These blogs posts are drafts of thoughts, concepts and ideas that I am putting out there for comments before finalizing. If you see errors or if you disagree with my statements, please leave me a comment!
At the beginning of this course, I asked you to informally share some thoughts as to how you teach and why, and to put together an informal version of your philosophy of teaching and learning. As you put together your formal statement for the preceding assignment, I’m wondering if your philosophy of teaching and learning changed between then and now? Why or why not? In what ways?
I read back through my original post on How I learn, how I teach from the beginning of the semester and I think my basic philosophy of teaching and learning as outlined in my other Module 12 posting falls in line with my previous statements. There are a few things that have been enhanced. Through the readings, article reviews and sharing with the cohort I have more understanding and resources to back up those understandings. Being more familiar with the research literature does a couple of things. It brings strength to support what seems to work in the field. This helps to back up statements I make when I’m talking to other instructors and faculty. It also confirms for me that research depends upon a lot of variables, some of which are really hard to control so research results should be looked at with some skepticism. I also need to do more to understanding some of the statistical results, which might help me get over some of that skepticism.
Another aspect of applying online pedagogy to a course is that it really helps to have others look at your course and talk through some of your ideas to implement them. Just as one doesn’t learn in a vacuum, one shouldn’t design a course without some input from others. I think it is especially helpful when your second (and more!) pair of eyes comes from those outside the specific discipline. One thing that has stuck with me is something that Eric Mazur said when he realized that he wasn’t connected as well to his students as he originally thought. In the video that we watched in Module 4, Peer Instruction for Active Learning he talked about how he came to realize that he was the expert and had forgotten how it was to be a novice and how he realized that he could never pretend to be that novice again and thus, had to rely on his students to help identify those novice areas to each other. I think that this is something that having that second pair of eyes during the design process can help with. I know it sure has helped me!
As one of the capstones for this course, I’d like you to formally articulate your own personal philosophy of teaching and learning. Your ideology is personal, but it should be substantively supported by educational theory, scholarly writing, and research. Please post and share your completed philosophy statement here. Don’t forget to return to read and discuss the ideas and conceptions of your peers. Are there similarities? Differences? What are they and why?
As I think back on my first year in college, I cringe at what a terrible student I was. I place the blame in part on myself but I wasn’t alone in that bad experience. Some of the blame rests with the teaching strategies of my instructors. If you look at my transcript from that first year, you’d see some “As” and “Cs.” The reason for the variation in grades all has to do with teaching and learning strategies that were either passive or active.
In classes where I sat passively listening to lectures (or sometimes an instructor reading or paraphrasing from the textbook), I would furiously scribble down notes that I thought might be relevant. There was rarely any discussion and, if the instructors happened to stop and ask if there were any questions, there were rarely questions from the class. Assessments came in the form of a mid-term and a final exam, both of which were made up of multiple choice and true/false questions. I would read the text and I’d even buy a study guide and do the review tests, but the information never stuck with me and I never got it.
In the classes where there were in-class activities, small group discussion, practice assignments or research requirements, I was active in the learning process and faired much better. If I had the chance to try things out, put them into practice, get some feedback and try again, I was more apt to be motivated to try harder and in the long run, retained more understanding.
I never want to be that kind of teacher who doesn’t have students actively participating in learning. Ideally, I’d like to be their partner in learning and explore the content together. I think it is possible to incorporate content delivery and assessment activities that use a combination of behaviorism,cognitivism and constructivism learning theory. Mohamed Ally’s (2008) statement,“Behaviorists’ strategies can be used to teach the what (facts); cognitive strategies can be used to teach the how (processes and principles); and constructivist strategies can be used to teach the why (higher-level thinking that promotes personal meaning, and situated and contextual learning.)” are a good combination of the three theories to provide the opportunity for a well-rounded course (p. 20).
I also incorporate the Information Fluency model and the Learning Assessment Cycle process when I think about teaching and learning. Making sure that I’m giving students the opportunity to explore domain knowledge, critically think about that knowledge through reflection and discussion, and then be forced to present those ideas back to an audience (whether to just the instructor, to the class or open to the public) should provide a holistic framework for students to be fluent in the topic. As a student, I have found that following this model also helps me to be a better learner. I’m not that freshman student who allows myself to be that passive learner. If I’m not asked by the instructor to participant in domain knowledge, critical thinking and presentation, then I do it for myself.
