A foundation of participation - tools for building a collaborative learning environment

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Building on a Foundationof Participationor

Motivating Active Student Engagementin Blended Formative LearningBrant Knutzen

Adjunct LecturerFaculty of EducationUniversity of Hong Kong

IntroductionMy passion is online discussionsModerator of BBS online Debate forum in 1983

I have been using Moodle LMS to support blended teaching / learning since 2005The heart of Moodle (Tomaz Lasic)Learning activity with the most potential for social construction of knowledgeAlso the most likely to fail! Why?What works, and whyCreating new toolsEnable use of discussions as formative learning activitiesEvaluating their success (learning analytics)

Slide Design: Brant KnutzenTomaz Lasic is leader in global Moodle community, keynote speaker presenter at Moodle Moots

Why do online discussions fail? Main reason: poor design -> no groups set up, forum topic questions too easy / too hard / too many topic areas attempted in one discussion, poor management -> instructor lacks forum moderation skills. Result: lack of student participation, discussion fails to achieve sufficient levels of interaction (transactivity), no collaboration achieved towards intended learning outcomes

What works developed the Participation Forum methodology for online discussion forums in 2007, used extensively in my own teaching including at HKU since 2009, trained 10 instructors at Lingnan, used on 12 courses there in 2010

New tools: two new plugins: the Participation Forum and the Participation Map (learning analytic)2What is Blended Learning?Blended Teaching / Learningadding online activities to expand the learning environmentBeyond the limited face-to-face classroom timeIncorporating the use of external resourcesCreating and supporting learning opportunities which suit the students schedules (asynchronous interaction)Technology supports new ways to collaborate in groupsExcellent transparency into the student learning processSlide Design: Brant KnutzenSocial ConstructivismJohn Biggs captured the educational value of discussion when he stated:

"Good dialogue elicits those activities that shape, elaborate, and deepen understanding (Biggs 1999 p. 5)

4Benefits of Active Student EngagementSlide Design: Brant Knutzen

MotivationMotivation : how do we encourage student engagement with online activities?Intrinsic and extrinsic methodsEffective use of technology

Goals:Engage the students in formative learningSocial construction of knowledgeEnable teacher to focus on qualitySustainable teaching practiceSlide Design: Brant KnutzenMotivation on three levelsConstructive Alignment between formative and summative activities

Situative groupings and task design create social pressure

Leverage the LMS the Learning Management System (Moodle) provides structures and automation to drive collaborative learningSlide Design: Brant KnutzenConstructive AlignmentSlide Design: Brant KnutzenIntendedLearningOutcomesTeaching / LearningActivitiesSummativeAssessmentBiggs, J., & Tang, C. (2007).Teaching for quality learning at university. Typical instructional design path using constructive alignmentStart with ILOsThen the TLAs (most start with traditional transmission style teaching teacher-centered, passive learning)Then the Summative Assessment methodHow can we help the students perform well on the Summative Assessment: Formative Learning Activity design- These tend to be student-centered, active learning designs- usually the Formative Learning Activities are the last design element addressed, and the most difficult to achieve a sustainable designIf the Formative Learning Activities can be sustainably assessed, they can function as active, student-centered TLAs (driving learning) and build toward the Summative Assessment (alignment)Biggs, J., & Tang, C. (2007).Teaching for quality learning at university. Maidenhead, UK: SRHE & Open University.Good online instructional design resource at: http://opvclt.monash.edu.au/educational-excellence/gcap/step-landt-quality.html8Constructive AlignmentSlide Design: Brant KnutzenIntendedLearningOutcomesTeaching / LearningActivitiesSummativeAssessmentFormativeLearningActivitiesBiggs, J., & Tang, C. (2007).Teaching for quality learning at university. Typical instructional design path using constructive alignmentStart with ILOsThen the TLAs (most start with traditional transmission style teaching teacher-centered, passive learning)Then the Summative Assessment methodHow can we help the students perform well on the Summative Assessment: Formative Learning Activity design- These tend to be student-centered, active learning designs- usually the Formative Learning Activities are the last design element addressed, and the most difficult to achieve a sustainable designIf the Formative Learning Activities can be sustainably assessed, they can function as active, student-centered TLAs (driving learning) and build toward the Summative Assessment (alignment)Biggs, J., & Tang, C. (2007).Teaching for quality learning at university. Maidenhead, UK: SRHE & Open University.Good online instructional design resource at: http://opvclt.monash.edu.au/educational-excellence/gcap/step-landt-quality.html9Constructive AlignmentSlide Design: Brant KnutzenIntendedLearningOutcomesTeaching / LearningActivitiesSummativeAssessmentFormativeLearningActivitiesBiggs, J., & Tang, C. (2007).Teaching for quality learning at university. Typical instructional design path using constructive alignmentStart with ILOsThen the TLAs (most start with traditional transmission style teaching teacher-centered, passive learning)Then the Summative Assessment methodHow can we help the students perform well on the Summative Assessment: Formative Learning Activity design- These tend to be student-centered, active learning designs- usually the Formative Learning Activities are the last design element addressed, and the most difficult to achieve a sustainable designIf the Formative Learning Activities can be sustainably assessed, they can function as active, student-centered TLAs (driving learning) and build toward the Summative Assessment (alignment)Biggs, J., & Tang, C. (2007).Teaching for quality learning at university. Maidenhead, UK: SRHE & Open University.Good online instructional design resource at: http://opvclt.monash.edu.au/educational-excellence/gcap/step-landt-quality.html10Constructive AlignmentSlide Design: Brant KnutzenIntendedLearningOutcomesTeaching / LearningActivitiesSummativeAssessmentFormativeLearningActivitiesIntendedLearningOutcomese.g. : Intended Learning Outcome- at the end of this course, students will be able to:

