ETEC 674- Session 3

Session 3 Focus Tasks

1. Explain Media Richness in your own words.

Media Richness measures how a particular media transmits information that would usually be transmitted in person using four criteria. It is an objective measure that is not influenced by the individual using a particular media because the media either has each of the four criteria, or it does not. A media that rates high in Media Richness transmits information in a message and also transmits information about the particular message. The more difficult the information is to transmit, the higher the level of Media Richness that is necessary for the task. For example, some things can easily be transmitted in an email, but to complete a group assignment, a media that meets more of the four criteria might be necessary.

2. What are the four criteria used to judge Media Richness?

The four criteria used to judge Media Richness are:

  1. Availability of instant feedback
  2. Capacity to transmit cues
  3. Ability to communicate using natural language
  4. Personal focus

3. Choose 4 or 5 technologies you might use in an online class and rate them on the four criteria. Using these ratings suggest some eLearning activity that might or might not be appropriate for each technology you rate. Explain your reasons.

  Email Skype Google Doc Discussion Board Blog
Availability of Instant Feedback Yes Yes Yes Sometimes Sometimes
Transmit Cues Sometimes Yes Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes
Communicate using Natural Language Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Personal Focus Yes Yes Sometimes Yes Yes
Appropriate eLearning Activity Providing Feedback- Email is a great way for an instructor to communicate with one student at a time to provide feedback to the individual about their work and to ask questions. Group Project- Students can meet and discuss the project without having to meet in person. It is easy to make decisions if all the members are present. Group Project- All members of the group can contribute to the product by using a Google Doc. They can also provide feedback to one another by highlighting text and writing a comment. Asking questions about the text- A discussion board is a good place to have conversations about the text. I think the discussion would be more engaging if students posed questions about the text and classmates responded to those questions. Responding to Questions about the text: Students can respond to a set of questions and give each other feedback on the quality of their responses.

4. Explain Social Presence in your own words.

Social Presence is the connection that people make using a particular media in an eLearning environment that resemble the connections that they would make in a face-to-face environment. It is subjective because the individual perceives the level of Social Presence based on their expectations for the connections in the particular course. This is interesting because the level of Social Presence has varied greatly in the courses that I have taken. After taking more than one class with a professor, I have a good idea of the level of Social Presence in the class because the instructor usually requires a similar level of Social Presence in his or her classes.

5. Explain the difference between Social Presence and Media Richness.

The difference between Social Presence and Media Richness is that the level of Social Presence is more subjective because it is perceived the individual, while the level of Media Richness can be measured objectively with the set of four criteria. Media Richness is how the medium can transmit information, but Social Presence is how the instructor and the students actually make connections in the class. Even if an instructor uses mediums that are high in Media Richness, that does not mean that it will automatically lead to a higher level of Social Presence in the class. That is determined by the actual participation in the class by both the students and the instructor.

6. Provide some Issues or Trends in eLearning that you are interested in pursuing for your annotated bibliography. Remember, the annotated bibliography is NOT due this session!

As I researched trends in eLearning, I found two possible topics for my research: gamification and personalized learning. My district has some schools that are using the personalized learning model, so that is interesting. However, I think that I am going to focus on gamification because it is something that I haven’t researched and I think that it is a trend that would be useful for me to learn as I continue to expand my collection of best practices in eLearning.

7. Provide three articles that you think you might include in your annotated bibliography and explain how they are related to the trend or issue you are interested in having at the center of your annotated bibliography. Be sure to use APA formatting to present these three citations.

Once I began researching, I found several articles that will provide great starting points for my research on gamificiation. I remember the first thing I learned how to do on our classroom Mac in fifth grade was to play the Oregon Trail. It was so much fun! My five-year old has been playing educational games on an iPad and I see how engaged she is while she is playing. I think that I can find ways to engage my struggling sixth graders if I can find ways to incorporate gamification into their learning. I think it would be especially useful for my students who are gifted, but who choose not to complete their homework. The article that I think will be particularly useful is Gamification and Web-Based Homework. Another one that might be helpful is An Empirical Study Comparing Gamification and Social Networking on e-learning because I have so many students that spend a lot of their time on social media. The third article that will be great for my research is A Social Gamification Framework for a K-6 Learning Platform because it is specific to elementary school students. I was really excited about finding articles that actually relate to my students because most of the research that I have found in the past has focused on high school or college level students.

Cohen, A. M. (2011). The Gamification of Education. Futurist, 45(5), 16–17.

Crookall, D. (2010). Serious Games, Debriefing, and Simulation/Gaming as a Discipline. Simulation & Gaming, 41(6), 898–920. doi:10.1177/1046878110390784

de-Marcos, L., Domínguez, A., Saenz-de-Navarrete, J., & Pagés, C. (2014). An Empirical Study Comparing Gamification and Social Networking on e-learning. Computers & Education, 75, 82–91. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2014.01.012

Domínguez, A., Saenz-de-Navarrete, J., de-Marcos, L., Fernández-Sanz, L., Pagés, C., & Martínez-Herráiz, J.-J. (2013). Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes. Computers & Education, 63, 380–392. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2012.12.020

Goehle, G. (2013). Gamification and Web-Based Homework. PRIMUS, 23(3), 234-246. (n.d.).

Ibanez, M.-B., Di-Serio, A., & Delgado-Kloos, C. (2014). Gamification for Engaging Computer Science Students in Learning Activities: A Case Study. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 7(3), 291–301. doi:10.1109/TLT.2014.2329293

Kim, S. (2014). Decision Support Model for Introduction of Gamification Solution Using AHP. The Scientific World Journal, 2014, e714239. doi:10.1155/2014/714239

Koivisto, J., & Hamari, J. (2014). Demographic differences in perceived benefits from gamification. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 179–188. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.03.007

Lau, R. W. H., Yen, N. Y., Li, F., & Wah, B. (2013). Recent development in multimedia e-learning technologies. World Wide Web, 17(2), 189–198. doi:10.1007/s11280-013-0206-8

Nolan, J. , & McBride, M. (2014). Beyond Gamification: Reconceptualizing Game-Based Learning in Early Childhood Environments. (n.d.).

Raymer, R. (2011). Gamification: Using Game Mechanics to Enhance eLearning. eLearn, 2011(9). doi:10.1145/2025356.2031772

Seaborn, K., & Fels, D. I. (2015). Gamification in Theory and Action: A survey. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 74, 14–31. doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2014.09.006

Simões, J., Redondo, R. D., & Vilas, A. F. (2013). A Social Gamification Framework for a K-6 Learning Platform. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(2), 345–353. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2012.06.007


ETEC 674- Session 2

Focus Questions for Chapter 1 and 4 (Waterhouse, S. A. The power of eLearning) and CMS/LMS Investigation

1. Central to our investigation of eLearning Technologies and Methods is gaining an understanding of Learning Management Systems (LMS) sometimes also called Course Management System (CMS) software. Chapter 1 of our text discusses the functionality of typical LMS/CMS, identifying four major categories. What are those categories?

