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EDTECH 524 – Mid Semester Reflection

April 7th, 2014 Comments off

Mid-semester Reflection

During my undergraduate career, my focus was on teaching but my ultimate goal had been to teach online.  In 2010, the online opportunities were fewer and harder to get.  I’ve applied to IDLA every year since I became certified.  It wasn’t until this year that I’ve gotten an interview.

As I said, online teaching is my goal so when I saw EDTECH 524 as a course offering, I was determined to take the course.  When I found out that IDLA was the partner school, I was very excited.

I’ve taken plenty of online courses at BSU from the student side.  I’ve had the opportunity to facilitate discussion boards, design modules, and conduct a few live sessions.  I regularly conduct live sessions at my job for new agents to the company.  These are live synchronous sessions that last 8 hours per day for three weeks for each class.  It can be rather intense and many of the same techniques used in a face to face classroom can be utilized.    I felt ready for the asynchronous classroom from the instructor side.  Going in, I was nervous and anxious.  I didn’t want to do something wrong.  I did not have much experience with Blackboard outside of my tinkering with Blackboard Coursesites.  I had no experience with Collaborate or Elluminate (which I now understand to be the same.)  I’ve used Adobe Connect plenty of times, but never Collaborate.

Now, more than half-way through the practicum, I realize that I had very good resources and a pretty good plan in place.  Before entering the classroom, I took a course in IDLA’s Blackboard that got me up to speed on IDLA policies and procedures.  I participated in two live sessions one in GoToMeeting and one in Collaborate that further clarified my responsibilities.  I took a crash course in Blackboard and found that it is very similar to Moodle.  I even got to play around with a demo course for English 12B in Blackboard.   I then took two weeks and eased into the two sections of senior English.  It “observed” and watched discussion boards, made a few announcements, and facilitated the discussion for one section.  I also took time to become familiar with the curriculum, read the novels that the students were reading, and become acclimated.  After that, I took the reins and released unit 5 to both sections.  I facilitated both discussion boards, graded all assignments, provided in-depth feedback on the student outlines, and provided positive and personal feedback on most assignment and exam questions.  Basically, they were mine for two weeks.  I even helped to conduct the intervention calls to parents and students for those students below a 70%.  This was a great experience.  I spoke to several students and parents and sent out a bunch of email.  I kept a log so that Kendra could document the information in the Student Information System which I did not have access to.  I did have an incident in which a student violated the academic honesty policy that I handled with the guidance of Kendra and Jeff (the online principle) as well as the site coordinator for the students regular school.

Now that unit 5 is over, I am backing out but remaining in the course to continue grading unit 5 assignments.  Many of the students, and this is common, turn things in late as IDLA’s policy is to accept late work for at least ½ credit throughout the term and Kendra’s policy is to accept it for full credit.  It has been a wonderful and positive experience.  The time that I have spent grading and involved in the class is about what I expected.  I do know a couple of people who teach for IDLA so I had some knowledge for the process.  Like I said, I’ve wanted to teach online, but I have had doubts that it would be stimulating and comparable to classroom teaching.  After this internship, I don’t have those doubts anymore.  I loved it and want to do more.  The only thing that I didn’t really experience is the live session, but English 12B does not include those since the students are scattered and not doing their coursework at the same time.  I did get to conduct office hours in the Academic Help Center in Collaborate.  No students took advantage of it, but it gave me some time to use Collaborate.  I’m not worried about the live sessions though since I do them on a very regular basis in my current employment duties.

As part of the internship process, I did design a discussion based assessment / activity that I targeted toward the beginning of the course that involved course expectations and allowed students to interact with what was expected of them and discuss what they expected to get out of the course.  I included an example of that lesson in my Blackboard Coursesites course as well as all of the announcements that I’ve created as part of the Online Teaching Field Experience.  Those can be found here.  Just log in with the username – user8903 and the password – user.

I don’t think that I could have asked for a more realistic and authentic experience from this internship.  I guess, I’m lucky that way, I had a very positive and realistic experience with my initial student teaching internship before my certification.  I’m very excited about the possibility of teaching for IDLA on a regular basis and other schools in the state.

Categories: General Reflection Tags: ,

 


Course Expectations Lesson for Grades 11-12 Language Arts

April 6th, 2014 Comments off

Developed by Fabio Cominotti for consideration by IDLA during EDTECH 524 – Experience in Online Teaching at Boise State University.

March, 2014

Rationale / Needs Assessment

Online classrooms traditionally suffer from a lack of community.  Students and instructors simply don’t develop the natural relationships and sense of community that form in a face-to-face setting.  That is to say that the relationships don’t form if the online instructor, instructional designer, or facilitator does not introduce activities at the beginning of the course and throughout (more at the beginning) that help to foster community, allow students to get to know each other, and start to break down those walls.

The following activities have a several purposes.  One aspect of online classrooms that tends to be weak or non-existent is expectations.  Learners often suffer from a lack of understanding of what is expected of them.  Also, instructors usually don’t know what is expected of them from their learners.

In this lesson, the instructor will present the expectations of the learners.  I have provided sample expectations that I would include in my online courses as well as a sample attention getter video.  Then after viewing the presentation, students will complete a discussion board activity in which they convey what the course expectations mean to them with some analysis and they will also present two expectations that they have of the course and instructor along with a rationale of their expectations.  Students will also respond to two peer posts.

Learning Outcomes

1.)  The learners learn what is expected of them and have time to interact with and analyze those expectations as they complete the writing activities.

