This week we prepared to lead a 15 minute discussion on a topic of our choice in one of the upcoming lectures. We also need to prepare an asynchronous discussion thread that corresponds to our topic. The topic that I chose was blended learning. I choose my particular discussion topic because I am interested in flipping my classroom within the next 3 years.
One of the greatest challenge that I am anticipating as an online teacher/facilitator is keeping tabs on all student activity. I will need to carefully monitor the chat window, emoticons, hand raising, technical issues, and whiteboard. I hope to manage this challenge by providing clear directions for student activity and allowing them to control the flow of the lesson. I plan on regulating student conversation by requiring students to raise their hands when they want to talk. I may even utilize the mic restrictions that eluminate offers. I also hope to keep the students engaged. I plan on having all the students use the whiteboard to complete a graphic organizer. While the students are completing this task, I will be able to monitor the chat window, emoticons, hand raising, and technical issues.
As I prepared for my synchronous and asynchronous lesson, I realized that planning a lesson for an online learning environment is very similar to planing a lesson for a regular classroom. Preparation is the main focus of all good lessons (in class or online). I really needed to take the time to research my topic and think about the best way to present my material. I needed to consider my audience and determine the best possible way to keep them engaged. This is a similar check off that I use when preparing any lesson.
We also needed to create rubrics to evaluate the synchronous and asynchronous discussions. My focus for creating these rubrics was to keep it simplistic and easy to evaluate. I wanted to have clearly defined ranges that would allow me to quickly and easily evaluate student participation. I wanted it to be as clear cut as possible.