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My Personal Online Teaching

ool Kit

Tina L. Brewer
Teaching Online
Courses
Summer 2009
Project #5 - Personal
Online Teaching
Toolkit
I. Orientation/Introduction Policy

Welcome and thank you for signing up for this online course. For many
of you, this may be your first online (via the Internet) course, so we'll
use the entire class today to discuss the course, get acquainted with a
few simple computer operations, and poke around a little to see how
things will work. If you are not a computer wiz, don't worry -- you won't
need to be. From a computer standpoint, absolutely everything is
simple. By the time you leave class, you'll know almost everything
needed to navigate this course on the Internet.

Why the Online Format You Ask?

If you might be wondering why the course is presented online in the


first place, please continue reading…

One advantage of the online format is the ability to include a variety of


dimensions – graphics, video, audio, podcast, webquest and the list
can go on and on. I am hoping that by using a variety of technologies
they will make the subject more engaging and the material easier to
understand.

You won’t have to pass any of the materials needed for the class to the
person sitting next to you or strain your eyes to see a screen at the
front of the room – they will be right in front of you! So that you can
spend countless hours studying them, keep them or whatever you may
choose to do with them is entirely up to you. I expect you to gain
understanding and knowledge from them.

During the course I hope that you will appreciate the time and effort
that was put into creating an engaging learning environment for you.
The course has been created in a way that allows for 24/7 access,
plenty of room for insightful discussion, regular online office hours with
the instructor and much more.

A Note about You and This Course

Every student learns in their own way. One of the advantages of the
online format of this course is that it allows students to approach the
course in a way that is suitable to their personal styles and
preferences. In classrooms, instructors are inclined to teach either as
they themselves were taught, or as they think "the average student"
prefers. Online, all of the instructor-presented class material is laid out
at once and students can do with it whatever they prefer in order to
learn in as personal and unique a fashion as possible.

To understand how you might learn best and how you might approach
the course, I would suggest that you complete a learning style
inventory, use the information given to figure and interpret your
score, and plan your learning strategy accordingly. After completing the
inventory please view this Learning Styles and Strategies website.
Also if you have the time there is a short video where Richard Felder
does an excellent job of introducing learning styles, how students
learn, how teachers teach and what goes wrong within the process.

This course by design accommodates different learning styles by


involving a variety of components, including text, graphics, video/audio
clips, quizzes, reference lists, online discussion and a problem based
learning project. Since you are probably used to learning in an
arranged or required format presented by a classroom teacher and are
not used to designing your own learning strategy, it might take a little
time to do that and to settle into a comfortable routine. I think you'll
find that as you figure out on your own (and with the help of the online
questionnaires mentioned above) how to learn the material, everything
will fall into place.

You will find that online learning is quite different than traditional face-
to-face classroom learning. It requires different attitudes,
responsibilities, and communication skills. To help you prepare for this
different learning environment (for most students), you might want to
take a FREE online preparatory quiz (a short online course about
taking online courses -- sounds a little strange?).

Qualities that an Online Student Should Possess

An online student should:

• be self-directed and motivated


• have good basic computer skills
• have recurrent access to a computer with Internet access
• be able to read and write well
• feel comfortable asking questions when they need help
• be probing
• be willing to share his or her experiences with their instructor
and fellow students
• have good time management skills
• not need to rely on face-to-face interaction with their instructor
or fellow students

Purpose of this Course

The purpose of this course is to familiarize students to an online course


environment, the concept of social presence and increasing student-
student interaction outside assigned activities. There is no pre-
requisite for the course and it is open to anyone who may be
interested. Reading, research, problem based learning and
collaboration are major components of the course.

The course is a three-credit hour course that on a traditional campus


would require five hours of “In class” work and approximately three
hours outside the class on study and other activities each week over a
15 week semester. Students taking the course online should plan to
spend the same eight hours a week on the course. We will spend
much more time on some topics than others, but on average we will
cover about one topic per week.

Technology Skills Needed

Students will need to be able to complete the following successfully


before taking this course:
o Computer and Internet access
o Navigate a web browser
o Utilize a word processing program (i.e. Microsoft Word)
o Save and locate files and folders
o Follows and practices netiquette
o Ability to receive and compose/send e-mails
o Ability to understand and modify their own browser settings
relating to security, pop-ups and firewall settings
o Students should be able to navigate modules, discussions,
homepage and presentations in the course management system.