As a designer, I never want to be judged on one piece of work, which is why I have a portfolio. I have a range of work and each piece serves a different purpose or is designed for a specific audience. I’d like to have my students provide the same kind of evidence to me through a variety of assessment artifacts. In the course I teach I think having depth is actually more important than being able to produce one artifact. Other disciplines are different and required different strategies. D. Fink’s (2013) Significant Learning taxonomy provides a good model to use to make sure you’re addressing a variety of assessment types through his definitions of foundational knowledge, application, integration, human dimension, caring and learning how to learn. Providing students with multiple assessments using a variety of assessment types allows students to show a depth to their understanding through discussion, multiple choice, true/false or self-graded tests, reflection, personal research, long format writing, short format writing and application of design theory using software.
As an instructional designer, I know all too well that a successful course requires attention to both the course design and to the actual teaching of the course. They have to have both present and can not be successful with only one in isolation. You can have a carefully crafted course but without instructor presence and feedback, your students will not be motivated. And likewise, you can have a very active instructor but if your course is not designed well and students aren’t provided with a framework, then your students will feel like they have gotten short-changed.
As pointed out in Stewart’s (2008) article on “Classroom management in an Online environment,” teachers have the responsibility to provide rules and procedures for students so that they know what to expect from the teacher and more importantly, from the rest of the class (p. 2). Building a sense of community is an important feature of any online class and setting the seed at the beginning of the class is so important. Proactive communication and setting expectations and boundaries are as important to a successful online course as is the quality of the content. Steward says, “Good preventive management and active teacher and student involvement are the cornerstones to the effective implementation of this philosophy.” If students don’t know where to find the content, how to submit assignments or the process for communicating with their peers and with the teacher, all parties will be frustrated.
When I think about my teaching and learning philosophy, I realize that my same rationale doesn’t fit all disciplines, a variety of class size or course level. There are some aspects that work well in one class that won’t work in another. Being open to making changes, taking on the challenge to try new things and making the attempt to think like a student are all considerations a teacher should make. Being stuck on one mode isn’t healthy for students or for teachers.
Ally, M., (2008). Foundations of Educational Theory for Online Learning. The Theory and Practice of Online Learning, 2nd ed. 15-44.
Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating Significant Learning Experiences. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Stewart, D. (2008). Classroom management in the online environment. Journal of online learning and teaching, 4(3), 371-374.
- Set up and design various print and electronic documents such as a business card, postcard, flyer, brochure, and/or other publications, that is appropriate for the intended purpose.
- Apply basic design principles to create compelling products for print production and online distribution.
- Demonstrate application of the correct selection of tools and features in the Adobe InDesign Interface in the design of documents.
- Evaluate the quality of the design of a document to achieve the designer’s intended purpose and its intended publication medium and be able to give constructive feedback for improvement.
Almost every week, students will be creating some kind of document in Indesign: Business card, postcard, flyer, etc. This assessment gives students the chance to practice using different tools within InDesign and apply basic design principles that they will be learning about. By submitting the InDesign files to me I’ll be able to tell if they selected the correct tool within the program, which you can’t always tell through a .jpg or .pdf file.
I chose this strategy because it is very active. Students have a lot of freedom in the choice of topic and the design elements of their projects, although they do have some constraints based on the new tool or feature we are learning about. Along the way they will be reflecting on good design principles by adding to their own personal checklist. Being able to create and apply new techniques will provide opportunity for demonstration of mastery. The checklist will be a resource that they can use for themselves for self-evaluation as well as to use when evaluating other designs.
Incorporating a collaboration tool like Marqueed or Skwbl to use as a place to evaluate designs and to practice giving and receiving feedback will give students the opportunity to see what other students are producing, what kind of feedback they are giving to others, reflecting on feedback given to themselves by others and applying that feedback to improve their designs.
Compiling their own checklist of best practices throughout the course, revising, editing and reflecting on why specific items have been included can be something that they take with them for use in other classes or in their professional careers. Using that information as a basis for one of the design assignments should be a meaningful exercise. I’m still not sure where to place this in the sequence of assignments. I really like the idea that instead of a disjointed list, that the checklist is succinct.
Other activities in the class will be composed of a few quizzes spread throughout the class to evaluate some facts about copyright, color modes, tools, resolution, file types and some of the other aspects of the course can’t are outlined in the course objectives set by the department. Some of these fact, have to be memorized and you have to be able to identify and explain what they are and how to use them.
For the most past, this is an elective chosen by students who have an interest in creating projects. I’d like students to leave the class having produced a variety of projects using good design sense with a critical idea for improvement.
Objective or purpose: upload media, invite collaborators, discuss design
Learning Curve: low
Ease of Use: easy to use
Time required to create: just a few minutes
Key features: create a project and upload images from desktop, dropbox or drive; .png and .jpg.
Problems: limited file type–Doesn’t seem to like PDF or PSD. Drawing and comment bubbles are separate items; available as a Chrome extension; available in Russian just in case it becomes necessary; annotations are in real time; various color and thickness of drawing tools
Barriers: PDF documents would have to be exported as individual images
Educational Uses: upload images and have a conversation around them.
