W8 O’connor…Is this really new?

I chuckled a bit when I read the information about Universal Design.  Back in the 90s I was grade 5 teacher in the UK.  We certainly didn’t have all the bells and whistles back then (one computer sheared between two classes with 32 kids in each…and it rarely worked) but we certainly adhered to these principals and were given structures to work within.  For example, in math class… Ok say I was going to work with fractions.  First there would be some type of presentation for the whole class usually involving the old form of a doc cam (over head projector), then the class would be split into three groups.  There was a group that learned best with manipulatives so they maybe had pizzas made of card to split into fractions, then another group who  still needed something more visual would work with say shapes drawn on paper and have to circle which fraction was shaded.  Another group who could think more abstractly could work with the fractions themselves.  Took a lot of thinking and prep but it worked well and all the kids were able to learn.

I have carried this thinking into my classes here.  Although I don’t have my students cutting up pizza in class (although I am sure they would like that) I do always try to use multiple ways to explain things.  If I have written instructions I always explain them as well and you will often see  pictures and diagrams on my whiteboard to explain concepts such as how a certain verb tense works.



W8 – Rodgers – Universal Design and Accessibility

I was first introduced to Universal Design several years ago in ECIT’s Technology, Pedagogy, and Curriculum class (ECIT now being a part of the ECDS, and TPC now including a research component, becoming TPC+R).   I will be candid and say that it took me a while to understand the importance of the concept; while I was thinking of it simply as a way to provide accommodations to a student with a disability, it seemed like a back-up plan, and one that I would implement only in the specific case where a student requested it. When I thought about it more, I realized that Universal Design actually entailed thinking about and accounting for the different ways that people navigate their world (including, but not limited to, their unique learning styles), regardless of ability. Based on whatever combination of factors (demographics, DNA, past experiences) we all perceive, interpret, and learn from our environments differently, so it just makes sense to provide multiple ways to access material, for the good of all of our students and not just those with disabilities.

For me, the three networks were yet another way to think about Universal Design, and one that I had not encountered before (previously, I thought of it more in terms of sensory modalities). One thing I particularly like is that it breaks down the strategies by the motivations of the individual learners and provides suggestions for appealing to each set. I think it would be really interesting if there were a self-test to figure out what sort of learner a person was, because I would definitely make a class of students take the test and (anonymously) report their results back to me. It might allow for more targeted teaching strategies, and I think it might be illuminating and beneficial for the students to learn that sort of thing about themselves.

To increase accessibility in my own classes, I think I should definitely record (and then share) our classroom sessions. Providing access to classes after-the-fact would alleviate the burden on students to write down every important thing they hear during lecture, and free them up to engage in discussion. Also, I need to plan my board work in advance and commit to doing it the entire class session—currently, I tend to write things on the board haphazardly when it occurs to me, and that doesn’t do anyone any favors. In an online or blended classroom, I think I would be forced to do both of the things more thoughtfully, which is probably a really good thing. Finally, I’ve mentioned before on the blog how I’d like to incorporate Voice Thread (using it to lay out difficult concepts in small chunks and allowing students to ask questions about the individual pieces), and that is still something I’d like to do, regardless of classroom setting. One thing the readings made me realize, however, is that I’d need to include closed-captioning for any audio recordings I included.

My questions about this topic derive from my own experiences as a student: how does an instructor assess students who might be reticent to engage across a particular medium but very comfortable using another? Should the instructor require participation across every medium (blog posts, asking questions during synchronous sessions) or kind of grade them as a whole (student is very active in the blog but quiet in synchronous sessions)? I ask because I write pages and pages given the opportunity (as seen here multiple times, sorry y’all!) and develop All of the Opinions, but I actually never speak in traditional classrooms, and the mere thought of it makes me nervous. I’m just a lot more comfortable writing than speaking, because there is more time for reflection, and processing, and editing. (I actually thought I’d be a terrible student in an online classroom, but having blog posts as a main component of this class has actually made me engage with the content a lot more than I might have as a student in face-to-face classes.) And that leads to a follow-up question: to what extent should we, as instructors, push students out of their comfort zone, specifically in terms of their mode of engagement?

