Technology Supported Learning & Retention/1. Student-faculty contact

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Bus/CS Project - Technology Supported Learning & Retention (TSLR) 2007

1. Student-faculty contact

In 1987 Chickering & Gamson published the now famous “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education.” These principles are based on the perspective that a proper undergraduate education should be active, cooperative, and challenging.

For the Technology Support Learning & Retention (TSLR) course, each module addresses one of the seven principles and the good practices that support it. The first principle, in this module, Student-Faculty Contact is characterized by instructional tools where the instructor is in charge of the interaction with students.

Learners interact directly with the instructor for questions, comments and evaluations. The instructor may interact with learners as a group in a lecture hall, classroom or online lecture (one-to-many) or individually (one-to-one).

Technology functions available to support student-faculty contact include discussions, assignments, quizzes, and course resources.

Learning outcomes

  • participate in several forms of technology enhanced student-faculty contact
  • discuss applicability of functions to traditional expectations for student-faculty contact and identify differences
  • suggest new learning activities

Introduction[edit | edit source]

For most of us - both as students and faculty, when we think of instruction, we think of an instructor-led course - the "sage on the stage" model. Somewhere along the line, we have had teachers or mentors available to help but allowed or required us to direct our own learning within some framework - the "guide on the side" model. Both instructional models can be enhanced with technology.

Adding technology to support student learning covers a broad spectrum of enhancements. For the classroom instruction (face-to-face or f2f), providing online resources rather than paper handouts is often the first foray into enhancing instruction with technology. At the far end of the range of possibilities, are totally online courses with automatic quiz grading and course presentation individualized by student progress monitored by the course management system.

Seven Principles[edit | edit source]

Based on each of the "Seven Principles" we will look at how instructional practice can be enhanced using technology.

The "text" for this module is online.

Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

Instructional Immediacy and the Seven Principles: Strategies for Facilitating Online Courses Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume VI, NumberIII, Fall2003 State University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center

As a study guide, here are a few questions to think about as you read the "text" and work through the activities outlined below.

  • The Seven Principles were written in 1987. Instructional Immediacy and the Seven Principles: Strategies for Facilitating Online Courses was written in 2003. Why are they still relevant today?
  • Has technology changed the interpretation of some of these Principles?
  • Have students and their expectations changed since the Principles were written?
  • What challenges does today's higher education environment place on faculty and students?

Chickering & Gamson provided a good framework for teaching and learning in higher education. Now there are technologies available that they could only imagine. In this course, using their model, we are going to look at each Principle and see its applicability in technology-enhanced instruction.

Student-Faculty Contact[edit | edit source]

First up - Student-Faculty Contact. In a traditional classroom, faculty are at the forefront. Students wait for the instructor to arrive before anything happens in the class. The instructor talks, students listen, take notes, and participate in question / answer sessions overseen by the instructor. Students can speak with the instructor after class or during office hours - still with the instructor controlling the time and place for the contact.

As technology is added, students have more opportunity to initiate contact - send emails, ask questions in an online forum. The instructor is still essential to the dialog, but students now play a more active role in the contact. More student interaction, greater responsibility for learning, empowering students in ways not previously available to them.

  • One : Many - Communicating with students can be provided to all students at once with web-based course materials, online lectures - text, audio or video. Other technologies for one-to-many communication include email lists, and discussion forums where only instructor posts, forums that allow students to reply, or discussion forums set to allow students to initiate topics.
  • One : One - Email is an alternative to in-person or phone conversations to communication with individual students. Some instructors are using instant messaging as well.

Student-Faculty Contact is easily added to any traditional course delivery. Students appreciate the flexibility and the immediacy of these enhancements.

Students say...[edit | edit source]
  • I can ask questions whenever I think about it, rather than having to wait for the next class. Some times that might be a whole week from when I have a question.
  • I am an international student. It really helps me to have email from the instructor so I can read the answer again if I don't understand.
  • I hate to have a lot of papers from all my classes. It is better to have links to web sites to find the homework assignment information.

Overview[edit | edit source]

DeAnza's Catalyst is the Moodle course management system. If you are new to Catalyst or course management technology, start with the Moodle basics.

Student Learning Support[edit | edit source]

When we were planning this course, we wanted to emphasize the idea that introducing technology could be a progression of enhancements made over time. There are no absolutes, no "gotchas" in the process. Just as each course is different, so too is the path to using technology to support student learning.

