Choosing the content is INTEGRAL to creating an online/blended course

When given the course prototype assignment for EC&I 834, my mind initially started racing….which course should I do, should I try more than one, are certain courses too hard and to be avoided…and, most prominently…. OMG where do I start??

Too many ideas?

Photo Credit: danielfoster437 Flickr via Compfight cc

As I teach in rural Saskatchewan, we are unfortunately not always able to offer students the courses they would like to take in a face-to-face manner. We have come up with unique ways to get around this, primarily with our magnet system. Our magnet system involves schools that are relatively close geographically to each other offering a selection of courses that may not have enough interest in only one school. These are primarily PAA courses, however we offer French, Calculus and Forensic Science in this manner as well. Every second afternoon, students are transported via buses to the appropriate school to take their magnet course, which are blocked in 2-hour time slots, and then are returned to their home school before the end of the school day. Students are required to travel over their lunch hour but, through this programming, we are able to increase their options from 4 courses to 10 courses in my particular magnet grouping.

I teach the Calculus 30 course for my magnet grouping and have had to adapt an academic course into a 2-hour block where (not all) students are not able to stay for extra help if needed. I have had to come up with alternative ways of aiding students, typically this means they email me questions, I work them out, and email an image of the fully worked solution back. This is not the ideal way to receive additional support in mathematics and therefore, I would like to create a space where students are able to interact with each other and with myself to work through their challenges in the course. Calculus is often thought of as the study of change, and so I feel will be a great place for me to start my journey into online and blended learning.


Photo Credit: CMLorenz16 Flickr via Compfight cc

So, I have selected the course, Calculus 30, and am thinking that a blended learning model, with both face-to-face and online aspects, will be the best for the course content and student needs. Now, I just need to find an appropriate learning management system (LMS). I have read that other classmates (Liz and Kelsie) are looking at using Google Classroom and other GAFE tools which I do not have access to as my division has not yet been ready to jump on board with them. So I am looking for another LMS. I have created a course using Moodle in the past, but am looking to expand my horizons into something new! Amy tweeted asking for suggestions for elementary LMS and I am going to start looking at the suggested Edmodo and Fresh Grade and move from there. Any and all suggestions, with a major bonus if they support math text, are welcomed!

I would like to try a flipped classroom model but am not sure that I would like the entire course/module that I will create to be flipped. Including videos of myself working problems that will be accessible for students working at home who, in the past, may not have had access to someone that could help them when they get stuck may be how I attempt this. If you have done a flipped classroom, what have you found to be the benefits/challenges of the set up?

If there is anyone that is still trying to decide what course they would like to create and would like to share in my passion for Calculus, let me know, I would love to collaborate if someone else is interested in the same topic! I look forward to creating this prototype course and hopefully adapting aspects of it into more of my teaching!

Now to try something new….embedding a GIF…..

Aaaand I’m out… via Giphy



8 thoughts on “Choosing the content is INTEGRAL to creating an online/blended course

  1. Pingback: The Start of Something New – ScienceOunce

  2. Very interesting choice in course, Kara! Not only that, but I am quite impressed that you would take on a Math course – a really difficult one at that – to teach in a blended format. I teach grade 9 Math and I find it difficult explaining things to students when it is not in person, so I am really looking forward to your course to find inspiration for mine! I have never done a flipped classroom environment, so I unfortunately cannot give feedback for this concept, but I have chatted to students in grade 12 Math, and a lot of them use YouTube videos to review some teaching of Math concepts, so I know that videos are entirely possible for Math and can work when done right. Good luck with this task!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kara, I really look forward to seeing the final product of your Calc. 30 prototype. I’m not sure if you are familiar with Google Drive but I know that Google Docs has a math text add on, which could make your life easier down the road. I haven’t used it much but for the middle years math I am doing it works fine.


  4. ashleypmurray

    Hi Kara, I’ve done a flipped math class for Foundations & Pre-Calculus 10, part of Foundations 20 and Pre-calculus 20. I found that it took students a while to adjust to the “new” design of the class. Some didn’t watch the videos on their own to start with, but I think that’s because they thought if they pushed against the idea that I would go back to my old more “traditional” style of teaching. When the students didn’t watch the video at home I had them watch it during class the next day which wasted the time they had to work on the assignment in class with me there to ask for help.

    Each day students would watch a 10-15 minute video that I either made or found on youtube. This video was to be completed as their homework. I had a handout to go with the video so students could take notes and work through the question following along. The next day I would go over the video and review areas I knew students would have problems with understanding from the video. I would then assign questions that they could work on during class.

    I really loved that there was so much time to help students and for them to work together in class time. Most of my students really liked the format once they got used to it (which didn’t take long). I also like the videos because they are always online & accessible so students can go back anytime to watch the videos. I haven’t taught Math since being back from maternity leave, but I am hoping to try out the flipped class again next time I teach it.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how your Calculus 30 project comes together.


  5. That embedded gif is amazing. I am glad to see you are going to try a different LMS other than Moodle. I had the same thoughts. Moodle is pretty good, but this course provides an opportunity to try out some different platforms! I’m really glad my division is on board with Google Classroom; I didn’t realize so many divisions were not on board with it yet. Good luck with your project! I am looking forward to following it.


  6. Pingback: The end is near…. – Kara Taylor's Blog

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