OTL301 Post 4 Interview

OTL301 POST 4 – Interview

The instructor I interviewed for this assignment is the Probation Officer who taught CORR – 1000OL003 – Adult Correction Officer (Online) with the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC). I was a student in this continuous entry online course.

 Course Details:

This course is designed for members of the public interested in becoming an adult probation officer. It introduces the B.C. Community Corrections Branch and its model of client supervision. The course also describes the primary areas in which Probation Officers perform their responsibilities, including the service model that has been adopted by the Corrections Branch. Finally, the course also explores the challenges of being a probation officer and strategies for success in the profession.

The following conversation topics were discussed.

  1. How to promote community and connection in a continuous entry course;

My interviewee suggests the following actions to promote community and connection in a continuous entry course:

  1. Post a short biography of yourself at the beginning of the course so that students can get to know you.
  2. Create an introductory discussion board where students can post information about themselves. Encourage other students to respond and respond yourself as the teacher.
  3. Request that all students create a Moodboard (Mural.ly and Glogster) for daily postings.
  4. Take note of students’ interests and incorporate them into class discussions.
  5. Post video announcements so that students can feel a stronger sense of connection with the instructor.
  6. Respond to student discussion boards on a weekly basis so that students are able to see that the instructor is interested in their thoughts.
  7. Create assignments that allow students to share their personal thoughts and experiences.
  8. Reach out to students who are not participating by email to see if you can assist them in any way.
  9. Keep track of your students, dates of postings and online presence, to see who is participating and keeping up with course work to ensure that no one falls through the cracks.
  10. Consider breaking larger classes into smaller groups in order to allow students to bond with 2-3 other students in the class. Or, create a buddy system. Individualized attention will build more of a sense of community.
  11. Strategies for facilitating the process of critical inquiry, especially those leading to integration and resolution;

cognitive presence: is the extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning through sustained reflection and discourse (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001).

The Community of Inquiry (Col) Model. A successful educational experience online in a collaborating learning environment requires three interdependent elements: social presence, teaching presence, and cognitive presence. This meaningful framework for course development includes social presence: The interaction in a online environment that allows students to feel like they are in a supportive learning environment; Teaching presence: The ability of the teacher to design an effective learning environment; and, Cognitive Presence: Knowledge generated from collaborative interaction (Garrison, Anderson, Archer, 2000).

cognitive presence: is the extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning through sustained reflection and discourse (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001).

Examples of types of activities that support cognitive presence.

My interviewee suggests the following activities to support cognitive presence:

  1. Discussion forums. Discussion forums that ask students to respond to questions about course content can enhance critical thinking skills. With clear guidelines about course participation and students may be motivated to participate. The instructor will need to monitor and guide the forum.
  2. Small group discussions. Small group discussions about a topic with the goal of creating something together and which requires applying the course content and drawing on other resources, can be challenging and can create community.
  3. Forum structured for a debate. Assign students one of three points of view on a controversial topic prompting students to engage in discussion through a forum or live chat defending their position. This encourages students to acknowledge others’ points of view and encourages students to appreciate diversity.
  4. Reflection Activities. Encourage students to write about what they have learned in class in a Blog. This promotes critical thinking skills and allows students to discuss something they have learned in class.

A study reported in the British Journal of Educational Technology in 2007 on cognitive building activities similar to those mentioned above, determined factors contributing to the activities success. These activities must be well structured, provide clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the students and allow students to confront others’ opinions in a safe environment (Kanuka, et al., 2007).

  1. How the strategies in Chapter 3 might be modified for a continuous entry course;

I’m not sure how the strategies in Chapter 3 might be modified for a continuous entry course.

  1. Digital tools to support the process of critical inquiry in a continuous entry course;

My interviewee suggested the following technologies to enhance social presence and teaching presence: threaded discussions, student postings, learning activities that integrate social media, Blogs, Immersive reality systems, synchronous technologies, Wikis, and MOOCs.

  1. Questions that you have struggled with;

I struggle with how to implement the Community of Inquiry Model in online continuous intake courses. In order to follow the Community of Inquiry model and promote facilitation I think that it is important to provide clear learning outcomes; enhance critical inquiry (triggering events, exploration, integration and resolution); provide constant feedback and interaction between students and instructor; and enhance flexibility and modification.

Some ideas that I have obtained from the literature to enhance COI:

  1. Put students into groups to work together. This will optimize social presence between student and teacher.
  2. Provide constructive feedback in a timely manner.
  3. Have a buddy system to increase interactive student to student communications, early in the course.
  4. Admit students into the course in formalized groups of 2-3 students. Aim: Supportive groups will increase completion, engagement and success.
  5. Talk less (as the teacher) and involve students more. Use discussion groups and break out groups.
  6. Increase multimedia tools and increase online collaborative assignments.
  7. Build good relationships online by sharing personal interests with students.
  8. Demonstrate a skill through short videos.
  9. Ask students to comment on a pre-reading before class.
  10. Mix-up activities, discussion, demonstration, practicing skills and small group analysis.
  11. Questions that your interviewee has struggled with.

My interviewee has struggled with motivating students and working with technology.  He learned that it is important to begin early to build a relationship with students so that students feel safe interacting online. Second, it is important to have good back-up in terms of technological support as well as good communication with IT specialists at one’s educational institution.

Post #4 should be a summary of your interview, including:

Through this interview and review of the literature I gained  knowledge about how to facilitate online continuous learning and enhance the learning experience for students. As well, I learned about potential technologies that may enhance the learning experience. Some key lessons I learned throughout the conversation: make contact with students early and keep on top of student participation; use multiple learning approaches to enhance collaborative learning; and, provide clear learning outcomes. As a result of this assignment,  I might mix up activities, include more discussion, introduce video demonstrations, and include small group analysis into the course. I like the idea of grouping students into formalized small groups of 2-3 or implementing a buddy system to increase completion, engagement and success. I like the idea of enhancing participation by asking students to comment online to a pre-reading before class. This assignment helped me to think about how to facilitate online learning in a COI.

Ellen Faulkner

October 8, 2018