By completing this assignment, you will demonstrate your achievement of the following learning outcomes:
- Design an online component of your class considering your local context, your curriculum, and the benefits and risks of online technologies.
- Develop evaluation and engagement strategies to ensure your students are engaged with your online course components and how you plan to evaluate the effectiveness of your online course design.
- Demonstrate independent enquiry and reflective practice
Describe the online activity, assessment or resource including specifics about what the students and the teacher would have to do. For example, how would the student interact with it? What role does the teacher play in facilitating the technology? You can do this in writing or you can draw diagrams, create a slide show, an interactive flowchart, or use open technologies to build your working example. Make sure whatever method you use, that it can be accessed by your colleagues who will peer-assess your work. (400 words if you choose the written submission format or 4 minute recording if you choose to submit a video format).
The online activity is for my A Level English learners who study face-to-face, have studied with me for one year already (therefore have been exposed to Google and Blogs already) and this project will take place in a blended learning context. The project/activity is for learners to collate and present poetry research to me and the rest of the class using an online mind-mapping tool: Popplet.
The students’ research will be on poets of their choice (from a given list) and they’ll be identifying the links in themes between the poets. This is a task which will commence their coursework preparation (although they’ve also had some short introductory activities over the summer too). The learners, in class (to begin with to solve any initial problems) and out (for the remainder of the project), will be collating their observations about poets’ work: these observations will include poetry annotations, lists of language techniques commonly used by the poets, lists of themes and crucially- the learners will demonstrate the connections they can see between the poems they’ve been reading from each of their chosen 4 poets (they may wish to explore more than 4).
Once complete (they’ll have roughly 4 weeks to do this) the learners will share a link of their live mindmap with our closed Google+ community. The learners will then have one week to review the work of three of their peers (using set criteria) and provide feedback. After reviewing the feedback they have received on their own work from their peers, the learners will have one week to review their mindmap and submit to me via email.
I will then provide final feedback (using set criteria and the peer feedback they received) in order to advance them towards the next stages of their coursework preparation/completion. During the project (before this point) I will be providing advice and support in class on each of the following:
- The detail and depth of their mind-maps (Naomi, M, 2013)
- Locating relevant links and videos
- Making the most of the technology
- Navigating any technology issues
This is an example I have created on Popplet to give them an indication of what they’re aiming for:
This page of our handmade Google class website (linked to our Google+ community) has all the details and accompanying guidance for completing this activity (some aspects are currently under construction):
Describe how the online activity, assessment, or resource is aligned with the rest of the curriculum in your course. See Module 3: Planning Online Learning for strategies for curriculum alignment (200 words if you choose the written submission format or 2 minute recording if you choose to submit a video format).
In my own reflections on course alignment as part of module three, I felt that it was one thing that I usually miss in my courses and I think it’s even more vital online, where the work requires high levels of self-motivation and therefore the learners require as much information as possible.
As such, I have provided information about each of the following:
Timeline (with deadline)
Assessment stages (with deadlines)
Learning outcomes (for this activity and which of the main course outcomes it connects with- assessment objectives 1 and 3)
Skills and attributes (which they can expect to develop as part of this project- useful for university/work)
Go Further (how they can blog their activity and gain further benefit from doing so)
You can see this detail here on our handmade Google class website on the left hand side:
The hope is that this level of detail will help learners to understand the ‘why’ behind the activity as they’ll be able to see the activity in the context of the big picture. A colleague of mine, Alex Warner, recently presented at a TeachMeet about ‘Big Picture Learning’ (click here for presentation) and the necessity of learners being able to see their current learning in the context of their future career pathway and this has been incorporated here.
Discuss the strategies you have chosen to engage your students with the online assessment, activity, or resource with supporting evidence. See Module 7: Engaging and Motivating Students for strategies (400 words if you choose the written submission format or 4 minute recording if you choose to submit a video format).
The project includes things the learners are familiar with: Google+ and peer assessment; allowing them to easily engage. I have ensured that when I link to the new tool to be used, Popplet, there is a PDF (and an embedded video) of advice about how to use the tool effectively. It is these elements that will avoid fear being a barrier to engagement.
An example of what they’re aiming for in the project has been created so that the learners are clear about the outcome but they aren’t outfaced by the task either. I have written guidance (in the red boxes) so they can obtain a sense of my expectations regarding their work, which will be reinforced face-to-face also.
The availability of support is crucial and I have detailed how and when this will be available; so they’re not disappointed by having too high expectations of my availability. Guidance videos on the activity itself and on peer assessment (these can be watched to bolster confidence as well as being used as a reminder of the key aspects of the project) will be added to the project page. I have chosen my bookcases at home as an interesting environment for these videos. Before doing this Learning to Teach Online MOOC, I would have felt that a video with slick presentation and graphics made on my iPad was more beneficial but now I can also appreciate the benefits of presenting in person: developing that connection and rapport between me and my learners as well the advantages body language and eye contact can bring in terms of the way a video message is delivered (Cull, S, 2010). Each of these will ensure I have a vital presence in the online environment (Online Learning Insights, 2012)
Learners have been given choice over content and which of the poets they select (Kelly, R, 2014).
I have provided a checklist for learners of what they will need to ensure they have done before the project is complete (Kelly, R, 2015).
The clear timeline also helps to engage as learners have obvious reference points for when tasks need to be completed by and the countdowns I have added as a gadget to each deadline are a tool used on this MOOC (on the assignments page) that I have appreciated and feel will help my learners to remain motivated.
I will be providing video feedback (generating more of a connection with learners), but this is also accompanied by written feedback from their peers as well as verbal feedback from me during face-to-face time: it is regular feedback, which will engage learners (Cull, S, 2010).
- Learners identified themes, poetic features and language patterns of at least 4 poets from the set list (evident on their Popplet)
- Learners drew accurate and clear links (both comparisons and contrasts) between their selected poets (evident on their Popplet)
- Learners evaluated possible coursework titles as a result of their research project (evident on their Popplet)
At a more basic level, the success of the online activity can be assessed using the following measures:
– How many learners completed the Popplet (without prompting after the deadline)?
– How many learners gave peer assessment to three of their peers (without prompting after the deadline)?
– How many learners took on board feedback received and improved their mind-map accordingly (without prompting after the deadline)?
I will be able to assess these through my own self-assessment (University of Sydney, 2015). I will be tracking each of the components of this project on a spreadsheet. When I provide learners with feedback, I will make reference to these aspects so they are aware of what my perception is in terms of their skills development. I can also use the spreadsheet to RAG rate (red= risk, amber= progress, green= achieved, blue= outstanding) each of my learners in terms of how well they achieved each of these three things, which will inform what skills they will need to develop further in future projects.
I will require feedback from my learners about what they felt benefited them (or otherwise) on this project to help inform me of the contributing factors to the observations I have made (Davis, V, 2015). It is their feedback which will be the most important and informative. At the end of the project, I will share a Google Form with learners, which they will complete anonymously and can be completed with ease: via their mobile devices in class). This will allow me to generate graphs from their ratings and means other comments related to successes and suggested improvements will be collected in one place for me to consider and feed into future online activities.
I will ask a colleague, the Learning Technologies Manager, to consider the results with me after self assessment and learner assessment has taken place so that another professional view is provided through a different lens (University of Sydney, 2015).
Finally, I will use one of the following reflective templates to make observations about the activity and what my learning points are:
In the longer term, I will find this tool useful in my and my learners’ evaluation of our online learning environment: