Final Project
August 29, 2002

Keith S. Feiring

EDUI 6702
Teaching Models for
On-Line Instruction

Final Project: Option Two
Analyze an online course. To do this project choose either:
  • An online course you find you are impressed with.
  • An online course you find you created.
  • An online course you find you propose.

Include the URL to a course your classmates can view, or include a complete course description including a syllabus for a course you have created or you propose.

In your analysis, indicate how each of the four VARK areas are addressed in the course. Also, create a rubric for grading one of the assignments in the course.

Write a response of at least 300 words indicating how you will incorporate what you learned in this class into your online teaching."


Introduction

I have selected "Information in Cyberspace"   for my course to analyze for this final project. I have instructed a similar course on-ground and am very impressed with the on-line presentation of this course. http://www.gslis.utexas.edu/~lis312g/index.html

As stated on the courses homepage, "Information in Cyberspace" is an introductory course offered by the Graduate School of Library and Information Science to UT Austin's undergraduate students.  

This is a hybrid on-line course requiring face to face meetings along with predominately on-line instruction. It has been converted to on-line from on-ground. It is evident that this course is professionally designed with significant attention to many details. The content It is extremely well planned and the course itself is highly imaginative. It also utilizes current technologies such as streaming media.

The course approaches teaching utilizing both the Behaviorist and Cognitive points of view. I am impressed that the course has addressed all the learning styles found in VARK.

In order to access the course you are required utilize a

  • generic password: imaguest
  • username: 4321

The site is designed with frames and  prevents directing the web browser to specific pages within the main frame. Because of this, unfortunately, I am unable to reference specific pages for examples of the information stated below.

My final project is best viewed with Internet Explorer.

Functional aspects of the site - A survey and analysis of elements in this course

Usability

The course site has an appealing look and an interface that is very user friendly. It makes use of side and top navigation bars rather than drop down menus.  It is professionally designed with easy to read fonts, text set in a consistent column size and uses a limited number of interesting and compatible colors throughout.

I am very pleased to see that -- the content on each page is trimmed down to small understandable "chunks." -- Consider how  so many sites and articles are bloated with words. The reduced amount of content on this course's pages makes for much better comprehension of the data being read. This site is the result of excellent graphic/web design.

There is a clear understandable navigation system for all the pages, including back and home buttons throughout.

Platform: School website. (Not Blackboard or WebCT)

Purpose of course clearly stated in the introduction, "This course will show you how to use the basic Internet tools for communicating and publishing information."

 

Has a very helpful, "How To" Section

  • Get an account for the discussion board
  • Help section
    How to format text for the discussion boards
  • Contribute to discussions
  • Search for messages with a keyword
  • Rules and Netiquette
Log on required to enter site.  
Communications
  • E-mail
  • Discussions boards
  • Feedback forms
  • Instant Relay Chat
  • Video
  • Snail
  • Face to face meetings
  • Phone
Types of Pages

 

  • Announcement page
  • Anonymous Feedback form
  • Contact staff page
  • Discussion pages
  • Home page
  • Schedule
  • Student Roster pages
  • Syllabus
Forms
  • Forms for performing,
  • Keyword searches
  • Anonymous feedback to instructors
  • Accessing of messages
  • Accessing grades
Clear statement of prerequisites for taking the on-line course. This relates primarily to the students computer knowledge and equipment.
  • System Requirements
  • Clear statement of computer, connectivity and software requirements.

Clarity of Course Purpose and Student Responsibilities
This is a hybrid on line course. It is conducted primarily on-line but also requiring face to face meetings.
  • Orientation session
  • Three proctored quizzes
  • Participation in several work sessions on a class project

Ability to accommodate persons with disabilities .

Goals & Objectives clearly stated:
  •  What the course is designed to do regarding the student.
  • The skills that can be learned by taking the course.
  • Encourages sharing information.
Course Requirements spelled out related to scheduling, class participation, online discussions,
  • Thorough details of how work must be completed, what is expected in discussions. Explanation of time requirements for submitting assignments and penalties for not fulfilling the requirements properly.
  • Honesty expectations
Grading Policy Statement Note: Also states there will be timely grading.
 

