CoI Model

comThe Community of Inquiry Model (CoI)  is a concept first introduced by philosophers C.S.Peirce and John Dewey, concerning the nature of knowledge formation and the process of scientific inquiry. It was later adapted and applied to online learning contexts in a Canadian project that originated in 1996 at the University of Alberta. The purpose of the study was to provide conceptual order and a tool for the use of computer-mediated communication in supporting an educational experience. The CoI framework encompasses a process of creating a deep and meaningful learning experience through the development of three interdependent elements; social, cognitive, and teaching presence.

The social aspect of the framework involves the ability of participants to identify with a community of learners. The purpose is to enhance interpersonal relationships by converging with individual personalities. The second aspect of teaching presence places the emphasis on the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes in the educational realm. Lastly, the cognitive presence component is the extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning via sustained reflection and discourse.

 

 

References:

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher educationmodel. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.

10 Best Practices for Teaching Online

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  1. Be Present in Your Course – this can be achieved by sharing social information on the ‘course cafe hangout’ area and by guiding and mentoring students throughout the course.
  2. Create a Supportive Online Course Community – I would ensure I encompass the 3 basic dialogue patterns: faculty to student, student to student, and student to faculty. One example would be to deliver mini video lectures to students. Student interaction can be encouraged on discussion forums and/or wikis. Students can deliver their ideas to faculty within the LMS messaging system or via email.
  3. Develop a Set of Explicit Workload & Communication Expectations – I would clearly outline communication channels in an introductory module which would encompass how students would reach me best. I like the idea of virtual office hours and it’s something I aim to attempt.
  4. Use a Variety of Large Group, Small Group, Individual Work Experiences – I like the idea of assigning a case study for small groups and can readily set that up in an LMS. For individual work, I personally prefer students have some time of reflection activity such as personal journals or online blogs.
  5. Use Synchronous and Asynchronous Activities – depending on the length of the course, I would set up a weekly or bi-weekly synchronous online collaboration meeting within the LMS if available. It is important for students to feel connected and at least 1 synchronous activity can help serve the need for connectivity.
  6. Ask for Informal Feedback Early in the Term – Since feedback is important, I would likely set up a Likert Scale with a comment section for students to make suggestions on course improvement.
  7. Prepare Discussion Posts that Initiate Responses, Questions, Discussions, and Reflections – I would incorporate Socratic-type probing such as asking “Is there an alternative mechanism that may better serve this strategy?”
  8. Think Digital for all Course Content – students like to be able to access course content on-demand and I would keep this in mind when designing course content. For example, I may utilize e-textbooks more than I have in the past.
  9. Combine Core Concept Learning with Customized & Personalized Learning – I would ensure student learning is being appropriately scaffolded to their level of proximal development by gradually increasing learning once foundational learning has occured. This can be achieved by posing questions that stretch the imagination on discussion forums. It can also serve to reinforce learned material and interweaving of learning concepts.
  10. Plan a Good Closing and Wrap-up Activity – I like the idea of student presentations here as it provides students with the opportunity to summarize their learning and instructors can offer feedback and/or suggestions.

References: 

Boettcher, J.V., & Conrad, R.-M. (2010). The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips. 2nd edition. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint.

Online Learning Challenges

As we know, online learning is increasingly on the rise with many institutions investing heavily in e-learning. The desire for growth is multifaceted; from generation of new revenue streams to improved access and greater flexibility for students. However e-learning is not without its challenges. The concerns range from online cheating, to uncertainties with respect to cost delivery, and challenges faced by low-income and disadvantaged students. We do know e-learning’s effectiveness depends on how well it is designed to create an instructional experience that makes learning thrive (Bell & Federman, 2013). Academic advocates of e-learning postulate numerous pedagogical benefits such as customizing instruction, creating multimedia environments and increasing interactivity (Bell & Federman, 2013).

My own personal opinion is that e-learning can be highly valuable and even more engaging than a traditional face-to-face teaching platform. For this to occur, however, the online course must be highly engaging and structured. My best experience to date has been an online course where I was required to participate in discussion forums daily. The expectation was to post something meaningful to the forum at least 4-5 times per week (complying with quality rubric standards) with replies to students on other days. In addition to this, each of us was assigned a discussion topic and required to lead the forum for ten days, while simultaneously contributing to other student’s forums. This proved highly engaging and motivated us to perform at our best as we sought to ensure topics were discussed with significant breadth and depth. It also reinforced learning of various learning theories and strategies seeing that we drew from course topics and invariably connected material.

