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Topic 4: Design for online and blended learning

I have several handicaps after a heart failure followed by anoxic brain injury 12 years ago, one of them being that I am unable to filter background sounds from those sounds I want to hear. Therefore it is really fatiguing for me to be in a classroom-setting, so I have developed other ways of teaching.

Presently, I have interactive lectures produced in Adobe Captivate. The students are asked to  prepare for class by going through a lecture. They then come to class and work in groups on specified problem sets. In class they have access to more senior students who can help structure the work, discuss solutions to the problems and answer questions about the course material. The new students can ask me questions through our LMS, anonymously if they wish, and I publish the answer to everyone in the course. They also have discussion threads in the LMS, where they can discuss different aspects of the course.

The problem is that the students mostly show up unprepared for class, and they don’t stay to work on the problems, but rather just take them and go. When it is exam-time, they start listening to the lectures and give the problems a shot, but all to late, so many of them fail, and then they complain that they don’t have a real teacher.

They obviously miss ”Teacher presence” so I will arrange more webinar-type sessions during the course. I will also think about how to shorten the lectures as they now take about an hour each.

Last year, I introduced Socrative in class for tests that yielded points towards the final exam. That is something I definitely will continue with.

I really like the idea of producing knowledge to learn, so I will introduce an activity where the students produce a page about an organic molecule on Wikipedia (inspired by Pia Palm in this course), maybe in a collaborative manner.

This autumn, I met a student who really likes to learn things. He expresses his desire to be at the University just to be able to learn stuff, but finds school activities ”getting in the way of his learning”, which I find very interesting, and also can identify with to some part during this course. So many interesting things to try out, but I have to contribute to a presentation or write a blog post…

Publicerad i Okategoriserade

Topic 3: Learning in Communities

Photo: CC0 Public Domain

Bees are a natural example of the efficiency of collaboration, and their learning also takes place in a collaborative manner! The beekeepers role is to provide the best conditions for the bees to build their communities, collect and store pollen and nectar, keep diseases out and care for their new-borns.

The role of the teacher is pretty much the same – to provide the best conditions for the students collaborative learning process by planning the course carefully. The teacher should facilitate the collaboration process by dividing the class into small groups, help to establish a trusting atmosphere, be clear about what is expected, and provide relevant group assignments and feed-back.

My experiences during this topic were mainly the following:

Tweet chats are not for me – I felt like everybody was ”shouting” and nobody listening. I will give it a second chance this week, but my expectations are low.

I am unhappy with KTH:s switch to Canvas as our new learning platform, as I find it hard to control the system and to publish material that I worked very hard to produce in our earlier system. I also tried to use Canvas together with Kaltura (KTH Play) to record a video presentation, which went fine until I wanted to share the presentation on our google drive and the presentation was lost, only the video of me was left. Lots of work for nothing :-(.

Enough moaning: I also had some very nice experiences of the group work, sharing the lead with Stefano. Also, I got a new idea from Pia Palms blog, namely to let the students produce material for Wikipedia as a group assignment – absolutely brilliant I think! Further, I enjoyed the presentations from the other pbl-groups, with great ideas for new tools to use. Especially, I like the RealtimeBoard – a collaborative whiteboard tool that pbl-group 3 used for their presentation – I think I will find good use for that!

Finally, I very much appreciated Martha Cleveland-Innes webinar about learning in online communities. Her discussion about teaching presence got me thinking in new ways about my own blended courses.