For those who have been following my blogs for the Program for Online Teaching, I will blog from time to time on this site even if I used it predominately for POTCERT (2012-2013).
You’ll find other tools on this site for both students and instructors so feel free to “surf around”. Most of the tools are oriented towards French or Teacher Education/Student Learning but I’ve also included some other interesting topics.
In our third week in POT, I started thinking about how I’d organize the content of my class – which I decided would be week by week. The hard thing at this point was trying to figure out how I’d set it up in regards to holidays or breaks. I realized creating a 16-week curriculum is how I should go about it and I can modify it, as needed depending on the semester.
In week 4, we were able to play around with different tools and figure out if there would be right for us or not. Ideas such “creating a blog” floated around my head—would it be right for my students or not? I’ve concluded that it depends on the level of French (subject I predominately teach)—a French 201 class might benefit greatly from keeping a blog (or journal) whereas a French 101 might be overwhelmed with such an assignment.
Two questions I pondered on this week:
1) What tools do I want to use to clearly and frequently communicate with my students? I’ve decided to use Blackboard (for Discussion Boards, etc.), my email and Skype.
2) How can I be seen as a caring, personable, and knowledgeable teacher versus a computer? I believe responding to students in a timely manner; with a personal email (not just a copy/paste from a FAQ) can be some ways to be seen as such. I also believe creating short videos for students (to not only see and hear you) can encourage students on a regular basis.
This week we explored the concept of an Online Syllabus. I believe including an agenda that describes main assignments due and tests/quizzes is important. Nevertheless, including TOO much on an Interactive Syllabus might push zealous students to want to get way ahead of themselves. In this week, I started hyperlinking different useful links to both my lesson plans and a potential Student Agenda/Interactive Syllabus. We discuss this more in Week 16 as well.
This week I created a Twitter account/page. Even if haven’t really used it, I was able to get some ideas on how it could be used for an online class. I also explored the differences between Dropbox and Google Docs. I also realized I wanted to start making more videos (and have since week 7).
In this post I discuss how much we can learn from others. I’m constantly learning from other instructors. By reading other professors’ blogs and POT posts I am able to analyze a lot in my own classroom and hopefully improve my instruction as a whole.
In Week 9 we completed many student activities along with our regular reading. I checked out Second Life. I decided not to use it (as of now) for my online class but could see how I could possibly use it in the future. In teaching languages, I could create scenarios (like grocery shopping, getting a cab, going to the bank, making restaurant reservations, etc.) students could “practice”.
This week we continued exploring Student Activities in the Online Environment.
I checked out Engrade, which I really thought was cool. But I decided to keep using Gradekeeper for now since Engrade doesn’t have the option of making the class a weekly (or bi-weekly) attendance but goes day-by-day (which works well in secondary schools but not for College—in my opinion). I emailed them about and they said they’d eventually change that… Until then, Gradekeeper will have to suffice! Pilar also showed us how to create a basic website such as those on Google Sites. Click here to view my new mini-website.
I found this week to be particularly interesting. As I mention in my post, I have handouts for almost everything (at least French 101-201)! Much of the content from my handouts I have created but some of it I have used/copied from other websites and such. The TEACH Act Checklist was very useful to me. I ended up emailing a few sites I “regularly” use content from to get their permission to use their material—which they allowed. J
This week I toyed around with embedding pictures in my website—so much fun! We continued looking at “free” content and classroom materials on websites such as: Free eBooks, Open Textbooks & Internet Archive. For teaching French I particularly enjoyed the Français Interactif, which has so many different tools!
Our post for this week was a self-assessment with links to all of the posts we had written at that point. It was a good way to reread our work, see how much we had already learned and review what we discovered from the Program for Online Teaching (as is this post).
After a refreshing Winter Break, we started back up with so many interesting things to discover. Week 13 I learned how to take screen shots. We “surfed” different image hosting websites such as Flickr or PicFindr. Having a Mac (that broke down TWICE throughout the POT) I also discovered short cuts to take snapshots.
We analyzed ways both audio and video could be used in our class—one of which is how it makes us more personable as a teacher.
We looked at audio recording tools such as Audacity, AudioBoo and one of my favorites: SoundCloud. Since week 14, I have recorded many short lessons using SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/profdemeo. Unfortunately though, the time is limited on HOW MUCH you can record—or at least for free. L
We were also encouraged to check out different Podcasting Services such as Podomatic or Posterous.
We had a lot to read this week. Week 16, I created a FAQ and a Readiness Quiz for an online class. Though I found both to be interesting I decided to change them both completely and combine them. Here’s a short video (I created yesterday) on the difference from Week 16 until now:
In this week of POT, we explored what managing a classroom online looks like. Though I still don’t know 100% what that looks like online, I feel like I have a better idea now than I did before Week 17. Other points brought up were record keeping, setting rules and procedures, keeping track of students and providing feedback. Lisa and Louisa also taught us a lot on saving-time (not duplicating our efforts). Also, thanks to Pilar, I was able to use Quackit.com to edit HTML content for Blackboard and other websites.