Instructional Elements and Personnel  
Guest Speakers
 
  • Participate in on-line discussion
Required Readings
  • Reference to web-based articles.
  • Online tutorials
  • Lecture notes
  • Paper handouts
Multimedia
  • Steaming Media Tutorials

Assessments  
Quizzes 
  • The success of the students test taking is greatly aided by the approaches used in the course. There are test preparation materials available.
  • Includes how to prepare for quiz and what is expected.
  • Sample quizzes

 

Assignments Weekly assignments need to be completed for a participation grade.
Discussion Participation in discussion areas are assessed.
Student Projects
  • Team Competition
  • Web Design
  • Multimedia Creation of tutorials using streaming media
  • Imaging/Programming
  • T. Shirt Collection
  • Database of school library

Lesson Overview
Lessons Approach 1:
  • Break units into small focused web pages that demonstrate and explain information.
  • Utilize:
    • Text
    • Illustrations
    • Examples
    • Student does follow up mandatory exercises, experiments and practices utilizing the information
    • Optional exercises are available for student to practice new skills

Approach 2:

  • Assignments are given which consist of completing a tutorial. After the tutorial is completed the student is required to answer questions.
Discussion Boards Students participate in discussion of a range topics:
  • Reflect on lessons
  • Lectures
  • Guest speakers
  • Reading
  • Tests
  • Special projects
Final Project

Located on a separate web site
http://www.gslis.utexas.edu/~vtshirt/

Incorporates the use of all the skills students have been leaning on an actual project.

VARK Learning Styles
This course incorporates all the learning styles as defined by VARK.

VARK web site: http://www.vark-learn.com/categories.htm

Learning Style definitions color coded blue. (Definitions of learning styles taken from the VARK web site)

Visual (V):
This preference includes the depiction of information in charts, graphs, flow charts, and all the symbolic arrows, circles, hierarchies and other devices that instructors use to represent what could have been presented in words.

The site recognizes this learning style by utilizing numerous charts, and illustrations.

Aural (A):
This perceptual mode describes a preference for information that is "heard." Students with this modality report that they learn best from lectures, tutorials, tapes, and talking to other students.

The site presents a great deal of information in streaming video format, showing consideration for this learning style:

Read/write (R):
This preference is for information displayed as words. Not surprisingly, many academics have a strong preference for this modality.

Obviously, the site is comprised mostly of text based learning materials. However, I want to once again point out the format in which text is used in the lessons. It is presented in an efficient manner with consideration for conserving words

Kinesthetic (K):
By definition, this modality refers to the "perceptual preference related to the use of experience and practice (simulated or real)." Although such an experience may invoke other modalities, the key is that the student is connected to reality, "either through experience, example, practice or simulation."

There are many examples of the site incorporating this learning style.

  • Weekly assignments that provide the student the opportunity to have a hands-on experience working with the technology that is being studied
  • A final project that requires the student to put into practice what is being studied.
    • Construction of a web site that sells school t-shirts
    • Construction of a database that places information in the school library on-line.

Plans for incorporating information I have learned from this class into both my on-line and on-ground teaching.
 

In the world of Education we have two main regions: theory and reality. There appears to be countless papers and articles espousing numerous theories relating to education. They utilize terminology that is foreign to anyone who is not in the field: constructivism, behaviorism, objectivism, cognitive, concrete and abstract perceivers, to name a few. In our class we have discovered a multitude of resources to aid us in developing excellent curriculum for our students. The challenge in reality is to incorporate this information while fulfilling the day to day requirements of ongoing classes of students.

From taking this class, I have become aware of various learning styles and their significance. In an English course I will be teaching I plan to have my students do the following and therefore address their various learning styles:

  • Take the VARK survey

  • Watch video tapes on both grammar and punctuation.

  • Work on text assignments

  • Prepare and teach each other different elements of grammar

  • Write letters to colleges and organizations requesting information, making sure that punctuation and grammar is correct.

I will also try to do the following when I teach:

  • Set goals.

  • Create an accurate syllabus.

  • Refer to colleagues for help and input related to my course.

  • Try to create assessments that both help to grade the student and afford the student additional learning opportunities.

  • Get feedback from my students.

  • Work on improving my analysis skills related to grading and interacting with student discussions.

  • Utilize Internet resources to enrich the class content and student learning experience.

I will plan my lessons by asking questions of myself such as:

  • What important ideas and concepts do I want my students to learn?

  • What should my students be able to do as a result of taking the course?

  • What types of course activities will best implement my goals?

I will try to refer to and utilize the many resources that were presented in this course such as:

Grading Rubric for E-mail Assignment

  A B C D F

Describe how e-mail works

What is a client / server system?

What do you need in order to send and read e-mail

What does the "@" sign mean?

What is a domain?

>90% :A >80%: B >70%:C >60:D 60% and below
With a partner send email to each other, document the correspondence and print Both completed and documented Both completed and one documented One completed and documented One completed no documentation Not done
Draw an illustration of how e-mail is sent from one computer to another. Have at least 5 components. Have labels on all components >90% :A >80%: B >70%:C >60:D 60% and below
Describe 5 differences between Yahoo e-mail and  Microsoft Outlook e-mail as >90% :A >80%: B >70%:C >60:D 60% and below