otl101-post5 Reflections

I liked my post “So what have you learned?” I liked the picture I used and the fact that I was honest about the learning journey I’m on.

The two or three most important ideas from this course were the notion that feedback is an even larger piece in helping people learn than I realized. It also was striking that as teachers we’re often not on track when we give feedback.  I found the SOLO taxonomy very useful too.  While I used active verbs to describe learning objectives in the past, I never knew that it came from this taxonomy!

I am wondering how best to give students from communalistic backgrounds better feedback.  I will do some more reading and talk to peers about how they do this.  Additionally, I am thinking about how best to incorporate higher level thinking skills. I will look at what I do and see how it fits with those categories.

Specifically I will use pictures and video/audio clips when I teach.

I will add more higher level cognitive activities in my course.

I want to find out what feedback works best for my students and will survey them to get feedback.



I’d say on the whole the feedback I give is at the first, second and fourth level. Much of my feedback is specific and students state that they understand where the course is going. However, I am certainly guilty of using self-feedback and was interested to see how relatively useless that is. On the other hand, it is mostly paired with specific marks on a rubric so students can see where they went off track.

I think in order to improve effectiveness I need to address the needs of collectivistic and individualistic participants. I also need to focus on  helping students learn to self-regulate by highlighting the strategies they use that are successful.

otl101-Post 3

I looked at the course outline for the psychological assessment course I will be teaching.  Students are expected to identify, differentiate, characterize, analyze, define, explain and implement a plan, prepare a report, demonstrate relevant skills and integrate the material.
Learning outcomes seem to, on the whole, reflect high level cognitive skills.  The course also has some lower level cognitive skills such as identifying and defining. These are useful as building blocks for higher level skills.
Student learning is assessed through discussion with colleagues, 2 quizzes, a test critique/presentation, case study and a final project which is a self-report.
The learning outcomes and assessment appear to be well aligned. Students will have to identify and explain their thinking in discussion groups and in the written assignments they prepare. They will also have to analyze, explain and demonstrate their skills in the case presentation, case study and self-report.  The self-report requires that students integrate course material and apply it to a real life person-themselves. These three activities in particular include a number of high level cognitive skills that are either relational or extended abstract in nature.
The quizzes are a small part of the final mark and they too are aligned to the learning outcomes as they require students to identify, describe and define.  However, they mostly measure unistructural skills.
Two of the course objectives that seem to limit students to unistructural or multi-structural responses are:
  • Define concepts related to psychometrics and statistics involved in instrument development, reliability coefficients, variance, standardized and converted scores (T-scores, z-scores), validity, and measures of central tendency.I would add to this: Apply these concepts and illustrate how to use them in a self-report.
    • Define assessment as related to counselling and describe how it is part of the larger counselling process.I might add to this; justify your use/non-use of a formal and/or informal assessment in a given case study.

otl201 post3 Thoughts on engagement

I think one of the most important concepts that has impacted my thoughts on student engagement and retention during this course is that there is no significant difference between different media when it comes to student achievement.  Yet when students are asked what they prefer, they like video presentation of ideas. This reinforces the notion that we like connection to others whether in person or on-line.

Additionally, as Vaughan et al. suggest, video introductions to the course environment and short tutorials on difficult course concepts or problems really help students. Finally talking about one’s experience with the course material as an instructor and encouraging students to do so also makes a demonstrable difference in student engagement.Best pic of me

As a result, I plan to use a picture of me on every post I make. I will make sure to use a conversational tone, be respectful, positive and encouraging to students.  Also, once I get my course, I will provide a short video introduction to it and provide short tutorials that highlight practical personal application on difficult course concepts.  I also will make sure to respond in a timely fashion to questions and to contact students who haven’t posted asap to show them that I’m present. Asking students what worked and what didn’t work is another way to help increase engagement as well as to improve the course.

As for questions, at this point I haven’t taught the course so it’s tough to be more specific until I actually see how social presence plays out with my students when I’m actually teaching.  I wonder if teaching graduate students makes a difference in terms of engagement in that they may have more desire to learn the material for their career?

A few strategies to help me out are to make sure I look at other’s ideas for increasing social presence ( I’ve got some links on my blog there).  TRU has links to some great material from UBC and UVic too.  I can also ask colleagues such as the online learning coordinator for ideas as well as my faculty mentor.


otl201 post2 Social Presence

After progressing in this online learning course, I see some things I could have done differently in my first post. For example, I could have used a picture of me to personalize the post. When teaching the course, I will Best pic of memake sure to link the ideas in the post to the course specifically and directly. I liked that the tone of the post was conversational and I will continue to use that.

Some of the things I learned about social presence were good reminders about interpersonal interaction in general. Some strategies, I’ll appropriate include: Using a picture of self, calling people by their names, commenting on what they say, being positive, using a conversational tone, and using short tutorials to help learners in those parts of the course that are more difficult.

otl201 post 1 A bit about me…


Who am I? A brief bio

I’m a psychologist, a family member, a friend and someone who is always interested in learning more about people and how they (and I) operate in the world.





I love travelling and take every opportunity to go and see new places. This summer I was in Hong Kong and Korea. One of my favourite places is Italy, see the picture of Tuscany here; the light is fantastic!


otl201 Post 3 Learning Activities Portfolio


This handbook has lots of tips for teaching on-line.  In particular, it notes the importance of timely feedback by the instructor, the importance of tone and using more informal discourse. Additionally, it mentions the possible use of an on-line meeting place called “the virtual conference room” where “students post comments and findings after completing activities related to the course content (umass.edu).” This helps reduce isolation, keeps learners on task and gives instructors insight into what is and isn’t working in the course.

Sounds like a great idea to implement.

otl201 Post 2 Learning Activities Portfolio

Do we need ‘social butterflies’ in Online Learning Communities?

This link gives a good overview of why we need to build social connection in on-line learning communities and gives specific ideas about how to do that. I like the notion of having students and the instructor post a picture or avatar beside their posts.  I intend to do that in my course and will use many of the ideas listed to help build social connection.