Please click here to see a short presentation as my summary of learning. Thanks!
Working through this “Teach” course led me through all four phases of critical inquiry. I found that I worked through the process in a predictable order. My first post of the course reflected a triggering event in that the activity got me thinking about what makes a high quality online course. It also set the stage for engagement during the next part of the course, bringing me back to my initial thoughts on teaching presence. My second post was a clear exploration of my initial inquiry, reflecting and expanding on my ideas of organization in an online course. The learning activities created for my third post was an example of integrating the ideals of teaching presence in my classroom. I also categorized it as the ‘resolution’ phase because I had to come up with a solution or a way of using the concepts of this course in real, hands-on activities.
I did struggle with the resolution phase in that the dilemmas presented in this course are mostly directed at online learning environment which truly doesn’t apply to me at this point. I did my best to learn the concepts and alter them slightly to be more applicable to me.
I like the idea of creating activities with the critical inquiry model in mind, and I believe it will take some practice to ensure lessons ensure students work through the entire process. I think starting activities with a question may help students engage by using their cognition skills to come up with solutions, rather than just presenting material straight to them. This would ensure a triggering event, hopefully followed by the other three phases.
I do believe that working on an open platform to share ideas is valuable. As on online learner myself I really relate to some of the struggles mentioned in the reading material of this course. It can be hard to be aware of my own misconceptions when I don’t have face to face peers to reflect ideas off of. In general i am an “out-loud” thinker and learn by talking about concepts. Using an open platform is a way to help students share ideas without having to be in the same room at the same time, helping overcome this barrier.
I continue to alter each of these assignments to suit my face to face workshop rather than an online open learning class. While the assigned reading in this lesson is geared toward blended learning environments, I was happy to find helpful information in regards to f2f classrooms as well. I was particularly drawn to the section on creating social presence in a face to face classroom. The article made me aware of the importance of creating opportunities for community and collaboration during each workshop I teach. We usually start each workshop with a group accessioning activity. After reading this article I am going to make a couple small changes to ensure the students must work together even more in collaboration to ensure accurate specimen sorting and processing.
The second section of this article on cognitive presence also got me brainstorming ways to keep the students engaged in critical thinking throughout the class. About half of the workshop is traditional ‘lecture’ learning and the other half is hands-on. I am in the process of creating a presentation to go along with the lecture material to ensure we cover visual, auditory as well as kinesthetic learning styles.
Once again, since I teach my workshops face to face as opposed to online, this blog post is slightly altered to be relevant for me. The activities I have come up with are ones that I could use in the classroom. I have tried to integrate the ideas of collaboration, community and teaching presence into these activities as I feel they are equally valuable in a face to face classroom setting.
Learning outcome #1:
Identify the differences between procedures for routine blood collection and procedures for blood culture collection. Explain the reasons for these differences in regards to microbiology lab results, diagnosis and patient care.
Learning activity #1:
Read the procedure for collecting blood cultures. Highlight the steps that differ from routine blood collection. In pairs, discuss reasons for these differences. We will then review these procedures together as a class.
Learning outcome #2:
Ensure correct processing of microbiology specimens including media selection, labeling, inoculation, streaking and incubation. Understand importance of proper streaking patterns to obtain isolation. Demonstrate use of sterile technique in biological safety cabinet.
Learning activity #2:
Choose 3 different types of specimens and review each specimen and requisition for correct labeling. Choose appropriate media plates according to job aide. Label each media plate with a unique identifier (example: SC-1, SC-2, SC-3) as well as required incubation atmosphere (O2, CO2 or AnO2). After watching the demonstration, inoculate and streak media according to protocol. Sort media according to required incubation atmosphere.
The reading material on teaching presence has expanded my view of the teacher’s role in an online classroom. Previously I described organization as an effective practice in my experience as an online learner. I know understand that this is only one of many important aspects of teaching online and all three categories described must be carefully considered and put into action. The categories described as design and organization, facilitating discourse, and direct instruction are all essential to a positive learning environment.
In my last post I talked about my experience with a well organized course and how clear expectations and outlines helped me feel supported in my learning experience. The idea of ‘design and organization’ as the first category of teaching presence supports this and confirms my ideas. However, after reading this article on teaching presence, I see how enhanced direct instruction from the teacher could have contributed to the overall teaching presence and made my experience even better.
In addition to teaching through TRU, I am currently working towards earning a degree in Health Administration online through Athabasca University. This online learning experience has given me some valuable insight. Each course I take is slightly different in the way it is organized and facilitated. To me, what stands out the most in an effective course is organization and cohesiveness. Classes that are clearly outlined, organized and well structured help students clearly understand what is expected in the course. There must be a sense of consistency between the outline, the assignments and learning activities. Lesson notes should always agree with the learning materials and never contradict or confuse the information.
One class I took recently was a struggle for me. I found myself venting to friends and family about how frustrating the class was. While the information presented was relatively simple, the way it was presented was disorganized and often contradicted itself. There were many mistakes in answer keys for learning activities, the textbook sometimes contradicted the class notes. As an online learner, I felt confused for much of the time and second-guessing myself often. This translated to a feeling of being alone in my studies and even made me hesitate to reach out to the facilitator.
The contrast between a well organized course and a poorly organized one is huge. Organization and cohesiveness gives the feeling of a supportive environment. It is easy for students to ask questions in a well organized course. I wish I could take that class again in a different learning environment!
Learning activities update http://scolbourne.trubox.ca/category/learning-activities/
These can also be found by clicking the tab entitled “learning activities” at the top of the page.
The most important concept I took away from this course is the idea of social presence in an online classroom. Correspondence courses can be challenging and I see the importance of creating an inviting and supportive environment for students to fulfill their full potential in their online studies. Making sure to remind students of the real person on the other side of the computer can help encourage this type of supported learning.
I think this concept should be carried forward into the face to face portions of our teaching as well. Taking time to introduce each other and to learn a little about each member of the group can help individuals feel comfortable in both online and face to face learning classrooms. It is in this way that students will feel they can relate to instructors and peers, encouraging sharing of ideas and collaboration during class activities.
My goal would be to start each workshop on a good note with icebreaker introductions. I will lead by example, sharing a little about myself before asking each student to share a little about themselves. Creating a supportive community right from the beginning of each workshop will help students feel comfortable sharing and asking questions. I believe this will help establish the right mindset in preparation of the transition into their practicum and then employment.
I would like to work on keeping students focused and engaged during the lecture part of our workshop. Day one includes a heavy amount of information and I would like to integrate some more activities that will help give life to the classroom. My tutorial in the last post was simple but I think something like this can help break up the day and keep students engaged.
I used the app Explain Everything on my android phone to create this short tutorial. Streaking microbiology plates is one of the skills I cover in the workshop I teach. Creating a quick video tutorial could help streamline the teaching process in our classroom section of the workshop.
The workshop I teach is not online, it is a face-to-face two day workshop in a hospital setting. However, as I read through this course I believe that the idea of social presence can be applied to f2f classes as well. Ice breakers and introductions are important to create a supportive learning environment.
My Learning Activities section can be used to collect ideas for my classroom activities that I plan to implement as I make changes to the workshop.