7 Principles for effective online teaching

I have been away for a while, ainy because I am busy with the impemmentation of knowledge worker technologies, and partially because I am bloggine on y personal blog. For now, I want to capture Chickering and Gamson (1987)  seven principles of effective pedagogical practices for online teaching before they get lost. They are written in 1987, but I find them still applicable today:

  1. Encourage contacts between students and faculty in and out of classes.
  2. Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race.
  3. Active learning is encouraged in classes that use structured exercises, challenging discussions, team projects, and peer critiques.
  4. Students need appropriate and timely feedback on their performance to benefit from courses.
  5. Learning to use one’s time well is critical for students and professionals alike.
  6. Communicate higher expectations.
  7. Provide a diverse delivery system.

Privacy, West and East

This week LAK12 topic is privacy and learning analytics. Erik Duval presentation made me contemplate on some Privacy ideas.

First, you need to know that I was born in Lebanon, lived all over the world then decided to finish my professional life in Canada. So, I have that cultural mix in me where I continuously shift my values between eastern and western connotations. Something like wearing the right clothes: pajamas to sleep and T-shirt/Pants to go to work. I will call it “value attire”.

Erik asked the question: What you worry about?

Trying to reflect on a good answer made me recognize that my answer depends on the set of “value attire” I refer to.

My Eastern value attire would answer: nothing. There is nothing to hide. I lived my life sharing everything about me and I expressed my opinion freely. I had nothing to hide. Even others were not offended if we were “politically incorrect” and attacked them. Personal judgement is part of life and it never forced anybody to shunt their ideas, identity and expression.

My Western value attire would answer: I am worried that I will be considered an “alien” and lose the privilege of being a “westerner” that I  value.

This made recognize that I am forced to have two faces: the real me who wants to be open and express my feeling the way they are without worrying about my image or my identity. The me who accepts criticism and do not consider them to be politically incorrect.

The other face is the one the forces me to hide my true feeling and shut up because I still do not know what is politically correct or not.

Then it hit me: does the western culture promote privacy because people need an environment where they can be themselves on their own without anyone else judging them?

At this stage I started analyzing further with no prove: do people in the privacy of their home think differently than outside that privacy? Why and how they developed this attitude? Is it education that “programmed” students at early age to react to life in a way that they are not? using two different attire values? What they value in their own privacy is different than the values they express outside? Is this why privacy is so important? More questions than answers.

But to me, I made peace with my privacy rules: I am open and I have nothing to hide. My ideas and thoughts are to be shared with the world openly with no restrictions. And at point, if I am politically incorrect, I will look for the root cause/reasons/values that made me react in that way and eradicate it at the root so it comes out naturally in a politically correct manner without having to sugar coat it unnecessarily.

Other questions that comes to my mind:

– how much lawyer have to do with this privacy culture? Are they promoting it for their own benefit?

– I noticed that the eastern culture has far more wars among themselves than western mentality countries. Does privacy have anything to do with it?

Strengths, Weaknesses and Disorders

In a recent discussion with PhD students, I touched base on how Positive Psychology should shape our world instead of surrendering to the negativity of traditional psychology. When I was challenged to prove that positive psychology could help people with anxiety and or personality disorder without medication, I reverted to Clifton’s strengths as a support. Then a epiphany happened. I related stress and anxiety to strengths and weaknesses. I said that: anxiety (e.g. stress, fear, insecurity, etc) happens to a person who is forced to live, study or work in areas of his weaknesses.  Personality disorder (e.g. compulsiveness, impulsiveness, addiction, etc.) happens to a person who has strengths suppressed.

So, to help a person under stress, let him change his environment to capitalize on his strengths. To help a person with personality disorder, help him rediscover then relate to his strengths.

This deserves a serious research. A topic for my PhD thesis? Do I want to get involved in the messy world of psychology? I doubt it.

Learning: Intrapersonal Interaction

Berge (1995) identified 2 types of interactions in learning: interactions with content and interpersonal interactions. I think we need to add a third one: intrapersonal interaction (i.e. self-reflection) since reflection is an essential learning activity that leads to understanding and appreciation (Boud, 1985; Schön, 1991). Otherwise, we will limit the learning to rote learning!

As such, I would like to paraphrase Berge’s statement to read:

“An educator designs a course that is to promote higher order learning, such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, rather than rote memorization, it becomes important to provide an environment in which [the three] kinds of interaction [interaction with content, interpersonal interaction and intrapersonal interaction] can occur. (Berge, 1995, p.22).

Our online courses, like our classroom delivery, should include e-tivities that entice self-reflection as well as presenting suitable content and facilities for interactions among individuals.

 

References:

Berge, Z.L. (1995). Facilitating Computer Conferencing: Recommendations From the Field. Educational Technology. 35(1) 22-30.

Boud, D., Keogh, R. Walker, D., (1985). Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning, Routledge Imprints.

Schön, D. A. (1991) The Reflective Turn: Case Studies In and On Educational Practice, New York: Teachers Press, Columbia University.

