ETEC 648- Session 3

  1. 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.

Course Overview and Introduction 1.1 Instructions make clear how to get started and where to find various course components.

Simple organization of the course materials and requirements in an online class is an important best practice because students need to be able to figure out what it is that is required from the class and where all the materials are located. The best online classes that I have taken are organized simply by module or session, and everything that I need for that module is located there. Classes that have not been as well organized have had materials in many different folders that followed no pattern that I could figure out and the names of the folders did not make things any clearer.

Assessment and Measurement 3.4 The assessment instruments selected are sequenced, varied, and suited to the learner work being assessed.

Using varied assessments can be beneficial to all students because not all students do well with written exams, just as not all students do well with multiple-choice tests. I think that a combination of assessments is important for better assessment of all learners, especially in an online course in which a teacher cannot assess their interactions with the class as they would in a face-to-face classroom. An example of assessments suited to the learner would be to give the student a choice in which assessment they could take for the course. Some might prefer to write an essay, while others might choose a multiple-choice test or even a short answer test.

Course Activities and Learner Interaction 5.3 The instructor’s plan for classroom response time and feedback on assignments is clearly stated.

Give prompt and useful feedback is important because students need to know what they are doing well and what they need to work on before they begin their next assignment. The professors who have done a great job at this have given me my grade and feedback on the same day every week. Having the feedback before starting my next assignment helped me prepare better for the work ahead and it gave me something to think about as I was working. In classes where this has not been the case, I have felt unsure about the quality of my work and of how I am doing in the class. Receiving detailed feedback weeks after an assignment was due is not helpful at all in a quarter system in which I can barely remember what I wrote the previous week because we are moving so fast.

  1. 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?

Encourage contact between students and faculty. Students need to know the variety of ways in which they can communicate with their professors and with other students. In an online course, the student needs to participate in all course discussions and feel free to ask each other questions about the assignments. One way to help students do this is to have a discussion board set up so that students can ask and answer one another’s questions. This helps because all students can see the responses posted by the professor and/or classmates.

Chickering and Gamson’s suggestions fit well with online learning because the seven principles cover the most important best practices in online education. If you have all seven, you are well on your way to developing a course in which students can communicate, cooperate, learn actively, learn from feedback, focus on their tasks, meet high expectations, and experience a variety of ways of learning. Actually, since these seven principles have been around for over twenty-five years, any course in which all seven principles are well established should also be successful because these practices go beyond online teaching to best practices in any kind of teaching- whether it be online, face-to-face, or hybrid courses. That being said, these are all principles that I try to incorporate into my teaching in my sixth grade classroom.

Since the seven principles are mostly learner-centered teaching practices, they are based in constructivism (Bangert, 2004). As I think about how I can apply them to my own teaching, I need to think about authentic instructional practices that have students choose, organize, and integrate what they have learned with the new learning that is taking place. One way I can do this is with a learning simulation. In sixth grade, my students learn about ancient Egypt and I have an Interact Unit that has includes activities that has them experience what life was like during that time period. One of my favorite activities is an ancient Egyptian wax museum because students learn about one of the gods, write a speech from the god’s point of view, and dress up as the god. They make a box that has a red button on it and when our visitors come, they stand still, like wax figures, and come to life when a visitor presses their button. Once they are finished with their speech, they go back to being a wax figure. Although it is not something I have done online, I can now integrate this activity with Google Classroom to interact with students and give them feedback as they are writing their speeches.


Bangert, A. W. (2004). The Seven Principles of Good Practice: A framework for evaluating on-line teaching. The Internet and Higher Education, 7(3), 217–232. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2004.06.003

  1. According to the text, what are Objectives, Outcomes and Competencies? Provide an example of each.
Objectives The objectives are the specific things that students will learn by the end of a unit of study within a course. They include activities and/or assessments. In a class, the objectives are the specific goals for each module or session. For example, in this session, we had to learn about Bloom’s taxonomy through completing the activities.
Outcomes The outcomes are what a student will learn and know how to do after several units of study that make up a course. At the end of this course, the overall goals should be met when I complete all of the sessions for the course and the project.
Competencies The competencies are how students prove that they have achieved the skills and goals of a program at its completion. At the end of the program for the Masters in Instructional Technology, we will take a competency test to prove that we have met all of the goals of the program.
  1. List the six levels in Bloom’s taxonomy. Now list one eLearning task, question or assignment for each level.

