Thursday, April 21, 2016

Insights Gained (Module 8)

This is my final post as part of my EDUC 8306 course work.
Insights Related to Technology
Two insights related to technology that inspired me were first, the variety of technologies being used and second, I want to put more technology tools in my instructional toolbox, so to speak. My first insight was the variety of technologies that my classmates are using in their own classrooms, everything from 3-d simulations to productivity tools to social media. My second insight was that I had the desire to search out and use more technology for and with my students. I am especially interested in incorporating more productivity tools such as Padlet and Google tools to enhance the teaching of the research process to the students.
Insights on Technology and Andragogy
I am also to write about andragogy and technology. Knowles, Holton, and Swanson (2014) have identified and described the key principles of andragogy: adults need to know, be self-directed, draw on prior experience, encounter authentic tasks, and learn from internal motivation. Two insights about technology for supporting learning and related to andragogy that inspired me are first, the self-directed nature of many of the technologies and second, the possibilities for authentic tasks. I will incorporate these insights into my future teaching practice by investigating applications that will leverage adult students’ desire for self-direction, such as lecture-capture, so that they can watch a lesson at their own pace and as many times as needed to understand the information. Moreover, through technology, students can apply and analyze this information in ways that have value and meaning outside of the classroom. Two technologies might be Twitter and blogging.

Although this is my last post for the class, I plan on continuing writing about how I am using technology in my basic writing classes. 

Knowles, M. S., Holton III, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (2014). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. Routledge.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Wikipedia in the College Classroom (Module 7)

The technology I have selected for my Module 7 blog is Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia. Unlike print encyclopedias, contributors, known as Wikipedians, create and edit Wikipedia articles (Wikipedia, 2016). Also unlike print medium, the articles are tagged as to their reliability. Although Wikipedia has been vilified by many in education (Comer, 2013), it does have its usefulness in the college classroom. First, students can use Wikipedia to gain background knowledge on a topic and use the article’s reference list, usually hyperlinked to those items on the Internet, to jump-start their research. Second, since the articles are written by Wikipedia’s readers, this site allows students to write for an authentic audience. This second point is what I want to write about in this blog entry.

Instructors have used Wikipedia to further students’ writing skills. Matthew Vetter has written about a collaboration between students and librarians that result in writing and posting Wikipedia entries. I might use this teaching and learning strategy by joining forces with my university’s reference and special collections librarians to instruct students in doing original research in Special Collections on university topics to create corresponding Wikipedia articles or edit already published articles. I know that my university’s site could use some help as it is primarily about the football team.

Ethical considerations. The ethical considerations related to using Wikipedia as a writing venue for students are few. However, plagiarism (Mozgovoy, Kakkonen, Cosma, 2010) and accuracy do come to my mind as possible ethical problems. By helping students guard against plagiarism, both the instructor and the librarians will help students to understand and navigate this potentially dangerous issue. The other possible ethical consideration is accuracy. Again, by having students collaborate with their instructor and librarians, students will learn the various ways to prevent inaccuracy such as citing sources and careful editing.

Positive social change. This technology might be used for positive social change (making life better for individuals) by promoting public awareness of the university library resources and contributing to public knowledge. This technology also promotes positive social change by increasing students’ knowledge in writing for an audience and motivation for learning (Vetter, 2014). These skills are necessary for students who want to complete their college degrees. In addition, using Wikipedia promotes positive social change by helping students to analyze and evaluate Internet sources in general (Traphagan, Traphagan, Neavel-Dickens, & Resta, 2014). This last item is especially important during this time of elections.

Next semester, I plan to add this activity to my course curriculum.

  • Comer, A. (2013). Should university students use Wikipedia? The Guardian. Retrieved from
  • Mozgovoy, M., Kakkonen, T., & Cosma, G. (2010). Automatic student plagiarism detection: Future perspectives. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 43(4), 511–531. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Traphagan, T., Traphagan, J., Neavel Dickens, L., & Resta, P. (2014). Changes in college students' perceptions of use of web-based resources for academic tasks with Wikipedia projects: a preliminary exploration. Interactive Learning Environments, 22(3), 253-270. doi:10.1080/10494820.2011.641685 
  • Vetter, M. A. (2014). Archive 2.0: What composition students and academic libraries can gain from digital-collaborative pedagogies. Composition Studies, 42(1), 35-53.
  • Wikipedia. (2016). Who writes Wikipedia? Retrieved from

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Online Quizzes

Since we've been talking about student engagement, I thought that I would include a link to Maryellen Weimer's latest Faculty Focus article, "Five Types of Quizzes that Deepen Engagement with Course Content? She suggests having students complete an online quiz before class. The instructor can then look at the compiled summary of the quizzes before class and see what concepts need further explanation.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Engagement and Assessment Tools (Module 6)

Since I teach developmental reading and composition, I am interested in technology that will help students achieve success in reading and writing. Therefore, the technologies that I have chosen that will foster, engage, and assess student reading and writing skills are first, a classroom response system (CRS) and second, the discussion board feature on D2L, the learning management system (LMS) used by my institution.

Classroom Response Systems
First, I would use the CRS to foster, engage, and assess student reading skills. A CRS is software or hardware that allows instructors to poll students for assessment and/or engagement purposes. For example, an instructor may use a CRS to display multiple-choice questions within a presentation slide. Students then use cell phones or “clickers” to respond” (Lander & Stoeckel, 2012). 

Since my classes are usually small, under 25 students, I would not be using this method a lot so would not want my students to purchase clickers. Therefore, I would have those in the classroom upload the free app, Socrative (, to their cell phones to use as a response system. Then, I would have them use the app in pairs, with one phone per pair so that those without cell phones could still participate. Yes, we still have students who do not have smart phones. 

