The instructor knows and understands the value of active learning, participation, and collaboration within the online classroom, and applies this knowledge to the design of his/her course.
- The instructor incorporates a variety of tools that support interaction and community;
- The instructor promotes active learning through collaborative activities;
- The instructor facilitates and monitors appropriate student-student interactions;
- The instructor fosters an environment that welcomes and engages each individual learner.
I realize the benefits of active and collaborative learning. Not only do they help students feel more engaged with the content, but they also help students feel more engaged in the class community. Since taking the @ONE classes, I have made a point to include more collaborative activities into my courses. Because I have seen how they have helped improve the effectiveness of my online courses (improved assignment completion and course retention), I will continue to add more interactive content and collaborative activities to my courses.
My course content includes a variety of formats: .pdf documents, HTML pages, and links to other sources. Because I realize the benefits of interactive content, my goal is to add more opportunities for students to view videos and complete online tutorials and receive immediate feedback. Because of the time and expense involved with this undertaking, I appreciate the advice of one of the @ONE instructors: to add more content and ensure that previous content is accessible each time I refresh a course for a new semester.
I am also willing to try new tools. In my Plain English class, I used Padlet for weekly discussions. I liked the ease of use and visual communication aspect of this tool. Students could easily add images, audio, and links to their posts. However, just as I am willing to try new tools, I am also willing to stop using them if I find that they don’t fully help the class. Padlet proved that although it was a great tool for sharing ideas, it wasn’t the best for back-and-forth conversation. For this reason, I look forward to using a Facebook Group in the future.
The following artifacts demonstrate how I have implemented the concepts in Standard 3.
Google Collaborative Documents
To help student engagement, I create opportunities for students to collaboratively work on projects. The following artifact shows a document setup for an initial “Meet and Greet” that helps students learn how to use a collaborative document while also getting to know each other.
- Visit the Meet our Class Collaborative Google Doc
Being able to collaboratively edit a document really helped students in my Plain Language class. The Plain English class focused on writing clear, concise, common, and grammatically-correct prose. For the class Final, I wanted the students to revise, or re-write, a Lease Agreement. After uploading the Lease Agreement, I realized that the assignment would probably seem daunting to many of the students. So I uploaded a copy of the document to Google Docs and encouraged the students to tackle a few sentences each (encouraging struggling students to try, and discouraging stellar students from doing all the work). They would ultimately need to upload their own document for a grade, but they truly benefited from the interactive and collaborative nature of editing a difficult document together.
Padlet Grammar Share
I used the Padlet tool for a weekly “check-in” for students to share their thoughts about the weekly content. One week, I had them share examples of bad grammar that they had come across. The students uploaded pictures, videos, and descriptions of bad grammar that they had encountered. I think this activity not only showed that they could identify grammar errors, but it was also fun and helped build community.
- Visit the Bad Grammar Padlet
While going through the @ONE program myself, I realized that I felt more engaged when the instructors wrote Moodle Books and then added links to content (as opposed to just providing a list of links for students to go view). When an instructor provides commentary and further explanation, it helps foster the feeling that the instructor is present. The following artifact provides an example of a page that I wrote and then provided a link to a textbook chapter with additional information.
- Visit the Reading and Analyzing content page with open textbook link
Discussion Post Feedback
I participate in Discussion Forums and provide comments and feedback. The following screenshot shows a discussion post where students posted links to their website projects in progress and needed a little tip to get on the right track.
I realized the benefits of using VoiceThread while taking the @ONE Building Community with Social Media class. Being able to see my classmates and hear their voices was a great way to feel part of a community and more engaged with the course. The following artifact shows the project I created in VoiceThread.
- Visit the VoiceThread assignment