What is offered in this course, are opportunities to see what is possible and consider what might be applicable to your own courses now and in the future. This is a smörgåsbord approach. We have put a lot of different things on the table. We encourage you to sample everything, but it is ok if you don't want to dig in. Perhaps later, you will see a need or an opportunity to put some of these "dishes" into your practice of instruction.

If you are ready to implement the functions, guidelines are provided as well as a forum for discussing strategies, questions, problems, suggestions with peers.

Some of the advantages of using technology in student-faculty contact

  • any time, anywhere communication - not limited to class time or office hours e.g. email, online discussion forums, chat / instant messaging
  • record of contact - no more "gee, I wish I could remember exactly what I told that student" as there is a copy of the conversation with its time and date.
  • repeatable - once you work out great instructions for a lesson, that exact same information can be given to students in all sections this quarter and in the future. Allows for "refinement" as students identify new concerns or areas of difficulty.
  • it just gets better - revising and improving material over time helps keep the course material relevant and students engaged

Lectures[edit | edit source]

The primary means of presenting information to the whole class is via resources. There are a number of different types of resources - text pages, web pages, links to other web sites. Resources are the simplest form of passive, or push communication available.

Document repository[edit | edit source]

It isn't fancy but it works. Catalyst can be used as storage and presentation for course documents that are only available to enrolled students. Files of all types, links, course notes, lists of assignments, class schedules... can be managed and displayed within Catalyst. Limiting access to this information may be a requirement for "publishing" copyright or proprietary information ensuring strict educational "fair use" compliance.

Blogging[edit | edit source]

Have you considered blogging? Some faculty are "pushing" regular notices, comments and course updates to their students in blog (weB-LOG) format. Short postings displayed in reverse date sequence - newest at the "top" along with links to course materials, other resources and important bloggers in the topic area, along with links to "archived" copies of older posts.

Blogging: The Solution to (most) of Your Classroom Needs

Warm-up activity[edit | edit source]

Online discussions, practice quizzes, minute essays are activities that can be used for "warm-up" to a lesson.

  • Question or activity to remind you of what you already know about the topic
  • List of questions to start thinking about the topic
  • List of goals and objectives for the topic to help focus the learning

Top 10 Tools[edit | edit source]

There is always some new and interesting technology coming along. Finding email news, blogs or other sources of information are useful for staying current. Some examples

Teaching and Learning[edit | edit source]

A recent EDUCAUSE article, Top-Ten Teaching and Learning Issues, 2007 identifies a number of issues applicable to this course - assessment and best instructional practices, changes in student, faculty, and institutional expectations, collaboration, work together, ethics, privacy, and data stewardship.

This big-picture overview of teaching and learning is helpful, and demonstrates the need for all instructors, particularly those in higher education, to acquire instructional technology literacy.

As the focus of learning support technology shifts from instructor-led teaching to student-directly learning, Student-Faculty Contact takes on a new role - that of managing the course resources and ensuring that students are able to take advantage of this new way of interacting with the instructor.

Understanding and using the student-faculty contact tools - either stand alone or within the course management system, is important.

  • encourage students to communicate with you early and often
  • model desired contacts using the available communication tools
  • make it easy for students to select from several forms of contact - email, messaging, discussion forum
  • establish limits and expectations for your availability and speed of response

News Forum[edit | edit source]

The NEWS forum is special forum for sending information and updates to students. Only the instructor can post to this forum. There is an option to have summaries from the News forum appear on the main course page.

Student questions[edit | edit source]

Although Catalyst doesn't have an internal e-mail system like WebCT, it does have several options to keep student-faculty communication within Catalyst, that can be used for clarification on the forums and discussions and the communication tools.

Check your profile and the messages you are getting - it may be set up so your get email when a student sends a message from inside Moodle, but there should be information in the email so you know where it originated.

Do you have a Questions? forum where students can add discussions and post? I encourage students to ask their questions there. Unless it is personal, I often just copy the student's email into the question forum and answer it there for all to see.

Introducing new technologies[edit | edit source]

You may be surprised to find that your tech-savvy students need some time to come up to speed using technology for formal learning. Students instant message with their friends whenever, but using the same technology to work with four complete strangers (class mates) on a group project is a completely new experience.

Consider introducing the technology in several low-risk activities - introductions in a discussion forum. As students become more comfortable with the educational use of the technology, add the critical thinking, graded analysis component that the technology supports.

Learn more...[edit | edit source]

  • "Development and Adaptation of the Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education," Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson. How the seven principles were developed and uses made of them in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

link to PDF doc

Student-Faculty Contact :: Activities[edit | edit source]