- After reviewing the Quality Matters Checklist, what are three best practices you can extract. List each one and explain its significance and importance. Be sure to give an example of how using this idea would make either delivery or assessment better in a specific eLearning context.
Use patterns and activity structures to make students comfortable with process so more of their effort can go towards learning content. (Newberry) – This is important because students need to understand what they are supposed to be doing in order to be able to focus on content. Using a pattern, especially in e-learning, prevents the students from having to spend extra time trying to figure out what the instructor expects from the each week, it also gives the instructor stability when planning modules/sessions. The process of delivering of the course material will then become more manageable and smooth, like a mathematical process. When the instructor is developing a particular lesson he will have it organized and will know exactly what order to present it. The students will also know what to expect and it will make it more comfortable as more content is presented.
Course Navigation facilitates ease of use. (Quality Matters) – The frustration that can accompany the technology that is involved in e-learning can be debilitating if the navigation of the course is not user friendly. The syllabus, course material, assignments, grades, discussions, etc. should all be easily accessible. These important features of a class should not be difficult to find; the student should be able to click the link a access the information needed. If everything is organized properly and the student does not need to follow multiple links to get the information the frustration involved in trying to figure out the course requirements is no longer an issue. This way the student can focus their time on the content and learning activities rather than trying to find out what readings to do, what to watch, what to discuss, and what assignments to do in all different places.
Focus on the quality of discussion boards rather than the quantity. –Rather then requiring specific number of discussion posts students should be required to engage in quality discussions. Requiring quantity is like giving busy work in a f2f classroom. It gets tedious, boring, and pointless. This way students can focus on digging deeper into a discussion rather then finding things to say in order to fill a quota. This allows the instructor to assess whether or not the students are focusing on the content and gaining the ability to apply it.
- After reviewing the readings (and other sources that you locate on your own) what are some ideas that you can take from the work of Chickering and Gamson? How well do their suggestions map to online education in general? How well do they map to the students and/or content you might teach or develop for?
Chickering and Gamson’s 7 Principles is a great framework for any course designer. They incorporate points that I believe are relevant to any learning process. Matt Jadud’s idea of an online class as a “community” is a great way to view e-learning. If one should be so fortunate to have peers that contribute to the “community” and encourage others, then the class should be a great success. Palloff and Pratt also refer to a community like environment, “students construct knowledge by gathering together and synthesizing information by using inquiry, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving.” Unfortunately, that is not always the case, there will often be those that do not participate, those that dominate, or those that are not as knowledgeable as others. These are issues that instructors/designers must be aware of and have techniques to try to avoid or work around these issues.
The 7 Principles focus largely on communication between the instructor and the student. This is extremely important in online education because the f2f time is not present in order to have dialogue. “Chickering and Gamson focus on contact between students and faculty, consideration of multiple approaches to learning, and engagement of students in learning.” (Arbaugh) They briefly touch on learning styles in principle 7, which I believe is a priority.
I would definitely use these principles a building block to develop any course. The delivery would have to be tweaked depending on the audience, and issues and problems that could occur with specific groups would have to be addressed as well. For example, feedback – a graduate student could benefit from a few brief sentences with corrections, where as a middle school student may need more praise for their correct responses considering positive reinforcement is extremely important to them as overall person at that age.
- According to the text, what are Objectives, Outcomes and Competencies. Provide an example of each.
Objectives: “What students will learn, generally at the end of a unit of study.” (Paloff & Pratt). This is the first step out of the 3. For example during week one I had to do introductions in all of my class. The objective was to get students comfortable communicating, familiar with their classmates, and used to the process.
Outcomes: “What students will be able to know or do, generally at the end of a course.” (Paloff & Pratt) For example, at the end of the ETEC 543 students will be able to conduct a research study using action research techniques.
Competencies: “How students demonstrate knowledge or skill acquisition, generally at the end of a program of study. (Paloff & Pratt) This is what students will be able to dl at the end of the IT masters program. Students will be able to design an effective online course or incorporate technology into the classroom in a highly effective way.
