ETEC 648- Session Two

1. What are three key things associated with delivery of eLearning?

The three key things associated with the delivery of eLearning according to Haugen, LaBare, and Melrose (2001) are:

Utilizing faculty time effectively- planning and delivering of classes is time consuming, not all instructors are knowledgeable in online instruction, work must be meaningful, instructors need to understand copyright laws as they apply to online instruction

Quality control in the online environment- instructors need to be trained in online learning, they need to plan assessments and evaluation, instruction needs to be structured into modules or sessions, feedback needs to be given to students

Building discussions into the online course- just having a discussion is not enough to make it meaningful for students, there has to be interaction among the group of students in a particular course

2. What is the difference between assessment and evaluation? Why is understanding the difference important in eLearning?

Dr. Newberry explains the difference between assessment and evaluation in his podcast. He describes assessment as a way to measure a specific learning goal. It made me think about assessment as a multiple-choice test. Evaluation, however, involves more than just an answer to a multiple-choice question. In evaluation, a student must make a judgment or critique about their learning so that the instructor can see that they understand what they have learned.

As I think about the difference between and assessment and evaluation in my classroom, the math tests that my students take for each topic come to mind. They take a twenty question multiple-choice test online for each topic. In the past, we would print the test, white-out the answers, and have them show their work before we had them input the test online. Now, the program has been updated to meet the CCSS and to prepare students for the online SBAC tests, so if we print the test, the answers our students choose are now out of order when they go online. In order to avoid confusion, we created a simple organizer for each question. Students are required to show their work and to explain why they chose the answer. Then, when they are finished with the test, they need to explain what they did wrong on the questions they missed. If I allowed my students to go on the computer and take the test without holding them accountable for showing their work and responding to the prompts, I would not know if they guessed on the questions and it would be difficult to see where they made their mistakes. With the open-ended questions that make them explain their thinking, I feel that I have more information about their learning than simply with the score out of twenty-questions that the program will give me. Of course, I am working with sixth graders and explaining their thinking is not their favorite thing to do. In order to motivate them to show their work and explain their thinking, I have made the notes worth five points. That alone made a difference in the quality of their work from the first topic test to the second topic test.

Understanding the difference between assessment and evaluation is important in eLearning because a regular assessment is easier to grade and is less time consuming than an evaluation, but an evaluation will give you a more authentic understanding of the learning that is happening in your course.

3. One of the readings this week suggests that a chat room should be set up to promote social interaction in online classes. Which reading is this and what are the pros and cons to this suggestion?

Haugen, et al., suggest the creation of a chat room to promote interaction between students. They believe that the “single most important element of successful online education is interaction among participants” (Haugen, et al., 2001, p. 127). It makes sense that they would suggest that social interaction in a chat room would help students be more successful in online courses. However, Dr. Newberry mentioned in the discussion post for Session 2 that although it is often suggested as a best practice in the literature, whenever he tried it in his courses his students did not participate because they were not receiving a grade. In my discussion post, I mentioned that as a graduate student, I simply do not have the time to spend in a chat room for a particular class. I do, however, interact with my classmates in the online discussions that take place each week and that helps me feel less isolated as I take online courses.

4. What is “deep learning” as discussed in the readings? Is “deep learning” something we should promote in online learning? Why and how?

According to Stansfield, McLellan, and Connolly (2004), deep learning takes place when students take an active role in understanding concepts and making connections to prior experiences and knowledge. A student who is learning deeply is looking for patterns, examining, and arguing as they experience learning. When they are learning deeply, they come away from a course with a different perspective and have enjoyed the process of learning. In comparison, the surface learner is just trying to pass the course without thinking about its importance or relevance.

I think that deep learning should be promoted in online learning. One way to do so is to have students participate in meaningful discussions in which they question one another and challenge one another to find new understandings to something they thought they already understood. As I read the discussion posts in our course, I often have “aha” moments that I want to save and remember later so that I can apply them in my own teaching and/or learning.

5. Identify and explain each of Kolb’s four-stage learning cycle.

Experience- The learner actively experiences the new information that is being introduced.

Observation and Reflection- The learner reflects and the learning process is changed as one thinks about what they have learned before and what they are now experiencing.

Formation of Abstract Concepts and Generalizations- The learner now considers theories and rules that apply to the new learning as they continue to reflect on the learning experience.

Hypothesis Tested by Active Experimentation- The learner applies their new knowledge based upon the successful learning experience in the previous three stages. They practice what they’ve learned and get ready to move forward towards the next learning experience. (Stensfield, et al., 2004).

6. Explain how the readings this week (and your own research) connects with the Blackboard discussion.

The readings and my research connect to the Blackboard discussion about social interactions in online learning and deep learning. In my own research, I read about the importance of social interactions in online learning and learned that it is important to feel part of an online community (Yuan and Kim, 2014). I also learned that while social presence is important, those interactions are not always necessary for success (Cui, Lockee, and Meng, 2013). The readings from this week make a case for deep learning in online courses because that is how a learner truly makes a connection with what they are learning through discussions with their classmates (Stensfield, et al., 2004). In conclusion, although “chat rooms” may not be the best way for graduate students to interact, the discussions that take place are important for deep learning to occur.

7. 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 chose this post for this week because I used two resources to respond to the discussion question. I also discussed what I learned from Dr. Newberry. I also used my personal experience as an example.