According to Waterhouse, the four major categories that describe the functionality of an LMS are:

Distribution of course information

Student-instructor and student-student communication

Student interaction with course resources

Online testing and grading

2. Use the Internet to find three different course management systems. Provide the name, a URL and a brief discussion of what you can find out about the similarities and differences between the three that you find.

  1. Blackboard- CSUSB

“On a mission to reimagine education.

We’re shaping the future of education with ideas that challenge conventional thinking. The world of education is changing.”

Founded in 1997, $208 million in estimated sales, available in 25 countries and in 25 languages

I have some experience with Blackboard from the instructor viewpoint from the couple of years that our school district adopted it, plus I have experience with Blackboard as a student from my time here at CSUSB. As an instructor, I found it to be unmanageable for me to use with my students. It required too much work to make it usable. As a student, I find it easy enough to use, but I still find the discussion board feature difficult to follow.

Blackboard Features 1

  1. Haiku- Riverside Unified School District

“Haiku Learning is a full suite of beautiful, cloud-based tools designed to get you up and running with digital learning in minutes.”

Founded in 2007, $650,000 in estimated sales, available only in the United States and only in English

My experience with Haiku is also as an instructor and as a student. My school district adopted Haiku after we stopped using Blackboard. I find that it is easy to use as an instructor, however, as a student, the many classes that I am automatically enrolled in by my district overwhelm me. This is especially difficult when I am trying to find a particular file and I have no idea what class it is supposed to be in. However, I do not blame that on Haiku because it is our district that has chosen to use Haiku as a way to disseminate important information to the teachers. I think part of the problem is that our district previously had a great website where they stored all important documents. It was easy to navigate and easy to find things because every file had one place. In Haiku, some files can be found in multiple classes, which makes finding them again an experience that involves a lot of guessing and a lot of clicking.

Haiku Welcome Page

  1. Canvas- USC Hybrid High School

“Canvas isn’t just a product. It’s a breath of fresh air. It’s an educational revolution. It’s a powerful new way to—pardon our optimism—change the world. It’s a rapidly growing company with an industry-pushing platform, hundreds of talented employees, and millions of passionate students and teachers. And, sure, there’s also a pretty incredible product in there, too.”

Founded in 2008, 15.8 million in estimated sales, available only in the United States and available in 8 different languages

A few months ago I attended a conference at USC and some students described their experiences with the Canvas LMS, so I decided to research it further. The students explained that all of their classes used Canvas and that all of their work was submitted through Canvas.

Comparison of Features

Blackboard, Haiku, and Canvas all have the basic features of an LMS that allow for the distribution of course information, student-instructor communication, and student-student communication, student interaction with the course resources, and the ability to test and grade online. They all offer course development features of self-paced courses, skills assessment, exam engine, and a course catalog. Blackboard and Haiku also include test building and testing, while only Blackboard offers test scoring. Blackboard also offers student tracking, goal setting, and a virtual classroom. Blackboard and Canvas both offer blended learning, multimedia, and skills tracking, while Haiku and Canvas both offer collaboration management and performance assessments. Haiku is the only one to offer eLearning. Canvas has a coursework grading feature and roster processing. The ability to test within an LMS is important, but the type of assessments that are available for the instructor are even more important because as an instructor I need to assess my students in a different ways that do not always involve multiple choice questions. I was surprised to see that Blackboard did not include a performance assessment feature like Haiku and Canvas did. Maybe it is due to the fact that Blackboard already is in the top three of the most used learning management systems and it does not need to work as hard to attract new customers.

Top LMS Software

3. If you were going to create an online class right now, what LMS/CMS software would you use? Explain what you know about your system’s functionality in each of the four areas identified by the book. (If you don’t have access to LMS/CMS software just use Blackboard for your discussion in this area.)

Haiku AssessHaiku ConnectHaiku ePortfolio

If I were going to create an online class right now, my best option would be to use Haiku since I already have access to it as an instructor.

Distribution of course information- I can add content to my course to distribute information to my students with announcements, text, files, web links, images, Flickr, embed from the Web, video, YouTube, Audio, Noteflight, MiniSites, and Google Drive. Students can listen to my lectures, watch a video of my lecture, and/or follow along with the text version of my lecture. They could also follow along with a slideshow that I shared with them through Google Drive.

Student-instructor and student-student communication- The students and the instructor can interact through discussions, through sharing files in Dropbox, email, polls, and Wikiprojects. Students can also create an online portfolio.

Student interaction with course resources- The instructor can also add activities to the course that include SCORM Activity, BrainPop, CK-12, Educreations, Gooru, and Gooru-local to watch videos, complete lessons, and to read text relevant to the class.

Online testing and grading- I can create an exam to test the knowledge of my students or I can create a practice assessment to provide feedback as students are learning. These assessments will be graded and added to the gradebook. I can add an assignment from Google Drive that can be submitted to me through Dropbox. That is one way I could give students a performance assessment instead of an objective test. Grades can be assigned through the gradebook and the teacher can choose to use a standards based or a traditional gradebook. The gradebook also gives stats about mastery, frequency, recency, and improvement.

4. Chapter 1 of our text identifies six steps for getting started with eLearning. Discuss each step and use each step as a springboard for discussing what you want to do with eLearning either now or in the future.

  1. Ask yourself why.

I would like to teach my students some subjects online. I think it would be easiest to teach science and social studies online.

  1. Make a commitment.

I need to make the leap and devote the time and energy to creating online courses for my students. This is important because some schools in my district are using personalized learning. Students could enroll in my courses are part of their personalized learning plan.

  1. Develop a new vision for your course and how you teach.

The easiest way to create my course would be in modules that fit our 12 week trimester system. However, students might feel more successful if I break the course into shorter periods. I think a six-week course would be doable for my sixth grade students.

  1. Determine the resources available to you.

I have Haiku, the Common Core State Standards, our adopted science and social studies materials, Interact materials, and other GATE resources available to me. I also have a subscription to BrainPop that could be useful. Time is the resource I am missing!

  1. Acquire new technology skills and develop new instructional methods.

I think I have enough technology skills to make this work, but I would need to do more research on the flipped classroom so that I can implement the best practices for flipped learning as I design my course.

6. Plan.

I think I would start planning by determining the objectives and the curriculum that I want to teach in the six week course.

5. Chapter 4 of our text discusses the functionality of specific LMS/CMS tools in terms of being for one-way communication, two-way communication or for organization. Explain the key differences between one-way and two-way communication.

The key difference between one-way and two-way communication are that in one-way communication, the instructor is sending or distributing information to students, while in two-way communication the information is sent to students and students respond to that information. An instructor may post an announcement on the LMS to notify students of an upcoming test or assignment, but they do not expect to receive a response to that announcement from students. However, if the instructor posts a question on the discussion board, it is expected that students respond to the question on the discussion board and that students will engage in a discussion with the instructor and other students. The purpose of one-way communication is strictly to give the information to students, while two-way communication requires students to participate by responding to the original “message” whether it is a question in a forum or a question on an online test that they must submit.

