Our moderator, Greg Walker, sent me this link: http://www.connectivism.ca/?p=336

I think I am getting a better grasp of what an “artifact” is and what this “sensemaking” process involves.

Seems to me it can be as simple and isolated as this blog post, or it can be a post that incorporates multiple forms of social media in it–pulling from the various resources to create one, “big” resource that now “defines” the topic and shows “relevance” and understanding to the discussion.

It also seems to be about organization. Sifting through the mass of “stuff” out there and re-organizing it to show your understanding about a key concept.

Traditional Classroom:
It kind of seems like this what we, instructors, already do to create and effectively implement a unit or lesson in our class. If I want to teach an assignment on Op-Ed pieces, I have to scour the internet for tips on how to best teach this type of writing and then search for good examples in reputable newspapers on topics I think the students will enjoy. Then I search our local newspaper for topics closer to home. Then I could see if I can find a “fun” cartoon to start off the conversation or a youtube clip to pinpoint a certain idea and make it memorable and, once I have amassed a huge pile or resources, I weed through them, organize them, and create my actual lesson. Thus, what I give to my students is the result of that process.

However, online, if this is expected every week from the students for every post in order to show “competency” or ability to “prove” understanding, then I imagine it is a huge TIME consumption. Now, maybe for these students it is not. Maybe they are so plugged into media and are already checking 5 different social media sites while routinely viewing clips on youtube and posts on those sites where you just keep reposting picture and tagging them (the fact that I can’t even name one of those sites, wait, Tumbler?, shows you how “tuned in” I am) that, for these students, this process is natural, easy, and preferred. But I am having trouble wrapping my head around it. I don’t see how I can invest the time to browse so many different resources, on a weekly basis, to create one artifact. I am not “plugged” in and spent almost no “recreational” time on the internet or computer–don’t own a tablet–only got a smartphone last month, and this world of data bombardment and being “wired” is kind of overwhelming me…..


1.In your blog share some of your reflections of what you have learned this week.
This week was pretty helpful, way more than “week zero” where I felt stranded, floating at sea. I learned basic, basic guidelines and tenets for running an online class, which is more than I knew previous to the MOOC. Didn’t even know the words “synchronous and asynchronous” as applied to online teaching tools.

2.You may also want to tell us what you have liked so far this week .
I liked that the coordinators’ posts had links to clear, step-by-step resources and suggestions. I watched part of the blackboard collaborate webinar, however, and found that one very, very long with a lot of “dead” time that, if cut out, might have made the webinar only 30mins and a little more accessible. At first I felt reading the posts on the Community wall to be overwhelming, but now I am getting better at skimming (vs feeling like I need to pay attention to everything) and being able to pick out what applies.

Activity Reflection
1.What? 1.Briefly describe what you did.
I read a lot. A lot of blogs and Tony Bate’s suggestions as well as the Designing for Learning 10 best practices, where I found useful tips and helped wrap my mind around the vast differences between online and face-to-face. I read the 22 tips from successful online teachers, but found some of those to be too obvious. It is like telling some to “work hard” or be sure to “be prepared.” yeah, its good advice, but “duh” to say it frankly. Any good teacher knows that….so give me something specific, outcome-based, and something I can implement in an activity or unit rather than vague, over-arching guidelines.

2.So what?
So, I am still kind of overwhelmed. I had never even heard of Flipboard before, and still don’t really know how to use it. I still feel very uncomfortable with Blackboard. I think this is a situation when I need some face-to-face in order to master these specific online teaching tools. Face-to-face is how I learn best versus watching a video of someone talking slowly online with lots of pauses and I can’t questions because it is a recording.

3.What now? 1.What changes did you make?
I’m learning how to blog better! Never done it before and know I know what a “kitchen sink” is and other tools of wordpress. thank you so much to those who gave me comments to direct me to these answers.

3.What do you still have to learn?
I read a blog post that summed up the way I felt about certain aspects of online teaching. Yes, I want to be student centered and yes online students want more flexibility and independence, but does that mean I have to cater, cater, cater? Should it be all about their needs and wants or what works in a reasonable, manageable way? Unhappy, over-tired, frazzled instructors are not good ones–how does that help students? I have pulled from his post below….

