Online courses, blended courses, and even traditional large classroom-based courses are often equated with anonymity and distance among student colleagues and between students and faculty. However, the appropriate use of social media and communication tools can foster the creation of a thriving classroom community. This, in turn, can encourage more meaningful online dialogue and group problem-solving. Professor John Boyer and Katie Pritchard will demonstrate the tools and techniques used to build a vibrant learning community. They will discuss the challenges and lessons learned and explore how their approach can be extended to other types of classes.
With globalization, the rapid proliferation of online information, and increasing complexity of problems, the development of collaborative learning skills is essential. Former models of group work, based on traditional assignment design such as papers and presentations, are limited in their effectiveness. Technology is changing the face of collaboration and enabling far more creative, engaging and effective learning opportunities for students and faculty. Professor John Boyer and Katie Pritchard believe in assignments with real world application and an audience beyond the classroom. They share methods to create authentic learning experiences using widely available software and tools tailored to the classroom.
Most courses are implicitly built upon a system of minimizing point losses, thereby placing an emphasis on what students do NOT know. Envision a system that instead puts the focus on demonstrated mastery of what students DO know. Professor John Boyer and Katie Pritchard will share their positive point accrual system that has evolved into a very successful pedagogical approach adopted in various-sized classrooms. It is a particularly effective approach for very large classrooms (1000+) where individual student needs and scheduling can make a one-size-fits-all syllabus very impractical. They will share a broad range of ideas for student demonstrations of mastery and work with participants to explore how this approach can be adapted to their particular domain and course characteristics.
Online social media and interactive tools are often viewed to be at odds with the classroom experience. Rather than work against the draw of these gathering places, faculty can learn to utilise them appropriately within the context of a course. Join Professor John Boyer and Katie Pritchard as they provide a tour of online communication tools and demonstrate how each can be customised to promote greater student engagement and interactivity within an academic setting. Among the tools to be discussed are Facebook and Twitter, Ustream and Spreecast (videocasting), Reddit (peer voting), Forums, Delicious (social bookmarking) and music tools.