Module 02 Homework

Module 02 Homework

For the following be sure to provide citations (URL’s etc.) for sources of information you consulted to answer each items as appropriate.

  1. What are three key things associated with delivery of eLearning?

According the instructor file handout entitled “delivery_assessment_evaluation_grading” there are multiple elements associated with the delivery of eLearning. And, in reality, they appear consistent with all effective learning processes. They include but are not limited to

Communication.  Irrespective of age, communication (i.e., the engagement of at least 2 individuals in the exchange of information) is central to all learning processes.

Monitoring the process. Making sure the student has not gone too far astray from the explicit goals of the curriculum. While some divergence may result in deeper learning, it is the instructor’s ability, via email and/or probing questions and/or suggestion of specific resources that keep the student on target.

Motivation. Personally, this seems to be the most difficult task working with many undergraduate, graduate level and adult learners. As it is relatively easy for students to strive for the minimum course requirements, getting students to go beyond the extrinsic rewards (e.g., a passing grade) to discovering some intrinsic rewards (e.g., greater interest in the topic, deep learning) is a far greater challenge.

  1. What is the difference between assessment and evaluation? Why is understanding the difference important in eLearning?

Assessment is about the ”measurement of learning”. Evaluation goes far deeper: it is about the assessment as well as qualitative indices such as quality, value added to the student, and, for me, a dialogue communicating about the implications of what this student’s performance indicates.

Question: A piece of jargon was included in this reading.  Can someone define and give examples of “CMS/LMS systems”.


  1. One of the readings this week suggests that a chat room should be set up to promote social interaction in online classes. Which reading is this and what are the pros and cons to this suggestion?

While Haugen (2011) suggests that chat rooms are a viable vehicle to promote social interaction.


One concern, as noted by the UF e-Learning Helpline (, is that chat line is too informal and it should be re-titled as something more formal, like a “discussion room”.

Another concern is the viability of meaningful chat/discussion rooms in asynchronous courses. For many students, asynchronous courses enable them to complete coursework when they are able.  It may not be possible to for students to commit to a given time to engage with their colleagues.

Chat rooms are places where the “quiet” and unengaged student can show up and not participate.


It is a vehicle to allow the engaged student to pursue deeper knowledge and test out their thoughts in a relatively safe environment.

It can be a way to promote thoughtful conversation that ideally can approximate real time, f2f conversation.

  1. What is “deep learning” as discussed in the readings? Is “deep learning” something we should promote in online learning? Why and how?

As noted on my discussion board page ( deep learning fosters a learning beyond the minimum course requirements. In some ways, it seems like the product of an inquisitive mind and ability to conduct critical thinking.

Two examples of deep learning include:

  • The willingness to break down complex models into the component parts.
  • Engaging in thoughtful and thought-provoking conversations, postings, and other on-line communications.

Whether deep learning should be promoted in all classes is open for debate. If it is going to work two actors must be fully engaged: the instructor and the individual student.

My questioning, on the discussion board, if deep learning a goal for all courses appears to have provoked some reactions (ibid). I still maintain that for areas of central interest deep learning is the goal and incumbent upon the student it seek it and for the instructor to provoke it. However, there are at least two arenas where deep learning may not be the goal. For example,

  • When desire is overridden by capacity Where the student does not have the ability (e.g., innate) to acquire deep learning.
  • When deep learning in a particular area may not a short-term or strategic goal for the student. For example, the rewards (i.e., intrinsic or extrinsic) do not outweigh the desire.
  1. Identify and explain each of Kolb’s four-stage learning cycle.

Kolb’s four-learning cycle, as cited by Stansfield et al (2004), can be effectively described as experientially-based circular model beginning with “Experience” leading to “Observation and Reflecction” to “Formation of Abstract Concepts and Generalizations” to “Hypothesizes Tested by Active Experimentation, and ultimately leading back to the start “Experience”.

Kolb, using other cognitive theorists, created an assessment to test each of his model’s learning modes.

