High vs. Low Collaboration Courses: Impact on Learning Presence, Community of Inquiry, and Social Networking
Researchers demonstrated a relationship between learning presence and social engagement; however, research in this area is limited. For example, no distinctions are made as to what role faculty, students, or technology might play in facilitating social engagement. In general, researchers revealed that students’ ability to self-regulate leads to more focused attention, time on-task, and in turn, these skills could lead to better learning. Given the need for more theoretical work in the area, as well as the potential practical benefits from the use of these pedagogical strategies, we sought to compare the difference between high versus low-collaboration groups on assignments, as well as courses in general. Differences in groups were measured using student grades, peer evaluation, pre and post test, and the community of inquiry framework. In addition, learning presence and social network analysis were used to assess a high-collaboration assignment.
In the current study, we explored how collaborative technologies, specifically Google Docs and Google Hangouts, may be used to impact the level of learning presence (forethought and planning, performance, and reflection) students demonstrate while participating in a small group project. Participants were graduate education students in two randomly assigned sections of the same online course. The course content focused on basic educational psychology for students seeking initial teaching certification. The experimental section utilized a high-collaboration project (e.g., small group, Google Hangouts and Docs) to enhance understanding of course content while the comparison, control section employed a low-collaboration project (e.g., partner activity, Word documents) to enhance understanding of course content. Participants completed the Community of Inquiry (CoI) Survey at the end of the term which measured their perceived level of teaching, social, and cognitive presence during the course. Quantitative content analysis was used to explore occurrences of learning presence in the high-collaboration group. *Finally, we employed social network analysis (SNA) as a method of inquiry to analyze student interaction data with the high-collaboration group. SNA is used to explain relationships depicted by information flow and its influence from participants’ interactions. Scholars have used SNA in the online learning context to understand individual and group dimensions of interactions.
*Social Network Analysis (SNA) will not be addressed in this presentation but will be included in the manuscript.
Blended learning. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Flipped Classrooms.
How are teachers keeping up with new trends in learning?
To help educators and those who support them become leaders in the ever-changing world of educational technology, Seattle Pacific University is now offering a graduate program in digital education leadership.
Students in the Digital Education Leadership MEd will learn about digital education research and best practices on topics such as blended learning, BYOD (bring your own device), and digital citizenship. Each term, students will partner with schools, universities, and other educational organizations to complete real-world projects. All courses are team-taught by university professors and expert practitioners who work full-time as K-12 and higher education professionals. The program will utilize open educational resources, so there are no textbook or software costs and students can apply what they learn at their own institutions.
“Teachers are expected to know how to use technology to teach,” says David Wicks, chair of the new program. “The Digital Education Leadership Program comes at a perfect time to help educators use technology to enhance teaching, learning, and professional productivity.”
The graduate level program is open to educators and support staff with an undergraduate degree who want to become digital education leaders at their institutions. Designed for working professionals, all courses in this program are online, with weekly real-time web conferences.
For more information about the program, visit the website or contact Ted Hiemstra, associate director of graduate admissions, at email@example.com or 206-378-5478.
In my Computer Authoring course, I ask students to share Clear and Unclear blog posts each week, reflecting on what they learn and do not understand in the module. I use Canvas’ group feature to have them share the URL for their blog post with blog buddies. I ask them to give their blog buddies feedback on each new post. Students do this by creating announcements in their Canvas group area. They can even get fancy and add their blogs as external feeds so that new posts automatically appear as group announcements when new reflections are posted.
I also ask students to share the URL for their blog post with me through a Canvas assignment web link. This allows me to know when new posts are ready for assessment. I then use Canvas’ SpeedGrader tool to quickly move from assignment to assignment, which saves me precious time when grading. This pays off for students because the less time I spend hunting for their blog posts, the more time I can spend giving feedback and getting their graded work to them in a timely manner.
I created this short video to explain how students should submit their blog posts and what I see when it is submitted correctly.
A faculty learning community (FLC) comprised of six professors representing different disciplines was formed in 2011 to study, develop, and teach blended learning courses. As part of this project, we sought to evaluate the efficacy of blended learning on faculty (efficiency, satisfaction) using interview questions designed by Garrison and Vaughan (2011) and students (access, learning effectiveness, satisfaction) through survey responses including the Community of Inquiry (CoI) survey (Swan, et al., 2008).
This study found evidence that student perceptions of the CoI may be useful in predicting differences in students’ blended learning experiences. The study also found that perceived differences in blended learning experiences varied by discipline. This difference may be a result of differences between students, such as their age, or differences between instructors. A second research outcome was that FLCs are a useful form of professional development when correctly implemented. For example, faculty benefit from participation in an FLC when they receive helpful advice on promising practices and encouragement when experiencing instructional or technical challenges. On the other hand, FLCs are less effective when there is a lack of dialogue between meetings or when a facilitator does not provide adequate preparation for face-to-face meetings.
During our presentation we will share both faculty and student findings from our study. We will engage our audience by asking them to share promising practices for blended learning classrooms and professional development for blended learning instructors.
