Learning, Learning Community, Rhizo15

Time to Drop the Mic Instructors: Learning Gone Wild {#Rhizo15 Week 4}

Thanks for your#Rhizo15 hack in week 4, Viplav. Your questions really got me thinking:

  • How do we really learn online?
  • How much of control and direction do we need?
  • How much of control do we want when we teach?
  • How do we expect others to learn in such environments?
  • What do we expect of them as co-learners?

For #Rhizo15, a strong and involved learning community, the answers are easier to navigate when we remove the instructor or when “DAVE’S NOT HERE.” With a number of educators who are passionate about learning and entrenched in thinking in #rhizo15, you are bound to keep the conversation going and the learners engaged. For most of us, we have experienced traditional pedagogical models and like the ideas of this sort of free-form learning and ability to dip into the curriculum as we like. Also, it won’t take much for someone to create a video, post a cartoon, record a sound cloud, or throw up a blog post on the topic of getting rid of the instructor. As co-learners, we thrive among the course banter and expect one another to contribute. So getting rid of Dave (metaphorically, of course) in #rhizo15, would not impact this course as much as we think (no offense, Dave).

Now, what would happen if we removed an instructor from a course? This could be online or face-to-face class. How would the learners react? When control is given to the course participants, will it be “Learners Gone Wild” or will our students take up the charge to contribute? My thought: it really depends on the course design.

drop-the-mic

These questions made me think back to my undergraduate days at the University of Guelph (Go Gryphons!), where most of my 4th-year history seminar courses were just that. As per the typical course syllabi, we were assigned weekly readings; however instead of coming to a “sage on a stage” lecture we were required to do the teaching. Each week 1-2 students volunteered  to offer a micro lesson, develop questions, and  facilitate the discussion on a topic. The professor often sat back in the class, and let us drive the critical analysis, synthesize the material, and debate about issues. It was GREAT! I thought – THIS is what learning is all about at university. I want more!

StudentCenteredTheories

Student-centered learning theories & methods for flipped learning (Bishop & Verleger, 2013).

Student-centered learning is the key to deep learning, and although not described as “flipped learning” (Bishop & Verleger, 2013) back then, this is what most of my history faculty did at U of G. If you set up your curriculum to purposefully ALLOW for peer-to-peer learning, then removing the facilitator/instructor from the course may be just what you need. By creating intentional spaces (online or in-class) and opportunities for your students to co-learn, you might just be surprised on how they can bring more life to the course subject. During the course, instructors become facilitators of learning to support students with active learning strategies, such as individual problem-solving and team-based projects.Empowering your learners to take the reigns requires them to be embedded in the discipline of study. When you teach someone else about a concept, it requires a deep understanding of the material before you have to explain or critique it.

This does take some intention and planning in how you set up your course structure. It will be important for you to think about where, how, and when you want to infuse peer instruction and the support required for your learners. Think about how you want learners to contribute, lead, evaluate, and understand. When done well, this type of learning has huge benefits for both the instructor and leaders. There are so many possibilities to create dynamic interactions, meaningful conversations and critical thinking about your subject without your lead. Embrace the idea of “letting go of teaching” to see what might happen in part or all of your class. You might be pleasantly surprised at what YOU will learn from your students. Be sure to answer the following questions before you “drop the mic” as an instructor (adopted from Hoffman, 2014):

  • What positive opportunities can student-lead instruction offer your students?
  • How can instructors benefit from creating a cooperative learning experience?
  • What are the possible challenges students and instructors might with peer-assisted learning, and how might they be avoided?
  • What are evidence-based practices for learning environment without an instructor?

Interested in joining the #Rhizo15 world late or want to be part of the conversation and not just a lurker? Dave’s got a guide for that:

  1. This is a list of all rhizo15 blog posts
  2. Pick a title that resonates – click on it.
  3. Leave a comment
  4. Approach mirror, give the person in the mirror a high five
  5. Return contentedly to previous activity
Check out the course website http://rhizomatic.net or go to the hashtag on twitter #rhizo15
Also, you can write late blog posts (like me!) on any of the weekly topics.

For those #Rhizo15 slackers like Kevin & me (well, myself more so), we’re working on said things. The Slackers #Rhizo15 Guide will be available… when we get around to it. 🙂

Slacker's #Rhizo15 Guide... to comeCartoon via @dogtrax (Thanks, Kevin!)

 References:

Bishop, J. L., & Verleger, M. A. (2013). The flipped classroom: A survey of the research. In Proceedings from the 120th ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, GA.

Hoffman, J. G. (2014). The functionality and feasibility of flipping. Proceedings from the 25th International Conference on College Teaching and Learning, (pp. 112-126). Jacksonville, FL

Higher Education, Learning Technologies, Web Design

Backward Design with TED-Ed

Beginning with the end in mind. This is the philosophy of instructional design method backward(s) design.  A few weeks back Kevin Guidry shared his thoughts on backwards design, and it got me thinking about how I approach my curriculum and lesson plans.

Image c/o <http://www.recordholders.org/images/backwards-cycling1.jpg>

For the Office for Exploring Majors, I am currently reviewing/updating modules for our first-year seminar class – UGST 1000. The goal is to offer an “engaged” format (we cannot use the term blended or hybrid, but there will be mixed components of online, in-class and active requirements) for Fall 2012.  Last semester our department offered a couple of sections of the NextGen course; however, the class focus was on “well-being.” Since our office t works with undecided students, the engaged sections for Fall 2012 will need to be directed towards major/career exploration and academic success.

Image c/o <http://kids.esc13.net/curriculum/3stages.gif>

In reviewing the current curriculum, it was apparent that a backward design approach would be the most effective method for this instructional design project. In Understanding by Design, Wiggins and McTighe (2005) identify three key stages for  backward design:

  1. Identify desired results (learning outcomes) – What should your learners know, understand, and be able to do?
  2. Determine Acceptable Evidence (means to assess if learners have learned) – How will you know if learners have achieved the desired results, achieved those learning outcomes, or met the standards? What is the evidence of learner understanding and proficiency?
  3. Plan learning experiences and instruction – What will be the procedures or methods to reach these outcomes? This includes a definition of knowledge; definition of skills and procedures learners need to master; definition of materials; and definition of learning or instructional activities.

Here is an example of an engaged learning module that I will include for the Time Management unit. This session will have the backward design steps and one of three classes that students will be required to complete outside of the in-class meeting time.

1. Learning Outcome(s)

Learners will be able to:

(a) identify the differences between tasks, objectives, and goals.

(b) create a smart and effective to-do list of tasks.

(b) assess their weekly schedule to identify how time is being utilized.

(c) select priorities, understand where time is lost, and accurately adjust for effective time management.

2. Evidence of Learning

Learners will demonstrate their understanding of learning by:

(a) drafting a to-do list of tasks for the day/week and identify 5 top priorities.

(b) mapping out a one week schedule of their activities to identify where their 168 hours are allocated.

(c) creating a visual representation of how the 1 week period time is accounted for in terms of activities and responsibilities.

 (d) writing a 250 word minimum blog post/online journal about their 168 hours and weekly schedule. This reflection will include the visual representation of 168 hours, account for time wasted, and offer ideas how to effectively manage time to balance their schedule.

3. Learning Experiences & Instruction

This section of the time management unit will be housed online. We have some modules created on Blackboard Learn; however, I thought I would also create a mock up on the new TED-Ed website. This is a rough draft of a module (to be edited) I designed by “flipping the video” from YouTube into a lesson. [Side note: there are already a number of lessons available for educators to use for the experience section of lessons. Instructors can use the same module or “flip” it.]

TED-Ed | Time Management: How to Write a To-Do List & Know Where Your Time Goes

College Success – Chapter 2: 2.3 Organizing Your Time

References:

Beiderwell, B., Tse, L., Lochhaas, T.J., & deKanter, N.B. (2010, August). College success. Flatworld Knowledge. Retrieved from http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/catalog/editions/54

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd ed). NJ: Prentice Hall.