Program for Online Teaching – Week 19: Web-Enhanced, Hybrid and Open Classes
Program for Online Teaching – Week 19: Web-Enhanced, Hybrid and Open Classes avatar

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:


We had to read the article by R. Graham, J. Hilton, P. Rich, D. Wiley,Using Online Technologies to Extend a Classroom to Learners at a Distance. Distance Education, 31(1), p. 77-92, (2010)

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!

Capture d’écran 2013-03-19 à 12.30.37

  • Online Technologies, however, “facilitate learner-learner and learner-instructor” activities and communication. (page 6)
  • 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.

Here’s one of my recordings on French Alphabet:

Hear other recordings I created by clicking on:

  • 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.

Capture d’écran 2013-03-19 à 12.56.05

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”:

Finally, we had to watch Criss Crissman’s video:


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!

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6 Responses to Program for Online Teaching – Week 19: Web-Enhanced, Hybrid and Open Classes
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  1. Avatar Helen Crump says:

    Hi Rachele, funny how we both looked over the same material and came up with such different posts.

    Funny how you took a detour over to Netvibes. I’d forgotten that the POT Cert link sent you there instead of to Michael Wesch’s Digital Ethnography site. I’m slightly familiar with his work so I just I just Googled it and looked up his work on YouTube. I was going to use his classic video, “a Vision of Students Today” in my post,
    but when I sat down to write that’s not what really came to mind for me.

    I did end up looking at Netvibes because of the news this week that Google Reader is being closed down. It looks too complicated for my simple RSS needs.

    It would be nice to think that you could just use WordPress and a whole bunch of other groovy apps to host a course, like David Wiley, but like you say, it takes a lot of figuring out.

    I liked your post and I like the way you always manage to post at the start of the week. It’s hard to comment on posts that are playing catch up. I find that my brain can only just manage to take in all that we’re covering each week, never mind flip over to another topic and give it full consideration.

  2. Pingback: Problems with Posting of Week 19 | Rachele DeMeo ~ Teaching Blog & Site

  3. I’m with Helen — so good to see an early post about this week’s topic. You must have the organizational skills that you describe as needed by student and instructor.

    You know, I began with Moodle when Moodle was new and have tried just about every combination of Web 2.0 tools to create the course space I wanted. I must say that Blackboard in your hands is looking better than ever. I was especially impressed by your Schedule with the table and illustrations. Very clear and visually attractive for Blackboard.

    Here’s my effort to use Wikispaces for a course — — benefits are that you can embed anything and the Projects function is handy for teamwork as Wiley mentioned. Downside is navigation because students complain if they can’t access every level from the homepage.

    But now I’ve got this spiffy new WordPress for my new course and the Distance Ed folks even made it state-of-the-art responsive as in mobile devices. I’m really excited about the student blog syndication —

    You mention the problem of making course content available only to students. I’m curious if you’ve considered opening up the course so the general public can see the course content. Does your university have a policy about open courses? Would you have any interest in opening up your course for non-credit students or even the lone lurker who wanted to learn on her own?

    Just curious . . .

  4. Hoping my first comment makes it through but just in case I’ll add that many universities encourage open content these days, so perhaps with your university’s blessing you could use WordPress and not worry about private class spaces. What do you think? I’m really enjoying my WordPress site and bet you would, too.

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