The Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT) is, in my humble opinion, the premier association for instructional designers. My professors in my doctoral studies had been promoting this professional organization and their educational technology standards to their students. I finally attended the AECT conference last year and was blown away by the professional level of everyone I met and how cordial they were to newcomers. This year, their 2018 conference will be held in Kansas City, MO from October 23-27 at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. I’ll be there, so let me know if you plan to attend. For AECT members, I placed my slides and research paper on the new conference online portal.
This time around, I’ll be presenting on my latest research and giving a workshop on the Online Community of Inquiry Syllabus Rubric that I co-developed with Dr. Van Haneghan. It serves as a great collaboration tool to provide feedback to instructors and for syllabi content analysis for action research. Here’s my schedule:
Wed, Oct 24, 9:00am to 12:00pm, Marriott, Room-Bennie Morten B
Use of Online Community of Inquiry Syllabus Rubric for Course Developers and Collaborators, Drs. Rogers & Khalsa
The Magis Instructional Design (ID) Model for online courses was developed by Sandra Rogers (2015) with input from the Jesuits at Spring Hill College, as subject matter experts, and her professor in instructional design, Dr. Davidson-Shivers. It’s unique in that it addresses religion, spirituality, and social justice in addition to intellectual growth.
Jesuit school educators include techniques for reflection within their units of study in order to challenge students to serve others (Korth, 1993). According to one theology professor, Jesuit educators focus instructional activities on experiential learning to engender the cycle of experience leading to reflection and further action. This is based on the dynamics of Saint Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises from which Ignatian pedagogy is derived.
The principles of Ignatian pedagogy include context, experience, reflection, action, and evaluation (Korth, 1993). Further action and service to others are for the greater glory of God. Magis means doing more for God’s Kingdom (Ad majorem Dei gloriam). The Magis ID Model is an alternative to existing ones in that it embeds the following Ignatian pedagogical layers into the systematic design of instruction to develop learners into caring leaders by addressing the whole person:
Analyze human learning experience online/offline
Establish relationships of mutual respect online/offline
Tap into learner’s prior knowledge & experience
Design optimal learning experience for the whole person
Designing for a community of inquiry (COI) loop will address the Ignatian principles of teaching to the whole person. A COI exists when you have social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence. These are essential elements to the communication loop for an online COI (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000). This means that learners in an online environment are involved in activities that are cognitively challenging, are able to interact with their classmates, and that teaching is present in some way through words (e.g., text-based discussion), voice (e.g., podcasts), or person (e.g., webcast). The teaching can be delivered by student moderators or the instructor.
Bernard et al. (2009) conducted a meta-analysis of 74 online course interactions and found substantive research outcomes indicating the positive effect on learning when online educators build these types of interactions into their courses: student-student, student-teacher, and student-content. These interaction treatments (ITs) were defined as the environments and not the actual behaviors that occur within them. Through ID processes, one can design and develop these types of environments for distance education. Table 1 displays the main components of a Jesuit education, COI, and ITs, and their interrelationships.
Comparison of Jesuit Education and Research-Based Best Practices
Jesuit Education of the Whole Person
Necessary Elements for an Online Community of Inquiry
Research-based Best Practices for Interaction Treatments
Designing Optimal Learning Experiences for the Whole Person
The Magis ID Model analyzes the type of instructional strategies used in distance education to ensure they address the whole person through cura personalis (mind, body, & spirit). Strategy selection should vary to meet the needs of diverse learners and engender higher-order thinking for cognitive presence. Selection depends on various affordances and constraints such as time and resources. For example, an activity-centeredlesson is based on an interactive task and requires collaborative tools and student groupings. Content-centered lessons are passive tasks where the student generally only interacts with the content; the exception being discussions of content. Experience-centered activities require a hands-on approach to developing something or serving/working with others. The learner-centered activity provides the learner with more autonomy over their pursuit of knowledge and includes metacognitive actions for self-regulation of learning; the affordances and constraints for this type of activity are highly dependent on the task. Ideally, online educators should provide active learning activities to enhance cognitive transfer of new information and skills learned to long-term memory.
