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Exploration of  Online Discussion Mary Loftus
What are we going to look at? <ul><li>MSc. in Software & Information Systems </li></ul><ul><li>The Student Experience  </l...
The  MSc. SIS Programme
MSc.  Software & Information Systems <ul><li>2-year  fully online  Masters programme  </li></ul><ul><li>Co-created & co-de...
MSc.  Software & Information Systems <ul><li>New programme: launched in 2004-05  (now in its 3 rd  year) </li></ul><ul><li...
MSc.  Software & Information Systems <ul><li>Core Modules </li></ul><ul><li>MCT611 - Computer Architecture and Operating S...
MScSIS Weekly Cycle
Bloom’s Taxonomy
The Student Experience
The Student Experience <ul><li>Very Powerful Learning Experience </li></ul><ul><li>Highly Participatory </li></ul><ul><li>...
Effective Online Discussion <ul><li>When discussion was good   it was very, very good!  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forced stude...
<ul><li>When discussion wasn’t so good  we only reached the first of these stages:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forced students ...
What would ensure that  discussion would work better? <ul><li>Feedback from the facilitator to each student? </li></ul><ul...
The Research Experience:  Working with Facilitators to explore the Role of Feedback & Expectations
Research Project <ul><li>The research project examined feedback as a means to ensure quality discussion </li></ul><ul><li>...
Research Project Process <ul><li>Began with an  Online Discussion  and a reversal of roles </li></ul><ul><li>Student becam...
The Facilitator/Student Discussion <ul><li>The  Discussion  resulted in both sides appreciating the lot of the other! </li...
Discussion   – Student Expectations & Issues <ul><li>Expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Expecting lectures </li></ul><ul><li>E...
<ul><li>Expectations   </li></ul><ul><li>These are adult learners – no lecturing </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage students to e...
What did we learn? <ul><li>Clarify Expectations! </li></ul>
The Feedback Tool
Built on MScSIS Discussion Rubric <ul><li>Consistency of Participation </li></ul><ul><li>Content of Posts </li></ul><ul><l...
To Develop The Feedback Tool <ul><li>Enabled Facilitator to Analyse WebCT posts </li></ul><ul><li>& Immediately assign mar...
Report generates ‘Discussion Score’ <ul><li>All marks are collated and an overall mark calculated </li></ul>
Will this Tool address the Issues? <ul><li>The feeling at the end of this project was that no, creating dynamic discussion...
Developing a Model for Online Discussion From the Literature
A Discussion Model <ul><li>Feedback is important, but more is involved: </li></ul><ul><li>Need to Build a  Learning Commun...
Role of Facilitator <ul><li>Facilitate a collaborative learning environment: </li></ul><ul><li>Invite students to Learn fr...
Role of Facilitator <ul><li>Model  desired Discussion Approach – Open, Enquiring, Testing, Experimenting, Evaluating </li>...
Role of Online Student <ul><li>How to Explain Discussion to Students </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Apply ‘real life’ experience to...
The Learning Model <ul><li>Student Centred </li></ul><ul><li>Driven by Student Interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Social Constr...
Will this model work for you? <ul><li>Perhaps! </li></ul><ul><li>But: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Every course will have differe...
Resources to help Develop  your  Model for Discussion
Brookfield & Preskill <ul><li>Respect </li></ul><ul><li>Assume good intent </li></ul><ul><li>Invite students to discuss go...
Palloff & Pratt  <ul><li>Build a Learning Community </li></ul><ul><li>Promote a Collaborative approach to learning </li></...
Garrison & Anderson <ul><li>Build a Community of Inquiry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Presence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>...
Salmon <ul><li>5 Stage Model </li></ul><ul><li>Guide Students through: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access & Motivation </li></ul...
What would your model look like?
Summary <ul><li>Effective Online Discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion Assessment </li></...
List of references <ul><li>Brookfield & Preskill, Stephen. (2005).  Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques ...
Links to Papers <ul><li>Black, Alison. (2005) The Use of Asynchronous Discussion: Creating a Text of Talk   </li></ul><ul>...
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Exploring Online Discussion in E-Learning1

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Exploring Online Discussion in E-Learning

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Exploring Online Discussion in E-Learning1

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

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