Although the infographic linked above does not offer much information on what schools/universities were a part of the research, it does offer a visual representation of the progress that educators are making in their classrooms toward use of available technologies. The ‘cloud’ can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, so whether or not educators are experiencing the full effect of cloud technology in their classrooms is left up to the user (both educator and learner) to determine. That being said, any progress that we can make for the benefit of learners via the many tools available to us is substantial.
Rubrics meet a variety of needs in the online world. I always consider the student first. A well designed rubric lets the student know how the paper or project will be graded. In this case, the majority of the grade will be dedicated to the content of the paper. Did the learner demonstrate an in depth understanding of the theories, concepts, and/or strategies presented in the unit?
It is also important that the learner follow directions. The facilitator/lead teacher wants to be able to grade an assignment, rather than just a random rambling of thoughts. Therefore, I always make a portion of the grade contingent on “the student followed directions in the assignment.
Writing is a big issue in higher education. Believe it or not, students come to college and even Master’s programs without the “foggiest idea” of how to put two thoughts together (to quote my mother). They also need much direction on how and when to cite. So, in most graduate work, it is appropriate to tie a portion of the grade to writing. I find that the words, “clear, concise, and well organized” describe what we expect.
If expectations are presented in a clear, concise and well organized manner (yes, pun intended), then the learners will be able to fully understand how to proceed to get the expected results. Further, when it comes time to assess, the grader will have a road map to use as well as a reference if he/she meets with contention from the learner concerning grade procedures.
Assignments in the online course can take on a wide variety of personalities. I like to give the learner as much information as possible, but keep it on one screen. Note that in this screen shot, the assignment title, point value and overview are up front and center. This is helpful to those individuals who truly need the big picture first. They get to wrap their minds around the scope of the assignment before delving into the logistics.
When setting up instructions it is important to keep the action statements sequenced in order of purpose. Think: do this first, then do this. If you have information to add to the action, use sub-bullets to add this to the main directives.
Finally, offer information that will be helpful, i.e: How should the assignment be turned in? How many words? What file naming conventions should be used? etc.
See these examples of course organization best practices:
Introduction videos come in all shapes and sizes. The talking head is the easiest video to pull off, so it generally gets the most air time. However, with a little imagination and creativity, other options are so much more interesting and appealing to the learner. Take a look at this introduction to Art History produced by Mathew Bardwell. He filmed the professor in the ACU learning studio–not in a field with airplanes flying overhead. They had a blast putting this together, and I imagine the learners were very engaged as they viewed their professor dodging bullets and sneaking in and intro to the course outcome. Even if you do not have a learning studio, a little research on the use of green screens could prove helpful when videoing outside the norm and don’t neglect the impact of costuming or setting that draws a picture.
It is important to online learners to have the big picture before beginning a module or set of activities. I created this page for that purpose. It allows the learner to see the course outcome, module objectives, reading expectations and … Continue reading →
Educators in K-12 schools are fearful of Internet sites. What are they concerned about? Primarily sites that are unfit for students of this age. In overcoming this inhibition, though, they often have to overcome the district’s technology standards. Again, these are in place for the protection of young minds. With all these good motives we have excluded a wealth of good resources. Would it be more advisable to teach learners to use the resources available to them on the Internet wisely? Note the Websites that many schools do not let through the filters.