Course Design and Online Group Collaboration — What’s the Connection?

Debbie Morrison cuts through the online design rhetoric and provides 5 course design strategies for online group collaboration and activities. This is an informative blog for online course design and professional development.

Online Learning Insights

teamwork

Facilitating group work in an online course for instructors is often the most challenging aspect of teaching an online class. The amount of time invested by students and the instructor in the group process can be significant; unfortunately there’s often more time spent on logistics of the assignment than on meaningful learning. But there is a solution that significantly improves the process and the outcome. It’s course design. Effective course design, which includes the timing, description and instructions for the group project, is a determining factor in the quantity, quality and type of interactivity (Swan, 2001). Facilitation skills of the instructor is another factor, more so when the instructor uses a specific skill set that supports meaningful group interaction. In this post I focus on the course design component. Though I’ve written several posts about group work, I want to share with readers findings from a journal article “Creating Collaborative Learning Groups in an Online Environment” (Brindley, Waiti & Blaschke, 2009) that emphasizes the connection between…

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Eric Tremblay’s Active Learning in the Online Classroom

I’ve been doing some research on turning the carved in cold stone, virtual learning management space into a personal, living, breathing, interactive learning place and came across Eric’s post on active learning in the online classroom in his E-Learning Acupuncture blog.  This is an active, interesting blog that I’m posting in my Blogs I Follow page.  He’s taking learning interactions beyond the regular read the content and comment on a linear discussion board assignment.  Of course, reply to at least 3 other posts.  BLAH!  It’s time we move beyond the cold, virtual spaces for online learning and let the students transform the spaces into personal, interactive learning places.  He breaks the interaction and learning activities into 4 different categories.  Brilliant!  (See below)  He lists the activities under each category and is asking for his readers to add to the lists.  Let’s do it!  I would add interactive personal and team portfolios to the a few of the categories.  And, how about under Learner-to-Learner Interactions add digital concept mapping to enhance group brainstorming?  Why not?  As educators our first responsibility is to ensure that our students become productive citizens in society.  Like it or not, our students are transitioning into a workforce that requires mastery of digital media and cyber communication.

Visit Eric’s blog and add to the lists.  Let’s all do this. I’m adding my activities today.  Again, brilliant job, Eric!
http://erictremblay.blogspot.ca/2015/03/active-learning-in-online-classroom.html

Learner-to-Learner Interactions

  • Group brainstorming
  • Group role-playing
  • Study/support groups
  • Peer feedback on student work
  • Exploring a Virtual World as a team
  • Creating visual posters to share with the class
  • Creation of video presentations to share with the class
  • Asynchronous individual or collaborative learning activities (i.e. Projects)
  • Creative writing (in groups or individually) that is shared with peers
  • Problem-based learning Learning activities which encourage critical thinking
  • Cooperative learning group discussions (real time video chat or via asynchronous discussion forum)

Learner-To-TeachingTeam

  • Tutorials
  • Reflective questioning
  • Relating learning to relevant current events and personal life
  • Problem-based learning Learning activities which encourage critical thinking
  • Cooperative learning group discussions (real time video chat or via asynchronous discussion forum)

Learner-To-Virtual Environment

  • Interviewing people
  • Exploring a Virtual World individually
  • Learning activities which encourage critical thinking
  • Online quizzes (graded and non-graded) that provide immediate feedback
  • Advanced adaptive technologies like simulations and sensitivity analyses

Learner-To-Physical Environment 

  • Interviewing people
  • Home-based laboratories
  • Real-life data collection and analysis
  • Learning activities which encourage critical thinking
  • Learning activities with hand-on experiences and tasks
  • Learning activities which apply the content of the lesson in real-life situations

E-Learning Acupuncture, Eric Tromblay, Educational Developer, Queens University

Three years of writing about education’s future

Bryan Alexander will share his insights on the future of education at the 7th Annual Teaching & Learning Colloquium & Educational Technologies Expo, Friday, April 17, 2015 | 8:30am to 3:00pm. Stony Brook looks forward to welcoming Bryan to campus and invites you to attend this inspirational and stimulating day of sharing and conversation. See http://facultycenter.stonybrook.edu/2015_Colloquium for registration information.