Another fairly long post—this week I write about predominately two main topics discussed: student behavior problems and privacy concerns. Finding what works for you is essential as an online instructor.
Week 19 opened my eyes to not only how much free (and useful) content is out there but also how I might want to put more of my work “out there” in that World Wide Web WORLD! I learned that I might not need to make handouts and videos of EVERYTHING I teach as I could use what others have done. I also pondered on my job as an online instructor—and how it goes far beyond simply teaching a student.
I decided I wanted to change my WordPress site name from ProfDeMeo to RacheleDeMeo so I could use the ProfDeMeo site as the website I’d use for teaching French and the RacheleDeMeo site for POT. This resulted in a few problems (Anthony so kindly helped me with) and not having everything embedded from one site to the other once I exported everything. Oh well!
This week I wrote what I would consider to probably be my favorite post. This week I learned about different learning theories: Insctructivism, Behaviourism, Constructivism as well as the Social learning theory, Connectivism and Emergent Learning. I analyzed my “type” of teaching and explored how using other learning theories could best aid my students to learn.
I was relieved this week to discover (thanks to POT and David Dewittler) that if we invest our time in an online class early on, it will “pay off”. I’ve often felt like I put so much into one class/one semester without it ever being used again. What has scared me in the concept of creating an online class is thinking I’d put in even more time than I do for the blended class I teach. Feeling like I can reuse what I have taught is encouraging. It’s also been nice seeing other professors’ online classes to get an idea of how I could create mine.
In my project for this week I talk about the Interactive Syllabus. I have learned so much in what to change from an on-campus class to an online class and what to include in an online Syllabus—making it interactive.
Some Final Thoughts…
I really am grateful for all the Program for Online Teaching has taught me. It has opened up my eyes to what an online class is, how the teaching differs from teaching on-campus and how to create an online class. I have enjoyed the experience, learning from others and figuring out what might work for me. I’m excited (and scared) to be teaching my first online class this Fall. I love being in the classroom and interacting with my students. I look forward to finding more creative ways to do this in my online class as well.
Thanks to all the POTCERT teachers, mentors and participants for all you have taught me during this adventurous learning journey!
I also wanted to show the progression of how I have learned to develop an online class since starting the Program for Online Teaching. A special thanks to Lisa Lane, Pilar Hernandez and David Dewittler for all your help and mentoring me through this educational journey! I still have plenty to learn but I’m grateful for all I have learned thus far.
It’s crazy to think there are only two weeks to go!
I look forward to reading everyone else’s posts as I have learned so much from everyone
The theme for this week’s Program for Online Teaching is “Personal Learning Networks“. We finally finished reading our textbook “Teaching Online). Chapter 14 talked about the experience that teaching online is and how if we invest time in our online class it will pay off. I personally feel like I’ve wasted so much in doing an incredible amount of work for just one semester instead of thinking more long-term. The challenge is often found when we switch textbooks but as my mentor, Pilar, mentionned to me a couple years back: “don’t focus your curriculum on a textbook!”–I couldn’t agree more!
The presentation I decided to work on is The Online Syllabus (Week 5).
I enjoyed Eric Robertson’s introductory video – he has a lot of energy! 🙂
I loved what the video explained about how sharing with others our knowledge and getting knowledge from what others share can help our students learn. Giving insentives for sharing/reposting can be a way to promote one’s classroom material. One thing I particularly like that was said: “Students are direct beneficiaries of the work of others… That in itself changes education.”
I liked what was explained about the various ways in which we can connect as instructors with one another, with our students. We need to prepare students for life–not just for a subject.
In this week’s list of “to dos” we had to read The Virtues of Blogging as a Scholarly Activity (2012) by Martin Weller. Before I had children, I found time to blog about my personal life and various thoughts–sharing the blog to my family and close friends. With two young children at home, I have very little time to journal–let alone blog! I have wondered where blogging, in the academic world, stands in comparison to writing a (published) article. The author makes valid points when he discusses how there are many facts (such as keeping track of statistics) online versus mere research. And frankly, if we didn’t “have to” keep a blog for this Program for Online Teaching, I don’t think I would just have one just to have one. I have a blog for my French classes but need to find more time to add more to it. Research I have done in the past and articles I have written haven’t been linked to my blog per se but more for my own benefit. After reading everything we have read this week, it would make more sense to share it. 😉
This week’s topic was introduced by Jenny Mackness’ video:
I thought her video was brilliant. I enjoyed the different learning theories (Insctructivism, Behaviourism, Constructivism, Social learning theory, Connectivism and Emergent Learning) she introduced us to. One thing I have been pondering upon lately (and this video reinforced) was how important it is to teach students to learn “outside the classroom”. For myself, teaching French, what are ways students can continue learning French outside of my class?