According to Yuan and Kim (2014), the lack of social interaction between students and instructors of online classes can make students feel isolated and it is one of the reasons that students may fail to complete a class. However, they found that if students feel connected to other in the learning community, they may be more successful in their courses because they feel they are part of the community (Yuan and Kim, 2014). Yuan and Kim state that the elements to building a learning community include:

  1. membership, the feeling that one belongs to a group;
  2. influence, the feeling that one can influence a group and that the group is important for its members
  3. fulfillment of needs, the feeling that one’s needs can be satisfied with help from the group
  4. shared emotional connection, the sense of being connected with others in the group (Yuan and Kim, 2014, p. 221)

Cui, Lockee, and Meng (2013) mentioned that distance courses have a 10% to 20% higher dropout rate than traditional courses. They concluded that while social presence is important, it is not always needed or essential for success in online learning because “sometimes a low level of social presences will do the work and more social presence could also result in unsatisfactory outcomes in some situations” (Cui et al., p. 685). They suggested that to overcome issues of social presence, instructors should focus on the design process using the ADDIE model. Following the ADDIE model will help instructors to maintain their social presence and increase student learning and satisfaction in online courses.

As Dr. Newberry stated, the research encourages social interactions in online courses. However, I would argue that considering the research, it is more important to have interactions with peers that are deep and meaningful about what we are learning, as opposed to more shallow interactions that may occur in a “social area.” As a student, I would find myself in an awkward position if I was trying to have social interactions with my classmates in a “social area.” Instead, I have learned about my peers through the quality of their work and the academic discussions that we have. Although, this might be due to the fact that we are all professionals in a Masters Degree program and we do not necessarily need that constant interaction with people. We tend to focus on our assignments because we do not have an unlimited amount of time as we try to balance our education, our careers, and our families. The considerations might be different for students in the K-12 system and for undergraduate students, however, because everything they do revolves around social interactions. From what I’ve seen, they spend the majority of their time interacting with others and this is the case when they are doing homework or when they are playing video games. I’m still not sure that I would offer my sixth graders a “social area” because I would need them to focus on their learning. If they had that option, they might spend most of their time socializing instead of learning.

Cui, G., Lockee, B., & Meng, C. (2013). Building modern online social presence: A review of social presence theory and its instructional design implications for future trends. Education and Information Technologies, 18(4), 661–685. doi:10.1007/s10639-012-9192-1

Yuan, J., & Kim, C. (2014). Guidelines for facilitating the development of learning communities in online courses. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 30(3), 220–232. doi:10.1111/jcal.12042

8. 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 have taken several classes with Laura, and I continue to find myself learning from her and making connections with the experiences she has had in the classroom. In this post, she is replying to another classmate, but her discussion of teaching the GATE class and focusing on depth and complexity reminds me of what I do with my GATE students in my classroom.

“ Just a couple of years ago, we had strict pacing guides in our district and if administrators came in the room, you were expected to be on the right page. This intimidated a lot of teachers and they taught from a script and moved across the curriculum whether the kids were ready or not. I taught GATE at the time, so I was expected to teach differently, thank goodness. A well kept secret was that the GATE kids were often 2-3 chapters behind the other classes because of their curiosity, discussions, and time needed for problem solving and quality work. I found with all kids that if I took the time to teach the concepts in depth, when it came time for testing, they were able to grasp new, related information quickly. But, the foundation had to be laid.

I have taken a couple of workshops with Lockheed engineers and Disney Imagineers. It was so enlightening to see how they saw the creative process from concept to finish. In all cases, plenty of time was given, without pressure, to create.”

9. 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.

This week, I have learned the difference between assessment and evaluation, the impact of social interaction in a successful online learning experience, how Kolb’s four stage learning cycle works, and the difference between deep and shallow learning. As an elementary school teacher, this is important to me because for the first time in my fourteen-year career, I have one-to-one technology for my students. I see that they want to interact with each other, so I need to find ways for them to have academic discussions online. I know that they crave that social interaction because as soon as I created a Google Classroom, the first thing that happened was that I had two students “talking” to each other in the comments section of my assignment. Their discussion had nothing to do with the assignment, but maybe if I structured it that way, they could talk about their learning instead of being off task. As I think about the assessments that I can give them online, I will think about ways to make them an evaluation of their learning versus their knowledge of facts.

References

Cui, G., Lockee, B., & Meng, C. (2013). Building modern online social presence: A review of social presence theory and its instructional design implications for future trends. Education and Information Technologies, 18(4), 661–685. doi:10.1007/s10639-012-9192-1

Haugen, S., LaBarre, J., and Melrose, J. Online Course Delivery: Issues and Challenges. (2001). Retrieved from International Association for Computer Information Systems: http://iacis.org/iis/2001/Haugen127.PDF

Stansfield, M., McLellan, E. and Connolly, T. (2004). Enhancing Student Performance in Online Learning and Traditional Face-to-Face Class Delivery. Journal of Information Technology Education, Volume 3. http://www.jite.org/documents/Vol3/v3p173-188-037.pdf

Yuan, J., & Kim, C. (2014). Guidelines for facilitating the development of learning communities in online courses. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 30(3), 220–232. doi:10.1111/jcal.12042

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4 comments

  1. Speaking of planning, quality, and building community in the classroom makes think of teachers who “think” they know how to teach an online class. They think it is easy. I think with the proliferation of online classes that part of teacher preparation should involve classes in online teaching.

    1. Hi Laura,
      I’m not sure why some people think it is so easy to teach online courses, but if they ever end up teaching one, they’ll quickly realize how mistaken they had been!
      Griselda

  2. Griselda,
    Your post was extremely detailed and informative. I like your response to the assessment and evaluation question. I like how you spoke about Dr. Newberry’s explanation, your own based on your experience as a classroom teacher, and how it applied to online learning. Thanks for being so thorough.
    Guillermina

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