Examples of one-way communication- announcements, documents created with the LMS, files created using other software and then uploaded to the LMS, gradebooks, emails, calendars, and homepages

Examples of two-way communication- discussions, asynchronous forums, synchronous chats, whiteboards, online tests, and private storage space

6. Identify the primary tools your LMS/CMS provides for one-way communication. Briefly describe a method that would make use of the most important tool from your list.

The tools that Haiku provides for one way communication are: announcements, text, files, web links, images, Flickr, embed from the Web, video, YouTube, Audio, Noteflight, MiniSites, and Google Drive. I can also add SCORM Activity, BrainPop, CK-12, Educreations, Gooru, and Gooru-local to watch videos, complete lessons, and to read text relevant to the class.

I think the most important tool would be the ability to add audio and video to share lectures with my students. I could create a screencast of a lesson and upload it to our course page. Students would be able to watch it and take notes. The best part is that they could watch it again if necessary. They can’t do that when they are sitting in my classroom.

7. Identify the primary tools your LMS/CMS provides for two-way communication. Briefly describe a method that would make use of the most important tool from your list.

Two-way communication tools in Haiku include discussions, sharing files in Dropbox, email, polls, Wikiprojects, and individual student portfolios.

I think that the student portfolios would be a great way for students and instructors to interact as students decide what they want to include in their portfolios. The instructor would provide feedback as they help students figure out what to include.

8. Consider how a CMS/LMS supports the three types of interaction (Student-Content, Student-Instructor, Student-Student) that were discussed in the first session 1 presentation. Using the list of tools you created in items 5 and 6, identify the best or most important tool for each type of interaction, explain what you know about the strengths and weaknesses of each tool to support the type of interaction you identify for it.

Student-Content- The ability to use Google Drive to share documents with students is great because all of the students in our district have a Google email. A problem with this is that students submit assignments through Dropbox, not through Google Drive.

Student-Instructor- Polls are a great way to receive feedback from students on a variety of topics. They can be used as a check for understanding at the end of the lesson. They can also be used to include students in the decision making process as students help decide what novel to read next or which art project they would like to create. A weakness could be that students would not take the poll seriously and just choose any random answer or the answer their friend chose.

Student-Student- Wikiprojects allows students to work together on a project in small group or with the entire class. A strength would be that students can work together to create content. Another strength would be that students can view and comment on each other sites. The Wikiprojects give students the ability to create their own websites. The teacher can decide whether students can view or comment on other Wikiprojects. A possible weakness would be deciding what content students would create to include on their Wikiproject.

ETEC 674- Session 1: Introduction

Welcome to my blog fellow ETEC 674 students. I look forward to learning a lot from each other as we work together in this course. As you can see, I began using this blog for the ETEC 648 class last quarter and I have decided to continue using it because I like the idea of it being a portfolio that I will be able to refer back to after this class is over without having to find my posts on Blackboard. My name is Griselda Caudill and I have taught sixth grade for the past seven years for Riverside Unified School District. Prior to that, I taught fifth grade and fifth/sixth grade combination classes for seven years, so I have now been in the classroom for a total of fourteen years. I feel lucky to have grown up during a time when digital technology was just beginning to make an appearance in schools. I remember when our fifth grade class received our first Apple computer in 1989, and it was the first time I had ever used a computer in the classroom. As I read Robert Reiser’s article, “A History of Instructional Design and Technology: Part I: A History of Instructional Media,” I realized that technology had existed in the classroom far before that Mac appeared in my classroom, but computers and digital technologies have impacted my education and the education of my students in ways that watching a videocassette simply could not.

As a new teacher, I was fortunate to work for RUSD because it has always been a pioneer of integrating the use of technology in the classroom. I have had a smart board, a laptop, an LCD projector, and a document camera as standard tools in my classroom for as long as I can remember. Better yet, the district wrote grants that focused on training teachers on the best teaching practices, rather than just how to use the technology. I think that has been valuable because of the fact that the technologies that are available to us are constantly changing and evolving, but good teaching is still good teaching. I have noticed that in the classes that I have taken during the four quarters that I have completed in the Instructional Technology Masters Program the focus has not been on the specific tools, but on the best practices of teaching online classes. I am thankful for that because I can find a tutorial on how to use any website, app, or LMS, but I do need to learn what works and what doesn’t work when teaching online since I have never taught a class online. What I have learned has transferred over to my teaching even though I teach my sixth graders face-to-face. I have limited the number of tools I use with them so that they are not overwhelmed, and I am learning that breaking large projects such as National History Day projects and science fair projects might turn out better if I broke them down into more manageable parts for my students.

Before I began the Masters program at CSUSB, I had not taken any online courses through a university. However, I had taken a few classes online through my district for an Advanced GATE Certificate. Our district GATE coordinator broke the classes into sessions and had us post in discussion boards. Since then, I have taken hybrid and online classes for this program. I have learned that some professors that are not part of the program have not necessarily learned the best practices for teaching online courses. Those classes have been confusing and have taken a lot of effort to figure out where important documents are located, or even what was due when. I have used Blackboard in all of my courses, and many of my classes have relied heavily on the Blackboard discussion board as a way for students to interact with other students, and for the instructor to interact with students as well. One professor required us to use Skype. Another class used Blackboard Collaborate to meet with the entire class synchronously. It was an interesting tool because it allowed everyone to view the professor, ask questions using the microphone, and to have a chat with the class at the same time. I have interacted with my classmates on the Blackboard discussion boards and on our blogs in ETEC 648. I have used Google Apps to complete work with a group. I find that for group work, using group texts is a quick and easy way for us to communicate and using Google Docs to actually complete the assignment synchronously has been great because we can take advantage of the chat feature to ask each other questions.

I am taking this class because I feel that having an e-Learning certificate will be important for me in my teaching career as I think about what I want to do with the rest of my career. Even if I just stay in the regular classroom, having the ability to flip my classroom now that I have all the right tools will be a great advantage. I look forward to learning how to take some of the Common Core State Standards that I teach and creating an online course for my students. I want to create modules that I can share with other sixth grade teachers.

ETEC 648 Session 10- Executive Summary

Evaluating Online Discussions of Elementary School Students

My project can be viewed at

online discussions discussion prompts Executive Summary

My project is a class that I created on our district LMS, Haiku, for my students to have online discussions. I can integrate the discussions onto our class Haiku page, but I decided to create a separate class for the purposes of this project and for the privacy of my students. The major component of my project was creating a way to assess the work that my students do on the discussion board. I decided that a rubric was the best way to assess and grade their discussion posts. This rubric will be used by my sixth grade team to grade online discussions by our students. Just this year, our sixth grade students have a one-to-one technology ratio and we have been looking for the best practices of integrating technology into our traditional elementary classrooms.

