This week we learned about the symbiotic relationship in a community of inquiry and studied how online teaching tools can be used to support each of the roles within. Community of inquiry states that learning is achieved through a combination of instructor, social, and cognitive presence. The activities and interactions are set up to develop problem-based learning and critical thinking. To look at it from an instructional design perspective the module is a good example of effective learning in an asynchronous environment achieved through the way the module was organized and the application of community of inquiry. The module consisted of the following:
- Description of the topics to study and objectives to achieve. It included a YouTube video to introduce one of the topics. The video was a good way to add variation to a predominantly textual-based content.
- Reading content: chapters in the course textbook and supplemental journals that focused on online teaching tools. The selection was well thought out. The textbook provided an explanation on the contributing parts of community of inquiry and a chapter that explained using tools to facilitate the process. Journals provided additional examples of how tools were used in different learning situations, which could be further analyzed through the perspective of community of inquiry.
- Online tool presentation assignment to research a teaching tool and evaluate how well it could satisfy the community of inquiry and a sample lesson using the tool. The activity was interesting and effective. Each member could self-direct and choose a tool to learn based on preference and relevance. The activity added a social element by reviewing and commenting on each other’s works through VT. In essence we collaborated on the larger topic of online teaching tools but it felt like we were working on individual projects.
- Blogging to reflect on topics in a meaningful way.
I thought that using VoiceThread was an effective way to add variation to the discussion board. In the first two weeks, communication was done using text, but VT allowed users to add different forms of media to express their ideas. It added a personal connection, which is particularly beneficial for students studying at a distance. Both have advantages and disadvantages. I would say a discussion board is more efficient in having students interact, provide rich details, and develop high level of thinking. VT provides a more pleasing presentation by stimulating the audio and visual channels, but may require more training and time to prepare in utilizing the other forms of media.
An experiment performed by the course professor and colleague talked about using a smartphone and Twitter to do microblogging. Students captured graphic design examples relative to their geographic locations and collaboratively critiqued their examples with classmates. The major of role of the instructor was to organize the activity and provide support when it was needed. The experiment brought up the idea of using mobile devices in an authentic context outside of class. The experiment showed that the power of mobile technology can have a strong influence in how learning is done. I feel that this is dependent on specific careers or activities that places emphasis on learning on the road. From a personal standpoint, I have used this method of learning when I took a trip a new area to use the map and learn about destination places and in general every day activities not related to work. In general when I consider myself to do serious type of learning, I prefer to be in one location, preferably my home using a laptop. It allows me to do deeper level of thinking due to less distractions. Also it’s more convenient to work on multiple applications and type ideas using a regular size keyboard mostly due to the nature of the job. I see the internet as the authentic environment in the future where people from different locations tap into it. There are advantages to contextualized learning and learning outside of class but some of those situations don’t require mobile technology. I see mobile technology primarily as a communication tool and organizer to collect bite size information.
Hsu, Y.C & Ching, Y.H. (2012). Mobile Microblogging: Using Twitter and Mobile Devices in an Online Course to Promote Learning in Authentic Contexts. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(4).