May 11, 2015
by Greg Walker
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Summer Fun Challenges 2015

Celebrate! A Street Party: Lilo

Carlos via Compfight

 

June

Twitter Challenge – 50 Tweets in 21 Days

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned Twitterer, you’ll have big fun sharing and connecting with your colleagues.

How it works:

  1. Register for the Twitter 21 Day Challenge that starts on June 1, 2015.
  2. Tell your co-workers to register too!
  3. You’ll receive a daily email with your challenge for the day once it begins.
  4. If you commit and complete the 21 Day Twitter Challenge, you’ll earn a cool badge of honor! Whoo-hoo!

Please include the #emc21day hashtag in ALL of your tweets.

FYI – UHCC social media policy

 

July

Instagram Challenge – Photo-A-Day for 21 Days (Under Construction)

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned Instagramer, you’ll have big fun sharing and connecting with your colleagues.

How it works:

  1. Register for the Instagram 21 Day Challenge that starts on July 1, 2015.
  2. Tell your co-workers to register too!
  3. You’ll receive a daily email with your challenge for the day once it begins.
  4. If you commit and complete the 21 Day Instagram Challenge, you’ll earn a cool badge of honor! Whoo-hoo!

Please include the #emc21day hashtag in ALL of your posts.

FYI – UHCC social media policy

May 8, 2015
by Greg Walker
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Creating an Online Course this Summer?

Here are  a couple of resources if you are creating an online course this summer.

If you would like help, please email me at gmwalker.edu

May 6, 2015
by Greg Walker
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5 Tech-Friendly Lessons to Encourage Higher-Order Thinking


Engaging in activities that require the use of higher order thinking skills, such as analyzing, evaluating, and creating can significantly improve student achievement. 

Here are five examples of activities, by Susan Brooks-Young,  that target these levels of thinking  skills. 

1. One Minute, One Take

Video production helps students of all ages use higher order thinking skills as they create a digital media product. In the One Minute, One Take activity, students work in small groups to identify a topic that can be explained or summarized in one minute. This might be a plot summary of a book or movie, but can also be an explanation of a concept.

Once the topic is identified, students analyze the information, evaluate what critical information must be incorporated into the one minute summary or explanation, and create a video in one take. It’s okay to pause the recording while shooting, but aside from adding a title and closing credits, that should be all the editing that’s done. 60 Second Recap is an example.

2. Listen up!

Creating podcasts is an easy, effective way to help students of all ages strengthen their higher order thinking skills and become better speakers and listeners in the process. All you need is a device that can record audio and a way to listen to what’s been recorded. There are free audio recording apps for all mobile devices and Audacity is a free audio recording and editing program to download on a PC or Mac. An external microphone is handy, but it’s possible to get by without one.

Podcast topics are virtually limitless and recordings can be comprised of words, sound effects, and music. Encourage students to work in pairs or small groups. Limit early projects to about three minutes. Once they choose (or are assigned) a topic, they need to work collaboratively to conduct research, write a script, record the podcast, and review their final product. As with the video, keep editing to a minimum. If students rehearse before recording they should be able to get through a short script with very few mistakes.

3. Look Carefully

Infographics–graphical representations designed to show complex information quickly and clearly–are useful because they reduce lots of content into a readily understood format. However, it’s easy to use charts, graphs, and other visual representations to distort facts. The ability to differentiate between accurate and inaccurate infographics is a critical media literacy skill.

One way to become a more discerning reader of infographics is to create one. In this activity, students work in small groups to create an infographic on a topic of their choice. In the process they: research a topic to gather data they verify as being accurate and current; decide how the data will be presented (e.g., charts, timelines, Venn diagrams, etc.); choose design elements (color scheme, font type, size, and style); and, assemble the infographic using Excel and MS Word, or a Web 2.0 tool like Piktochart.

4. Thinking Out Loud

A screencast is a recording of what’s happening on a computer or tablet screen and typically includes audio. The technique is often tapped to create software tutorial videos, but with a plain background, it’s also possible to use images or live drawings to explain or demonstrate something.