Week 7 – Rodgers – OERs

I have heard of specific Open Educational Resources like Project Gutenberg and I know about copyright and public domain (and Creative Commons), but I was not aware of OERs as a category of things, if that makes sense. Mainly, professors in my department have shown us Project Gutenberg as a resource for philosophy texts that are in the public domain (which is a lot of them, as philosophy is pretty old, and they’re still useful, because our discipline is still pretty obsessed with arguing about theories from 2,000 years). However, I also just learned about LibriVox, which is an online collection of free public domain audiobooks read by volunteers. Though I have not used this collection before, it’s wonderful for students who are better audio learners than visual learners (and might be a good way to listen to some classic literature on a road trip). And, I think provided in tandem, Project Gutenberg and LibriVox would make a great resource for online courses beyond philosophy, just in terms of providing multiple modes of access to a text. For my own classes, I might also use TedTalks, particularly in an issue-driven course like Bioethics. I’m sure there are lots of talks on things like abortion, universal healthcare, physician-assisted suicide, organ donation, stem cell research, etc. (a quick search tells me I’m correct), and a video like this might be an easy way to sort of trim the fat from the issue, so to speak. In general, though, I think OERs provide not only more material for classroom use, but also provide it in different sensory modalities, which is helpful for students who have a range of learning styles, and at different depth levels (where some give a very superficial overview and others deeply probe an issue).

As an instructor in a Philosophy department, my feelings about OERs are ambivalent. On the one hand, many works of philosophy are available under public domain, alleviating financial burdens on students and providing them access to many more classroom materials than they might otherwise have. For example, the entire corpus of John Dewey, a very important American philosopher (who happens to feature heavily in my dissertation), is in the public domain and available through Project Gutenberg. However, I am also skeptical because students sometimes fail to critically assess the credibility of the sources they stumble across online, weighting equally the commentary of a foremost scholar of John Dewey and the ramblings of an internet blogger who happens to have read a John Dewey quote online somewhere. I think the solution here is to be very clear with students how they can evaluate the merit of the OERs they find and check their sources before deciding which work merits greater consideration.

Generally, copyright has not been an issue for my classes because my students purchase their textbooks, which are their primary resource for class. (If they choose to get their books another way, I am not aware of it.) However, if I only want to assign a small section of text, I will assign it through Course Reserves, or provide a link if it’s a work within the public domain. We also review proper citation procedure prior to their first paper, and I explain that citation management software like Zotero can really alleviate the burden of having to write your own citations. I also refer them to the Emory Honor Code and provide examples of plagiarism. In terms of delivering content, however, it’s relatively straightforward: I assign the book, they buy the book, I tell them page numbers to read, and sometimes we read aloud from those pages in class. Because I don’t generally use slides or presentations, copyright isn’t much of an issue (though if I were to incorporate something like images, I’d let Creative Commons be my guide).

Week 7 Affordable Learning Georgia

Yes I had heard about Open Educational Resources before this module. In fact a while back I co-presented on Affordable Learning Georgia which is an initiative of the University System of Georgia funded by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The goal is to promote student success by providing affordable textbook alternatives.

According to “Turning the Page,” a June 2013 report on the textbook market from the Lumina Foundation:
18.62 million full-time college students spend an average of $600 to $1,200 per year on textbooks
these costs have been rising at more than twice the rate of the Consumer Price Index.
approximately 30 percent of college students do not purchase textbooks required for specific classes
94% of students who do not buy the required textbook for a class indicate concern that the lack of a textbook will negatively affect their grade in the course
students who did not purchase or rent the required textbook received a grade that was .57 lower (on an A=4.0 scale) than the class average

Information from http://www.luminafoundation.org/

Concerns mentioned by faculty and librarians we interviewed included:
Quality of materials
Impact on publishing industry (plus people who write for profit)

