Category Archives: EDET 674 Virtual Teaching #OLTAK

Week 10 Reflection 674

Week 10 Reflection 674

This week we wrote about “How can we manage the change that is inherent in our distance learning efforts?” To keep up with change, we need to keep up with technology and demographic and pedagogic trends that will be driving distance learning in the coming years. We are at a point in our history where people are seeking to gain more knowledge, and, increasingly, that is occurring through online learning.

In responding to others’ blogs, Teresa talked about the rate at which technology is changing so rapidly, that much of what students in college programs learn will be obsolete in a couple years. I think this is why many students have to take classes online—to keep up with the changes in technology. We as teachers need to keep up with new programs and technologies, because if we don’t, we won’t keep up with our students.

I told Amy that I know I am one of those teachers who seems to be unable to keep up with all of the changes that happen every year. I can’t always follow what media the kids are using today, including new apps and other tools. I am taking classes to try to keep up with new technology. I think the Quality Matters rubric would be good to assess our online courses. I like what Amy said here: “Keep learning through seeking out contact with people in the field, participating in learning communities, reading research, and trying out new technologies to see if they would enhance online learning.”

Sara talked about online learning labs for science. I responded that I thought was very cool; working virtually, students can mess up without fear. They don’t have to worry about spilling or breaking something. She mentioned there is a need to work on the standards. There are so many standards. This is to the point that Sara mentions here: “In an online course you are teaching so much more than just the content and this can be quite the challenge.” We need to keep up on so much just to stay ahead of the game.

Josie mentioned there are so many useful programs that we are just waiting to discover. I am amazed at how many programs and apps and lessons that you can choose from. She mentioned training as important, as well, which I agreed with, because when you learn something new, you need to be properly trained so you use and teach it correctly.

It has been a good week. I am working on my unit and now am on the rubric. I was thinking it was the one we have on Google docs, but that is not what everyone had. I need to work on that and also start to draft my philosophy of online teaching. These weeks are going by so fast; I am just trying to keep pace. I am glad we don’t have a blog next week so I can work on my unit and start on my philosophy. It’s good that we’ll still be meeting, though, so I can get feedback on my unit from others in the group. It helps me to have classmate input, so I look forward to that.

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Week 10 674

Essential Question: How can we manage the change that is inherent in our distance learning efforts?

“We have arrived at a point in history where these technological developments as well as economic, demographic, and pedagogic trends converge and reinforce each other to provide momentum for an accelerated rate of change in the years ahead” (Moore, 2011). To keep up with the change we need to keep up with technology and demographic and pedagogic trends that will be driving distance learning in the coming years.

Moore (2011) said, “Seeking to keep up with changing knowledge, half the U.S. adult population has engaged in some formal learning activity, whether it is a training session at work, a community-based adult education program, or a formal degree or certificate program.” I think this is where most people are in today’s world. We are at a point of our history where people are seeking to gain more knowledge, and, increasingly, that is occurring through online learning.

It has been technology, primarily, that has led to so many changes in (1) how educational institutions are organized; (2) how they see their missions; (3) the types and numbers of students they serve; (4) the curricula they offer; (5) how they employ human resources; (6) how they support learners, provide instruction, evaluate learning; and even (7) how highly their programs are regarded (Moore, 2011).

“In education today, blended learning approaches have become popular among educators and policymakers alike as they prepare students to be effective citizens in our society where digital tools are becoming increasingly ubiquitous”

(Riel, Lawless, & Brown, 2016). I like the idea, mentioned in the article, that teachers should ask questions and share ideas. I don’t see how teachers in any institution are going to be able to keep up with today’s rapidly changing technology without sharing what they are learning about it with each other. “Many historians, sociologists and journalists have expressed concern in recent years about the rapid changes taking place in our society. They tell us that today’s world is changing at an accelerated rate, unlike anything past generations witnessed” (Sweat, 2010). Today, technological changes are taking place at such a breathtaking pace that many have difficulty keeping up with them. For example, every year there is a new updated phone on the market. Sweat (2010) points out: “As a society, we are busier than ever before. That’s because while technology allows us to do our work faster and more efficiently, it also puts more demands on us.” Most people are bringing work home with them. Work can call you wherever you are. As a result, people’s lives are busier than ever.

