MODULE 08 ASSIGNMENT: PORTFOLIOS AND AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT

  1. Provide a project update. What is your working title?

Assessing Competencies for a Professional Development Course in “Creative Problem Solving and Decision-making”.

  1. How is your project connected to eLearning?

An eLearning format will be used for training working professionals. This is in contrast to the usual f2f format

  1. How is your project relevant for you?

With an eLearning Certificate my goal is to reinvent myself as a consultant, development, trainer and evaluator of both f2f and eLearning professional development programs. The audience for my services are corporations and other institutions that conduct professional development programs.

  1. What are the three most interesting/relevant/informative/important articles in your bibliography for your project?

I am currently in the process of rethinking resources for my project. I am reading a somewhat different body of literature more akin to the revised project.

Specifically, with the movement from a more expansive—and theoretical—study on assessing andragogy and adult learners to a more practical project (i.e., an assessment schema that demonstrates professionals’ competencies with creative problem solving and decision-making techniques) much of my annotated bibliography entries is not applicable.  Three articles with tangential relevance are

Holton III, E.F., Wilson, L. S., & Bates, R.A. (2009). Toward Development of a Generalized Instrument to Measure Andragogy. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 20 (9), 169-193. doi:10.1002/hrdq.2014.

Hussein-Faraj R, Barak, M., and Yehudit, J.D. (2012). Lifelong Learning at the Technion: Graduate Students’ Perceptions of and Experiences in Distance Learning. Proceedings of the Chais Conference on Instructional technologies Research.  http://www.openu.ac/research_center/chais2012/papers.html

Kenyon, C. & Hase, S. (2001). Moving from Andragogy to Heutagogy in Vocational Education. Procedings of the 4th Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association Conference, Aledaide, Australia, 1-9. http//www.averta.org.au.PAPAERS%202001/Kenyon%220haseChase.pdf

  1. What is authentic assessment in your context. Please explain important details like grade level, content area etc.

Since this is a professional development program geared to adult learners. The audience members will likely be:

At minimum college graduates. Course concepts require post high school training.

In that company’s workforce for at least 1+ years. Participants need to understand the corporate culture and organization before implementing any of the techniques taught in the program.

Holding at least a managerial or leadership position. To effect change, a managerial or leadership role is required. Being in a leadership role makes the data collection implementation of a plan easier.

Lastly, employee responsibilities (e.g,. department affiliation) is irrelevant. Specifically, the tools and techniques taught in the program are generic and can be transferred to specific departments, used in a matrix organization or in a task-force setting.

  1. What are three types of portfolios? Choose one type of portfolio and explain how you could implement it in some eLearning setting.
  • Working Portfolios. Working portfolios shows the progression of work products from its project inception to the final product. In essence, working portfolios demonstrate progress.
  • Display, Showcase, or Best Works Portfolios. A display portfolio shows and individual’s best work products. These portfolios are frequently used in the design industries as well as the visual and performing arts.
  • Assessment Portfolios.  This a demonstration of what has been learned. For example, test results outcomes of a grading rubric can be used to assess learning. Assessment portfolios can be used 1) for comparative purposes (e.g., differentiating two students) or 2) to measure one students progress towards a final grade.

[N.B. All three assessments share the same drawback: they do not show how the learning is going to be applied back in the workplace.]

  1. What is competency based learning? How could this impact your career?

Competency-based learning contains several characteristics. Depending on how it is rolled out, competency-based learning focuses, at minimum, upon:

Flexibility in delivery, including: f2f, online, blended, etc.

Student-focused learning that produces engagement. This can include 1) an appreciation that not all students acquire information in the same ways and 2) making the material relevant to the learner.

Vis a vis my career, my interest has always been upon the design of professional development programs that result in learnings that go beyond the training room. And, some of my f2f techniques can readily adapted to online environments. For example, I have implemented 30 and 60 day follow-up reminders, as well as post-training initiatives where program participants realize a goal defined in the program.

  1. Evaluate your participation in the discussion this week. Provide at least one quote from the discussion that supports your evaluation.

