The Door v2 – Class One

September 5, 2007

The first week of class when teaching from a social constructivist perspective of one’s own devising is always scary. It is the time when we as instructors must engage in immersing students in confusion and force them to confront a new way of learning. Some like it, so are afraid of it, and others don’t like it at but peer pressure, pride, and the fact that the other sections are closed keep them here. I found myself reassuring them that it wouldn’t be all that hard and that it should be somewhat fun even as I presented new elements of the course meant to force interdependence within their groups and to provide nasty consequences for failing to complete their self-assigned project roles. It didn’t feel bad and it actually felt like they LIKED having strict rules about how to engage in group work which was one of the minor/major failure of the first iteration (Door v1).

Job aid for instructors for Class One:

1. Begin with a brief introduction of the instructor: Who am I? What am I doing here? Why am I qualified to teach this?

(Objectives: Familiarize students with the instructor, establish credibility, and overview UNT role)

2. Oveview of the class from the main course website (in this instance http://www.scottjwarren.com/1100F7). Focus especially on the importance of student roles and the nasty consequences of missing any of the FTF meetings.

(Objectives: Establish course policies governing behavior, goals of the course, and specific due dates for assignments. Additionally, provide general understanding about instructional methods, student roles, and locations of online resources.

a. Start with the About tab, talking about policies, meeting dates/times, what is a hybrid course;

b. Problem-based learning (PBL) is next, explaining how it works vs. direct instruction using the PBL tab;

c. Next was a discussion of Group work, problem tasks, and group roles (including consequences and reports);

d. From there move on to the course Schedule, looking at due dates and ending with;

e. Exams, their due dates, and the Moodle for findings assignments, posting assignments, and gathering initial resources

3. Set up groups – Students will form groups naturally according to where they sat down initially, often with friends. We allowed them to self-select in the first iteration and it didn’t work very well. In the second iteration we numbered them off 1-8 in the order they sat down and formed the groups randomly. This is useful for random assignment if the class is being researched as well. With 24 students, we had 8 groups of 3 students (one added late (25), so we added them to a random group and made it a PBL task forcing them to sort out how they would deal with the roles and gave a bit of extra credit for reporting how they did this. Groups then had to sit together and the rest of the tasks required them to help one another complete in class assignments.

4. Sign up for the Moodle – Have each student then go to the Moodle (http://moodle.lt.unt.edu) and sign up. Give them the course Key that will allow them to enroll in CECS 1100.xxx (whatever your section is). Encourage them to help one another.

(Objectives: Provide access to Moodle tool and provide students an opportunity to interact with a new course management system)

5. Moodle use – Provide an overview of how the Moodle functions (i.e. uploading files, posting to Forums, accessing resources)

(Objectives: Provide a basic understanding of how the Moodle works and its role in the course)

6. WordPress – To illustrate the use of the Moodle by having them post something to it, you also get student blogs prepared. Have them click on the WordPress link within the Moodle and proceed through the signup. Use WordPress rather than Blogger because the second tool requires that students have a mobile phone in order to activate their blog. Once they have completed sign up, they should complete their responses to the WordPress assignments found in the Moodle and post a link to their newly activated blog in the appropriate place in the Moodle.

(Objectives: Allow students to use the Moodle to post a separate assignment while providing them with a blog space within which to post reflections related to course assignments over the course of the semester)

7. End of class – Preview what will take place during the next class:

  • They need to take the Pretest found in the Moodle by the next class period
  • They should go through the material in the Moodle and read through it
  • Next class period, the class will explore the first Task
  • Next class period, the class will set up their Second Life accounts and start those assignments
  • Next class period, the Researchers will receive the link to their secondary Task

That was it for the first class. Afterwards, I talked to a couple of students about their past experience with games like World of Warcraft for 30 minutes.

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