The research shows that online discussion boards are an excellent way to have students express themselves and discuss their thoughts with their classmates as they engage in their learning and use the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy as they write their posts. The best part is that they can continue the discussion even outside of our classroom. We also have a written record that we can refer back to, which we do not have when we have a regular classroom discussion. As the instructor, I have learned that it is important for me to be an active participant in the discussion so that my students are aware of my instructional presence. Students will analyze, argue, assess, make claims, conclude, discuss, provide evidence, justify, summarize, and support their online discussion posts with relevant information. We will continue to have traditional classroom discussions, but this is one way to start flipping our classrooms with online discussions that are carefully planned with carefully created questions that will extend their learning. I chose to focus on social studies and our current topic of the Ancient Hebrews because I want my students to delve deeper into the subject by answering the discussion questions that came from resources that our district provided to us to use as we teach this unit.

I started my project not knowing whether I would use a Google document to have an online discussion that all of my students could participate in, or if I should use our district LMS, Haiku, to have these discussions. I tried both and decided that Haiku was an easier way to hold a discussion. The Google document worked well, but it had a few issues when all of my students were typing in the document at the same time. Creating the rubric was an overwhelming process because I had to be selective about what categories I wanted to include on it. I narrowed it down to three categories: original post, engagement, and writing conventions. I used our district writing rubric as a guideline because it is what we use to score the writing of our students.


 These are the guidelines for participation in online discussions:

  1. Original Post- The week starts on Monday and you need to respond to the discussion question or questions no later than Tuesday. Make sure that you complete the assigned reading before you write your post and that you include supporting evidence in your response to the discussion question. If you need to do more research on the topic, do so and include the reference in your post.
  2. Engagement- Respond to your classmates’ original posts and respond to the comments that your classmates write on your post throughout the week. It is important that you are polite and give positive feedback. You may ask questions that ask for clarification if there is something that you do not understand. You must write comments on the original post of three of your classmates and respond to all the comments on your original post by Friday.
  3. Writing Conventions- It is important that you use proper grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation in your discussion posts. Remember that this is an academic setting and that you are required to use academic language.


This is the rubric that I will use to score their online discussion posts.

  7 to 8 points- Thorough Evidence of Mastery 5 to 6 points-Adequate Evidence of Mastery 3 to 4 points- Partial Evidence of Mastery 0 to 2 points- Minimal evidence of mastery
Original Post Responds skillfully to all parts of the prompt

Strong use of organization of ideas, concepts and information

Includes supporting evidence and cites a minimum of two sources to support their response

Responds to all parts of the prompt

Organizes ideas, concepts and information

Includes supporting evidence and cites at least one source to support their response

Responds to most parts of the prompt

Limited use of organization of ideas, concepts and information

Includes supporting evidence, but does not cite the source

Responds to few or no parts of the prompt

Little or no use of organization of ideas, concepts and information

Does not include supporting evidence

Engagement More than 3 posts that integrate supporting evidence such as facts, details, questions, quotations, or examples to make connections and support their responses A minimum of 3 posts that include supporting evidence such as facts, details, quotations, or examples to support their responses 2 to 3 posts that include some supporting evidence such as facts, details, quotations, or examples to support their responses Posts do not include supporting evidence
  4 points- Thorough Evidence of Mastery 3 points-Adequate Evidence of Mastery 2 points- Partial Evidence of Mastery 1 point- Minimal evidence of mastery
Writing Conventions Demonstrates exemplary command of grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling (No errors) Demonstrates command of grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling (1-2 errors) Demonstrates limited command of grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling (3-5 errors) Demonstrates insufficient command of grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling (6 or more errors)


Blackmon, S. J. (2012). Outcomes of chat and discussion board use in online learning: a research synthesis. Journal of Educators Online, 9(2).

Bradley, M. E., Thom, L. R., Hayes, J., & Hay, C. (2008). Ask and you will receive: how question type influences quantity and quality of online discussions. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 888–900. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2007.00804.x

McLoughlin, D., & Mynard, J. (2009). An analysis of higher order thinking in online discussions. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 46(2), 147–160. doi:10.1080/14703290902843778

Szabo, Z., & Schwartz, J. (2011). Learning methods for teacher education: the use of online discussions to improve critical thinking. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 20(1), 79–94. Doi:10.1080/1475939X.2010.534866

Wang, Q., & Woo, H. L. (2007). Comparing asynchronous online discussions and face-to-face discussions in a classroom setting. British Journal of Educational Technology, 38(2), 272–286. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2006.00621.x

ETEC 648 Session 9- Academic Dishonesty

  1. Thinking about an online class you teach or might teach, what is the most likely issue related to plagiarism and/or cheating with which you would anticipate dealing?

My students participate in National History Day each year. Although I teach in the traditional classroom, I do have students who still plagiarize information that they find on the Internet, so it is technically considered cyber-cheating. Some copy and paste text directly from websites, and others actually print out the pages directly from the website and do not bother to copy and paste first.

  1. Identify and explain the steps and measures you would take to reduce the occurrence of plagiarism/cheating identified in item 1.

Next year, I want to create an online course for my students’ National History Day projects. I think this is a good idea because I can break the project into doable chunks, as is suggested by Dr. Newberry and much of the research. Since students have approximately thirteen weeks to complete the project, I would break the project into ten sessions. This would give them two weeks to think about the theme and choose an area to focus on. Then, each week they would complete one part of the project. This would help me identify plagiarism early on and give students the chance to correct their mistake. Breaking up the project into manageable parts would make it easier for students to complete one part at a time, without resorting to plagiarism. The first session in the project would teach students about plagiarism and how to avoid it. Doing all of this would hopefully resort in better overall projects and less stressed out kids and parents. Usually, projects are due the week after Thanksgiving break, but if we did it this way, students would have completed projects the week before Thanksgiving. Everyone would be happier if they did not have to spend their entire week off working on their project.

  1. What does research tell us about the reasons students give for plagiarism/cheating. Remember to cite your sources!

I was impressed with the amount of research that I found on plagiarism, cheating, and cyber-cheating. Heckler, Forde, and Bryan (2013) state that copying the work of others is easy for students to do. They make excuses such as everyone else is doing it. One reason that they mention that instructors do not report cheating is because they are afraid of what students will write on the evaluation of the instructor at the end of the class. The researchers talk about the history of cheating from 1940 at Drake University. They also attribute the rise in cheating to the “commercialization” of higher education with higher costs due to decreases in funding and education now being seen as a product rather than a process. They also discussed the ease of plagiarism with the Internet and compared it to how much more involved cheating was before computers. It made me think about students copying text from an encyclopedia and writing it themselves, but now all they have to do is copy and paste the text that they find online to their document.

Jones (2009) also discusses the phenomenon of students being comfortable with cheating because everyone else is doing it. Jones also explains that students cheat because they do not have a clear definition of what cheating and plagiarism consists of, especially when it comes to re-submitting their own work to a different class. She discusses the ethics involved in cheating and the increase in the use of honor codes in colleges to deal with cheating. She says that schools that have implemented honor codes have seen a decrease in cheating. She also discusses the use of authenticity statements on work submitted by students. It is basically a statement that the students write that states that all of the work is their own and they include it with the submission of their work.

