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BESIG/Bonn 2008 Sustaining online communication during a blended learning Business English course Veronica Dal-Bianco Overview Background information Online communication: why/how? Effective tasks: key features & examples Sustaining online communication - T role Student feedback

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besig bonn 2008
BESIG/Bonn 2008

Sustaining online communication

during a blended learning

Business English course

Veronica Dal-Bianco

overview
Overview
  • Background information
  • Online communication: why/how?
  • Effective tasks: key features & examples
  • Sustaining online communication - T role
  • Student feedback
  • Assessing online communication
background information
Background Information
  • FH Burgenland (Univ. of Applied Sciences)
    • 2-year M.A. Applied Knowledge Management
    • part-time; 35-40 sts/year; 2 groups
    • teaching blend: 50% f2f & 50% online
    • first M.A. student intake: Sept 2005
  • Business English: 4 compulsory courses
    • 50 hrs/sem
    • BEC Higher (C1/advanced)
online communication
Online Communication
  • Why?
    • to provide “speaking“ practice btw F2F sessions
    • to enable students to interact with each other
    • to develop students‘ BE & general vocabulary
  • How?
    • VLE - factline
    • mainly assynchronoushttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/743408.0
virtual learning environment http campusib fh burgenland at 743408 0
Virtual Learning Environmenthttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/743408.0
business english start page http campusib fh burgenland at 743988 0
Business English Start Pagehttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/743988.0
online communication effective tasks
Online Communication: Effective Tasks
  • 4 categories, each with a key feature
      • personalisation
      • peer support
      • synchronous
      • high fun
effective tasks personalisation
Effective Tasks: Personalisation
  • own life/situation
    • chattinghttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2257239.0
    • experts‘ forumhttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/855541.1/
    • culture vultures http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/850071.1/
    • relaxing readinghttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2202891.1/
  • Business English
    • favourites http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/859347.1/
    • topic of the fortnight http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/798124.1/
    • business topicshttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/793521.0/
    • http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/787336.1/
    • investment portfolio (VIP)http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/714199.1/
personalisation chatting http campusib fh burgenland at 2257239 0
Personalisation – Chatting http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2257239.0
slide12
Personalisation – Chatting http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/888474.0http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2285094.0
effective tasks personalisation13
Effective Tasks: Personalisation
  • own life/situation
    • chatting http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2257239.0
    • experts‘ forumhttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/855541.1/
    • culture vultures http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/850071.1/
    • relaxing reading http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2202891.1/
  • Business English
    • favourites http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/859347.1/
    • topic of the fortnight http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/798124.1/
    • business topicshttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/793521.0/
    • http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/787336.1/
    • investment portfolio (VIP) http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/714199.1/
personalisation experts forum
Personalisation - Experts‘ Forum
  • Task: experts’ forum /gp 1
  • What are you good at doing? How could you help your peers? Briefly outline what you’re an expert in & post your entry on this forum. You could start like this: Should you ever need any tips on what cinema films are worth going to see, then get in touch. I …….  Make sure your subject line states clearly what your area of expertise is e.g. films_veronica. Then have a look to see who you might like to contact (especially students from the other group you don’t know so well) & send them a message. Have fun! Veronica
  • Total of 152 postings in 6 weeks/all students participated
  • Approx 5 postings/student
personalisation experts forum http campusib fh burgenland at 855541 0
Personalisation - Experts‘ Forumhttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/855541.0
effective tasks personalisation16
Effective Tasks: Personalisation
  • own life/situation
    • chatting http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2257239.0
    • experts‘ forum http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/855541.1/
    • culture vultures http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/850071.1/
    • relaxing readinghttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2202891.1/
  • Business English
    • favourites http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/859347.1/
    • topic of the fortnight http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/798124.1/
    • business topicshttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/793521.0/
    • http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/787336.1/
    • investment portfolio (VIP) http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/714199.1/
personalisation relaxing reading
Personalisation - Relaxing Reading
  • Task: relaxing reading
  • As discussed in input session 1, one of the tasks this semester is to read a book in English. So use this forum to tell the others which book you've chosen - it may trigger some ideas for further reading. Comment on how you are finding the task/the book. And if any language points strike you particularly, why not share them with the others here too?
