Online Facilitation Resources

If I were to give some solid resources to someone who is teaching an online course for the first time (or even the 100th time!), I would start off with the following:

10 Best Practices for Teaching Online

From The Online Survival Teaching Guide, by Judith V. Boettcher and Rita-Marie Conrad

Best Practice 1: Be present at the course site

Best Practice 2: Create a supportive online course community

Best Practice 3: Develop a set of explicit expectations for your learners and for yourself as to how you will communicate and how much time students should be working on the course each week

Best Practice 4: Use a variety of large group, small group, and individual work experiences

Best Practice 5: Use synchronous and asynchronous activities

Best Practice 6: Ask for informal feedback early in the term

Best Practice 7: Prepare discussion posts that invite responses, questions, discussions and reflections

Best Practice 8: Search out and use content resources that are available in digital format if possible.

Best Practice 9: Combine core concept learning with customized personal learning

Best Practice 10: Plan a good closing and wrap up activity for the course

The following would further support the above Best Practices:

A Reflection: Blogging about Blogging

 

One of the most critical steps in the learning process is reflection. In order to reflect, we have to somehow capture what we’ve been learning so that we an go back and think about our learning, make connections, and allow for some transferability of the information to new learning experiences.  As I look back at the EDUC x580 Teaching Practicum and Reflection course and read some of the discussions in the forums, I realize that many of these discussions would be great to capture and save because they are so enriching and speak to what we are striving for: deep learning. What better way to capture your explorations, emotions, findings and thoughts than a blog?! You can ‘take them with you’ when you leave, continue to build and add to the learning and begin to make connections and transfer knowledge.

When I was a student in the Certificate for Faculty Preparation (CFP) program, I tediously copied some of my discussion posts because I had put so much of myself into them that I wanted to save these thoughts to reflect upon. If only is started a blog then, instead of digging through my Evernote notebooks trying to locate particular topics!

I am guessing that each student in this course had a different experience with their blog in this course. The image above “spoke” to me as I envisioned these unique experiences, of different colors and shades, size and shape.  Even though we have been on this journey together, we each connect to the various aspects differently.  Another reason that it is a great activity because it is personalized for the creator.  For me, my experience has been enriching, to say the least.  I have learned more about each of you individually through your blogs. I have learned more perspectives and information through your explorations.  I have begun to write more regularly again- yay! Most of all, I have found a venue for not just sharing content, but sharing thoughts about processes that I can share with others.

As for the future, I hope you each continue to add to your blog with your new journeys in learning in teaching.  Maybe a next step would be to create a blog for your class? Or maybe have students create their own blogs? Next semester, I will be using a class blog and adding students as content editors to create a central source of information that we can share and build upon.

Thank you to each of you for taking this leap and joining me in this blogging experience in EDUC x580!  Happy blogging!

 

 

Blogging Resources:

Academic Blogging: Ten Top Tips

So You Wanta Start an Academic Blog

Seven Tips for Academic Bloggers

Emotions of Teaching

FEAR by Kevin B 3, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Kevin B 3 

Emotions. Emotions. Emotions.

I think back to the very first time I taught in higher ed.  Although I had many, many teaching opportunities throughout  my life, even in higher ed, most were either one day, week long, or other varieties.  The first time in my own full semester classroom was in 2008 teaching Business Entrepreneurship.

I spent hours upon hours preparing starting in October for my class beginning late January. I was excited, nervous, anxious, and sometimes downright scared!  The first evening that I walked into the classroom, I had dry mouth, jittery stomach, and rapid heartbeat.  I was really excited about the class, the teaching aspect, the students, the topic…and yet I had a difficult time calming my nerves.

Before Class. Fast forward to present day. I had some of these very same emotions yesterday afternoon as I thought about the lesson for that evening’s class, the potential challenges and “chaos” that can happen with a mobile lesson, and add to that the fact that I was being observed by a colleague in my department.  I felt much like I did that very ‘first day’.  Come to think of it, I was downright scared!  I gave my self a ‘talk’ just like I share with my public speaking students. I tried some of the different techniques that I encourage my students to try to help calm  their nerves before/during their speeches.