As Gibson (2016) advises, “Professionals in our field should continually seek ways to move outside their comfort zone in order to learn things for which they do not yet have a knowledge base. They can do so by adding skills, tools, and resources to their professional toolbox for success in an online world that is constantly changing and advancing.” This is one reason why I am taking classes online. I want to add skill and knowledge to keep up with our ever changing world. If I do not do this, I will fall behind and not know what is going on in the technology world. I will not be able to help my students or co-workers if I do not seek to understand. This is how I am going to continue to keep up with the constant changes taking place in education.

References

Gibson, A. (2016). Insights from the Field: Moving Outside Our Comfort Zone – OLC. Retrieved November 06, 2016, from http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/insights-field-moving-outside-comfort-zone/

Moore, M. (2011). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning, 3rd Edition. Retrieved October 12, 2016.

Riel, J., Lawless, K.A. & Brown, S.W. (2016). Listening to the Teachers: Using Weekly Online Teacher Logs for ROPD to Identify Teachers’ Persistent Challenges When Implementing a Blended Learning Curriculum. Journal of Online Learning Research, 2(2), 169-200. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Sweat, B. (2010). How Can We Cope in a World of Rapid Change? Retrieved November 06, 2016, from https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/how-can-we-cope-in-a-world-of-rapid-change.

Week 9 Reflection 674

Week 9 Reflection 674

This week our essential question was “What lessons can we take from Global Distance Learning Efforts?” One thing becomes clear: other countries are investing in education, and distance education in particular, at a much higher level than our country.

One of the countries that stood out for me was United Kingdom. Their open university is one of the premier models of distance education in the world.

They were also rated among the top three Higher Education Institutions in the UK.  They manage local study centers and monitor instructor and student progress. So the things they are doing are standing out and others are noticing.

Another region that impressed me was Finland and Norway, where education is given the highest priority in national policy. The Norwegian government was one of the first in the world with a national policy to support education which was passed in 1948. That is amazing! If we make education a priority, take some of the ideas mentioned from the other countries, and work together, we can increase the number of people seeking higher education in the U.S. That would be great for our country and the people living here.

In reading others’ blogs, I agree with Amy that the UK has developed a successful model, and I like that they are trying to keep the cost of learning down. She made a good point to know the cultural norms of the country and that instructors need to be sensitive of these cultural norms. I like how she gave examples of how, like in Japan, they have little interaction between instructor and student and, in Saudi Arabi, where even though it is strict for women, they are allowed to continue their education. It was a good point for me to see.

Dan had a great quote from Senechal (2016): “The use of technology removes time constraints imposed by traditional education—a key benefit for professionals who cannot afford to take time off work to pursue education.” This is so true for people like me, who can’t go to a traditional college to take classes because of having a job. Online classes let me pursue my education while still working. I believe that distance learning will only fan out more into the world.

Josie wrote that global acceptance of distance education is growing and will continue to grow. I agreed with her on this. I see that this is something everyone will be doing at one point in their life. She made a good point when she said online videos can make the adjustment for the student easier. I did not think of that. Foreign students are able to take transitional classes to adjust to a new culture and language, all through online classes.

Sara and I didn’t realize how far back distance education went. I also agreed

that UK is one that stuck out for me. She showed a video, and I think that is an

excellent approach that Norvig is using for online education. I like how he stops

for students to reflect and tries to make it feel like a one-on-one situation. Sara also

made a good point when she said teachers must look out for cultural misunderstanding.

This was a busy week for me as I was also one of the presenters. I have been keeping up on my reading and responding to others. I feel a little nervous about my online class. I have been working on the standards and the activities that I would like to do each week. I am just having a little trouble with the essential questions. I am hoping that this next week when we meet maybe I can get some help from others in the class. I think two brains are better than one, and all are better than two. I like working with others and getting ideas from them.

I think things will fall into place once I get the essential questions down. I thought about asking some of my co-workers at school, if I could ever find the time. I am excited about this class because it sounds like, in the next class I am going to take, I will be actually using this material online with my students.

Week 9 674

Essential Question: What lessons can we take from Global Distance Learning Efforts?

Looking at countries around the world, we can see what others are doing to expand distance education and take some lessons away from them. One thing becomes clear: other countries are investing in education, and distance education in particular, at a much higher level than our country.

The European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN) holds conferences every two years, supports the European Journal of Open Distance and E-Learning (EURODL), and contributes to research and development projects across Europe (Moore, 2011).

