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Starting off online - creating a good social environment online

Laura Renart Sandra Revale Rodrigo Santos

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Areas to consider: • the importance of socialising in online courses • online socialising tasks and tools • the role of the tutor in online socialising

Building an Online Community:

Roles evolve as we go along – you don’t stay the same for as long as the course takes. Table 1. Community evolution (after Conrad and Donaldson (2004) Phase


Learner Role

Instructor Role


1 to 2


Social Negotiator


3 to 4


Structural Engineer


5 to 6






Challenger/ Partner

• the importance on socialising in online courses. (mainly after Nicky Hockly)


• 2ND STAGE: CONCENTRATE ON THE COURSE WORK. • One of the keys to success is carefully design tasks that are collaborative.

• Co-operative learning in five principles (Kagan 1985; Johnson & Johnson 1987; Slavin 1990):

Task types

•• jigsaw tasks •• collaborative projects.

• Any good online course should have a beginning, middle and end.



Laura Renart Sandra Revale Rodrigo Santos

We hope you liked our work‌

Working online - tutor skills for handling online chats, discussions, content

Encouraging motivation and participation

Strategies • Acknowledge students’ contributions regularly offering positive feedback. Praise their effort and encourage them. • Provide a wide range of tasks (from blog entries, chats, discussions, etc), using different formats (audio, video, images, slides, etc) and collaboration (individual, group tasks). Offer learners to make their own choices. • Devise tasks which will be of relevance for the participants as well as useful and appealing.

• Collect feedback along the course so as to make adjustments or changes on their expectations • Build rapport with students. Write nice messages. Show you care. • Pace the course in shorter units so that they appear as achievable. • Reply to participants’ messages as quickly as possible. • Acknowledge participants’ expectations and plan the course taking them into consideration.

• Plan course content and tasks to be engaging and increasingly challenging. • Contact participants who lag behind promptly to clarify doubts, provide support and reassurance. • Provide alternative tasks for those who want to be challenged further. • Ask for participants' input on class topics and tasks. • Allow them to create their own as well as to act as leaders in some activities.

Tools to encourage motivation

Tutor skills for handling synchronous and asynchronous work online

Before teaching an online course • Tutors must be familiarised with ICT tools. • If the tutor does not know much about ICT tools, he/she must be open-minded enough so as to start learning them. • Specific training on the field must be taken in order to be able to start teaching an online course. • Commitment to helping students in both synchronous and asynchronous ways is of paramount importance.

Coping with synchronous online work • Negotiation of meaning thanks to interaction has to be the main outcome of the course. • A calendar for online meetings should preferably involve everybody’s availability (use a survey like doodle) • Online platforms such as text chat, blackboard collaborate, among other ones, can be used to get together with everybody. • Performing the task of being the moderator is compulsory. Nevertheless, in future sessions, this responsibility could be passed on to the students. • Questions must be posed to encourage participation. • Weaving and summarising are necessary to prevent people from losing track of the conversation.

Dealing with asynchronous worknous


• A forum is usually the basis of asynchronous communication. • Introducing yourself to everybody in a friendly way as well as making them do the same thing is very helpful to establish a good rapport with them. • Doing a warm-up activity by either making use of the forum or doing a mind-map is a must. • Being prompt to answer questions and reply to e-mail is a skill which must be learnt. • Showing clear evaluation criteria and setting achievable deadlines will prevent students’ slippage or course drop-outs. • Collaborative work must be enhanced at all times.

Controlling principles behind course design decisions

Online learning and teaching involves a series of steps For participants, who gradually build up expertise in learning online:

- becoming familiar with the VLE and technical tools - responding efficiently to online tasks - collaborating in real-life tasks to broaden understanding - taking the lead towards knowledge construction and assessing the learning process based on their cognitive awareness

For the moderator: - Since the VLE is the centre of attention at first, the moderator’s first role is to bridge the gap between technical, cultural, social and learning contexts so that participants socialise, becoming familiar with the platform until it no longer represents a challenge. - As participants become more actively involved, taking the lead in organising groupwork collaboration, processing final outcomes, providing feedback, the moderator provides guidance and support, coordinating groupwork, collaboration, and postings. - In the final stage, the moderator sets tasks to be peerdirected; participants construct knowledge and develop insights. The moderator supports and guides the process, keeping students on track.

