Technology Supported Learning & Retention/Students say...

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Students say...

I ask students for their suggestions for improving the course and the learning experience. These comments just amaze me. I couldn't write this stuff...


Managing the Catalyst main course page display[edit]

One thing about Catalyst that may help a student feel less overwhelmed by the mass of information on each page is that, like this class, when the modules are divided up, you can click the little square box in the top right corner of each module section to isolate one module at a time. This makes the page a little less cluttered and easier to navigate.

If a class has a variety of assignments and activities, such as survey questions, quizzes, discussions, etc., it helps to recognize the icon that's associated with each. By using the links on the lefthand side of the main page for your class, you can look at all the quizzes for the class at once, instead of module-by-module. This allows you to make sure you've fulfilled all the types of activities assigned for the class. -- Stephanie Y, M07

Discussions for critical thinking[edit]

I honestly think that all these discussions force students to think critically rather than fill in bubbles on a multiple choice and forgetting the material as soon as the exam is over. And when we practice to facilitate a discussion and introduce new ideas, then will we truly learn and understand the material. The various mix and matches of different assignments for each week is a great strategy to engage students with the course material. I couldn't have thought of a more innovative strategy to educate students online. -- Rambo S, M07

Some of the responses I read to certain topics just blew me away and made me really analyze the topic in detail. I discovered how creative my peers can be. Their insights really helped me understand certain issues from another perspective. -- Rhea W, M07

Podcasts Add a Personal Touch[edit]

I think it would be beneficial for you (Professor Taylor) to create podcasts that explain project assignments since there are a lot of students that have questions about them. Plus, the students will be able to feel more connected to you by hearing your voice. My EWRT2 distance learning professor used podcasts to explain essays and also included visuals (thanks to iTunes' video feature!). In general, this class suits my learning style well -- I'm a multimodal Visual, Auditory, and Read/write learner. Including videos, reading, research, and group projects makes the course fun and dynamic. -- Katherine S, M07

Simulations Provide Learning Experiences[edit]

I really liked the links [to simulations of] disabilities and what the consequences are. I think more interactive simulations such as the ones on those sites would help me learn more about Computers and Society. That way, I can learn the material through experience rather than just reading a bunch of information from a textbook and websites. -- Lucy L, M07

Problem Posting A Web Address in Assignment Text[edit]

The game can be found at: http://jayisgames .com/ archives/2006/03/ word_sandwich.php I had to insert random spaces into the web address because it wouldn't show on the assignment submission otherwise. -- Sarina Y, M07

Try putting some text in the line before the web address so that the web address is not the first text in the assignment submission text.

Use the actual HTML <A HREF=... tag with text like "click here" to insert a link to a web address.

Leave off the http:// part of the web address.

Put < and > around the web address

Controlling Discussion Subscriptions[edit]

One thing about Catalyst is that it gives you the option of subscribing to forums so that you can get an e-mail for every new post in that forum. If for some reason you change your mind and want to switch your subscription option to Yes/No, an easy way to do it is to go to the left column on the homepage, and under "Activities" click "Forums." Listed are the different forums and discussions, and on the right side under the heading "Subscribed" you can change your option to Yes/No. -- Kevin S, M07

You can change the default for yourself for all forums. From the left navigation menu, select Edit Profile. Find the option Forum auto-subscribe: and select No: don't automatically subscribe me to forums. You can subscribe to any forum or topic individually even if you set the default to no automatic subscriptions.

Accessibility Issues[edit]

Simulations : AbilityHub http://www.abilityhub.com Abledata http://www.abledata.com/ Indiana University http://www.indiana.edu/~iuadapts/sitemap.html

I tried out the dyslexia simulation. It required you to read two short paragraphs. Easy, right? Wrong. The paragraphs were formatted in the way a dyslexic would read it. It was immensely difficult to comprehend because letters were switched, turned upside down, transposed, and more. With these handicaps, I am impressed at how much harder dyslexics must try in order to comprehend anything on the web. I'm glad the end of the simulation gave tips for how to create dyslexic-friendly websites. -- Katrina T, M07

I tried out the Distractibility Simulation and it did work on my computer. It was incredibly hard to finish off the tasks as well as move the little man on the bottom of the screen. If that is representative of the problems faced by computer users with vision disabilities, then I sympathize with them and realize how we take so much of these opportunities to go online for granted. I understand now how difficult it must be for certain people who are distracted easily to get tasks done on the computer. -- Jasmine G, M07

I tried out the low vision simulation, which lets you experience a web page through various vision related disabilities, such as Macular degeneration, cataracts, and Glaucoma. The simulation definitely gave me a better understanding of the problems faced by computer users with vision disabilities. Web designers must consider who their audience are and accommodate to them because if they are trying to sell something, the audience must be able to read it or else they will give up and go to another website. The strategies for access friendly websites gives a different perspective of how you design the website. You need to consider where you put the information, how you put the information, and the colors you choose. It needs to be usable and readable. -- Francesca W, M07

Online Collaborative Writing (WIKI) Group Project[edit]

I am really happy to be in my group that we work together as a team, help each other, understand our strengths and weaknesses. For example, I let my group acknowledge that I am not familiar with computers and group online, so I need them to remind if I make mistakes. In addition, they would always be there for me, such as posting their suggestions or thoughts. I am proud to say that our group was able to work together to produce a good report. -- N-C T, M07

I think the thing that I will remember most is the group work. It was something that I did not expect and it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. It was a lot of work though, especially in the beginning when I was not used to it. -- Andrew N, M07

There are problems with two people trying to edit the same wiki page at the same time (content locking isn't active ..vt).

Peer Reviews[edit]

assignments that ask us to comment on our peers� work really does help you get to know each other. After a while, you tend to remember certain people, such as those who post their work the earliest, or those who respond to your work the most often, or who is more interested in what topic. In its subtle way, the assignments for this class have allowed me to get to know more students -- Odelia L, M07

Time Management[edit]

One thing that I was worried about was time management. I finished most of my assignments on time except for a few. If I was to retake this class again, I think I would start on all my assignments earlier. -- Yee Y, M07

If I wasn't committed to the course I would have never been able to have a successful experience with online distance learning. If there is anything that I wish I could have done differently throughout the quarter it would be to have completed the assignments earlier. Sometimes I feel that I didn't do as much as I could during the week and thus I would spend my whole weekend finishing up assignments. My time management skills are not the best that they can be, but I am constantly working hard to manage my time more wisely. -- Rhea W, M07

Meeting Other Students and Making Friends in an Online Course[edit]

I have met wonderful people in my group. I am so glad that I took this class because I not only learned about how computers affect people but I also learned about people themselves. It's interesting that a class on technology can help people associate with other people and for that, I am grateful. -- Eugene S, M07

Succeeding in Online Courses[edit]

I learned more about my own learning style. After taking two online courses this summer, I do not think I will even take another online course again. It may be convenient, but it is extremely time consuming. I’d rather take a class in a formal classroom environment. If I were to do one thing differently this quarter, I would probably try to do as much work as I can throughout the week rather than waiting till the last minute. I tended to procrastinate a lot with the work in this class. However, I found out that I work well under pressure. Having a deadline approaching initiates a spark on me to work very efficiently. -- Jennifer G, M07