 

 

Bryan Alexander

FTTE logoIt’s hard to believe that, as of this month’s report, FTTE has run for three years.

Three years ago I shared the first issue of Future Trends in Technology and Education.  Back then it was just called Future Trends, and was published as a membership benefit for the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE).  Its mission was the same as now: to scan the horizon for significant trends that could shape the future of education.

Over the months then years that followed categories and rubrics appeared: higher education in context, the higher ed bubble.  Each additional month added to the pile of references and pointers, growing a longitudinal way of analyzing new events.

Now we can look back and see which forces loomed largest over time.

FTTE word cloud 2012-2015

I’ll say more about those trends in forthcoming posts, talks, and… other venues.

Initially there were several dozen subscribers, then…

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Is Your First Grader College Ready?

FEB. 4, 2015

Thought provoking video, Age 6 and Applying to College posted article.
“What is college?  Get that thought into their heads.  Even though they’re 6 years old, they can think about that until they get to  high school and the process becomes real”

This New York Times article brought to mind a post from this blog in which I quoted a condescending educator, perturbed by learning from play,“young students don’t want to learn, they want to play, and presentations like the one I saw today essentially seem to be  saying that we need to support this play (masked as educational needs) as much as possible in order to try to get some learning in there.”  (see Instructor Attitudes and Biases)

Are we undermining the robust worth and value of play and learning?  Our government and schools are in such a hurry to retire seasoned teachers, our schools are losing valuable  wisdom and common sense experience.  Are they still teaching the value of play and learning in our Colleges of Education? Piaget?

The Expert Learning Curve

70:20:10 and the Learning Curve
70:20:10 and the Learning Curve

70:20:10 and the Learning Curve

What does it take to make you an expert?

From Novice to Expert – Clark Quinn’s  Learnlet of the week posted in his Quinnovation blog maps the roles and relationships of the semantic learning process, mentoring and coaching, and experiential practices and reflection.    Quinn ” wanted to emphasize that the 10 only has a small role to play in moving performance from zero to some minimal level, that mentoring and coaching really help improve performance, and that ongoing development requires a supportive environment.”   Though maybe not his point, the curve diagram made me think of how experiential learning practices should be implemented in the novice stages in all disciplines and fields of study.

Back in Ohio, there is a prestigious broadcast media program at an Ohio state university not beginning with THE.  Students strive to get into this program.   Some cry when not accepted.  Many of the students in a Northern Ohio community not accepted in the program attend the local community college’s broadcast media program.  Right from the start, in their freshman year, the students have studio time and produce a local magazine show that is broadcast over the local cable station.  Broadcast journalists from the Cleveland area news market have been know to mentor the students.  Students from the prestigious broad media program don’t put their hands on a studio camera, produce news gathering pieces, or enter an editing suite until their junior year.  The community college students snag working internships by their sophomore year and go on to 4 year colleges and universities to pursue their academic and professional interests.  Some continue on and work in television news.   No matter their chosen professional direction, the community college students amass professional skills and abilities that are valuable to any profession.  I have noticed strong self-determined characteristics in these students (autonomy, self-relatedness, and self-efficacy) that are demonstrated in all their endeavors.

Thought the curve was interesting.  Got me thinking.  Clark Quinn’s blog can be accessed at http://quinnovation.com.

Did Einstein really say it?

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking when created” – Albert Einstein

Most of us post an inspiring quote from a known leader on the welcome pages of our portfolios. I encourage my students to find a quote and image that represents their own professional strengths for branding purposes. Now, I emphasize that they do more than find a quote from Quoteland. Is the quote authentic and what was the context? I found this post from the abandoned blog, ICARUSFALLING, on the much quoted phrase by Einstien, interesting. It started me thinking about the authenticity of my beloved John Dewey quotes. It also reminded me to stop abandoning my blogs! Pick one and stick to it.

I still like the recreated Einstein quote.  Here’s a variation.

One of the many variations of the quote.
One of the many variations of the quote.

Einstein Enigmatic Quote, ICARUSFALLING, http://icarus-falling.blogspot.com/2009/06/einstein-enigma.html