Lorraine’s project description provoked a discussion—and a thread—that produced greater insights both into her project and the challenges of teaching writing to K-12 students. While my comment was simply exploratory, her response demonstrated deep learning and a comprehension of her topic.

  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.

Again, I think it is Lorraine who contributed most to the Blackboard discussion. It is not one specific quote, but her ability to describe the project in lay terms, go into greater detail when asked and field a series of questions from different colleagues.

  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.

The distinction between different portfolios is something I knew implicitly, but not explicitly. In other words, I knew the concepts, but not the names.

As part of that learning, I was reminded of the limitations of portfolios. As stated in the portfolio question, all three portfolios are focus upon past performance; they do not deal with predicting or facilitating the application of learnings going forward.

Moving forward, I intend to continue creating and/or refining post-training program initiatives. These initiatives add value to the employer sponsoring the program.

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Module 07 BLOG POST

MODULE 07:

Let me note that grading on-line discussions is far more difficult than grading papers and other work products. The evaluations proved even more complex as the postings listed in the printout were not in chronological order (e.g., a posting on August 14 might appear before a posting cited for August 13. I am however assuming that all postings were made during the rubric’s definition of one week.

That noted, this is my understanding of the blog assignment.

  • Each ETEC 648 student is required to evaluate, by applying the grading schema developed for Module 06, the discussion postings for two out of three assigned students. I have also included my rationale for allocating points to each of the two individuals.
  • Observations about the rubric and usefulness
  • Where the rubric worked
  • Define and explain where the rubric was less than satisfactory
  • What changes would I make to the rubric
  • This week’s learnings

GRADING BILL AND CAROLE

BILL

Required Action Available Points Points Earned by bill rationale
1. Made substantial posts to each of the discussion board questions by midnight Wednesday of each week. 20% (i.e., 20 points) 15 points Bill made some decent points in his postings; however, they did not necessarily respond to the question. For example, his initial posting did not describe P.D. models, only gave his frustration with various training environments.
2.  Between Wednesday and midnight Sunday responded to at least 3 colleagues’ postings with a meaningful comment. 20% (i.e., 20 points) 12 points Bill only provided 2  meaningful postings during the timeframe
3. Integrates your posts with your colleagues’ comments to create a real world application for each of your original posts. 30% (i.e., 30 points) 25 points Somewhat. Bill did relate his experiences. And, his willingness to talk with conference colleagues suggests attempts to discover real time solutions.
4. Between Saturday and Sunday midnight, adds to the discussion board a major learning for the week. 15% (i.e., 15 points) 8 points Although not explicitly stated, Bill admits to one learning.
5. Provides appropriate links and references as appropriate. 15% (i.e., 15 points) 15 points Despite other opportunities, Bill does share a URL, more than some of his colleagues
100% 75 points

CAROLE

Required Action Available Points Points Earned by carole rationale
1. Made substantial posts to each of the discussion board questions by midnight Wednesday of each week. 20% (i.e., 20 points) 15 points Carole like Bill made some decent points. While some seemed more to the topic, there was one point where she continued a gripe (i.e., wasting money) without trying to offer a positive solution.
2.  Between Wednesday and midnight Sunday responded to at least 3 colleagues’ postings with a meaningful comment. 20% (i.e., 20 points) 20 points If my timeline assumption is correct, she met the rubric requirement
3. Integrates your posts with your colleagues’ comments to create a real world application for each of your original posts. 30% (i.e., 30 points) 15 points While not always finding real world applications, Carole’s posts do follow the thread of her colleagues.
4. Between Saturday and Sunday midnight, adds to the discussion board a major learning for the week. 15% (i.e., 15 points) 15 points Towards the end of the discussion, Carole does indicate a learning.
5. Provides appropriate links and references as appropriate. 15% (i.e., 15 points) 15 points Despite other opportunities, Carole does share a URL.
100% 80 points
  1. OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE RUBRIC AND ITS USEFULNESS

Despite being my first attempt to develop a rubric, in general, and for an eLearning course, in particular, the rubric was less than successful than desired; however, the exercise forced me to articulate outcomes and expectations in ways that can be applied to both f2f and online learning classes.