Moore writes about several distance learning programs outside the U.S. For example, the United Kingdom Open University (UKOU), the UK’s first open university,

  • is a premier model of distance education in the world;
  • is one of the largest single-mode institutions;
  • has earned the highest grade assessments from the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education’s Institutional Audit;
  • in 2010, rated among the top three Higher Education Institutions in the UK for student satisfaction, maintaining its position at the forefront of the National Student Survey ratings since it began in 2005;
  • is organized into 10 English regions, all of which, among other things, manage local study centers, monitor instructors, and have immediate oversight of student progress;
  • is home to a laboratory for the study of new technology that houses some 80 researchers, technologists, and designers;
  • started the Institute of Educational Technology, which conducts research into aspects of distance education, offers advice in the use of technology to support learning, and provides educational and professional development for staff. (Moore, 2011)

In Japan, national policy “was formulated in 2006 in the government’s New Reform Strategy on Information Technology, which set out to double the proportion (14.6 percent in 2006) of faculties and departments in higher education institutions that provide distance education” (Moore, 2011). According to Komiko Aoki (quoted in Moore, 2011), a 2008 survey of Japanese institutions found

  • 90 percent of universities providing distance education still send printed materials by post to students;
  • 30 percent allow direct contact from students to professors, and it may take a few days or even a week until the former receives answers from the latter;
  • 90 percent of universities conduct traditional pencil-and-paper tests requiring examinees’ physical attendance; and
  • fewer than 40 percent have full-time staff exclusively providing technical support.

In Korea, since the mid-1990s, “governmental policy has been based on recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Education Reform (1997) which dictated that high priority be given to applications of communications technology for learning across the lifespan. Success led to the passing of a law in 2001 to govern the establishment of what became called cyber universities” (Moore, 2011).

Brazil’s education and training are rated highly among national, state, and local policies and plans, and the distance education component is overseen by a special unit within the Ministry of Education, called the Secretariat of Distance Education. In that country, according to Moore (2011),

  • 20 % of the institutions are publicly funded, with free tuition;
  • 80 % are private, about 10 % religious;
  • changes are occurring under PROFORMACAO, “A nationwide project to provide training for unqualified elementary school teachers, most of whom are to be found in rural schools in the most underdeveloped parts of this huge country. The program was under way between 1999 and 2004 and successfully trained over 30,000 teachers. It is an excellent example of a systems approach” (Moore, 2011).

According to Moore (2011), in Finland and Norway, among the richest countries in the world, education is given high priority in national policy. The Finnish Ministry of Education reports that half of the working population is engaged in some form of continuing education. The Norwegian government was one of the first in the world with a national policy to support distance education, with related laws passed as long ago as 1948.

As Moore (2011) also writes, “Almost all college and higher education in Australia is federally funded, the government exerts considerable influence on the direction and development of distance education programs.”

Meanwhile, here in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Education, Expectations for students and school systems continue to rise while many states face the toughest financial challenges of recent history. It will mean graduating a significantly greater number of students—with higher levels of mastery and expertise—at a lower cost per outcome. This will require leaders at every level—from the classroom to the statehouse—to work together to rethink the policies, processes, tools, business models, and funding structures that have been ingrained in our education system for decades.” https://www.ed.gov/oii-news/increasing-educational-productivity

Darling-Hammond (2015) notes: “Our college participation rates have slipped from 1st in the world to 16th. Meanwhile in many European and some Asia countries more than half are becoming college graduates.” With our college participation rate declining, this country needs to do more to educate its citizens.  We have a lot of work ahead, but if we, make education a priority, take some of the ideas mentioned from the other countries, and work together, we can raise the number of people seeking higher education in the U.S. As countries are finding out around the world, distance education will increasingly play a key role in making higher education available to the greatest possible number of students.

References

Aoki, K. (2008). The 2008 survey results of ICT use by distance education programs in Japanese colleges and universities. Tokyo. NIME Research Report 41.

Darling-Hammond, L. (2015). The flat world and education: How America’s commitment to equity will determine our future. Teachers College Press.

Moore, M. (2011). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning, 3rd Edition. Retrieved October 12, 2016.

U.S. Department of Education. (2016). Increasing Educational Productivity.  Retrieved October 29, 2016, from https://www.ed.gov/oii-news/increasing-educational-productivity

Week 8 Reflection 674

Week 8 Reflection 674

This week our essential question was “What would you require of instructors who taught a course you designed? Why?” I would require an instructor to either take the class beforehand or to go through the class with me. This way, the instructor will be able to ask questions and get clarification from me. It will also give the instructor some sense of what the students will be experiencing and provide information on how to respond to learners’ questions. Moore and Boettcher also had some great ideas that I would recommend to follow as well to create a smooth course for the instructor and students.

In responding to others’ blogs, Teresa mentioned two great requirements: good organizational and technology skills. I think both of these are must-haves! I read that, with most online courses, you have to do your own problem solving with technology. So organization is essential. She also mentioned Boettcher’s ten best practices for teaching online, which are also very useful.

Amy had a great idea to set up a training course and have teachers walk through the class they would teach and become familiar with both the content and method of delivery. I also like how she mentioned she would like to focus on getting the instructors comfortable with the three types of interaction that are imperative to online learning success: Learner-Content Interaction, Learner-Instruction Interaction, and Learner-Learner Interaction. These three communication pairs provide a clear way to understand the way learning occurs in an online course.

Dan made a great point here: “There is one variable though that can affect the success or failure of the online experience and that is whether or not the instructor has the technical capabilities to troubleshoot technology barriers as they arise, and regardless of the bombproof nature of the course or the platform, technical difficulties will arise and they will come up in the middle of the instruction.” I know from experience that this is so very true. If you don’t have tech support, you will soon be out of luck. So that was a good point!

Genevieve mentioned several pieces that are important to track when teaching an online course: content management, student progress, learner support, and course effectiveness. In addition, the instructor should create a student contact spreadsheet, which could include, phone numbers, email addresses, and blog rolls. They should be in contact with the students, so will need to be able to contact them quickly.

It was a great week of interacting with others. This next week, our group has to present on Chapter 11 in our reading. I look forward to working with my group to create and deliver a presentation next week. It has been a very busy but productive week, and I look forward to what this next week has to offer.

Week 8 674

Essential Question: What would you require of instructors who taught a course you designed? Why?

I would require an instructor to either take the class beforehand or to go through the class with me. This way, the instructor will be able to ask questions and get clarification from me. It will also give the instructor some sense of what the students will be experiencing and provide information on how to respond to learners’ questions. I would be careful to model the appropriate language and teaching techniques for the instructor.

Moore (2012) has some good suggestions that I would want the teacher to follow, as well:

  1. Humanizing- using students’ names, providing pictures, and asking for personal experiences and opinions.
  2. Participation- high level of interaction and dialogue; blogs and wikis are a resources for this purpose.
  3. Message style- good communication techniques.
  4. Feedback- from participants about their progress.

Boettcher (2013) mentioned 10 best practices that would be helpful of an instructor. I would be sure the teacher had these available and would hope the teacher would be willing to follow them.

Best Practice 1: Be Present at the Course. Let students know when you can respond to them. Let them know you will respond in 24 hrs or less.

Best Practice 2: Create a supportive online course community design a course with a balanced set of dialogues.

Best Practice 3: Share a set of very clear expectations for your students and for yourself as to (1) how you will communicate and (2) how much time students should be working each week and (3) expectations for how students communicate  online and how they communicate with you.

Best Practice 4: Use a variety of group and individual work.

Best Practice 5: Use both synchronous and asynchronous activities.

Best Practice 6: Early in the term, ask for informal feedback on how the course is going. Ask for suggestions so corrections and modifications can be made if needed.

Best Practice 7: Prepare discussion posts that invite questions, discussions, reflections, and responses.

Best Practice 8: Focus on content resources and applications and links to current events and examples that can be easily accessed from learners’ computers.

Best Practice 9: Combine core concept learning with personalized learning. Build in options and choices in assignments.

Best Practice 10:  Plan a good closing and wrap activity for the course. End-of-course experiences often include student presentations, summaries and analyses. (Boettcher 2013).

Some other management strategies are to:

Handle it once

•Email – in a specific folder before closing them.

•Discussions – make note of important contributions while reading discussion postings. Keep a gradesheet hard copy handy.

•Assignments – make notes or grade assignments as they arrive. Add to the filename so that it is immediately clear which items have been graded.

