Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Struggle to Communicate

As I prepare to teach my online M.Ed course for the Fall 2011 semester, I felt that I needed to reflect upon my successes and struggles in this endeavor. This is my fourth time teaching the course, and I've made some significant changes and improvements over time.

Here are the things upon which I have improved:
  • I have started to embed multimedia into the homepage of my course each week (Vokis, Wordles, videos, etc.) to ensure that students see something "fresh" when they log in. I'm hoping that draws in students.
  • I use Google Reader as an assignment. This encourages students to explore the fantastic information sources and educational blogs that far exceed the content in my course.
  • I use Google Docs instead of the grading tool inside the LMS. Then students can post quick reflections, questions, or thoughts right beside their rubrics. This format also allows me to encourage second-chance learning and constant revision.
  • I added Clay Shirky's book, Cognitive Surplus, as an additional text. I think it provides good perspective that can be applied to both education and the world at large.

Here are some areas that I still want to enhance:
  • I want to provide more opportunities for collaboration and peer work. I do use a lot of discussion forums, but I need to provide LOTS of opportunities for interaction.
  • I want to have students choose and attend an #edchat as a learning opportunity. I'm not quite sure about how to bridge this gap yet.

Any thoughts?


  1. Great ideas. Thanks for sharing. If you are also into embedding in livebinder, I want to share my livebinder on it - A Guide on Embedding Objects and HTML Editor -

  2. I'd love to hear how you work on collaboration in your online course. It's something I just can't seem to be able to do--although I work with undergrads. Seems like they generally let one or two people do the work..and the others ride. I even let them choose their own partners from time to time (hoping they'll choose people with similar interests and working styles) and I am still disappointed. I hope you'll post some of your ideas and how they work out!

    I tried a little inspiration after the first disaster:

    And I've tried giving them a peer evaluation form before an activity to be completed afterward. DIdn't work either.

    --Desperate DJ

  3. Thanks for the resources and support. I think one thing I'm going to try is to have students moderate the weekly discussions instead of me. Hopefully this will make them feel more comfortable with each other and encourage empowerment.

  4. These are some great ideas! You could have students participate in an #edchat and use that to facilitate discussion on the message boards. Maybe each week one student can attend an #edchat and be the facilitator of discussion that week. Keep us posted on how it goes!



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