Heckler, N. C., Forde, D. R., & Bryan, C. H. (2013). Using Writing Assignment Designs to Mitigate Plagiarism. Teaching Sociology, 41(1), 94–105.

Jones, I. M. (2009). Cyber-Plagiarism: Different Method-Same Song. Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, 12(1), 89–100.

  1. Evaluate your participation in the discussion this week. Provide at least one quote from the discussion that supports your evaluation.

I think that my original post about cyber-cheating was my best post because I answered all the questions and used resources as supporting evidence for my responses. I think that the connection that I made between cyber-cheating and cyber-bullying helped me understand that there really is no difference between cheating and cyber-cheating because in the end it is still academic dishonesty.

Original Post:

Is cybercheating really different than any other form of plagiarism or cheating?

Cybercheating is the same thing as plagiarism or cheating, just as cyberbullying is the same thing as bullying. The thing about the Internet is that the web of cheating or bullying can be more intricate because there can be more resources and more people involved.

What is “cybercheating” according to the article provided?

According to Landers (2011), cybercheating is “cheating enabled by the internet.” Cybercheating is not limited to online classes because any student who has access to the internet can cybercheat. The author is concerned with the large numbers of students who participate in some type of cybercheating. He states that he worries about it because he wonders where those students will end up after they graduate from college. He makes a valid point, and people who cheated in school will probably continue to try to cheat somehow at work. I wonder how successful they would be at cheating in a real job. I would hope that it would be obvious that they lack certain skills, along with integrity.

How can we prevent cybercheating and other similar types of plagiarism?

There are tools to help with preventing cybercheating and plagiarism, but I think that no matter what we do, there will be people who lack integrity that will do whatever it takes to cheat. What is interesting is that sometimes it seems that the effort involved in cheating is more than the effort it would have taken to do the work themselves. In my classroom I have a poster that says, “Integrity is what you do when no one is watching.” I haven’t talked about the poster with my students, but I have actually heard them use the word integrity with one another, so I know they’ve been reading it. I think teaching lessons about digital citizenship and good morals beginning at a young age is one way to prevent cheating.

However, when teaching online classes, I think that the best method for preventing cybercheating is what Dr. Newberry does when he creates the assignments for his classes. He breaks down the larger project into smaller, doable sections that are due each week. From week to week, he gets to know the writing style and personality of each student. Plus, it makes it harder to cheat if it is just one section of work at a time. Avoiding traditional multiple-choice tests is another way to prevent cheating. However, if a test must be taken, an instructor can use tools that make it harder to cheat. I have a final next week in an online class and we actually have to come to class to take the final. We can choose to take it from 4 to 6:15 p.m. or from 6 to 8 p.m. If we take it at 4, we cannot leave until 6:15 and if we take it at 6, we can’t arrive after 6:15. This seems way too complex of a schedule for me, although the professor is preventing anyone who takes the test during the first session from sharing any information from the test with the rest of the class who takes it later in the day. It all goes back to what the objectives of the class are and whether or not those objectives can be met in other ways besides a test.

  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.

I found Lorraine’s post to be informative and it helped with my understanding of the topic. She went in depth into the subject and provided great strategies for dealing with cheating.

Lorraine Gersitz

RE: Cybercheating?

Is cybercheating really different than any other form of plagiarism or cheating?

When I first did a google search on cybercheating I retrieved a list of sites that had to do with a whole other kind of cheating. It took me few seconds to realize what I was looking at, lol. It seems that other form of cybercheating is pretty rampant too!

Whether it’s a love affair or school work, cybercheating IS cheating. Cheating in coursework isn’t a new phenomenon by any means but computers, online resources, and online courses have made it easier by far and have given us a new name for an old problem. In his blog article in NeoAcademic Richard N. Landers discusses a study by N. Selwyn that defines cybercheating as “cheating enabled by the internet.” Just like cheating before the internet age, it can occur in any type of course on any topic. But students today, some with more technical savvy than their professors, are getting very, very good at it and are doing it more and more. Most researchers agree that there is evidence that cheating has increased in the last few decades, and the Internet is the likely cause.  According to the Selwyn study outlined in Landers post,

  • In a US study, 50% of students admitted to cybercheating at some point while they were in college.
  • In another 30-40% of students admitted to copying text from the internet into their own work without citing the source.  10-20% did so for large sections of their assignments (i.e. more than a sentence here and there).
  • About 25% of graduate students engage in these same behaviors.
  • Typical profile of the most likely cybercheater: young male underclassmen experienced with the Internet

What is “cybercheating” according to the article provided?

Cybercheating is any form of plagiarism, cheating, or academic dishonesty that takes place via the internet or by means of other online sources. It can take place in an online class or a F2F class. It can be intentional or unintentional. It can be copying and pasting without proper citation. It can be retaking online tests. It can be buying and selling test answers or complete research papers.  It can be collusion. It can be research fraud. Cybercheating is cheating and it can take many forms.

How can we prevent cybercheating and other similar types of plagiarism?

In the article Cybercheating in the Information Technology Age I found the following passage very interesting:

“…student experiences with electronic media in particular may lead them to develop attitudes towards the ownership of academic work that are different from established wisdom and at variance with the conventions of academic writing. From this perspective, therefore, copying, or plagiarism, from the internet may not be “cheating” in the eyes of students – the material is seen as being in the public domain and without ownership.”

Sadly, I see this attitude in my own students.

So, as Professor Newberry states in his lecture, one of the most important steps is to define the issues. Explain to students what constitutes plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Other measures to consider:

  • Teach students about the research process, the importance of giving credit to authors via citations, and how to properly quote, paraphrase, and cite works they use in their papers.
  • Create assignments and grading systems that encourage unique work and a step-by-step approach.
  • Use plagiarism checkers such as Turnitin or SafeAssign.
  • Instill in students the values associated with ethical behavior and integrity in the classroom and beyond.
  • Post and discuss your campus Academic Honesty/Dishonesty policy. The Cerritos College Academic Honesty/Dishonesty Policy statement is featured prominently in my courses. It’s very well written and addresses the important values that lead to student success.


Jones, K.O., Reid, J. & Bartlett, R. (2008). Cyber cheating in an information technology age. Digithum. No. 10. Retrieved from

Moten, J., Fitterer, A., Brazier, E., Leonard, J. & Brown, A.C. (2013) Examining online college cyber cheating methods and prevention measures. EJEL.11(2). Retrieved from,d.cGU&cad=rjaoncordia University, Austin Texas, USA

Landers, R.N. (2011) Online plagiarism and cybercheating still strong – 61.9%. Neoacademic. 4 February. 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.

