Random Thoughts on Instructional Design
Almost any activity can be designed to be carried out in some way or another for a classroom based, hybrid or online course. Most important consideration is that the instructor set up the activity with all the supporting and explanatory documentation necessary for the students to understand fully what they are to do, when, where in the course they are to do it, what is expected specifically, and how they will be evaluated. In hybrid and online course areas in the online portions of the course must be designed and set up in advance by the instructor to account for and accommodate, explain, model, and evaluate each activity.
The following is a list of learning activities that can assist you in thinking about what is possible and how. Click on the technique titles for more information.
This is a technique for generating new, useful ideas, and promoting creative thinking. It can be a very useful to help generate ideas for projects, encourage shy or reluctant students or solve problems. This can be conducted online as a small group discussion activity or with the class as a whole.
Students are expected to look for key themes of a given topic and post their position. Next students read others messages, look for an ideal framework and post a message supporting more than one position. In the following stage, students also post a message supporting more than one position. Finally, there is a debriefing, discussion and final evaluation. A specific example is the Jigsaw method. It is a useful for encouraging cooperation. In this technique students are arranged in “expert” groups, responsible for developing an approach to solving part of the problem. Students are then rearranged in “home” groups with one person from each of the expert groups and are expected to find an overall solution. This is then brought together by the instructor by having each group report their overall solution. This can be organized as an online activity using small groups. Careful planning, explanation, and course document set up is necessary to have this flow well and in a timely way. Tip: As an online activity, the best results are when the instructor assigns members to groups and assigns roles within the groups in advance, rather than letting student self select into groups, and workout roles.
A group is divided into sub-groups of from 3 to 6 persons each for a brief period of time, to discuss an assigned topic or to solve a problem. A representative is sometimes selected from each sub-group to report the findings to the entire group. It allows for total participation by group members through small clusters of participants, followed by discussion of the entire group. It is used as a technique to get participation from every individual in the group. This activity is implemented online via small group discussion activities.
Case teaching presents authentic, concrete teaching problems for students to analyze. Teaching cases have long been a cornerstone of professional training in schools of business, law, and medicine. It provides models of how to think professionally about problems. Online case studies or histories can be set up as activities for individual or small group work.
The teacher begins e.g., ‘One morning Ben got up & went to work.’ A student is invited to continue with another sentence & so on round the class. You provide the linkers – ‘and then’, ‘so’, ‘next’, ….’ finally’; good for conditionals. Each person adds to what the previous person told, ending on a cliff-hanger phrase such as, “but suddenly…” or “but when he opened the door he saw…” and so on — the trick being to work the word in so that it fits the story. This works for poems, articles, and dialogue, too. This can be set up as an online activity either as a discussion with the class as a whole or in small groups. Every time a new person logs in to the course they add to the story…
The instructor or a student poses a multistage problem which one student after another offers one step in its solution. This is done in small groups. Variation: students are given a list of solutions, and asked to create the problem to which it is the answer. The instructor gives guidance on what type of problem the solution is to. This can be set up as an online activity either as a written assignment with the “save for class” option and including the class as a whole or in small groups. Every time a new person logs in to the course they add a step to the solution or problem. The first person to save their response gets the credit for that level. Duplicate or concurrent respondents have to redo their response at a different level.
They can be used in a variety of ways in all disciplines, sometimes instructors- , other times student-generated to cover a vast array of topics. Closely related is the Categorizing Grid. Charts can be created using various software programs and attached to assignment documents for the instructor, for the class, or in small groups; both as stand alone documents or as supportive materials to a presentation or paper.
Some tools worth investigating are:
Teachers or students use these to outline, summarize, and highlight concepts and information. Online these can be created in PowerPoint or other graphics programs and attached as files to assignment documents. There are also tools that can be used synchronously online specifically for this purpose that may include capture and playback options as a feature.
A glossary of various types of resources for any discipline. Using the Shared References Area and form students can be directed to regularly contribute a certain number of shared references to the class. As a directed learning activity the instructor can evaluate the student on the quantity of submissions, and require that the student include a summary of the resource as well as an evaluation of the resource. There are fields on the shared references form for summary and evaluation notes and to document the type of resource.
