First let me say, that I typed out a really long blog telling, in detail, my thoughts on the NINE steps to quality learning online by Tony Bates. And then I hit something on my keyboard, not sure what, and it erased everything I typed, leaving me here, depressed and upset, to stare at a now blank screen.

IF ANYONE KNOWS HOW TO “UNDO” ON A BLOG–LIKE HOW I COULD HAVE UNDONE THAT WIPE OF INFORMATION ON MICROSOFT WORD, PLEASE, PLEASE TELL ME.

It is, alas, too late now and will start over, but have now lost steam and willpower.

I will say, WEEK ONE START WITH THE FUNDAMENTALS: http://blogs.leeward.hawaii.edu/teachonline/week-1/
WAS VERY HELPFUL TO ME. I feel like I am getting guidance and solid, tangible tips now. However, there are so many links that I want to read them all and then get over-inundated with information.

ttps://sites.google.com/a/hawaii.edu/new-de-faculty-orientation/Step-1 — like the emphasis on how I need to rethink the way I teach and adapt to this new environment.

https://sites.google.com/a/hawaii.edu/new-de-faculty-orientation/Step-2 — liked reading a succinct version of what kind of learner takes an online class. however, I can’t know this ahead of time–what kind of situation my students are in–so I will have to make an effort to find out early on and adapt the course to the class needs while still maintaining a strong link to my original plan which is based on predetermined SLOs and standards.

https://sites.google.com/a/hawaii.edu/new-de-faculty-orientation/Step-3 – working as a team would be awesome, but there doesn’t seem to be a formal process or structure to accomplish that, as far as I know. I am brand new so I don’t have a network yet or a base of “friends” who would want to team teach with me and right now I find moments to connect with and build rapport with colleagues rare.

https://sites.google.com/a/hawaii.edu/new-de-faculty-orientation/Step-4 Thought this quote was key: “Moving content online is NOT about transferring content – it is about transforming content.” Good reminder. Also the difference between asynchronous (Blackboard Collaborate) and synchronous (Laulima) as tools for learners and the role of the student.

https://sites.google.com/a/hawaii.edu/new-de-faculty-orientation/Step-5 – I am definitely going to have trouble “mastering the technology” and will need a lot of help with laulima and blackboard. They ARE deceptively simple at first, and then I find them frustrating in that they are very limiting someways (like not a great gradebook tool) and so broad with so many, too many, choices in other ways. Also, I love the idea of mining online content to teach and having students read online sites, see videos, etc, but I have been to webpages where it is just link after link on the homepage and you keep following one link, which leads to another, but there are still the other links on the homepage I haven’t followed yet, and it gets to be one of those conversations where everyone looks around at some point and says, “How’d we get here?”

http://www.tonybates.ca/2012/06/18/nine-steps-to-quality-online-learning-step-6-set-appropriate-learning-goals/
Found these passages to be helpful:
“21st century skills — Online learning is particularly appropriate for developing what are generically called 21st century learning skills. Because of the nature of the Internet, online learning lends itself to learning how to manage knowledge: how to find, evaluate, analyse, and apply information within a specific knowledge domain. It’s not possible these days to cover all the knowledge a student will need in a particular subject domain within a four year undergraduate program or even after another four years graduate study in a subject such as medicine. New knowledge – such as new drug treatments, new software design and products, new data – is expanding almost daily and will continue to grow long after students have graduated. The challenge then is to develop lifelong learning skills that will enable students to continue to ‘manage knowledge’ long after they have graduated.”
– See more at: http://www.tonybates.ca/2012/06/18/nine-steps-to-quality-online-learning-step-6-set-appropriate-learning-goals/#sthash.WgEQMz2s.dpuf
AND
“Good communication skills — This is another key 21st century skill. Students now need to be able to communicate in a variety of ways in the 21st century. Writing and speaking skills remain critical, but increasingly the ability to communicate through modern media such as social media, YouTube, blogs and wikis are particularly important in areas such as business, journalism, health and education. Online learning offers many opportunities to develop such skills.”
AND
“Bring in the outside world — Lastly, one great characteristic of teaching online is the opportunity to bring in the world to your teaching. You can direct students to online sites, students themselves can collect data or provide real world examples of concepts or issues covered in the course, through the use of cameras in mobile phones, or audio interviews of local experts. You can set up a course wiki that both you and the students contribute to, and make it open to other professors and students to contribute, depending on the topic. If you are teaching professional masters or diploma programs, the students themselves will have very relevant wold experiences that can be drawn into the program. This is a great way to enable students to evaluate and apply knowledge within their subject domain.”

