OTL101 Post 5 Refections

In this, the final Post for OTL101 we are asked to reflect on the material presented in the Lessons presented by reviewing previous submissions. Once reviewed we are to highlight important concepts, formalize questions that arise and, based on these questions, provide SMART strategies to answer these questions, along with our goals for doing so.

In reviewing my posts I can’t say that any stand out on their own. Collectively, the posts are suggestive that student learning can be optimized when course material, student activities and assessments are aligned with clearly stated learning outcomes and student-dependant feedback is provided by a facilitator (ie an OLFM). Giving feedback, a subset of the student teacher interactions, aids students in developing their cognitive processes, whether the assignments are based on students developing their abilities to learn on the low- to high-level cognitive learning spectrum.

Somewhat related to the above is that, when considering individual student success, no specific aspects of learning are necessarily the most important. Some students require more and different feedback than other students. Other students benefit more from clearly defined learning outcomes. Even other students need both. I don’t sense that one can describe a “one size fits all” general formula for optimizing student learning. Thus, I’d say the most important aspect is that the facilitator most take time to know each student so that they can begin to understand how to facilitate their learning. That being said, the topics presented in Lessons 2-4 of OTL101, covering Cognitive Learning, Learning Outcomes, and Feedback are all parts of the equation.

Reflecting on the course material brought two questions to mind.

First, can students optimize their learning in courses, such as those offered by TRU-OL, where the OLFM’s overseeing the courses have little or no control over the contents (learning outcomes, material, assessments, etc) of the courses? The answer to this question could only be answered by comparing student outcomes in OLFM-controlled versus OLFM-uncontrolled courses.

Second, do students learn according to the highly classified processes of cognition, learning outcomes and feedback, or are these processes actually less structured than presented in OTL101? Conducting more extensive studies such as that presented in “Critical Thinking, Cognitive Presence, and Computer Conferencing in Distance Education” by Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson, and Walter Archer could help answer this question. Data that doesn’t fit within that predicted by Garrison et al would suggest that their highly structured/defined cognitive learning process may not hold.

I have developed two personal goals after reflecting upon the information presented in OTL101. In order to help students reach their full potential I will strive to help them improve how they approach learning and improve the feedback I give students. Of course, these goals are related, as the specific goal of improving the feedback give students, will help students enhance their cognitive processes. As a strategy for moving forward on these goals I will tailor my feedback with the concepts presented in Lesson 3 in mind. Afterwards, I’ll correlate student success with my feedback. IF OLFM’s were given control over online courses, a similar goal would be to review the learning outcomes, material and assessments in the courses I’m involved in and ensure that they are appropriate and aligned with one another. Changes in student performance would be used as an indication of whether any changes made were of value.

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OTL101 Post 4

OTL101 – Post 4

For this post I was asked to comment on two aspects, following below, on giving students feedback.

  1. Are there any gaps between your practice of offering feedback to students and what Hattie recommends?

I have used all the forms of feedback over the entirety of the students in all the courses I’ve instructed. There are gaps, however, in the types of feedback I typically utilize in specific courses. For instance, in BIOL 3431, TRU’s online Plants and People course, I don’t give any feedback on the first online quiz. With regard to the following assignments I correct the students on their submitted short answer questions and edit and make suggestions for how to improve their submitted essays (from spelling, grammar, structure, sources used to logic, etc.). I then give the students the opportunity to resubmit their essays for an improved grade. I give suggestions for the student’s final project when they submit their proposal for the project.

 

  1. In what ways can you improve the effectiveness of the feedback that you provide for your students?

Except for feedback made on written assignments or presentations, I tend to wait for students to initiate conversations where I could give general feedback. I could, instead, be the one to initiate giving feedback in situations not related to returned assignments. I sense that adding this form of feedback would improve the student outcomes and completion rates of online courses where it’s easy for them to “disappear”.

With regard to the feedback I do give, I could be clearer and more specific in my written comments. As well, up to now I haven’t taken cultural and personal dispositions of the receivers in my feedback. I could do better in the regard.

OTL101 Post 3

I have chosen to discuss the learning outcomes for Biol 3131, Introduction to Biochemistry, for Lesson 3. This course is one the helped write and have taught. The learning outcomes for the course are:

  • Recognize how the Standard Free Energy (ΔG0,) and Free Energy (ΔG) of a reaction or pathway influences the direction of metabolism.
  • Describe what enzymes are and how they allow for metabolism and its regulation.
  • Explain how ATP is synthesized via glycolysis, the TCA cycle and mitochondrial electron transport.
  • Compare the energetic, inputs and outputs of mitochondrial electron transport and photosynthetic electron transport.
  • Compare the processes of fatty acid oxidation and fatty acid synthesis.
  • Describe how amino acids are synthesized and degraded.
  • Describe how nucleotides and deoxynucleotides are synthesized and degraded.
  • Search, retrieve, evaluate and synthesize information.
  • Communicate scientific knowledge and results effectively.
  • Demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively.

The first 7 outcomes require lower to higher level cognitive skills while the final 3 outcomes require higher level cognitive skill.

The students are assessed in the course via weekly quizzes, a final exam, a research essay they write on a topic of their choosing, a discussion reflection grade, and submission of 5 weekly library searches and an email they use to ask an expert for additional current information (many are actually able to submit the expert’s response to their email).

The learning outcomes are aligned very well to the assessments. The quizzes and the final exam relate to the first 6 learning outcomes (total 50 % of the course). The library searches, author correspondence and research essay relate to the 7th and 8th listed outcomes (45 % of the course). Finally, the last outcome relates to how collaboratively the students work with each other (5 % of the course).

