Ask Students to Lead the Online Discussion

Description Although not experts in the discipline, there have been benefits in having students lead online discussions. Students may be more comfortable to participate in the discussion when it is led by an equal member of the class, rather than the instructor who is perceived as the authority (Lim, Cheung, & Hew, 2011). Questioning from …

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Create a Case Method Group Activity to Engage Students in Critical Thinking

Description The case method group activity is an instructional design strategy that involves faculty members providing one or more case studies to which groups of students respond. The case(s) could be a real-life case or simulation. It could be description of key concept(s) applied, a story or scenario, an actual case study, a problem or …

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Scaffold online discussion through ‘steering’

Description Steering is a strategy used in interactional scaffolding of asynchronous discussion. Interactional scaffolding assumes the important role of the instructor as mediating discussion and maintaining a communicative ‘presence’ to support students to participate effectively in this mode of interaction. Interactional scaffolding involves modelling discourse and ways of communicating, and ensuring that the discussion keeps …

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Using Pre and Post-Tests to Close Gaps in Knowledge

Description A challenge most academics experience is delivering courses which assumes that the student has the required prerequisite knowledge.  A great example of this is a course which assumes that a student has completed the prerequisite course at a previous level.  This challenge more often than expected, occurs and with key topics, where the prerequisite …

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Encouraging Metacognitive Learning by Visualizing Objectives

Description Students want to know what will be on the test. But faculty want students to focus on authentic learning rather than simply scoring well. Our strategy addresses both desires. Good course design involves alignment of course and lesson objectives with relevant activities and assessments. It is imperative that students be provided with this “roadmap” …

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Scaffold Student Success in Online Learning through Metacognitive Prompting and Reflective Journaling

Description Student self-regulation, or the ability of students to self-direct and monitor their learning behaviors, has been shown to be a viable predictor for significant learning (Shea & Bidjerano, 2012) and accounts for significant portions of the variance in learning outcomes (Wertz, 2014). Scaffolding student self-regulation has been shown to impact self-regulation of online interactions …

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Facilitating student participation in a virtual conference of a professional association

Description Regardless of academic discipline, educational programs in the realm of higher education are charged with preparing graduates with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions needed for the workplace (Trede, Macklin, & Bridges, 2012). Part of this preparation entails scaffolding the development of students’ professional identity so they can “develop a sense of who they are …

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Foster Peer Review Using Online Discussion

Description Peer review is a strategy steeped in the social interaction proposed as essential to cognitive development by scholars such as Bruner and Vygotsky (Price, O’Donovan, & Rust, 2007; Hughes, Ventura, & Dando, 2004). Peer review involves small groups or pairs of students sharing work with one another, creating an environment where students can develop …

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Using student created blogs as a progressive formative assessment in an online STEM course

Description The utility of writing assignments to enhance learning biology is well documented (e.g. Mynlieff et al., 2014; Couch et al., 2015). Such assignments can provide the basis for assessing higher-order and critical-thinking skills (Kelly et al, n.d.). Furthermore, when students are able to react to instructors’ feedback by re-drafting or adjusting their written work, …

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Applying motivational design principles to create engaging online modules

Description In a classroom setting, levels of student engagement vary widely, but instructors can adjust the lesson based on the perceived level of student engagement. However, in an online environment, instructors cannot spontaneously prompt students to motivate their engagement. When developing asynchronous modules, using a motivational design model and appropriate technologies allows one to replicate …

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