Online Teaching and Learning

Here we go again.....

OTL 301 POST 4

Summary: I was able to connect with a colleague who is a fellow social worker. We discussed the history of the organization, marking strategies, OLFM support, the upcoming TRU conference, and how to navigate the course curriculum.

 

Questions asked:

1.) Do you set up office hours?

2.) How do students mainly contact you?

3.) What ways do you provide feedback to the students?

4.) How do you keep track of students in the course?

5.) Can I provide additional resources to the students (as additional to the course curriculum)

Several key lessons:

1.) I was given the names of several great support people that could offer direction if need be

2.) I was given some helpful strategies on how to keep track of students and grades in the course.

3.) This colleague has a helpful welcome note that he sends out to students when they sign up for the course. He agreed to share this with me.

Thoughts:

I would like to learn more about creating a warm and inclusive atmosphere for students in an online setting.

I would like to learn more about connecting with students; perhaps through skype.

I was helpful to have someone to talk to about the specifics of the course.

OTL 301 – Post 3

 

Learning Outcomes:

Educational Objectives/Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able:

1.) Describe the historical context of Child and Youth Care

2.) Articulate the foundational identity of a Child and Youth Care practitioner

3.) Explain key concepts within Child and Youth Care practice such as social competence, therapeutic relationships, ecological context and multi-system intervention

4.) Describe the current influences in the field of Child and Youth Care

5.) Describe your role as a professional within the context of ethical Child and Youth Care practice

6.) Outline the dynamics of team functioning and the role of a Child and Youth Care worker within an interdisciplinary team

7.) Give Examples of one’s personal strengths, values, attitudes consistent with professional child and youth care practice

8.) Communicate on your own caring experience using the critical factors of caring

9.) Describe your feelings and experiences of the helping relationship from a client perspective

 

Learning Activity:

Assignment 1: Linking Knowledge to self and others

  1. Core CYC characteristics. Describe six core characteristics of child and youth care practice: passion, caring, the milieu, social competence, space and time, and experiential. Provide a personal example of each of these characteristics.
  2. An Experience of Caring. Using the concept of caring introduced in modules 1 and 2 and described in Stuart (2013), describe an early caring experience from your life.  Ensure that your description reflects the three critical factors of caring (condition of need, attitude of concern, and acting intentionally). Reflect on how this caring experience has affected your life since the experience.  Summarize your reflections in this section of the paper.

Reference: 

Stuart, C. (2013).  Foundations of child and youth care. (2nd Ed.) Dubaque: Kendall Hunt  Publishing Company.

OTL 301 – POST 2

How has your view of the effective practice changed now that you have read more about teaching presence?

  • I found it validating and reassuring to read that the authors stated that “teaching in online courses is an extremely complex and challenging function” (2001, p. 3). This is a brand new scope of practice for me and feels intimidating and immense in terms of practicing in a teacher’s role.
  • I also really liked what the authors had to say about about what teacher presence actually is “teaching presence begins before the course commences as the teacher, acting
    as instructional designer, plans and prepares the course of studies, and it continues during the
    course, as the instructor facilitates the discourse and provides direct instruction when required” (2001, p.5).  In my current situation I did not develop the curriculum for this particular course however I have research to do about the course I will be teaching.   I need to familiarize myself with all of the material, concepts, ideas of the course I will be teaching.  I will be spending time reading additional articles, journals as well as trying to find applicable videos online that can describe the concepts in each module.
  • I think that I was on the right track of the idea of effective practice when I initially posted my first comment (OTL 301-POST 1).  In my post I talked about fun, engagement and richer experiences through student/teacher dialogue.  What I have further learned though is that this is just the tip of ice-berg in facilitating student learning. The more I learn….I realize the more I do not know…..

In what ways did the effective practice that you identified show the characteristics of teaching presence?

In post 1 (301) I discussed some of the things that I noted as effective practice in an online course; these were ensuring the course was fun and engaging, peer engagement, and rich dialogue with my peers/teacher. This relates to the characteristics of teaching presence because it shows facilitation of discourse as well as direct instruction. Direct instruction is linked to course requirements and this is similar to the information that I talked about that peer dialogue/connection can be built into the course. If the student is working on an assignment (worth marks) where it is built into the assignment that the students connect with each other and then create written context/rich critical analysis the learning will have two levels of meaning. The first level will be simply completing the requirements of the assignment, the second level will be a richness of dialogue that will (hopefully) create more interest and engagement within the context of the course.

How could the idea of teaching presence have made the experience even more effective than it was?

Teaching presence is a new concept for me in terms of adult education jargon and learning. I am going to continue to research an understand what and how to develop teaching presence in my work as a teacher.