- 4. List the six levels in Bloom’s taxonomy. Now list one eLearning task, question or assignment for each level.
Knowledge: Provide a definition of Instructional Technology, either from someone else or one that you have come up with on you own.
Comprehension: Summarize the idea behind Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Application: Demonstrate how Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used in designing an online course.
Analysis: What evidence is there for the success of Bloom’s Taxonomy being applied to instructional technology.
Synthesis: Create an outline of an online course using Bloom’s Taxonomy and Chickering & Gamson’s 7 Principles.
Evaluation: Review your course outline and justify your decision to prioritize certain techniques.
- According to the text, what is “learner focused teaching”? How does this concept relate to the work of Chickering and Gamson? Provide some ideas for providing “learner focused teaching” in an eLearning setting and give at lest one example.
“…students construct knowledge by gathering together and synthesizing information by using inquiry, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving. (Hubba and Freed) The instructor’s role is to facilitate the process, and instructors and students together assess learning…” (Palloff and Pratt) In the 7 principles Chickering and Gamson focus on the instructor facilitating and encouraging communication. He gives a base of information in which the students are to read and then they are responsible for further research to build on what they are given. The instructor keeps the students on track.
Example: Discussion board – an environement is provided for the students to share knowledge that is gained through course content and independent research. The instructor and other students must engage in the discussions which leads to conversation of the topic just as a discussion in a f2f classroom.
- Explain how the readings this week (and your own research) connects with the Blackboard discussion.
The readings this week were all very informative. They got me thinking about the foundation of online design. The BB discussion gave us the option of 3 different topics. I chose Chickering and Gamson, the other two topics being Bloom’s Taxonomy and Quality Matters. The discussion allowed me to apply what I had learned in the readings, furthermore, they encouraged me to consider how I would incorporate them into my future classes.
- Quote your best entry from this week’s Blackboard discussion. Explain why you chose it and what it demonstrates about your understanding, learning process etc.
I agree 100% with you on the requriements of x amount of responses and the difficulty with keeping track of everything. Students are definietly graded on their class interaction in a f2f classroom but I don’t believe that it is as harsh of a standard. I read a blog post that had some quotes that argued against Chickering and Gamson in e-learning that relate to your question and I find to be very true: “The Learner is assumed to have infinite time,and if they want to contribute, they are also assumed to have infinite wellsprings of patience and desire in order to overcome infrequent communications and support from core team members, poor documentation, and specialized tools.” He also touches on points such as classmates who “run” the discussions and members of the “community” who are more experiebces and more knowledgeable often reject those who have less content knowledge making it very difficult to participate a learn effectively. With that said, I believe Chikcering and Gamson have a fabulous basis for the deisgn of e-learning courses but at Jadud stated in the blog there are definitely some issues that can effect leaners in this type of environment.
I liked this most because I thought it brought up some good points and it also added to the discussion and engaged others.
- 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.
I think Laura Mitobe was an important student in the Chickering and Gamson discussion. Not only did she get the topic started but she did a great job engaging the in the continuing discussion. I must add I thought she had a very valid point in saying this: “I have taken several classes with Dr. Newberry and it seems to me we always had the Discussion board, or the blog. I don’t remember having both. I agree that it is a lot to keep up with and does not feel as connected. There is overlap in some of the questions as well. I have been wondering why we are doing both in this class.”
I find keeping up with both is a little overwhelming.
- 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.
I learned a lot on the foundation of designing an online course. Although there are very specific steps laid out, each designer should be paying close attention to what works best for them and their students. The instructor is a facilitator and what works best for on class or group may not work as well for the next. Just like in a f2f classroom instructors need to be aware of the different learning styles that are present in their students and use communication to reach each one.
I will definitely make sure that students are aware that communication is key. If they do not understand something then the instructor will never know if the student doesn’t take the initiative to communicate. Communicate, communicate, communicate!!!