Ice Breaker Activities

o Create a biography of yourself and prepare a brief video


introducing yourself and a course topic to the class. This is a
great way to present your personality online and set the mood
for the semester.

o Ask the class to share their most embarrassing mishap using a


computer. I will share with the students my own experience, for
example, replying to the wrong person in an email. Hopefully this
will loosen them up and cause a few to chuckle before we
embark on a whole new way of thinking…using technology
instead of paper and pen.

o Since so many online students are so diverse in age as well as


other things, such as ethnicity, it is good to close or expose the
generation gaps that might exist. Ask the students to list three
major world events that happened the year in which they were
born, then have the other members guess the year and post a
short response on whether they remembered the events or had
never heard of them.

o Have everyone take the Multiple Intelligence Inventory (scroll to


the bottom to begin the quiz) that is offered free and online by
the Learning Disabilities Resource Community. This inventory is
based on Gardner’s work on multiple intelligences. After
completion of the quiz please post your results and respond to
two (2) other students’ postings.

o Introduce yourself and tell us about how or why you have the
name you have, i.e. you were named after a relative or a parent's
best friend. It could be your first, middle or a nickname. Post it on
the discussion board and respond to two (2) other student’s
postings.

o Good Things Come in Threes Activity - list your three favorite


web sites, three favorite activities and three favorite famous
peoples. Post it on the discussion board and respond to two (2)
other student’s postings.

II. Communication Guidelines

Contacting the Instructor

E-Mail (best way) tbrewer@kent.edu (24 hour response)


Office Phone (330) 672-1614, (leave a detailed message;
speak loud and clear)
In Person Office Hrs: 9:30-10:30 MWF, 12:30-1:30 T
108 MSC
In Chat Weekly times will be arranged as needed
Instructor Web
http://www.personal.kent.edu/tbrewer~
Page

Contacting Classmates
During the first class session you will be asked to complete an
information form. That information will be available on the course
management site for others to view. I will ask you to share with your
classmates the following information:
o Name
o Major/Degree
o Profession (job title or field)
o E-mail address (that you check on a regular basis)
o Geographical location (city and state is fine)
o Phone number (optional)
o Personal Website (optional)

This information will be used solely for educational purposes (i.e.


collaboration activities, student-student interaction and/or networking).

E-mail Policy

In order to meet the academic and administrative needs of the


University community, Kent State University has established
email as an official and primary means of communication to all
of its students, accepted and/or enrolled. Official University
assigned email accounts are created for all accepted and/or enrolled
students usually in the form of xxxxxx@kent.edu. Students are
responsible to read all information sent to them via their University
assigned email account. The University has the right to expect that
such communications will be received and read in a timely fashion. If
students chose to utilize a different e-mail address they are
responsible for forwarding their university assigned email
accounts to the preferred e-mail address.

Students can expect a 24 hour turnaround response on most e-mails.


If more time is needed to gather information for the response, the
student will be notified of the delay and given an estimated time as to
when to expect the final response. Students are expected to check
their e-mails for communications daily.

III. Management Guidelines

My approach to teaching the course is fairly traditional for an online


course. Most days will consist of insightful discussions and readings. I
will use Power Points; provide outlines, audio (I.e. podcast) and video
(i.e. YouTube) broadcasts to teach the course with. In addition to using
an outline format, these presentations contain a huge number of
images—visuals, tables, graphs, cartoons, captions, notes, etc. This will
help students develop skills in analyzing, visualizing visual stimuli. I will
also use short movie clips from time to time when deemed necessary.
However, please remember this is not a binding contract, as real life
often dictates the need for flexibility.

The amount of class discussion time that is spent on the


supplementary readings depends on the extent to which the lecture
material is completed. Certain reading assignments and/or an
occasional assignment may be cancelled if we fall too far behind. This
is solely the discretion of the instructor.

Assignments

I expect ALL assignments to be turned in on the due date. If for some


reason you are not able to do so, please notify the instructor as soon
as possible. IF there is a valid reason (student can provide
documentation) points WILL NOT be deducted. If a student fails to turn
in assignments on time you will loose 3 points per day up to a total of
15 points (or 5 days). After five (5) days the assignment will not be
accepted. Please note that there will not be any extra credit available
in the course – so please plan to participate and turn assignments in on
time.

Students will be expected to maintain a blog of their experiences in the


course using www.blogger.com. Students should blog a minimum of
twice per week. The blog should consist of ideas, thoughts,
suggestions and comments about assignments or anything that you
feel like sharing with your classmates. I would also encourage students
to read and comment on each other’s blogs.

Participation

I have set the course up so that students play a major role in


conducting the course, as the instructor I simply expect to facilitate the
discussion board – students should maintain a steady flow of
communication and create insightful dialogue. If for some reason, the
class becomes sidetracked or there is a reduction in participation I will
step in and lead a discussion, pose questions and/or create an
announcement to get everyone back on track. I expect each student to
effectively contribute to the discussions to create an atmosphere
conducive to learning.