1956 Bloom’s Taxonomy (nouns): knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation

2001 Revised Taxonomy (verbs): remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, creating

Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy Learning Activity
Create Imagine the perfect lesson for your math students and create it using a variety of tools and use a GOORU collection to organize all of the materials for the lesson.
Evaluate Justify your argument by writing an editorial and creating and posting a podcast of it on your blog.
Analyze Compare and contrast two articles that you have read by creating a diagram using an online tool or app of your choice.
Apply Demonstrate a lesson using what you have learned by modeling how to do it using the Explain Everything App.
Understand Write your own sentence using each vocabulary word and add it to the PowerPoint that you created.
Remember Make a PowerPoint presentation with a slide of the vocabulary words for this chapter- include definitions and images.
  1. 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 least one example.

Learner focused teaching is the concept where the teacher plays the role of the facilitator as he or she guides and assesses the student. The role of the students is to construct knowledge as they research, synthesize, think critically, communicate, and solve problems. Some benefits of learner focused teaching include a focus on the learning that is taking place, the teacher gives students feedback as they assess, and that it empowers students to place an active role in their learning. This relates to Chickering and Gamson because it is another example of the learning theory of constructivism in which students are held responsible for their own learning as they take control of it. Students feel empowered, the learning is authentic, collaboration is taking place, students receive prompt feedback, and student are using higher level thinking skills.

An example of learner focused teaching that I could have my students do online goes back to the Egypt Interact Unit. Instead of having a classroom full of wax figurines, students could create a virtual wax museum in which they would have to determine what tools they would use to record each speech, how they would put it all together to build their virtual museum (website, movie, slideshow?), and how they would make it accessible for people to visit it. They would also need to decide if they would want to add a comments section so that visitors to the museum could leave feedback. This would take our project to the next level and would require students to take an active role in their learning.

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

Each of the major topics of our readings this week, Quality Matters, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and Chickering and Gamson, have their own discussion board on Blackboard this week. All of these readings, along with Dr. Newberry’s podcast, focus on best practices in online learning. They all emphasize that online learning needs to be learner centered and that the instructor is a facilitator who provides useful feedback. The Bangert article that I read enlightened me about the connection of these topics with the Constructivist learning model. There are several ways to make online education better, and the Quality Matters Rubric is one way to measure how well online courses are designed and assessed. It is important to remember that best practices in online education carry over from best practices in teaching.

  1. 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.

The best entry this week for me was my post on Bloom’s taxonomy. I have prior knowledge on the topic since I have learned about Bloom’s taxonomy in school and have used it in my teaching. I think that by discussing Depth of Knowledge, I was able to make a connection with Bloom’s and where we are in education now with the Common Core State Standards.

Discussion Board Post:

1956 Bloom’s Taxonomy (nouns): knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation

2001 Revised Taxonomy (verbs): remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, creating

According to Leslie Wilson (2013), the most important difference between the 1956 Bloom’s Taxonomy and the 2001 Anderson and Krathwohl’s Taxonomy is not the change from nouns to verbs or the change in order of the categories, but in the “different types and levels of knowledge- factual, conceptual, procedural, and metacognitive.” Factual knowledge consists of the basic information students need to know about a discipline. Conceptual knowledge connects the basic elements to form a structure that allows them to work together. Procedural knowledge is how you do something, criteria for applying skills, and methods of inquiry. Metacognitive knowledge is the purposeful thinking that we do that shows that we are aware of our own cognition. Factual, conceptual, and procedural knowledge were built into the structure of Bloom’s taxonomy, but were rarely used because they were not fully understood. Another interesting thing that Wilson mentioned was that no one really challenged Bloom’s taxonomy in almost fifty years.

In eLearning, we can use the revised Bloom’s taxonomy to create learning experiences for students that go beyond the basic remembering, or even understanding of concepts. In eLearning it would be more valuable to have students applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating because those require metacognition. Assignments and assessments that challenge students to apply, analyze, evaluate, and create is a better way for students to learn rather than giving them a multiple choice test that just requires them to remember and understand.

