A crisis has emerged, and disruption of the way of things has set in. You gather your resources and try to answer that one question: how are you going to teach your class? Enter Emergency Remote Learning (ERL), the dramatic yet temporary shift of instructional delivery to an alternative delivery mode as a response to a crisis. The main objective of these ERL course is not to re-create a well-crafted educational experience. Rather ERL provides temporary, quick, and reliable access to the instructional resources and support network of the institution. Under normal circumstances, the courses would be delivered face-to-face or as blended or hybrid courses. Once the emergency subsides courses would be delivered as they were previously.
The crisis has abated, and normal operations can resume. What do we do now? It would be a simple matter to just go back to the way things are. However, some of the aspect of remote learning can still be just as effective during non-emergency times. Here are a few things that you can do to keep aspects of online learning in your face-to-face experiences.
Use the features of the learning management system (LMS) to enhance your face-to-face experiences.
Post items for class into your LMS space where students can access them.
Provide helpful resources online for the students to bring to class to enhance their on-ground experience.
Migrate your office hours to an online format. Students can reach out and make arrangement to meet with you virtually instead of coming to the campus.
Allow assignments to be turned in via the LMS. This way assignments can be due at night and over weekends, giving the student ample time to turn things in.
Face-to-face discussions can start online. Prime debate topics, exploration, and general discussion online in an asynchronous format. Once the students get together in the classroom environment, continue to expand on points made online.
Use the LMS gradebook to keep students up to date on their progress in the course. Student can access their assignments and your feedback within the LMS whenever they wish, so long as things are set up. Take the time to prepare the course in the LMS and students can easily track their own progress.
If you have any questions on how you can continue to use the power of online tools in your classroom after the emergencies have subsided, please reach out to the Distance Learning Institute, part of the Division of Continuing & International Education and we can guide your efforts!
I am a gamaholic. I have taught every age group from K through adult, my K-12 years being mostly social studies and science, and in higher ed I have been a school of Education doctoral program chair of instructional design for online learning and a professor of many teacher and leadership in education topics. No matter the age group, I try to work in various types of gamification learning environments. At my core I am a constructivist, and I believe that allows me to blend in other philosophies and learning styles into my lesson designs.
So, a little history, Nick Pelling coined the term gamification in 2003 but it was meant more for the corporate world where they were trying to boost loyalty and brand name. In 2009 it officially leapt into the realm of education, though I had been creating lessons a decade earlier and had won teacher of the year awards for state of Maryland, the Eastern region of the US, and one year I was even a national finalist. All because of the engagement garnered through using what became known as gamification in my K-12 classrooms.
is the use of game design and mechanics to enhance non-game contexts by increasing participation, engagement, loyalty, and competition. These methods can include points, leaderboards, direct competitions, stickers, or badges, and can be found in industries as varied as personal healthcare, retail—and, of course, education. You have likely participated in gamification when you carried a punch card from Subway, Jersey Mikes, or some other sandwich shop that offered you a free sandwich when you completed 10 punches. Or on social media if you posted pictures to gain X amount of “likes” to reach some level of notoriety. LinkedIn provides the display of badges showing a skill set or knowledge growth that a person has achieved. The idea is to encourage brand loyalty or motivate a person to do more. So, how does gamification impact the education sector?
In everything I teach, I work to find ways to develop critical thinking skills. Gamification is a great tool for that risk/reward decision, and the planning out of a strategy. Gamification allows for student agency, giving the learner the power of decision-making and choosing the path and pace of their learning. It also provides a more comfortable environment for them to learn in. Wrapping it all up by having the learners tell their story through a narrative technique, reflecting on the outcome and what they might do differently in the next situation, completes the critical thinking development cycle. Those who resist gamification in education often cite its improper use of rewards as a motivator. Critics argue that relying on games can be detrimental to intrinsic motivation. Receiving a badge for a job well done is meaningless without an understanding of what specific skills this badge rewards. Games cannot be used to replace pedagogy, but games can be used to enhance the overall learning experience.
Today’s school age children are immersed in gaming at home and in their interactions with their friends. So, let’s simulate some of those concepts they are already familiar with. What if you abandoned grades and implemented an “experience points” system? Students’ letter grades are determined by the number of points they have accumulated at the end of the course. In other words, by how much they have accomplished. Students are progressing towards levels of mastery, as one does in games. Each assignment and each test feel rewarding, rather than disheartening, because they are wanting to get as many points as possible to level up. Using experience points allows educators to align levels with skills and highlight the inherent value of education.
Badges can be a great motivator, and I can attest that it drives me to achieve on tools such as Duolingo. Duolingo is a gamified language learning application based on constructive levels of learning achievement. So, let’s apply it to schoolwork. For each assignment completed, award students with badges. This may seem like a regression back to kindergarten with stickers or gold stars, but it’s working for Khan Academy. As students watch instructional videos and complete problem sets, Khan Academy awards them with points and badges to track progress, award skill levels, and encourage perseverance. Speaking of math, a gamification plan I was a part of designing involved levels and badges, not just for learning math skills, but for teaching them as well. Let’s say after a learner has achieved earning badges for completing the basic algebra levels for addition, subtraction, multiplying and dividing. You could award them a first level peer instructor badge. Then for every 5 students who need help comprehending a math skill, they help complete a basic algebra level, they level up. And the teacher could keep a leaderboard that shows who the peer instructors are, and by their levels, how helpful they might be. By teaching, the peer instructors advance their skills, and the teacher now has motivated help in the classroom to spread the load for additional help when learning difficult concepts. And it is best to show a leaderboard as levels, such as for Earth Science students work their way up levels of the hardness scale instead of showing points.
From Harvard's Resource Collection These free materials are aimed at students preparing to launch their careers. They provide guidance for long-term career planning as well as practical advice for students seeking jobs.
DLI's EDTECH CAFÉ IS BACK!
In this session, we'll delve into best practices for consistent course design including written objectives, weekly to-do lists, user-friendly organization, and utilizing some of the great tools in Blackboard Ultra. You'll also get the hands-on opportunity to work on your own content in Ultra with feedback from our team.
Led by Instructional Designers Ron Rodriguez and Hanna Fife, this virtual event is part of the Distance Learning Institute’s ongoing series, EdTech Café.
This series occurs every third Wednesday & Thursday of the month to assist the University of Miami faculty in creating successful, engaging online courses.
In preparation for this training session, please request a Blackboard Ultra sandbox course, or have another Ultra course ready to work on during the hands-on portion of the workshop. To request a sandbox, e-mail the Learning Platforms Team at email@example.com at least 2 days before the event.