I can see how developing rubrics is readily transferable to technical, scientific and problem solving environments.  However, I am not sure how to create rubrics to assess meaningfully the acquisition of soft skills (e.g., managing, leadership) acquisition by working professionals.

  1. WHERE THE RUBRIC WORKED

 In general terms, the “required actions” seemed to capture much of what of was needed. At the same time, it appears that several actions required greater specificity. More specifically,

  • Quantifying the number of links and references could have been stated as an “absolute” number or perhaps as a ratio of links/posting.
  • Defining “Real world applications” better. In all my f2f classes and workshops stress applications.  Here I needed to be more concrete as to expectations (e.g., by giving examples).
  • Defining “meaningful” while difficult is necessary. Again, creating parameters and/or examples might been a better approach.

 WHERE THE RUBRIC WAS LESS THAN SATISFACTORY.

In my previous response, I identified the need for greater specificity within each of my required actions. More important however, is my not including the grading criteria for each of the desired actions.

Not creating a grading template as to what demonstrates (e.g.) unacceptable, marginal, average, above average, and exceptional performance leaves the student in limbo.

For example, I cite the need for appropriate links and references; however I do not specify the expected number of links/references.  A concrete example with a 4 point scale:

0 links=1 point

1-2 links=2 points

3-4 links=3 points

5+ links=4 points.

  1. WHAT CHANGES WOULD I MAKE TO THE RUBRIC

 Changes to this rubric include:

Developing metrics.  Provide greater specificity as to what “earns” what grade for each required action. This makes the “contract” between instructor and student clearer.

Expanding the number of required actions. For example, there was no metric for inappropriate behavior. Also, some assessment of grammar, spelling, etc., needs be incorporated into a grading schema.

  1. LEARNINGS OF THE WEEK

Rubrics and Their Development. Producing meaningful rubrics is a complex and iterative process. The basic “required actions” seem easy; however pairing them with meaningful measures is far more difficult. I did learn that my approach to create a rubric for a f2f class I just implemented, while needing refinement, is on target.

Problems with Creating Rubrics for Soft Skills. While beyond the scope of Module 07, creating rubrics to assess soft skills in professional (e.g., business) environments will likely prove problematic.  This will prove especially challenging given the skill sets and expectations of the emerging labor force.

MODULE 06

MODULE 06

  1. Give three purposes for grading in an online class. Explain each one and then provide an example or guideline for accomplishing each purpose.

These questions will be answered from the perspective of business-sponsored professional development programs.

Purpose 1: Grading as an assessment of student engagement.

In an on-line training program, engagement relates to the participant’s efforts during course of the training program (Robinson and Hollinger, 2008).

One assessment tool could be a weekly log where the employee reports how the skills were employed between training modules. A second tool, might be peer assessments and interactions.

Robinson, Chin Choo and Hubert Hollinger (2008). New Benchmarks in Higher Education: Student Engagement in On-Line Learning. Journal of Education in Business, November/December.  http://anitacrawley.net/Articles/New%20Benchmarks%20in%20Higher%20Education.pdf

Purpose 2: To guide and shape students’ performance.

Assessing employees participating in business-sponsored on-line professional development programs are expected, over time, to attain increasingly complex skills and capabilities applicable in the workplace.

Following a -By-Objective (MBO) model design, the creation of increasingly difficult and complex work tasks (either simulated or in the actual workplace) that parallel the training program can demonstrate increased learning, including deep learning.

Purpose 3: Motivating Students

With both f2f and on-line training programs motivating employee is a constant challenge. In f2f training program, ducking out and missing modules are the traditional measures.

With on-line training programs, identifying non-motivated participants motivated is less easy, especially with asynchronous programs. Like f2f classes missing modules incomplete assignments are two measures.

To keep students motivated on-line, creating extrinsic rewards for both on-going participation and training program completion will likely achieve the desired goal.

Actuarial students receive salary increases upon the successful of each of 10 courses. While this is one approach, apportioning rewards throughout the training program can allow for the needed learning.

  1. You have been called to consult with a university which is about to create a brand new totally online graduate program in leadership education. As part of your consultation you have been asked to provide a short written policy (for the student and instructor handbooks) related to grading policy. List (bullet list) the top five issues your policy will address.