Peace

In a letter to a friend, I mentioned that most of the people use the phrase “Peace Upon You”, “Shalom” and “Salamu Alaykoum” (which all mean Peace) without knowing what the Peace really means. Then a friend of mine statused his facebook with the phrase: “Kindness is to love others even if they do not deserve it”. Then it came to me. I commented on his status with “Peace is to love others without thinking if they deserve it or not”. What an epiphany!

This matches Jesus wisdom: Love Thy Enemy. I need to find reference in other religions!

Reading: 3 types of People

Another interesting article I read recently is about the Creative Leader by Howard G. Haas. Some of the brilliance in his areticle are:

– There are 3 type of people in business: Value Destroyers, Value Creators and the workers.

– Value Destroyer look at short term, consequently destroy assets and events.

– Value creators are those who set foundations for improved productivity that creates wealth, new possibilities and vitality.

– The workers are those who do the work and require little vision.

A creative leader requires:

  1. Technical Competency in at least one aspect of the business
  2. People Competency: communication and listening to spoken words as well as the unspoken feeling.
  3. Conceptual Skills
  4. Participants observer: Creating vision that creates value. This is golden!
  5. Learning Skill: Ready, fire, aim, fire again”.  The entire life of a leader is a learing experience.
  6. Character:
  7. Optimism.

A Read: Getting a message from God in the Internet age

Nice read on Edmontonn Journal. I like to capture the following qoutes:

“Social media has challenged today’s Catholic Church to fit 2,000 years of belief into a 140-word tweet”, says Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith.

“Technologies focus on quick reads instead of deeper thought”

and

“The church needs the way to reach the heart, but must go through the distractions of the head to do so, the archbishop said”

visit his blog: http://archbishopsmith.blogspot.com/

Definitions of Mobile Learning

Definitions

  • Mobile learning (or m-learning) is the combination of e-learning and mobile computing that promises the access to applications which support learning at anytime and anywhere [Holzinger, A., Nischelwitzer, A., Meisenberger, M. (2005). Lifelong-Learning Support by M-learning: Example Scenarios. ACM eLearn Magazine, 2005(11)]
  • Mobile education is learning delivered or supported solely or mainly by handheld and mobile technologies such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), smartphones or wireless laptop PCs.  [Source: Current State of Mobile Learning, www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/346/875.].
  • Personalized learning is learning that recognises diversity, difference, and individuality in the ways that learning is developed, delivered, and supported.
  • Situated learning isl earning that takes place in the course of activity, in appropriate and meaningful contexts (Lave and Wenger 1991).
  • Authentic learning is learning that involves real-world problems and projects that are relevant and interesting to the learner.

Tips:

From: http://elearningslam.blogspot.com/2008/11/designing-mobile-elearning-courses.html [bit old, but has some values]

  • The rule of thumb, is to provide about twice the amount of content that can be viewed on the screen: If an average mobile screen supports 300 characters, limit your pages to 600 characters.
  • Avoid placing important text inside graphics. The mobile browser may shrink graphics so that they fit on the small display size. Any text that is in the graphic will also be shrunk, potentially to a size that is illegible.
  • Avoid rich/multimedia content until a new standard is universally adopted.
  • Have two different style sheets, with the appropriate one loading at run time based on the device. One for desktop and the other one for mobile device.
  • Use small or unobtrusive graphics and logos
  • Avoid navigation bars that may take up a large percentage of the screen.
  • If you want to include complex navigation, place these at the end of the page content so that learners have access first to the primary content.
  • Avoid background graphics.
  • Pull-down menus don’t necessarily work on mobile devices (because of uneven JavaScript support), so consider using arrows to take learners through a tour of your course.
  • Graphic navigation icons should be simple arrows or a descriptive word such as “next” or “back”.
  • Navigation frames work well on some devices, make sure your content can be downloaded quickly.

Stats

[Source: ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators database, 2010]

  • By the end of 2010, there will be an estimated 5.3 billion mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide, including 940 million subscriptions to 3G services.
  • Access to mobile networks is now available to 90% of the world population and 80% of the population living in rural areas.
  • People are moving rapidly from 2G to 3G platforms, in both developed and developing countries. In 2010, 143 countries were off ering 3G services commercially, compared to 95 in 2007.
  • Towards 4G: a number of countries have started to off er services at even higher broadband speeds, moving to next generation wireless platforms – they include Sweden, Norway, Ukraine and the United States.

Learning: Sir Ken, Theatre, Education and Personalized Curriculum

The Link: http://blip.tv/learning-without-frontiers/sir-ken-robinson-march-2011-learning-without-frontiers-4928095

Some quotes:

  • A person graduating from an educational experience must have his confidence improved.
  • Human Resources is like Natural Resources… Individuals have deep talents that are buried deep within their surface, educators need to mine them like other resources.
  • 3 Purposes to education: Personal (connect people to their own sense of possibility, give them sense of creativity, and give them self confidence), Cultural (enable identity, share the identity of other and tolerance) and Economic (must address economic needs and prepare for evolution, prepare ourselves to the challenges of economy.)
  • TV Program to watch: How Many People Can Live on Earth: if everybody consume food and water like a person in Botswana, Earth can handle a population of 15B, if we consume like someone in North America: 1.2B only.
  • HG Wells: civilization is a race between education and catastrophe.