My notes – A summary of Lisa Lane & Jim Sullivan’s Adventures in Online Pedagogy:
Instructivism / Behaviorism(the content is presented by the “expert”, the instructor, to the student).
Students learn through presentation as instructors attempt to ensure the proper presentation. The content is often presented in a lecture format in which the instructor will motivate the students to learn what is being presented.
Students are encouraged to learn and generate knowledge. Students build upon prior knowledge and in essence, learn to teach one another.
Connectivism (the “new” learning theory / the electronic world theory)
The instructor is more of an environmental designer than anything. The student learns from everything than the content in itself that is being learned. The connections create a pathway for learning.
Examples of social learning would be Diigo, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook (below is a snapshot of my Facebook group page – I just started last August, thanks to Lisa Lane).
I personally have a hard time figuring out what type of instructor I am based on the those three types of learning theories. I can see myself in each of them.
As an instructivist, I definitely have a “lecture” in my (blended) class followed by repetition, practice exercises and a fun activity.
As a constructivist, many activities we do in class consist of students using prior knowlege to teach one another and work on a project together.
Using the Internet for students to learn together, through a project for instance, can certainly be useful. This, to me, refers back to constructivist learning even if it’s strongly linked to connectivism. While some students can learn/study by themselves, we certainly need one another to learn.
This article also talked about how we are so used to being stimulated that our concentration levels are lowering which “may be making us less capable of processing broad, complex information and, more simply, less capable of reading books.” There certainly is a balanced between incorporating new technology in creative teaching methods yet still helping the student stay focused on what we present knowing we simply cannot learn everything at the click of a button. I see this in my classes again, where students try to get the easy way out by using Google Translate to translate their writing assignment from English to French instead of LEARNING how to do it themselves. Sadly, they are not training their brains on how to “think” in French but are relying on the Internet–a source that isn’t always 100% accurate. Plus with Spelling Check and AutoCorrect, we’re not even needing to know how to spell anymore. (They are great inventions but are not training our minds to be used to the capacity in which they could be used). Check out the example below:
As you noticed I made a spelling mistake which has changed the translation to mean something that doesn’t even make sense!!!
Now, look at the original quote:
See the difference? (First sentence is in English while the third sentence (properly translated) is in French).
I decided to post about something Jim Julius brought up: how students learn. I focus a lot of my instruction on a student’s individual learning style (I actually presented a workshop on it at MiraCosta College back in January). So, I recorded an abreveated “workshop” on implementing learning styles in the classroom:
Also, thanks to Stephanie Decker for making me discover how to create a “gif“. Here’s mine to introduce this week on P.O.T.:
Something I noticed this past week more than others is the amount of spam comments I’m getting on my blog. I thought I had put an option to limit spam but it still seems to be appearing out of nowhere. ;( (Someone help me!)
This week we had to read: Ko & Rossen, Chapter 13 (I actually ended up reading the whole chapter) which talked about: “Teaching Web-Enhanced and Blended Classes“. There are many points I could bring out from our reading this week but I’m including them below in the other activities we had to complete. One resonating idea from the textbook was that, even in a blended/on-campus class, it’s important to include online elements which can help make time spent in the classroom more productive and overall valuable.
I so wish I could have taken a snapshot of my Blackboard when I taught my first blended course. It basically included the Syllabus, a laid-out calendar week-by-week with attached handouts and my students’ grades. That’s about it. Now look at the current blended class I teach:
What I learned from the pages from the book and the article were the following points:
Use of certain technologies can be very time-consuming for both the instructor and the student. It’s important to know where to focus our time and energy. I dabbled with Second Life and saw how much time could be spent for me to create virtual scenarios for my students. It took me quite a while just to design an avatar!
David Wiley, the instructor of the course this research paper was wrote about used WordPress for different things such as creating course content, facilitate student participation, post assignments, the Syllabus and more! I have technically three different websites (all using WordPress). I mentioned last week, how I haven’t used these for teaching simply due to the fact that I use Blackboard (which works great) and also because I’m not sure how to make content on WordPress accessible to only students and not the general public (the paper somewhat discusses this page 19). I’m sure I could figure out a way to use it with a password and such but I haven’t even needed to use it thus far.
Wiley recommends PBWorks for Wikis and online team work. Again, I’ve used Blackboard for that in the past.
Page 11 elaborates on recording lectures. I have recorded a few “lectures”–not entire lessons but parts/sections of a lesson. I’ve done this for my students to review what was learned and especially for Auditory Learners needing to review/memorize information.