•Focused Thinking – This chart by Learning Fundamentals is helpful for all online instructors in the age of distraction.

distractions

Respond to student questions – Try to respond to students questions within 24 hours or less.

Get organized – All documents for a class should be in one folder on the computer; Create an online course calendar with due dates and deadlines. Post it in a central location in the course management system where it’s easy for students to check each day.

Stay focused – Handle email at specific times each day and don’t be tempted to check it at other times. Take breaks.

Establish email and file naming protocols and train students – Make sure student have an appropriate email address.

Use a quiz or scavenger hunt to explain class policies and make sure students understand.

Organize the discussion forums – If the class size is sixteen or more students, create groups of eight students where students can discuss and interact. This will create less reading for everyone.

Use the right tools – Use a flash drive or other portable storage to backup the hard drive, and remember to back up the flash drive as well.

Work smarter, not harder, at grading – Use rubrics to make grading easier.

Know Thyself – Each person has a daily cycle when he or she is most alert; schedule that time for online work. Record notes each week in a teaching journal identifying thoughts about revisions for the next semester.

(Lehmann & Chamberlin 2015)

I think if an instructor follows some of the above suggestions, then not only will the students have a successful term but the instructor will as well.  I think every instructor who is going to teach a course should go through some type of training and have a checklist to follow, because it will be helpful to them and make things go more smoothly than not having a plan at all.

References

Boettcher, J. (2013). Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online. Retrieved October 23, 2016, from http://designingforlearning.info/services/writing/ecoach/tenbest.html

Lehmann, K., & Chamberlin, L. (2015). Time Management Strategies for Online Instructors. Retrieved October 23, 2016, from https://www2.uwstout.edu/content/profdev/rubrics/time_management.html

Week 7 Reflection

Week 7 Reflection 674

Our essential question this week was “How can we support students in being successful in our online course?”

There are many things we can do to support a student to be successful in an online course. The first thing is to make sure to have the course material posted before the course begins. This way the student can go through the syllabus and see if they have any questions.

Another good plan is from St. Pierre and Olsen (1991), who found the following factors contribute to student satisfaction in independent study courses: (1) the opportunity to apply knowledge, (2) prompt return of assignments, (3) conversations with the instructor, (4) relevant course content, and (5) a good study guide (Moore, 2012). I think these are great ideas that will help a student be successful in any online course.

In responding to others’ blogs, Teresa mentioned a good book: “101 Answers for New Teachers and Their Mentors: Effective Teaching Tips for Daily Classroom Use.” I really like the points she mentioned:

• Recognize the importance of your influence.

•Realize that you will affect lives.

•Remember your most favorite and least favorite teachers and learn from them.

•Refuse to give up on any child.

I think this is wonderful advice. I know sometimes I want to give up on a child if I  see the child is not trying or doesn’t seem to care. I need to remember this, because I do affect their lives and can make a difference. If they see I am not giving up them, they may try to work harder for me.

Sara made me think about my online course. She suggested to “Think projects and big ideas. Get creative. The students will be more engaged, and you’ll feel more fulfilled as a teacher.” This is excellent advice. Another great idea she offered is to ask for informal feedback on how the course is going, and to ask students if they have any suggestions to improve the course. If you need to, you can change things up. This will also give the students the sense that they have a voice in what they are learning. The last advice is great as well: plan a closing activity. This is good because most students will be stressed or tired from working all quarter and will be ready for a break. I like presenting projects!

I agreed with her that I wouldn’t be able to further my degree as well, without distance learning. Online courses give me the freedom to still take classes while I am working, which benefits me and my students.

Amy made a comparison that I liked. She said that a online course is like walking into unknown land; we need to navigate the students through it. That is a good comparison especially for someone who is new to online courses. She made another good point: “To help our students understand where we are going, we have to break down the course into manageable sections.” That is the key word: manageable. Some students will get overwhelmed if you do not break it down.

Josie made this important observation: “Online classes are not for everyone. Students must understand that they must be organized and most importantly be self-motivated.” This is very true. If they are not the kind of person who can work independently and still get work done, they will likely not be successful in an online course. I like the phases Josie mentioned, taken from Debbie Morrison (2016), to help keep online students motivated:

Phase 1: Guiding

Phase 2: Encouraging

Phase 3: Monitoring

It was a good week of classes and a great presentation from my classmates on planning for student success. I just wish that they shared this presentation with us, because I think there were a lot of good points in it that would be helpful to look back at. I will have to ask, when I see a good presentation, if we can get a copy or download it or something. Looking forward to this week and interacting with my classmates!