A formal interview consists of a series of well-chosen questions (and often a set of tasks or problems) which are designed to elicit a portrait of a student’s understanding about a concept or set of related concepts. The interview may be conducted as an offline activity and videotaped or audio taped for later analysis, or online asynchronously. Online course assignments and activities can be designed to prepare interview questions either as individual or small group activities.
The instructor or students devise a survey instrument to use in or outside class. One example of a instructor-created survey is the attitude survey of students which provides valuable information on student perceptions of their course experience, or as a mechanism to poll students on a particular course-related topic. Students can also work in small groups to design instruments that they then implement offline and return to the group or class to report on. The following are a few tools that would assist in designing this type of activity.
Polleverywhere.com is a browser-based application that allows for votes and feedback to be solicited from individuals via text messaging and/or Twitter. Results are displayed on the web or within a presentation (PowerPoint slide) in real time.
The instructor needs to have a Polleverywhere account. Students will need access to a wireless enabled device (cellphone, laptop, etc) to participate.
The free Higher Education account has a response limit of 40 unique participants. Other membership options are available for a fee, but the free account will likely be enough to get you on your way. There does not appear to be a limit on the number of polls that can be created with a free account, though some other features such as customized keywords, controlling posting participation, and reports require an account upgrade.
While the polls are active as long as they have been started and are receiving votes, if the poll has been inactive for 30 days the system will automatically stop the poll. For more information, go to http://www.polleverywhere.com/how-it-works.
Note: Polleverywhere is currently distributing beta versions of live results slides for Keynote and PowerPoint for Mac.
Creating a Free Polleverywhere Account
Poll Everywhere and Powerpoint for the PC
Upon successfully creating a poll, the browser page will present the webpage created for your poll. If you’ve logged out of Polleverywhere, you can access your polls from My Polls when you log in.
Note: The filename provided by Polleverywhere is randomly generated. It is highly recommended that the file be renamed.
Note: The slides will appear in your PowerPoint. However, depending upon the design of your PowerPoint, the formatting of the slides may be altered.
Listen to the faculty and students from the University of Colorado explain why they use clickers and what they think about clickers as a tool for student engagement.
Overwhelmingly, the research states that using Clickers strictly as a means for taking attendance in class results in student resistance to the tool. The other reason for student resistance often comes about when the students are unclear as to why the clickers are being used and what the WIFM (what’s in it for me) is for the student. As such it is important to clearly explain to the students the goal(s) of the clicker and how they can benefit from participation.
The following is a list of potential goals for implementing clickers in the classroom.
Note: This list and other useful information on the effective use of clickers in teaching can be found in the Clicker Resource Guide.
The quality of the questions asked of students using clickers has a profound effect on the overall value of the experience. This video presents the thoughts of faculty and students at the University of Colorado on the role that good clicker questions play in the learning experience.
Creating good clicker questions often requires having clearly defined learning goals or objectives for the lecture. The clicker question should support those goals. The tactic chosen for the implementation of the clickers defines the type of question you choose to use. The table below aligns the question design goals with the tactics for those questions as outlined by Beatty et al., 2006.
|Question design goals||Question Tactics|
|Direct attention/raise awareness||
|Stimulate cognitive processes||
|Formative use of response data||
Note: An expanded version of this table and more information about designing clicker questions can be found in the Clicker Resource Guide.
There are a variety of resources available online and in professional journals on the implementation of clickers into teaching and learning practice in higher education. This resource pulled primarily from two resources.
This technique generally requires the production of two-to-five-minute personal essays or memoirs narrated by the writer, the writing in these narratives can be incredibly powerful. They may be composed in a movie editor such as iMovie, or in presentation software such as Power Point using still photos or artwork for visuals. In Hawaii, the Department of Education has, for last three years, sponsored a digital-storytelling contest in which learners demonstrate creative writing and content knowledge (Hayes, 2005).