The synchronous activities would probably be game based activities involving reading comprehension skills with single right answers. Moreover, Socrative aggregates the results, creating visualizations. In this way, I would be able to see the levels of understanding for the whole class and individual students. According to Socrative (2016), this also allows instructors to “use class time to better collaborate and grow as a community of learners.” 

Socrative also provides a blog, Socrative Garden ( with teaching ideas. Although I have yet to use this app, it seems like it would be a valuable tool in my toolbox of engaging activities.

Online Discussion Boards
Second, I would use D2L’s Discussion tool to foster, engage, and assess student writing skills. As most people reading this blog already know, the Discussion tool on an LMS, such as D2L, is a collaborative place where students can post, read, and respond to messages on different topics (University of Colorado-Boulder, 2015). 

Specifically, to engage the students, I would provide an open-ended prompt on a current class topic for students to answer initially and ask them to interact with each other by posting responses to the initial posts. Students will be able to answer over the course of days rather than minutes as in a classroom thus allowing time to ponder the question and their responses (McDougall, 2015)

Another aspect of engagement is the chance for students to see what their classmates are thinking (Hall, 2015) and writing. To assess students, I would provide a simple rubric (Giacumo, Savenye, & Smith, 2013) attached to the discussion board so students can see how I will assess them and then each student can see how I have assessed him or her at the end of the discussion period.

I think that these two technologies would be great additions to my toolbox, providing a variety of modalities for the students and new formative assessment approaches for me.

Giacumo, L. A., Savenye, W., & Smith, N. (2013). Facilitation prompts and rubrics on higher-order thinking skill performance found in undergraduate asynchronous discussion boards. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(5), 774-794. Retrieved from
Hall, R. A. (2015). Critical thinking in online discussion boards: Transforming an anomaly. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin81(3), 21-27. Retrieved from
Lander, B., & Stoeckel, S. (2012). Tips & Trends: Classroom Response Systems. Retrieved from
McDougall, J. (2015). The quest for authenticity: A study of an online discussion forum and the needs of adult learners. Australian Journal of Adult Learning55(1), 94-113. Retrieved from
Socrative. (2016). Retrieved from

Monday, March 14, 2016

YouTube Update (Module 5, continued)

My last post was about the use of YouTube in my college reading/composition class. Here is an update. Recently, I had each student in my reading/composition post a link to an instructional reading/writing video on the class discussion board. Classmates could then use those videos to review for the midterm. One hundred percent of the students posted! The second part of the assignment was to watch someone else's video and comment on it. Again, a hundred percent participation! This assignment is definitely a keeper.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

YouTube, I Tube, We All YouTube (Module 5)

Enjoyment drives motivation that in turn drives learning. In the current visual and digital culture, students enjoy watching videos and looking at pictures. The use of Snapchat and Instagram verifies this. Therefore, using videos in classroom lessons and for review outside of class seems logical; they are fun, enjoyable, and thus motivating (Green, 2012; Lee, 2014). The study by Richards-Babb, Curtis, Smith, and Mingming (2014) bears out this idea. The students in their study ranked problem-solving videos over textbooks. Currently, the top site for videos is YouTube. a user-generated content provider and video sharing service, with more than one billion users who watch hundreds of millions of hours of videos daily (Buzzetto-More, 2015; YouTube, n.d.). Thus, the technology that I have chosen for this blog post is YouTube.

One of the benefits of YouTube for teaching and learning includes its multi-modal aspect. For  students, YouTube provides opportunities to see, hear, and replay as needed. For instructors, YouTube provides a way to present different perspectives on a topic. Although YouTube does have these benefits, its use also has challenges. For instructors, the challenge is taking the time to find videos that will be age appropriate and engage learners. For students, the challenge is sitting through a long, boring video chosen by the instructor. Thus, to foster student engagement through this technology, I have started to ask students to locate videos and post the URL on an online discussion board. From this assignment, the students and I will have a collection of videos on reading and writing for college. This solves the challenge of locating a variety of videos and locating videos that students will enjoy.

To sustain this technology, one strategy I would implement in my teaching context is to create a YouTube channel. On this channel, I would then put the selections that my students have found. In so doing, I would have a library of videos hand-picked by students.

Buzzetto-More, N. (2015). Student attitudes towards the integration of YouTube in online, hybrid, and web-assisted courses: An examination of the impact of course modality on perception. Journal of Online Learning & Teaching, 11(1), 55-73. Retrieved from
Green, A. (2012). The use of YouTube in further education colleges. Multimedia Information & Technology, 38(2), 14-15. Retrieved from
Lee, H. (2014). Social media and student learning behavior: Plugging into mainstream music offers dynamic ways to learn English. Computers in Human Behavior, 36496-501. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.02.019
Richards-Babb, M., Curtis, R., Smith, V. J., & Mingming, X. (2014). Problem solving videos for general chemistry review: Students' perceptions and use patterns. Journal of Chemical Education, 91(11), 1796-1803. doi:10.1021/ed500280b
YouTube. (n.d.). Statistics. Retrieved 1 Mar. 2016 from statistics.html

Sunday, February 28, 2016

To Blog or Not? Is that the Question? (Module 4)

The second part of the most recent EDUC 8306 assignment was to reflect on the challenges and benefits of  my blogging experience. After some thought, I have decided that my biggest challenges include keeping up the momentum of writing the blog entries and composing formal assignments to post in a medium that is more informal.

On the other side, the benefits for me in this assignment so far has been writing for a wider audience and the experience of blogging on a regular schedule.
However, I am unsure which would outweigh the other if I was doing a blog on my own.