IV. Direct Instruction Ideas and Tools

Direct teaching is one of the most widely used teaching strategies. It


is a teaching model that is based on seven components of teaching,
seven components of instruction, and seven components of behavioral
objectives. Please review the Power Point for further information about
direct instruction.

V. Discussion and Collaboration Policy

Discussion

Majority of the course is conducted through discussion – it will be the


central means of communication for this course. Students are
expected to participate in discussions, chat sessions, blogs, etc on a
regular basis (minimum of once a day). Students should post a
minimum of 3 postings per week (more is expected). If for any reason
a student fails to participate and provide insightful and new thoughts
to the class, they will be notified via there xxxxx@kent.edu e-mail
address. The first time will be reprimanded with a written notification
of failing to stay current in the course, after that point(s) will be
deducted from the overall course participation points totaling sixty (60)
points.

New discussions will be made available Sunday evenings in


preparation for Monday. If for some reason the information will not be
posted on a Sunday students will be notified via a course
announcement. I will begin the discussion boards with the topic for the
week, reference materials and questions – this should be enough to
create dialogue among students.

Discussion postings should be insightful, grammatically correct,


original and provide useful information to fellow classmates. Students
will receive grades for discussion postings as follows:

60 - + A
59 – 49 B
48 – 38 C
37 – 27 D
27 and below F

Collaboration

For the purpose of the course, unless otherwise specified, students


may NOT collaborate on graded material. Any exceptions to this policy
will be stated explicitly for individual assignments. If you have any
questions about the limits of collaboration, you are expected to ask for
clarification. When collaboration is permitted, each student is still
required to contribute individually to group assignments. Students are
expected to provide
VI. Assessment and Feedback Personal Policies

Various assessment methods will be implemented in order to evaluate


participation in the course. I will try to use various methods to assess
whether or not course objectives are being met. Such methods
include:

"The Muddiest Point" is an assessment technique which was originally


developed by F. Mosteller at Harvard while teaching an undergraduate
statistics course. The basic strategy is to ask students to quickly write
on a piece of paper the single "muddiest point" from the day’s lecture.
The students submit the notes to the instructor, usually anonymously
at the end of the lecture. The instructor reports back to the students at
the beginning of the next lecture by a) responding to the most
mentioned one or two points, and b) briefly addressing as many others
as possible and reminding students of additional sources of
information.

In this course students will submit their responses via a discussion


board dedicated to this assessment. Generally, there are no grades
associated with this activity. The muddiest point incorporates some of
the most useful aspects of classroom assessment techniques. The
greatest value of classroom assessment techniques comes from the
combination of providing effective evaluation of on-going learning for
the instructor and at the same time allowing the almost instant
feedback from the assessment. Additionally, effective assessment
techniques possess the following characteristics:

• Improve instructor’s understanding of student needs and their


perceptions of current material
• Are immediately useable
• Do not take up much class discussion time
• Are easy to administer
• Are easy to analyze
• Do not take inordinate time to analyze
• Are flexible and can be useful for a variety of topics

Rubrics – there will be a rubric for participation, discussion,


assignments and group work. Each assignment will have an associated
rubric to inform the student what is expected. The rubric will detail the
amount of points assigned to a section on an assignment. For group
work, students will be assessed individually as well as a group member.

Feedback
Students will receive continuous feedback throughout the semester.
There will also be peer feedback on various assignments throughout
the semester. Students will evaluate others coursework and provide
suggestions or information.

VII. Student Success Strategies

Academic Expectations

All students are expected to:

A. Maintain a regular presence in the online learning environment


B. Be prepared for classes;
C. Submit required assignments in a timely manner;
D. Act in a respectful manner toward other students and the
instructor and in a way that does not detract from the learning
experience; and
E. Make and keep appointments when they have requested to meet
with the instructor.

Time Management Skills

Time management may be the leading determinant whether or not you


will success in this online course or any online course for that matter.
Successful online students have to be very proactive in their studies
and take ownership of their own learning.

To master time management, first decide what time of day you think
you will be most focused on your studies. Are you a morning person or
a night owl? Do you concentrate best after a cup of coffee or after
lunch? Once you narrow down a time of day reserve a designated
period of time to dedicate to your course. Stay committed to that
reserved time by treating it like an appointment that cannot be
changed.

