All posts by jcoconn

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.



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

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 – 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 2: I do this to myself: O’Connor

So my main reason for taking this class is to do with summer teaching.  Many of our second language speaking students wish to take classes over the summer, especially writing classes to fulfill that requirement, but they also wish to go home to see family.  Being so far away from home for many this is the only opportunity in the year to go home.  This is a dilemma but one that could be solved by creating online versions of the classes we currently teach.  It would also give us more flexibility as instructors.

The biggest issue for me is I am not the best with technology.  In my 9 years at Emory I have certainly gained a lot of knowledge with the patience of such good folks as Leah.  I am confident with Blackboard for example and can whip up a survey on survey monkey.  Yesterday I learned how to do forms on Wufu…BUT it takes TIME!!!!!  And when something goes wrong……it’s hard for me to fix it! Leah??????/  Help??????