Two learning outcomes in the course, as follows,

  • Describe how amino acids are synthesized and degraded.
  • Describe how nucleotides and deoxynucleotides are synthesized and degraded.

Could be thought of as low-high level cognitive skills. In order to ensure that students require a high level cognitive skill to meet these objectives they could be worded as such:

  • Compare and contrast how amino acids are synthesized and degraded using examples.
  • Compare and contrast how nucleotides and deoxynucleotides are synthesized and degraded.

OTL101 Post 3

I have chosen to discuss the learning outcomes for Biol 3131, Introduction to Biochemistry, for Lesson 3. This course is one the helped write and have taught. The learning outcomes for the course are:

  • Recognize how the Standard Free Energy (ΔG0,) and Free Energy (ΔG) of a reaction or pathway influences the direction of metabolism.
  • Describe what enzymes are and how they allow for metabolism and its regulation.
  • Explain how ATP is synthesized via glycolysis, the TCA cycle and mitochondrial electron transport.
  • Compare the energetic, inputs and outputs of mitochondrial electron transport and photosynthetic electron transport.
  • Compare the processes of fatty acid oxidation and fatty acid synthesis.
  • Describe how amino acids are synthesized and degraded.
  • Describe how nucleotides and deoxynucleotides are synthesized and degraded.
  • Search, retrieve, evaluate and synthesize information.
  • Communicate scientific knowledge and results effectively.
  • Demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively.

The first 7 outcomes require lower to higher level cognitive skills while the final 3 outcomes require higher level cognitive skill.

The students are assessed in the course via weekly quizzes, a final exam, a research essay they write on a topic of their choosing, a discussion reflection grade, and submission of 5 weekly library searches and an email they use to ask an expert for additional current information (many are actually able to submit the expert’s response to their email).

The learning outcomes are aligned very well to the assessments. The quizzes and the final exam relate to the first 6 learning outcomes (total 50 % of the course). The library searches, author correspondence and research essay relate to the 7th and 8th listed outcomes (45 % of the course). Finally, the last outcome relates to how collaboratively the students work with each other (5 % of the course).

Two learning outcomes in the course, as follows,

  • Describe how amino acids are synthesized and degraded.
  • Describe how nucleotides and deoxynucleotides are synthesized and degraded.

Could be thought of as low-high level cognitive skills. In order to ensure that students require a high level cognitive skill to meet these objectives they could be worded as such:

  • Compare and contrast how amino acids are synthesized and degraded using examples.
  • Compare and contrast how nucleotides and deoxynucleotides are synthesized and degraded.

OTL101 Post 2

Blog Post 2:

In this, the second Bog post for Lesson one I’ve been asked to give my thoughts on the following questions, based on the thoughts discussed in the article “Critical Thinking, Cognitive Presence, and Computer Conferencing in Distance Education” by Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson, and Walter Archer. In my post I refer to some of the ideas presented by Ron Evans, a previous poster.

What do you know now that you did not know prior to starting the course?

Thus far, as with Ron Evans, I’m learning about the extent of the formalized research into higher order learning and the vocabulary of the study. Having a science background the learning processes described aren’t new to me and are similar to the processes making up the scientific method.

What gaps or discrepancies do you notice between what your Wordle showed in Post 1 and what you have learned so far in Lesson 1?

In my first Post I did mention that online courses needed to involve students developing their critical thinking skills. However this is only a one aspect of developing good online programming, not necessarily required in every course (especially lower level courses) and for each assignment of a course. Other characteristics of high quality online learning environments that I mentioned in the first post were their accessibility, giving everyone the opportunity to take part. Within such environments it is important that the sites are engaging and induce students think learn independently.

What questions would you like to explore on the topic of cognitive presence?

A question that begs asking, is why did so few students in the study reported by Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson, and Walter Archer reach the resolution stage of the critical thinking process? Was there a flaw in the course design? If so, are there attributes of good designs that should be incorporated into all assignments wishing to develop the critical thinking skills of students.

Provide an example of how you have seen effective cognitive presence modeled in online learning.

The best example I’ve seen of effective development of optimizing a student’s cognitive presence is within Directed Studies courses, such as BIOL 4481. In these courses the student applies to enroll in course by providing a question (derived from a triggering event) that they wish to study. The student providing the research question extends the critical thinking process beyond that in other courses where the triggering event is typically given in the course content. This point was missed by Ron Evans in his post. During the course the student goes through the exploration and integration phases of the critical thinking process and submits their work, the resolution phase. The process is aided by interactions with the OLFM supervisor, and possibly other relevant specialists, literary content, and personal contacts.

wordle

I find Wordles hard to decipher. My text entered into Wordle follow.

As an Introduction to myself I offer insights into my favorite vacations spot, books I’ve read and some thoughts on teaching.

I don’t have a favorite vacation spot. Just having resettled on Texada Island I’m thoroughly enchanted with my new local and don’t envision vacationing for a while.

Recently I been reading a few crime suspense novels by PD James, James Patterson and Jonathon Kellerman.

The most important characteristic of high quality online learning environments are their accessibility, giving everyone the opportunity to take part. Within such environments it is important that the sites are engaging and induce students think learn independently and critically.

In my view, the most important aspect of any teaching format is having respect for each and every student. With respect comes the desire to treat each student individually and have them reach their potential.

I guess my constant question regarding online teaching revolves around learning how to engage individual students.