Thursday, March 23, 2017

Blended Content and Assignments


ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY

Designing an integrated (F2F and online) blended course with a focus on a modular structure of diverse content and learning activities requires careful planning, experimentation, and ongoing feedback. 



REACTION    

Opportunities (and Challenges)

The list of Technology tools for teaching and learning is seemingly endless, continuously refreshed with updated and newer tools, gradually leaving others less tended to behind. There is the consideration of ease-of-use cost, obsolescence (e.g. Google Reader, Dropio, Zaption), and most significantly its potential for learning and assessment. Faculty typically adapt their school's learning management system and after an initial comfort level explore technologies that complement what the LMS lacks or insufficiently provides. 

Help for Faculty

There are number of teaching focused Twitter feeds and chats, blogs, conferences, and courses (in addition to BlendKit of course) that can assist faculty with course design, teaching strategies, and choosing technology materials and tools that have been tested and evaluated by others.  A partial list:
Technology Tools and Outside Course Resources

There are blogs, Tweets, free courses, and these teaching with technology lists:
but there is no substitution for face-to-face interactions (meetings, conferences) with faculty, instructional technologists and designers, and students. 

Course Design (including integration into LMS)

The chapter points out that uniformity guides students through the content and helps reinforce learning. To add, a diversity of content provides students with different experiences and perspectives. Instructors can align their structured content and activities into learning management system modules, which are included in most new systems such as Canvas, which will be used in the examples in this post. HTML pages, links, documents, lecture recordings, and videos can be added as course materials to these modules. For activities instructors can include quizzes, discussions, conferences, and collaborations.  


The Canvas.net course United States History is module based as shown in the diagram below.  Regardless of LMS modules and content/activity tools, course organization, learning resources, student engagement, and assessment depend on teaching excellence.



Content creation Tools

The chapter referred to content creation/screencasting tools such as Jing, Camtasia, and Audacity (audio). Snag-it, Screenflow, and Microsoft Office Mix are newer tools that allow instructors to add embedded video, audio, call-outs, and annotations to PowerPoints. Although screen recording software has evolved with more features and improvement, the time to create and produce lecture videos can be considerable. Some instructors prefer the simplicity of PowerPoint’s build-in recording tools to add audio annotations for each slide. However, this process requires students to download the final PowerPoint lecture to their desktop and having the software available to open and play. 

Ideally, enhancements to online presentations tools such as Google Slides will evolve to include live recording and embedding multimedia onto slides such as audio, video, and annotations so that live lectures can be viewed and played online.  

MOST IMPORTANT TAKE-AWAYS
  • Designing courses by modules facilitates integration of F2F and online environments
  • Uniformity guides students through the content and helps reinforce learning.
  • technologies are adopted more readily when cast in the “context of existing teaching and learning activities
  • freely available online learning resources provides an opportunity for educators to either link to or create derivative works based upon many educational resources
  • Implementing different and new technologies for the first time in a course can be challenging. Start simple to help ensure success for students and faculty and then explore other tools. 
MY FAVORITE QUOTES

“I'd devote more attention to integrating what was going on in the classroom with the online work. This was true even though the project's faculty development sessions repeatedly emphasized the importance of connecting in-class material with out-of-class assignments.”

"When applied to learning, certain activities can be utilized to greater effect when appropriate matching occurs between: the technology used, the learning desired, the context of use, the learner experience, the instructor experience, and the nature of content."

HELPFUL LINKS

4 comments:

  1. Joe, I have read a few of your posts and I want to tell you that I like the consistent format of your blog. This goes well with one of the key points of this week's chapter, the importance of uniformity and consistency in the course design. I have worked really hard in my course to use templates for lesson activities, formative assessments, and summative assessments, all of which are housed in modules. Having that process and routine in place makes it an environment conducive to adding new technology tools and resources. I look forward to reading more of your blog posts!

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  2. Thanks, Jennifer! I appreciated the feedback. Course design is hard and using templates is a great idea to develop consistent modules.

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  3. Nice Post Joe! Appreciate your sharing new resources. Consistency is something that helps us find what we are looking for easily. I like your one line summary too.

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  4. I have to agree with the other comments: your blog is such a helpful addition to the readings! I really enjoy reading it after I've done my own reading. What worried me a bit about this reading is the fact that sometimes instructors are encouraged to use technology but have no institutional support if the technology crashes. So instructors who teach online can only use institutionally supported tech (which is usually fairly traditional) if they want to receive technical support.

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