FIRST SYNDICATION POST SAID: “This idea about letting students go at their own pace scares me some. I need papers in by certain dates; otherwise, my work load becomes impossible. How can I be more flexible for online students? Ugh. I have to give them feedback on their papers, so if they turn in assignments at different times, I’ll lose my marbles. Also, if the class discussions are to help them brainstorm and pre-write, how can they work ahead? Being more flexible on timing sounds a little impossible right now.

This idea about letting students create their own learning experience is throwing me a little. too. Can I create a course where students get to pick and choose which assignments they want to do? Is that possible? Perhaps I can create multiple assignments that would satisfy the learning outcomes. Then, students could pick which assignments to complete. Is that what it means to let them create their own learning experience?”

I also still, after reading the definition and examples over and over and over again, do not feel that I really know what an “artifact” is. Somehow all the instructions I read online are just not sinking into my head. Can someone define an artifact in a “artifacts for dummies” way?

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.


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?”

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
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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.

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. ”


” 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.”

” 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.

It is week 2 of the MOOC and I am kind of overwhelmed with the mass of blogs and postings and trying to find the data that is right for me within it. Options are good. Too many options can be bad. I think my problem, specifically, is that I am such a social media recluse and neophyte to online teaching that I want basic, basic things explained to me–perhaps too basic for most in this course. I saw awesome youtube videos on creating animated videos for your class, but it is kind of like dumping a beginning swimmer into an Olympic competition. I watched the Blackboard Collaborate tutorial–the powerpoint presentation with a about 15-60 second explanations per “slide” and it was helpful, but I still feel like I have a lot of questions. I don’t know how to erase the screen or open a new “whiteboard” or “move” the whiteboard so that the old one is still there, but I can have a new section to write in. All the options for mics and speaking seem like it would be difficult with a class of 20…perhaps sticking to chat is better? It would be more helpful to have a live demonstration, but making the webinar times can be difficult.

Is this how online classes are run? Kind of at anytime with a lot of postings and you have to read all the postings and kind of keep track of everyone by their postings in the community wall and hope to keep track about the “threads” they talk about and what they contributed? Is it an artifact if I simply link youtube videos to this blog that I think are useful or do I need to create my own spin to the artifact to make it count?

Does anyone have a more regimented outline or prescriptive schedule for how they teach online?

Comments welcome!

Aloha Discussion:
1. What is your intention for this course (why are you here)?
I know nothing about teaching online and can barely figure out how to do this blog—or if this blog is even “linked” to the right place. I figure I have to dip my toes in the water at some point. I am hopelessly behind on social media and the uses of it and technology in the classroom and want to learn. I have taught no online classes so far but, pending my success at this class, might in the future.

2. What issues do you think are important?
For someone as hopelessly inept at the online world as me (no facebook!), I think technical issues of “how” are important. How do I use this site? How does managing an online class work? How do I know when there are new posts? How do I access them? How do I incorporate blackboard collaborate?

3. How will you contribute?
I can certainly contribute a lot of questions and enthusiasm! Hopefully I can contribute knowledge of pedagogy or working with students (“classroom” management)–the online management could be a whole new world.

4. How would you like to see community develop among participants?
People are the best resources and I would love to see a feasible, easy way to utilize that awesome resource within this community. I don’t know how to navigate this community right now and find the people who are interested in similar topics to me and I don’t know how to find the “seasoned” professionals and online teaching and to extract their wisdom, so I would like to the community develop pathways between us.

5. These types of courses are new for most people. In fact about 90% don’t even participate. How will you overcome the fear of learning in the open and the frustration of using new technology? How do you plan to courageously work through any setbacks, and not give up?

Well, I hope no one is judging here and that we all have the understanding that we came here to learn, share, give and be a community. That understanding certainly alleviates most apprehension. I am fearful of new technology, but have the will and desire to learn more and that should compensate. Intrinsic motivation is going to be a big key!

I have never taught online, and am not even sure if it is for me, but that is what I am here to find out!