Contact Dr. Rogers (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Spring Hill College to learn more about this ID model and how it’s being used to develop distance education courses.
I took my first series of online courses for professional development in 2009. The courses were highly interactively and well-designed because they were taught by experts in the field of computer-assisted language learning. A shout-out to my professors in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate program, Principles and Practices of Online Teaching! (See blog on this topic). Ever since then, I’ve compared online courses to those.
As a working instructional designer and current PhD student enrolled in online courses, I bring a well-rounded perspective to the topic of distance education. I’ve researched and written about how to develop an online community of inquiry. It has become my personal agenda to ensure that students taking online courses don’t get frustrated from the course design and lack of social presence and teacher presence.
Here’s a list of what I consider the top 5 pitfalls that will surely decrease student learning outcomes and student satisfaction:
Lack of patternin weekly assignments will cause confusion, especially in a hybrid (blended) course. For example, as you plan threaded discussions, quizzes, and assignments, make sure they follow a pattern. Otherwise, indicate on your syllabus any gaps in the established pattern of assignments.
Numerous clicksto find content leads to frustration. To increase findability, use clear navigation practices to reduce time lost on task and frustration levels (Simunich, Robins, & Kelly, 2012).
Lack of synchronous sessions to connect with the human leads to reduced achievement. To increase student achievement, include synchronous sessions (Bernard et al., 2009). Arbaugh and Hornik (2006) suggested video conferencing, voice messaging, or some other types of multimedia.
Instructors not responding to students’ discussions in a timely manner could cause missed learning opportunities. There are several theories on human learning about delivering targeted instruction at the right time such as Vygotsky’s (1978) zone of proximal development that posits that a student can only attain so much without the assistance from others. Students need prompt feedback that targets their instructional needs (Arbaugh, 2001). See my blog post on instructor feedback for online courses.
Lack of student-student interactions may decrease student satisfaction and student achievement (Bernard et al., 2004). Make sure students can talk to one another and share their finished projects.
Do you agree with my top 5?
Arbaugh, J. B. (2001). How instructor immediacy behaviors affect student satisfaction and learning in web-based courses. Business Communication Quarterly, 30, 42-54.
Arbaugh, J. B., & Hornik, S. (2006). Do Chickering and Gamson’s seven principles also apply to online MBAs? The Journal of Educators Online, 3(2), 1-18.
Bernard, R. M., Abrami, P. C., Borokhovski, E., Wade, C. A., Tamim, R., Surkes, M. A., & Bethel, E. C. (2009). A meta-analysis of three types of ITs in distance education. Review of Educational Research, 79, 1243-1288.
Simunich, B., Robins, D., & Kelly, V. (2012). Does findability matter? Findability, student motivation, and self-efficacy in online courses. Quality Matters (QM) Research Grant, Kent State University.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Instructor’s online behaviors were not a focus of research until the momentum of online teaching occurred (Baker, 2010). Based on research on human learning (Ormrod, 2012), one can draw on several theories for delivering targeted instruction at the right time: Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development, Ebbinghaus’ serial position effect (primacy and recency effect), and the presence or absence of retrieval cues in Cormier’s information processing theory. Students need “right time” feedback that targets their instructional needs. Moreover, feedback formats should vary to enhance the lack of richness in text-based media commonly found in online environments (Arbaugh & Hornik, 2006; Chickering & Gamson, 1987).
As cited in Moore and Kearsley (1996), Moore’s 1973 transactional distance theory explains how electronic communication tools promote student-student and student-teacher interactions. They theorized that the geographical distance matters less than the course structure. Online courses that provide e-tools for communication close the distance and provide psychological closeness between the teacher and the class similar to closeness created in traditional courses (Lemak, Shin, Reed, & Montgomery, 2007). Arbaugh and Hornik (2006) suggested video conferencing, voice messaging, and some other types of multimedia. Bernard et al. (2004) found a larger effect size for course completion rates with synchronous sessions when compared to asynchronous ones. Baker reported that students in synchronous courses reported higher levels of instructor immediacy levels. If synchronous sessions are tied to higher course completion rates, then, perhaps online instructors should intermittently offer them.