Positives included:
Increased retention/graduation of students

Week 4-Adamski- Authentic vs. Traditional

As I examine the overall objectives and assessment strategies  for my hybrid course, several issues plague me! How to ensure my students receive the appropriate information and are able to perform certain acute care tasks necessary to move on through the program. The heavy content course for the summer (nsg 520) will provide the rigor, in-class lectures with the traditional assessment methods of tests, quizzes, and presentations. The hybrid course that will parallel 520 has a current curriculum which augments the information taught in 520. Therefore, I have some flexibility to use more authentic assessment tools. Currently, I am thinking of using zaption case studies in critical care, VT and blackboard weekly posts, in addition to, simulation activities for the skills portion of the course. I am more comfortable using traditional assessment tools, however, advanced practice nurses need to know not only the book knowledge, but  be able to apply that knowledge to real life scenarios. Some opportunities for growth for me will be applying these authentic assessment tools into my hybrid course and integrating them in a way, that they do not seem forced to be in there. Therein lies the dilemma!

Week 4 – Sheridan- #Authentic

As I forge ahead with the building of the WHNP 2 hybrid course I struggle with multiple things. How do I deliver content so that students can take that knowledge and then perform tasks?   I have decided on content delivered online through recorded PowerPoint, zaption quizzes, and Voice Thread rounds.  However, the ultimate test is if the students can pass the skills portion of the course working with simulated patients.

When I reviewed the assessment strategies it was clear that I am much more focused on the authentic assessment.  I think in general most clinically focused courses are (or should be focused in that manner). The following comparison from the Mueller article highlights what we specifically look at in nursing simulations.   Nurses need to be able to proficiently perform tasks in real life situations.  They need to apply knowledge in situations that may not be “textbook”.

Traditional ——————————————— Authentic

Selecting a Response ———————————— Performing a Task

Contrived ————————————————————— Real-life

Recall/Recognition ——————————- Construction/Application

Teacher-structured ————————————- Student-structured

Indirect Evidence ——————————————– Direct Evidence

My strengths are in the creation of realistic simulation experiences as well as delivering content in a relate able and practical way.  My area of weakness is creating rubrics that are meaningful and measurable.  I generally adapt other rubrics for what I need but am not sure that they are truly valid or as concise and specific as needed.

Week 4 – Jane – What is an Adult?

I was interested to read about heutagogy. I am currently doing my EdD in Adult Education and was introduced to andragogy which I am embarrassed to admit I had not come across before. I am surprised that this term was not introduced to me in the EdD readings so I am looking forward to throwing it into the conversation in my next class! “What you haven’t heard about heutagogy?”

According to Lisa Marie Blaschke (2012) it is “a form of self-determined learning…[where] learners are highly autonomous and self-determined and emphasis is placed on development of learner capability, with the goal of producing learners who are well-prepared for the complexities of today’s workforce”.


  • self-directed learning
  • develop competency
  • curriculum, discussions, assessment designed by learner


  • self-determined learning
  • develop capability
  • curriculum, discussions, assessment designed by instructor
  • reflective

So the question is, would my students be able to design their own learning and would they want to? Blaschke states , “Distance education and heutagogy … have in common the same audience, mature adult learners”. By this she means the non-traditional, older, working adults with significant life experience. Does an 18 year old know what they need to know and would they know how to know it? I am sure many would and it is a good skill to develop but I am doubtful whether this would be highly successful when my leaners are on the other side of the planet. In addition, many of the learners I teach come from a very teacher centered system so this is something that would take time to develop. Now this is not to say it is something that has no value. I specifically like the reflection that goes on in heutagogy and this is something I already incorporate in my onsite classes (English 101). In addition, I have students design class activates where they are given a very general topic (such as “America in World War 2” and they have to choose a small section about that topic they are interested in and design an activity for the class to impart that information (PowerPoint NOT allowed, it must be something interactive and fun). So it’s like “creativity within constraint”. I am still not sure how this would work online and with a VERY different class (“grammar”). I need to think some more about this!

Week 4 – Arnsperger – (Mis)Judging the Self

In my past and current teaching, I have encouraged self-evaluated and self-directed learning inside and outside the classroom, though only in tandem with more traditional approaches to learning. I think every time I ask, for example, “what makes a good thesis,” “how do we best conclude a paper,” “why do we read literature,” “what do you know, what are your questions, what do you want to learn,” I encourage self-directed learning to some extent, as I ask the students to actively reflect upon their own work and their own interests, capacities, and knowledge.  They may come up with ideas that I have had too, or they may share thoughts that are not unique or surprising, but some students’ suggestions may indeed be new and innovative and compelling, thus influencing my teaching but also influencing their approaches to the material.