Objective or purpose: conduct design reviews and collect feedback
Learning Curve: low
Ease of Use: easy to use
Time required to create: very quick
Key features: draw visual annotations, real-time markup, share with short URL; drag and drop images or upload .png, .jpg or .jpeg file types only; annotations are marked with a number and the comment is posted to a sidebar. Overall comments also accepted; client doesn’t have to create an account, they just have to enter a name and email.
Problems: few that I can see – pretty straightforward; no repository for storing projects.
Barriers: individuals would have to add participants to each image that gets uploaded OR share the URL link with the class.
Educational Uses: upload images and have a conversation around them.
Due to the lack of a storage or repository and group feature, this tool doesn’t seem like a reasonable choice for working with a lot of images/students.
Objective or purpose: Presentation of images to a group for group commenting
Learning Curve: medium – with more options comes more difficulty. Some thought needs to go into initial set up and organization.
Ease of Use: pencil draw and marque style annotations – each with a comment box. Multiple comments can be made on each annotation. There is also a sidebar chat option.
Time required to create: a few minutes to set up group and then begin adding collections
Key features: Upload (or drag and drop) various image types: .jpg, .png, .gif, .pdf, .psd; public or private collections of images can be uploaded, add annotations; show or hide annotations if you want to review the file on its own; internal (within marqueed) notifications of annotations can be turned on or off. I uploaded a 3-page PDF and each page was added as a separate “image”. This might be a problem if all PDFs have several pages and several people are uploading into the same “collection.”
Problems: don’t quite get the invitation sequence. I thought I sent an invite to a new user but it never showed up. I could add it but it never arrived. You are able to share the link for the collection which got me there. Drawing tool only has one color.
Barriers: Free version only allows for 2 private collections but you can have as many public collections as you wish which might be perfect! As long as you’re able to find the original collection. If you had more than three or four users adding annotations, the screen would quickly fill up and it might be hard to differentiate between comments. Updates made to images are not shown in real time. You have to click away from project in order for new activity to appear.
Educational Uses: upload images and have a conversation around them.
Objective or purpose: Interactive whiteboard where you can annotate, chat and even call a phone number to talk over a VOIP.
Learning Curve: low
Ease of Use: If you aren’t afraid to click, once you play with the tools, it seems pretty straight forward
Time required to create: minutes. I uploaded an image and added annotation, used the pencil to draw around an area and used one of the shaped boxes to highlight another area. Added a text comment.
Key features: upload various kinds of document types (webpage, pdfs, image), annotation tools include pencil with various colors, widths, erase, shapes and text input (with various speech bubbles). Also has math formulas (LaTex)
Problems: free account doesn’t allow you to save your drawings and access them more than once. Pro account (lowest level – $14/month) allows for 1 simultaneous meeting, and unlimited storage for multiple projects. Free account is really for clients to be able to see a project and make comments.
Barriers: Free account only allows one-time access and no save feature.
Educational Uses: synchronous or asynchronous meetings around document collaboration.
Because this free version of this tools is very limited, I lost interested and didn’t create any examples.
Objective or purpose: send messages to any device (phone text or email) for free
Learning Curve: low
Ease of Use: set up took 2 minutes; howto documentation automatically created (PDF) with your personal contact information listed. This provides a resource to give to parents or students.
Time required to create: almost immediate; pretty easy to add contacts. Time restriction would be in gathering the data to enter
Key features: can add multiple contact information for students, divorced parents or guardians, grandparents, etc. Once the information is entered, you don’t see phone number and they don’t see your phone number in return.
Problems: people who don’t opt in might feel left out; maintenance of contact list; texting back to teacher’s phone might impact their data plan?
Barriers: must have access to email or text capabilities, pushing information without necessarily acknowledging receipt.
Educational Uses: reminders, student engagement, discipline, fund raising, events, permission slips, documents, photos, homework assignments, field trips, items sales, projects, see 10 ways to use Remind (Links to an external site.)
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/remindhq (Links to an external site.)
Example of email:
Example of Text
As you review the emerging tools from our list, keep in mind which tools might be most useful for you given your specific circumstances and the student population you serve. As you’re reading and evaluating, remember these points:
- Fahy’s article asserts “…media research confirms that what the learner does with media is more important than what the teacher does.”
- Recall the information from the Fink text regarding active versus passive learning.
- Remember the Community of Inquiry model introduced in the orientation to this course.
How many of the proposed tools are contextualized primarily for teacher presentation (passive learning)? Which have potential for active learning or afford students opportunity to display a product of their learning? Which of the tools have potential for developing or enhancing the community of learners? Which features most actively support learner engagement in a community? Post your preliminary conclusions in this discussion for your weekly writing.