This week I learned that it is important to teach my students about academic dishonesty now that they are in sixth grade because the reason that they often do it is that they do not necessarily know or understand that it is wrong. I also learned that I need to do something to help my students when they are faced with large projects in which they are tempted to cheat. I will break those projects up into parts that they can do without being overwhelmed. As I think about teaching online, I will remember how important it is to be familiar with my students writing and that I will not assign one large project that is due at the end of the class.

ETEC 648- Session 8: Authentic Assessment and Portfolios in eLearning

Provide a project update. What is your working title?

Working Title: Evaluating Online Discussions of Elementary School Students

Update: My project is going well. I have been testing two different structures for online discussions asynchronously in my traditional elementary school classroom. The two structures that I have tried are the Haiku discussion board and using a Google Document to have an online discussion that I have shared with my students using Google Classroom. The major component of my project is creating a rubric to grade the discussion posts that assesses the most important categories of online discussion posts and responses. I have already added one set of revisions to my rubric, and I am currently working on the second set of revisions. My goal is that my sixth grade team will use this rubric to grade online discussions.

  1. How is your project connected to eLearning?

Online discussions are a key component of eLearning because it is an important way to engage students in the class. Students in online classrooms often never meet face-to-face and online discussions are one way that students can interact with one another and with their instructor. In my traditional classroom, I am looking for ways to integrate technology in ways that help my students learn. Online discussions provide a way for my students to continue learning and engaging in discussions even when they are not in my classroom.

  1. How is your project relevant for you?

Using online discussion boards in the classroom is one way that I can give all of my students an equal opportunity to participate in a discussion. When we have a regular classroom discussion, I find that my gifted students tend to have more to contribute to the discussion than my English learners do. It also gives the students who are embarrassed to speak in front of the class an opportunity to have their voices heard. Obviously, I will still require all of my students to participate in classroom discussions, but online discussions that are carefully planned with carefully created questions will extend their learning. I expect my students to analyze, argue, assess, make claims, conclude, discuss, provide evidence, justify, summarize, and support their responses with relevant information.

  1. What are the three most interesting/relevant/informative/important articles in your bibliography for your project?

Bradley, M. E., Thom, L. R., Hayes, J., & Hay, C. (2008). Ask and You Will Receive: How Question Type Influences Quantity and Quality of Online Discussions. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 888–900.


Bradley et al., 2008, researched how the type of questions that students responded to affected the quantity and quality of their responses. They used Bloom’s taxonomy to determine that online discussions are a higher level thinking skill. The six types of questions that they analyzed and focused on were direct link, course link, brainstorm, limited focal, open focal, and application. The goal of the study was to determine whether these different types of questions would influence the types of responses that students wrote on the discussion board. Direct link questions were taken from an article or a quote and were considered to be analytical and higher order. Course link questions were from the course and students had to make a connection between the information from the course and from the readings. They were also considered higher-order questions because students had to synthesize information to respond. Brainstorm questions were written so that students could generate all the ideas that they could come up with about an issue. They were higher-order and synthetic questions. Limited focal questions required students to take an issue with alternatives and justify their positions, and were higher-order and evaluative. Open focal questions gave an issue with no alternatives and asked students for their opinion. These were also higher-order and evaluative question types. Application questions asked students to respond to a scenario based on information from the reading and justify their response with that information. These questions were lower-order Blooms and applied. The dependent variables were the word count and the degree to which the question was completed. The questions they researched were: “1. Which question type generated the highest word count? 2. Which question type generated the most complete answers? 3. Which question types resulted in higher-order thinking in answers and responses?” (p. 891).

The study required students to participate in the online discussions as part of the grade for the course. They had three questions to respond to for each discussion, for a total of twenty-four questions in the semester. The study found that limited focal and direct link question types resulted in the highest word counts, followed by open focal and brainstorm questions. Students wrote more when they had to give their opinions as a part of their response. The questions that generated answers that were more complete were also limited focal and direct link question types. The types of questions that were least completed were application and course link questions. The questions that resulted in higher-order thinking were course link, brainstorm, and direct link questions. The questions that provided the lowest levels of thinking according to Bloom’s Taxonomy were the open focal and application question types.


This article is valuable to my research because it outlines major themes in online discussions that I can research deeper now, but it gave me a good starting point as I look to begin my own discussion board and to think about how I will assess what my students write and how they interact with each other. Some strengths in the article included that she used eleven articles to gather her data from, and that they included three different types of data: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. I found that the quotes from the students gave me a better understanding of their points of view regarding online discussions. One weakness in the article were that it did not go in depth in the research, but just gave an overview of online discussions and the major themes surrounding them. The articles she chose were written between 1998 and 2010, but I think that she should have chosen a more current span of data since she wrote the article in 2012. I know that when I was doing my research, I tried to find articles that were written within the past six to eight years. Overall, I would recommend this article if they want a good overview of trends in online discussions.

McLoughlin, D., & Mynard, J. (2009). An analysis of higher order thinking in online discussions. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 46(2), 147–160. doi:10.1080/14703290902843778


This study by McLoughlin and Mynard (2009) analyzed how higher-order thinking was effectively facilitated in asynchronous online discussion boards. The study focused on two courses that were twenty weeks long and they were taught by McLoughlin and Mynard. They decided to incorporate online discussions because not all of their students participated in the face-to-face discussions. Since the students were taking an English class, and their primary language was Arabic, the authors thought that the students might benefit from having more time to form their responses if they wrote them online rather than coming up with them instantly in class. Higher-order thinking includes the comprehension, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and application levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Some benefits of online discussion boards are that they are student centered, they can be non-intimidating, and teachers and students are equal participants and can contribute whenever they choose to do so. Another positive aspect of online discussion boards is that the teacher does not dominate the discussion because they only contribute from 10% to 15% of the discussion, unlike what can happen in a traditional classroom in which the teacher talk can take up to 80% of the time in the classroom. Online discussion board are one way to have students work collaboratively with their peers as they take into account multiple perspectives and share ideas. However, just because these are benefits of online discussion boards, it does not mean that these benefits are evident in all online discussions. In order to attain these benefits, instructors must carefully think about the types of questions they can ask that will lead to students using higher-order thinking skills. McLoughlin and Mynard focused on the Community of Inquiry framework by Garrison et al., (2000) in which the learner constructs knowledge through a collaborative process. Social, cognitive, and teaching presence are the three elements of the framework and they are evident in the components of an online discussion. The phases of cognitive presence are the triggering phase in which the question is posed on the discussion board, the exploration phase in which students are thinking about and exploring the question as they brainstorm and question, the integration phase is where students make connections as they integrate their thoughts to construct meaning, and resolution where the question is resolved. Integration is the stage in which higher-order thinking skills are used most by students.

The researchers found that discussions that take place online have the potential to require students to use higher-order thinking skills as they respond to the prompt given by the instructor. They found that the wording of the question made a large difference in the type of response students would write. Students were assigned grades, given time limits, clear guidelines, and examples which all contributed to students participating with higher-order thoughts in their posts and they stayed on task and did not engage in social conversations on the discussion boards.