The University of X’s On-line grading policy needs to address at least 5 issues. They include:

  • Type of grades
    • Letter grades: A, B, C, D, F
    • Pass/Fail
    • Audit
  • Appeals process
  • Benchmarks for determining best practices (to ensure the grading schema remain up-to-date)
  • Standardized measures of success (e.g., absence, work product quality)
  • Discussion room and blackboard policies.
  1. As part of the consultation with the university on creating an online program you have been asked to create a rubric that can be used across all program classes to grade the online discussions.

A 10 week class is graded on the basis of 100 points. Students can earn up to 30 points for their student-to-student interactions. Essentially, 30% of a student’s grade is earned through peer interaction.

Required Action Available Points Points Earned
  1. Made substantial posts to each of the discussion board questions by midnight Wednesday of each week.
20%
  1. Between Wednesday and midnight Sunday responded to at least 3 colleagues’ postings with a meaningful comment.
20%
  1. Integrates your posts with your colleagues’ comments to create a real world application for each of your original posts.
30%
  1. Between Saturday and Sunday midnight, adds to the discussion board a major learning for the week.
15%
  1. Provides appropriate links and references as appropriate.
15%
100%
  1. Choose a topic that is familiar to you and create three excellent learning objectives. Explain why the objectives you create are excellent.

In a Professional Development Course that I currently teach, students are required to develop competencies in a variety of skills (e.g., resume development, informational interviews, business dress and behavior). The course meets 2 hours/day for 4 days/week. The term is 5 weeks long. With class sizes ranging from 3-10 some classes seem more like hands-on training/coaching sessions that formal lectures.

Objective 1: Resume Development. By class 8, the student—using the distributed handout—will complete a job-search-ready resume that includes a header, job objective, work history, competencies/skills, education, additional certifications and awards that can be used in a job search.

This objective succeeds because it is time locked with clearly articulated requirements and a understandable outcome.

Objective 2: Informational Interview.  By class 10, the student will a) conduct an informational interview with the assigned interviewee and b) turn in a 2-3 page report that adheres to the assigned format.

This objective succeeds because the student is told what is expected, by when it is expected and the format of the product.

Objective 3: Professional Dress and Behavior.  By class 5, students will identify and evaluate three different 4+ minute Youttube videos on some aspect of professional dress and behaviors.  Each evaluation, none of which can be an advertisement, must include the 1) Youtube Title, 2) web address, 3) a paragraph describing the video, 4) an evaluation of the video, and 5) a statement as to why/why not its hould be shown in the class.

Although Objective 3 is long and has two sentences, it does define the task clearly and instructor expectations.

Objective 4: Create a LinkedIn account. Between classes 8 and 12, the student will send to the instructor their coversheet for their LinkedIn account and request that the Instructor be a LinkedIn contact.

Objective 4 is a straightforward task that is done totally on-line.

  1. Describe an eLearning activity that will have students meet one or more of the objectives you just created.

Objective 3 is the easies to describe in eLearning terms. Specifically, the student is required to:

  1. Conduct a Youtube search of videos meeting predefined criteria.
  2. Watch and review the videos.
  3. Analyze the appropriateness of the videos for use in class.
  4. Submit a report to the instructor.

Objective 4 is direct, allows students anytime between the completion of the resume and class 12.

  1. Explain how you will grade the student work in the above activity. For example you may want to provide a rubric or describe other methods used.

Although it is the most challenging, assessing student performance when developing through e-learning seems most intriguing. In lieu of a specific rubric—something that I am currently thinking about since I will likely propose that this professional development course be reconfigured as a blended class—below are some of the dimensions that seem important when developing the rubric. [N.B. Some course deliverables, like mock interviews and elevator speeches require f2f and interaction.]

Total points earned for the class is 1,000. A student can earn up to 150 points for their resume, with preparation and outside reviewer being able to allocate 100 points and 50 points, respectively.

The easy part is the outside reviewer assessment (i.e., a summative evaluation). I developed an assessment tool that totals 100 point,that can be divided by 2.

The development of the formative evaluation is much more difficult: the resume requires considerable interaction between the instructor and the student. Depending upon the class, peer interactions rarely work.

