Engaging Students Online

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1 Engaging Students Online Professor William Pelz Herkimer County Community College State University of New York SUNY Learning Network

2 ENGAGEMENT Why? / How?

3 It s not that students can t pay attention, it s just that they are bored bored with what we as educators are presenting to them.

4 Today s kids are not ADD, they re EOE Kip Leland Los Angeles Virtual Academy

5 Students - engaged or enraged The Continuum of engagement / / A B C A. Self-motivated students B. Students who play school C. Students who tune us out Thanks - and credit - to Marc Prensky, Educause Review, Sept/Oct. 2005, Volume 40, Number 5

6 Pedagogy / Andragogy Are there specific strategies which facilitate adult learning?

7 The term Andragogy was originally formulated by a German teacher, Alexander Kapp, in 1833 then put into educational discourse in the 1970 s by Malcolm Knowles.

8 Andragogy ala Malcolm Knowles Knowles' theory of andragogy was an attempt to develop a theory specifically for adult learning. Knowles emphasizes that adults are self-directed and expect to take responsibility for decisions. Adult learning programs must accommodate this fundamental aspect.

9 A comparison of the assumptions of pedagogy and andragogy following Knowles (Jarvis 1985: 51) Pedagogy Andragogy The learner The learner's experience Readiness to learn Orientation to learning Dependent. Teacher directs what, when, how a subject is learned and tests that it has been learned Of little worth. Hence teaching methods are didactic People learn what society expects them to. So that the curriculum is standardized. Acquisition of subject matter. Curriculum organized by subjects. Moves towards independence. Self-directing. Teacher encourages and nurtures this movement A rich resource for learning. Hence teaching methods include discussion, problemsolving etc. People learn what they need to know, so that learning programs organized around life application. Learning experiences should be based around experiences, since people are performance centred in their learning

10 Andragogy ala Malcolm Knowles Knowles concept of Andragogy makes the following assumptions about the design of learning: 1. Adults need to know why they need to learn something 2. Adults need to learn experientially, 3. Adults approach learning as problem-solving, and 4. Adults learn best when the topic is of immediate value.

11 In practical terms, andragogy means that instruction for adults needs to focus more on the process and less on the content being taught. Strategies such as case studies, role playing, simulations, and self-evaluation are most useful.

12 Instructors adopt a role of facilitator or resource rather than lecturer or grader.

13 Andragogy revisited 1. Focus on learning, not on teaching 2. Let the students do most of the work. 3. Create a Learn by Engaging environment I like to call this approach Radical Andragogy!

14 Radical Andragogy 1. There is no teaching. There is learning. Content learning requires time-on-task Only motivated learners will take the time Engagement is motivational

15 Radical Andragogy 2. Let the students do the work. Methodology: Read / Question / Discuss Students first read the material then they post discussion questions then they facilitate the ensuing discussions

16 3. Engage the Learner Content Engagement Interact with the formal course materials Social Engagement Interact with other learners establish a community of learners Cognitive Engagement Construct new knowledge through active learning

17 Radical Pedagogy At the most elemental level it boils down to this Students learn when they engage!

18 How can we engage online students? What suggestions does the 10 years of research by SLN and the collective experiences of several thousand seasoned SUNY online professors suggest?

19 Time on Task Learning takes time...time to engage the content of the discipline Readings - textbook / supplements / websites Professors - lectures / assignments Students - classes / small groups The more time - the more learning

20 Research on time 1. In the United States, the typical student spends about 12 hours per week studying all subjects 2. The typical student caries a B+ grade average slightly higher at the Ivys 3. The Carnegie Standard for higher education is 2-3 hours of study out of class for each hour in class.

21 Motivating the learner but how do you engage your students in the content of your discipline, with one another, with the ideas important to your discipline and get them to spend the appropriate amount of time learning?

22 Time flies when you are having fun because then you are really engaged in the activity!

23 The Rules of Academic Engagement 1. Create a rewarding learning environment - make learning a social event. 2. Put your students in charge of their learning. 3. Specify your expectations 4. Provide early, rapid and continuous feedback.