These 3 points provided me food for thought.

https://sites.google.com/a/hawaii.edu/new-de-faculty-orientation/step7 – found this step to have very clear and forthcoming information. Liked these points:
“In a strong teaching structure,
students know exactly what they need to learn,
what they are supposed to do to learn this,
and when and where they are supposed to do it.”

“The three main determinants of teaching structure are:
the organizational requirements of the institution
the preferred philosophy of teaching of the instructor
the instructor’s perception of the needs of the students.”

They had a list of possible activities, which I was looking forward to reading, but then none of them proved to be particularly unique or “revolutionary.”
THEIR LIST:
assigned readings
simple multiple choice self-assessment tests of understanding with automated feedback, using the computer-based testing facility within the LMS,
questions regarding short paragraph answers which may be shared with other students for comparison or discussion,
formally marked and assessed monthly assignments in the form of short essays,
individual or group project work spaced over several weeks
an individual student blog or e-portfolio that enables the student to reflect on their recent learning, and which may be shared with the instructor or other students
online discussion forums, which the instructor will need to organize and monitor.

https://sites.google.com/a/hawaii.edu/new-de-faculty-orientation/step-8 — like the COMMUNICATION post. Here were my highlights:
“Setting students’ expectations — It is essential right at the start of a course for the instructor to make it clear to students what is expected of them during the delivery of the online course. Develop a set of specific requirements for student behavior that is related to the needs of the particular course, and deals in particular with the academic requirements of studying online.
Examples:
All students on the course are expected to read and contribute comments in the instructor-set online discussion topics within the specified timescale for each discussion.
Always respect other students’ contributions. If you think that someone else’s comment is dumb, politely provide an alternative view.
When commenting, always add something new to the discussion, rather than merely agreeing or disagreeing.
Keep on topic; if you want to discuss something else, establish a new discussion topic or thread, or establish a blog or wiki. If you want to discuss topics outside the course, use Facebook or the student online ‘cafe’ that goes with the course.
If you have a question, post it in the Cyber Cafe discussion forum, so that other students as well as the instructor can contribute to the answer.
If you want to discuss something privately, send the instructor an e-mail
Use quotations from other sources to support your point where appropriate, but always fully reference material taken from another source (with examples of how to do that, including web-based material and quoting other students’ comments). Lay out the consequences of plagiarism in terms of institutional policy and show how easy it is to detect plagiarism.
Before posting a question, check that the answer is not already there within the course materials – you may have missed it on the first reading (and direct the student to it if they still can’t find it rather than answer the question yourself.)
The instructor will respond to questions and e-mails within 24 hours, except over weekends and public holidays.

Set a small task in the first week of a course that enables students to immediately apply these guidelines.

Examples:
ask them to post their bio and respond to other students bio posts, or
ask them to comment on a topic related to the course and their views before the course really begins, and
use the discussion forum facility Laulima.
Phone or e-mail non-respondents in the first week.
Research indicates that students who do not respond to set activities in the first week are at high risk of non-completion. ”

LIKED THEIR BREAKDOWN OF ASYNCHRONOUS VS SYNCHRONOUS

” Asynchronous media would include e-mail, text or voice messages on mobile phones, podcasts or recorded video clips, online discussion forums within an LMS, Twitter, and Facebook. Synchronous media would include voice phone calls, text and audio conferencing over the web (e.g. Blackboard Collaborate), or even video-conferencing.

Asynchronous communication advantages.

Asynchronous messages are more convenient for busy students.
Posts are permanent and can be accessed at any time.
Convenience for instructor

However, asynchronous communication can be frustrating when complex decisions need to be made within a tight timescale, such as deciding the roles and responsibilities for group work, the final draft of a group assignment, or a student’s lack of understanding that is blocking any further progress on the topic. Then synchronous communication is better.