Some of the elements of the evaluation rubric can include students:

TASK AVAILABLE POINTS EARNED POINTS
  1. Student uses template to job history including company, location, dates, job title and responsibilities.
30
  1. Student uses template to detail education history, including schools, location, degree, dates of attendance (including expected graduation), relevant courses
10
  1. Student uses template to identify skills that can be used on the first day of work.
10
  1. Student use template to identify certifications, honors and additional qualifications
5
  1. Number of times needed for a student to produce a job-search-ready resume.
10
  1. Student submits a well organized resume based upon one of the 4 templates included with the course handout.
15
  1. Student turns in grammatically correct and well-formatted (e.g., spacing) with no typographical errors
15
  1. Student turns in a visually balanced resume (i.e., not top-heavy, not bottom-heavy, not lopsided)
5
TOTAL POINTS 100
  1. Explain how you will provide feedback to the student in the above activity. Include an example of your feedback if possible.

Feedback will be provided via email and telephone consultation. Since this is also foreseen as a blended or synchronous learning course, some of the feedback on the resume session could be f2f.

There is also an article I read earlier in the semester where in asynchronous sessions the instructor created a library based upon previous classes where students could see the instructor editing student products. [Unfortunately, I am unable to locate the reference.]

  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.

As my primary interest is applying eLearning to corporate/professional development initiatives, translating questions about grading what is traditionally a traditionally non-graded arena proved challenging. This is especially important as increasing numbers of employers are looking at employees as human capital. And, they are demanding some return on investment (ROI) for dollars spent on training employees.

  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.

Less for any one comment and more for his style and approach, Daniel Perkins seemed to be really responsive to his colleagues. For example, his exchange, especially with Laura (Policies and Problems of Grading) moved the conversation to a deeper level and resulted identifying additional resources for our own work.

  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.

Coming to the conversation, and wanting to apply the learnings in somewhat differently than my colleagues reinforced my dilemma when thinking about assessment in a professional development world.

At minimum, the conversation forces me to think of ways where assessments do not equal “grades” per se, but focus upon behavioral, cognitive and other changes in competencies that can be demonstrated in both simulated and actual environments (e.g., the workplace).

While I am not a diehard fan of MBO, it seems like it may be an approach when assessing increased skill levels in certain arenas.

Going out on another two limbs, two additional issues seemed to be missing in our conversations, especially when it comes to discussions about assessment.

  • The Relative Importance of Questions Over Answers. When in graduate school, one professor placed less weight upon his students’ answers and far greater importance upon the questions they asked. He repeatedly commented, “That finding answers is far easier that asking meaningful questions.”  To some extent that has been a part of my grading philosophy when teaching Juniors, Seniors and Graduate students.

However, how does one assess questions in a meaningful an measurable way?

  • Intraindividual Change. Many of the assessments we discuss are either scores by which we compare students or outcomes that demonstrate specific competencies. What is missing, however, is our measuring the delta or change within the individual.

There is a whole body of literature in life span development (e.g., Paul Baltes, K. Werner Schaie, John Nesselroade) that looks at the importance of assessing interindividual differences as well as intra-individual change with respect to interindividual differences.

In practical terms, I am always challenged when I must grade a student–who demonstrated the greatest improvement—lower than the student who started and ended without demonstrating any real progress.

Any thoughts?

Module 05 Homework

MODULE 05

Q1. Define Instructional Presence

A1. Instructional Presence seems to be any an all elements of synchronous and asynchronous on-line learning environments that contribute to a Community of Inquiry (CoI), without which students—and perhaps instructors—experience a sense of disconnectedness.

CoI’s consists of three highly complex contributors: thought, emotion and behavior. The three facets can be presented as a Venn diagram consisting of unique and overlapping elements that can happen in both synchronous and asynchronous on-line learning environments.

Although this next analysis may be derivative of a narrow definition of Instructional Presence, it seems part and parcel of successful Instructional Presence. Although it may create too much complexity, the CoI from an instructor’s perspective can differ significantly from that of the student. In other words, Instructional Presence and CoI, a la student, can differ significantly from that of the instructor. In other words, the two groups may not define a “successful CoI” the same way.

