Developing Procedural Knowledge via a Distance

By David Ellis, Lecturer in Technology Education, Southern Cross University

Ever tried to assemble a flat packed piece of furniture without the pictures? How about successfully landing a passenger aircraft without stepping into the cockpit? In higher education, the nature of specific disciplines requires academics to impart procedural knowledge as well as the declarative knowledge to their students. In addition, the economic packaging of learning materials in distance education lends to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ static approach that doesn’t address the differing student learning styles (McLoughlin, 1999). The challenge for a growing number of academics is not only trying to match teaching and learning styles, but to deliver this within the constraints of a digital environment via distance education. Continue reading

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Flip My Science Classroom

By Kristy Kemp, Science Instructor, Kirtland Community College

flipped classroomKirtland Community College’s district is the largest in Michigan, totaling 2,500 square miles and consisting of all or part of nine counties. Our main campus is located close to the geographic center of the college’s district in rural Northern Michigan, but we have two extension campuses in our northwest (Kirtland-Gaylord) and southeast (Kirtland-West Branch) regions. Until recently, students attending those extension campuses for programs requiring a science course with a lab only had two choices: enroll in our completely online science course or drive great distances to main campus for a face-to-face science course. Many of those students were experienced and comfortable taking online courses, but there was still a population of students scared or uncomfortable with taking an online science course. Continue reading

Resources to Help Struggling Students

Key1.jpgHow can instructors help struggling students who need tutoring and more assistance than the course time allows? For students willing to put in the extra time and energy to genuinely grasp difficult concepts, there are many new websites that can effectively serve in a self-guided tutoring role. These sites provide students with visual and interactive aids that may drive their understanding better than traditional textual explanations.  They also provide instructors with easy access to a history of the students’ activities and progress.

Most people think of the Khan Academy as just a collection of videos on various educational topics. However, it and similar tutorial sites like instaGrok have expanded into much larger interactive platforms that provide students with active learning and assessment tools and instructors with evaluation and tracking tools. These sites span areas of interest from elementary to college levels and cover the majority of academic topics, including the sciences. Plus, they are free!
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Tools to Lighten the Chore of Lab Report (and Essay) Grading

By Linda Jeschofnig

Peter and I give numerous “best practices” presentation to online and soon-to-be online educators. One thing that recently became obvious is how few educators are aware of the “Track Changes” feature within their MS Word program and how this tool can make grading lab reports and other essay assignments a breeze to review and edit. One simply types in corrections, lines out errors, and inserts comments where needed. Like the traditional red pen, these corrections show up in a different color, making them easy for students to spot and follow. Student can use the same feature to expand upon the paper and return comments to the instructor; these too will show up in a different color. Here’s a two-minute tutorial to help get started: Click Here>>

Another tool that makes grading easy is to have students submit their reports and essays via Google Docs. The process is very similar in that the instructor’s corrections, changes, and comments can display in a different color, plus every correction is time-stamped and easy to see by clicking “Revision History” via the File drop-down menu. Google Docs is also an excellent tool for group projects since each student’s contributions can be separately identified and it’s easy to see if any students are carrying the majority of the project burden.

Some of the more recent advanced editions of LMS systems have similar capabilities. However, many institutions don’t yet have these upgrades, and often in those that do, the instructors aren’t aware they exist.

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