Critically evaluateandreflectupon theories, practice, content and concepts learned in this course.Critically evaluate,ReflectILOConstructive AlignmentSlide Design: Brant KnutzenCritically evaluate,ReflectTeaching / LearningActivitiesSummativeAssessmentFormativeLearningActivitiesSummativeAssessmente.g. : Learning PortfolioCumulative reflection blogMeta-cognitive thinkingCumulativeReflectionBlogAssessmentILOConstructive AlignmentSlide Design: Brant KnutzenCritically evaluate,ReflectTeaching / LearningActivitiesCumulativeReflectionBlogFormativeLearningActivitiesFormativeLearningActivitiese. g. : Weekly Discussion ForumsOral discussions in classroom to startInitial perspective is first forum postQ & A for one week (average 5 posts)Final post is reflection on learningReflective posts copied into Word blogWeeklyForumDiscussionAssessmentILOTLA13Situative MotivationSocio-cultural factors

Peer pressure to perform

Key factors to achieve this motivation:Group formationTask designSlide Design: Brant KnutzenSituative MotivationInitial state on first class session:Students are all individuals, no group identityTeacher as authority and arbiterTraditional transmission-style teachingMass assignments for all students to work on individuallyNo facilitation of collaborationVery limited social construction of knowledgeSlide Design: Brant KnutzenSituative no GroupingSlide Design: Brant KnutzenTeacherSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSVery limitedcollaborationSage on the stageTransmission style teaching with mass assignmentsNo support of collaboration = no social construction of knowledgeHigh quantitative requirement on teacher for feedback to students16Example forum no groups or task design

17Example forum no groups or task designNo groups or task designEach student assigned a unique color, or can use the Moodle profile picture and nameTime dimension is not scaled on Y axis

18Situative GroupingGroup formation by common interest

Small groups around size 5Sets up proximal accessReduces social barriers to interactionReduces the noise level

The Participation Forum allows the students to set up their own semi-private areas for discussionSlide Design: Brant KnutzenSituative Task DesignTask design creates a structured requirement for interactionParticipation Forum task:Easy first post gets everyone involvedQuestions gets everyone aware and thinkingAnswers require critical or transformative thinking Additional rounds of Q&AFinal post is reflective: how has perspective changed?Slide Design: Brant KnutzenEasy first post gets everyone involved: students post their initial thoughts about the topic(foot in the door technique)Questions gets everyone aware and thinking about other perspectives, even some research into terms and conceptsAnswers require critical thinking and / or transformative learning as learners defend / explain / adjust their views, even research into field to justify or expand conceptual schemaAdditional rounds of Q&A raise participation rating and develops transactional exchanges

