Hybrid Course Design and Teaching Faculty Learning Community GMU, February 8, 2013Interaction in Online Learning Environments Tips in just 15 minutes Esperanza Román Mendoza Modern and Classical Languages http://mcl.gmu.edu/people/eromanme Twitter: @eromanme
ContentsWhat and How Factors that robust interaction • Know your audience • Let your audience know you Factors that limit interaction • Be there when they need you • Misconceptions about DL • Repetition and patience • Wrong/different expectations • Development of autonomous learning skills • Lack of feedback Examples • Reflection on my learning blog • Twitter as communication channel
BACKGROUNDDL Courses and Courses with a Strong Social Media Component • DL Courses (More than 90% online) • SPAN 115: Review of Elementary Spanish (three times) – GMU • SPAN 210: Intermediate Spapnish (twice) – GMU • E-learning Course: Web 2.0 Tools and Pedagogy (four times) – UNED. • Courses with Strong Social Media Component (selection) • SPAN 309: Spanish in Context – GMU (Blogs, Glogster) • SPAN 335: Community Activism through Social Media – GMU (Wiki, GoogleDocs, Twitter, Diigo) • SPAN 551: Social Media for Teaching and Research Media – GMU (Wiki, GoogleDocs, Twitter, Diigo) http://mcl.gmu.edu/people/eromanme for more info
FACTORS THAT ENHANCE INTERACTIONThe Internet is the greatest tool for any teacher to have interaction with any student
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCEYou can’t communicate unless you know who you are talking to • Use surveys to gather data about your students (previous knowledge in your subject, experience with technology and DL courses, expectations). • Consider asking students to post their goals anonymously, their commitment to the course, etc. so they can compare their notes with each other, and check them at the end of the semester. • Include an activity so students can get to know each other. • Avoid prejudices and stereotypes: • Not all students enrolled in a required course are there just to fulfill the requirement. • Students who “only” want to fulfill the requirement can enjoy the class and develop a passion for your subject. • Skype (or face-to-face) interviews. • Midterm questionnaire. • End-of-the-semester survey/discussion. • Blackboard analytics.
LET YOUR AUDIENCE KNOW YOUWho is this person sending me all these emails and grading my work? • Make at least one individual meeting with each student. • Use social media to explain • who you are, • how passionate you are about your discipline, and • how much you care about your students learning your subject. • Explain how each course component relates to the learning goals of your course. • If you include innovative activities in your course, explain your choice and how these activities can enhance their learning. • Be proactive in accepting flaws in your course design or limitations in the technology you chose. • Do not ask students to do something you would not be able to do (or to read). Have realistic expectations.
BE THERE WHEN THEY NEED YOU24/7? • Answer emails quickly. • Just a short note to a student may be enough to help him/her with an urgent problem. • Make clear when students can realistically expect from you to respond their emails. • Give feedback on all activities on a timely manner. In traditional courses, students are more patient when teachers do not return assignments on time. • Meet them where they are but help them reach the place you are. • Be available on different channels: email, Skype, Twitter.
BE CLEAR, CONSISTENT, REPETITIVE AND PATIENTPractice makes perfect • Students do not read the syllabus the same way you read it. • Be prepared to answer the same question a couple of times. • Make announcements through different channels: • Blackboard • E-Mail • Twitter (and put together an archive of the course hashtag so students can consult it later). • Keep a diary/blog/log (in my case, my tweets are my log of my work in SPAN 115) so you can make notes about the course: what you need to change next time, what you want to keep, etc. • Try to engage with another instructor teaching the same course (or a group like this Faculty Learning Community) in your reflective blogging activities.
FACTORS THAT LIMIT INTERACTIONThe single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place—G. B. Shaw
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT DISTANCE LEARNINGI did not know that... • More and more GMU students have taken distance courses at GMU and elsewhere. Their previous experience in those courses may affect • what they expect from your course, and • how they perform in your course. • The fact that distance courses may be more convenient doesn’t mean that they are easier than traditional courses. • Students may think they do not have to participate. • Students may think that instructors do not read their posts, and that their grade will be base on quantity not quality. • Students are used to be graded on their final performance not on their progress throughout the semester.
WRONG AND DIFFERENT EXPECTATIONSBut I thought that... • Many students who take DL courses do so because they do not want to be “on the front row.” • Many students do not provide feedback • on surveys • on GMU course evaluations • When compared with cMOOCs participants, GMU online students are less engaged in • forming study groups, • taking advantage of informal learning opportunities, • exploring learning beyond what is required in the course, and • learning how to become independent learners.
EXAMPLESWell done, is better than well said.—B. Franklin
COURSE DESCRIPTION AND COMPONENTSThis is how I do it • Review of Elementary Spanish / Challenges • Many different language proficiency levels in the same course. • Interaction in a language that students are not very familiar with. • Oral performance. Different methods have been used. • Dos Mundos is a regular textbook used for face-to-face courses. • Course components • Discussion forums (10) • Compositions (2) • Quizzes (3) and final on-campus exam • Reflection on my learning blog (6) • LanguageTwin (8) • Textbook assignments • Centro (Online Workbook) Assignments • Video tutorials from external sources