Challenge students to create a video tutorial that demonstrates a skill or explains a basic concept using a screencasting app (e.g., Screen ChompShowMe, or Educreations for iPad) or screencasting program for a laptop (e.g., Jing or Screencast-O-Matic). Instead of scripting the video, ask the student narrator to outline basic steps in the process being covered and then describe out loud what he or she is doing during the demonstration or explanation. Sample student screencasts can be accessed at this URL.

5. Five Photo Stories

Based on a Flickr group, Five Photo Stories tell tales using five images with no supporting text or audio, aside from the story title. The images can be found online, but it’s usually easier for students to take their own photos. The guidelines on the Flickr group site suggest that storytellers use the following structure. For more examples, visit the Five Photo Story Education Group.

  • Photo 1: Establish character(s) and setting
  • Photo 2: Create a situation where multiple actions might occur
  • Photo 3: Engage the character(s) in the situation
  • Photo 4: Built toward a likely outcome
  • Photo 5: End with a surprising–but logical–finish
  • 5 Tech-Friendly Lessons to Encourage Higher-Order Thinking

    May 6, 2015
    by Greg Walker
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    Making peer evaluations work in Online Learning

     

    Making peer evaluations work in Online Learning

    by Online Learning Insights

    There are many examples of academics supporting the concept of peer evaluation. An academic paper has this to say, “Most group work is assessed by giving every individual the same grade for a team effort. However this approach runs counter to the principles of individual accountability in group learning…. difficult to determine the individual grades for work submitted by the group.” (Lewis, 2006). I respectfully suggest that this professor is missing the point of a collaborative activity.  I digress. Let’s move onto the how-to of assessment for these ‘collective’ assignments.

    Grading Strategy
    This blog post presents 3 main grading strategies to evaluating group assignments in online college classes.

    There are many examples of academics supporting the concept of peer evaluation. An academic paper has this to say, “Most group work is assessed by giving every individual the same grade for a team effort. However this approach runs counter to the principles of individual accountability in group learning…. difficult to determine the individual grades for work submitted by the group.” (Lewis, 2006). I respectfully suggest that this professor is missing the point of a collaborative activity.  I digress. Let’s move onto the how-to of assessment for these ‘collective’ assignments.

    Grading Strategy
    There are 3 main grading strategies to evaluating group assignments in online college classes that I’ve experienced firsthand.

    • Peer Evaluation with team grade. What appears most common is incorporating two grading components –  a team grade AND a grade allocated for the peer evaluation, the latter usually accounting for a small percentage of the total assignment. How it works – each group member completes an evaluation on his or her team members which is then submitted to the instructor. The instructor usually takes the average of the peer evaluations, and shares this grade with each team member which serves as the student’s grade in the peer evaluation portion. In principle, team members do not see any peer evaluations completed by their peers (though there is a case for sharing these). For example, in one of the classes I am taking now, we have a scoring table which where I will evaluate my 3 other group members, and myself. Below a copy of the actual evaluation that each team member completes:

    Of course the point value of peer evaluation is unique to each situation, as determined by the instructor. Though, my experience is that the points do not motivate the student to participate in the project on the front end, but more allows the other group members to express his or her dissatisfaction with the other group members lack of participation or cooperation. I do not recommend including an option on the peer evaluation for team members to make comments about their peers. Should team members have negative comments to make about peers, this tool is not a constructive venue. Should negative comments be made on peer reviews about team members, instructors should not share these comments with the group member, but have a Skype meeting or conference call with one or more members if deemed necessary.

