Bright ideas emerge from casual conversations

I had a great discussion on Skype this morning with Brad. He commented  on the quality of the course readings which led to an interesting conversation about open access and sharing resources.  He then asked me…

If you had to provide 5 key principles/practises to effective elearning, what would they be?

Now remember, this was a Skype chat, so I didn’t have time to reflect. My response:

  1. authentic context, tasks & assessment (is that 1 or 3?)
  2. opportunities for communication (teacher/students & students/students)
  3. opportunities for co-operation and collaboration (peer feedback, team creation)
  4. content sharing (“open” so accessible by students AFTER the course as well)
  5. opportunities to reflect (in action – during and on action -after the course)
image of 5 "c"s
Parker (2012)

I ended up with 5C’s for effective e-learning: context, communication, collaboration, content sharing and contemplation (I wonder if is this an adequate replacement or should I say critical reflection). I think these elements help create an interactive, engaging and supportive learning environment. However, there is much more involved in creating effective e-learning. I think, we also need to ensure that the pedagogies, technologies and content we select are aligned to the course learning objectives to enable student to acquire and apply the knowledge and skills the course (subject, topic, or task) is addressing to produce quality outcomes.

It was great to share our ideas and a comment Brad made ignited thoughts of how I could “flip the classroom“.

I wonder if we’ll move away from lecturers giving students readings and instead create units where students generate the reading list as they progress.

Ideas by Sean MacEntree (2010)

Instead of giving students links to readings and have them identify and discuss the key concepts, I could give them the key concepts and have them find and add relevant resources to a collective space (e.g., Diigo or similar) and then have them discuss how these concepts apply to relevant tasks or situations. I left the conversation with my brain humming with ideas… thanks Brad!

What do others think about Brad’s observation? How else could we get students to generate the reading list (and read it)?

Stop press – just came across this article that discusses an assessment technique using research articles. Another interesting way to cover content. Here the teacher is still the one finding the resource, but I don’t see why students couldn’t be given the 4 guidelines described in the article to find an appropriate article. For large classes students could work in teams and each “vote” on which is the best article to add  to the main course repository. And/or students could write quiz questions about their own article and the class could complete each other’s quizzes… see the brain is still churning away 🙂

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