Study Environment

An ideal study environment is just that – ideal for the individual. Some
students need absolute silence while others cannot seem to
concentrate without some background noise. No matter what your
preference is, a well-lit place that is free from distractions is
recommended. Note that you’ll make much better use of thirty minutes
of disruption-free study than an hour’s worth of commotion-filled
learning. If you can’t escape in-home interruptions, try the other
locations such as the library or a coffee shop.
Student Disability Services

To be eligible for disability-related services, students must provide


documentation that meets the standards for indicating the presence of
a disability, in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973, and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students can visit the
Student Disability Services on campus at 330-672-3391.

Behavioral Expectations

Kent State University expects all students to conduct themselves as


honest, responsible and decent members of the academic community
and to respect the rights of other students, members of the faculty and
staff and the public to use, enjoy and participate in the University
programs and facilities. When creating postings for the discussion
board or responding to fellow classmates please keep in mind

Plagiarism

Paraphrasing or quoting another’s work without citing the source is a


form of academic misconduct. Even inadvertent or unintentional
misuse or appropriation of another's work (such as relying heavily on
source material that is not expressly acknowledged) is considered
plagiarism. If you have any questions about using and citing sources,
you are expected to ask for clarification.

VIII. Glossary and Resources

Information found at (http://www.umuc.edu/ade/glossary.html;


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary and
http://www.skagitwatershed.org/~donclark/hrd/styles.html)

Asynchronous - of, used in, or being digital communication (as between


computers) in which there is no timing requirement for transmission
and in which the start of each character is individually signaled by the
transmitting device.

Collaboration - to work jointly with others or together especially in an


intellectual endeavor; to cooperate with or willingly assist an enemy of
one's country and especially an occupying force.

Course Management System – is a free web application that educators


can use to create effective online learning sites. A course
management system is a tool that allows instructors, universities, and
corporations to develop and support online education. Blackboard and
WebCT are all course management systems.
Interaction - mutual or reciprocal action or influence; shared
dialogue/action between two or more persons.

Learning Styles – A learning style is a student's consistent way of


responding to and using stimuli in the context of learning. A composite
of characteristic cognitive, affective, and physiological factors that
serve as relatively stable indicators of how a learner perceives,
interacts with, and responds to the learning environment

Problem Based Learning – (PBL) is a student-centered instructional


strategy in which students collaboratively solve problems and reflect
on their experiences.

Social Presence - is the ability of learners to project their personal


characteristics into the community of inquiry, thereby presenting
themselves as 'real people.

Synchronous - happening, existing, or arising at precisely the same


time; recurring or operating at exactly the same periods

Web browser – is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and


traversing information resources on the World Wide Web.

Resources

Tips and Tricks for Teaching Online

Active Learning in Higher Education Online Tips for Better Web


Browsing

Online Learning Assessments

7 Success Strategies for Distance Learners

10 Tips for Successful Online Learning

IX. Tips, Strategies and Techniques

Tips for Increasing Interactivity

Ensuring communication is critical. Here are some suggestions for


increasing interactivity among students:

• Use a range of interaction activities and mediums, if practical.


• Make the interaction procedure as user-friendly as possible.
• Use thought-provoking open-ended questions that require
extended responses.
• Require group work to stimulate peer interaction and team
building skills.
• Encourage sharing of opinions and experiences.

Tips to be Successful in an Online Learning Environment

1. Be open-minded about sharing life, work, and educational


experiences as part of the learning process.
2. Be able to communicate clearly through writing.
3. Be self-motivated and self-disciplined
4. Be willing to speak up and out – ensure that your social
presence is apparent.
5. Be willing and able to commit 5 to 10 hours per week per
course.
6. Accept critical thinking and decision making as part of the
learning process.
7. Be able to think ideas through before responding.
8. Participate!
9. Make sure you have a private space to study
10.Log onto your course every single day
11.Be polite and respectful.
12.Lastly, apply what you learn.

Self- Evaluation

With my toolkit I hope to have accomplished creating a reference


material that I can apply to real life experiences. I think that I have
met the criteria for each section of the toolkit in a way that is apparent
that I have learned the material and now ready to apply it. If I was to
begin the assignment over again, I probably wouldn’t change much of
anything but I would have liked to have more clarification for the
assignment. The criteria was very clear, but I was unsure whether or
not this was suppose to be for a actual course, a syllabi or what have
you. I have learned quite a bit from completing this assignment – by
putting this information in one central location I am able to refer to it
quickly and easier. I learned a lot of what it takes to create policies for
courses and planning ahead. There is a great deal of work that goes
into planning and creating a course. I have a new found respect for the
amount of effort, time, planning, careful thought etc that is needed to
create a fully engaging course.