Online Classroom is an online learning environment designed to significantly extend the capabilities of Blackboard. It establishes an innovative new approach to the practice of teaching distance education students online by expanding the online learning space of DE students enrolled across a range of subjects offered by CSU as well as teaching and management capabilities of staff. Our proposed initiative involves augmenting the existing Online Classroom platform currently being trialled with additional tools to improve the digital habitat offered to DE students. These tools include: adaptive multiple choice/formative learning task functionality, guided diachronic discussion, and synchronic digital classroom capabilities.
Significant & Benefit
The further development of Online Classroom with these new innovations will continue to directly address the university’s strategic priorities of increasing student engagement through well-designed, responsive online interaction, and the introduction of leading learning and educational technologies.
Impact of Online Classroom on students learning is a significantly improved course experience by offering a learning platform. We expect to see an increase in positive student evaluation in respect to the Online Classroom environment. Course design is similarly impacted by the implementation of Online classroom by continuing to develop and improve the following features: the seamless integration of features such as peer reviews, target forum discussions, integrated assessment feedback, adaptive multiple choice questions, short answer tasks, guided diachronic discussion, synchronic classroom experience.
The impact of Online Classroom on staff is largely the availability of heretofore absent features for teaching distance students, marking assessment items, and moderation. These include the following: a new teacher interface allowing for creation of tasks, guides for markers, hints for students, the ability to turn discussion option on and off for each question, and turn on or off peer review; colour coding of assessment work showing where students are up to with completion of work; Gradebook uploading features done semi-manually through a spreadsheet at the end of the session; automatic grade summaries/distribution pages between cohorts allowing for progressive moderation or live moderation between tutors.
The interactive online learning environment Online Classroom was developed by Project Leader, Wylie Breckenridge, and is currently being trialled over a range of undergraduate subjects being offered this semester at CSU. Our aim with this initiative is to further develop the Online Classroom platform by designing and incorporating the following innovations into Online Classroom learning space and so further distinguish Online Classroom from the existing Blackboard/Interact learning environment. We will be continuing to develop the features currently on offer in Online Classroom, however, in addition to the existing features we intend to develop the following new innovations.
- Adaptive Multiple Choice/ Formative Learning Task. The aim of this innovation is to develop a section within Online Classroom environment that acts as a form of tailored online testing that essentially adapts to a student’s ability level. Students answer multiple choice questions online as part of an assessment item and a function will enable adaptive hints for wrong answers, effectively tailoring the assessment item to the students’ knowledge and ability level, as well as providing the student with useful feedback on the subject matter being tested. Once it is made active, this innovation will be one in which people can develop more of these learning tasks themselves.
- Guided Diachronic Discussion The aim of this innovation is to simulate the experience of a traditional classroom for DE students online by furnishing distance students with an important internal student experience, namely, guided diachronic discussion.
- “Brady Bunch” synchronic digital classroom experience. The ‘big brother’ to the previous innovation of diachronic guided discussion, the aim of this innovation is to establish a “Brady Bunch”- style simulation of an internal classroom experience involving face-to-face online interaction between distance students and lecturer via digital technologies (over their laptop, desktop or other device). All class participants will be able to see and hear each other synchronically on their devices in real-time for the duration of the class, effectively bringing the internal and distance learning experiences closer to parity. An alternative to this innovation is the development of a live chat/messaging service for similar synchronic class participation.