Q2. Compare Answer 1 with instructor definition: identifies similarities and differences.

A2. Like the instructor’s definition, the three components of Instructional Presence are: thought, emotion and behavior. The answer to Q1 introduces another consideration: the student. With this addition, the 2 dimensional Venn diagram evolves into a 3 dimensional model.

Q3. Instructors frequently associated with Instructional Presence.

A3.  In addition to the Instructor who completed his dissertation in the field.

Marcia Dixon (2010), a researcher whose article was included in this week’s readings .  Dixon asks how to determine what encourages student engagement. As might be expected, there is no one reason that students become engaged; however, her findings suggest that “multiple communication channels” lead to greater peer and student instructor interactions. And that active learning is best achieved through greater engagement. Although the Dixon, uses a fairly sophisticated statistical procedure (i.e., factor analysis) and uses t-tests and correlations to test several of her research questions, it seems odd that she used low level Chi-square analyses to make other comparisons.

Peter Shea, a prolific researcher and writer in several areas of on-line instruction, both examines and develops a series of measures to assess on-line instructional effort (2010). Specifically, using content analysis of discussion board entries, among other measures the authors identified a number of findings, like student interaction is generally lower than teacher presence, assessment is another dimension to teacher presence, and that although there may be a bit of variability in instructor presence and/or engagement may occur, the greater the instructor engagement the greater the student engagement.

McKerlich, et al. (2011) approach a CoI (i.e., teaching, cognitive and social presence) as experienced by the student. Essentially, they measure engagement through student perceptions in a virtual world. Study findings support that a CoI can be created in a virtual world.

Although not familiar with the virtual world “world” of on-line education, this study raises some thoughts about how the approach can be applied to adult training and development programs. Specifically, the ability to simulate actual employee environments can allow for decision-making and judgments in a safe, environment.

Dixon, Marcia(2010) Creating effective student engagement in online course: What do students find engaging? Journal of the Scholorship of Teaching and Learning, 10(2), pp. 1-13,

McKerlich,  Ross, Marianne Riis, Terry Anderson, and Brad Eastman (2011). Student Perceptions of Teaching Presence, Social Presence and Cognitive Presence in a Virtual World. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(3). http://jolt.merlot.org/vol7no3/mckerlich_0911.htm

Shea, Peter, Jason Vickers, and Suzanne Hayes (2010). Online Instructional Effort Measured through the Lens of Teaching Presence in the Community of Inquiry Framework: A Re-Examination of Measures and Approach. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Volume 11, Number 3. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ913864.pdf

Q4.  Three types of teaching presence.

A.4.  As summarized by the instructor teaching presence consists of three components; 1) preparing adequately (e.g., content, instructional design/organization, technological fluency); 2) Facilitating discourse (i.e., enabling peer-peer and peer-instructor interactions) and 3) Direct instruction (i.e., producing deep learning of content). The latter two most frequently overlap: Instructional Design and Organization, Facilitating Discourse and Direct Instruction.

These might be considered as the de minimus, as a fourth component might be considered: post-class availability (e.g., guidance/mentoring).  Although the number of those opting for this self-determined learning is quite small, the on-line instructor might be considered as an appropriate resource.

Preparing adequately. This can include things like

It is assumed that the instructor/facilitator is a content expert.  It also requires that:

  • Content is organized in a way consistent with an on-line course
  • Age appropriate learning models (pedagogy, andragogy, heutagogy) are applied
  • Materials care developed to reflects multiple learning styles.
  • The instructor is technically savvy in the on-line tools being employed.
  1. Facilitating Discourse. This includes both peer-peer and peer-instructor interactions. And, while grading rubrics will more than likely stimulate some peer and student-instructor interactions, instilling a CoI whereby peers go beyond what is required to earn a grade should be the ultimate goal.
  1. Direct Instruction. Producing deep learning is probably the greatest challenge. This type of learning, needed for both technical as well as non-technical materials, allows the students to integrate the knowledge into their own lives. It goes beyond the simple analyses for homework or term paper. The transformation of teacher’s direct instruction into a student’s deep learning that makes a CoI most successful.
  1. Post-class engagement. Having repeatedly inserted the post class interaction between student and instructor, it seems appropriate to suggest that in addition to a CoI of inquiry during the class, the student who seeks additional guidance from the instructor or pursues additional CoI’s after the class is done, demonstrates the self-motivated learner.

