Week 1 -- Getting to Know You -- September 5-23

*** Spreadsheet with assignments and due dates. Keep track of your progress!!! ****
Note: To print this Google Drive spreadsheet so you can read it, try File -- Download as Excel. You can then format for readable printing.

Course Objectives
You will:
  1. Participate in an online course as a student including reflecting on participation and collaboration.
  2. Design a standards-based online instructional unit incorporating research and best practice based principles.
  3. Develop a handbook based on research and best practices outlining rules, policies, guidelines and resources for successful online learning experiences.
  4. Explore project based learning and essential questions then weave the concepts into your instructional unit.
  5. Explore a variety of Web 2.0 tools then weave their use into your instructional unit.
  6. Demonstrate you are a licensed or licenseable teacher (if you want certificate indicating you have completed this course, see Wisconsin State Statue 118.19(13)).

Assignment 1. Getting to Know You, Your Questions, Your Concerns vis-a-vis Online Learning.
Reply to at least two additional posts.
Complete Google Doc with information.

Assignment 2. Review the full syllabus (readings will be revised after I find out your questions and concerns). Plot out your work schedule considering your other obligations. It's always fine to work ahead. Readings and discussions are scheduled early in the semester, curriculum development at the end.

Assignment 3. Join this course wiki. Look on top right of page, see Guest, Join, ... links? Request to JOIN so you can participate in next week's discussion.

Assignment 4. (optional but very useful) Subscribe to some online sources that will help you keep up-to-date on technology related issues.
Suggestions include:
eClassroom News- eClassroom News is still written just for teachers and explores new curriculum and assessment tools, the latest professional development resources, case studies on how school are using multimedia in the classroom, the best new instructional resources on the internet and much, much more! Click here to subscribe.
eSchool News- This monthly print and digital newspaper keeps you informed with up to the minute news concerning K-20 educational technology. Click here to subscribe.

Why this assignment?
One of the challenges of teaching online is getting all your students registered prior to the start of the course so they can access your content management system. If you doubt that will happen, prepare an easy activity that will allow students to get oriented and enrolled. You will then need to make up the missing time later in the course but.... life happens (at least at the university level it does!). Flexibility is critical in the online world (so are deadlines, but more on that later).

Research and best practice say...
Start your course focusing on social dynamics. Students and teachers need to develop a level of trust before they are ready to settle down and start learning. (Isn't this true in the face-to-face world also?!?) We need to get to know one another. That's why you are asked about your professional and personal lives. Online does not have to equal impersonal. Work hard early on in the course to establish a personality and presence, it will pay off in the end with greater student satisfaction and engagement. Build that sense of community that allows you to feel a part of a group even with folks you have never met in person.

Are you a visual learner? I am. Many of us are. Do you like to see the people you are "talking" to (sorry for the dangling participle, more formal speech sounds too awkward here for my tastes, my online presence doesn't allow me to go too formal in my writing although I do my best to attend to spelling and mechanics). I do and many students do also. That's why you are asked for a photo. Note that I didn't use a formal photo nor one that was terribly recent (fortunately I haven't grown older recently). Rather, I used one that I hope conveyed who I was as a person. Again, I was attempting to establish personality and presence.

Photo warning -- People are biased. If you want to avoid visual bias, don't ask people to post a photo. What you could do instead is ask them to post a non-human graphic or photo that represents themself. For example, if you were a plant, what type of plant would you be? (oak tree, huge cottonwood in the spring spreading seeds/fluff all over the neighborhood, green grass on a golf course, yellow rose of Texas, prickly thistle with purple flower, etc).

Why ask for responses to postings? Hello, is anyone out there???? Most of us like to be heard. In the online world we only know if we are heard if we receive a response of some type. So, respond. Ask a question or add a story. Let us know you are there and are reading/thinking. But, remember that this is not a contest. More responses do not equal a higher grade. This course is only part of our life's activities. Add substance not just volume. (Except when you just can't stop yourself from making a comment.) This week's exercise is to get to know one another and make sure everyone gets online. After this week we will have academic discussions most likely using D2L (Desire to Learn), the University's content management system. They need to follow the following rules.

Discussion "Rules"
  1. Say something of substance rather than echoing other peoples’ responses. If you wish to agree with someone, that’s okay but also add another thought to deepen the conversation.
  2. If you disagree with someone, state why and offer a rationale. Remember to address the issue, not attack the person.
  3. Add a new topic to the discussion when you change thoughts. Otherwise, reply to the post.
  4. Online discussions are not a competition to see who can post the most. They are a thoughtful, considered discussion of critical issues. State your point then back it up with information from readings, life events, etc. Push for deep understanding.
  5. Discussions take place over time, don’t wait until the last minute to make your posts.
  6. If you are going to have a long post, type it in MS Word or other word processor then paste into D2L.
  7. If you think the electronic discussions are taking too much time, bring the issue up with the group and instructor. Negotiation of expectations is typical.

Grading Criteria: Posts add to discussion, are posted in a timely manner, adhere to above discussion rules.

Enough for now....
If you have questions or concerns about the course, please be sure to contact me via email. If we need to talk on the phone, we will exchange numbers and set up a time to call. I'm not interested in publishing my phone number here :)