Reference

Morrison, D. (2012). Five-step Strategy for Student Success with Online Learning. Retrieved October 16, 2016, from https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/five-step-strategy-for-student-success-with-online-learning/

Week 7 674

Essential Question: How can we support students in being successful in our online course?

There are many things we can do to support a student to be successful in our online course. The first thing is to make sure to have the course material posted before the course begins. This way the student can go through the syllabus and see if they have any questions.

Often when students start a new course online there is a level of anxiety. Students are nervous about some of the assignments or the project they will have to complete. “One of the first responsibilities of the instructor is to try to lower the level of tension.  In setting the right climate for learning, the instructor should explain that mistakes are a natural part of learning and there is no reason to fear making them, risk-taking is approved, there is no such thing as a ‘dumb question,ʼ the instructor admires and approves effort and commitment, and the instructor cares about the student being successful and will work toward that goal” (Morrison, 2011).

Other factors that will help students be successful are encouragement from employers, coworkers, friends, and family. It is also important to make sure the course is not too difficult or easy. Students need to plan their study time and develop schedules, especially if they are taking more than one course.

St. Pierre and Olsen (1991) found the following factors contributed to student satisfaction in independent study courses: (1) the opportunity to apply knowledge, (2) prompt return of assignments, (3) conversations with the instructor, (4) relevant course content, and (5) a good study guide (Moore, 2012).

Instructors must also be aware of how each student is doing. They need to monitor each individual. If they see the student is falling behind, the teacher needs to reach out to that student. Sometimes a student may not reach out for help when help is needed. The teacher should be sensitive to the studentʼs situation and be aware if something is going on in the studentʼs academic or personal life at the moment.

“In my opinion, I think online courses are actually a little harder,” writes  Lytle (2013).  He offers five tips for students to succeed in an online class.

  1. Confirm technical requirements:  Make sure your computer has the capacity to open and complete the assignments.
  2. Connect with instructors early: if you have a question about the course, ask ahead of time.

3.     Create a schedule:  Often online classes will meet a certain time, but you also

need to set time to work on assignments outside of class.

4.     Stay organized: Either keep your assignment in a folder on your computer or,

if you printed out information, in a binder.

5.     Have a consistent workspace: Students need a place to study or complete

assignments, whether that’s at a coffee shop, the school library, or at home.

(Lytle, 2013).

Morrison (2012) has suggestions for educators. He writes, “Educators have a role in students’ self-directed learning too, and that is to give the learner the responsibility of learning, expect success and be there.” Below are a few specific suggestions he offers to accomplish this:

•Outline expectations for students thoroughly. By articulating expectations and the role of the student in the course, we “give” the student the responsibility.

•Expect questions in the first two weeks of the course. This is the “syllabus blues” phase. Students require more support during this phase than any other.

•Respond promptly to student questions. The twenty-four hour rule is a good benchmark.

•Don’t expect students to know how to be self-directed, they may need to develop this skill set. Direct students to resources that support students in developing their self-direction skills. (Morrison, 2012)

By following these tips for the student and educators, your students will be more likely to be successful in your online course. We have all taken a course online and have had a course where we felt anxiety. We want our students to feel motivated, and experience success from the beginning so they will complete the course and feel confident about what they are doing along the way.

References

Lytle, R. (2013). 5 Tips to Succeed in an Online Course. Retrieved October 16, 2016, from http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2013/01/14/5-tips-to-succeed-in-an-online-course

Moore, M. (2011). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning, 3rd Edition. Retrieved October 12, 2016.

Morrison, D. (2012). Five-step Strategy for Student Success with Online Learning. Retrieved October 16, 2016, from https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/five-step-strategy-for-student-success-with-online-learning/

Week 6 Reflection

Week 6 Reflection 674

This week we wrote about assistive or adaptive tools that could be helpful as we create online courses. There are many assisted tools out there that can be helpful. The one I want to point out is ACTIONS. Bates (1990) provides the ACTIONS model for making decisions about the use of technology, suggesting that the factors to be considered can be summarized as follows:

A ccess: where will students learn?

C osts: what are capital and recurrent; fixed and variable?

