Thursday, April 18, 2019

Random discussion board thoughts

It would be nice to breathe fresh life into social construction tools like the Discussion Board. Currently managing posts, reviewing and directing students to use a discussion board is time consuming and not very popular. The discussion board could be so much more effective if it could allow you to:
  • set up a discussion board activity where each user has to make a post and there is a tracking sheet that clearly shows if a student has made a post in thread. 
  • A task is set whereby a student is automatically allocated another students' post to reply to. Again, the tracking sheet allows easy review of task completion. (This would also reduce the usual issue of certain posts receiving more responses and others languishing without peer interaction.)
  • A further column in the tracking sheet that shows how many posts a student made overall to the discussion board task activity that was set up.

I also like the 3CQ approach (see Inside Higher Ed article) that could be promoted to encourage further development of skills in forum discussions.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Food analogies and the 4Ps

Just finished running another action-packed Future Teacher webinar with Ron and Alistair on designing technology-enhanced programmes. I think the food analogy was used to great effect on this theme. If someone said they wanted you to prepare meals, you would instantly ask certain questions (apart from the why!!): When, how often, for how many, buffet or sit down 3-course meal, what cuisine, how many options or choices people should have and so on.

And yet, when we are asked to create an online programme, we rarely ask all the questions we need to ask in order to create the right learning experience for the learners. That's why using frameworks and models can be so helpful as they remind you of things you maybe hadn't thought of. I came up with the 4Ps (well, 3 and Alistair added one) to help make sense of the range of advice out there:

  • Philosophy - what is your learning intention or teaching philosophy? Do you want students to self-access some materials or to work collaboratively with others?
  • Psychology - how are you going to motivate and engage your learners? How are you going to make it more brain-friendly?
  • Process - what models (recipes and cooking methods) and development processes will help you to ensure you have the best chance of success? How will you know if x number of quizzes is too much or too little? How will you get feedback?
  • Production - what tools or platforms will you use to generate the content, resources and activities?

On closing, Alistair came up with another great use of the food analogy. If cooking for friends, you might ask if anyone has any food intolerances before you decide what to cook. That's just like taking into account accessibility needs when designing our programmes. In fact, there may be so many requirements to cater for that you should plan enough 'alternatives' so everyone can have a balanced meal even if they are vegan, have nut-allergies, are gluten-intolerant and so on.

I'll be testing out the use of the food analogy together with the ABC Curriculum Design method mentioned in the webinar next week with a group of tutors. I'll update again after that.