Forming “Teams” or “Discussion Groups” to Facilitate Learning

March 17, 2014

I often hear that faculty say that students don’t like group work. This is probably true. How many of us – as faculty – really relish writing by committee (whether for a grant or a departmental report) or producing work that is dependent on other contributions? Yet we all need to do that. And thus, working in groups and teams is a skill that students need to have. This post offers some ideas on how to structure group dynamics in class. Check it out. [from Professor eNewsletter]


Online Teaching Chronicle Continues

June 3, 2013

I have finished the first module of my first online class. Overall it has been a very good experience and I have enjoyed it. It *has* taken a lot of time and anyone who goes into online teaching thinking it will be less time-consuming than a face-to-face class will be sadly disappointed. I probably checked the course too much in this first module – mostly because I was so eager to find out what they would say! It was like getting a little present each time the email dinged with a new post in the class. Of course sometime the “gifts” were a bit disappointing, but overall, it was good.

The students are stretching me in this class as well. Ideas that they post make me curious and have made me consider monuments that I’ve taught for YEARS in new ways. So that is really cool.

The following list of roles of an online teacher is remarkably correct. I can hear howls about it from my colleagues. “Cheerleader?,” they will growl. “Tour-guide?,” they will grumble. But while I, too, hate the notion of being tour-guide and cheerleader – this IS what I’m doing in this class, even if I despise such labels. This list is interesting because it is how you construct an online learning community. Because THAT is where learning is going to happen. It’s not “sage on the stage” – another label I despise. You are not dumping information at them. They could go read a book if that’s all a class was/is. Instead, because you’re not physically with them, you are guiding them, you are cheering them on, you are coaching them.

And then, in the end, you are learning with them. And that is really cool.