Category Archives: Student Success

Moodle: Personalized Learning Designer (PLD)

Pop-quiz! Answer the following:

Are you trying to keep up with student reports so that you can message at risk or failing students and encourage them to attend office hours or seek tutoring?

Are you watching your participants list to find and reach out to students who have not logged into the course or participated recently?

Are you trying to make sure students with an excelling grade have additional opportunities to further challenge them?

Are you wanting to find a way to get back a few hours of your life each week and let the PLD do some work to help you?

Open LMS - Personalized Learning Designer
The PLD can provide differentiated instruction that is more personalized to the student.

Many of the essential steps in helping your students succeed take a lot of TIME!  The Personalized Learning Designer (PLD) will help you by completing these tasks for you, thus giving you back this time to focus on your teaching!

Give some of these rules from our PLD Cheat sheet a go:

A student has not logged into the course in the previous x days.Event: Recurring Event (daily)
Conditions: User role check (student) & Course login (has NOT logged into course, x)
Actions:  Send email
Quiz or assignment not submitted (*note this rule uses course completion settings)Event: Quiz or assignment submitted 
Conditions: Activity completed
Actions: Send email
Students with 69% and below after midterm EMAILEvent: Specific date and time
Conditions: Course grade range
Actions:  Send email
Send students to the syllabus when the FIRST enter the courseEvent: Course start date
Conditions: Course login (NOT logged in / 30 days)
Actions: Go to activity
The PLD can be found within your Course Administration menu.

Want to learn more or see it in action? Come to our PLD Workshop on 10/29 at 11am.

Upon completion of this workshop, you’ll be able to:

  • Design automated interactions with students and personalize their learning.
  • Create rules using the Personalized Learning Designer to assist with course management strategies.

Do you have PLD rules that you found helpful? Tell us about them in the comments!

Keep an eye on the CTL Calendar for upcoming workshops. The next one will be 10/29 @11am on the PLD. If you can not make the live workshop – it will be recorded AND/OR I have an online version of the PLD workshop in Moodle for you!

Test Proctoring and Fall 2020

We’re looking at another term — and maybe more — of learning and assessment that happens predominantly through online means. This can make instructors nervous about maintaining academic integrity for their assignments and exam materials in particular. It also poses some thorny ethical questions for those presenting and grading tests, which I think we need to take a few minutes to unpack. I’ll provide my own views here, and I’d welcome further discussion!

The Risks…

Test proctoring through remote technology is imperfect at best and can be threatening in some forms: It requires surveillance of students in their homes. Many of the technological solutions to replacing traditional in-person test taking come with a host of privacy and access issues. For example, some proctoring services require eye-motion tracking; others require students to show their entire room to the camera; still others will invalidate tests for any interruption, leaving students with little recourse over infractions as minor as resting their chin on their hand or reaching out to move an interrupting pet from the desk.

If you’re working from home right now, you can imagine what might be shown — or what might interrupt — you at any moment. Now, put yourself in the position of a student being asked to take a high-stakes examination, while also concerned that a child or roommate might come in at the wrong moment.

In addition, using proctored testing services for students can set up an atmosphere of distrust from the start. I’ll admit, when first reading this critique a few years ago, I felt automatically defensive about the accusation that my use of anti-cheating technology was inherently discriminatory. In the intervening years, watching not only the discussion among faculty about these practices but also hearing from my own students, I’ve come around to the ideas that Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris, heads of the Digital Pedagogy Lab, support and espouse.

…Outweigh “The Rewards”

There’s not much evidence that online proctoring services or technology have any impact on improving student learning or preventing cheating. In fact, they may do the opposite, while having a negative impact on student success. Josh Eyler, director of faculty development at the University of Mississippi, summed this up nicely in a blog post today. Here’s a key excerpt:

There will always be those who have planted their flags of resistance firmly on the hills of rigor and standards. These are not bad things in an of themselves–I believe in having standards for our students and helping them to meet those standards–but when they conflict with students’ ability to do their best work or even serve as an obstacle to students’ emotional wellbeing, then we need to look closely at why the commitment to rigor and standards is so rigid… Those who are not persuaded by the ethical and empathetic position should know that proctoring software fails miserably when checked against the science of learning too.

