OTL201 Post 5 – Integration

otl201 POST 5 – Integration

  1. What are the 2-3 most important concepts that have impacted your thoughts on student engagement and retention during this course?

The concept of Social Presence and Interaction have impacted my thoughts on student engagement and retention during this course.

Garrison, Anderson, and Archer use the following definition of social presence:

“Social presence is the ability of learners to project their personal characteristics into the community of inquiry, thereby presenting themselves as ‘real people.’ The primary importance of this element is its function as a support for cognitive presence, indirectly facilitating the  process of critical thinking carried on by the community of learners.”

A third concept that has impacted my thinking is the notion of the importance of using multimedia in online courses. Mandernach’s research shows that online instructors should consider creating their own video resources but only if the investment required to do so is low. Clark and Mayer’s evidence-based principles for the use of instructionally effective multimedia materials are that they ground their principles in the following three assumptions:

  • “people have separate channels for processing verbal and graphical information;
  • each channel has limited capacity to process information;
  • learners try to construct models from the verbal and graphical information and integrate them.”

I agree that “the principles Clark and Mayer identify should guide instructors and designers who wish to maximize the instructional effectiveness of multimedia materials.” (Teaching, TRU Open Learning). The wide range of multimedia which may incorporate text are: images, sounds, video, interactive animations, hyperlinks, or any combination of the same.

  1. Discuss your rationale for implementing 1 or 2 course facilitation strategies to increase student retention and engagement.

I believe that it is important to use the following strategies outlined by Vaughn, Cleveland-Innes and Garrison to increase student retention and engagement. For example, “Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes, and Garrison, outline several practical activities that faculty can incorporate into their courses.” (Teaching, TRU Online Learning)

  1. “Faculty should provide opportunities for introductions and ongoing social interaction.
    Ideally, the faculty should model this and should be encouraged to do so using media that are more ‘immediate’ than plain text. Posting a video introduction to the course content, the course environment, as well as short tutorials on particularly vexing questions or problems in the course content is a great way to encourage a safe and welcoming atmosphere. This is especially effective when the faculty talks about their experience with the subject matter and when students are encouraged to reciprocate.
  2. Set appropriate norms for online interactions.
    It seems that online environments tend to magnify personalities. On one hand, the relative anonymity of the internet seems to bring out the worst in some people who feel emboldened to post hurtful comments. Conversely, the online environment can lead to an almost pathological politeness (especially in Canada ) where there are no ideas challenged at all. Be clear that comments and posts in discussion forums are to be respectful of all people. It is appropriate for ideas to be criticized, but it is never appropriate for people to be criticized.
  3. Discuss the nature of online learning and allow learners who are new to the medium to adjust to their expectations (e.g., everything takes longer online compared to f2f).
    One way to do this is to create a FAQ page or resource where common questions and misconceptions are addressed.
  4. Be very clear about how to complete the course.
    Logistical information about course activities is critical in online learning because even a small error can cause long delays. When faculty are not physically present to answer questions, it is very important to anticipate and include details such as how to submit assignments, how to contact other course participants or how learners will be assessed.
  5. Allow appropriate flexibility in how students meet course outcomes.
    Clearly, this is more easily done when student choice is factored into the design of learning activities, but it is important to recognize that most learners in online environments are busy adults with careers and family responsibilities outside of school.” (Teaching, TRU open learning).
  1. Identify 2-3 specific goals that you would like to achieve in light of what you have learned about social presence and creating effective educational media:

Goals:

  1. Facilitate Social Interaction. A strategy I will use is to introduce myself early in the course and attempt to learn as much as possible about students in order to create a welcoming learning environment.
  2. Set Appropriate Guidelines for Online Interactions. I think it is important to impart guidelines early in the course so that students and faculty are on the same page in terms of course dynamics.
  3. Discuss the Nature of Online Learning and the fact that everything takes longer online in contrast to face to face learning. Students may become frustrated with the pace of the an online course so it is important for the facilitator to continuously motivate students and explain that the process may take longer than first thought.
  4. Provide Logistical Guidelines: I will Provide clear guidelines about the expectations for the course. Ensure students understand the expectations for the course early.
  5. Provide Flexibility. I will recognize that students may have numerous commitments and therefore may need extensions on their assignment deadlines. Communicate to students that they may request extensions.

Clark and Mayer have provided some useful, evidence-based principles for those who wish to create instructionally effective multimedia materials. They ground their principles in the following three assumptions:

  • “people have separate channels for processing verbal and graphical information;
  • each channel has limited capacity to process information;
  • learners try to construct models from the verbal and graphical information and integrate them.” (TRU Open Learning).

The principles Clark and Mayer (TRU Open Learning) identify should guide instructors and designers who wish to maximize the instructional effectiveness of multimedia materials. It should be noted that these principles apply to a wide variety of multimedia which might incorporate text, images, sounds, video, interactive animations, hyperlinks, or any combination of the same.

 

Ellen Faulkner

October 11, 2018

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