As I look through the tool list, I immediately wanted to brainstorm ideas on how to use the tools for unintended purposes! I’m going to say that almost of the tools have potential uses for both instructors and students. Even the online rubrik creator. Why not have students creating their own rubrics for assignments? Kahoot – students could create their own quizzes based on classroom readings and lectures and share with their classmates.
There are several tools on the list that can not be used in isolation. They are social tools that are meant for a cohort to share. Tools like Remind, Slack, Feedly, Yammer or PBworks. Without that cohort they are ineffective. The power in these tools is that require collaboration from a group, otherwise, they are just reporting tools. These tools are the ones that you would use to engage students.
There are also tools that can be used by both teachers and students to create passive activities. Things like Powtoons, screencasting, mindmapping. If a teacher uses these, I would hope that they would be used in conjunction with some kind of discussion or reflection. You would certainly want to break up the presentation with some thought provoking questions that student might think about while they are watching as supported by some of the research we read earlier in the semester. For students, these tools can be used to provide evidence to the instructor that they have an understanding of the topic and that they can demonstrate that they understand your learning objectives.
Those tools that provide both a passive and active engagement are most interesting to me — those that allow you to create something but also allow for some peer feedback. Storify and Voicethread would be examples that I can immediately identify. Thinking back to our PLE exercise. Those tools are where we can connect, collect, reflect, and share all at the same time–most efficient!
As I look through the list and look at the tools that I added that I feel might have relevance to my own class, I tried to consider what part I will play in the adaptation of the tool. Will I set it up and invite the students to participant in my instance of the tool or will I ask students to create their own webspace and invite the rest of us to join. In the first example, I will be controlling the organization and I will maintain control over all of the images that get added. From an efficiency standpoint that would be the easiest for me when I go to see what everyone is doing throughout the semester. At the end of the semester, I may choose to cancel my account and those artifacts will go away. Or is it a better learning experience for individual students if they maintain their own instance of the tool and invite everyone to join them?
If I have ten students in the class, that means I’ll have to go to ten different sites to check in on everyone. As well, the students will have to manage going to these individual sites as well. In the long run, is having students maintaining their own webspace an important learning outcome? Are students better served by my taking control? These are all consideration I’ll have to make if I decide to adopt one of the tools and all supported by what Fahy talks about when it comes to student’s use of the tools as opposed to the teacher. I’m reminded of Gardner Campbell and Jim Groom’s argument (Links to an external site.)that every student should have a domain of their own, one that the individual student controls completely to represent who they are as a person and as a student. Am I doing a disservice to the student by making things more convenient for me?
The idea of requiring students to present their work via the internet is often met with trepidation by educators. Which concerns are valid? Which are hype? What are the merits of having students present in a public space? In which circumstances do the advantages supersede the concerns? For your writing post this week, weigh the value against the danger of public homework and online student participation.
I’m a big supporter of having students posting their work online in a public forum for several reasons. First, I believe that it helps students understand the legitimacy of what else is being posted online. If they understand that someone else who is just as knowledgeable as they are might be publishing information about a topic of interest. If they find an “article” on a blog post, it might be an assignment for a similar class that that student might be taking. The information might not be as well researched or accurate as they think and it might not be who they might traditionally think a publisher of information might be. This practice should make them skeptical and be willing to question everything they see online. To go along with this same line of thinking, students who are asked to publish online should be expected to publish their best work and should be more careful to post legitimate and accurate information.
I also do believe that there are occasions when students feel they need to protect their legal name so having an alias is an acceptable practice. Just as long as the teacher knows who you are, it isn’t necessary to publish your name. Allowing for an alias is also a way to make sure you’re in line with FERPA regulations. But I don’t believe having an alias should be a replacement for not being responsible for what you do post or publish online. If you’re publishing anything hurtful or potentially harmful, then you need to take responsible for your actions.
I think the chance of anyone outside of your own cohort actually reading things you post online are pretty slim. And getting someone you don’t know who might make a comment, is even more unlikely. It takes people who want to have a communicative following, years to build and grow that following. And if someone does find you and contradicts what you may have written, that should provide the author with the opportunity to refine and restate and at least be involved in hearing a different opinion. All of these are actions that benefit learning.
Students might cheat. Students will cheat. Some student will always try to find a way to go the easy route. This is why your assessments need to be authentic and challenging so that if a student does find a way to cheat, perhaps they are actually learning along the way. This is also a reason to have multiple assessments so that you and your students are all looking at a variety of performances to show understanding.
I’m also a supporter of using the creative commons licensing for things you create and publish online. If you look at my ONID portfolio, you’ll see I have a license for my site. I have also been double posting my discussion prompts both inside of Canvas and on my site. I’d be thrilled if anyone actually found me!