Sequencing Online Activities to Promote Higher-Order Questioning & Learning - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  1. Sequencing Online Activities to Promote Higher-Order Questioning & Learning Conference on Information Technology Detroit, MI, Oct. 2009 Betsy Cohn English Division/CTEI Henry Ford Community College

  2. Session Goals • Using my online course as an example, explore the following questions: • What are the special challenges and opportunities associated with online teaching & learning? • Can self-monitored, one-on-one & group learning tasks be mixed & sequenced for optimal effect? • What implications do multi-media materials have for cognitive load & learning style issues? • How can strategies shared be adapted & improved?

  3. Example Course: Business & Technical Writing & Research • Is a second-semester, college-level composition course • Pursues similar general education outcomes as its parallel, liberal arts oriented course, College Writing & Research • Written communication • Critical thinking • Information literacy • Adapts those outcomes to professional or workplace writing situations

  4. Some Challenges Faced by Online Students • Engaging & learning in an environment that relies mostly on reading/writing • Grappling with possibly poor reading & writing skills, interest or affinity • Struggling with self-discipline, impatience, time management & other organizational skills • Encountering new software & the need to apply new technical skills • Experiencing technical problems • Feeling lonely or isolated

  5. Some Challenges Faced by Online Teachers • Providing enough structure—but not too much • Enabling flexibility & asynchronous work without sacrificing valuable social engagement & collaborative learning • Assessing what technology to incorporate, when & how much • Keeping abreast of new technology, & learning it as needed • Managing time (for preparation of materials, communicating with students, facilitating group activities, etc.) & setting boundaries • Being aware of & realistic about the workload for students • Holding students to appropriate standards • Facing biases against online education

  6. Bloom’s Taxonomy (Revised): Types of Knowledge • What should students know? • Facts (terms, details, elements) • Concepts (classifications & categories, principles & generalizations, theories, models, & structures) • Procedures (subject-specific skills, algorithms & methods & criteria for choosing when to use them) • Metacognition (strategies for setting learning goals, monitoring & assessing learning progress & ensuring continued improvement)

  7. Bloom’s Taxonomy (Revised): Cognitive Processes • What should students do with that knowledge? • Remember it • Understand it • Apply it • Analyze it • Evaluate it • Create new & original products using it

  8. Cognitive Load Theory • Only limited amounts of information can be held in short-term memory (discrete “data bits”): we need to chunk & scaffold • Long-term memory retains more for longer & makes information easier to access & use (coherently connected to prior knowledge & organized): we need to promote this transfer from short- to long-term memory • Learners experience “intrinsic,” “germane” & “extraneous” mental load demands • Especially relevant to us today: we need to assess mental load demands of technology & online learning dynamics, minimizing the extraneous

  9. Implications • Sequencing of learning tasks affects their manageability & levels of cognitive processing • Tasks should be varied enough to tap different learning style preferences (reduce cognitive load demands) • Technology should be used in a way that helps manage cognitive load demands, not in a way that exacerbates them

  10. Major Elements in My Course • Written documents (textbook & online documents, assignments, directions & examples) • Interactive worksheets (both self-teaching & one-on-one with me) • Discussion board activities (all-class) • Online peer reviews of project drafts (student pairs, but posted publicly) • Audio-visual materials (Camtasia, narrated PowerPoints condensed via Impatica) • Audio clips

  11. An Example Unit: Formal Proposal Background info (reading; optional narrated PPT) Brainstorming for topics (discussion board (DB))  Oral presentations (small-group, mostly in person)  Focused critique of sample proposal (DB) & interactive worksheet #1  Additional reading & A/V or in-person session on research strategies  Interactive worksheet #2 & round 1 peer review  Focused critique of sample proposal’s research plan (DB) & round 2 peer review  Final draft of proposal project with self-assessment memo (red = independent; blue = all-class; green = independent & 1-on-1 student-instructor; orange = 1-on-1 student-student)

  12. Examples of Materials Let’s access the course site to look at • an interactive worksheet (for independent learning/use & 1-on-1 student-instructor interaction) • a discussion board activity (all-class collaborative learning activity) • two types of audio-visual files (for independent learning/use)

  13. Quality of Online Learning: My Impressions • Offers opportunities for monitoring students’ engagement & learning that are sometimes richer than found in f2f classes • Promotes critical thinking that is sometimes richer • Enables me to know more students better • Achieves learning outcomes that are at least as strong as in f2f classes • Presents special challenges for motivation, retention & class management

  14. Group Synthesis • Did today’s session make you think differently at all about online teaching & learning? • Which of the strategies (organizational, technological, etc.) today seem most useful, & why? After this conference, will you try anything new? • What aspects of the session do you question?

  15. Some Useful Sources Akin, L., & Neal, D. (2007). CREST + model: Writing effective online discussion questions [Electronic version]. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 3(2), 191-202. Boettcher, J. V. (2007). Ten core principles for designing effective learning environments: Insights from brain research and pedagogical theory. Innovate, 3. Retrieved October 5, 2009, from Greene, L. (2004, June). Final project snapshot: Toward a model of student questioning. Retrieved December 10, 2008, from The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, KEEP Toolkit Web site: Hornsby, K. (2008). A learner-centered online course design [Electronic version]. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 12(4). Retrieved March 25, 2009, from

  16. Some Useful Sources Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy: An overview [Electronic version]. Theory into Practice, 41(4), 212-218. Maurino, P. (2006). Participation and interaction: F2F vs. online. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 10(4), 257-262. Retrieved October 4, 2009, from Academic OneFile database. National Center for Education Statistics. (2005, December). A first look at the literacy of America’s adults in the 21st century (Publication NCES 2006-470). Jessup, MD: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved October 5, 2009, from

  17. Some Useful Sources Novak, G. M., Patterson, E. T., Gavrin, A. D., & Christian, W. (1999). Just-in-time teaching: Blending active learning with web technology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Paas, F., Tuovinen, J. E., van Merrienboer, J. J. G., & Darabi, A. A. (2005). A motivational perspective on the relation between mental effort and performance: Optimizing learner involvement in instruction [Electronic version]. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(3), 25-34. van Merrienboer, J. G., & Sweller, J. (2005, June). Cognitive Load Theory and complex learning: Recent developments and future directions. Educational Psychology Review, 17, 147(31). Retrieved February 15, 2007, from Academic OneFile database. Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview [Electronic version]. Theory into Practice, 41(2), 64-70.