  1. Experience: The gaining of a novel experience as a result of new learning.
  1. Observation and Reflection: The realization of that something has changed. It is the assimilation and reconciliation process. Is this perhaps, akin to the concept of Cognitive Dissonance as theorized Leon Festinger (
  2. Formation of Abstract Concepts and Generalizations. To reconcile the ”dissonance” the learner becomes to create new cognitive, affective and skill models/schema.
  3. Hypothesis Testing by Active Experimentation. The learner actively test, in real time, the newly created models/schema.
  4. The learner experiences either a variant of the existing schema or engages in a new situation.

Stansfield,  Mark, McLellan, Evelyn and Connolly, Thomas   Evelyn McLellan, and Thomas Connolly, 2011. Enhancing Student Performance in Online. Learning and Traditional Face-to-Face Class Delivery Journal of Information Technology Education Volume 3, 2004

  1. Explain how the readings this week (and your own research) connects with the Blackboard discussion.

This week’s readings articulate the importance of: deep learning (in contrast to surface learning); social interaction, and the interrelationships between assessment, delivery, and assessment.

Where I think my two of Blackboard entries best add to the discussion:

The four questions posed to the class. While likely the outcome of may my own academic training, teaching graduate school and personal style, but I think my posing the four questions appear to have stimulated some reaction and interaction among the group. In fact at least two postings force me to question my assumptions.

The multidimensionality of social interaction and deep/surface learning. Over time, I am increasingly aware that bifurcation and black and white delineation is not viable in most situations. These conversations reinforced my experiences. [As suggested by Kolb’s model.] ;->

  1. Quote your best entry from this week’s Blackboard discussion. Explain why you chose it and what it demonstrates about your understanding, learning process etc.

I am including my entire entry about deep and shallow learning. The reason I chose it is that I believe that I effectively broke down some of the challenges, showed how the issue is not unidimensional  and offered potential solutions.

Shallow vs. Deep Learning. It has been my experience in teaching online classes that many students seek the most efficient path though the learning environment. This means that they are purposefully engaging in those aspects of the designed course that are connected to grades in the course and will decline to participate in things that are not graded. This became most clear to me early on in my online teaching when I set up “social areas” in my discussions so that students could hang out and get to know each other. Such practice was highly recommended in the literature, buy my experience was that students didn’t use it. When I asked why they said, “it isn’t graded”.

What do you think? What is the difference between shallow and deep learning and how can we achieve this in online classes? Don’t forget to provide citations to show that you have investigated these topics!

I have at least four questions that have relevance to a conversation about deep and shallow learning.

  • Is it the nature of online learning to teach to the course requirements?
  • How do we foster, especially in on-line courses, a desire to go beyond what is covered in the class?
  • Similarly, how do we identify high potential students who should be pushed to do more? Is this perhaps easier in f2f and blended classes?
  • While it may be the ideal, should deep learning be the real world goal for every on-line course?

Irrespective of the outcome of those conversations, getting to deep learning requires a sampling of behaviors that characterize surface and deep learning (Weimer, 2012)* **





Surface-cognitively unengaged                   Deep-cognitively engaged

I came to class                                                 I checked blackboard blog regularly

I entered info on my blog and blackboard           Posts were timely and grammatically correct

I responded to the posts                                   Responses were thoughtful/provoked                                                                       thought

I reviewed my class notes.                                 I shared my class notes/tutored with                                                                       others

I submitted the products.                                  I sought help instructor/peer                                                                                   assistance

I highlighted the text.                                      I contacted students beyond class                                                                              requirements

In essence, an inquisitive mind fosters deep learning, while shallow learning is epitomized by acceptance and no critical thinking.

Achieving deep learning in an on-line environment is challenging; however it may be achieved when correctly structured. In the business community, for example, tangible rewards are generally associated with the application of technical or content knowledge.  Some examples: actuarial students receive pay raises when they demonstrate the application of knowledge gained after a course; some professions (e.g., medicine, engineering) make it mandatory that employees demonstrate proficiency in their discipline as part of recertification and licensing; other companies (e.g., Pepsico) make completion of certifications a part of their career path and a prerequisite for promotion.

