The Community 2.0 seminar was extremely helpful in terms of supporting faculty to explore the use of social online tools in classroom. I always wanted to use social online tools in my classroom, especially in a Hybrid class, not only to enhance student learning but also to bring them closer to the actual world through online tools so they are well prepared to enter the real world. Joining the Community 2.0 Seminar this year helped me explore, learn and share the tools in my classes.
As an educator I consistently try to align the first four levels of Bloom’s taxonomy-knowledge, comprehension, application, and analysis – with concept questions. Classifying course content, I designed four levels or types of questions; these four levels are overlapping and integrative. At the first level, basic knowledge questions require my students to demonstrate their understanding of fundamental definitions such as statistics, sample, population, random sampling, and so on. The next level of questions moves beyond simple memorization of definitions to comprehension of concepts, i.e., determining standard deviation or finding probability of success or failure. At a more challenging level, application concept questions involve making necessary assumptions and applying prior knowledge. Finally, analysis concept questions evaluate the degree of higher-level applications of content.
I taught at least one MAT120 Hybrid section in Spring I and Fall I 2013 in order to use social tools to enhance hybrid learning. In Spring I, I taught one regular section and one hybrid section of MAT120. My primary goal in teaching these sections is to compare students’ performance and to connect them online using a web tool. Since this was the first time I connected my classes thru Google groups my major challenges were to get familiar with a new web tool in one semester and the type of questions that should be posted in order to increase student contribution and avoid plagiarism. I did post questions but received similar responses from students. Lesson learnt- I didn’t want to use Google groups for my classes again.
In Fall I, I taught three Hybrid sections of MAT120. I used Piazza this time and connected all my sections. Two of the activities that were posted were open-ended questions and was mandatory for students to post in order to receive credit. I felt that the students were more involved in responding to the questions. In summer, I reviewed different articles on how to post questions for statistics to students and I felt this helped significantly in Fall semester.
Overall, I feel it is challenging to make students join web tools for their course work. MAT120 is very intense, and there is hardly any time for doing extra activities. Students are already using Educosoft, an online education tool for tutorials, homeworks, quizzes, and tests; and often show negative attitude to sign up for additional online tools. Using a social tool every semester requires lot of time and planning. Learning the tool and posting the assignments in one semester was sometimes stressful especially during tests. However, the Community 2.0 seminar was great and it helped build my confidence in trying new web tools as I was hesitant to do so for over years. Also having summer break really helped me catch up with what questions I want to post and what tool I want to use for my class.
In next 5 years or 10 years, I am sure I will not be using Piazza or Google Groups. I want to keep trying new web tools in general and a new tool every semester in particular, if possible; to enhance student peer learning.
Once again, thanks to Maria Jerskey and Priscilla Stadler for an interactive Community 2.0 seminar.