SDCCD Online Teaching Excellence Symposium

It had neither the drinking nor gay focus a historian would expect from a “symposium”, but it was cool. I missed the 2:00 sessions because I was presenting Interactivity and Learning Styles at the same time. I had beeen asked to reprise this from last year, but I didn’t want to, so I proposed a Web 2.0 presentation instead, but was asked to please do this one because the response from last year was so positive. The problem was that I have changed my mind somewhat since I gave the presentation (next post coming up!). I no longer think that students are technologically savvy, capable of picking up new academic uses of technology easily or willingly. On the other hand, I was asked to do what I did last year. So I added a slide of “caveats”.

And, just like last year, I wasn’t able to finish the presentation in 45 minutes. My wonderful colleague Shafin Ali was at the conference, and agreed to be my cameraman during my presentation. (34 MB, so it will take awhile to load — didn’t get around to YouTubing.)

Camera work by my colleague Shafin Ali (Professor of Economics, the “dismal science”, though he’s actually a very cheerfull guy!)

Here are some of my notes from the other sessions:

Keynote by Patricia James: “Putting YOU in Your Online Class”

  • students come into online classes thinking they’re ready but they’re not
  • instructors must make themselves accountable to actually teach, tell students about their response time and do it!
  • she creates an anonymous forum at the end of the class for “parting shots”
  • Mt San Jacinto apparently has Online Faculty Mentors who get release time
  • said you can’t use publisher materials only, or YOU aren’t there
  • be yourself, use friendly announcements (I thought she said be yourself – just kidding!), emoticons if you’re sarcastic (yup), encouragement, mention students by name

Effective Pedagogy Online: Seven Principles of Effective Teaching Practice by Hank Beaver

  • The seven principles can be a basis for quality evaluations
  • he shares retention statistics with students; many have trouble managing distractions or think the course will be easy, so he lets them know up front these may be issues
  • use multiple strands to achieve the same objective (although that is time consuming)
  • one of the attendees says she lists the amount of time students will need to succeed in each element of the class
  • several attendees were very harsh on deadlines; one used the phrase “flexibility means responsiblity” (he admitted to low retention); there seemed to be hostility toward students on this issue — I think that “responsibility means flexibility” and I’m responsible to be a little more flexible — I allow a week to do a quiz late for reduced credit
  • what I’ll change as a result of this session: I’ll ask them to look at the grading rubric early and ask how thy think they’ll do, I’ll change my FAQ title to something like “Helping Each Other” to encourage that, I’ll use CCCConfer’s Elluminate instead of worrying about getting it through Moodle, consider telling them how much time each element of the class will take

Joan Van Duzer and Carole Robinson: My Online Course is Ready — Now What?

A very useful presentation because it focused on how to actually facilitate an online course, and how to assess whether you’re doing it well. A group from the Community of Academic Technology Staff created an Instrument to Assess Online Facilitation. They’ve created a checklist, designed to be simple and straigtforward, that can be used by faculty just starting out, more experienced faculty or course evaluators. There is also an Activity Record, similar to the notes I keep on each class each semester. In their case it was designed to help transfer the course to different instructors each semester. We don’t do that at MiraCosta, land of academic freedom, so the main use for us would be keeping our own records.

What they came up with is, I think, an improvement on my own assessment tool that I developed in 2006. Joan Van Duzer was cited in mine, and a lead on the CATS project discussed in the session. She also teaches Moodle classes for @ONE, and the conversation went into Moodle. I made a note that CSU is choosing Moodle because Blackboard didn’t pass accessibility tests, as noted in Blackboard vs. Moodle.

I plan to introduce such a tool to workshops in fall.