Summary and best wishes

This is the final installment in the more-or-less daily Technology Supported Learning workshop. The TSL workshop covers a lot of material that can be used in many ways within conventional classroom teaching as well as in hybrid, blended or fully online learning.

You have had an opportunity to be a participant as well as a course developer. I hope that you have had some new and interesting learning experiences yourself, and that these will encourage you to enhance your own courses.

Please take some time to review what we have covered and consider how technology can contribute to your students’ learning and success.

  • Review your course against the entire Course Evaluation Checklist. How are you doing? Are there specific areas that will help your students engage in your course content? Are there specific actions that you can take that will contribute to supporting learning and retention?
  • Looking back at your introduction and expectations, how would you summarize your learning experience? What were your expectations when you started this course? Have your expectations been met? What one thing could YOU have done differently that you would have benefited from?

There are no right answers, but there are lots of good ideas.

Thanks for sharing.

All the best,

6.2 expectation

Required Regular / Frequent Access to the Course

Asynchronous discussion is one of the important technology-supported learning activities. To be effective, students must participate regularly and often. Requiring frequent access is essential to keep discussions moving and to ensure that all student contribute.

There is a tendency for students to assume that “anytime, anywhere” assignments means the 20 minutes before the due time and date. Establishing guidelines for participation frequency is key to successful discussion.

Hybrid courses

In “hybrid” classes, a significant amount of the course learning activity has been moved online, making it possible to reduce the amount of time spent in the classroom. Traditional face-to-face instruction is reduced but not eliminated.

Ten Questions to consider when redesigning a course for hybrid teaching and learning

5.1 Emphasize time on task

5. Emphasize time on task

“Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time on task.” — Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson

Some assignments and course activities produce wonderful learning experiences for students. Some are viewed as drudge work and don’t produce the desired results. We think our subjects are important and interesting. Getting students to spend the time can be a challenge.

For promoting student Time on task there are a number of technology-facilitated learning activities. These include web-based research, collaboration and presentation.

Media in Course Work

Many students enjoy watching and listening to their learning. For many students, being able to rewind and review lectures is invaluable.

There are plenty of well-respected instructors who have recorded their lectures and make these available. Even if their views and content isn’t exactly in line with your course, these differences provide a wonderful opportunity for asking students to compare and contrast your course point of view or facts with those in the external content. Students spend time on task watching the video AND on the critical thinking assignments that you create to bring the students back into your focus.

Moodle – Grades

The two central ideas of grading in Moodle 1.9 are:

  1. Grades are scores attributed to participants in a Moodle course
  2. The gradebook is a repository of these grades: modules push their grades to it, but the gradebook doesn’t push anything back to the modules

4.3 evaluation

Most of the time we give feedback as part of an assessment or evaluation of students’ work. It is a great pleasure to provide feedback as a “guide on the side” as is encourage in discovery-learning or studio-style learning experiences.

from Purdue’s Discovery Learning Center – What is assessment?

  • How can I be certain my program is effectively meeting its objectives?
  • How can I determine if real learning is taking place?
  • How can assessment help me improve my program?
  • What are the tools I need to measure the outcomes of educational programs?

Moodle – Uploading files with feedback

Can I upload files with feedback for students on assignments?

Each of Moodle’s “Assignment” activities allow graders to give valuable feedback to submissions from students. The “Advanced uploading of files” activity stands out from the other assignments because it allows graders to upload a file in response to a student’s submitted file. This allows you to give much more in depth feedback and is especially useful when a grader has edited a student’s file and wants to upload the edited version for the student to review.


The Chat activity module allows participants to have a real-time synchronous discussion via the web. This is a useful way to get a different understanding of each other and the topic being discussed – the mode of using a chat room is quite different from the asynchronous forums. The Chat module contains a number of features for managing and reviewing chat discussions.

I very occasionally include a scheduled “Chat” session in my classes. I have even had guests come and “chat.” Chat is pretty low-tech. It just works. For the guest, I had students submit questions in advance so the guest could have pre-typed answers ready to go. I have been exceeding fortunate that the guest were also really fast typists, so there weren’t long delays in providing really rich responses to spontaneous questions and comments.

4.2 feedback

Reminder: The best way to participate is in the discussion forums in the TSL workshop “course”

I have received a bout of great comments by email but everyone would enjoy these too. Please post your comments and questions in the forum discussions so everyone sees them. Then I will post my reply, and others will have a chance to comment too.

And now, back to our regular program…

Instructor comments

Students like to know why they got points, as well as how they missed them. Instructor notes along with the assignment grade are accommodated as part of the regular point-assignment grading mechanism.

There are a number of features within the assignment grading to streamline grading student work. Separate windows, automatically displaying the next student’s assignment, sorting submissions by time submitted, are just a few of the tools to assist instructors and reduce the time and key strokes required to manage student work.

Students are sent notification when instructor comments are added to the assignment. It looks like this.

07M_0202 -> Assignments -> Games in Education
Valerie Taylor has posted some feedback on your assignment submission for ‘Games in Education’
You can see it appended to your assignment submission:

Assignment markup

For some assignments, it may be appropriate to annotate directly on the student’s assignment submission. There is an option to permit this which must be enabled, if you wish to use the tool. Usually, the instructor can add notes as a separate item (much like posting in a discussion). Only the student and the instructor can view these. With the markup option enabled, the instructor can actually edit the student submission.

4.1 give prompt feedback

Self-grading quizzes can be used to provide unlimited prompt feedback. Catalyst/Moodle separates Question and Quiz creation and editing for maximum flexibility and resuability.

If you have been using some other quiz generator or want to move questions between courses, the Import Questions function is available

Using the grading features for Assignments can assist you to provide prompt feed back by managing the presentation of student work, providing comment input boxes, grade selection and automatic recording, immediate return to students and reporting for completion status for you.

Why are you going this?

This is always a good question to ask yourself when considering adding technology to your courses.

a piece of very wise advise I picked up at an EduCAUSE
conference a couple of years ago.

A paraphrase (which, of course, runs the risk of my reinterpretation) that goes something like this: _when you’re thinking of introducing some piece of educational technology into a course design/development, ask yourself what you hope to achieve by doing so, and ask yourself whether or not you
could achieve the same thing by some other method. _

This was not a luddite talking, but a distinquished prof and expert in
e-learning. I’ve thought on this many, many times. In my school, we
complete around 50 curriculum projects/year and my early questions in every project are Why are we doing this? what do we hope to achieve? what’s the best way to approach this course? –Christine Horgan

3.2 active

There is lots being written about the impact of technology on active and engaging learning.

  • 8 Ways Technology Is Improving Education – Technology is helping teachers to expand beyond linear, text-based learning and to engage students who learn best in other ways. Its role in schools has evolved from a contained “computer class” into a versatile learning tool that could change how we demonstrate concepts, assign projects and assess progress.

And specifically addressing social networking in online teaching and learning…

  1. Why Online Education Needs to Get Social – Education is the second largest industry in America behind health care, and it too is experiencing a similar shift as it struggles to adapt traditional design and delivery models to the demands of modern audiences who are accustomed to digital interactivity.
    The challenge to transition successfully is especially pressing for online higher education. The Sloan Consortium reports that two-thirds of post-secondary educational institutions are seeing an increase in online courses and programs, so it’s a market that education providers simply cannot afford to ignore.