Teaching <br />Learning Community - content<br />Transient course-activated membership<br />Course or Degree-level (varies by type and size)<br />Mathematics Major for High School Educators<br />
  4. 4. WGU’s Disaggregated Faculty<br />Curriculum Developer<br />Assessment Department: psychometricians, editors, experts,…<br />Instructor<br />Does not exist at WGU<br />Task Grader/Exam “Scorer”<br />Part-time Content Evaluators/Expert Panels<br />Coach and Academic Advisor<br />Student Mentor: recurring and primary contact<br />Social and Professional Network Connection <br />Program Community Mentor<br />Tutor and Learning Advisor<br />Learning Community Mentor<br />
  5. 5. Learning Community Purpose<br />Development of Student Competence<br />Long-term: Helping students become self-directed learners by teaching academic skills<br />Short-term: Tutoring students who are stuck<br />Building Relationships <br />learner-learner <br />mentor-learner<br />5<br />
  6. 6. Threaded and Tagged Discussion Board<br />Blog/Document/Announcement<br />“Office Hour” Chat/Conference Call<br />“On Demand” Chat/Email/Call<br />Supplemental Learning Objects<br />(Each mentor customizes tool use to their content, community size, and personal circumstances)<br />Learning Community Tools<br />
  7. 7. Gideon’s Community, created 12/2007<br />Covers 34 tasks and 4 exams; ‘classical’ major<br />~400 students (moderate size for WGU)<br />200+ Discussion Threads<br />100 evenings doing Conference Call Office Hours<br />Hundreds of “on-demand” individual calls<br />Thousands of email messages, one to three business day turnaround<br />7 Documents, 4 Announcements, 4 Learning Objects, 1 Blog Post<br />
  8. 8. Learning Community Challenges<br />Balancing “teaching to the test/task” vs. “Learning for learning’s sake”<br />Balancing “talking over” vs. “talking with” students in the discussion threads<br />Creating connections among students<br />Balancing “economy of scale” vs. “high-touch” non-scalable interaction<br />Navigating discussion threads<br />
  9. 9. Gideon’s Tag Cloud<br /> geometry proof assessment calculus technology calculator number_systemsabstract_algebraobjective_exam algebra discrete_mathematics induction symbols centroid chat closure complex course_of_studyequation_editorlinear_algebra preassessment recursion statistics amplitude automorphismcos delta email epsilon exam i_hatinduction_stepinductive_step matrix calculus_proofcomplex_numbers …………………………………………………………….<br />
  10. 10. Learning Communities for you?<br />Share your existing ones<br />Brainstorm about creating them<br />Discuss transferability<br />Other<br />(WGU’s Clearspace implementation on following slide)<br />
  11. 11. WGU Community Tools<br />Student<br />Start Discussion Threads<br />Email Notification <br />RSS feed<br />Mentor<br />Emailer<br />Edit Threads<br />Blog Post<br />Announcements<br />Documents<br />