otl301 post 4 Interview

OTL301 – Post 4

I actually don’t know anyone who teaches continuous entry or open enrollment courses on-line, they all teach paced on-line courses. The course I will be teaching is also paced.  As a result, in order to find out what I needed to know, I turned to the internet community. Interestingly a google search returned very little. Maybe this is a parallel experience to being in a continous enrollment course?

A blog by an ESL educator in an open enrollment face to face course suggested having students be clear about course goals and having one student who had already been in the course mentor another.

An article by Yates (2008) outlined the issues in face to face language classes in Australia and stated that students liked the flexibility, teachers found it difficult to cope with but that overall it was a good strategy for this group. “Criticisms centre on the significant interruptions caused to classes as teachers bring new students up to speed, the almost inevitable disruption to classroom climate and dynamics, as well as the headache of planning class activities for a constantly changing cohort.”

Bates (2010) suggested a clear structure, schedule and opportunities to meet other students. He also proposed waiting until a set number of students wanted to join so that they could be a smaller cohort going through the course. In that way social cohesion could be encouraged and discussions would benefit from more than one voice.

Paris and Turner (1995) talked about how choice, control, collaboration, challenge and consquences can be used to motivate learners.

Digital tools such as voice thread could be used, in this people actually discuss what they think verbally and then others can join in and comment asynchronously (brokansky.com).  Blogging using word press is another way to reach outside the LMS as is using social media such as Twitter.

I then turned to the professional literature and did a search for articles. Again little turned up, Chau et al. 2013 discussed how threaded discussions, a beloved tool of on-line educators may not be as useful as hoped for and tended to leave people in the exploration phase of discovery.

I also asked students in a recent class I taught face to face, how many had taken an on-line course and what they thought of the experience. Some were in continuous enrollment courses and cited their busy lives and lack of obligation as being barriers to the experience. This suggested to me that they weren’t adequately socially connected in the course.

I also looked to see what other people who are taking this course said. No-one in my cohort has yet posted which again seems to parallel the experience of being in continuous intake! I did look at a previous post by chaque who referenced a blog in 2015


The ideas Ron Smith discussed such as having a small cohort start together, discussions and prompt response to emails as well as using peer feedback were useful suggestions.

I still wonder how effective continuous intake can be at building social communities of inquiry. I see the clear downsides and how isolating it could be for students and instructors!



otl301 post 3 Designing aligned learning experiences

The learning outcomes are for a graduate course in psychological assessment.

  1.  Outline the steps required to perform an ethical formal psychological assessment in a setting of your choice with a child, teen or adult.
  2. Critically analyze the reliability and validity of a given psychological assessment and outline its suitability for use with clients from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Some learning activities for outcome #2 could be:

First reading the relevant course material, listening/viewing a case example that the instructor works through and then submitting a case study where the learner critically analyzes the suitability of a test they’ve chosen for a client from a diverse linguistic and cultural background.

otl301 post 2 What has changed?

How have my views of effective practice changed now that I have read more about teaching presence?

The first piece of teaching presence: design of the course, is at least initially out of my hands. I hope to be able to add some aspects to it but as I haven’t seen the course yet, am unsure how that works.

However in the second part of teaching presence; facilitating discourse. I can see more clearly how important facilitating discourse is and liken it to facilitating group process but in written form. It gives me a template to work from.

Anderson et al. (2001) make a strong case for the last piece in teaching presence; direct instruction. Any reservations I had about inserting myself and my expertise into the conversation were relieved.  I liked the notion of introducing personal experience, links etc to help further learners’ knowledge. It was a good reminder about the importance of scaffolding.

Using these TRU On-line teaching courses as examples of effective practice show some great practice as well as some shortcomings. On the good practice side, the course design is excellent. As for facilitating discourse, there are requests to read other’s posts and to comment but there is no facilitation by the moderator.   If one is off track, there is no instructor feedback. (I understand that this is the nature of this type of course).

Direct instruction is modelled by providing links to relevant material and the course is scaffolded by building on previous instruction. However the personal experience and feedback from the instructor are missing.

Including moderator facilitation of posts and direct instructor feedback would have made these courses even more effective.

otl301 post 1 Teaching presence

I think the most current example I can think of are the courses in this introduction to on-line teaching. This reminds me of other times I’ve Best pic of mebeen engaging with new information. At the beginning, it’s a bit of a mystery how it all fits together but as time goes by and I engage more deeply with the material, I start to see how it all fits.

What makes it an effective practice for me was to see the visual guide at the beginning of each module which showed what was to be covered. Additionally it helped that the material was broken into small steps. I also liked that you checked off when a portion was completed, this was reinforcing and another visual reminder.  It helped that there was a definitive structure and a place to look for help.  Looking at other posters gave me ideas about other ways to approach the courses.

As for doing it over again, it might be helpful to have video/audio links in the course.

otl201 Post 4 Learning Activities Portfolio

Strategies for effective group work in the Online Class

This link outlines reasons to use groups on-line as well as handy tips for what to include to make them successful. I can see using group activities in my course so learners can collaborate on discussing cases and brainstorm with one another about how to think logically about what needs to happen before an assessment occurs. This fits with my practice as I believe we generally don’t work in a vacuum and need to talk/work with our colleagues to best serve our clients. This activity means learners  use their interpersonal skills.

I plan to use group work in my course and will definitely keep the tips in mind in particular the ones around optimal group size.