Salmon’s 5 step model of teaching and learning online (Salmon: 2002)

Stage 1, access and motivation: -participants interact with each other, finding their way around the platform, while the tutor provides motivation and sets pace and rhythm so that participants learn what is expected from them within an encouraging and safe VLE E-tivities: online warmers, ice-breakers, relevant and meaningful tasks

Stage 2, socialization: -participants get to know and relate to one another responding to tasks based on a shared cultural context . -tutor guides practice in working together while establishing the bases for future construction of knowledge E-tivities: collaboration, chats, discussion, groupwork based on the discipline

Stage 3, information exchange: -group members are assigned different roles; tasks focus on a given area of content -tutor starts delegating some control on students E-tivities: strong task and action focus, demanding students to work collaboratively and provide each other feedback to deepen understanding in order to reach the common goal, usually a plenary discussion. Stage 4, knowledge construction: -participants feel comfortable working in the VLE, manage their time and collaborate effectively. -tutor assigns real-life problems and examples to analyse, aiming at broadening understanding, providing various viewpoints and perspectives. E-tivities can be peer-directed, either by students setting the outcome or designing the process.

• Stage 5, development: - students are required to gain insight and pass judgement on the knowledge gained. - tutor offers support and guidance E-tivities: enable evaluation and critique as participants defend their positions and explore their metacognitive awareness of their positions towards content as well as their emotions towards learning. (Monty, 2005)

Credits This summary was prepared by Paula Rebolledo, Gabriel Farías and Angélica Kaulen for BC Chile 2: E-Moderation: A Training Course for Online Tutors [June 2013]

References • Monty, A. (2005). A pedagogical model of e-learning at KVL: “The five-stage model of online learning" by Gilly Salmon. Copenhagen: IT Learning C enter, KVL. • Salmon, G. (2002). E-tivities. The Key to Active Online Learning. Taylor & Francis.

Going Deeper The development of Knowledge Content Online

By Virginia Pichilaf & Francisca Leal


Content & Tasks


Course Design Platform & Technology

Student Centered


It should be introduced from the easiest to the most complex to use. The platform shouldn’t be taken as something linear but full of different dimensions instead There should be available support both for the students as well as the instructor

Platform & Technology

It should be a creative learning environment: easy to navigate, visually appealing, with clear-cut rules, consistent in time, and with a variety of tasks to suit different learning styles

It shouldn’t be the goal in itself, but a tool to learn

Must be well-organized, responsive and approachable

Must be sensitive to the students’ needs

The Tutor “VOCAL”

Must have good time-management skills to deal with all the tasks in an effective way;

Must be positive and encouraging so as to engage and motivate students to actively participate in the tasks

should be able to keep track of the students’ progress

should provide appropriate feedback and assessment opportunities in various ways, considering the students’ different learning styles and preferences

Course Planning

Varied Modes of Assessment

Clear Objectives

Interesting Tasks & Content

Course Planning

A course can be designed backwards, by deciding on the types of assessment and aligning them with the other components.

Clear and attainable objectives are crucial for the development of an online course. These are traditionally the first items to be defined in the planning.

The content should be developed in alignment with the objectives and with the modes of assessment, ensuring it is conveyed in interesting and challenging tasks and activities.

Should aim at creating opportunities for interaction (tutor+student / student+student)

Course Objectives


Should be clearly stated and aligned with the other course components.

Should be developed from simple to more complex, ensuring that students process the information in different depth levels

Objective s




Course Assessment




should be linked to objectives; should be varied; should be attainable; should be constructive. Should be formative and summative. Should use clear criteria

Content should be organized in “chunks” that are easily recognized under a heading that clarifies the objectives and the expected learning. Each module should include: Clear objectives Assessment criteria Readings – Videos – Podcasts with the content Visually appealing design Easy to use tools

Course Content Assessment



These chunks or modules should contain a number of tasks or activities that encourage socialization and a group feeling and that encourage participants to learn in varied ways with different levels of depth. Each task should: • be explained in detail • have instructions that are clear and easy to follow • state real expectations and timeframes to be completed • provide clear guidelines on which tools to use to complete them

