The purpose of this unit is to help you begin to realize how to list, describe, and add value (points) for every assessed practice activity in your online course.
Choosing online activities
When you begin to decide on an online activity look at the benefits for yourself and your students. The success of your activity is dependent upon how appropriate the activity and the chosen technology are for the learning context, and how well both are integrated into the learning process.
It is important to carefully select activities that are most appropriate for your course learning outcomes. It is also critical to remember the internet is part of our everyday life and has become integrated into contemporary society, and our teaching should reflect and acknowledge this.
For the online learning and your teaching experience to be effective, create a strong alignment between the intended learning outcomes and the activities to develop to student achievement of the outcomes. Choose activities and associated technology on these factors:
- The intended learning outcomes for the course
- The student situation (location, access to internet, number of students in the class, etc)
- The learning experiences or technical requirements of the course content (eg inclusion of large graphic files, collaborative tools, live chat features, external guest lecturer access, file sharing, discussions, etc)
- The breadth and depth of the teacher’s previous online experience
Pedagogy before technology
It is important to examine the reasons for choosing an online activity– using it purely as a gadget because the technology will not lead to a successful learning experience. Students value technology when it adds to their learning, not when it is used with no apparent relationship or benefit to how they learn. It is important therefore to consider the following issues:
- Establish the key pedagogical principles and then decide how technology can support activities that explore them: For example, what are the learning outcomes, what do you want to achieve, what skills do you want students to learn? Ask these questions and then decide how best you can integrate the technology in order to achieve or support these outcomes.
- Technology is just a means to an end: When you teach online you can select from multiple technologies, however the technology is just a facilitator of the learning process – you still need to have sound teaching strategies in place to support the learning.
- Activities should remain relevant to the learning process: Be discerning – don’t be caught up in allure of technology and its many features. Ensure that activities, tasks, etc have an educational purpose and stimulate learning.
- Online learners complete activities that include points toward their final grade. Learners very rarely complete activities without points.
Alignment – Align assessment with learning outcomes
Online courses need to be ’constructively aligned’ to achieve maximum learning benefits and outcomes. Constructive alignment means that all aspects of your class – from learning outcomes, content, resources, activities and assessable projects – are all directly related to each other, and support a progressive (or scaffolded) system of learning throughout the duration of your course.
Assessment is typically a series of progressive activities that act as stepping-stones that allow students to gradually build, apply and evaluate knowledge, with each task directly relating to particular learning outcomes.
Authentic assessment encourages the integration of teaching, learning and assessing.
An authentic assessment includes;
- an authentic task for students to perform,
- a rubric/scoring guide by which the performance on the task will be evaluated.
- You are less interested in how much information students can acquire than how well they can use it.
- There is no one right answer, students are constructing new knowledge that differs from other students.
Critical Thinking Activities
If you can read a paragraph well, you can read a chapter well, because a chapter is nothing more than a collection of paragraphs. If you can read a chapter well, you can read a book well, because a book is nothing more than a collection of chapters.
Skilled readers do not read blindly, but purposely. They have an agenda, goal, or objective. Their purpose, together with the nature of what they are reading, determines how they read. They read in different ways for different purposes in different situations. Of course, reading has a nearly universal purpose: to figure out what an author has to say on a given subject.
The Understanding Form
Relate activities to your students lives
This is an excellent thinking tool that helps us know how well we know something. We start with a term or concept—in this case, the concept is essential question for a course.
- S is a STATEMENT: A clear, concise, correct definition of the term.
- E is an ELABORATION: Another way of saying it, using your own words.
- E is an EXAMPLE: A good one, one that is correct and actually works.
- I is an ILLUSTRATION: A metaphor, image, or comparison, e.g., the term is like a …
Unit 5- Practice
- Read Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life, pages 160-163.
- Complete the following activity: Planning Learning Activities/Assessments
Unit 5- Reflection & Badge
Complete the following self-assessment: Unit 5- Reflection and Learning Activities & Assessments Badge