Spring Perspectives on Teaching
Yesterday was Western's "Spring Perspectives on Teaching" conference, organized by the Teaching Support Centre. With the keynote unfortunately cancelled, I was only able to attend one session. "Talking Tech: Perspectives on E-Learning" had three panelists speaking about their experience integrating e-learning into their classrooms.
Some interesting highlights from the presentation:
- The session began with the audience using clickers to demo how audience response (physical or virtual) can be used to tailor lectures on-the-fly. The majority of the audience weren't familiar with the term "MOOC" -- very surprising in an education & technology session! Also, very important for the instructor to be aware of before continuing on.
- Speaker Tim Wilson from Anatomy & Cell Biology discussed his flipped/blended teaching method as "minimally invasive". Students don't even realize they're e-learning.
- Using Bloom's taxonomy, the lower level functions of remembering and understanding are achieved prior to class with online notes. The classroom session is dedicated to a participative discussion where students elaborate on their learning. The classroom is a safe-zone where mistake-making and collaboration is acceptable. Quizzes administered through the LMS are iterative, allowing multiple submissions after a cool-down period for formative learning.
- Bethany White spoke about a new initiative for post-secondary e-learning, Ontario Online. Western has secured the funding for the creation of two first-year level courses.
- Suzanne Kearns reviewed some general advice for improving e-learning, while relating it to her field of safety training for non-commercial airline pilots.
- Incorporate user technology into teaching: Bring your own device (BYOD).
- Use avatar characters as coaches.
- Break courses into 5-7 minute sections.
- Target higher levels of learning such as evaluating and applying knowledge.
- Conduct online pre-training to bring all students up to a predictable level of knowledge.
- Aim for adaptive or personalized learning that tailors the experience to an appropriate difficulty level for novice, intermediate, and advanced learners.
Recommended reading: E-Learning and the Science of Instruction / Clark & Mayer (2011)