Monday, March 4, 2013

First post


Educational psychology was my minor in my doctoral program and I quickly became interested in Vygotsky's notion of social learning.  The dependent variable in the study I ran for my dissertation was actually a learning outcome.

The independent variable was a measure of the interaction between students in small groups.  Research shows that students learn more powerfully when situated in groups and interacting with others.

Therefore, I actively apply this approach in my courses, in the classroom but also with outside activities and online.  In fact, my peer observation this fall noted, "this was the most interactive class I've ever seen."

Well, basically, I will use tools and activities that maximize or facilitate the best and most interaction between students, depending on the objective of the learning situation.  My two preferred tools/environments are wikis and discussion forums, but I am really open to anything.

8 comments:

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  2. Hi Rob,

    We use a lot of collaborative learning activities in our programs, too. One topic that comes up for discussion every semester is around assessment of individual students in group projects. What kinds of tools do you use to monitor progress? Do you think that it is easier to assess students' contribution to group work online, where their user names are displayed alongside their contributions to a group's goals?

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    1. Wynne, I definitely think it is easier in an online environment where contributions are recorded and stored. I also think simple peer review among students helps with assessment.

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  3. Hi Rob,

    Like Wynne, I'm interested to learn more about how you facilitate collaborative learning. I've never been fully comfortable with groupwork, whether as a student or as a professor. It's probably a function of my introverted personality; I learn best by observing and thinking through things by myself--a process that might look passive and disengaged to some observers. It's always a struggle to balance various teaching and learning styles!

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  4. Good question. Let me give this some thought.

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  5. Hi Rob,

    Like Irwin, I have trouble with groupwork. I don't know where the problem is as I tried different things like-making groups in the first week, assigning small/large groups, asking students to form their own groups, assigning groups in the middle of the semester, etc. My biggest challenge was making each person in the group to contribute. There are different reasons why a student in the group doesn't like to contribute. Say for example, the student does not like the group members or not comfortable with the given topic. I am interested to know if you face such problems and how you manage them.

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    2. Hope this helps

      http://condor.admin.ccny.cuny.edu/~hhartman/c3clsc.html

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