Friday, May 07, 2010

ID Live with John Graves

This weeks’ discussion on EdTechTalk Instructional Design Live was with John Graves, Montana State University-Bozeman on Engaging Learners

(These are my live blogged notes…apologies for gaps and incoherencies :) )

John:  When you don’t have f2f contact with a learner, it’s important to establish yourself (the instructor) as a person – with a family and a life.

How do you foster that initial connection?

Front-load the course – make sure all the pieces are in place even before the student comes online.  “Organization, organization, organization” should be your mantra.  Organized and visually pleasing.  Students have an idea what they need to do.  There needs to be a sense of direction. 

The instructor needs to be front and center – a picture.  Share some personal info about you.  Include an introductory podcast so students can hear and see the teacher.

Then students are encouraged to share their own stories – an assignment in the first week is to introduce yourself as a student.

To engage students online – create an online scavenger hunt to expose students to components of the course that are available to them. (find things in the help system, the syllabus, etc.)  10 questions -- (He uses Desire2Learn) – Why does instructor not go by Carl Graves?  Students then need to go to introduction area and find his profile and find out why.  Students then sent to various arenas in the course – introduces them to the places like Help, etc. This really seems to help students figure out where things are.

Other ideas for icebreakers:

Ongoing ways to connect with students:

John basically keeps 24/7 office hours to set up times online (via Skype, etc.) to meet with students.

Feedback of assignments.


Building in peer review into assignments where students give each other feedback on work.

Students do self assessment of their performance as an evaluator for their classmate.

Focused on being the guide on the side rather than the expert – force students move beyond lower levels and into higher levels of questioning skills.

The recording of this session will be available at Instruction Design Commons.

About Instructional Design Live:

A weekly online talk show, Instructional Design Live is based around Instructional Design related topics and is opportunity for Instructional Designers and professionals engaged in similar work to discuss effective online teaching and learning practices.


Regina said...

As an experienced distance learner, I like your suggestions for ways the instructor can become 'real' and personal to the students. Unfortunately many of the classes I take online have a compressed timeline which limits the time we would have to do a 'scavenger' hunt.

Cammy Bean said...

Hi Regina,

Good point. I think John was primarily talking about semester-long graduate student courses.

But I do think one could add a short exercise -- even in a onetime online webinar -- that gives a scavenger hunt feel and level of excitement to the program.

We once hosted a webinar where we had participants go out and check out a live demo of a program. The first one back who found a key bit of information that we'd asked them to track done won a free guide.

I think it's about incorporating relevant activities into the learning experience -- you don't want to add flash and boom without any substance or reason...