The limitations in this study include the small size of the sample and that the researchers were the instructors of both classes. A strength of the article is that it is an example of active research because they noticed a problem and designed the study when they realized that their students were having issues in the face-to-face discussions. I have not read many articles in which the research is conducted this way, but it makes me feel that it is more applicable because an actual teacher recognized a problem and worked to solve it by using writing a review of the literature and designed their own study. I recommend this article as a good overview of the Community of Inquiry model and of higher-order thinking, and as a good starting point for any teachers who would like to begin using online discussions in their own classrooms.

Szabo, Z., & Schwartz, J. (2011). Learning Methods for Teacher Education: The Use of Online Discussions to Improve Critical Thinking. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 20(1), 79–94.


According to Szabo and Schwartz (2011), technology is a tool that can enhance the process of learning if it is used in a meaningful manner that develops critical thinking skills. It has been shown that asynchronous discussion can develop those critical thinking skills and increase the satisfaction of students in online courses. Critical thinking skills include “logical reasoning, analyzing arguments, testing hypotheses, making decisions, estimating likelihoods, and creative thinking” (p. 80). Higher order thinking skills include the upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy and the revised taxonomy that include metacognition. Traditional face-to-face discussions can also help students achieve higher order thinking skills, but constraints such as time and having one or a few students dominate a discussion are present that are not issues in online asynchronous discussions. Online discussions give students the opportunity to have more time to come up with their thoughts and give everyone an equal opportunity to participate outside of the regular hours spent in the classroom.

Szabo and Schwartz conducted a study on four sections of an Educational Psychology course and two of the four sections participated in online discussions in Blackboard. Two professors taught the courses, and they were identical in everything as far as objectives, requirements, assignments, assessments, grading criteria, textbooks, syllabi, and calendar. The “technology” group participated online and in-class, while the “traditional” group was given short writing reflection assignments to make up for the work that the “technology” group had to do online. They found that by giving students in the “technology” group rubrics that specified that higher order thinking was required, students knew what was expected of them in their discussion board posts. The analysis of the Blackboard discussion posts showed that students were increasing in their critical thinking skills, while students who were in the “traditional” group did not show the same increase in their use of critical thinking skills. The quality of the posts changed over time as students were asked lower level questions in the beginning of the trimester and higher-level questions as the semester progressed.


This research was limited by a small sample size and because it was only tested in one type of course. However, its findings are important for traditional classroom teachers as they look for ways to integrate technology into their teaching. Teachers are always trying to find ways to make the time spent in class more valuable and how to give every student an equal opportunity to share. It is difficult to do that in a classroom with more than thirty students. I recommend this article to instructors who are looking for research that shows that online discussion boards can lead students to think critically because it will help them determine what kinds of questions they should pose to their students if they want them to respond in a way that demonstrates higher-level critical thinking.

  1. What is authentic assessment in your context. Please explain important details like grade level, content area etc.

I teach sixth grade in a traditional elementary school classroom. We have a 1:1 ratio of technology to students with 20 Chromebooks and 11 iPads. I teach math, language arts, social studies, science, ELD, physical education, and try to find time to incorporate the arts. Authentic assessment in the context of my project involves students using multiple resources to respond in an asynchronous online discussion. Since I am focusing on social studies for my project, I will ask questions that require them to respond from the point of view of a historical figure. They will have to use multiple perspectives to think about how they would respond compared to the response of the historical figure.

  1. What are three types of portfolios? Choose one type of portfolio and explain how you could implement it in some eLearning setting.

Reflective Portfolios- include artifacts and a reflective product such as a video about their portfolio

Performance Portfolios- includes the best examples of a student’s work chosen by the student

Learning Portfolios- contains examples of what a student has learned bases on the specific curriculum

I would like my students to create performance portfolios online using Google Apps. I could have them create a folder for the portfolio with folders for each subject. Students would choose the best three examples of their work and write a rationale for why they have chosen each example. If there was work that they didn’t complete digitally, they could scan it or take a picture of it. This would make more sense in my classroom since they do not complete every assignment online. It would be great if they could share their portfolios with the middle school counselors who decide which classes to enroll them in because it would be easier to make those decisions with actual examples of their work along with the other criteria. Ideally, they would create their own website for their portfolios at the end of the year when they have everything they need in their Google folder.

  1. What is competency based learning? How could this impact your career?

Competency based learning is personalized learning that is based on what the individual needs to learn and it allows them to learn it at their own pace. When students feel they have learned it, they take an assessment that determines whether or not they have learned it. It is an individualized learning plan.

This could impact my career in several ways because personalized learning is something that my district has been working on since last year. Recently, I asked our Director of Innovation and Learner Engagement what personalized learning was and I was surprised that teachers in my district were already teaching that way. Some schools in our district received a Gates Foundation grant and that is why they are participating in personalized learning. My question was and still is how do all those teachers find the time to create the content for their students and how have they changed the content that they already created to meet the Common Core State Standards. One of the projects I created last quarter to teach the Standards for Mathematical Practice took many hours to complete, so I can’t imagine how they find ways to make all of their content available to their students online. I also do not know how all the teachers at a school participate when their levels of proficiency with technology vary widely. So, one day soon, I might be teaching competency based learning using the personalized learning model.

  1. Evaluate your participation in the discussion this week. Provide at least one quote from the discussion that supports your evaluation.

My participation in the discussion board this week was meaningful because I had good ideas about the use of portfolios with my own students. I always look for ways that I can apply what I am learning in my own classroom with my sixth graders.

My original post:

What are some great portfolio tools and practices?

How could we make a portfolio work in a class like this one?

One of the purposes of creating a portfolio is to share it, so creating a portfolio that can easily be shared with others is very important. Depending on the type of portfolio that students are creating, students may choose what evidence of their learning they want to include. If it is a growth portfolio, they will want to choose early evidence of their work and later evidence to show growth. If it is a showcase portfolio, students will only want to choose their best work. If it is an evaluation portfolio, the instructor should provide a list of what needs to be included. One of the most important components of any type of portfolio is the reflection piece and it can include a reflection on their progress, a reflection on the process of creating the work sample, and/or a teacher reflection on the student’s progress and strengths.

Our students all have a Gmail account provided to them that they keep the entire time they are in our K-12 district. As I was thinking about ways to create a portfolio that includes more than just text and images, I was thinking that if they each created a folder in their Google Drive and named it portfolio, they could share it with me so I could have access to it. I would give them a list of the pieces I wanted to see in their portfolio. It would be great, as Laura mentioned, for students to have a portfolio of their K-12 work. We used to have a folder for language arts that would go in each students’ cum folder, but we stopped doing that years ago. I always liked seeing their progress from K through sixth grade.

The same could be done for an online course such as this because we all have Gmail accounts provided to us by CSUSB. We could share our portfolio folders with one another. This seems more tedious for an online course than it does for my sixth grade students, so I think that creating a website for our portfolios would make more sense and that is what we have to do for the instructional technology program. One website that I am familiar with is Weebly. My students use Weebly to create their National History Day websites. I am going to read more about how I can use Weebly to create an electronic portfolio.