Resources and samples:
Informal debates encourage students to think critically about an issue or issues presented in class and allow for interactive class discussion. It is implemented by dividing students into two groups and assigning each a point of view to debate based on controversial material that had been presented in class. It is a pro-and-con discussion of a controversial issue. The objective is to convince the class (audience), rather than display skill in attacking the opponent. This can be done using the small group for preparation of the strategy of each side, and discussion areas for the actual presentation of the debate in the online course.
Instructor or students demonstrate a concept, procedure, or technique. This can be an online or offline activity. Online, it might be presented as a discussion with supporting documents or graphics. Offline, it might be video or audio taped to be turned into the instructor, with a section in the online course for reflections on the process. Or, a video or audio tape sent to the students by the instructor, with a section in the online course for reflections on the process.
observations may include written field notes with detailed accounts of an event, objects or people observed. They run the gamut of disciplines from artistic to scientific observations. The observation is conducted as an offline activity (See related, Field Trip). Online course assignments and activities can be designed to prepare observation instruments either as individual or small group activities.
Lively online discussion fosters democratic participation and enhances learning. It emphasize participation, dialogue, and two-way communication. The discussion method is one in which the instructor and a group of students consider a topic, issue, theory, or problem and exchange information, experiences, ideas, opinions, reactions, and conclusions with one another. Teaching by online discussion can be an extremely effective means of helping students apply abstract ideas and think critically about what they are learning and how to use and evaluate online and other resources to support their positions. Variation: student – led online discussions. Online discussion questions work best that are open ended and provocative. Instructors need to make sure students understand what is expected and how they will be evaluated. Students must be clear on how to take a position and support it. See related, Questions and Answers.
“Expert tutors often do not help very much. They hang back letting the student manage as much as possible. And when things go awry, rather than help directly they raise questions: ‘Could you explain this step again? How did you… ?” ~ Mark Lepper Stanford Psychologist
Discussion forums can serve as a learning tool that fosters in-depth, academic discussion, an arena in which students work collaboratively or conduct peer analysis, or simply a place where they can virtually communicate with each other. Discussion forums used well can be an effective learning tool that encourages students to engage in higher order thinking activities.
Before adding online discussions to your courses you might want to consider how important discussions are and what role they should have in the learning experience. If an online discussion is integral to your course objectives, you should clearly communicate participation requirements and allocate a representative portion of the course grade to discussion participation. We also recommend Providing a set of clear, explicit guidelines. Include things like:
Also keep in mind that some students that are new to online discussions in an academic setting prefer to “lurk”, or be non-contributory browsers. These students may be learning, but just doing it quietly. At the beginning of a course you need to ensure that there are a variety of activities for students to do that encourage active engagement. Having low risk “ice breaker” activities (i.e., introductions topic where students add a brief bio and photo, games like “Three truths and a Lie’ or the “Name Game”) will help the “lurkers” find their online voice and teach the students how to use the discussion tool.
Creating good questions is one of the most important factors in designing successful discussion forums. The following are some question possibilities.
In general, encourage students to talk to each other by creating challenging discussion topic in which the sharing of their ideas, experiences, knowledge and skills is useful.
Another important factor is keeping the discussions on topic. The following suggestions can assist in accomplishing this goal.
“A free exchange of ideas, opinions, and feelings is the lifeblood of collaborative learning.” – J. McKinley
This strategy increases motivation and highlights the application of classroom material to the real world. It is an excellent opportunity to facilitate learning outside of the online classroom in an interesting and purposeful way. Field notes, reports, inventories, and treasure hunt lists, can be developed in the online course individually or in small groups and then used in the field trip. Students can then return to the course to report on their experiences to the class or in small groups. Variation: Students can also videotape the field trip and turn it into the instructor. See related, Direct an Observation.
As an offline activity for an online course, these visual tools help build background for particular topics or motivate student reaction and analysis. They encourage the use and development of communication skills and can be used to establish a social context for English as a second language, or to provide visual “texts” for deaf students. Film/Video/Audio etc. can be developed by the instructor and sent out to students, or in some cases students can be directed to find a particular resource at the local library or online repository.