Arbaugh and Hornik found that online teaching requires the instructor to take on a facilitator mode and manage discussions in a conversational style to augment student interactions. The informality of the conversation could lessen the psychological distance between the students and their instructor. Moore and Kearsley likened distance education to a transaction that could create a psychological space for potential misunderstandings. Therefore, the risk for misunderstandings could be increased when teachers wait until week’s end to post their responses. Hence, this may not be a very good practice. The lack of, or delay in, instructor feedback is a critical component in distance education.
Why do some online instructors not provide a format for class discussion? There’s a multitude of possible reasons from a lack of ability, unrecognized benefits, a preference for lecture-based instruction, or lack of time. An alternative would be to provide an online discussion moderated by a teaching assistant or participants in the class. In a literature review by Thormann, Gable, Fidalgo, and Blakeslee (2013), student moderation generated more frequent and in-depth discussion for the learners. They found that student ownership of the course increased. Understandably, some participants reported dissatisfaction if the instructor rarely participated. Therefore, the teacher still needs to participate in the online discussions even with a student moderator. The US Office of Education (Means et al., 2010) conducted a meta-analysis and review of 99 online learning studies. They found larger effect sizes for studies that included collaborative or teacher-directed learning activities than those with independent study.
Arbaugh, J. B., & Hornik, S. (2006). Do Chickering and Gamson’s seven principles also apply to online MBAs? The Journal of Educators Online, 3(2), 1-18.
Baker, C. (2010). The impact of instructor immediacy and presence for online student affective learning, cognition, and motivation. The Journal of Educators Online, 7(1), 1-30.
Bernard, R. M., Abrami, P. C., Borokhovski, E., Wade, C. A., Tamim, R., Surkes, M. A., & Bethel, E. C. (2009). A meta-analysis of three types of interaction treatments in distance education. Review of Educational Research, 79, 1243-1288.
Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. Wingspread Journal, 9(2), 75-81.
Lemak, D., Shin, S., Reed, R., & Montgomery, J. (2005). Technology, transactional distance, and instructor effectiveness: An empirical investigation. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(2), 150-158.
Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., & Jones, K. (2009). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. U.S. Department of Education Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/opepd/ppss/reports.html
Moore, M.G., & Kearsley, G. (1996). Distance education: A systems view. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.
Ormrod, J. E. (2012). Human learning (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.
Thormann, J., Gable, S., Fidalgo, P., & Blakeslee, G. (2013). Interaction, critical thinking, and social network analysis (SNA) in online courses. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 14(3), 294-318. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1306/2537
I’ve been blogging since 2011. I noticed I had 61 blogs listed in the category for e-Learning. Here’s a collection of my best effort to help others understand how to improve online learning and their professional online image as an eLeader.
What does your syllabus say about your online course? I just completed a research project developing a rubric to identify the potential for a community of inquiry in online college courses. Then I used the rubric to review 23 online course syllabi from my university’s College of Education. I found a high amount of cognitive presence in the instructional activities and extensive and varied learner support. Overall, the syllabi met, or exceeded, a moderate level of planned activities to engender a community of inquiry in their online courses. As you may surmise, the online course syllabi were very detailed. I did not review the actual courses, only the syllabi.
Here are the examples of cognitive online activities used in the undergraduate and graduate level courses: developing questionnaires, peer review of papers, pre- and post-assessments, analysis of case studies, critically review an article, development of a personal instructional design model, student-created multiple-choice questions, hyper inquiry team project, academic controversy assignment, instructional design project, peer evaluations of project, simulation project, develop a creativity workshop, developing an online course, developing course evaluations, creating a welcome video, creating an academic contract, creating a course checklist, writing a literature review, completing CITI module, evaluating a program, completing a meta-evaluation of a program evaluation, develop an autobiography, conduct child observations, weekly self-evaluation of own learning, create a professional development plan, essay exams, develop a book trailer, develop a podcast, develop lesson plans, develop a how-to video, write a blog, develop a personal learning network, develop a digital story, develop a wiki, curate digital books and other electronic resources, and participate in monitored teacher education field experience.
“The more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled.― Paulo Freire