In this Student Apathy: Public Enemy Jason says:
I am not one to just rant. I have painted a fairly negative view of the student body thus far, and admittedly there are some fantastic students in each classroom. Unfortunately, the influx of a large population of college students seeking anything but higher education (e.g the wage premium,The Five-Year Party, etc.) has contributed to a large amount of variance between the top and bottom student in the classroom. It’s common to hear gripes from professors of “if I graded students the way I really wanted, I’d fail most of my class.” In turn, the pressure to maintain respectable graduation rates leads educators to “teach to the middle,” which leaves the strongest students unchallenged and increasingly disengaged.
This raises the question: Is teaching to the middle leaving the strongest students unchallenged and increasingly disengaged? I think strongest students prefer to be challenged but not necessarily “taught” in a traditional classroom setting. Most of my strongest students like to learn, in a way that suits their needs.
When would students need to be taught by the professors, and when should they be encouraged to learn through peers, projects or collaborative problem solving? It depends on the situation – the type of learners you have, the learners’ style of learning, the learning context, and the pedagogy employed.
How about contrasting these scenarios of traditional teaching with online teaching and learning? Would we be able to shed some light in tackling the problems associated with such student apathy in a traditional classroom teaching or lecturing?
In this Interactions, Student Enthusiasm and Perceived Learning in An Online Teacher Education Degree (in quick view format) by Bill Ussher
Interactions and feedback are critical to success in online learning. All interactions and feedback must be purposeful. In order to achieve this these interactions must be personalised. Do this reflect why blog posts could be used a great learning tool as it could allow interactions amongst learners and instructors to be personalised?
“To make the learning significant these students required personal interactions such as those performed through the portfolios forums and on written assignments…”
Swan found in her research with students learning online, ” that all interactions with instructors mattered.” (2001, p309), not just feedback. I would like to reflect on this finding, especially when relating to my own online learning in MOOC (CCK08, CCK09, CritLit2010, and PLENK). Do interactions with instructors matter? I think interactions with instructors may be important in the Elluminate Session, but not always the case in blogging or forum discussion in MOOC – PLENK. Why?
Most of the interactions that I have in CCK08/CCK09/CritLit2010 were with peer learners, though on a few occasions, I did interact with Stephen Downes and George Siemens. However, may be the main “interactions” with the teachers would be through the Daily, as perceived by many participants.
In this connection, I think the quality of interaction would be more important than the quantity of interaction, especially when it comes to sharing of perspectives on Connectivism in the CCK08/CCK09.
Whilst students need opportunities to “share and compare [their] observations and understanding with others” (Kanuka & Anderson, 1998, p.72) in order to develop understanding, the role of the tutor in making such interactions purposeful cannot be underestimated.
So to what extent is this finding valid in MOOC (like PLENK)? Would this depend on the needs of students, the skills and experience levels of students in the case of PLENK? I could see that some handfuls of experienced educators have been interacting actively in the forum, but then there remained a large number of participants playing the role of “legitimate peripheral Learners”, who might be learning without too much interactions in the forum. They might be interacting mainly through the Daily. Would these participants be using other means of interaction? Blogging? Twittering? Or other Social Networking platforms? Past researches indicated that they did interact with a diverse range of tools as presented here by George.
Jason says: This again reinforces Swan’s finding: Students who had higher perceived levels of interaction with teachers had higher perceived levels of satisfaction with the course and reported higher levels of learning” (2001, p316), all pre-requisites to feelings of success.
Would interaction with teachers be that important in PLENK? May be we need to hear the voices of the participants through research in design and delivery of MOOC…. where I hope we could again reveal the importance of INTERACTIONS (one of the network properties) in learning.
I would assert that interactions amongst peer learners seem to provide a more practical learning solution in MOOC, given that there are more than 1500 participants in the course, with only 4 facilitators to interact with.
So how to keep the students enthusiastic in their learning? Would networked learning as discussed by George be the solution?
This case paper on Enthusiasm and Interaction reports on how group of students could learn through interviewing professionals.
Groups of students visited and interviewed accounting professionals in their offices. The students then prepared and presented written and oral reports. Benefits included exposing students to real-world environments and to successful professionals, and providing opportunities to practice team-building and oral and written communication skills.
Would this sort of assessment work with MOOC – PLENK? How about projects or assignments based on “interview” with professionals (in various fields)? This would allow students (say 9-12 grade, or HE students) to work together on WIKI and conduct such interviews using Elluminate, Skype or other Tools. The students would then be able report back using blogs, WIKIS and forum sharing.
May be I would consider these techniques in the coming year.
So to what extent is the following important in MOOC – PLENK?
INTERACTION with teachers, peers
FEEDBACK from teachers, peers
ASSESSMENT assigned by teachers, and or designed by learners (like the above example)