Use Blackboard Collaborate:

to bring your students together once or twice during a semester,
to get a feeling of community at the start of a course,
to establish ‘presence’ as a real person with a face or voice at the start of a course,
to wrap up a course at the end,
to provide plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion by the students themselves.”

AND THEIR BREAKDOWN OF FORUMS VS DISCUSSION AND PRIVATE MESSAGES
” In Forums, a student comment on someone else’s post on a topic is posted next to the post, allowing either the student making the original post or other students to respond to the comment. This way a ‘thread’ of comments linked to a specific topic can be followed.
In Discussion and Private Messages, comments posted in time order, makes it difficult to follow a thread of an argument.

A well chosen topic or sub-topic will often have 10 or more threaded comments, and the instructor can tell at a glance which topics have gained ‘traction’. Use the discussion forum to identify areas of misunderstanding and to develop skills such as critical thinking and clear communication.

Threaded discussions

Have clear goals for discussion forums. This will vary from subject to subject, but I use discussion forums to identify misunderstandings, to encourage active participation of students, to raise topical issues related to the course, to develop student communication skills, and above all to enable students to increase deep understanding or ‘knowledge construction’ through the testing of ideas and the questioning of the content, the instructor and other students. Even in numerical or science-based courses, there is often scope for discussion of experimental results, theory, or the relationship of the course topics to real events (e.g. discussions around recent research on the Higgs boson, the collapse of a mall roof in engineering).
Choose topics that lend themselves to discussion, or which avoid a ‘yes/no’ or ‘I agree or disagree’ response. The topic should require students to draw on the course content, but also to go outside the course content and relate the topic to external events, either in their own lives or in the news. The topic should allow students to draw from their own experience as well.
The topic should directly relate to assignment or assessment questions for which students get a grade. I don’t assess the discussion contributions themselves; I prefer the students to see the intrinsic value to them of participating. However, many instructors do give a grade for discussion contributions.
Don’t take over the conversation. It is a mistake for the instructor to respond immediately to every comment. This prevents other students from making their own contribution; they will wait until they see your reaction. Also it increases the workload. Encourage other students to respond and build a ‘culture’ of the students being in control, while knowing that you are there, watching and stepping in where necessary.
Give students clear roles. For instance ask them to take it in turns to summarize a discussion. You may ask some students to moderate a discussion, but keep an eye on it in case it gets out of hand.
Ensure that all students contribute to discussions in some way. Use phone calls or private e-mails sometimes to prompt students or to check if there is a problem. The discussion forums are an excellent way to track whether students are ‘missing’ or not keeping up with the course.
Be ‘present’ in each discussion topic at least”

https://sites.google.com/a/hawaii.edu/new-de-faculty-orientation/step-9 — IN EVALUATION I LIKED THE FOLLOWING CLEAR OBJECTIVES AND TASKS

“What learning outcomes did most students struggle with?
Were the learning outcomes or goals clear to students?
Was the teaching material clear and well structured?
Was Laulima easily accessible and available 24×7?
Did students behave in the online discussion forums in the way expected?
What topics generated good discussion and what didn’t?
Did students draw on the course materials in their discussion forums or assignments?
Did students make use of the podcasts?
How many students logged in to the webcasts and did these students do better or worse than those that didn’t?
Were the students overloaded with work?
Was it too much work for me as an instructor?
If so, what could I do to better manage my workload (or the students’) without losing quality?
How satisfied were the students with the course?
I will now suggest some ways that these questions can be answered without again causing a huge amount of work.

How to evaluate factors contributing to or inhibiting learning on an online course

There is a range of resources you can draw on to do this, much more in fact than for evaluating classroom courses, because online learning leaves a traceable digital trail of evidence.

student grades
individual student participation rates in online activities, such as self-assessment questions, discussion forums, webinars
qualitative analysis of the discussion forums, for instance the quality and range of comments, indicating the level or depth of engagement or thinking
student assignments and exam answers
student questionnaires
online focus groups.”

And this website: http://www.designingforlearning.info/services/writing/ecoach/tenbest.html
had good, applicable tips and info as well. I feel I am getting a better handle on this.

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