Virtual Learning Communities (VLC) Engaging Students in Blended & Online Environments.
Virtual Learning Communities (VLC)Engaging Students in Blended & Online EnvironmentsChange is difficult, but necessary!With every technology innovation, there have been naysayers.Today, our students concept of a classroom is much different from when many of us were in school. Technology is a Delivery System, Not a Teacher?Blended/online courses are only as good as the instructors who design and teach them.Blended & Online LearningBlended/online learning is the organic integration of thoughtfully selected and complementary traditional and online approaches and technologies (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008).Activity: Rethinking Our Roles (5 minutes)What makes a blended/online instructor effective?What makes a blended/online student successful?Qualities of an Effective Blended/Online InstructorEncourages weekly contact between students and facultyDevelops reciprocity and cooperation among studentsEncourages active learningGives prompt feedbackEmphasizes time on taskCommunicates high expectationsRespects diverse talents and ways of learning(Chickering and Gamson, 1987)Qualities of an Effective Blended/Online StudentFollows the syllabus as a contractMaintains weekly contact/discussion with faculty/peersSeeks relevant training and assistanceUtilizes effective time and study managementProvides constructive feedback to peersPosts thoughtful discussion commentaryCollaborates well with othersCOI Model is under the Copyright of Garrison & Anderson, 2003 Virtual Learning Communities (VLC)virtual learning community: This is a term that falls under the umbrella of CMC, computer-mediated communication, a term popularized by John December. CMC is human communication via the computer. Primarily Internet-based, CMC focuses on the group dynamics, team-based learning activities, and associated collaboration and communication technologies, that closely dovetail with the constructivist learning theories embodied in collaborative learning, cooperative learning, and situated learning, among other theories (Leonard, 2002, p. 200) Virtual Learning Communities (VLC)virtual learning community: CMC is a process and a technology whereby humans can create, exchange, enhance, and access information over the Internet to enhance communication and to create virtual learning communities. Virtual learning communities are groups of people who use the computer to engage in Web-based knowledge transfer, Web-based education, and Web-based training within a virtual learning environment over the Internet. (Leonard, 2002, p. 200) VLC OpportunitiesEmpowers faculty and students to interact regularly in electronic environmentsCreates a sense of belonging and connection and communityDevelops sophisticated technology and information literacy skills Fosters continuous feedback by both faculty and peersIncrease in student accountability for ownership of learning Cultivates collaborative skillsProvides flexible scheduling for faculty and anytime/anywhere access and voice for students who may otherwise be unable to attend traditional classroom educationVLC ChallengesStruggles with inaccurate negative stygmaChallenges study and time management skillsInvolves comprehensive front-end preparation to develop meaningful learning activitiesNecessitates much time, patience, and effort for successful management Commands ongoing technology trainingDemands some tolerance for software/hardware glitchesRequires access to high-speed internet and tech gadgetsVLC: Important Terms Instructional DesignAsynchronous v. Synchronous deliveryWeb 2.0 toolsPodcasts/Vodcasts/ScreencastsWikisBlogsVLC: Important Terms Social BookmarkingUsergroups & ListservsThreaded DiscussionsVirtual Teams and WorldsOnline Identities (Avatars)Liability IssuesInvestigating Web 2.0 Tools (10 minutes)Go to the online database of Web 2.0 Tools at http://www.go2web20.net/ Search through the listings to explore what types of tools are available for blended/online course development and instructionActivity:A Few ExamplesVLC: ResourcesDatabase of Web 2.0 Tools http://www.go2web20.net/ Evaluating Online Learning: Challenges and Strategies for Success http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/academic/evalonline/index.html TechSoup http://www.techsoup.org/toolkits/web2/ Free Audio Clips http://www.freeaudioclips.com/Free Photography http://www.freefoto.com/index.jsp See training handouts for additional resources.Activity: Create a Classroom WikiUsing the handout provided, you will develop an educational wiki for one class. You will have the opportunity to create a welcome page, post your syllabus, and create pages for other educational items such as assignment description, rubrics, etc Have fun!VLC often referred to as Virtual Communities of Practice (VCoPs)Community of inquiry modelFrom EduTech WikiJump to: navigation, searchThis article or section is incomplete and its contents need further attention.Some sections may be missing, some information may be wrong, spelling and grammar may have to be improved etc. Use your judgement!Definition The community of inquiry model is an instructional design model for e-learning developed by Randy Garrison, Terri Anderson et al (University of Calgary). Its purpose is to provide a framework for the use of CMC in supporting an educational experience. See also: social presence, community of practice, knowledge-building community model, community of learning, virtual community, social software The model "A critical community of learners, from an educational perspective, is composed of teachers and students transacting with the specific purposes of facilitating, constructing, and validating understanding, and of developing capabilities that will lead to further learning. Such a community encourages cognitive independence and social interdependence simultaneously." (Garrison & Anderson, 2003:23) The community of inquiry model defines a good e-learning environment through three major components. On the communities of inquiry web site these are defined as follows: Cognitive presence is the extent to which the participants in any particular configuration of a community of inquiry are able to construct meaning through sustained communication. (COI/Cognitive Presence) Social presence is the ability of learners to project their personal characteristics into the community of inquiry, thereby presenting themselves as 'real people.' (COI/Social presence) Teaching presence is defined as the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educational worthwhile learning outcomes. (COI/Teaching presence)) [VLC] emphasizes the educational need for students to work in social learning environments which emphasize both the situated nature of learning and the importance of co-production and co-participation. This [strategy] is linked to the capability of the Internet and the Web to support group work and provide a virtual environment for students to work together, share resources and collaborate. (Mcconnell, 2006, p. 12)[VLC] emphasizes the educational need for students to work in social learning environments which emphasize both the situated nature of learning and the importance of co-production and co-participation. This [strategy] is linked to the capability of the Internet and the Web to support group work and provide a virtual environment for students to work together, share resources and collaborate. (Mcconnell, 2006, p. 12)instructional design (cognitivism) The primary purpose of instructional design is to exploit the computer, to exploit the usage of various types of instructional technologies, and especially of late to exploit the usage of the Internet in order to enhance the learning experience of the learner or user. Instructional design is a process that developers of instructional content follow to create effective learning applications, such as multimedia applications,hypermedia applications,computer-based training,Web-based training, etc. Typically, there are four phases to the instructional design process: (1) Analysis Phase. The instructional design team analyzes the audience and its needs and analyzes the tasks to be performed within the learning activity. (2) Design Phase. The instructional design team defines learning goals, objectives, and strategies. (3) Development Phase. The instructional design team develops the instructional content. (4) Implementation/ Evaluation Phase. The content or course is delivered to the learners and feedback is obtained on the effectiveness of the product. It should be noted that the instructional design process follows very much the process used by computer software developers as they follow a software development process to create computer software applications. Though not always the case, most instructional designers tend to follow the learning paradigm of cognitivism. Emerging Technologies handoutDEC Resources List handout