At times I find e-learning is not without its challenges. There have been occasions where I left learning to the end of a course; procrastinating since I felt I had time to work on the course at a later date. This can clearly present significant challenges as one sprints to complete the course by the stated deadline. Moreover, information is not thoroughly processed, for example, since learning is best achieved when reinforced over time. Consequently, I believe for online learning to be successful, one must be highly focused and self-regulated to achieve maximum benefit. Moreover, we all have life circumstances that may impede learning at times and while online learning provides a mechanism for those challenges to interfere, traditional face-to-face learning may not. With face-to-face structure, there can be increased accountability, both from the perspective of instructor and student. Resultantly, students are less likely to drop out of a course or miss important deadlines. As for myself, I can definitely work on structuring my schedule better to allow for consistent learning by logging on to a course daily and remaining more connected to both class material and fellow classmates.

Different Generations of eLearners

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In today’s society, we are faced with different generations of learners in the academic setting. Generation Y, otherwise known as the millennial generation, refers to individuals born between 1982 and 2005 who have grown up in an era of the World Wide Web (Eckleberry-Hunt & Tucciarone, 2011). From a young age these students have been exposed to cell phones and personal computers, making them an internet-surfing, iPoding, texting, googling, facebooking, and IMing generation (Nevid, 2011). In contrast, faculty teaching this new generation of learners are most likely from Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980 and predecessors of the millennial generation. Of particular importance is the fact that Generation X was introduced to the World Wide Web at a later stage of development than Generation Y who grew up entirely in the net era and thus prizing different attributes altogether. Although both generations value self-direction, Generation Y prefers more ondemand information accessibility than previous generations (Panapto, 2017). This can produce both challenges and opportunities for learning. On the one hand, faculty often feel frustrated with communicating their expectations whereas on the flip side, there are a lot of opportunities for increased growth and creativity. Consequently, it is important to understand Net Generation students have unique characteristics that differentiate them from other learners. Some widely accepted attributes are increased assertiveness, curiosity, fierce independence, emotional and intellectual openness, free expression, inclusion, and the desire for connectivity (Skiba & Barton, 2006). For example, this generation of students will question why they have to learn an activity and what relevance it has for them in the future. They are curious about topics and ask numerous questions to satisfy their quest for knowledge. Moreover, their desire for independence means that course material has to be structured in a way that promotes and satisfies this need. In addition, Net Generation students are able to articulate their learning desires and freely express themselves. This can often be challenging to faculty who are not accustomed to this form of expression and may feel their authority in question. Lastly, these students have a need to feel included and work well in teams as they desire connectivity and crave recognition.

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An appreciation of differing traits in each generation helps gain a sense of where our students are coming from and what they expect from faculty and subsequently from their educational pursuits. My own experience has challenged me as an Instructor to try and relate to our students. For example, I occasionally find students taking pictures of my PowerPoint presentations as opposed to jotting down notes. This was initially quite peculiar to me until I gained a sense of awareness of why they felt the need to engage in the practice. When I attended university, the Professor was the “sage on the stage,” disseminating knowledge through lecture and PowerPoint slides (Skiba & Barton, 2006). This traditional teaching paradigm was one of the professor as expert and student as absorber of information. However, students of the Net Generation are accustomed to immediacy and fast processing of information; this was at odds with the PowerPoint in its current form and I realized I had to make changes. In support of this, research has shown Net Generation learners have limited attention spans due to the multidimensional exposure of information and thus think and process information fundamentally different from their predecessors (Prensky, 2001). Furthermore, as a result of digital connectivity and ubiquitous computing, these students were essentially socialized differently. Thus, it is important to consider aspects of socialization when dealing with students today. My personal observation has been that students strongly value authenticity and trust; they need to verify and double-check resources and authenticate people (Skiba & Barton, 2006). I often find students doing this in real-time, verifying facts you deliver in class. Moreover, since they value assertiveness, inclusion, and emotional openness, they expect faculty to care about them on a personal level. Faculty must be aware of this desire for personal connection and attempt to establish better rapport and open communication. One way to accommodate the needs of the Net Generation learners is to make learning more multidimensional, with faculty to student interaction, student to student interaction, and student to faculty.

