Well, the end of the semester is upon us and this is my last official blog post for EC&I 834 and a final reflection on the development of my course prototype and I have to admit, I will enjoy having a bit more free time with the nice weather, but I will miss the conversations and topics of this course!
My course profile was originally posted as a blog post. After reading the feedback provided to me from my amazing EC&I 834 classmates, I have decided to migrate it to a Google Doc and integrate some of the content into my actual course prototype. I will be working on doing that over the next couple days as well as I will provide my students a link to the document as well. Although many of my students probably will not look too far into it, it was mentioned in my feedback that this course would also be beneficial to other instructors who would be more likely to benefit from access to the profile.
The following are links to my blog posts that discuss some of the aspects of planning and development of my course:
Reasoning and motivation for choosing Calculus 30
Reasoning for choosing Canvas as an LMS
Experimenting with recreating interactive videos
Considerations for interaction between teachers and students and students and students
Final thoughts on the course profile and wrapping up the design
I must admit, when I received the email that contained the link to my feedback, I was a little nervous. It’s not that I didn’t think that I had made a good course, I just wasn’t sure what to expect and the courses I reviewed were so different than mine I hoped that I was on the right track! For those of you that reviewed my course, thank you! I appreciated the feedback and there was no need for me to be nervous at all!
Course Shell Feedback
In terms of my course shell, the feedback I received was very positive. The reviewers liked the format of the course and found it easy to navigate. They mentioned that the student syllabus was beneficial to help with pacing for students and that the simplicity of the platform nicely contrasted the colourful, busy templates of a Google Classroom. They mentioned that it would be a good scaffold to a post-secondary level course and liked the personal touches of the picture of my math shoes (some of my prized possessions!).
The critiques of my course shell included a concern that students would not interact on the platform other than to ask questions of their peers. I agree that this is likely to be what happens in the course but, as this is blended with a face to face component, I believe that the relationships will be developed in class. Another thing to consider that I had not previously mentioned is that many of the students that I have in this class hang out on weekends and participate on the same sports teams even though they are from different communities as we have a regional hockey team and a co-op football team based out of Broadview School. Also, given the smaller class sizes of a rural school (we have 22 graduates this year), many of my students know each other very well before they walk into my classroom. There was also a concern that the video cut off in the lesson, after going back to review the videos, they ended where they were intended and there was no cut of content. The reviewer who mentioned this stated that they do not know Calculus and was not sure if this would be an issue. After review, I feel that the video does not need to be altered based on the lesson.
Course Module Feedback
I had several suggestions in terms of my course modules. The first was to limit the amount of writing done in the videos. I agree that these have LOTS of writing and have been looking at how to ensure that we minimize the amount of writing while still providing students with enough worked examples to be address many of the different situations they may experience when presented with a Calculus problem. There was also the comment that the videos were a little dry and that maybe having a “pause and try yourself” would be beneficial. I agree with these observations and in the future would maybe use more EDPuzzle to make the videos more interactive and have the videos give feedback to how the students are doing like I would in class. I usually prompt students to work all problems in examples when I am teaching face to face and I feel that using something like EDPuzzle would help to integrate this into the online setting. There was also a comment that I had a heavy reliance on the videos. In order to address this, I will also post worked notes which may address additional learner preferences and help those with poor internet access.
I have added a suggested link to Flipgrid on the lesson and agree with the comment I received that it would be useful but would also have had students (hopefully) download the application to their devices and bookmark our class code.
Another concern was whether cheating would be an issue on the quiz. Although students may choose to cheat, I designed the quiz to be a formative assessment for the teacher AND the student to figure out if they are understanding the content. I have found in teaching Calculus 30 that they are motivated students and are determined to understand the concepts for themselves and have never had this issue. As it is not for formal grades, I do not think this would be an issue, it would only be the student selling themselves short of an opportunity for additional help.
It was suggested that maybe students would receive a participation mark for their work on the quiz and Flipgrid. I am not a fan of participation marks in senior level classes as it is not a reflection of a students’ understanding of the outcomes. I do take in homework for my grade 10s and give them a grade of 10 but this does not affect their mark at all (it is weighted as “zero” and is primarily used to help justify exam marks). From experience, I know that not every student needs to do the same amount of questions to achieve mastery of a topic, some will need less, some will need more, and assigning a grade that may lower a final mark based on participation does not seem fair to me if the student is demonstrating their competence in the course. This is a suggestion that I will pass on.
The last suggestion was to include the types of instructor feedback on the syllabus. This has been added to the syllabus page.
Course Profile Feedback
One of the suggestions was to integrate the course profile into the home page of my course. As described earlier in this post, I will be making this change in preparation for my final assignment submission.
Other concerns were that I did not have considerations for EAL or learning disabilities. One reviewer commented that the lack of EAL considerations would make sense due to the limited written language used in the math course but there are word problems like in other math courses. My current demographic that I designed the course for does not have many EAL students, and those that are EAL usually have stronger math skills than my non-EAL students. If I had a student was experiencing difficulty, I would work with them in the face to face sessions to help demonstrate the concepts and bridge any language gap. To be honest, my experiences with EAL is limited and we do not really have EAL supports in my division so this is definitely an area that I can work on improving with further reading in the area. In terms of learning disabilities, the most common ones I would see with a student enrolled in Calculus would be auditory or reading disabilities. I feel that the video lessons would aid students with auditory disabilities and, with limited written language as mentioned above, the reading disabilities can be addressed through the audio of the videos as well as the student is not required to read the question, only listen and perform the mathematics. As this is the highest mathematics course offered in the Saskatchewan curricula, I do not feel I would have a large number of students with learning disabilities in my class.
One reviewer mentioned limited access to technology and internet at home as an area that I need to address as well. I feel that I did address this within my address of access to devices by referencing that although students may not all be in my building, they all have access to computers during recess (yes we have recess right to grade 12) and noon hours for students to access the course. I believe that adding the worked notes as well will help benefit those with poor or no internet at home as they will be able to print the worked notes as well.
I did want to make a mention in my final reflection that my initial plan was to utilize Google+ in order to create a more interactive feel. As I was putting together the content of my course, I was finding that it was too much and repetitive as I was posting the same content to both Google+ and Canvas. For this reason, I decided to ditch the Google+ community and focus on Canvas and integrating the discussion forums and Flipgrids for each unit to encourage the interactions I had initially envisioned happening on Google+.
Overall, I have really enjoyed the process of creating, evaluating, and responding to feedback on my course prototype and feel that this has been a great experience to jump into the world of online and blended learning from a teacher/instructor perspective!
Now to finish work on my Summary of Learning and hope my voice returns to me so I can record my audio (I am really not impressed with having a head cold/sore throat right now!)
I can’t wait to see everyone face to face on Tuesday!
One thought on “The end is near….”
Great post! You evidently looked very deeply into the feedback given and you used a lot of the suggestions to improve your course. We too struggled with multiple platforms and not wanting to repeat too much – you don’t want to overwhelm the students. I think you made good choices in regards to your platforms. Well done!