The research paper demonstrated (page 16) that the course readings/content was rated as the activity the most useful to students. To be honest, I have a hard time believing that. When I took online classes, I read everything that was required of me. But I know MANY students who don’t and just complete work that is graded. I believe having creative lectures, postings and videos can be more effective for the general public. But apparently research suggests otherwise.
Organization was also discussed in our readings. Students have difficulties getting organized, especially in an online course (whether blended or completely online) so giving them guidance (i.e. step-by-step instructions) can be very useful for students throughout the duration of the class but especially at the beginning.
This week we were also required to peruse Michael Wesch’s Digital Ethnography course page – which brought me to Netvibe: The best social dashboard. I wasn’t sure if this was the right website or not but I still watched the introductory video. I already have a Netvibe account but haven’t used it much. I did research on bilingual education using it though. Here’s a picture of the homepage of Netvibe.
Finally, we had to read George Siemen’s post on theory and MOOCs. On the website were various tools and videos I found interesting.
I particularly liked the video “The Networked Student” (embedded below) that discussed how the 21st century student can “stay connected”:
Students need to be highly motivated in order to get the most out of any class–particularly though an online class since as instructors we cannot monitor the student as closely as we would as if they were physically in our class. We need to not only motivate them but find creative ways to teach them, interact with them and help them engage in the “community”: with the rest of the class, their classmates. Staying organized helps both the instructor and the student. We are not just teachers–we are counselors, mentors, guides and so much more beyond our job description. We must remember the impact we can have on our students–not just in learning the subject we teach but in many other ways!
This week my computer broke down. Yay! I usually grade students’ homework/quizzes, etc. within a week and now it took me two weeks to grade their work because my computer was out to be repaired. I had to re-install everything so what a huge amount of time I spent on just getting “set up” all over again. It reminded me that our online students might have problems with their computers too and we must be willing to work with them if/when these problems can occur.
So anyway, here’s my week’s post:
This week we learned how to best manage our classroom and create harmony in an online class.
This week we had to:
Read: Ko & Rossen, Chapter 11: Classroom Managementand Facilitation, pp.318-end and Chapter 12: Special Issues if you wish. Points: Student activities and participation, tips for synchronous and asynchronous discussions, team teaching / privacy, identity, noisy/quiet./disruptive student behaviors.
See Joyce Seitzinger’s Moodle Tool Guide (2010), an example of an LMS critique based on pedagogical goals
A few things I gathered from our readings…
Chapter 12 of our textbook discussed Classroom Management and the Special Issues which differ from a class taught on campus. Two main topics discussed were student behavior problems and privacy concerns.
Over the years I have created many handouts I distribute to students. They go along with whatever we are learning in our textbook. Students have told me they really enjoy the handouts I give them. I usually make them accessible on Blackboard and students can open, download and/or print them out. I project them in the classroom on our projector as well. Some of the handouts I get from different websites while others are entirely my own. I ask my students to use them to learn French (the subject I predominately teach) but not to share with others who aren’t enrolled in our course.
Here’s an example of one of my handouts:
The textbook didn’t only mention privacy in terms of what we distribute to our students, as instructors but also on what we share about our personal life. I tend to keep my personal and professional life separate. However, I am personable with my students by taking interest in their hobbies, family life, etc. I also share a little bit about what I enjoy doing during my free time such as spending time with my family.
Chapter 12 focused a lot on how to manage student behavior online. Having complete one of my two Master degrees completely online, I remember noticing different student issues such as students being “domineering” and trying to control all the posts on the Discussion Board. I liked the advice given on redirecting the “conversation” to the original topic and sharing ideas respectfully.
I liked what Lisa wrote in the article Insidious Pedagogy (2009): “It’s important to make a distinction between a teacher experienced in instruction, and one experienced in using the Web to instruct.” I can relate to that because in languages it’s similar. One can speak a language but teaching it is a complete different ball game. Some of my childhood friends from France sometimes tell me they couldn’t explain principles in the French language (even if they speak it fluently). Knowing something and knowing how to teach it, is very different. Having access to sites such as Blackboard is useful but we must plug in the appropriate content organized in a way that is easy and simple enough for students to figure out. That can be challenging and I believe through trial and error we learn to best organize our work. I like using Blackboard for my blended class (and would for an online course as well). I have seen professors also have their own websites. I haven’t figured out how they limit content so only students can see/have access to the class (I have a website but haven’t used it to for the classes I teach).
I like the idea of students helping build the content, as mentionned in the article Rebuilding the LMS for the 21st Century (2012): “Taking the idea one step further, faculty at the college wanted the ability to build projects over many years, allowing students to add to the work of those who’ve taken the seminar before them.” Every semester I listen to students’ feedback about how I organize my Blackboard. I listen to their comments and suggestions.
Finally, here is my screen-cast video on using different tools online. I experimented with VideoThread and also showed how to create assignments in Blackboard. The video could have been hours in length since there are so many tools one can incorporate but I limited it to just six minutes: