Taking ‘Working with Groups’ online #EDUC90970

This week I presented a proposal for a subject I’ve been teaching for the last 4 years but has now been revised and revamped for the online environment. As a result of COVID, we (by which I mean academics) have all had to make rapid changes to teaching online. What I’ve become acutely aware of through participating in #EDUC90970 is that simply moving a subject online does not constitute online learning! In this blog I outline how relevant learning theories have informed the design of my online subject and how such frameworks have informed teaching and learning activities.

Learning Theory and Frameworks

The teaching and learning activities of this subject are aligned with two pedagogical frameworks. The first is constructivism, a model where opportunities to assimilate new learning to existing knowledge through methods designed to gauge student understanding are utilized (Alt, 2014) e.g. problem or inquiry based learning where students interact and participate in collaborative learning and groupwork to facilitate social construction of knowledge. The flipped classroom is one way of applying constructivist theory in the virtual learning space.

The second framework that learning activities are supported by is the Pedagogy- Androgogy- Heutogogy continuum (PAH). Activities are most aligned with an androgogy framework which asserts that learners use life experience as a foundation to cultivate self-directed learning (Knowles, 1984). Types of activities that fall within this paradigm are role-play, simulations and self-evaluation where the learner brings their real-world experience to experiential tasks in the classroom.  

Ecology of Resources

The amount of resources available to support the online classroom are almost endless. This EOR will no doubt shift and change as I develop greater mastery over more and more online tools but as a starting point I was quite amazed at the number of resources I now feel comfortable teaching with. Merely 10 weeks ago this visual would not have looked so exciting! Technology tools such as PollEverywhere and Zoom Breakout rooms can be utilized as learning resources to facilitate recall of content knowledge and subsequently stimulate small group discussion. Both tools in my experience promote interactivity of the class and also support greater inclusion of international students. Arkoudis et al. (2011) assert that interaction between local and international students can be enhanced through dimensions such as tailoring collaborative environments.  Feedback Fruits is a tool that I hope to learn more about during the development of my online subject due to its capacity to enhance assessment tasks by enabling students to give and receive feedback.  

Learning Activities

Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

I’ve had fun in recent weeks experimenting with online collaborative group tasks. Having been inspired by this educator’s tips on how to turn googleforms into an escape room I decided to take the idea one step further by creating a more immersive escape room using SeekBeak. The room I created integrated subject content and collaborative problem solving tasks that allowed students to work together in teams with the goal of escaping the room (e.g. solving all the clues) first. Who said learning can’t be fun!

References

Alt, D. (2014). The construction and validation of a new scale for measuring features of constructivist learning environments in higher education. Frontline Learning Research, 2(3), 1-27. https://doi.org/10.14786/flr.v2i2.68

Arkoudis, S., Watty, K., Baik, C., Yu, X., Borland, H., Chang, S., Lang, I., Lang, J. & Pearce, A. (2013) Finding common ground: enhancing interaction between domestic and international students in higher education, Teaching in Higher Education, 18:3, 222-235, https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2012.719156

Knowles, M. (1984). The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species (3rd Ed.). Houston: Gulf Publishing.

Published by Chelsea Hyde

Lecturer in Educational Psychology Senior School Psychologist

4 thoughts on “Taking ‘Working with Groups’ online #EDUC90970

  1. Hi Chelsea, thanks for your post! Your mention of using escape rooms in teaching was one of the pieces of information that stayed with me after Monday’s session, so great to see the links above!

    It’s a fantastic idea, and could be very nicely integrated in also in more technical classes, e.g., by integrating it with programming exercises in computer science.

    I wonder how time consuming it was for you to create your first challenge? It’s probably requires quite a different way of thinking compared to designing ‘pen and paper’ workshops…

    I hope to hear more about this in your assignment 3 walk-through! 🙂

    Ps.: there’s precedent which I should probably look into

    López-Pernas, S., Gordillo, A., Barra, E., & Quemada, J. (2019). Examining the use of an educational escape room for teaching programming in a higher education setting. IEEE Access, 7, 31723-31737.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback Lea. The escape room was definitely a labor of love, the set-up was time consuming but I think it would be quicker in future now that I know how to navigate the software. The hardest part is coming up with all the puzzles! My students loved it and have asked for another one; I plan to create an end of semester escape room that will embed learning from the subject. I think the idea would work well with computer science. Thanks for sharing the protocol, some greats tips here!

      Like

  2. Hi Chelsea, I loved exploring your SeekBeak escape room, what fun! Have you tried this on your students yet? I’d be really interested to hear what they thought of it. You have definitely inspired me to do my own – I had thought that the SeakBeak tool would be a really great one for me as it can be difficult to get many opportunities to get students to the coast and experience the environment that they are learning about. Have you considered adding social media as a tool into your EoR as well? I found this study a really inspiring one for how that could be done:

    Eachempati P, Kumar K, Komattil R, Ismail ARH. 2017. Heutagogy through Facebook for the Millennial learners. MedEDPublish.

    Cheers, Becki

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for your feedback Becki. I tried the escape room with my students in week 1, they loved it and had a lot of fun. It took me a long time to set it up but I think I would be quicker in future now having worked out the kinks. I think SeekBeak would be a great ‘virtual’ way for your students to experience the coast. I plan to use SeekBeak for an immersive counselling experience in future (the escape room was just for team bonding).
    Thanks for sharing the article. I hadn’t thought to use social media as a tool but reading this has given me lots of ideas for using case studies.

    Like

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