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Engaging Students in Learning Activities. Mark H. Gelula, Ph.D. Director of Faculty Development Department of Medical Education mgelula@uic.edu. The Online Classroom. Fast communication across distances Anytime learning and teaching Integration of the computer . Caveats.

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engaging students in learning activities

Engaging Students in Learning Activities

Mark H. Gelula, Ph.D.

Director of Faculty Development

Department of Medical Education


the online classroom
The Online Classroom
  • Fast communication across distances
  • Anytime learning and teaching
  • Integration of the computer
  • Technical skills
  • All participants must have access to suitable hardware and software
  • Bandwidth is usually limited
  • Technological problems
pedagogical decisions
Pedagogical Decisions
  • Learners and their needs
  • Motivation
  • How can my course material help the students in their lives outside of the course
  • Learning styles: an important consideration for every online teacher
instructors and their teaching model
Instructors and their teaching model
  • four types of teaching models:
    • discipline-centered,
    • teacher-centered,
    • student-centered cognitive
    • student-centered affective
questions to consider
Questions to Consider
  • Is this content primarily factual, experiential, conceptual, or attitudinal?
  • Is this content better approached by an individual activity, a group activity, or both?
  • Should units be completed at each student’s own pace, or should there be deadlines for assignments?
instructional methods
Instructional methods
  • Lectures and readings
    • fixed material to students – passive
  • Discussions and group activities
    • allow students to interact as they grapple with course material – active
  • Exercises and simulations
    • provide individual students with an opportunity to try out course concepts in a limited way and thus enhance their understanding – experiential
modes of interaction
Modes of Interaction
  • Two basic concepts
    • the shape of the communication.
    • the timing of the communication
shape of the communication
Shape of the Communication

A course activity may be

  • Solitary (like individual reading)
  • One-to-one communication (as in a tutorial)
  • One-to-many (as in a lecture)
  • Many-to-many (as in a discussion).
timing of the communication
Timing of the Communication
  • Synchronous communication
  • Asynchronous communication
synchronous communication
Synchronous Communication
  • Participants receive the communication at the time that it is spoken (or written);
    • Telephone calls
asynchronous communication
Asynchronous Communication,
  • Some delay between the time the speaker speaks and the listener hears.
      • correspondence by mail.
      • "telephone tag" and voice mail messages.
communication shape venue and timing









  • Telephone call
  • Instant messages
  • Postal mail
  • Email




  • Lecture
  • Streaming audio/video broadcast
  • Grocery store bulletin board
  • Website




  • Brainstorming session
  • Chat room
  • Hospital patient's chart
  • Network newsgroup
Communication Shape, Venue, and Timing
technological decisions
Technological decisions
  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Network Bandwidth
  • Security
a learning taxonomy
A Learning Taxonomy*

1. Knowledge: arrange, define, duplicate, label, list, memorize, name, order, recognize, relate, recall, repeat, reproduce state.

2. Comprehension: classify, describe, discuss, explain, express, identify, indicate, locate, recognize, report, restate, review, select, translate,

3.Application: apply, choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, practice, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write.

*From Distance Learning Resource Network's Technology Resource Guide Chapter 4: Bloom's Taxonomy. http://www.dlrn.org/library/dl/guide4.html

a learning taxonomy16
A Learning Taxonomy

4. Analysis: analyze, appraise, calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test.

5.Synthesis: arrange, assemble, collect, compose, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, manage, organize, plan, prepare, propose, set up, write.

6.Evaluation: appraise, argue, assess, attach, choose compare, defend estimate, judge, predict, rate, core, select, support, value, evaluate

what about lectures
What about Lectures?
  • Streaming audio-video
  • PowerPoint presentation
  • Textual
    • Lecture
    • Notes
    • Supplements
kolb s learning cycle

Concrete Experience

Active Experimentation

Reflective Observation

Abstract Conceptualization

Kolb’s Learning Cycle
experiential learning
Experiential Learning








activity and learning
Activity and Learning

Didactic: Meaning External to Learner

Experiential: Meaning Internal to Learner





Read i ng






three principles
Three Principles
  • Active and experiential learning
  • Dynamic student to student discussion
  • Opportunities for reflective thought followed by relative risk taking
more than distributing information
More than Distributing Information
  • Processes to assist students as they
    • discover how to think critically and reflectively
    • work collaboratively
    • establish leadership skills
    • learn to exchange ideas leading to
      • productive problem-solving
      • careful decision making,
      • substantive applied learning.
vary group size and purpose
Vary Group Size and Purpose
  • Students learn to
    • relate concepts to each other
    • develop new strategies and approaches to problems
asynchronous discussions
Asynchronous Discussions
  • General class conferences are for the use of all of the students in the class. These conferences appear in every student’s conference list, and include “Announcements”
  • Topical class conferences are associated with each of the topics covered in the course. These conferences are also open to all students, and appear in every student’s conference list, after the general conferences.
asynchronous discussions26
Asynchronous Discussions
  • Small group conferences are used by each of the 4-5 person student groups in the course. Each student’s conference list includes only the small group conference for their group;
  • Private conferences are for discussion between an individual student and the instructors. Using private conferences rather than email allows both student and instructor to keep everything associated with the course in one place.
asynchronous discussion examples
Asynchronous Discussion Examples
  • Four per-group conferences
  • Four per-group conferences with topical sub-conferences
  • Four per-group conferences with weekly sub-conferences
  • Eight per-week conferences with group sub-conferences
asynchronous discussion examples28
Asynchronous Discussion Examples
  • Three topical conferences with group sub-conferences
  • Three topic conferences with weekly sub-conferences and group subsubconferences
    • 2-person paper review
    • Co-writing papers
    • Case analysis
synchronous discussions
Synchronous Discussions
  • Text
    • Computer bulletin board systems and Unix systems have long supported text-based synchronous “chat” discussions.
  • Audioconferencing and Videoconferencing
how to suggestions
How to Suggestions
  • Use Small Group Sizes
  • Find Group Facilitators
  • Set Deadlines
  • Focus on Goals
  • Ask Questions
  • Lie Back
specific activities
Specific Activities
  • Problem-based Learning
  • Case Analysis
  • Peer Teaching
  • Group Writing
  • Critical Incident Discussions
  • Nominal Group Technique
  • Delphi Process and Polling