As I read about Bloom’s taxonomy, original and revised, it made me think of Depth of Knowledge, which is one tool that we are using now that we are implementing the Common Core State Standards. One important thing that we keep hearing is that Depth of Knowledge is not about the verbs, but about rigor because some verbs on Blooms that are considered higher level Blooms can result in lower level tasks.

Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy Learning Activity
Create Imagine the perfect lesson for your math students and create it using a variety of tools and use a GOORU collection to organize all of the materials for the lesson.
Evaluate Justify your argument by writing an editorial and creating and posting a podcast of it on your blog.
Analyze Compare and contrast two articles that you have read by creating a diagram using an online tool or app of your choice.
Apply Demonstrate a lesson using what you have learned by modeling how to do it using the Explain Everything App.
Understand Write your own sentence using each vocabulary word and add it to the PowerPoint that you created.
Remember Make a PowerPoint presentation with a slide of the vocabulary words for this chapter- include definitions and images.

Assessment: This website has many examples of rubrics that can be used for assessing eLearning, including rubrics for blogs, wikis, discussions, and podcasts.

  1. 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.

Laura’s post on Chickering and Gamson was important to the discussion, especially when it led to a discussion of what a discussion would look like in a face-to-face classroom versus an online classroom. I would agree that it would be much easier to make students participate in a discussion when they are in the same room with me instead of online. I think that is what makes teaching online even more difficult.

Laura’s Post:

Does the work of Chickering and Gamson still seem relevant?

Yes, it is still relevant. Most ‘best practices’ are written for the face to face (f2f) teacher. However, the principles of effective teaching are the same for f2f and online learning. The goal for both is to achieve student learning. Am I saying f2f classes and online classes are the same? No, they are very different in practice, but in purpose, the learning is the goal. The strategies, materials, and learning activities must be developed to accommodate the online environment, compensate for f2f monitoring of understanding, and adjust assessments so that they demonstrate student learning online. In addition, instructor behavior is different. The instructor must be more available by email and/or discussions to answer questions, clarify, and provide feedback to students. Communication between the instructor-student and student-student should be carefully planned to create a sense of community.

How well do their suggestions apply to online education in general?

Chickering and Gamson’s 7 Principles apply very well to online education. Research has identified characteristics of good teaching and the 7 Principles are closely aligned. Most of the lists of effective teacher characteristics are comparable. As demonstrated in the table below, the 7 Principles adapt to online strategies.

Chickering and Gamson’s 7 Principles

Application to Best Practices for Online Teaching

  1. Encourage Contact between students & faculty

This can be accomplished online through discussion, chat and email. Frequent contact is important in student motivation.

  1. Develop reciprocity & cooperation among students

Group projects, discussion, chat, Skype  Help students discover resources and build community through discussions and collaborative projects. Instructor and students are a ‘team’.

  1. Encourage active learning

Assignments should be relevant and involve students constructing knowledge as they explore the content. Students should find opportunities to discuss their learning online as they reflect and process in writing.

  1. Give prompt feedback

Emails should be returned as soon as possible, instructor can comment on the discussion board, grades and feedback on work guide the student so they know if they are on the right track.

  1. Emphasize time on task

Time on task = learning and assignments should be relevant to the online learner.  Instructors should evaluate the time for students assignments and make sure the task can be done in the time allocated.

  1. Communicate high expectations

Expectations should be communicated when the class begins and be available in print for review, as well as providing rubrics and explicit expectations for subsequent assignments

  1. Respect diverse talents & ways of learning

Get to know your students and give choices for demonstrating learning, as well as, respect their prior knowledge and experience

Brophy (1986) identified teacher characteristics that bear similarities to the 7 Principles that increase student achievement:

  • Emphasize academic objectives
  • Establish high expectations
  • Allocate time
  • Pace students briskly, but in small steps that allow high rates of success
  • Adapt instructional materials to your knowledge of the students characteristics (get to know your students)
  • Give information, ask questions, provide feedback

Brophy, Jere (1986) Teacher influences on student achievement. American Psychologist, Vol 41(10), Oct 1986, 1069-1077.