Q.5 Select 1 type of presence and suggest how it might be improved,

A.5 Having gone out on a limb with my fourth element of teacher presence, by offering two types of improvements I will be hedging my bets (a bit).

Direct Instruction: The safe response. Direct Instruction at its best, produces deep learning. More than the mere analysis, compare and contrast of content, deep learning can likely be improved in two ways:

Creating assignments where the information has practical relevance. For example, in a f2f class I taught, I required students to identify at least one way the chapter content related to their personal lives.

The second way is to create “what-if” scenarios where the student must integrate learned information and then apply it to different situations. In courses like geometry, it can be as easy as having the student apply the same formula with one or more variables changed.

Post-class engagement: out on a limb. Post class engagement occurs rarely: they are the students, prompted by deep learning, to pursue additional learning in a subject matter on their own.

With f2f and blended training programs, I created on-line conference calls or f2f monthly meetings where interested students can attend and discuss some agreed upon topic. In an on-line learning environment this can be attained through a blackboard situation. Going forward in both asynchronous and synchronous environments, I’d either have myself as the moderator and/or ask students to suggest potential readings.

Another thing that I do with f2f classes is make sure students know how to get in touch with me after the class, making it clear that I am available for additional guidance.

Q.7 How readings and research relate to Blackboard instruction.

A.7 There are several ways that the readings and personal research relate to the Blackboard. For example:

  • Although I practiced both Instructional and Teacher Presence for as long as I can remember, I never knew what they were called. To me they were just “good teaching”.

The addition of the student perspective to the discussion of CoI seems worthy of additional discussion.

Having been stimulated into self-learning modalities and seeking additional training (e.g., this program), I think that post-class engagement needs additional attention.

Current discussions of heutagogy, suggest that the concept while intriguing remains a bit “mushy” and too philosophical. This makes it hard to operationalize for research purposes. I also question if the concept is an upper middle class construct.  In other words, it may not be applicable to populations where education, beyond task learning, is a luxury item.

Q8. Most important Blackboard contributor.

A8. Without question, it is Christen Smith. Her posts are always well thought out, no typos, insightful and on point.

Her ability to distinguish between video as a tool to transmit information as well as a tool to give feedback offers some potential for on-line, blended and f2f coursework.

I am thinking of having students in a f2f class, prepare, as homework, a video from either a webcam or cell phone and send it back to me for review and comment. If my goal of transforming another totally on-line course into a blended class is approved, the use of videos for training and feedback will be core to several modules.

The following is only one of the posts with which I resonated.

I realize that when I first looked at this topic, I was only thinking in terms of Video as a mode of delivering content and not as a means for providing feedback.  Maybe it’s because I teach English, but I don’t think Video feedback works well in my area.  I think instructors can give general global responses, but it’s challenging to make specific references to what a student has written in a paper.  I find that my students seems to prefer when I use Microsoft Word Review.  That way they can get general comments on each page or paragraph, and they can also get very specific feedback on exact lines.  

I do have a colleague who has been trying to use 3 min. audio files to record essay feedback.  I know she struggles to be concise and stay within the max 3 minutes.  I suspect that the audio files would be more beneficial if she used an app that could highlight the portion of the essay she was describing as she recorded.  Does anyone know of an app like this? 

Q.9 Application of weekly learnings to my portfolio of on-line efforts.

A. 9 This module reinforces my attempt to get through (i.e., teach skills) to students (especially those that are non-receptive) in ways that they can complete a task on their own.

The some of the comments about the breadth of my potential project and concepts that I may need to operationalize has me trying to dial back what I want to accomplish to what is manageable.

My ongoing efforts to be a role model and resource to my students both during and after the term.

Although it is well beyond my expertise for now and the foreseeable future, the viability of virtual worlds as a tool for a broad range of learning from the arts and humanities, to the behavioral and hard sciences , as well as professional education.