How to increase deep learning.

Chacon  (2005) asserts that it is carefully crafted organization of course modules according to a knowledge map, termed learning template, facilitates a deeper understanding of course content by students.” Do these finding differ from what might be found with successful taught f2f or blended learning?

If this assumption is correct, on-line learning should follow several of the deep learning principles cited by the Engineering Education: Journal of the Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre.  While the list below is geared primarily to the engineering students and professionals, it seems incumbant upon the on-line instructor to foster this any learning environment. [N.B. My own adaptations are italicized and in parentheses.]

On-line education goals. Teach students to:

  • Look for meaning
  • Focus on concepts (i.e., not facts)
  • Interact actively (make use of media — high, medium and low tech that forces interaction)
  • Distinguish between arguement and evidence (question assumptions, as well as the validity and reliability of the data)  
  • Provide a real world context. (Also, Newberry, course handout,)(Also, peer           review)
  1. Identify the student you think was the most important participant in the Blackboard discussion. Explain why and provide at least one quote from that student’s contributions to the Blackboard discussion.

Two of Hy Su Kang’s two quotes fostered in me two very different responses.

“I had an opportunity to ask myself “Am I a deep learner or shallow learner”. Here my colleague demonstrated introspection a quality of deep learning that can also be imbedded in Kolb’s model.

“Also, I learned how deep and shallow learning are literally defined.” While I may disagree with latter parts of her statement, I do agree that most of the current readings provide literal, clearly partitioned distinctions between shallow and deep learning.

  1. Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.

My key learnings for the week are:

The distinction between deep and surface learning. Personally it reminds me that both are multidimensional and are situational (i.e., neither deep nor surface learning should be the goal in all situations).

Social interaction may actually allow the shy, back-of-the-room sitting student opportunities to engage in an a less visible environment. One of the responses to my four questions resulted in this response, forcing me to rethink my position.


7 thoughts on “Module 02 Homework

  1. Hi Victor,
    You have widely presented your ideas. I like the way you have various resources to
    refer to as you argue out your points.
    I have a question: “Chat rooms are places where the “quiet” and unengaged student can show up and not participate.”
    Can you please explain how these is a con? I tend to imagine even those quiet students once they are in chat rooms they will have to participate maybe not actively as expected.
    Please clarify,


    • Carole…

      You are partly correct in calling me on this. I was without a printer for most of last week making proofing more difficult.

      What should have appeared is

      ““Chat rooms are places where the “quiet” student can show up and participate actively. Because they are anonymous they may be able to make their voice heard without being seen.”

      As a con

      “For the disengaged student, it is just another place for them to show and not interact with their colleagues.”

      Can you please explain how these is a con? I tend to imagine even those quiet students once they are in chat rooms they will have to participate maybe not actively as expected


  2. Hi Victor,
    As usual I enjoyed your post.
    Regarding your question (CMS/LMS definition and examples) in item #2. CMS is Content Management System. LMS is Learning Management System (e.g., Blackboard, Moodle, MindFlash).


  3. Hi Victor,
    Your blog on deep learning and chat rooms is extremely interesting. I recall a chat room experience in which, the professor did not set it up in a manner to be highly structured. It ended up being that only the most talkative students participated and she failed to clarify important points in the classroom, which students had concerns about. It was not a pleasant experience and it reminded me of many instances of shallow and deep learning taking place. Although, I felt like those that had deep learning were showing off to try to impress the instructor. Your chart on deep learning and shallow learning was helpful in forcing me to examine my position on the level of learning I find myself in.


    • Thanks for the feedback. One great thing about this class is the questions and feedback presented by both instructor and students. It generates the opportunity for deep learning.

      Another dimension of this class that is worth noting is how the use of tables and hierarchies make points and principles more accessible and explainable.


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