Content should be shared through a varied range of activities in which students can interact in meaningful and interesting tasks and activities online

Course Content

Tasks should be organized from simple to complex, aligned with the objectives and assessment of the course. Simple









Gather Information

Confirm understanding of information

Using the information

Take apart the information

Put the information together

Judge the outcome

Put together a project, a play, an article, a presentation

Selfevaluation (journals)/ peer review/ group discussions

Read/watch/ listen to Articles/ videos/ podcasts

Take a quiz or poll Do an outline for a paper

Create a cartoon/filmstr ip/a diagram

Break down Compare & contrast arguments

For extra reference the next slide contains Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Polygon of activities.

Tasks Bloom’s Taxonomy Revised

In order to provide different learning contexts and experiences, tasks should appeal to different learning styles, mixing activities involving individual work, pair work and group work. One of the strengths of online courses is the opportunity they give for students to share their knowledge and learn from peers and tutors through active interaction (synchronous or asynchronous)


Tasks can be designed to be “cooperative”, in which participants work in assigned areas or topics asynchronously and then combine their contributions in one product; or they can be designed to be “collaborative”, in which participants work synchronously to complete an activity.

The tutor should learn about his/her students in terms of:

Background and Interests Student Centered Tasks

Prior knowledge (technology)

Student Learning Goals and Expectations

Possible strengths and limitations

As the course progresses it is important to keep in mind all these details and make sure that the content and tasks are relevant for students and actually support the development of knowledge and skills for their future use.


And as our topic title points out, the course should aim at leading students to go deeper in their learning process.

Thanks to all the participants and tutor of the EModBC2 Course! Your insights and ideas have been a great contribution to our project! Virginia & Francisca

in an online course Miguel Cerna & AnalĂ­a Kandel The Consultants-E/ British Council E-mod course 14 July 2013

Overview 1. Reflections on Assessment 2. Do's & Don'ts of assessment of synchronous / asynchronous activities 3. Assessment techniques 4. Activities to finish an online course

Reflections on Assessment

Think of Assessment FIRST, Course design / Teaching LATER

Although in a chronological or linear way course design and teaching may seem to come first, ASSESSMENT comes first because of its washback / backwash effect on course design and teaching. First we must make sound / informed decisions regarding what / how we will assess, and only then can we make further decisions regarding issues of course design and actual teaching.

Formative vs Summative Evaluation Ros Smith on the JISC Report podcast refers to the different tools and techniques that feedback during the process and feedback on the finished product require. This is a key distinction when planning assessment.

Differentiation in Assessment

Choice as a motivating factor in Assessment Ros Smith (JISC Report) wonders why we insist that digital natives be assessed with pen and paper through an essay, in a “one size fits all� view of assessment. She suggests Ss should be offered choices (e.g. write a 500-word essay OR put together a video OR complete an assignment by means of audio OR etc), i.e. provide options that involve just as much thought as more traditional tasks, which may seem threatening to some Ss, thus forcing them to underperform.

Empowering Ss through Peer Feedback Peer feedback is a very beneficial technique, yet it requires explicit instruction to ensure Ss provide quality feedback. Devote a few lessons to coaching Ss (modelling, do's & dont's) and give Ss PF guidelines / checklists (see here and here). See this research work of PF in a teacher training context (Kandel 2001).

Balance between traditional f2f and more innovative online assessment techniques Technology has opened new horizons to improve assessment. Teachers and institutions need to rethink assessment in this light to enhance Ss’ learning. We should consider which traditional methods can be adapted to online platforms rather than stop using them altogether.

of assessment of synchronous and asynchronous activities

Share the aims, assessment criteria and their rationale at the outset of the course

● ●

Use clear, concise rubrics, with examples

● ●

Provide constructive feedback to all participants

● ●

Not all the activities need to be assessed; some can have a formative aim

Encourage motivation and engagement by giving feedback that ensures Ss will want to continue participating (personal, positive as well as negative, specific, using public or private channels, face-saving) Make grades analytical or holistic depending on the characteristics of each task Keep an organised record of postings, deadlines, grades, your notes

