Facilitating Asynchronous Discussion and Blended Learning. Curt Bonk, Professor, Indiana University firstname.lastname@example.org http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk http://CourseShare.com. Blended Ideas. Take to lab for online group collaboration. Take to computer lab for Web search.
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Professor, Indiana University
(David Brown, Syllabus, January 2002, p. 23; October 2001, p. 18)
a. Introductions: require not only that students introduce themselves, but also that they find and respond to two classmates who have something in common (Serves dual purpose of setting tone and having students learn to use the tool)
b. Favorite Web Site: Have students post the URL of a favorite Web site or URL with personal information and explain why they choose that one.
c. Eight Nouns Activity:
1. Introduce self using 8 nouns
2. Explain why choose each noun
3. Comment on 1-2 peer postings
d. Coffee House Expectations
1. Have everyone post 2-3 course expectations
2. Instructor summarizes and comments on how they might be met
(or make public commitments of how they will fit into busy schedules!)
Gordon McCray, Wake Forest University, Intro to Management of Info Systems
Alternative: Facilitator-Starter-Wrapper (Alexander, 2001)
Instead of starting discussion, student acts as moderator or questioner to push student thinking and give feedback
George Watson, Univ of Delaware, Electricity and Electronics for Engineers:
5. Poll Students for Formative Feedback Activities
A. Assume Persona of Scholar
PsychExperiments (University of Mississippi)
Contains 30 free psych experiments
Ken McGraw, Syllabus,
(Note: method akin to storytelling)
Gregor Novak, IUPUI Physics Professor (teaches teamwork, collaboration, and effective communication):
4. Electronic Guests & Mentoring Activities
5. Threaded Discussion plus Expert Chat Activities(e.g., Starter-Wrapper + Sync Guest Chat)
8. Collaborative Online Writing: Activities
Peer-to-Peer Document Collaboration
Little or no feedback given Activities
Kept narrow focus of what was relevant
Created tangential discussions, fact questions
Only used “ultimate” deadlines
Provided regular qual/quant feedback
Participated as peer
Allowed perspective sharing
Tied discussion to grades, other tasks.
Used incremental deadlines
Poor Instructors Good Instructors
Students don’t participate
Students all participate at last minute
Instructor posts at the last minute
Lack directions for interactions
Step 1: Idea Generation
Step 2: Initial Response
Twelve forms of electronic learning mentoring and assistance(Bonk & Kim, 1998; Tharp, 1993; Bonk et al., 2001)
1. Social (and cognitive) Acknowledgement: Activities"Hello...," "I agree with everything said so far...," "Wow, what a case," "This case certainly has provoked a lot of discussion...," "Glad you could join us..."
2. Questioning: Activities "What is the name of this concept...?," "Another reason for this might be...?," "An example of this is...," "In contrast to this might be...,""What else might be important here...?," "Who can tell me....?," "How might the teacher..?." "What is the real problem here...?," "How is this related to...?,“, "Can you justify this?"
3. Direct Instruction: Activities"I think in class we mentioned that...," Chapter ‘X’ talks about...," "Remember back to the first week of the semester when we went over ‘X’ which indicated that..."
4. Modeling/Examples: Activities"I think I solved this sort of problem once when I...," "Remember that video we saw on ‘X’ wherein ‘Y’ decided to...," "Doesn't ‘X’ give insight into this problem in case ‘Z’ when he/she said..."
5. Feedback/Praise: Activities"Wow, I'm impressed...," "That shows real insight into...," "Are you sure you have considered...," "Thanks for responding to ‘X’...," "I have yet to see you or anyone mention..."
6. Cognitive Task Structuring: Activities"You know, the task asks you to do...," "Ok, as was required, you should now summarize the peer responses that you have received...," "How might the textbook authors have solved this case."
7. Cognitive Elaborations/Explanations: Activities"Provide more information here that explains your rationale," "Please clarify what you mean by...," "I'm just not sure what you mean by...," "Please evaluate this solution a little more carefully."
8. Push to Explore: Activities"You might want to write to Dr. ‘XYZ’ for...," "You might want to do an ERIC search on this topic...," "Perhaps there is a URL on the Web that addresses this topic..."
9. Fostering Reflection/Self Awareness: Activities"Restate again what the teacher did here," "How have you seen this before?," "When you took over this class, what was the first thing you did?," "Describe how your teaching philosophy will vary from this...," "How might an expert teacher handle this situation?"
10. Encouraging Articulation/Dialogue Prompting: Activities"What was the problem solving process the teacher faced here?," "Does anyone have a counterpoint or alternative to this situation?," "Can someone give me three good reasons why...," "It still seems like something is missing here, I just can't put my finger on it."
11. General Advice/Scaffolding/Suggestions Activities: "If I were in her shoes, I would...," "Perhaps I would think twice about putting these people into...," "I know that I would first...," "How totally ridiculous this all is; certainly the “person” should be able to provide some..."
12. Management (via private e-mail or discussion): Activities"Don't just criticize....please be sincere when you respond to your peers," "If you had put your case in on time, you would have gotten more feedback." "If you do this again, we will have to take away your privileges."
PromoterStill More Hats
A learning community is a group of individuals interested in a common topic or area, who engage in knowledge related transactions as well as transformations within it. They take advantage of the opportunity to exchange ideas and learn collectively.
(Bonk & Wisher, 2000;
Fulton & Riel, 1999)
(3) fulfill of indiv needs/rewards
(4) shared events & emotional connections
(McMillan & Chavis, 1986).
History, stories, expression, identity, participation, respect, autonomy, celebration, team building, shape group, Schwier, 1999)
(1) self-disclosures, time, energy
(2) refer to norms, rules, others
(3) give and receive info, express need, thank, criticize, suggest
(4) special stories, symbols, events, identify spiritual bonds
“We are evolving out of the era of the Lone Rangers…faculty members can choose to be involved in the design, development, content expertise, delivery, or distribution of course…” (Richard T. Hezel)
Sarah Carr, (Dec 15, 2000, A47), A Day in the Life of a New Type of Professor, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Or Maybe Some Questions???