20Situative after Grouping / Task DesignSlide Design: Brant KnutzenTeacherSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSExcellent transparency into formative student thinking, misunderstandings, common mistakesMuch more support provided for collaborative learningMuch more social construction of knowledgeInteraction by teacher is selective: with groups or individualsMuch lower quantitative requirement on teacher21Situative after Grouping / Task DesignSlide Design: Brant KnutzenTeacherSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSExcellent transparency into formative student thinking, misunderstandings, common mistakesMuch more support provided for collaborative learningMuch more social construction of knowledgeInteraction by teacher is selective: with groups or individualsMuch lower quantitative requirement on teacher22Situative after Grouping / Task DesignSlide Design: Brant KnutzenTeacherSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSExcellent transparency into formative student thinking, misunderstandings, common mistakesMuch more support provided for collaborative learningMuch more social construction of knowledgeInteraction by teacher is selective: with groups or individualsMuch lower quantitative requirement on teacher23Example forum #2with Groups and Task Design

24Participation Map - example forum with Groups and Task Design

25Assess with RubricPublic AssignmentUnsustainableAssessmentGrouping, Task DesignFormative learning activity designGoal: Social Construction of KnowledgeAssessment DesignStudents Engage!200-300 postsNo CollaborationSlide Design: Brant KnutzenPublic Assignment no student collaboration, work produced for assessment not learning (distorted)Unsustainable Activity (ex: 200-300 forum posts per week) : huge time commitment for quantitative assessment, lack of time for qualitative input (summative?)Leverage the LMS student construction of content (Forum, Wiki, Glossary), structured peer assessment (Workshop), program automatic point distribution (Quiz (MC, matching, Hot Potatoes), Glossary (peer moderator awarding points), Participation Forum)26Optional ActivityAssess with RubricPublic AssignmentUnsustainableAssessmentLack of participationNo pointsGrouping, Task DesignFormative learning activity designGoal: Social Construction of KnowledgeAssessment DesignStudents Engage!200-300 postsNo CollaborationActivity does notachieve ILOSlide Design: Brant KnutzenPublic Assignment no student collaboration, work produced for assessment not learning (distorted)Unsustainable Activity (ex: 200-300 forum posts per week) : huge time commitment for quantitative assessment, lack of time for qualitative input (summative?)Leverage the LMS student construction of content (Forum, Wiki, Glossary), structured peer assessment (Workshop), program automatic point distribution (Quiz (MC, matching, Hot Potatoes), Glossary (peer moderator awarding points), Participation Forum)27Optional ActivityLeverage the LMSAssess with RubricPublic AssignmentUnsustainableAssessmentLack of participationNear 100% Participation!KnowledgeConstruction!DisaffectedStudentsTopic Questions Design,Activity ManagementNo pointsGrouping, Task DesignProgrammedPoint DistributionFormative learning activity designGoal: Social Construction of KnowledgeAssessment DesignNo CollaborationParticipationForumActivity does notachieve ILOStudents Engage!Collaboration!Intended LearningOutcome Achieved!Slide Design: Brant KnutzenPublic Assignment no student collaboration, work produced for assessment not learning (distorted)Unsustainable Activity (ex: 200-300 forum posts per week) : huge time commitment for quantitative assessment, lack of time for qualitative input (summative?)Leverage the LMS student construction of content (Forum, Wiki, Glossary), structured peer assessment (Workshop), program automatic point distribution (Quiz (MC, matching, Hot Potatoes), Glossary (peer moderator awarding points), Participation Forum)28Leveraging the power of the LMSThe Participation Forum automatically awards points based on participation, produces a grade

Grades produced by participation:One post = 6Two posts = 8Three posts = 8.6 Four posts = 9Five posts = 9.2Six posts = 9.33Seven posts = 9.42Eight posts = 9.5 etc

More Q&A participation = higher gradeCarl Rogers: unconditional positive regard Grabinger & Dunlap: REAL risk-free environment

29More participation -> higher grade30A foundation of participationThis assessment method for assessing a forum creates a foundation of participation: in my experience over 90% of students will cognitively engage with the discussion

As always, the teachers role is to create the educational value of the activity:Set up challenging topic questions to guide explorationMaintain a visible presence in the forum activitySuccessfully moderate the discussion

31

Discussion moderation techniquesSalmons 5-stagemodel ofeModeration

Teacher guidesstudents upthe levelstowardknowledgedevelopmentSource: http://www.atimod.com/e-moderating/5stage.shtml32Participation-based forum gradeThe Moodle LMS handles the awarding of quantitative marks for participation

Teacher can focus on quality:Monitor progressGuide the discussionChallenge studentsTime for thoughtful qualitativefeedbackMinimum: 30 mins to 1 hour each week per discussion

33The Participation MapNew Moodle plug-in auto...

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