Reference:

Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer (2001). Assessing teaching presence in a computer conferencing          context. Journal of the Asynchronous Learning Network 5: 1-17.

OTL 301 POST 1

Brief Introduction:  

Well for those of you that have been reading my blog in the 100 and 200 level courses I am a new OLFM with TRU. I am teaching a first year counselling skills course and I reside in the community of Kamloops.  I work as a social worker for interior health and I also have a small private practice. I love running and I am married with 2 children.

Effective Practice as an Online Learner:

The example I provided of “effective practice as an online learner” was: a skype call that I participated in with my online learning partner. This practice was part of an assignment and I then posted comments/learning on my blog once the call had completed.  I thought this was an effective practice for the following reasons:

  • Interesting
  • Fun
  • I learned about another student in the class and his learning through the provincial instructor diploma program (through Vancouver Community College)
  • I was able to share ideas and thoughts
  • Engaging conversation
  • I learned some helpful tips and strategies from this other student on navigating the program
  • I also knew that my instructor would comment and pay attention to my blog post

This experience was different from another distance course I took where:

  • There was no interaction with other students
  • Limited interaction with the professor
  • Boring
  • Not fun or engaging
  • I was just trying to get through the course
  • I questioned myself throughout the course on whether or not I was really “getting it”

Why Was This an Effective Practice for me: (ie: the SKYPE call)

  • Mostly because it was engaging and fun
  • It was an assignment worth marks that encouraged me to make contact with another student
  • Gave me a deeper understanding of my peers
  • Created a richer experience of learning and dialogue

Key Ingredients That were Underlying in the Experience:

  • The experience was built into the assignment
  • Peer engagement
  • Interesting/fun

Redoing the Experience:

  • In my online experience that did not go well I would have reached out more to other students
  • My learning is enriched by having dialogues with other students
  • Reach out to the professor for feedback

OTL 201 Post 6 – Portfolio Update

Teaching Strategies – Post 6 – Portfolio Update

Strategy 1: Getting to know the students:

https://www.virginiahistory.org/sites/default/files/uploads/Collections_EducatorResources_Skype_getting-started.pdf

The above link is a quick overview of how to get to know students in an online environment utilizing SKYPE software.  When a student populates an instructor’s distance class; the instructor and student have a face to face skype call to introduce each other. This is an opportunity for the student and teacher to connect as well as answer any questions the student might have.

This activity fits in well with my teaching practice as I value relationships and it is a way to reduce the isolation of the online environment.

Other helpful resources or links related to this topic idea are:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279642342_A_Skype-Buddy_Model_for_Blended_Learning

Next Steps: 

  • Each time a new student populates the course I would connect with them by email and set up a time for a skype call.
  • These calls could occur throughout the course as well
  • Helpful to have an entrance and exit skype call with the students

Strategy 2:  Allow flexibility in how students meet course outcomes.

https://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/lt/resources/handouts/Flexible_Learning_strategies.pdf

The above link discusses how to offer flexibility to students and in particular the adult learner.  As described in the OTL 201 course it is important to recognize that most learners in online environments are busy adults with careers and family responsibilities outside of school.

The idea/strategy of allowing flexibility in how students meet course outcomes fits with my teaching practice as I too am a busy adult with a career and family responsibilities outside of school.  I think that flexibility (within reason) for adult students is appropriate and a supportive way to encourage adult students to continue with their studies. I have been an adult student myself and often in need of flexibility simply due to the stresses that life has thrown at me.

Other helpful resources of links:

http://flexible.learning.ubc.ca/for-students/benefits-for-students/

Next Steps: 

  • As an instructor, it will be important for me to remember to be flexible for the students in the courses that I teach
  • I will review the literature as necessary to remind myself about flexibility
  • I may need to connect with the senior open learning faculty member for support as necessary

Strategy 3: Create a positive and supportive learning environment

https://elearningindustry.com/5-strategies-improve-your-online-teaching

The above link is a quick overview of some helpful tips on how to create a warm and inviting environment for students online.  The ideas are good reminders and often things that would be easily accomplished in a face to face world but take a bit more planning online.  These are ideas such as connecting with the students when they populate the course, commenting on the posts that they provided, creating opportunities for the students to get to know one another and learning details about their lives (to name a few).

This idea of creating a positive and supportive environment fits with my teaching philosophy as I am a social worker and therapist. Therefore part of what I focus on in my work is to create relationships and support/encourage people.