T eaching functions: what are presentational requirements of the subject?

I nteraction: what kind of teacher and student interaction will be possible?

O rganization: what changes in organization will be required to facilitate the use of a particular technology?

N ovelty: will the“trendiness”of this technology stimulate funding and innovation?

S peed: how quickly and easily can material be updated and changed? How quickly can new courses be produced using this technology? (Moore, 2011)

In responding to others’ blogs this week, Josie made a good point: “This means that many schools may not be able to afford the kinds of special tools and equipment that may be needed” (TeachThoughtStaff, 2013).  This is why we as teachers need to be aware of the assistance technology that may be helpful for some of our students. I know I was not aware of many of the apps that we read about. I agree with Josie in that the ACTIONS method is good for making decisions on technology to use. She liked how the teacher assigned students to watch the lesson early. I mentioned that I worry about the students who don’t have access to the Internet. There are still many parents who can’t afford it, and I don’t want their students to worry about this. This is why I don’t do anything with the Internet out of school. I don’t want students to have that feeling—like they don’t have what others students have.

Amy made a good point, quoting Moore and Kearsley (2012): “Our challenge as educators is to be creative in deciding what is the best medium or mixture of media for a specific course or program, and what is the most appropriate technology for delivering it” (p. 87). I like the three principals that she mentioned from the National Center on Universal Design for Learning. We need to provide the “what” of learning, the “how” of learning, and the “why” of learning. She also provided a great graph that showed other assistive tools without technology. I was just thinking of technology, but it can also be no technology. It was good for me to see the graph she provided.

I like what Dan said here: “Moore (2012) states that effective use of a technology depends upon having adequate experience with it in distance-learning applications.” I agree with him on this and also believe that variety needs to be introduced. I think the more variety you have the more different learners you may engage.

Genevieve wrote, “One golden rule for teaching by any technology is that the technology must be reliable and near-transparent, with sound quality good enough not to interfere with the message.” This is a good fact to know. Whenever I introduce a new technology, I make sure that it works first before I try it out with my students. She also mentioned using Screen-cast-o-matic. I have heard of Screen-cast-o-matic and encountered it before with our instructor in another class but have never used it myself. It sounds like a good tool to use if you can audio record and also display your PowerPoint at the same time. I will have to check it out.

This week Dan, Cherie, and I presented on Blended Learning from Chapter 4 of our reading. It went well and I learned that there is so much assistive technology out there that I have not heard of. It was good to find out about some of the technologies that would helpful to some of my students. I look forward to learning more about them and bringing them into my classroom to benefit my students. It was a very busy week, but also productive and enlightening. I look forward to another week of reading and interacting with my peers.

Week 6 674

Essential Question: What assistive or adaptive tools could be helpful as I create my online courses?

There are so many tools out there that can be helpful when you create an online course. Web 2.0 tools are designed for sharing media. YouTube can be used for videos, and there is a similar site for teachers called TeacherTube http://www.teachertube.com. There are also sites that make it easy to share photos, like http://www.flickr. com, and multimedia, like www.voicethread.com (Moore, 2011).

There are social network sites such as Facebook, MySpace, or Ning. People use these sites to create personal profiles and share experiences with each other (Moore, 2011). Another Web 2.0 application is blogs, which we use in our classes now. Another network that can be used is Twitter, which I have also used in my classes before.

Bates (1990) provides the ACTIONS model for making decisions about the use of technology, suggesting that the factors to be considered can be summarized as follows:

A ccess: where will students learn?

C osts: what are capital and recurrent; fixed and variable?

T eaching functions: what are presentational requirements of the subject?

I nteraction: what kind of teacher and student interaction will be possible?

O rganization: what changes in organization will be required to facilitate the use of a particular technology?

N ovelty: will the“trendiness”of this technology stimulate funding and innovation?

S peed: how quickly and easily can material be updated and changed? How quickly can new courses be produced using this technology? (Moore, 2011)

As Moore (2011) notes, “There is no ‘rightʼ or ‘wrongʼ technology for distance education. Each medium and each technology for delivering it has its own strengths and weaknesses. One of the worst mistakes an organization or an instructor can make is to become committed to a single medium.” I think he is so correct on this. We should try to use a variety of tools in our classes. The more tools that you use, the more students you can reach. Not every student learns the same way, so you should try different methods for your diverse leaners.

