Who are distance learners? • Older • Responsibilities: full-time, homemakers, dependent • Female • Education majors • Convenience of online classes
Who are “successful” distance learners? • Eager learners • High expectations • Minimal computer skills • Self-directed students • Proactively seek out information • Master it • They find a way to succeed despite poor study conditions, confusing teachers, or abstruse textbooks. • Instructor is more a guide and facilitator
Student conflicts High expectations of students, but: • Low grades • Confusion related to conducting research online • Student’s lack of organizational skills • Team conflicts • Misunderstood emails or discussion postings • Impatience if feedback isn’t immediate
Heading off student conflicts • Discuss netiquette • Offer rules for appropriate online communication • Explain that online communication is often misunderstood • Encourage discussion about online issues • Encourage students to do research about online communication • Respond calmly if students do over-react
Other issues • Plagiarism • Test security
Plagiarism • 1999 survey of 21,000 students on 21 camuses • 1/3 admitted to cheating on an exam • 1/2 admitted to cheating on an assignment • Students said they are more likely to cheat in classes where the instructor ignores cheating. • 2001 survey of CAI students • 41% said they plagiarized from online sources without citation
Curbing plagiarism Communicate the following concepts to students: • Honesty • Responsiveness • Relevance • Respect • Openness • Empowerment
Curbing plagiarism • The Plagiarism Resource Center at UVA: http://plagiarism.phys.virginia.edu/ (offers free software for detecting plagiarism) Commercial sites • TurnItIn: http://www.turnitin.com • iThenticate: http://www.ithenticate.com
Curbing plagiarism Customize assignments • Randomize tests • Limit test function • Time tests • Personal input • New tests • Group tests • Oral tests • Upgraded self-tests • Varied test types • Unusual paper topics • Recipe assignments • Assignments in stages • Post-assignment discussion • Research instruction • Familiarity with student writing
Virtual Classroom Techniques • Text lectures • Audio lectures • Video lectures • Discussions • Chats • Guest experts • Real-time data assignments • Virtual field trips • Problem-based learning/case studies • Online labs • Games • Cooperative assignments
Text lectures Lectures primarily in written form: website, wordprocessed notes, PowerPoint presentations, etc. Tips to improve online lectures: • Start small • Keep it sort. • Make it personal. • Write in a conversational style • Draw connections to everyday thing.
Audio lectures Lectures in audio format. Primarily as suppliment to illustrations, charts, diagrams, etc. Done using audio streaming technology: • RealMedia • QuickTime • Window Media
Video lectures Many are talking heads: NOT good! Better approaches: • Conversation between you and a colleague • Interview experts • Give a demonstration • Dramatize a topic
Discussions Create discussion questions that encourage critical thinking. Use Bloom’s taxonomy Examples: • Website evaluation • Current events • Controversy • Role play • What if? • Statistical analysis • Exemplification • Case study
Discussions Some tips: • Set rigid deadlines • Allow informality in responses • Post summaries at the end of the discussions • Post the questions in ascending complexity
Chat Allows synchronous communication that can be involve interpersonal closeness, immediacy and excitement. Can give immediate feedback and encouragement. Some tips: • No longer than 60 minutes • Schedule at times when students tend to be online • Open documents that you want to post on your desktop for easy access when needed • Post the chat transcripts for those that can’t attend
Guest experts Invite guest experts to interact using discussion and chat Best questions involve open-ended controversy Who? • Prominent people in the field • Colleagues in your department • Local people working in your field • Post the chat transcripts for those that can’t attend
Real-time data assignments Use real-time sites on the web as sources of data Examples: • El Nino information: http://www.elnino.noaa.gov/ • Iowa Electronic Markets: http://www.biz.uiowa.edu.iem/ • National Climatic Data Center: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ • Ozone data: http://www.epa.gov/airnow
Virtual field trips Use real-time sites on the web as sources of data Examples: • Geology field trips: http://www.uh.edu/~jbutler/anon/gpvirtual/.html • Tempe Arizona Police Department Crime Unit: http://www.tempe.gov/cau/ • The Holocaust Museum: http://www.ushmm.org/ • National Women’s History Museum: http://www.nmwh.org/exhibits/intro.html • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: http://www.rockhall.com/programs/plans.asp • Links to hundreds of online museums: http://www.vlmp.museophile.com/
Problem-based learning/ case studies Use of problems and case studies to help students think critically Example: • Scientific case studies: http://ublib.buffalo/libraries/projects/cases/ubcase.htm Case-studies: • Dialogue used tells a good story • Must be relevant, contentious, recent and short
Online labs Virtual science labs are created online Students can handle dangerous poisons, analyze raging rivers, or conduct experiments in evolution Examples: Geology Online Labs: http://www.sciencecourseware.org/GLOL/
Games Some free versions of game software: Hot Potatoes: http://web.uvic.ca/hrd/hotpot/ Crossword Compiler: http://www.crossword-compiler.com Quizmaster: http://cibertrain.info/quizman/qmselect.html Castle: http://www.le.ac.uk/castle Zoomerange: http://info.zoomerange.com/
Cooperative assignments Should be structures with the following in mind: • All students must participate • Must develop a method to capture individual participation • Written product must be the result Tips: • Each team member must take on a role. • Each team must create a charter that spells out each member’s role and guidelines on how they will communicate and handle conflict. • All communication must be posted on a group discussion board. If chat is used, the transcript must be posted on the discussion. • Have each member evaluate all of the members of the group at the end of the project.
Most of the information for this presentation was taken from:Beck, E., & Grieive, D. (2005). Going the distance: a handbook for part-time & adjunct faculty who teach online. Ann Arbor, MI: Adjunct Advocate, Inc.