In a few classes in the past, I have asked students to evaluate themselves and other members of a team after they completed a group project. I would give them specific prompts and instructions before they would submit a note to me about their peers. I have also asked students to evaluate their in-class participation at the end of a couple of classes. I would tell students to submit a note with the participation grade they feel they deserve, along with a clear, meaningful explanation and justification. This last assignment did not necessarily prove to be extremely useful, as most students would, not surprisingly perhaps, rate themselves very highly, stressing all their strengths while not mentioning any problems (attendance, lateness, distraction); however, in conjunction with my own perspective, I was able to arrive at what I thought to be accurate grades. The first activity, evaluation of peers, was likewise associated with issues, as students are hesitant to judge their classmates. Occasionally, though, this exercise was eye-opening, as I would learn, for example, that one of four students did not contribute anything to a group project and never showed up to meetings; then again, most students proved to be very diligent and motivated according to the evaluations …

Several friends and colleagues have taken the idea of self-evaluated and self-directed learning much further. I know of one colleague who would sit down with his students at the end of the semester and “negotiate” a final grade. Apparently successfully so. I can see how this might be tempting to do (in an online class, this would have to be done via email or chat or Skype), as it would prevent grade complaints after the class. I’d be curious what other people think about such an approach to evaluation.

W4 – Rodgers – Assessments in Philosophy

In my experience, the vast majority of philosophy courses use one, and exactly one, assessment technique: papers (and occasionally a participation grade). At times an instructor will require a summary of the reading (to demonstrate comprehension), and at other times, a critical response (to demonstrate both critical and creative thinking). Though the prompts vary, however, the format remains the same. While I am generally pretty good about having them write drafts and then improve upon those, I still have trouble getting students to craft a sound and reasonable argument. This class is providing me an opportunity to examine the grading rut I have fallen into, but unfortunately I’m having trouble seeing a better way to assess student learning and critical thinking than having them write papers.

My goals for my students, when they complete an assessment, are as follows:
-that they demonstrate that they understand the texts we’ve read,
-that they can think about the text as an argument,
-that they spend time carefully considering the argument as a whole,
-that they think critically about the argument,
-and that they formulate their own thoughtful response to it.


Bloom's Taxonomy
Source: Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching

Essentially, my goal is for them to work their way through Bloom’s taxonomy, and in writing a paper, to show me how they did it and where they ended up. I do sincerely believe that writing a paper is one of the best ways to do that, because it forces them to slow down and think.

However, I can think of two things that might improve their learning outcomes.

  1. Taking them through the stages of Bloom’s taxonomy paper by paper. In other words, require that the first paper be a summary, the second paper be an application, the third paper be analysis, the fourth paper be a critique, and the fifth paper be an original response. In this way, I can lead them through the process step by step, rather than just throwing them in the deep end.
  2. Using Voice Thread to break the argument into pieces for them, presenting them with a one part of it per frame, and then allowing them to respond to individual sections of it (bonus: getting to incorporate images for the visual learners). I think this might prevent them from getting overwhelmed by the task of taking on the argument as a whole, and instead break it into comprehensible, manageable chunks. It would also keep them from misunderstanding the text and then trying to base their whole response on a misunderstanding (which is a particularly frustrating paper to grade).

Both of these hinge upon breaking both the material and the students’ responses to it into smaller pieces. I think it’s a reasonable goal and one that would greatly benefit my students.


Week 2 Module 2 Reflections. Muratore

Teaching and online class can be a great tool to enhance students’ enrollment especially during the summer terms when students are traveling. It give the professors the flexibility to plan and manage the course ahead and also to teach from any place in the world. I believe I can be an effective teacher if I am able to convey to students the importance of taking responsibility for managing their own learning experience, and being active and creative students. Also the online environment can be a more comfortable venue for shyer students, they would feel more comfortable posting in a blog or preparing a VT.  One of my biggest concern is to facilitate a discussion online, asking a question to students and expect a discussion similar to a face to face one seems difficult to achieve, especially in a second language classroom.