OTL301 – Post 6: Summarizing your Learning

The most important lessons I gathered from the course are

A. The 8 principles of effective assessment feedback:

  1. helps to clarify what good performance is (goals, criteria, standards)
  2. facilitates the development of self-assessment and reflection in learning
  3. delivers high quality information to students about their learning
  4. encourages teacher and peer dialogue around learning
  5. encourages positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem
  6. provides opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance
  7. provides information to instructors that can be used to help shape teaching.

B. The 8 strategies for facilitating social presence online.

  1. Provide opportunities for initial introductions and ongoing social interaction.
  2. Set agreed-upon, shared norms for operating together in the learning community.
  3. Discuss the unique nature of [online learning].
  4. Outline required activities and arrange support for students concerned about role requirements.
  5. Discuss the unique nature of [online learning].
  6. Provide explicit directions for all course activities; outline and discuss course content, skill and activity goals, and expectations.
  7. Be clear about learner choice and flexibility.
  8. Provide activities for instructors and students to share experiences and support one another.
  • My thinking changed has definitely changed as a result of completing the course. I got the chance to discuss possible strategies with colleagues to handle students in continuous-entry courses. I also had the opportunity to think about the most effective way to keep an active communication channel with students.
  • I think the platform (WordPress) works for different types of courses. It provides a good opportunity for my students to reflect on their studies and collaborate with classmates.
  • I think peer-review was the most effective learning strategy because it gives students the opportunity to learn from each other.

I would like to create a dynamic learning environment where students can share their learning experience by creating tutorial videos and participating in discussion forums. I will also try to design a system to reward students who participate in discussion groups to keep my students engaged and encourage them to collaborate in a healthy learning environment.

OTL301 – Post 5: Self-Coding Activity

  • I was able to engage in each of the phases of the critical inquiry process
  • I was able to resolve at least one problem related to handling students in continuous-entry courses.
  • In my future courses,  I will design a weekly-progress-report activities.
  • I think peer-review and discussion forums would be the best candidates to engage with my students to ensure that they are working through the entire inquiry process.
  • WordPress is a good platform to share course contents and reflects on learning experience. It also has a nice collection of tools and allows course instructors to integrate external plugins in their pages.

OTL301 – Post 4: Interview

“Promoting community and connection in a continuous entry course has been always a big challenge for me! “

This was the first response from one of my colleagues when I asked him about how to handle continuous entry courses. One strategy he followed was to create a FAQ and summary pages for each module and ask students to first read the FAQ and summary pages before starting any module. This activity helped him to make sure that students will be always at certain knowledge level about the requirements and the rules of course.

Another strategy is to ask all students to report their current progress every week so he knows where every student at every week and design his weekly webinars based on the progress and level of his students in the course.

I personally think keeping the instructor posted about the progress of his students is very important in continuous entry courses, especially if there are weekly webinars scheduled for the course. I am planning to create a weekly questioner on Moodle to be up to date with my students’ progress. However, I am not certain if my students will report their progress every week, because technically they do not have to. I am currently thinking about the best way to motivate students to report their progress. One way could be to send them weekly reminders to submit their progress report before each webinar.

OTL301 – Post 3: Designing Aligned Learning Experiences

Learning Outcome #1: 

Explain three different approaches for App development.

Learning Activity #1:

Mobile App developers can choose native approach, cross-platform or hybrid approach to develop apps. Based on what you learned in this chapter, find three apps on GooglePlay Store or on AppStore that were designed using each one of these three design approaches. Comment on the design quality, usability, and accessibility of each app. Identify the differences between design approach using the three case studies.

Learning Outcome #2:

Compose a list of technical requirements from non-technical problem description

Learning Activity #2:

App developers should be able to convert app descriptions written in non-technical terms to a set of technical requirements. Based on what you learned in this chapter, ask one of your friends or family members, who does not have programming experience, to write a short paragraph that describes an app they want to develop. Then, convert the non-technical description to a list of technical requirements for App development. Be specific about the App components and user interface layout constraints.

OTL301 – Post 2: Your Current Practice

  • How has your view of the effective practice changed now that you have read more about teaching presence?

I think the activity mentioned in my previous post could have been improved if the instructor provided an example on how student should assess each aspect in the evaluation criteria to avoid marking dispute and to maintain teaching presence during the peer-review process.

  • In what ways did the effective practice that you identified show the characteristics of teaching presence?

I think it shows two main characteristics : 1) Establish community and cohesion in the learning environment, and 2) Ensure assessment is congruent with intended processes and outcomes.

  • How could the idea of teaching presence have made the experience even more effective than it was?

It would have built a higher level of trust in the evaluation process and students would have been more confident that their assignments are marked fairly.


OTL301 – Post 1: Getting Started

One effective practice I have experienced with regard to online learning is the peer-review activity I completed as part of my work assignments in an online course offered by the University of Illinois. I remember when I got to share my App design with other students and received very constructive feedback. I also learnt a lot from other students’ design-techniques and it was very collaborative and constructive process. It makes me feel that my work is being appreciated not only by my instructor, but also by my classmates.

  • Why was this an effective practice for you?

Because in our computer science field, there are always many different design approaches to achieve the same goal. It is very important that developers get the chance to see how the problem could be looked at and analyzed from a different angle.

  • What are some of the key ingredients that underlie the experience you had?

Providing a supportive technical environment for effective learning. Starting from creating a blind-review system, in which student do not see the name of the author of the submission, to allocating part of the mark to completing all the reviews.

  • If you could do it over again, what would you change to improve your experience?

I think it would be great if we can design a system to evaluate the quality of reviews in peer-review activities and integrate that with existing platforms, such as the workshop activity in Moodle.

OTL201 – Post 5: Integration

  • The most important concepts that have impacted my thoughts on student engagement and retention are
    • Maintaining social presence especially in the first few days of the course.
    • Providing tools to answer common questions and make it easy for students who are taking an online course for the first time.
  • My rationale for implementing the FAQ page to increase student retention and engagement:
    • The FAQ page helps me achieve two main objectives:
      • Provide clear answers to all questions in one resource  page to make it easy for students to find the required information.
      • Create a procedure for contacting the course instructor. Students will need to first check the FAQ page to see if it answers their questions before contacting the instructor.
  • Goals that I would like to achieve in light of what I have learned about social presence and creating effective educational media:
    • Create video tutorials to demonstrate complex concepts in app development.
    •  Create a discussion forum and encourage students to participate in the forum and help each other. This gives them a sense of belonging to a positive learning community and gets them to learn from each others’ mistakes.
  • I am currently thinking about these questions:
    • How to moderate the discussion forum?
    • How to create badges or scores for helpers in discussion forums to encourage students to participate in group discussions?
      • I will discuss these questions with our Moodle support team on campus.