2.)  The learners gain practice in critical thinking as they synthesize, present, and discuss their expectations of the course and instructor on a discussion board.

3.)  Since this lesson takes place very near the beginning of a course, the instructor can gain an understanding of the learners current writing, organizational, and critical thinking skills at the beginning of the course which has several benefits

It provides a baseline for measuring improvement during the course of the semester.

  • It provides instructor with an idea of which students might need interventions and what types of differentiation might be needed at the beginning of the course.

4.)  The learners and instructor will begin to get a sense of who they are participating in class with.

5.)  The instructor can begin to get to know and understand thinking processes of the learners.

6.)  The learners can start to get a sense of their instructor through the discussion boards.

7.)  A sense of community can start to build that can be bolstered through other activities in the course.

Idaho Content Standards Addressed in this Module for Grade 11-12 Language Arts.

W.11-12.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

  1. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  2. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
  3. Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
  4. Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.
  5. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
  6. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

W.11-12.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

W.11-12.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

W.11-12.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

SL.11-12.2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

L.11-12.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.11-12.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  1. Observe hyphenation conventions.
  2. Spell correctly.

L.11-12.6. Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

Materials

Compressed (.ZIP) Archive of Materials

Design Document (this document)

Course Expectations PowerPoint Presentation

Kindergarten Cop – Setting Classroom Rules (MP4 File)

Kindergarten Cop – Setting Classroom Rules (AVI File)

Generic Discussion Board Rubric (IDLA)

 

The following prototype can be found at my coursesites.com by blackboard.  When viewing on Coursesites, please log in with the username: user8903 and password: user

Note:  This lesson can easily be adapted for other language arts courses.  With a few more modifications, it could be adapted for humanities and science courses as well.


Design Prototype

Course Expectations

Welcome to the course.   (Main Lesson)

For this first module, we will discuss and learn what is expected of you in the course and what you expect to take away from the course and how I can best help you.

Objectives

By the end of this module you will:

  • Be able to name and explain what is expected of you from this course and instructor.
  • Be able to identify and explain what you expect from this course and your instructor.

Idaho Content Standards Addressed

W.11-12.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

  1. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  2. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
  3. Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
  4. Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.
  5. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
  6. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

W.11-12.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

W.11-12.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

W.11-12.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

SL.11-12.2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

L.11-12.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.11-12.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  1. Observe hyphenation conventions.
  2. Spell correctly.

L.11-12.6. Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.


Please watch the following YouTube Video.

 Kcop YouTube URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mce3yiMF4iQ
Used under fair use guidelines.Kindergarten Cop. Dir. Ivan Reitman. Perf. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Ann Miller, Pamela Reed. Universal Pictures, 1990. Youtube.com. 

The preceding image is a placeholder for a video or interactivity to be inserted here.

Okay, so I’m not as strict and angry as good old Schwarzenegger as a Kindergarten teacher, but I do have some expectations of you during this course.  Please take a look at the PowerPoint presentation below.

 gdrive The image to the left is a placeholder for an actual PowerPoint Presentation or interactivity that presents the course and / or instructor expectations.

Now those aren’t too bad.  Right?

Please complete the discussion board for this module.

You will be graded for this discussion on the following rubric.  Don’t worry, it’s mostly on effort.


DB1-Course Expectations (Discussion Board)

For this initial post, you need to write three paragraphs.  Please read and respond to your classmate’s posts as well.

1.) Write, in your own words, what the course expectations mean to you.

  •  How do they affect your thoughts about the course?
  • Will they be easy to follow?  Are they too lax or too extreme?
  • Please, let me know your opinion.  I am always interested.
  • If you have any questions about my expectations or the syllabus and course schedule, you can include those in this first paragraph.

2.) For you second and third paragraphs, please list two expectations (one in each paragraph) that you have for me or that you expect to get out of the course.

  •  This is where you get to voice your opinion and help to shape the interactions in the course.
  • I want to know what you expect from me so that I can strive to meet those expectations.  Teaching and learning is not a one-way street.  It’s a give and take.  Please let your voice be heard.
  • In your paragraphs, please discuss your expectation.  Let me know why you expect it and how I can meet it.
  • Feel free to use examples from your past as well.
  • If you have more than two expectations, please add paragraphs.  I’m here to help you, so let me know the best way I can.

3.) And finally, respond to a minimum of two peers.

  • Do you agree or disagree with their expectations?
  • Why?
  • Be thorough in your responses.

4.) Before posting, please review the rubric for this discussion board assignment.  Discussion Board Rubric

Grading Rubric—15 points possible

5 pts.

4 pts.

3 pts.

Initial Post Posted early to ensure sufficient time to respond to classmates. Posted sufficient detail to completely address the discussion board prompt Posted by the end of the unit, but did not allow time for others to comment. Posted enough detail to cover the prompt but could have expanded and explained points more thoroughly Posted after the unit deadline. Minimal detail that required more explanation in order to clearly understand points
Responses Responded to at least 2 classmates prior to the end of the unit. Replied to questions from classmates in response to original post Responded to at least 2 classmates Responded to one classmate
Correctness No distracting errors—followed expectations for online communication as outlined in Netiquette presentation 1-2 distracting errors Some distracting errors. Used slang, acronyms, or emoticons in original post (Review the netiquette presentation for appropriate online communication expectations) 

 

 

 

Rubric, originally created from Idaho Digital Learning Academy.  No modifications were made.