    • Team grade only. The second option, that several professors at my workplace use  is to assign a team grade, but not to use peer evaluations. Granted the assignment is small, only contributing 10% towards the final grade, however, the instructor monitors participation by viewing each groups’ discussion board within the LMS. In cases with a non-participating group member, he intervenes with an email to the student. Alternatively he will address the entire class in his weekly professor news posts and remind students about the need for participation. Overall this assignment works well, though perhaps a contributing factor to its success, is thesize of the groups which are usually limited to 4 participants, and often are as small as 3 team members.
    • Self evaluation and team grade. This is my preferred approach. I believe the learner will benefit far more by completing a self evaluation (that is well crafted to include focused self reflection questions) that forces him or her, to examine how he or she contributed [or did not] to the group process. The tool also encourages the student to consider actions that he or she demonstrated to support the team and to estimate what percentage of the work he or she contributed to the project.  ‘Forcing’ the individual student to assess their own behaviour, as opposed to others is more constructive – it supports the aim of developing collaboration skills, along with the knowledge component.

    Evaluating the Team Assignment – Use a Rubric
     I barely touched on the use of rubrics, which is the tool I suggest for evaluating the completed team project itself. Effective group collaboration begins with a well defined assignment that has clear goals and expectations. A well written rubric not only helps the facilitator score the assignment but it and can greatly increase the quality and effort put into assignments by giving students a clear expectations with knowledge that must be demonstrated. I could write to great length about rubrics, but some other individuals have done a far better job than I ever could.  That being said, I have provided links to several resources for creating or adapting your own rubric.

    Resources for Rubrics:
    http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/teach/rubrics.html
    Blog- e-learning blender – group project design
    Click here to download a rubric template from Microsoft

    References
    Lewis, K. (2006). Evaluation of online group activities: Intra-group member peer evaluation. Retrieved from www.uwex.edu/disted/conference/Resource…/45796_2011.pdf

    Debbie Morrison is an experienced educator with enthusiasm for lifelong learning and education. Currently Morrison is the Lead Curriculum Developer, Online Learning Department, at The Master’s College.

    May 6, 2015
    by Greg Walker
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    Why we need group work in Online Learning

    What is it about group work that is so distasteful? Many students cite lack of cooperation, work equity and dependency on others as major factors in disliking team work with classmates. Ironically, this is precisely why group work is essential for learning. Collaboration goes beyond, two or more people working together towards a common goal – in today’s terms, collaboration is about open, learning, relationships, sharing and innovation. Though there are numerous benefits to groups working together in an online learning community, below I’ve highlighted the three most important reasons (I think) why group work is essential to any e-learning environment.

    http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/why-we-need-group-work-in-online-learning/

    Debbie Morrison is an experienced educator with enthusiasm for lifelong learning and education. 

    May 6, 2015
    by Greg Walker
    0 comments

    Reimagining Learning

     

    In his blog Clarke Quinn thinks of learning experience as a series of activities, not a progression of content. Learnlets ? Reimagining Learning

    These can be a rich suite of things: engagement with a simulation, a group project, a museum visit, an interview, anything you might choose for an individual to engage in to further their learning. And, yes, it can include traditional things: e.g. read this chapter.

    Around these activities, there are a couple of things. For one, content is accessed on the basis of the activities, not the other way around. Also, the activities produce products, and also reflections.

    For the activities to be maximally valuable, they should produce output.  A group project could provide a documented solution, or a concept-expression video or performance. An interview could produce an audio recording.  These products are portfolio items, going forward, and assessable items.  The assessment could be self, peer, or mentor.

    However, in the context of ‘make your thinking visible’ (aka ‘show your  work’), there should also be reflections or cognitive annotations.  The underlying thinking needs to be visible for inspection. This is also part of your portfolio, and assessable. This is where, however, the opportunity to really recognize where the learner is, or is not, getting the content, and detect opportunities for assistance.

    The learner is driven to content resources (audios, videos, documents, etc) by meaningful activity.  This in opposition to the notion that content dump happens before meaningful action. However, prior activities can ensure that learners are prepared to engage in the new activities.

    The content could be pre-chosen, or the learners could be scaffolded in choosing appropriate materials. The latter is an opportunity for meta-learning.  Similarly, the choice of product could be determined, or up to learner/group choice, and again an opportunity for learning cross-project skills.  Helping learners create useful reflections is valuable (I recall guiding honours students to take credit for  the work they’d done; they were blind to much of the own hard work they had put in!).