Video Problem Solving Activity
Because of learners’ familiarity with video, applying video technology in an online environment will easily allow learners to create their own understanding of the video learning environment. Learners are familiar with the syntax and semantics of TV, and the way that ideas are conceived, organized, and presented. Video can be used to convey an interesting problem that learners need to solve. The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt University created and tested video-based instruction that is designed to help learners to reason, think, and solve problems. In solving the problems presented in the video, learners need to write persuasive essays based on factual research. All of the information needed to solve the problem is embedded in the video. The learners need to search the video in order to find the needed information after they have determined what they need to know. Learners who work on meaningful tasks in complex problem-based learning context better understand and transfer what they learn to new situations. Therefore, they apply new learning to their previous experiences.
The following suggested techniques can engage students in higher order thinking skills through video.
Activity 1: First level stimulus exercise
Play a short newsreel clip without sound (it doesn’t have to be current). Have the students consider the following questions while watching the clip:
Then have small group discussions on the question set. Then play the clip again without sound to check impressions.
Next have students report out then play the clip with audio.
Activity 2: 10 frame exercise
Any type of video can be used for this activity.
Activity 3: Predict, Observe & Evaluate (POE)
Activity 4: Inquiry and Problem Solving
For this activity it would be best to give students some type of clip that is rather generic ans then have the students think about is deeply and conduct research to locate the answer.
Integrating Oral Materials
Sources of Ready Made Podcasts
Here is a list of directories to educational podcasts. Educational podcasts range from university classes, to elementary school news, and from pay-per-download ebooks to free DIY (do it yourself) tutorials. All of these are worth checking out.
They can be used to teach everything from art to zoology and are only limited by the imagination. Online or offline games can be used. Students can work individually or in small groups.
There is a nearly endless list of group and collaborative activities you can do in the online classroom. The group discussion, for example, provides an opportunity for pooling of ideas, experience, and knowledge.
This is one method of supporting social co-construction of knowledge through collaborative communication. For example learners can read a novel that doesn’t have a complete ending, then write a final chapter, and post their submissions to a class blog for others to read and respond. Collaborating with other learners (authors) enhances their reading experience. This simple activity will help learners to think deeply about the book and about writing. It will also encourage them to write with a purpose, to think critically about what they write, to read what others have produced, and to compare their own work with the work of others. It is worth noting that having learners post their work on the Web inspires many of them to take their work more seriously by reflecting on what they are about to let many individuals read. (Jonassen, 1999)
Instructors can bring additional expertise into the “classroom” in the form of virtual guest speakers. The instructor sets up a module or section in the course for the guest speaker, sets up the activity, introduces the guest speaker, requests web access for the guest speaker, and creates the kick off document for the guest speaker to use to start the discussion or presentation. The Guest then interacts in the course via the web.
This method engages learners in experiences that challenge hypotheses and encourage discussion. Interactive tools also allow learners to engage multiple learning styles in the completion of individual or group activities. Some examples of interactive online tools are:
If you’d prefer, you can visit the main site from which the above activities originated and select one or more activities, at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig
Journal entries provide students an opportunity to make observations and reflect on their learning or development of a skill. This can be saved privately by the student and then periodically turned in to the instructor or submitted to the instructor on more regular intervals. Journaling activities can also be done in pairs or small groups with peer review intervals.
This is where students apply what they have learned. Labs can be set up as online experiments using simulation web sites, or software, or off line as actual experiments that the students conduct and then return to the class to report their findings. Lab packets can be sent to students including anything from seeds to sprout to a dead cat for dissection… Set up for this activity is rigorous and essential.
This group method encourages full participation from students in the learning process, provides shared support among students and promotes individual preparation prior to class. This can be accomplished online using the small group areas. Variation see, Study Groups.
Concept maps, diagrams, maps to are used to explain concepts. They can be student- or teacher-generated. They can be created in spreadsheets or other graphics software programs and attached as files to assignment documents, imported into the course for display or posted on the Internet.
Concept maps are drawings or diagrams showing the mental connections that students make between a major concept the instructor focuses on and other concepts they have learned.