Moore (2011) mentions Classroom 2.0 (www.classroom20.com), a social network designed for educators who want to learn more about Web 2.0 applications. It is free and uses the Ning social network tool. This might be helpful as well. “In setting up programs and designing courses, a basic principle of a systems approach is to recognize that each medium has its special strengths and weaknesses and that these must be considered when deciding how to deliver each part of the program or course to its particular target population” (Moore, 2011).

McCrea (2013) talks about using a standard keyboard, a Braille display, and Perky Duck, a six-key Braille emulator program, to input questions and answers that teachers read and respond to on screen. She also uses Sharepoint to record, upload, and share lectures, and is able to arrange all of her studentsʼ desktops on a monitor screen and provide instant feedback on their work. This is a great tool to use with students with this disability. American Institutes For Research also provide a free online toolkit for students with disabilities.

Elias (2010) presents eight universal instructional design principles of quality distance learning courses:

1Equitable use. Equitable use involves ensuring content is available to all learners.

2Flexible use. Flexible use involves offering content in multiple formats.

3Simple and intuitive. Designing simple and intuitive course experiences is more complex than it sounds.

4Perceptible information. Perceptible information involves enhancing content with descriptors, captions and transcriptions.

5Tolerance for error. Tolerance for error provides students the opportunity to easily correct errors.

6Low physical and technical effort. Incorporating browser checks to ensure functionality help in this regard.

7Community of learners and support. Good course design incorporates group learning and employs technology to facilitate those interactions at a distance.

8Instructional climate. Push regular reminders and questions to students and pull in learner-generated content. ( McCleary, 2013)

I think these offer good information to think about as you are preparing to design a course.

The article “8 Helpful ECE Technology Tools For Your Classroom” provided several good resources that can be used with students who need extra help.

1.  Screen Readers are described by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

as “software programs that allow blind or visually impaired users to read the text

that is displayed on the computer screen with a speech synthesizer.”

2.  Word Talk is a free add-in for Microsoft Word, which can read aloud any

document written in Word and create audio files that can be saved.

3.  Word Prediction programs include a number of different applications, some of

which can be downloaded from the Internet, that are available to help students with

writing challenges.

4. Supernova Access Suite is “a complete screen reader with natural sounding

speech and integrated screen magnifier with Braille display support.” This product

can be downloaded from YourDolphin.com,

5.  Video Magnifiers are also sometimes described as a form of closed-circuit

television (CCTV) that “uses a video camera to display a magnified image on a

monitor or television screen.” Students with low vision can use them to read their

course materials with greater ease.

6.  Close Captioning and Subtitling: Services such as those provided by the CPC

company can be used on both Mac and Windows formats, and enable deaf students

to watch the same online video material as their colleagues.

7.   FaceMouse: For students with limited mobility, allowing students to use their

head and facial gestures to perform a number of tasks.

8.  Sip-and-Puff Systems: For students with mobility challenges, including

paralysis and fine motor skill difficulties, sip-and-puff systems allow users to

control a mouthstick, similar to a joystick, using their breath.

The article also listed, “The National Center on Universal Design for

Learning in the United States” as a good place to start. It is dedicated to

“creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for

everyone–not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that

can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.”

These are many resources that could be helpful when creating an online

course. They are also helpful in general. I have learned about some sites that I can

use with some of my students who need extra help.

References

Bates, A. W. (1990). Application of New Technologies (Including Computers) in Distance Education: Implications for the Training of Distance Educators.

Corry, M. (2008). Quality in distance learning.Distance Learning,5(1), 88-91.

Elias, T. (2010). Universal instructional design principles for Moodle. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 11(2).Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/869

McClary, J. (2013). Factors in High Quality Distance Learning Courses. Retrieved October 09, 2016, from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer162/mcclary162.html

McCrea, B. (2013). Who’s Serving Online Learning’s Forgotten Students? — THE Journal. Retrieved October 09, 2016, from https://thejournal.com/Articles/2013/10/17/Whos-Serving-Online-Learnings-Forgotten-Students.aspx?Page=3

Moore, M. (2011). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning, 3rd Edition. Retrieved October 12, 2016.

8 Helpful Assistive Technology Tools For Your Classroom. (2015). Retrieved October 09, 2016, from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/technology/8-helpful-assistive-technology-tools-for-your-classroom/