Josh Eyler, “The Science of Learning vs. Proctoring Software.”

Little research exists into whether online proctoring has an impact on student test-taking behaviors. Are students less likely to cheat when being monitored? Maybe. Are students who would have done well (and never considered cheating) more likely to struggle because they are being monitored? That result seems clear.

What’s the alternative?

Put succinctly, the alternative is to trust that students are enrolled in courses because they want to learn, and then to provide them with the best opportunities to demonstrate what they’ve learned (and support to make sure they’ve learned it) throughout the course.

Project-based learning presents likely the best alternative to high-stakes testing in general. In courses where this seems impossible, restructuring exams to make sure that they assess the skills necessary in the course — not memorization of facts but the ability to demonstrate learning — can still be done through standard quiz methods. Lowering the stakes for some tests by offering multiple attempts and promoting recursive learning is another strategy that has promise.

Most importantly, talk to your students about whatever path you want to take. Showing that you value their learning and trust their integrity will go a long way toward building a learning community and a culture of honesty. Students are talking about these practices among themselves, and the reviews for this type of monitoring are overwhelmingly negative — and often very public. Students are experts in their own situations, and involving them in the decision of how to assess and monitor learning can be a rewarding experience for everyone!

Further Reading:

Session 4: Interaction

Session Recording from May 22

How do we build critical pieces to our online, hybrid, or remote courses? How can my teaching be as effective as I was in the classroom? How can my students feel like they belong to the class and establish a community and trust amongst all participants?

OSCQR [Interaction] best practices in focus during this topic: 

*40. [Instructor Presence] Learners have an opportunity to get to know the instructor.[Syllabus / Instructor Bio, Introductions Forum]

*41.  [Class Community] Course contains resources or activities intended to build a sense of class community, support open communication, and establish trust (i.e. Ice-breaker, Bulletin Board, Meet Your Classmates, Q/A Forum)[News and Announcements, Introductions Forum, Course Q/A forum, Various activities through the course.]

*42. [Learner-to-Learner Interaction] Course offers opportunities for learner to learner interaction and constructive collaboration.

*43. [Learner Contributions] Learners are encouraged to share resources and inject knowledge from diverse sources of information in their course interactions.

Future Friday Sessions:

May 29 Completion Conference (Full)

June 5 Creating Engaging Content and Activities

June 12 Online Assessment

Step 5 [..10 steps to course dev]: Instructional Design Moodle Course Template

This post in continuation of the original 10 Steps to Build a Remote/Hybrid/Online Course

Have you ever thought to yourself any of the following:

  • My course is a mess!
  • I worked so hard on all this content and activities, but my students seem so lost!
  • I am new to online/remote teaching and have no idea how to even start! #IfIhadadollar
  • I wish I had a place to at least start from.
  • I wish our department had a starting point for a shared course experience.

Have students ever asked:

  • How do I get started, navigate, and work through your course?
  • What are we doing this week?
  • I can’t find this weeks work, can you help me?
  • Why do we have to do this? (one of my personal favorites)
  • How do I submit this assignment?
  • When is our midterm? Finals? This week’s assignment?
  • I’m confused about what to do when to do it, and how I’m supposed to submit it to you. Can you help me?

Well, have we got an answer for you! The Instructional Design Services has developed a Moodle course shell template, IDS Template [OSCQR]. $ $ Free of charge and 100% openly licensed to share and share-alike with your friends!

The IDS template will provide you with a solid start to a course (remote or online) design that is student-centric and based on research best practices as outlined in OSCQR. Use all or just a few pieces of the course template – a la carte model of sharing the love.

Act fast to get yours! Email the atc@lanecc.edu and just ask for an import!
DONT WAIT! ACT NOW!

Ok..enough of the cheesy infomercial…my sales career lasted only a couple very miserable weeks in college. If interested all you need to do is email the ATC and ask for an import of all or pieces of the template. Have questions about how to use the template or what parts make sense to bring over to your course? Inquire with an instructional designer.

Review of steps to Course Dev so far covered:
STEP 1: Brush up on my Moodle skills.
STEP 2: Review and spend time with the IDs OSCQR Top 15 best practices in course design.
Step 3: Meet with an instructional designer to develop a Personal Development Plan (PDP) on course design and training needed to teach.
Step 4: Complete a course planning worksheet (note this can be used in your syllabus).
Step 5: Ask the ATC to import the IDS Moodle course template.  Use the template material and fill in the blanks where needed.

next post in series of 10 steps to course dev (coming soon):
Step 6: Complete Getting Started Course Development checklist and follow the steps on building introduction through week 1 of course.
Step 7: Meet with an instructional designer to develop a Personal Development Plan (PDP) on course design and training needed to teach.

Google doc in action (steps 1-5)

Questions / Comments / Feedback – comment in discussion below!

Let’s Talk (& Read About) Online Teaching and Learning

Academic Technology and Instructional Design Services are happy to sponsor a series of discussion group meetings for online and online-interested faculty this term, discussing big questions and issues in online teaching and learning.

Instructors who attend at least 3 (out of 6) online pedagogy in-person discussions and/or virtual sessions during Spring term can receive 1 item for permanent loan (you can keep it for the length of your employment) from the AT prize cabinet, which includes a collection of useful-for-online-teaching materials, e.g.:

  • A webcam
  • A computer microphone
  • A software purchase 
  • Wireless keyboard/mouse combination
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Headphones or headset
  • eReader
  • Relevant book about online learning
  • One-year individual membership to relevant online learning group
  • etc.

(Some technology is subject to approval by IT/AT, but attendees will be able to choose something useful and relevant to their online work). Items are given for long-term loan without expectation of return/check in unless the instructor is no longer teaching for LCC.

In addition, anyone attending/participating in a session will be entered into a drawing to win a specific upgraded piece of technology for the next year/term (example: MacBook Air laptop or new iPad) or travel to a nearby eLearning conference. Attendees would earn one entry per session attended (in-person or online). This technology would be college owned but given out for long-term loan with no expectation of return until faculty are no longer teaching online for LCC and/or no longer need the computer. Drawing would be held at the end of Spring term, and the order would take place after that in consultation with the winner.

But wait, there’s more

In-person sessions will also have, by popular demand, snacks and coffee!

How do I sign up?

Use the form below to sign up in advance for these sessions. You’ll receive a reminder two weeks and one week in advance, along with a suggested/recommended reading that will guide our discussion.

Session Contents and Enrollment Size:

In-person sessions are limited to 15 participants and will be conducted as round table discussions, with prompting questions but no presentation. Virtual sessions are week-long discussions run on Moodle, with an optional synchronous piece or experimental technology when relevant.

Discussions will cover a broad range of relevant and thought-provoking topics related specifically to community college education online. Suggested topics are below:

  • Week 4 (10-11, 4/26): When, how, and whether to expand online at community colleges
  • Week 5 (online): Meeting online students where they are: Strategies for improving student success
  • Week 7 (online): Does online learning help or harm student progress?
  • Week 8 (10-11, 5/24): Creating close community while learning/teaching at a distance
  • Week 9: Data, data, data (online): What do the numbers show (and mean) what do we need to know?
  • Week 10 (10-11, 6/7): Do online classes need an instructor? The importance of online teaching presence

Sign up here!

Building Community in an Online Class

Building a sense of community with online learners.

Sometimes things are easier said than done!  How do you make a connection with students and build a community – when you never see them?!  Unlike face-to-face courses, you don’t usually get to meet (in person) your students in an online course.  How can you help make your online students feel comfortable and confident when interacting with the course, fellow students, and the instructor?