  • By the way, there is no problem whatsoever if more than one person chooses the same book. Just make sure the book you borrow/buy is challenging but not over-challenging and something you'd enjoy reading in German. Really looking forward to seeing what you're all reading! Veronica
  • Total of 170 postings in 12 weeks/ all students participated
personalisation relaxing reading http campusib fh burgenland at 2202891 1
Personalisation - Relaxing Readinghttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2202891.1/
effective tasks personalisation19
Effective Tasks: Personalisation
  • own life/situation
    • chatting http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2257239.0
    • experts‘ forum http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/855541.1/
    • culture vultures http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/850071.1/
    • relaxing reading http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2202891.1/
  • Business English
    • favourites http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/859347.1/
    • topic of the fortnight http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/798124.1/
    • business topicshttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/793521.0/
    • http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/787336.1/
    • investment portfolio (VIP) http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/714199.1/
personalisation business topic
Personalisation - Business Topic
  • Task:
  • In the next input session, we’ll be practising the language of meetings & negotiations, so in preparation, pls source/read an article on meetings or negotiating. Post the link & briefly summarise key issues /interesting points on this forum by 20th April. Then choose 2 articles your peers have posted & comment briefly e.g. aspects you’d never thought or heard about before, things you’ve actually experienced, points you totally agree/disagree with etc.
  • Total of 76 postings in 3.5 weeks/26 from 29 students participated
personalisation business topic http campusib fh burgenland at 793521 0
Personalisation - Business Topichttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/793521.0/
effective tasks personalisation22
Effective Tasks: Personalisation
  • own life/situation
    • chatting http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2257239.0
    • experts‘ forum http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/855541.1/
    • culture vultures http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/850071.1/
    • relaxing reading http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2202891.1/
  • Business English
    • favourites http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/859347.1/
    • topic of the fortnight http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/798124.1/
    • business topicshttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/793521.0/
    • http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/787336.1/
    • investment portfolio (VIP)http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/714199.1/
personalisation investment 1a http campusib fh burgenland at 714199 1
Personalisation – Investment 1ahttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/714199.1/
  • Task: Virtual Investment Portfolio (VIP)
  • Invest € 5000 in stocks & shares, sell & buy accordingly. Justify choices. Record progress on graph (weekly) till end of semester
personalisation investment 1b http campusib fh burgenland at 714199 1
Personalisation – Investment 1bhttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/714199.1/
effective tasks peer support
Effective Tasks: Peer Support
  • help lines
    • vocabularyhttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/839021.0/
    • lg/coursebook taskshttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/887115.1/
  • information sharing
    • websites http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2202892.1/
    • knowledge management http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/868700.1/
  • peer reviewing written assignments
    • using guidelines http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2202900.0/
    • 76% sts - feedback motivating/constructive
effective tasks peer support28
Effective Tasks: Peer Support
  • help lines
    • vocabulary http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/839021.0/
    • lg/coursebook tasks http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/887115.1/
  • information sharing
    • websites http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2202892.1/
    • knowledge managementhttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/868700.1/
  • peer reviewing written assignments
    • using guidelines http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2202900.0/
    • 76% sts - feedback motivating/constructive
peer support info sharing http campusib fh burgenland at 868700 1
Peer Support – Info Sharing http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/868700.1/
effective tasks peer support30
Effective Tasks: Peer Support
  • help lines
    • vocabulary http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/839021.0/
    • lg/coursebook tasks http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/887115.1/
  • information sharing
    • websites http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2202892.1/
    • knowledge management http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/868700.1/
  • peer reviewing written assignments
    • using guidelineshttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2202900.0/
    • 76% sts - feedback motivating/constructive
peer support peer reviewing 1a http campusib fh burgenland at 2202900 0
Peer Support – Peer Reviewing 1ahttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2202900.0/
peer support peer reviewing 1b http campusib fh burgenland at 2204710 0
Peer Support – Peer Reviewing 1bhttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2204710.0/
effective tasks synchronous
Effective Tasks: Synchronous
  • instant messaging function (ping) http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/743988.0
  • “vocabulary buddies“ via skype
    • Blast from the Past