Other helpful resources or links: 

http://inservice.ascd.org/six-tips-for-creating-a-positive-learning-environment-in-your-classroom/

Next Steps:

  • Continue to reflect on positive and supportive online environments
  • Connect with the students and practice the strategies
  • Continue to learn about ways to build support into the online world

Strategy 4:  Encourage learners to incorporate feelings and experiences in their completed work

https://elearningindustry.com/social-presence-in-online-learning-7-things-instructional-designers-can-improve

The above link is a quick overview of a number of tips and tricks to encourage students to access feelings and experiences in their completed work.  When learners are more connected emotionally to the concept they are more likely to have increased learning and recall  (as the learning is happening in 2 ways: both through text and also through emotions).

This idea fits with my teaching practice as it aligns with my own value system as a social worker and therapist.  If students are accessing their own emotional experience they are likely to increase the richness of their understanding of the concept.  This will also improve their understanding of empathy as they will be putting themselves in someone else’s’ shoes.

Other helpful resources or links:

See this link on empathy by Brene Brown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw

https://us.corwin.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/50258_Davis___An_Interpersonal_Approach_to_Classroom_Management_CH1.pdf

Next steps:

  • Connect with my OLFM teaching partner to learn how he built this strategy into his practice
  • Continue with ongoing research on emotional engagement for students

Strategy 5: Use Case Studies to make learning more personal

https://teachingcommons.lakeheadu.ca/10-instructional-strategies-online-courses

The above link is an article that discusses a number of strategies that can be used to increase student retention and engagement. The one strategy that stuck out to me was the use of case studies to enhance the learning.

This idea fits with my teaching style as I also learn better when using personal examples to better understand the concept.  I have worked in the field of social work and counseling for many years and could pull many case studies (with all identifying information changed so as to protect the identities of the individuals) to illustrate the concepts being taught. I believe this is a great way to increase learner engagement.

Other helpful resources or links:

https://www.aacu.org/sites/default/files/files/PKAL_regional/PKALCaseStudies_Perez-Heydrich_Cuffney.pdf

https://www.bu.edu/ctl/teaching-resources/using-case-studies-to-teach/

Next steps:

  • Develop a list of appropriate case studies that are ready to go
  • Continue to learn about how to use case studies in the realm of online teaching

 

My Video – OTL 201 Post 4

My Youtube video: Who I am ….and practicing the strategy of being mindful

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfsOvzci9fA

 

OTL 201 Post 5 Integration

What are the 2 most important concepts that have impacted your thoughts on student engagement and retention during this course?

The top two most important concepts that have impacted my thoughts on student engagement were:

1.) Garrison’s 3 categories of social presence stood out to me. These were

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Open communication
  • Cohesive responses

I have previously taken a course on basic adult education and the concept of social presence was a good reminder of how to practice these ideas in the online environment.  While social presence on the surface appears to be a simple idea; there are many layers of complex ideas that can be utilized to increase the richness of dialogue and gently “nudge” students toward engagement.

2.) The use of multimedia to inform students (ie: Youtube videos)

In a previous course I took, the instructor had developed her own youtube videos to explain and describe assignments. As a student I found that I watched the videos on numerous occasions  to understand the courses. I often went back and rewatched the videos before and after other assignments. I noticed that it improved my engagement in the class and I was able to comment on these videos in the dashboard posts. This was a great tool and one that I would like to learn more about how to develop in my own teaching practice.

Discuss your rationale for implementing 1 or 2 course facilitation strategies to increase student retention and engagement.

See OTL 201 Post 3. I describe this in detail.

Identify 2-3 specific goals that you would like to achieve in light of what you have learned about social presence and creating effective educational media

Goal 1: Take a course (likely through the Vancouver Community College in the PIDP program) to enhance my skills in using social media in the classroom in summer 2019. This will increase my knowledge of how to develop videos for students in online distance education.

Goal 2: Start a notebook of all of the different ideas/things that I would like to do as a faculty member. This notebook will have my ideas for increasing retention and engagement with students. I will do this immediately.  I will go through all of my posts and previous ideas to start keeping track of ways that I can teach and things that I want to remember to do to connect with the  students.

  • Think about some questions you still have with respect to student engagement and retention. Post these questions and also a strategy for finding the answers.

1.) If my course has already been developed and is on the MOODLE platform – how can I tweak the course to include multi-media videos of myself explaining the assignments? Will this be allowed? Is this an infringement of the curriculum development?

  • Connect with my senior OLFM faculty mentor
  • Connect with the OLFM instructor that is teaching the other half of the students in this course
  • Connect with the IT OLFM support team

2.) What are some simple ways that I can continue to motivate students in an online setting?

  • Spend time researching online the different ways of motivating students online
  • Connect with other OLFM instructors
  • Attend the May 2019 OLFM conference and workshops to learn from my colleagues and peers on what/how they motivate

Teaching Strategies – Post 3

Stategy 1: Getting to know the students:

https://www.virginiahistory.org/sites/default/files/uploads/Collections_EducatorResources_Skype_getting-started.pdf

The above link is a quick overview of how to get to know students in an online environment utilizing SKYPE software.  When a student populates an instructor’s distance class; the instructor and student have a face to face skype call to introduce each other. This is an opportunity for the student and teacher to connect as well as answer any questions the student might have.

