Just a quick example for PBL that generates vigorous discussions among students:
Form three groups. Two of the groups debate and the third group mediates. Beginning students are often uncomfortable disagreeing with each other so you might want to begin with a controversial but low-stakes proposition. “E-cigarettes should be banned on campus & in classrooms.” The mediators should work to find common ground and propose compromises.
While it’s under discussion, add new details to which students must respond. e.g. how about banning chewing tobacco as well? The goal here is for students to react to changing, fluid situations. The learning will be enhanced if this activity concludes with a debrief where students must analyze and discuss group reactions to the changes.
(A follow-up discussion is for students to formulate how to get buy-ins from peers & administrators to support their decision.)
I really enjoy this week’s video in which Simon Sinek presents a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers.
The model is based on the three distinct and interdependent elements (Why, How, What) that makes any person or organization function at its highest ability. I feel that the approach gave me a stronger sense of my own purpose and my motivation increased. I look forward to start using this in practice, not just in my teaching but also my personal life.
Reflection: The importance of online learning community
This week’s topic reminds me of what Will Richardson (Educational Leadership) once said about how, we as educators, must strive to give students ownership of learning.
More than ever before, students have the potential to own their own learning—and we have to help them seize that potential. We must help them learn how to identify their passions; build connections to others who share those passions; and communicate, collaborate, and work collectively with these networks. And we must do this not simply as a unit built around “Information and Web Literacy.” Instead, we must make these new ways of collaborating and connecting a transparent part of the way we deliver curriculum from kindergarten to graduation.
Younger students need to see their teachers engaging experts in online conversations about content, and they need to begin to practice intelligently and appropriately sharing work with global audiences. Middle school students should be engaged in the process of cooperating and collaborating with others outside the classroom around their shared passions, just as they have seen their teachers do. And college students should be engaging in “collective action,” sharing responsibility and outcomes in doing real work for real purposes for real audiences online.
Use human touch to engage online students:
As teachers, we know that learning occurs differently from one individual to another, some are visual learners while others are tactile learners. For some, it’s memorization of information. For others, it’s acquiring knowledge from practical use.
Regardless of how our students learn, it’s a process that allows them to understand and apply their knowledge. We can learn from the moment of birth. We constantly make sense of our experiences and consistently search for meaning.
Though humans like the familiar and are often uncomfortable with change. The brain searches for, responds to novelty, and resists meaningless stimuli. This reconfirms Dr. John Thompson’s theory of using human touch to engage online students. Our brains build and strengthen neural pathways no matter where we are, no matter what the subject or the context. No matter how technology changes the delivery method of the course material, the key is to create a connection through enriching human experiences & challenges.
Short mid-week reflection – Create a sense-making artifact:
As I started participating in this workshop’s discussions, I had to remind myself what I tell my students each semester: It’s not enough to know how to grow a blog, to pick a topic and keep contributing to one’s blog. We must also be aware of the virtual classroom community in which we are learning. Blogging is not about choosing a topic and writing responses for the rest of the term. It is about meaningful, thoughtful engagement with ideas.
I find that for so many of my students online discussions & blogging often becomes a race to publish, to write entries and receive comments. (Most of them measure the success of their blog by the number of comments they receive, and the content of the comment is often not as important as the mere fact that it is there). They rarely look critically at their own writing, preferring instead to judge their own work by the traffic that it attracts to their blog.
The recommended link for change.mooc.ca is loaded with useful resources. Thanks!
I have been teaching online & hybrid courses for a few years and here is always so much to learn. The more I know, the more I realize how little I know. Besides attending workshops and webinars, I find that sharing tips and techniques with other educators is very beneficial.
I participated in the iFacilitate workshop last year and you folks at Leeward CC were great teachers! So I am here for an encore. Once again, I am seeking ideas and techniques to engage students, connect with them and motivate them to connect with each other.
My contribution will hopefully be activities that I had tried that were successful (or not).
Looking forward to spending the next few weeks with tomooc~
My name is Andrey Chan. I am an Business Education (Marketing, Bus Tech & Accounting) instructor at HawCC.
I have been teaching for 7 years, online & in person. I have 2 adult daughters, 3 dogs, 3 cats, 2 steers, 3 chickens, 7 sheep & 1 goat. Oh, almost forgot, and a husband. We live on a 5-acre ranch near Hilo town.