I have used blogs in the past with my students and they are great, especially for writing because you can really see how they have grown from the beginning of the year through the end of the year. I really like using because it is easy to use with sixth grade students and I have a lot of control over the settings of their blogs and the comments.

  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.

Hye Su wrote a great original post about portfolios. She made a connection between what she has been doing on her blog and what she has read about and came to the conclusion that her blog is in fact a portfolio. She also did some research and found benefits of e-portfolios.

Hye Su’s Post:

According to my experience with the e-portfolio, I can reflect what I learned in classes through it and have opportunities to learn new aspects toward an issue by communicating with classmates. Moreover, I can share and understand other classmates’ ideas who came from various different fields. For this ETEC648 class, students can upload a post every week. It could be a reflection what they learned, essay, or journal review so that they can recognize their progressive. I think the way which we are doing posting every week is really helpful for learners’ learning process. The instructor and students’ replies make students encourage and motivated students to search or learn new knowledge in order to comment to their reply. The e-portfolio also can assessment tool for grading learners’ performance.

According to Banks(2004) found several benefits of e-portfolio; (There are many other benefits of portfolio we did not mentioned; thus, I want to share with my classmates.)

  1. Support coherent management of a variety of achievements and pieces of work. These can be restructured and viewed in different ways for different purposes, for example, for reviewing learning, planning future learning, or providing evidence for an award or an employers
  2. Help learners take control of their learning and their lives, by reflecting on their activities and planning future directions.
  3. Provide a learner-centered rather than course-centered view of learning
  4. give appropriate views of achievement and learners’ work to appropriate people, for example, the learner, teachers, mentors, careers advisers, potential employers, educational institutions to whom the learner is applying
  5. Support “just in time” or “bite-sized” learning, by contextualizing which bite of learning is needed at this moment in time and helping place it in the context of a long-term learning journey
  6. Facilitate a wider variety and more authentic forms of assessment and accreditation
  7. complement credit-based approaches to flexible accreditation
  8. provide continuity through a learner’s lifelong learning as they more between learning providers
  9. Help with continuing professional development, by encouraging reflection on practice, linking this with learning activities and sharing with one’s team
  10. Link learners’ achievements and work with the skills required by their employers, helping to identify learning needs and close the skills gap. As well as holding this information for perusal, it can potentially be available, through feeds such as RSS, to “skills broker” – whether human, or computer agents, which match skills to skills needs, stimulating regional and global economies

-e-portfolio can also be used to record the skills, assets, achievements and plans of a group of people – for example a team, a school, a community

Source 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.

This week I learned more about different types of assessment in online instruction. This is important for me because I am looking for better ways to assess my students, especially online. I think that taking the time to have my students build a digital performance portfolio for sixth grade will be a valuable experience for them. It might even motivate them to create one each school year, or to add to the one they have already created. Competency based learning is also something I need to think about because my GATE students may have already mastered some of the sixth grade standards and I need to think about what assessments I can give them to show their mastery. Then, I can think about creating a personalized learning plan for them.

ETEC 648- Session 7: Online Discussions

  1. Overall, how well did your rubric work?

My rubric made it easy to grade the discussion posts based on the criteria that I chose. I was able to grade the original post, the responses to measure engagement, and writing conventions. If this had been my class, it would have been a fair way to assess them because they would have known the criteria on the rubric prior to participating in the online discussion. I was surprised at the number of errors my two students made in writing conventions, but having the rubric made it easy to determine whether they had partial or minimal evidence of mastery just by counting the number of errors that they made. It took a long time to figure out how many posts each of my students had written using this collection of the online discussion. I ended up copying and pasting each of their responses into this document to make it easier for me to grade them. However, this would not be the ideal way to grade if I had more than two students in the class.

  1. Identify and explain the strengths of your rubric.

One of the strengths of my rubric was that I included a specific number of responses they had to write and a certain number of errors they could have. That made it easy to determine what level of mastery they had accomplished and it would make it easy to show the students how they ended up with a certain score based on their response. It made it a little less subjective.

  1. Identify and explain one weaknesses of your rubric.

One weakness in my rubric was that the writing conventions were equally weighted with the original post and engagement. For these particular students, having equal points for conventions was not to their benefit. I think that the quality of the original post and their engagement in the discussion should be worth more points than writing conventions. Another weakness was that I did not include supporting evidence as part of the original post. I think it is important for students to include references that support their response.

  1. What changes would you make to your rubric now that you have used it?

I would change the number of points for the categories so that writing conventions do not have an equal weight. Instead of being worth a total of 10 points for each category, I would change it to 12 points for the original post and for engagement and 6 points for writing conventions. I would also add supporting evidence with sources to the original post category.

  11 to 12 points- Thorough Evidence of Mastery 9 to 10 points-Adequate Evidence of Mastery 6 to 8 points- Partial Evidence of Mastery 0 to 5 points- Minimal evidence of mastery
Original Post Responds skillfully to all parts of the prompt

Strong use of organization of ideas, concepts and information

Includes supporting evidence and cites a minimum of two sources to support their response

Responds to all parts of the prompt

Organizes ideas, concepts and information

Includes supporting evidence and cites at least one source to support their response

Responds to most parts of the prompt

Limited use of organization of ideas, concepts and information

Includes supporting evidence, but does not cite the source

Responds to few or no parts of the prompt

Little or no use of organization of ideas, concepts and information

Does not include supporting evidence

Engagement More than 3 posts that integrate supporting evidence such as facts, details, questions, quotations, or examples to make connections and support their responses A minimum of 3 posts that include supporting evidence such as facts, details, quotations, or examples to support their responses 2 to 3 posts that include some supporting evidence such as facts, details, quotations, or examples to support their responses Posts do not include supporting evidence
  6 points- Thorough Evidence of Mastery 4 to 5 points-Adequate Evidence of Mastery 2 to 3 points- Partial Evidence of Mastery 1 point- Minimal evidence of mastery
Writing Conventions Demonstrates exemplary command of grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling (No errors) Demonstrates command of grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling (1-2 errors) Demonstrates limited command of grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling (3-5 errors) Demonstrates insufficient command of grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling (6 or more errors)
  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.

This week I learned more about online discussions and testing in online classes. I found the information about online discussions valuable because my project is about having online discussions with my sixth grade students. Grading online discussions is not an easy task! I think I would have to have some kind of check off list if I really wanted to make my rubric useful for grading an online discussion because I need to be able to go back and reread what students wrote before I give them a grade. Hopefully, there is an easy way to pull up all of the posts for one student to make it easier to grade their responses. I would also have to make sure that I had already read and participated in the online discussion to make sure that everyone was engaged. These are all things that I will have to consider as I try having online discussions with my students. Grading is one way to motivate students, so in theory, having a rubric with specific categories and guidelines will motivate my students to be active participants in our online discussions.