Blending Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning Environments


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Presentation as part of Webheads EVOnline sessions, January 2014

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Blending Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning Environments

  1. 1. SYNCH AND SWIM: Blending Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning Environments Michael Coghlan BAW 2014 25/1/13
  3. 3. WHERE ARE YOU?
  4. 4. Buenos Aires The Andes Egypt Cape Town London NY Australia Hawaii India
  6. 6. Question: Are you A) In your office? B) In a computer suite? C) At home? D) Other?
  7. 7. MULTIPLE VENUE PRESENTATIONS (MVPs) remote students CLASSROOM/ F2F VENUE guest lecturer public space
  9. 9. IS BLENDED BEST?  Face to face?  Online?  Blended?  Evidence inconclusive. Check resources at (courtesy of Curt Bonk) and decide for yourself
  11. 11. What is synchronous/asynchronous communication?  SYNCHRONOUS (real time) eg f2f conversation, telephone calls, chat, Instant Messaging  ASYNCHRONOUS – some delay between initial communication and the reply eg letters, email, forums, Facebook newsfeed
  12. 12. COMMUNICATION AXIS Reflective; monologue Structured; expository Asynch Synch Spontaneous; dialogue Oral Minimalist; rapid (evolving) Written
  13. 13. COMMUNICATION AXIS Most classroom communications take place here New – have been enabled by technology (only happen online)
  14. 14. ASYNCHRONOUS TOOLS  Email  Forums, discussion boards  Blogs (eg Blogger, Edublogs)  Wikis (eg Wikispaces, PBWiki)  SMS
  15. 15. ASYNCHRONOUS TOOLS SOCIAL MEDIA/NETWORKING  Facebook (tip: use the Groups feature)  Google+  Foursquare etc (Geolocation)  Flickr (images)  YouTube (videos)  Slideshare (slides)
  16. 16. ASYNCHRONOUS VOICE VOICE BOARDS 1. Wimba: try the board at 2. Nanogong (esp for Moodle users) Free 1. Voxopop: Aiden Yeh‟s Advanced Listening Group at 2. Voicethread: examples at 3. Podcasts (eg Podomatic; see 4. See list at
  17. 17. *** VIDEO LITERACY *** See also Ustream and Google Hangout
  18. 18. Synchronous approaches can be employed beyond the face to face (f2f) classroom
  19. 19. The Original Synchronous Environment – plain text chat
  20. 20. RANGE OF SYNCHRONOUS TOOLS  Instant Messengers: Google+, Skype, Facebook  Peer to Peer/Collaborative Tools: eg Google Docs (documents), Mind Mapping, Whiteboards, Gaming  Virtual Classrooms  Proprietary: Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate), Adobe Connect, etc  Free: WizIQ, Vyew, Big Blue Button
  21. 21. Web Conferencing/Virtual Classroom
  22. 22. Virtual Worlds See Second Life in Education See also OpenSim
  23. 23. Your Experience?  Have you experienced the use of synchronous tools in online courses that you have either taught or studied?
  24. 24. Question  Why do you think it is important to include synchronous tools in online courses?
  25. 25. Social/Affective Benefits Social, community, and personal engagement  personal engagement/motivation (55%)  community building (29%)  improving the social experience (27%) (results at http://
  26. 26. Tension: Synch v Asynch Terry Anderson, Toward a Theory of Online Learning: “….the major motivation for enrollment in distance education is not physical access, but rather, temporal freedom to move through a course of studies at a pace of the student’s choice.” Participation in (synchronous events) “almost inevitably places constraints on this independence.” “ The demands of a learning-centered context might at times force us to modify prescriptive participation in (synchronous events), even though we might have evidence that such participation will further advance knowledge creation and attention.”
  27. 27. Resolving the tension between asynchronous and synchronous approaches  don‟t make synch sessions compulsory; use synch for those who want it  use tools that can record or archive the sessions for later retrieval  don‟t use synchronous for whole class instruction  use for meetings, one-on-one, or in small groups  offer informal (social) sessions in synch mode  allow student use of synchronous space  offer office hours sessions at set times
  28. 28. What kinds of tasks/activities work best with ASYNCHRONOUS? SYNCHRONOUS?
  29. 29. Resolving the tension between asynchronous and synchronous approaches  It‟s not all or nothing – use both approaches:   Synch for social, spontaneous, decision making (CONVERGENT THINKING) Asynch for deliberation, reflection, considered opinion (DIVERGENT THINKING)
  30. 30. Skills of the Live Online Presenter  Golden Rule: 6-8 minutes talking at a stretch maximum  Intersperse presentations with questions, polls, other speakers (from the floor), whiteboard activity  Decide how to handle direct messaging – will you monitor/respond? Or ignore it? Dip in and out of it?  Consider working with a producer/co-presenter  More at http://
  31. 31. What kinds of synchronous activities? TEACHING  „straight lecture‟  Guest lecturers  Oral presentations  Group work  One on one (eg pronunciation) OTHER  Office hours  Class to class  Social: student student
  32. 32. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT  Conferences, seminars  Workshops and Training sessions  Meetings (much more cost effective than teleconferencing)  Weekly Webhead sessions (Learning2gether)
  34. 34. What‟s this?
  35. 35. Twitter as a real time search tool? May 2008: “Twitter beats media in reporting China earthquake." • An almost real time search tool – Now being used by some as an alternative search tool to Google
  36. 36. TRACKING THE BACK CHANNEL CC image: Dean Shareski
  37. 37. BACKCHANNEL TOOLS  Direct or instant messaging in web conferencing tools (eg Centra, Blackboard Collaborate)  Microblogging Tools: Twitter, Yammer  Live blogging tools like Cover It Live  Live polling tools like Poll Everywhere
  38. 38. Purdue University: In-house Application
  39. 39. Cover It Live
  41. 41. Today’s Meeting – Your Feedback
  42. 42. Can you use Twitter as teaching tool? Teaching with Twitter (Steve Wheeler)  „Twit Board‟ Notify students of changes to course content, schedules, venues or other important information. (could be done with phone)  „Summing Up‟ Ask students to read an article or chapter and then post their brief summary or précis of the key point(s). A limit of 140 characters demands a lot of academic discipline. √  „Twit Links‟ Share a hyperlink – a directed task for students – each is required to regularly share one new hyperlink to a useful site they have  „Micro Write‟ Progressive collaborative writing on Twitter. Students agree to take it in turns to contribute to an account or „story‟ over a period of time.  Use the backchannel to provide feedback on classes in real time √
  43. 43. 21st Century Skills
  44. 44. 21st Century Skills  Decentralized decision-making, information sharing, teamwork and innovation are key in today‟s enterprises  Whether a technician or a professional person, success lies in being able to communicate, share, and use information to solve complex problems, in being able to adapt and innovate in response to new demands and changing circumstances, in being able to marshal and expand the power of technology to create new knowledge and expand human capacity and productivity.
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  47. 47. THE RECIPE FOR SUCCESS ASYNCH        Email (one to one; one to many) Discussion tool (many to many; forum – in LMS eg Moodle; Facebook, etc; Voice – Voxopop, Voicethread ) Teacher or class blog Podcast site (eg Podomatic) Flickr (or other photo site) YouTube Channel SMS – for messages, reminders Optional Extra  Collaborative Workspace (wiki, Google Docs) SYNCH   Chat or Instant Messaging tool (in LMS) Virtual Classroom NEAR SYNCH  Twitter, Yammer
  48. 48. A Webheads Theme Song CHORUS Webheads – all over the world Webheads – we’re all over the world See
  49. 49. Contact Details MICHAEL COGHLAN e: