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Exploration of Online Discussion Mary Loftus. What are we going to look at? MSc. in Software & Information Systems The Student Experience Effective Online.

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Presentation on theme: "Exploration of Online Discussion Mary Loftus. What are we going to look at? MSc. in Software & Information Systems The Student Experience Effective Online."— Presentation transcript:

1 Exploration of Online Discussion Mary Loftus

2 What are we going to look at? MSc. in Software & Information Systems The Student Experience Effective Online Discussion The Research Experience –Working with Facilitators to explore the Role of Feedback & Expectations –The Feedback Tool Using the Literature to Develop a Model for Managing Discussion –The Role of Facilitator –The Role of Online Student –The Learning Model

3 The MSc. SIS Programme

4 MSc. Software & Information Systems fully online2-year fully online Masters programme Co-created & co-delivered by IT department, NUI Galway and Regis University (USA) MODEL = short, accelerated, 8-week modules Continuous assessment: weekly assignments, discussion forum, final exam Structured & Intensive

5 MSc. Software & Information Systems New programme: launched in (now in its 3 rd year) Student recruitment and retention has been high Mix of experienced and new on-line facilitators Cross-cultural issues (Ireland & USA) Fully on-line programme

6 MSc. Software & Information Systems Core Modules MCT611 - Computer Architecture and Operating Systems MCT610 - Software Engineering MCT612 - Application Programming MCT613 - Database Architecture MCT614 - Database Concepts MCT615 - Database Administration MCT616 - Oracle 9iAS Portal Server MCT617 - Enterprise Portal Design & Development using XML Elective Modules MCT618 - Object Oriented Design MCT619 - Object Oriented Programming MCT621 - Artificial Intelligence MCT622 - Real-Time Systems MCT623 - Graphics Programming MCT620 - Distributed Systems

7 MScSIS Weekly Cycle

8 Blooms Taxonomy

9 The Student Experience

10 Very Powerful Learning Experience Highly Participatory Structured & Managed Student Centred Encourages Student-Student Interaction Role of the Internet

11 Effective Online Discussion When discussion was goodit was very, very good!When discussion was good it was very, very good! –Forced students to absorb course content –Encouraged students to test & explore course material –Facilitated sharing of experience –Perspectives from different students forced reconsideration –=> Much deeper learning than individual could expect working alone

12 WhenWhen discussion wasnt so good good we only reached the first of these stages: –Forced students to absorb course content –Encouraged students to test & explore course material –Facilitated sharing of experience –Perspectives from different students forced reconsideration –=> Much deeper learning than individual could expect working alone But… it didnt always work

13 What would ensure that discussion would work better? Feedback from the facilitator to each student? SolutionSolution: Design a web based interface to help facilitators evaluate student contributions

14 The Research Experience: Working with Facilitators to explore the Role of Feedback & Expectations

15 Research Project The research project examined feedback as a means to ensure quality discussion Concentrated on Facilitator Student feedback Designed an online tool to facilitate this feedback process

16 Research Project Process Online DiscussionBegan with an Online Discussion and a reversal of roles Student became facilitator & Facilitators took the participant role

17 The Facilitator/Student Discussion DiscussionThe Discussion resulted in both sides appreciating the lot of the other! Researcher developed an appreciation for the student-centred learning model Facilitators reflected upon and evaluated their assumptions and approaches It also highlighted the potential for a mismatch in expectations between students and facilitators

18 Discussion – Student Expectations & Issues Expectations Expecting lectures Expecting facilitator to provide the answers Unsure of norms & expectationsFrustrations Focused on the facilitator – rather than peers Seeking reassurance & validation from the facilitator Engaging with content rather than with other students

19 Expectations These are adult learners – no lecturing Encourage students to engage with each other Support students to work together to find and evaluate knowledge Assessment – how to assess discussionFrustrations Students dumping long posts - not responding to others Lack of student- student interaction Facilitators feedback seemingly ignored Discussion – Facilitator Expectations & Issues

20 What did we learn? Clarify Expectations!

21 The Feedback Tool

22 Built on MScSIS Discussion Rubric Consistency of Participation Content of Posts Responsiveness Multiplier: –x.5 for 1 post –x.8 for 2 posts –x 1 for 3 posts * Rubric developed by MSc SIS Facilitator Team _______ 10 x.8 (for two posts) Result: 8

23 To Develop The Feedback Tool Enabled Facilitator to Analyse WebCT posts & Immediately assign marks

24 Report generates Discussion Score All marks are collated and an overall mark calculated

25 Will this Tool address the Issues? The feeling at the end of this project was that no, creating dynamic discussion involves more than a simple feedback mechanism. Such a tool will help clarify expectations and measure outcomes – but it is not enough to power the discussion dynamic Also the analysis of separate student posts will not capture the subtleties of a complete discussion

26 Developing a Model for Online Discussion From the Literature

27 A Discussion Model Feedback is important, but more is involved: Learning CommunityNeed to Build a Learning Community (Salmon, Palloff & Pratt) Clarify Values & Expectations (Brookfield & Preskill) The following must be clear & explicit –Role of the Facilitator –Role of the Online Student –The Learning model (Garrison & Anderson) Teach students how discussion should work

28 Role of Facilitator Facilitate a collaborative learning environment: 1.Invite students to Learn from each other 2.Facilitate Social Interaction 3.Align Discussion with Learning Objectives & Assessment Requirements 4.Share & Discuss Assessment Rubric 5.Clarify Background & Objectives for each Discussion

29 Role of Facilitator 6. Model desired Discussion Approach – Open, Enquiring, Testing, Experimenting, Evaluating 7.Provide Structure & Encouragement to fan the flames of Discussion 8.Provide Feedback 9.Acknowledge & Reward Collaborative Effort 10.Summarise the Learning that Emerged from Discussion – and the Evaluate the Process – so Students will be able to Repeat it

30 Role of Online Student How to Explain Discussion to Students –Apply real life experience to topic –Break down the topic –Ask Question –Explore & Try Things out –Listen –Listen to what other students say –Build on each others Contributions –Use a Team Approach –Finally Evaluate the topic and your Learning

31 The Learning Model Student Centred Driven by Student Interaction Social Constructivism – knowledge is constructed collectively and developed as a result of a social interaction Ideas should be tried out and tested

32 Resources to help Develop your Model for Discussion

33 Brookfield & Preskill Respect Assume good intent Invite students to discuss good discussion Invite Student Facilitator feedback Critical Incident Questionnaire Promote Critical Thinking

34 Palloff & Pratt Build a Learning Community Promote a Collaborative approach to learning The Group vs. the Individual The process: –Set the stage –Model the process –Guide the process –Evaluate the process

35 Garrison & Anderson Build a Community of Inquiry –Social Presence –Cognitive Presence –Teaching Presence

36 Salmon 5 Stage Model Guide Students through: –Access & Motivation –Online Socialisation –Information Exchange –Knowledge Construction –Development

37 List of references Brookfield & Preskill, Stephen. (2005). Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms (2nd Edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Palloff & Pratt. (2004). Collaborating Online: Learning Together in Community. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Garrison & Anderson. (2003) E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice. RoutledgeFalmer Salmon, Gilly. (2003). E-Moderating: The Key to Teaching and Learning Online (2nd Edition). UK: Taylor & Francis

38 Links to Papers Black, Alison. (2005) The Use of Asynchronous Discussion: Creating a Text of TalkBlack, Alison. (2005) The Use of Asynchronous Discussion: Creating a Text of Talk Herring M, (2002) Using Discussion Boards to Integrate Technology into the College ClassroomHerring M, (2002) Using Discussion Boards to Integrate Technology into the College Classroom Knowlton. Dave S., (2001) Promoting Durable Knowledge Construction through Online DiscussionKnowlton. Dave S., (2001) Promoting Durable Knowledge Construction through Online Discussion Rovai, AP (2002) Building Sense of Community at a DistanceRovai, AP (2002) Building Sense of Community at a Distance


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