This technique provides an observable ans assessable record of the students’ conceptual schemata — the patterns of associations they make in relation to a given focal concept. Concept Maps allow the instructor to discover the web or relationships that students bring to the task at hand — the students’ starting points. This assessment technique also helps the instructor assess the degree of “fit” between the students’ understanding of relevant conceptual relations and the instructor’s map and/or course objectives. With such information in hand, the instructor can go on to assess changes ans growth in the students’ conceptual understandings that result from instruction.
By literally drawing the connections they make among concepts, students gain more control over their connection making. The Concept Map allows them to scrutinize their conceptual networks, compare their maps with those of peers and experts, and make explicit changes.
Related Teaching Goals
The Concept Teaching instructional strategy involves the learning of specific concepts, the nature of concepts, and the development of logical reasoning and critical thinking. When designing units they may be deductive (rule to example) or inductive (example to rule).
Concept teaching should proceed through four primary phases:
While students are likely to have some trouble identifying levels of association, they may have even more difficulty identifying the types of relationships among concepts. By going over a parallel example, you can clarify exactly what is expected of the student.
This technique is useful in any course that requires conceptual learning. In courses with a high theoretical content, Concept Maps provide insights into the connections students are making among theories ans concepts. At the same time, Concept Maps can be used to assess the connections students make between theories or concepts and information. In courses where students must learn large numbers of facts and principles, Concept Maps can help faculty see how and how well students are organizing those details into correct and memorable conceptual networks.
Before beginning instruction on a given concept or theory, instructors can use Concept Maps to discover what preconceptions ans prior knowledge structures students bring to the task. This information can help instructors make decisions about when ans how to introduce a new topic — as well as discover misconceptions that may cause later difficulties. During and after a unit, they can use Concept Maps to assess changes in the students’ conceptual representations. An ideal use of this technique is to employ it before, during, and after units on critical concepts.
Mashups are the integration of several data sources into a single resource. Mashing data is very common on the Internet today, and new authoring tools are being developed that will enable non-technical users to create sophisticated products without programming. As tools like these become more robust, we will see increasing use of data mashups in teaching and learning. Faculty will create custom mashups to illustrate concepts as they teach; students will include them in reports and assignments. Already new forms of visualizing data and relationships are changing the way we think about information.
The power of mashups for education lies in the way they help us reach new conclusions or discern new relationships by uniting large amounts of data in a manageable way. Web-based tools for manipulating data are easy to use, usually free, and widely available. Research can be displayed on interactive graphs, charts, or maps that make the concepts clear.
Creative mashups have educational applications as well, in teaching and learning as well as in creative expression. Mashups made from pop culture sources can demonstrate mastery of subject matter, understanding of cinematic and literary themes, social awareness, and more. Creative mashups and remixes are themselves an art form- but they can also be an effective presentation tool.
A sampling of applications of data mashups across disciplines includes the following:
What are educational uses of Mashups?
Integrating Mashups into the curriculum can:
Some project design considerations are:
The following cultural considerations should be assessed:
Steps for Making a Video Mashup
1. Look at sample mashups for inspiration, and come up with an idea of your own
Many mashup videos are humorous movie trailer parodies. You may also want to consider mashing up a music video, political message, news story, instructional video, or product advertisement. You can even incorporate original footage that you shoot yourself. Look at examples for content as well as for technical ideas. Some examples are listed below:
|A Fair(y) Use Tale||Martin Scorcese’s Sesame Street||Sleepless in Seattle|
|Who Owns John Henry?||Bush Blair Endless Love||Vote Different|
2. Find the existing content you want to mashup
3. Collect and digitize the segments you want to work with
4. Edit your mashup video
5. Add music, effects and titles
6. Tips and Advice
|Creative Commons||Internet Video Archive||Cuts – Rifftrax|
|Recutting Room Floor||Total Recut||Political Remix|
|NPR article with content links||Trailers from Apple||Movie Database|
There are a variety of memory techniques that students can devise, learn about, and practice as online and off line activities. In an online course that requires memorization, the self-test is a useful study tool to help students self assess.
Teaching and learning models add dimension to the learning environment even when they are abstract. In an online classroom, models can be used as examples to clarify what is expected from the student in terms of behavior, responses, quality of work, etc.
