Ten best practices in online teaching from the standpoint of a student-teacher

Isabella Villas Boas recently completed a ten-week online courses and reflects on different practices and their application – including

Making sure that people know each other well so that they can become a true community of learners….  For some cultures more than for others, images are very important to aid communication. In the course I took, for example, I resented the fact that we couldn’t see people’s photos next to each of their posts. Some of us had posted pictures to accompany our introductory remarks inside a folder called “Week 1”, but they were uploaded as documents and difficult to retrieve on a daily basis. Ideally, the LMS should have a sidebar with the participants’ profiles so that they can be consulted easily throughout the course. Instructors might also place so much emphasis on having students introduce themselves that they, the instructors, forget to do the same.

The other nine

 

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The SHAPE Project, technologies to enhance learning for young people on the Autism Spectrum

The OpenSen blog reviews some recent developments for children on the autistic spectrum including a variety of humanoid robotics, kinectwiki, Cospatial, Reactickles magic and a virtual environment- Echoes:

Echoes is a technology enhanced learning experience, where young people with ASC can explore in a virtual learning environment by interacting with Andy an intelligent virtual character.  Andy encourages exploration and provides opportunities for social communication in a virtual magical garden and during some hands on time with the software I was able to sort and move flower pots, collect items, throw a bouncing ball, shake rain clouds to create raindrops that allowed me to grow flowers and burst bubbles, all with Andy’s encouragement.  Andy could helpfully look at items to prompt further interaction and sign to me using Makaton, even when we tried to be unhelpful by playfully soaking Andy with a rain cloud, we weren’t scolded or corrected, instead Andy continued to provide prompts to other areas of interest and opportunities that would create a more positive result from our interaction

 

Video and in full

 

Developing Alternative Research Assignments with Students and Faculty

Kathleen DeLaurenti looks at different options available through technology which can change how writing assignments are completed. She refers to a Music of the Civil War class where they completed alternative research assignments. There wasn’t a central learning portal so they developed an online bibliography where students could collect links and get feedback and also used a wiki to support the writing.

For the Civil War assignment, I focused on helping the students get started using the technology, but also on how to evaluate websites. Website evaluation was a significant part of the Worlds of Music project as well, but I also played a greater role in meeting with the students. Each group was required to sign up for a 45 minute meeting with me to make sure they were comfortable with the technology, but also to talk about the research resources and strategies they would need for the assignment. In addition to introducing them to key resources in ethnomusicology, we talked about how to narrow their topics (one wiki page in one semester certainly wouldn’t represent all of the music of China!) and how to present this material in the context of a wiki. For example, using slideshows if they built image collections rather than cluttering up their webpage with so many images it was confusing to other readers.

In full

 

Funding awarded for Sierra Leone health partnership

From Kings College London news, their Global Health centre has been awarded a grant to improve health professions education in Sierra Leone.

The partnership will draw on the expertise of staff from across King’s Health Partners to work with staff at COMAHS to develop revised curricula for all programmes, provide training in modern teaching methods, equip classrooms and develop proposals for new training programmes. This will involve visits by medical, nursing and pharmacy educators to Sierra Leone to conduct needs assessments and hold curriculum workshops, as well as provide distance mentoring and support.

The project will also use an online learning platform called MedicineAfrica

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Reflective Notes: International Online Collaboration in Project Work

educalogy blogs about recently participating in an online collaborative project to create an educational handbook with learners from Estonia, Norway and Finland. The project was completed entirely online using virtual classroom / meeting tools, shared online documents, wikis, facebook and other tools. the author writes about how the group dynamics developed and being able to participate in a joint presentation. The ability to participate in live sessions and the distribution of tasks are reviewed with mixed levels of participation as the project developed. There’s an interesting video embedded in the post from one of the presentations and their own presentation using Prezi.

mastery-oriented students in the group will always work for a good result and will all too often do literally all the work for a group’s presentation – as the social norm of not reporting the fellow student’s inactivity is still holding strong – which it should be. I think it is in the responsibility of the course designer and instructor to establish ways of monitoring and controlling a fairer distribution of work in academic collaborative learning groups

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Communicating in Research

Leigh Hall of the Education Disruptions blog writes about a project where they are encouraging teachers to collaborate and wondes how best to do this. They have set up a VoiceThread

Although I’ve just sent out one VT, I am hopeful it will work well as a means for communicating information about the project. First, teachers can watch it at their own pace. Second, they can watch it as many times as they want (some of it or all of it). They can also leave comments if they need help with something that others likely could benefit from.

They look at how the voicethreads can be explored further and note how if this had been done as a face-face workshop they would not have the advantage of the recordings being easily available for review

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Closing the gap on aboriginal education

Brian Tompson writes about the exclusion of indigenous students and communities in education. He explains how teachers have looked at issues such as misbehaviour and absenteeism and attributed a lack of achievement against an indigenous label.

If we are to help our students learn then we need to look at student-centred classrooms and learning techniques that encourage learning. It is recognised that Aboriginal students learn best by doing rather than by theory. Neil Harrison recognises that students learn by imitating others (Harrison 2011). Teachers need to differentiate their teaching methods which include avoiding the overuse of textbooks and provide authentic learning experiences which deal with real life situations or themes that students can relate to.

He stresses the role of collaboration with the local communities and parents in developing a meaningful education and have a more informed cultural awareness, moving away from textbooks and other formal learning materials

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Two classes meet via Skype

Kerry Muste blogs about the Crazy Crazes project with gives South African students the opportunity to connect with students from around the world sharing their experiences via a wiki.

The project has resulted in a whole lot of learning not only for the students but also for me as I have never used a wiki. I have also learnt to use Youblisher to showcase the students’ work about our town and school and VoiceThread to allow the other classes to hear us singing the National anthem.

She describes the excitement of being able to connect with other students via Skype,

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Digital technologies in the operating theatre

Anna Waring discusses an ongoing study where they are looking at the use and impact of digital technologies for students learning to perform operations and experienced surgeons sharing knowledge about their experiences. She features laparoscopies:

The view that is picked up by the laparoscope is then magnified and projected onto screens around the operating table (see Figure). Surgeons can record the laparoscopic view, allowing them to replay the operation afterwards, for instance to reflect on how the operation went or to demonstrate to trainees and patients how a procedure is done. Edited versions of these recordings are sometimes disseminated through Youtube and other platforms, with running commentaries added to the visuals

She provides examples of how video can be used for investigating surgery, learning how to make decisions, learning gestures for operating safely on patients and the effect on the theatre as a learning space.

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Preparing e-learning online

Anne Fox reflects about the UnderstandIT project which has recently been completed in Europe. The project explored possibilities and spaces for elearning developers and designers to create eLearning by collaborating online – using a method known as ConCurrent Design. She provides a diagrams of the sessions plan.

The UnderstandIT project used the previously developed VITAE vocational training course to test out distributed CCeD with partners from Denmark, Norway Lithuania Italy, Germany and Portugal.

They have delivered a range of outcomes including an online tool for making a business plan and a proof of concept using ELGG

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