This activity fits in well with my teaching practice as I value relationships and it is a way to reduce the isolation of the online environment.

Other helpful resources or links related to this topic idea are:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279642342_A_Skype-Buddy_Model_for_Blended_Learning

Next Steps: 

  • Each time a new student populates the course I would connect with them by email and set up a time for a skype call.
  • These calls could occur throughout the course as well
  • Helpful to have an entrance and exit skype call with the students

2.) Allow flexibility in how students meet course outcomes.

https://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/lt/resources/handouts/Flexible_Learning_strategies.pdf

The above link discusses how to offer flexibility to students and in particular the adult learner.  As described in the OTL 201 course it is important to recognize that most learners in online environments are busy adults with careers and family responsibilities outside of school.

The idea/strategy of allowing flexibility in how students meet course outcomes fits with my teaching practice as I too am a busy adult with a career and family responsibilities outside of school.  I think that flexibility (within reason) for adult students is appropriate and a supportive way to encourage adult students to continue with their studies. I have been an adult student myself and often in need of flexibility simply due to the stresses that life has thrown at me.

Other helpful resources of links:

http://flexible.learning.ubc.ca/for-students/benefits-for-students/

Next Steps: 

  • As an instructor it will be important for me to remember to be flexible for the students in the courses that I teach
  • I will review the literature as necessary to remind myself about flexibility
  • I may need to connect with the senior open learning faculty member for support as necessary

Strategy 3: Create a positive and supportive learning environment

https://elearningindustry.com/5-strategies-improve-your-online-teaching

The above link is a quick overview of some helpful tips on how to create a warm and inviting environment for students online.  The ideas are good reminders and often things that would be easily accomplished in a face to face world but take a bit more planning online.  These are ideas such as connecting with the students when they populate the course, commenting on the posts that they provided, creating opportunities for the students to get to know one another and learning details about their lives (to name a few).

This idea of creating a positive and supportive environment fits with my teaching philosophy as I am a social worker and therapist. Therefore part of what I focus on in my work is to create relationships and support/encourage people.

Other helpful resources or links: 

http://inservice.ascd.org/six-tips-for-creating-a-positive-learning-environment-in-your-classroom/

Next Steps:

  • Continue to reflect on positive and supportive online environments
  • Connect with the students and practice the strategies
  • Continue to learn about ways to build support into the online world

OTL 201 Post 3 Learning Activities Portfolio

This is where I will start keeping track of learning activities:

OTL102 Post 2

Describe the ways in which your introductory post should have enhanced social presence in a course that you teach…..

As discussed in the course Garrison1 identifies three categories of interactions that are indicators of social presence:

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Open Communication
  • Cohesive Responses

In terms of interpersonal communication I included self-disclosure. These included my hobbies (running) and a picture of myself (which I likely would not normally have included – but I guess it works for an online discussion).  I also included what I enjoy doing with my family which is just being active together.  I find that by sharing information about myself it does help me to appear more genuine and authentic.  I know that as a therapist in the community that being real and genuine is what helpf me to be effective to the people that I work with. I also am aware that while professional boudaries are important (ie: there is a time and a place for self-disclosure) it can be very effective to build relationship with clients/students.  By sharing some of this information about myself on the blog will help other students to learn about me and build an online learning community that will (hopefully) build a community of learning and cohesion. Other students will share and self-disclose about themselves and I can then read about them and make comments on their blogs. This will help to increase the communication and also build respectful dialogue.

Identify at least one improvement that you might make in light of what you know about social presence since completing your first post, and

Well….when I look back at post 1….I did not even make it to the podcast section. I struggled with the software  for about an hour and became frustrated. I can see how students in an online course  could potentially feel isolated and alone when navigating the coursework and feel as though there is noone to ask for guideance.  One improvement I would have made was to go through and listen to other people’s podcasts and then make comments on their blogs about their podcast and likely ask questions (I will be doing this shortly 😉

Describe how your thinking about social presence has changed since your first post.

The more I learn about the online community of distance, the more I understand how important it is to not only get to know my fellow students but also read their comments and dialogue. There is a richness in connecting with my peers and this also helps to build rich conversations and move the learning into a deeper level.  As a new teacher I will be connecting with my students and encouraging them to continue to connect with their peers, perhaps set up learning partnerships through skype calls and to leave respectful comments on one another’s blogs.

Garrison, D. R. (2011). E-learning in the 21st century: A framework for research and practice (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

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