Weekly QandA Topics in UNSW MOOC

Dr. Negin Mirriahi and Simon McIntyreUNSW Australia  |  Learning to Teach Online MOOC

A feature I'm finding really interesting and useful in the Learning to Teach Online MOOC. currently underway in Coursera, is the opportunity to post questions and have them answered by Simon McIntyre and Dr. Negin Mirriahi each week. The questions are collected in a forum and participants vote on which questions they find most interesting.

The videos that result are friendly, conversational (lots of back and forth between the instructors) and informative. What's even better is that Simon and Negin model what their videos and course materials "say" about how to teach online; they answer the questions using simple, clear language, they express their interest in the questions and their enjoyment of the discussion, they refer back to specific course materials or they might point you to resources that other students have shared in different forums, and they are careful to provide instructions on how to find things.

To give you a sense of topics of interest with this MOOC's participants from Week 3:

"We are really enjoying responding to your weekly Q&A and have just posted our responses to your top 5 voted questions from Week 3. The videos are available from the Video List & Downloads page in the Week 3 Q&A Responses folder. You can also view the videos directly via the links below.

  1. How do we keep pace with current Web 2.0 technology? (05:03)
  2. Group projects in the online learning environment (06:30)
  3. What is scenario based training? (03:00)
  4. Second assignment presentation (03:33)
  5. How to generate community in an online course that students start whenever each one enrols (04:34)"

Some of the answers…

  1. NMC Horizon Reports (evidence-based, peer reviewed/suggested, different sectors i.e., K-12, museum, higher ed)
    Teacher Training Videos by Russell Stannard  (topics include:  Blogs & Wikis, Screen Casting, e-Portfolios, Flipped Classroom, Sharing & Discussion
    from the Recommended Tools & Apps discussion forum:  Olga – Top 100 Tools 2014  (plus an upcoming wiki)
    a blog called Edudemic that features guides to different technologies – for students / for teachers
    check for Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) like Classroom 2.0 features forums, scheduled synchronous events that are recorded, etc.
  2. Suggestions from forum:  making assignments or participation assessed, refer to Module 7:  Engaging and Motivating Students (includes case study: Online Teamwork and Collaboration)
    Other tips:  let students know you can "see" them, tell them that everything they do in the course space is recorded, use "iterative" assignments (set milestones throughout a project where students show what they're doing), ask students to work in online space provided or, if using other tools, to report back to shared learning space, students who don't put in the same effort won't get the same marks, get peer group to set timeline and devise backup plan if someone isn't participating, encourage students to communicate with group if they will be absent, build in peer assessment of contributions to prevent "social loafing"
    Teacher presence – participate in the course, intervene early if you see students aren't participating, make sure to explain, at the beginning, what constitute "good online teamwork", explain why groupwork is important
  3. Scenario-based training/learning:  provide students with a "real-life" authentic situation (scenario) and ask them to solve that problem or discuss potential solutions; sometimes knowledge is given and sometimes students are asked to draw on what they already know. Benefit is to go beyond recall or comprehension to explore how students will apply what they've learned.

I poked around on the Internet and found this great resource about Scenario-based learning

5.   What kind of community do you want to create? What do you want students to "get" from the community?  Can you assume that you'll have a minimum number in at a certain time? Is it optional for them to participate in community activities? If so, perhaps provide community-type options for those who want a richer learning experience and allow others to complete self-learning. Consider how you might help students develop their personal learning networks outside of your course.

Lots of great food for thought. I'll certainly have to delve into the forums more often as I missed some of the great discussions that have been taking place.

And who says you can't learn in a MOOC?



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