Here are some of my favorite strategies:

  1. Prepare/practice
  2. Visualize/breathe success
  3. Realize that no one can see your nervousness
  4. Expect that mistakes
  5. Supportive environment
  6. Take a brisk walk right before
  7. Squeeze your fingers/toes
  8. Isolate your tense parts and focus on relaxing
  9. Positive talk

During Class.  I felt that I began last night’s lesson with a bit of a fast pace (one of my nervous habits is talking fast).  Though, somewhere within the first 5-10 minutes I got so excited about the mobile lesson that  I felt like the students could feel it, too.  By then, I was so caught up in excitement that anxiety was long gone. And later, my colleague’s observation report said just that; she could feel the excitement and passion!

A peek at one team’s mobile lesson on Motivational Appeals

After Class. I drove home, reflecting upon the class session and felt really good about the fact that my anxiety was in a way a part of the passion that was woven into the lesson. I felt great! I thought about the reflective piece that we had at the end of the class and remember students thanking me for allowing them to do this activity – wow! It definitely brought much camaraderie to the students and I felt their energy and warmth.  I am blessed with a wonderful group of students!

As I was thinking back over this experience, it reminded me of a recent blog post,  Preparing to Teach for the First Time, where author Ruth Fillery-Travis notes the emotional roller coaster of teaching for the first time. She states, “To be honest, even after a couple of terms it sometimes feels like every time you have to teach a new session you’re right back at the start again.” I concur!  My first day each semester starts out like it was the first time I have ever taught. I believe that if I did not have these emotions, my teaching may not reflect the passion anymore…

 

Creating Awesome Online Discussions

Good ideas to expand online discussion away from “busy work”

ROBINSONdigital

We can use the discussion tool for so much more. With some tweaking, we can make a fairly boring tool into something that is engaging for students and increases the depth of student learning.

I had the pleasure of giving a presentation called “A Tour of Blended Learning Ideas” with Maria Peraino (@marperaino) at the ‘On the Rise K-12” conference this year. Several of the ideas that Maria covered involved creating better online discussions for students so that the use of the vLE isn’t dreaded by students in the same way it often is by teachers taking online AQ courses.

“Ahhhh I have to respond to three others that wrote about the same thing!! I can’t take this anymore!!”

If our students think that discussion posting is useless and not at all entertaining, it likely means that it is useless and not at all entertaining. We know this…

View original post 418 more words

Lessons/Presentations Worth Viewing

 

In this TEDed Lesson on Using Video to Reinvent Education, the Think questions start with some basic recall/foundational questions and then build into tapping the personal self into the concepts. These are followed by exposure to additional resources and discussion.  Although the lesson itself is focused on high school, it could be modified to fit higher ed.

Another of my all-time favorite teachers/presenters is Sir Ken Robinson. His style, grace, and effectiveness speak for themselves: Changing Education Paradigms

A third, because I just can’t help myself was a TEDTalk that I saw a few weeks ago with my oldest daughter as we sat alone (very rare with a family of five!) eating dinner together. This talk, All it Takes is Ten Mindful Minutes, not only reminded me how important those ‘ten minutes’ are in my busy life, but also how engaging and inspiring a speaker can be.  Puddicombe has very strong rhythm and easy pace to follow, emphasis on his key points, pauses to give listeners time for processing, and fluid transitions that connect his main points. So, I can’t juggle, but there are many other methods out there to consider with student engagement.

Don’t miss some of Sugata Mitra’s talks, one of particular interest: Build a School in the Cloud

Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online

From The Online Survival Teaching Guide, by Judith V. Boettcher and Rita-Marie Conrad

Best Practice 1: Be present at the course site

Best Practice 2: Create a supportive online course community

Best Practice 3: Develop a set of explicit expectations for your learners and for yourself as to how you will communicate and how much time students should be working on the course each week

Best Practice 4: Use a variety of large group, small group, and individual work experiences

Best Practice 5: Use synchronous and asynchronous activities

Best Practice 6: Ask for informal feedback early in the term

Best Practice 7: Prepare discussion posts that invite responses, questions, discussions and reflections

Best Practice 8: Search out and use content resources that are available in digital format if possible.

Best Practice 9: Combine core concept learning with customized personal learning

Best Practice 10: Plan a good closing and wrap up activity for the course