In my learning technologies course tonight, I listened to a presentation on transformational learning given by Prof. Aaron Doering (chasingseals.com). I found his presentation very meaningful to me. I’ve been exposed to his topic in the past, and it certainly relates directly to our topic for this week, pedagogical design. Transformational learning includes the following guidelines: 1- designing experiences, not products 2- trust 3- learning as designers 4- learners as experts 5- aesthetics 6- self-narrative 7- TPAK 8- innovative pedagogy – design as a learner! It’s important for us as online designers, to consider Doering’s 9.5 design guidelines. In the article, Using the Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge Framework to Design Online Learning Environments and Professional Development (Doering, Veletsianos, Scharber, & Miller, 2009), it discussed the need to use the Technological, Pedagogical, Content, Knowledge (TPACK) framework in designing online learning environments. TPACK is the starting point for teachers to become effective classroom facilitators of transformative learning experiences. There is already much scholarly research and work on the effectiveness of using TPACK. Mezinrow (1991) notes this definition of transformational learning theory: The process of becoming critically aware of how and why our assumptions have come to constrain the way we perceive, understand, and feel about our world; changing these structures of habitual expectation to make possible a more inclusive, discriminating, and integrating perspective; and finally, making choices or otherwise acting upon these new understandings. I think there are additional opportunities to look at integrating transformation learning into online learning environments focusing on TPACK as an effective framework to shape the pedagogy of the course.
Great summary of 2013 #educause conference
I was one of seven thousand participants that descended upon the Anaheim convention center last week for the three-day EDUCAUSE annual conference. The conference attracts educators, administrators and Information technology leaders from higher education institutions from near and afar; there were 52 countries represented. The conference is by no means limited to Information Technology topics. This year the conference featured 300 sessions within five categories —the majority of sessions I attended were within the teaching and learning track, and a handful in the leadership and management category. Though I usually attend conferences virtually, I chose the face-to-face option given that Anaheim is slightly more than a stone’s throw from where I live. I’m glad I did. I was able to experience the vibe of the conference, pick up on the buzz from other participants at lunch, in the exhibit hall, and impromptu meetings. I also was able to meet a handful…
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This week, I spent time reflecting on the topics of building patterns and anticipation in designing my own online course. As I’ve learned over the past 6 weeks, there are many things that need to be taken into account when designing and developing an online course. As learned this week, patterns are very important to an effective course. Patterns provide students with consistencies week to week, and help to reduce anxiety in the course. Patterns are a part of the design of the course, and for many non-traditional online instructors, isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Effective design can support the ability to build engagement and collaboration within a course.
I’ve been given an opportunity to teach a freshman level course for science and engineering students through the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. This is my second year teaching the course, and while it’s a face to face course, I’ve attempted to integrate a more hybrid approach to teaching the course. I will note, though, that I am now done teaching the course, as my role was only for the first seven weeks. We used Moodle as the CMS for the course, which is required. Going back to my CMS matrix, Moodle was one of the CMS’s that I analyzed, and there are some difficulties in applying color to the Moodle environment. As Cheri Spiegel notes in her Universal Design paper, color should be used in online course design to attract attention. I’m not sure if color would have made any difference with my students. I’d have to take a survey to see if there is any data that supports this one way or another. But, another key thing that Spiegel notes, is the need for consistency when designing an online course. I unfortunately did not do a great job of this in my f2f class. I would upload various assignments and material on Moodle, but it was very inconsistent from week to week. Most of the direction for the course came from higher-level administration in CSE, with many of those folks unable to understand the importance of how to effectively use Moodle in a f2f course. In the future, I will definitely change this, as I’ve learned the importance of building patterns in an online course. I’d like to also do a better job of building community within the course, both in the classroom, and online.
Dianne Conrad’s paper, “Engagement, Excitement, Anxiety, and Fear: Learners’ Experiences of Starting an Online Course,” was a great paper and provided some much needed information to better design and develop an online course. Two things stuck out to me: 1) It’s important to provide students early access to your course and 2) students do not feel that instructors are a large part of the engagement for the course. Early access to the course makes complete sense to me, but it was harder for me to understand why students in online environment don’t really have much connection to the instructors. This paper did focus on adult learners, and so this does make more sense for an older student. But, those younger students, it doesn’t seem to be true. I also think Conrad’s ideas can easily be applied to f2f learning as well.
Critical thinking is an expected learning outcome of higher education along with mastery of a studied discipline. Yet several studies including one outlined in Academically Adrift, suggests that a significant percentage of students are graduating after four years of college with little intellectual growth; critical thinking gains barely budging from the ‘before’ to ‘after’ assessment. Whether the studies are valid or not is not the focus here, but how to teach higher order thinking skills in online learning environments is. I make a case for asynchronous discussions and their value in developing higher order thinking. I recently facilitated a webinar How to Promote Critical Thinking Skills in the Online Class targeted to educators teaching undergraduate or high school students virtually. I include slides from the presentation at the end of the post. Below I highlight the required learning conditions for effective online discussions, and include excerpts from peer-reviewed papers…
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How Media and Technology Influence Learning
(Based on the Clark/Kozma Debate)
This position paper is based on Richard E. Clark and Robert Kozma’s famous debate that looks at whether media and technology influences learning. I will be looking at the role media and technology play in motivating and enhancing learning in schools of the 21st century. I will also be examining the possible challenges within the use of technology in school settings and conclude by suggesting some possible recommendations that will analyze the possible directions of media and technology in the future.
Summary of Debate
Clark, a professor of instructional technology at the University of Southern California, insists that media does not influence learning under any conditions. He felt that its only influence was cost and distribution. He goes as far as to say, that different forms of “media” are mere vehicles that delivers instruction but does not influence student…
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My video for the week sums up my thoughts on the importance of a social presence in online learning environments. Link to video: http://vimeo.com/75737072. So, to answer the question that yes or no, should their be a social presence in online learning?….YES!!!!
Integrating a social presence into an online learning environment is extremely important for many reasons.
Cui’s article provides a great overview on social presence theory and its importance to building a successful social presence online. A few points to highlight include:
Overall, a social presence online improves a learners’ satisfaction, enhances instructional effectiveness and builds community. But, there might be a tipping point when there is TOO much social presence. As Garrison notes, the community of inquiry framework is valuable to understanding the effectiveness of a social presence and the need for participants to viewed as “real” people. There are positive correlations between a social presence and online interaction, with the design of the course very important to how the interaction between the instructor and student is done. Much of the research points to the need for a social presence as it’s directly correlated to a students’ satisfaction with the course, students’ learning, outcomes and sense of community.
In my video response, I note one Web 2.0 tool, Twitter, that can be used to increase student satisfaction and social interaction within an online course (or F2F course). A great article to reference in regards to social presence and Twitter is http://patricklowenthal.com/publications/Using_Twitter_to_Enhance_Social_Presence.pdf.