● ● ● ● ● ●

Encourage self and peer feedback / evaluation and provide explicit instruction (coaching sessions: modelling, do’s & don’ts) and checklists until Ss have internalised quality feedback-provision strategies. Make feedback student-led /-driven, e.g. get Ss to include specific Qs, areas they require help in, selfassessment comments Encourage open answers, risk-taking and learning by doing to foster frank, enriching discussions Make descriptive, not prescriptive comments (“you-say” type vs. “you-should-say” type) Make questions and suggestions, do not give instructions Comment on work in progress, rather than only on the final product Focus on content and meaning first and on form later

● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Make corrections public only if they are constructive for all, and ensure they are face-saving (do not expose Ss). Otherwise contact the S by e-mail Global problems first, local problems later React as a genuine, interested reader, not as a judge or evaluator Strike a balance between positive / negative comments, not just negative (i.e. corrections) Make specific rather than vague comments to ensure comprehension and ease revision / redrafting In written feedback, use a numbering system for ease of reference Model netiquette, good interpersonal skills, healthy academic habits (acknowledging / citing sources, giving credit to authors or Ss’ ideas)

Assessment methods

1. Tutor-assessment A) Of synchronous chat sessions / webinars Exceeded expectations Participation Reflective skills e.g. journal entry Relevance of contributions Interaction with other participants Netiquette rules

Met expectations

Did not meet expectations

Did not participate

B) Of asynchronous discussion forums Exceeded Met Did not meet expectations expectations expectations Participation Completion of required postings Reflective skills, e.g. journal entry Relevance of contributions Meeting deadlines Interaction with other participants Netiquette rules

Did not participate

2. Self-assessment ●

Supports learning as it lays more emphasis on the learning process as well as on the finished product

Empowers Ss as they take ownership of what they are doing and what they need to improve.

● ● ●

Ss acquire evaluative and reviewing skills Promotes self-reflection Places the onus of learning on the Ss as they become more active and take responsibility for their own learning

3. Collaborative assessment ●

Involves Ss in a more global learning process as they hone their evaluative and inter-personal skills and make new learning connections

Encourages constructive feedback in a collegial and safe environment

Empowers Ss as they learn to provide quality feedback

● ●

Build new learning communities Engage in meaningful dialogue that leads to genuine communication

Assessment techniques Reflective tasks · Analyse texts / situations / problems · Keep a reflective journal · Answer thought-provoking questions · Create a portfolio Written tasks · Write summaries · Write contributions and replies on discussion forums · Write a blog post

Practical tasks · Create a resource pack · Design posters / leaflets / mind maps . Write up rules & advice · Make a video / cartoon / audio recording Collaborative tasks · Pair work / Group projects · Role play · Wikis · Video chat · Blackboard collaborate

Activities to end an online course

1. Parting gifts: the participants prepare a gift for all the members of the course. This gift can be a photo, song, video, poem, image, etc. The more personalised, the better. 2. Farewell discussion forum: The participants write their impressions, feelings and farewell comments. 3. Timeline: The participants create a timeline including the most relevant and significant aspects of the course. 4. Wallwisher: Participants use Padlet (wallwisher) to leave short messages for the other participants. 5. Me in the future: Participants write in a discussion forum what they will be doing in a week / month / year. 6. Follow-up activities: One week/month after the course has finished the participants share what they have applied so far. This activity can be done by email.

7. Metaphors: In this reflective activity, participants share a metaphor to describe the course. For example, "the course was like a garden for me, because I feel I have grown professionally." 8. Evaluation Quiz : At the end of the course, participants receive a link to an e-form to assess the course structure, organization, content, interaction, support, etc. It may include open-ended questions or closed types (eg. M/C) to allow the tutor to analyse the data easily to make adjustments for the future. 9. Extra exploration time: Leave Moodle open for approximately one month after the end of the course so that participants can review their tasks, re-read comments, resources, etc. in order to enhance the learning experience.

Miguel Cerna & AnalĂ­a Kandel The Consultants-E / British Council E-mod course 14 July 2013

Below is a sample of your amazing work ď Š

Thanks for all your incredible work, joyous enthusiasm and dedication! Wishing you the best of luck for your future life as e-moderators. With warm wishes from Janet ď Š



JULY 2013


Emoderation Resource Guide July 2013  

Final group project

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