Topical news stories are a great source of teaching material. They can raise the level of involvement and participation that the students have in the lesson. In an online class, topical news stories can be used to bring in current events or to target learning to the individual interests of students, or to target learning to timely topics. To do this in an online course where everything must be created prior to the first day of class, the structure of the course is designed in advance to explain, and accommodate timely topical new, e.g., place holder documents are created in the course in a Module called “the news room” where topical news based activities will appear as they happen in the news. Variation: Students pick a news story, item, trend, issue and follow it and post assignments related to their topic designed build expertise in the student on that topic, e.g., student becomes an expert related to the economics of South Africa, by reviewing an assigned list of periodicals for a certain period of time and completing a series of assignments designed to probe the topic, leading a small group discussion , and writing a paper to synthesize a report on the topic.
Activities specifically developed to target the nature of science concepts serve as object lessons that can enhance online discussions.
Open-ended learner-directed research projects are an excellent way for the learners to access the Internet’s vast information in order to produce original work using their new knowledge. Open-ended means the learner is in control of what they learn instead of simply finding answers to specific questions. learner-directed means learners are in charge of their search strategies, choosing which sites are most relevant, and so on. Based on the right project, learners will be constructive because they are required to articulate the nature of the problem and then reflect on their importance.
An online discussion among a selected group of students with an assigned leader, in front of the class that joins in later. It is used as a technique to stimulate interest and thinking, and to provoke better discussion. With set up and explanation this can be done online using online discussion. Students are broken into Groups/Panels, given a topic, a leader is assigned. The discussion in each group is restricted to group members but members from other groups are assigned to pick other panels to follow and then at a specific time are invited to pose questions to the panel and participate in the discussion.
It helps students move beyond either/or toward both/and thinking. A paradox presented online to a student, a small group , or to the class can be a very effective discussion starter, written assignment or small group activity to problem solve. See related, Puzzles.
Student peer review is often used to increase the amount of feedback students receive on their writing and speaking assignments, but it can be applied to a variety of activities. Variation: Peer observations are different from the peer review. You aren’t asked to review, rank, or evaluate your peers, but provide formative information, to help a person improve, change, and grow as a writer. Online this can be done in assigned pairs or in small groups.
Use of pictures & diagrams in the classroom. Graphics files can be imported or attached to documents in an online course by the instructor of the student to illustrate, support, document, or demonstrate.
These quizzes can be used as “curve busters,” opportunities for students to earn extra points and improve their grades by answering questions correctly. Pop quizzes are unannounced and can be inserted at any time into any course module. A pop quiz section to each module with an explanatory document can alert students that a pop quiz might occur at any time. Information on the pop quiz aspect of the course should be clearly detailed in the course in formation documents of the course and in the module at a glance areas of module in which they are likely to occur.
Online, students solve given or self-generated problems individually or in groups.
These can be done individually, in pairs or groups, student- or teacher designed. They can be online or offline activities. They can be posted online, to the instructor, to the class, to a small group, for evaluation, review or discussion. Or sent in to the instructor for evaluation, e.g., a sculpture, a video demonstrating a skill, an audio tape of a conversation in a foreign language, etc.
These cover all disciplines and may be verbal(written), mathematical, conceptual or concrete. A puzzle presented online to a student, a small group , or to the class can be a very effective discussion starter, written assignment ,or small group activity to problem solve. See related, Paradox.
A variation on the ancient Socratic method. This as an online activity can be done with the entire class or in pairs or groups. Student and teacher may reverse roles. See related, Discussion.
Questions may be short essay, multipart, matching, multiple choice, short answer, true/false, etc.
An online report may occur in a variety of formats and may be delivered individually or as a group effort, to the entire class or to small groups, or to the instructor. The instructor must set up the location in the course for reports and clearly document, how, when, and where reports are expected.
An online review may have various resources as its object such as a book, article, a performance, etc. Variation: Students can peer review each other’s work.