In light of this information, it is imperative we alter the way curriculum is delivered. Learning should be structured to amplify student characteristics, playing to their strengths. They want learning to be creative, fun, and interactive; they enjoy thinking outside the box (Eckleberry-Hunt & Tucciarone, 2011). To achieve this, faculty can focus on incorporating interactive technologies in their teaching practices. Students can also be involved in the learning process by having more freedom to choose topics of interest to them. The Net Generation students definitely desire increased engagement and thus more opportunities for this to occur should be provided. As noted earlier, learners of today also prefer shorter, focussed lecture sessions. Faculty can shift teaching practices to apply the rule of 10 or 15, by changing activities in class every 10 or 15 minutes. For example, there can be a shift from lecture to discussion or video clip interspersed within the class period (Nevid, 2011). The bottom line is that if teaching does not provide opportunities for interactions, the Net Generation will not come to class (Skiba & Barton, 2006). As a caveat, this generation is often misunderstood as being lazy and uninterested in working hard. However, they are consumed by the notion of achievement and often involve themselves in numerous extracurricular activities; co-ops, athletics, community services, internships, and research initiatives to name a few (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005). In considering how busy students often find themselves, faculty can utilize mobile technologies such as podcasts to assist in learning and help eliminate boredom. Students will ultimately find that the instructor appreciates their time and is attempting to simplify their lives.

In understanding the intricacies of the Net Generation, faculty can make changes to the way they teach and deliver material online by incorporating increased opportunities for student engagement. Discussion posts are a fabulous way to achieve both increased engagement and a sense of connectivity to other students. It also provides students with an opportunity for leadership and self-direction. I also like the idea of having students complete an interactive project using wikis outside an LMS. The use of wikis in a public space offers students the option of building on their wiki in the future, lending more relevancy to the project. Additionally, increasing the usage of podcasts for delivering course content in serves to enable students with more mobile learning opportunities and greater flexibility. Moreover, utilizing synchronous, virtual classrooms provide learners a possibility to feel more connected, reducing disengagement. Furthermore, real-world applicability when introducing course content is important and can be served by connecting material to digital stories or TED talks.

References

Eckleberry-Hunt, J., & Tucciarone, J. (2011). The Challenges and Opportunities of Teaching “Generation Y.” Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 3(4), 458–461.
Nevid, J. (2011). Teaching the Millennials. Association for Psychological Science Observer, 24, 53-56, retrieved February 13, 2017, from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/teaching-the-millennials#.WKUOHPkrJaQ
Oblinger, D. G., and J. L. Oblinger 2005. Is it age or IT: First steps toward understanding the net generation. In Educating the net generation, eds. D. G. Oblinger and J. L. Oblinger, 2.1–2.20. Boulder, CO: EduCause.
Panapto. (2017). Are you Ready to Support 4 Generations of Learners, retrieved February 16, 2017, from https://www.panopto.com/blog/are-you-ready-to-support-4-generations-of-learners/
Skiba, D., Barton, A., (May 31, 2006). “Adapting Your Teaching to Accommodate the Net Generation of Learners.” OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Vol. 11 No. 2, Manuscript 4.

University of British Columbia

UBC has been ranked 34th in the world in the latest Academic Ranking of World Universities, up 6 places from 2015. http://ow.ly/cM2x303idj0

Amazing, leading edge programs at UBC.  Ranks #2 nationally in Canada.
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Group Work

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What is a Creative Commons?

A Creative Commons (CC) is a copyright mechanism that allows one to legally share their knowledge and creativity.  It offers public copyright licenses that enable people to freely distribute their copyrighted work.  The creative commons licensed is used by an author when they wish to give people the right to share, use, and build upon work they have created.  There are different combinations of licenses that can be used and each license provides both the author flexibility and protects people who use or redistribute an author’s original work from copyright infringement.

Please watch the brief video below for more information on creative commons:

These licensing tools are free to use and each creative commons involves licensing elements which indicate the level of freedom accessible when sharing one’s work.  All information with a creative commons can be shared however different rules apply according to each license element when one wishes to share your work.  The main types of elements are:

Attribution (BY) - the author must be acknowledged for work

Non-commercial (NC) - no compensation must be made from work

No derivatives (ND) - no permission to change or alter original

Share Alike (SA) - new creations need to carry the same license

There are 6 different combination types of attribution:

commonschart

The chart progresses top down from the most freedom to share original work to the most restrictive.  Notice how all creative commons contain attribution (BY), meaning the original author must always be acknowledged.