This week I have the pleasure of attending the Sloan Consortium’s 7th Annual International Symposium: Emerging Technologies for Online Learning as a virtual attendee. I think this is the first time I’m experiencing remote participation in an on-site event … and it’s great!
Not only are there a lot of streamed sessions to choose from, the social media interaction is helpful in bringing us all together through shared conversations and resources. Thanks to Saint Leo University for making it possible for me as an adjunct instructor and course designer to experience this event.
Here are a few of the sessions I attended, along with (very) brief notes and links that take you to the conference pages where more information (including slides and handouts) are uploaded and openly available.
How’d You Do That? Tips and Tricks That Might Account for My 95% Retention Rate
- “Keep class fresh and fun for you and your students.”
- Try having students submit discussion questions – students may be more likely to participate.
- Provide a table-format course schedule with details about due dates, instructions, objectives, etc.
- Decide what your policies are (e.g., late assignments) and stick to them. “Otherwise it’s a guideline.”
- Good conference tip: “look for a few gems.” Ideas that intrigue you, make you think about what you are doing, and could be actionable.
Turning the Lens Inward: Analyzing Instructor Participation in Asynchronous Discussions
- Take a look at the Discussion Participation Tool presented in the session.
- Good breakdown of types of responses – social, teaching, cognitive.
- “It’s nice when you can’t tell who is the teacher and who is a grad student” in an online discussion forum.
- We’re all in search of a “desirable instructor profile” that includes optimizing frequency of posts and types of posts. Would expectations be different for full-time/part-time instructors?
Developing Collaboration Online: Comparison of Structured Group Assignments
- Challenges exist in creating outcomes and activities that meet the needs of students from novice to expert.
- Importance of the role of social presence cannot be overstated.
- Advice includes: move toward synchronous sessions, intentionality in assignments, complexity of group work, use of webcam, on demand videos and assignments.
- Consider designing, approaching online course in phases (Boettcher and Conrad, 2010).
- Provide step-by-step instructions for students’ “first night” in your online course.
- Reflective blog prompts bring closure to every assignment.
- Interesting assignments described, including “Cool Tool Duel.”
Thanks again to Sloan-C and Saint Leo! This is a small sampling of the range of speakers, topics, and interactions that are being shared. Explore the conference program online for more info – most session pages include downloadable materials and presenter contact details.
You may also want to follow @et4online to get updates about next year’s conference, and, of course, the #et4online hashtag.
Update! I’m an official Sloan-C Ninja after completing the conference’s social media challenges, including my first video upload. Check out the badges. :)