For our ECI 834 zoom class this week, I had the privilege of working with 3 other colleagues to preview each others' online courses, and present my course in its current state. It was a wonderfully diverse experience, with Google Classroom and Moodle LMS's used as well as, High School, Elementary and Radio Broadcasting classes all covered. The largest value for me was in seeing other's courses and how they approach online learning and using the LMS's to organize for students and guardians. I was also curious about how my unique approach would be received, and I think the feedback was very positive!
I was greatly impressed with the course on Radio Broadcast by Daniel which was designed to have students complete at their own pace, for a lunch hour club that had them using radio gear and playing with the knowledge they gained. This course was designed to enable students to complete and succeed in their radio certification (or whatever the official name is...). Moodle looked very clean and well organized and the video lessons were impressive!
The elementary course on shapes by Jillian was very engaging and well organized in Google Classroom, with excellent use of introductory videos and Google Jamboard as a tool for learning and engaging students. It was neat to see what presenting to Elementary aged children looks like in contrast to the adolescents I work with each day.
The third course for High School Media studies by Riley was also using Google Classroom and Jamboard to engage students around understanding and presenting ideas for advertising. It seemed very thought provoking and would be of interest for high school youth.
I took a little different approach and decided to use a Google Site (click here to check it out) as my main Learning Management System and then only use Google Classroom for assignment submission and evaluation, as I think this is where Google Classroom really excels. The main reason I took this approach was to move away from the linear way that Math courses and Google Classroom tend to go in looking at subject material. I attempted to organize around student learning, needing help or being ready to be evaluated. I did this mostly as a challenge to look at the high level material for Pre-Calculus 30 from a new perspective but I also wanted to design the course to be done as a Hyflex model, which would require some major flexibility. I believe my colleague's appreciated my going out on a limb and trying something new, so the best feedback I received was that this way of organizing the course would be understood and be useful for students (as fellow teacher's could see the value). It also seemed like using a Site as a homebase for a course was an appreciated idea, as the freedom to organize the course differently and reuse the material in the future would be much easier to do!
One other challenge I discussed with the teacher's in my group is to present detailed material (and sometimes quite a bit of it) in a concise and engaging manner using videos or other methods online. Although I am a large fan of project based learning, sometimes in math, science or other course covering some of the curriculum with direct instruction seems necessary. Balancing this with not having 30 minute lectures that cause learner's to fall asleep is tough. And it was nice to hear that this is a common struggle with the other high school teacher's in my group.
Overall, the preview of my colleagues course and the presentation of my course was a very useful activity as it really gave perspective on different ways to organize and implement online learning, as well as, the many different platforms, apps and ways to engage students online that are available.
Thanks for reading.
If you did not realize it the title of the blog is borrowed from the song by Jack Johnson - Better Together