Smith (2011) identified the following top 9 teacher characteristics:

  1. Respectful
  2. Respectful
  3. Responsive
  4. Knowledgeable
  5. Knowledgeable
  6. Approachable
  7. Approachable
  8. Engaging
  9. Communicative
  10. Communicative
  11. Organized
  12. Organized
  13. Engaging
  14. Responsive
  15. Professional
  16. Professional
  17. Humorous
  18. Humorous

How well do they apply to the students and/or content you might teach or develop for?

The 7 Principles apply to our blended program. The students I teach online are K-8, so the strategies have to be modified according to the age-appropriateness to some degree. Helping students become responsible for their learning is an ongoing endeavor for our students. The students’ parents are extremely visible in our program, so they are part of our online community. Not only do I have to develop and nurture relationships with my students, but also with their parents who are a very important part of our online community.  We encourage active learning with online and f2f discussions and work on collaborative projects. Feedback is prompt. Portfolios and grades are given within 24 hours, usually faster, unless it is the weekend. Students receive written feedback on their work and we are available by email, phone, and daily drop-in hours.

How does their work relate to the textbook’s ideas on Learner Focused Teaching?

Palloff and Pratt stress Learner Focused Teaching for online courses. They advocate “community-based” online teaching. They suggest that assessment is best when it is authentic and can be demonstrated in papers, presentations, projects, and portfolios. The student should be given responsibility for their learning and assessment. The student can use resources beyond the teacher to extend knowledge and synthesize it with prior knowledge.

We emphasize time on task. This is a challenge for some of our students who have been in the habit in their f2f classes of cutting corners and having teachers who walk the students through every aspect of the assignment. We have to teach our students to take the time to delve into the lesson and all of its parts. We do often give choices as to how an assignment is completed. Sometimes we can assess students orally if writing is difficult, or we need to hear them read. We are in a great position to be flexible and work to meet the diverse needs of our students.

Chickering & Gamon Palloff & Pratt
  1. Encourage Contact between students & faculty
  2. Develop reciprocity & cooperation among students
  3. Encourage active learning
  4. Give prompt feedback
  5. Emphasize time on task
  6. Communicate high expectations
  7. Respect diverse talents & ways of learning
  1. Student gathers information and synthesizes it by using inquiry, communication problem-solving, and critical thinking. Attention is on the learning process.
  2. Students can help develop assessments and should have choice in how they demonstrate what they learned.
  3. Align assessments with learning activities and use multiple measures.
  4. Outcomes, objectives and competencies should be learner focused.
  5. Students should be given clear directions and grading criteria.
  6. Students should reflect on their learning activities

Dreon, O. (2013) Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice to the online  classroom. Facuty Focus. Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications p. 1-5

Palloff, R. & Pratt, K. (2009) Assessing the online learner: Resources and strategies for faculty. John Wiley and Sons p. 3-28.

Retrieved from:

  1. 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 have learned that I am already implementing many of the best practices that we have learned about in my own teaching. I have been teaching for fourteen years, and I have been lucky enough to receive training and work with excellent teachers that have modeled these practices for years. As we transition to a more digital world in our sixth grade classroom with the implementation of new tools, such as Google Classroom, I feel more confident about moving forward because my sixth grade team is already working on best practices. I think that we need to choose a few to work on as we continue to create paperless assignments. A good one to start with is giving our students prompt and useful feedback. Creating a rubric to use to grade their online assignments would be a great next step for us.



    1. Thanks for your feedback, Laura. I’m sure that feedback to your students is especially important since you do not get to see them in the classroom every day.

  1. Hi,
    I also think that learner-centered learning is important for students’ meaningful learning. You said that you already implemented many of best practice in your class. What was the best practice in your class?

    1. Thank you for your feedback. I think that I do a good job of communicating well with my students because my expectations are clear and the routines are established in my classroom so that my students know what to expect. I encourage them to be active learners as I give them the tools to do so such as the depth and complexity icons. I also differentiate so that students receive what they need, not necessarily what they want or what they think is more fun.

  2. I agree with your suggestions of creating a rubric to evaluate online assignments. The next step I would like to take is giving my student feedback and then the opportunity to modify work and respond to the feedback they are given. I think that would show students that their work is significant.

    1. As I incorporate aspects of online learning in my classroom, I find myself struggling to give them the feedback they need as quickly as they need it. I need to establish a better routine for providing feedback and I think a rubric would be key to doing so.

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