The spontaneous acting out of a situation or an incident by selected members of the group. It may be used as the basis of developing clearer insights into the feelings of people and the forces in a situation which facilitate or block good human relations. Online a role-play has documented and assigned roles, scenarios that set up the situation or incident and can be carried out in small groups. The instructor must provide very clear definition of roles, role assignment, activity set up, explanations, etc. A role play must be carefully planned and executed in an online course for it to work. See related,Simulation.
Often associated with ‘idea circles.’ These are peer-led, small group or whole class discussions of concepts fueled by single or multiple text sources. Students work together with a student leader to build abstract understandings from the facts, data, and details provided by a variety of resources. Variations include students assuming the role of the professor, asking guiding questions, & facilitating the discussion.
single sentence or paragraph. This simple technique challenges students to answer the questions “Who does what to whom, when, where, how, and why?” (represented by the letters WDWWWWHW) about a given topic, and then to synthesize those answers into a simple informative, grammatical, and long summary sentence. Can be used as a pop quiz. See below.
Skit writing can easily be incorporated into an online classroom including science and math to make concepts and ideas come alive. A skit can also be carried out in an online classroom as an offline activity that is video taped and turned into the instructor for review and evaluation. A report /description of the skit can be submitted by the student online to the class to incorporate it as part of the online course.
(1) Provide a way of creating a rich communicative environment (a representation of reality) where students actively become a part of some real- world system and function according to predetermined roles as members of that group. Some examples include the Analytic Memo, In Basket (Manager’s Box); Committee Hearing; management lab (corporate business); treasure hunt; web quest; Sam’s Café (philosophical perspectives); Point Counter Point; U.N Council Meeting; Let’s Do Business!, etc. Rigorous set up for this type of activity is required on the part of the instructor. Definition of roles, role assignment, activity set up, explanations, etc., must be carefully planned and executed in an online course for this to work. See related, Role Play.
(2) Multimedia simulations can be added to an online course to illustrate, explain, deconstruct a process, function, system, etc. Simulations can be distributed to students on CDs as accompanying materials to the course, added as objects or links to a course as presentation material, be incorporated into a course as a component of test or quiz, etc.
Students can be assigned to pairs or small groups to help each other out in the course for the entire duration of the course, or to rotate with time or change in topic. Variation see, Learning Teams.
An ancient Greek instructional technique. It is a discussion in which the topic is broken into its various phases; each part is presented by an expert or person well-informed on that particular phase, in a brief, concise speech. Online, students can perfect their phase individually or in small groups with discussion and assignments designed by the instructor or the students to perfect their brief concise “speech,” and then be directed to present it to the entire class.
This is a quick technique that can be used to take the pulse of the class, highlight differences of opinion or interpretation, and surface assumptions. Instructors can use the test/self-test or multipart written assignment forms to create their online polls.
Personal testimonies bring life to any learning environment. Online self disclosure can be easier for some with an aspect or illusion of anonymity because of the lack of face to face presence. Ground rules need to be set up to establish expectations for confidentiality, online courteous behavior, and respect for each other.
There are a variety of resources available to learn how to use Twitter in teaching.
Note: You may or may not need to click Guest Login to access the course.
Please keep in mind that there is enormous potential for Web 2.0/3.0 technologies to help your course(s) be more student centered and to assist students in enhancing their technical skills. “In fact, the appropriate use of the right Web 2.0/3.0 tool can ensure better access, strengthen interactions, increase learning, and improve satisfaction (all in a generally cost-effective manner!). However, once you’ve chosen a particular class of Web 2.0/3.0 technology (i.e. content creation tools, communication tools, social networking tools…) making a selection from among several seemingly similar Web 2.0/3.0 tools in that class can often be challenging and time-consuming.”(Sloan-C)
We suggest that you evaluate your possible tool choices using these criteria developed by Sloan-C to eliminate poor choices quickly. Then, do more extensive testing to find that ‘perfect’ Web 2.0 technology. (Click here to view the full article.)
Criteria 1: Access
Criteria 2: Usability
Criteria 3: Privacy & Intellectual Property
Criteria 4: Workload & Time Management
Criteria 5: Fun Factor
This unit contains a series of veted tools that you may want to take into consideration. Another place that you may want to look for resources is Go2Web20.