24 Make Learning a Social Event Design Interactive Discussion Threads: require multiple posts per thread per participant require thread depth: responses to responses Use Small Group Discussions / Tasks: design collaborative term projects groups report to the entire class for further discussion

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27 Self-Directed Learning Activities Students create the questions for group / class discussion Students locate, review and facilitate the discussion of content-relevant websites Students collaborate to select research topics, locate resources, organize and edit term research Students contribute potential exam topics

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30 Clear Expectations 1. Create a clear, simple discussion rubric & Grading Scale 2. Establish rules for discussion posts 3. Specify discussion parameters: Deadline for initial post Required frequency of participation Minimum number of posts per discussion Quality guidelines Teaching Presence requirements

31 Discussion Rubric / Grading Scale

32 Typical Discussion Post

33 Rules for Discussion Posts Pedagogical Principle - Advanced Organizer Adults learn best when they know in advance what it is they are supposed to learn.

34 Typical Discussion Post Most discussion forums provide two fields: 1. Subject Field use to introduce the issue and give the learner a mental set to be prepared to learn 2. Comment Field teaches something important Two Cardinal rules.

35 Cardinal Rule #1 The comment must introduce relevant, new information. Is the comment accurate? Is it relevant to the issue under discussion? Does it teach us anything new? Does it add to the academic atmosphere of the course?

36 Cardinal Rule #2 The subject must convey the main point made in the comment. The goal is to briefly state the main idea of the comment in in subject. The subject provides an abstract of the comment.

37 This accomplishes 2 goals: 1. It requires the author to think about and clearly state the main point of his/her comment. To do this, the author must have a clear understanding of the material, and this aids in learning and memory. 2. It provides the reader with advance information which is helpful in organizing and learning the content of the comment. The reader should be able to determine the essence of your comment just by reading your Subject.

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40 Discussion Hints When you respond to another student's comment, write your comment first, then write your subject. The discussions should be written in an appropriately academic way, and proof read for typographical errors & correct grammar & punctuation. When you ask a question in the chapter discussions, you are creating a discussion thread. You are in charge of your discussion threads. It is your responsibility to respond to each student who participates in your threads. It is also your responsibility to keep the discussion on topic. You are the "teacher" and the "cop". If you do a good job, the discussions you facilitate will cover the issue you are asking about well, and you and the other participants will learn from it. If your comment is 1 one or 2 sentences long, it is probably only worth at most 1 or 2 points. Three and 4 point discussion posts are almost always comprehensive and well documented. Participate early and frequently in each discussion. If you post your website review or chapter question late in the module, you will not get full credit. Also, if you only logon and participate a couple of times in a module, you will not get full credit. These are discussions, so you must participate in them actively, just like you would if you were talking to the other students face-toface in the classroom. "Copying and Pasting" content from a website is not discussing. If you to use website information to emphasize a point you must cite the source and use quote marks to indicate material you are using from that source. Discussion comments should be primarily your own words - not material you copy-paste. When I score your discussion post, I only consider your original words, not the material you have pasted in.

41 Feedback Immediacy 24 hour turnaround policy Student access to feedback

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44 Outcomes and Evaluations

45 Course Completion Completion Rates F99 S00 F00 S01 F01 S02 F02 S03 F03 S04 F04 S05 Number of Course Pairs / Term In-Room Online

46 Achievement ACUM F99 S00 F00 S01 F01 S02 F02 S03 F03 S04 F04 S05 Number of Course Pairs / Term In-Room Online

47 Student Reactions I enjoyed the classmate discussions. Everyone offered information to assist in understanding the chapter, and many students also offered additional information and websites which helped me to understand the text book.

48 Student Reactions The fact that we had no choice but to interact with all the other students is great. In a classroom setting some students are usually too withdrawn or shy to share, and their opinions can be very helpful and informative.

49 Student Reactions I loved the discussions the best. I love the fact that we take the information we get out of the book and build upon it. I think that it is the best way to increase knowledge. We are not simply repeating what we read in the book, but using other sources and our own experiences to further our understanding of any given topic.

50 Questions??? This presentation is available online at:

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