Luckily, we have a few ideas on how to help instructors to build class community in their online courses.

Why?

A lot of research is out there that concludes that when students feel connected and apart of a community they are more likely to be successful in the course.  Courses that have community and promote a constructivist and/or social context approach to teaching and learning lead to increased student success rates.  

What

Activities that help build a sense of class community (early the course) fall into three general categories:

  • Social Activities which focus on self-expression
  • Cognitive activities which focus on academic and professional goals.
  • “Getting Started” activities that allow students to become familiar with the course and technology.

Each of these types of activities develops social presence, promote learner engagement, and opens communication (oscqr.org, 2019).  

How

  • Use an icebreaker to start off your course!
  • Post a question in a forum – first student answers the question and asks the next – this continues until all students have answered and asked a question.  Instructor answers the final question.
  • Create an informal open [Zoom, Google Hangouts, Moodle Chat] space where students can meet and discuss course-related topics.
  • Update your profile page and ask/assign your students to do the same!
  • Participate in all the introductory and getting started activities!  Instructors should model what they would expect students to share.
  • Use a positive tone!
  • Use Digital Posters for Online Community Introductions

Explore further

Jones, P., Naugle, K., & Kolloff, M. (2008). Teacher presence: Using introductory videos in hybrid and online coursesLearning Solutions.

McIntyre, C. (2004). Shared Online and Face-to-Face Pedagogies: Crossing the Brick-and-Click Divide. Educational Technology, 44(1), 61-63.

Russo, T. C., & Campbell, S. W. (2004). Perceptions of mediated presence in an asynchronous online course: Interplay of communication behaviors and mediumDistance Education, 25(2), 215 – 232.

Widmeyer, W. N. & Loy, J. W. (1988). When you’re hot, you’re hot! Warm-cold effects in first impressions of persons and teaching effectivenessJournal of Educational Psychology, 80(1), 118-121.

Early Outreach Tool in Moodle – Pilot Opportunity

Exciting news! Early Outreach is partnering and collaborating with Academic Technology in programming courses in Moodle to auto”magically” send notifications to at-risk students. The Early Outreach Tool will look for students whose course grade are below 70% at weeks 3, 5, and 7 and will send notifications from Early Outreach for support. The ultimate goal is to reach out to students early and often and provide the proper support so they are successful in their course.

Why would I want this Early Outreach tool in my Moodle course(s)?

The PLD will check grades at weeks 3, 5, and 7.  If students grade range is between 0% and 70% the student and early outreach will be notified.

The EO Tool will check grades at weeks 3, 5, and 7. If students grade range is between 0% and 70% the student and early outreach will be notified.

If the Early Outreach tool is successful you would no longer need to manually review your Moodle gradebook and make referrals to early outreach. This saves you time and ensures at-risk students are identified early and often. This is a win for instructors and a win for students!

What is the Early Outreach tool going to do and what do instructors need to do?

The “Early Outreach tool” will send an email and force an alert on your course to all students who have between a 0-70% course total at specific times during the year. The tool will check student grades on Monday at 8am on Weeks 3, 5, and 7 of the Winter term. The email/alert will communicate to students that they are at risk based on current course total and requests they meet with Early Outreach for support.

What do instructors need to do:

  • Nothing you are not already doing!!!
  • Keep an updated Moodle gradebook. Understand alerts go out Monday at 8am – it is essential the gradebook be accurate in order to target truly at-risk students.
  • Communicate with me if you find anything not working or if you have any concerns or questions.
  • Share any feedback on how the implementation of this tool impacted students.

Want more info?

If you would like to learn more about how we are using PLD to program early alerts or have other questions – please feel free to ask me! I would be happy to review the tool and student experience and answer any questions you may have.

Interested?

Just let me know (steevesk@lanecc.edu)!  I will need to know what Winter CRNs you would like the tool implemented.