Access the bilingual glossary from the course book & revise the vocab from units 1-6. Then arrange with 2/3 colleagues to have a vocab revision session (e.g. Skype) & take turns asking each other (German to English!). Post comments on how it went on vocab forum by 15 Oct.

synchronous example 1a http campusib fh burgenland at 2257723 1 view id 2283098 view v 1
Synchronous Example 1ahttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2257723.1/view_id/2283098/view_v/1/
synchronous example 1b http campusib fh burgenland at 2257723 1 view id 2280366 view v 1
Synchronous Example 1bhttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2257723.1/view_id/2280366/view_v/1/
effective tasks high fun
Effective Tasks: High Fun
  • language-related riddles/quizzes
  • jokes
  • video clips http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2285094.1/view_id/2289821/view_v/1/
  • humour + element of competition
high fun example 1 http campusib fh burgenland at 2285094 1 view id 2289455 view v 1 2289455 1
High Fun Example 1http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2285094.1/view_id/2289455/view_v/1/#2289455.1
sustaining online communication t role
SustainingOnline Communication-T role
  • to create challenging, meaningful, ongoing tasks
  • to create a cooperative learning atmosphere
  • to provide timely acknowledgement of postings
  • to develop an appropriate communication style
  • to acquire the necessary IT skills
  • to be willing to experiment & reflect
sustaining online communication t role40
SustainingOnline Communication-T role
  • 1st F2F session: community building
    • organise lots of “getting to know“ activities
    • demonstrate VLE
    • encourage students to chat/share info online
    • reassure students of peer & tutor support
    • stress culture of tolerance
    • highlight benefits of peer reviewing
    • group photo
sustaining online communication t role41
SustainingOnline Communication-T role
  • make forum titles & headings meaningful & catchy
  • take the lead in personalising comments
  • use students‘ names – Yes, Alex, …
  • include lots of encouraging remarks
  • ask open questions to generate discussion
  • give students time to respond before replying
  • check forums regularly (at least every 2/3 days)
  • instil energy if communication begins to flag
  • inform students when offlinehttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2285094.1/view_id/2288987/view_v/1/
  • in f2f sessions - mention interesting postings
  • emphasise knowledge sharing aspect
  • emphasise “chatting“ i.e. fluency aspect
student feedback n 81
Student Feedback (n=81)
  • 60% checked forums at least every 1-3 days
  • 32% checked at least once/week
  • 60% responded immediately
  • 67% posting comments motivated further use
  • 81% usually satisfied with response(s)
  • 50% wrote fluently (not worried about accuracy)
  • 83% didn‘t mind that English wasn‘t always OK
  • 57% would have liked to have been corrected
student feedback consequences
Student Feedback & Consequences
  • 57% wanted language inaccuracies corrected
    • provide group online feedback

http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2284231.0

  • disparate levels of proficiency (Oxford QPT: 42-100 elementary to v.advanced)
    • “My English is too bad so I can‘t participate.“
    • “Don‘t like having mistakes written down.“
    • stress culture of tolerance/mutual support
  • assessment of forum contributions
  • “ I don‘t like being forced to give feedback.“
  • “ OK, I have the possibility not to join in if I do not want to.“
  • “Without any pressure maybe I would have posted more comments.“
  • “…sometimes I don‘t have anything to say but I feel I should reply.“
    • review/experiment with assessment
assessing online communication
Assessing Online Communication
  • yes or no?
  • percentage of final grade? 10%, 20%, 25%, 30% ...?
  • quantity and/or quality of postings?
  • “…must be more than simply counting the number of postings“.
  • criteria must be transparent
  • “Evaluating online discussions demands a clear set of criteria consistent with the desired outcomes… Contributions should be clear, factually correct (cite assigned readings), offer critical thinking & analysis, be respectful, inspire further discourse/develop the scope of the discussion, contribute to the thread of the discussion.“(Garrison & Vaughan, Blended Learning in Higher Education, Josey-Bass, 2008)
  • Business English forum criteria?
  • - fluency/frequency and/or language accuracy?
  • - content, length …?
assessing online communication45
Assessing Online Communication

Percentage of final grade this semester- 30%

  • 10% quality peer reviewing of assignments
  • 10% self-assessment offorum postings

language & course book tasks

vocab forum, chat&fun forum, exam forum

  • 10%class & HW activities (in preparation for online/class activities)
    • Blast from the Past/vocab activity
    • business/KM related article/glossary
    • thesis mini-presentation
    • portfolio review
assessing online communication46
Assessing Online Communication
  • Experiment this semester:
  • The forums are for you to help each other & for you to communicate with your peers & tutor. They should be seen as the online equivalent to speaking activities in class i.e. the focus is more on being fluent rather than worrying too much about being accurate. You will be given merit for actively contributing (10% final grade), whereby each student will be asked at the end of the course to specify their own grade together with a justification. Criteria for assessing your forum contributions are for example:
  • 1) original contributions which trigger discussion e.g. passing on a useful link, uploading a course related article
  • 2) tangible peer support (linguistic, technical, moral) e.g. responding to calls for help, reflecting & responding to peers' comments
  • 3) number/length of postings
  • The tutor has the possibility to up/downgrade the mark in case major differences between student & tutor’s perception of participation arise.
assessing online communication http campusib fh burgenland at 2257766 1
Assessing Online Communicationhttp://campusib.fh-burgenland.at/2257766.1/

Self-assessment task/at the end of the semester:

Review your contributions to the following forums - language & course book, chat & fun, vocab, exam. Then read the criteria for assessing contributions again (on the start page) & give yourself a mark (percentage).

  • Post this mark together with a short justification stating why you feel you merit this mark by 20th January on this forum.
  • Outcome/student feedback – January 2009
  • - review
  • - reconsider/experiment
overall
Overall
    • continually amazed at how willing students are to communicate online
        • what they share with each other
        • how much time they spend online
        • how supportive & respectful they are
    • exciting, ongoing learning experience
  • Further information
  • veronica.dal-bianco@fh-burgenland.at
  • fay.macsween@inode.at
  • http://campusib.fh-burgenland.at