Cox, M. D. (2004). Introduction to Faculty Learning Communities. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 5–23.
Garrison, D. R., & Vaughan, N. D. (2011). Blended Learning in Higher Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Swan, K., Richardson, J. C., Ice, P., Garrison, D. R., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Arbaugh, J. B. (2008). Validating a measurement tool of presence in online communities of inquiry. e-Mentor, 24(2), 1-12.
Workshop at the 2014 NCCE Conference in Seattle
Blogging portfolios or bPortfolios will be introduced, including how they can be used to improve student achievement. Participants will learn how to: implement bPortfolios, assess student reflections, scaffold students in reflective writing, particularly with regards to Common Core Standards, and implement learning analytics based on bPortfolio and student achievement data.
Wicks, D., Lumpe, A., Chen, D., Sallee, J. (2014, March). Blogging to improve student achievement. Workshop presented at the Northwest Council for Computer Education, Seattle, WA.
The maturation of free ubiquitous video conferencing tools provides an opportunity for faculty members to experiment with alternatives to conventional asynchronous discussion forums commonly used in online courses. However, there continues to be debate about whether synchronous video conferencing has a meaningful role to play in an online course environment. Although the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework’s influence in asynchronous discussion is well documented in the literature, it is less clear what role synchronous conferencing has in a Community of Inquiry (CoI). It is also unclear whether synchronous modes of inquiry provide worthwhile benefits for an online instructor. This study explores how the use of innovative video conferencing tools in an online course attends to the elements of the CoI.
In this mixed methods study, we observed weekly teacher and student inquiry by examining Google Hangout transcripts, Vialogues threaded discussions, and student reflective WordPress blog posts through the lens of CoI. The course used for this study was an online graduate course focused on the use of technology for teaching. We hypothesized that those students who participated in more synchronous conferencing sessions would perceive significantly higher levels of all three CoI elements and would engage in richer discourse supporting learning of the course content. We also analyzed student perceptions of the social, teaching, and cognitive presence through the CoI survey (Swan, 2008).
In order to examine the CoI related discourse, a corpus of text was utilized in this study which included Google Hangout transcripts, Vialogues threaded discussions, and student reflective WordPress blog posts. Text content analysis of this corpus represented a form of learning analytics. The text corpus was compiled and key themes were noted via qualitative constant-comparative analyses. The themes were analyzed using analytic induction to test hypotheses connecting discourse to CoI element. A form of text analytics was then applied to the text corpus in order to analyze the content of the student and teacher discourse.All text was compiled and analyzed using the Semantria (www.semantria.com) semantic linguistic program. Based on semantic algorithms from http://www.lexalytics.com/,All compiled text was analyzed for themes and sentiment. After compiling the linguistic components, statistical models were developed to compare discourse between synchronous and asynchronous environments and to predict the level of community of inquiry.
We used the Sloan Consortium’s Five Pillars to reflect on how the course’s interactive activities addressed quality. Learning effectiveness was demonstrated by increased opportunities for meaning making students had through discourse with each other and with the instructor. They were able to discuss courses readings in either a real-time Google Hangout or an asynchronous Vialogues threaded discussion. The use of freely available and ubiquitous tools makes it possible to scale the tools to multiple courses and programs. The tools provide access and flexibility for students who prefer face-to-face but need to take online courses because of work schedule or physical location. Faculty are satisfied to be able to provide options that address student discourse preferences. Finally, students report being satisfied with options to use synchronous conferencing for discussions which increases student voice.
Our presentation will share the results of our findings. Participants will learn how both synchronous and asynchronous video conferencing tools may be used for meaning making in an online course. We will engage the audience by web polling their preferences and promising practices pertaining to uses of synchronous technologies in primarily asynchronous online environments.
Synchronous and asynchronous video conferencing tools (Presentation PDF)
Digital Learning Spaces:
Lessons from the MSc in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh
Jen Ross, University of Edinburgh
Monday, April 15
Noon – 1:30 PM
Seattle Pacific University Library Seminar Room
Every course design is philosophy and belief in action. This is no less true – indeed it may be truer – in courses with a significant digital dimension. Online courses can be designed to invite particular kinds of participation, to take particular sorts of approaches to knowledge. But, like the physical classroom, they do more than embody the pedagogical values of the teacher – they are also greatly affected by the nature of the environments in which teaching and learning take place. In this talk, Jen will reflect on the experiences of teachers and students on the wholly distance MSc in E-learning programme, exploring issues such as how being at but not in Edinburgh affects students and how the values and educational philosophies of teachers on the programme impact, and are impacted by, the learning spaces they use and create.
Jen is the programme director of the fully online MSc in Digital Education programme at the University of Edinburgh, co-author of the Manifesto for Teaching Online, and co-organiser of the Coursera MOOC “E-learning and Digital Cultures”. Her teaching and research concerns digital education now and in the future, online identity, and how cultural and educational institutions are changing in the digital age. The evolving meaning of space and place is one of the most interesting topics in digital and distance learning at the moment, and Jen’s visit to SPU will focus on these and other issues relating to a broader theme of active learning spaces.