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.
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)
Increased retention/graduation of students
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.
I have to say, I really loved Voice Thread. I can imagine creating a very concise introduction/explanation of the concepts to be discussed in class, spreading it across several slides, and then having students post their questions on the appropriate slide. Not only would that make our in-class time more targeted at their concerns, but it would also be a useful exercise for them and encourage some reflection (because they would have to spend a little more time formulating the question and figuring out where it fits into the explanation provided).
I also think the response options (text, video, or audio) are great. As someone who expresses herself much more effectively through writing and absorbs information much better visually, I appreciate that discussion participants are able to choose the medium best suited to their communicative and learning styles. I would definitely use Voice Thread even for classes that weren’t online.
Online teaching requires even more requirements than face-to-face classes. In an actual classroom, we as teachers can come up with spontaneous assignments and exercises, and we can then ask students to work on these in class, even if they are not graded; while students are working on the assignments, we can monitor them, and we may then call on individual students to share their responses. In the online classroom, such rather spontaneous lessons and interactions are rare. As online teachers we need to clearly outline the requirements, and we need to either have all students submit their work (such as responses to readings), or offer an incentive (extra credit for example) to students who do submit work. Students do the work on their own, outside from the teacher’s immediate supervision or purview (though on Blackboard, you can track views, for example); as teachers, we list/post requirements and then comment on and grade the students’ work. Whatever is not required, students won’t do. If readings are optional, most students will not do them. If posting comments or doing exercises is optional and not graded, most students won’t do it (one of the M1 articles mentioned this). The EFOT readings for this week and last week were optional. I’m guessing that most of us are pretty diligent and motivated, so all of us probably either read several of the M1 texts or at least skimmed most/all of them. I have to start thinking about my first online class in Summer 2017, and I know that some of these texts chosen by Leah will offer valuable advice, which is enough motivation to do a portion of the readings. Yet, our ESL students are primarily taking our classes b/c of the College’s GER, and unless extra credit is involved, they will not devote time to the “optional readings” or write an “optional blog post.” This insight means that we as teachers are required to include more requirements; for each exercise we come up with and for each text we find, we need to create a clear structure that involves and motivates every single student (when is it due, what do they submit, how will we comment). These are some preliminary thoughts on a particular aspect on both M1 and M2, and I am sure there are many additional or conflicting views on the topic, so feel free to leave your response here. Responding to this post is optional, however 🙂
(Addendum: I love Voice Thread and Adobe Connect. In the ESL Program, we were thinking that these would be a great tools not just for interactions with students, but also for interactions between us staff members while we are out of town.)
So far so good, I am enjoying the EFOT course, even though sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all of this new technology. I am positive, I will learn everything, step by step. I love the way the course is organized, very clear and straightforward. I had fun using Voice Thread and getting to know the people in my class. VT can be very useful in my language class for the students to practice their listening and speaking skills. I would probably use it to give instruction for activities, to comment on the students’ VT and to explain grammar. I would ask the students to create weekly VT about their daily activities, or read a specific passage, just to practice pronunciation. Would be possible to use VT to create dialogues with two or more people?
So far so good. Sorta. Not going to lie – a little overwhelmed by the timing – all at once everything seems urgent. I appreciate how this course is laid out and how organized it is. I am lucky that my first semester at Emory I co-taught in a course in which we used VT weekly so I am comfortable with that platform. I do plan on using it this summer. What has me most worried is my course that I am building for the summer (which I found out yesterday has to go back through curriculum committee) is 5 credits. I have 15 hours of lecture, 30 hours of seminar and 180 hours of clinical. The clinical hours are handled. Handled – sounds like I am an assassin. I have 12 hours of face to face time with the students – so I have 33 hours that I have to do outside of that. That is daunting. Actually my head started hurting again just typing that. #goodtimes