ith the possibilities for online learning activities that are available at Deakin, it would be a shame to restrict the activities you provide your students to reading Web-based material and listening to recorded lectures. We would not recommend a whizz-bang online activity just for the sake of impressing your students, but there are many interesting ways to use online technologies to help your students achieve the ILOs for your unit.
Following the constructive alignment model, the activities you choose need to be directly related to giving your students the learning experiences they need to both achieve the ILOs and pass the assessments - and you need to make these links absolutely clear to the students.
If you have chosen your assessments, then choosing activities is a question of 'teaching to the test'. The range of online activities you might choose includes authentic tasks, problem-based activities, role-plays, collaborative tasks, reflective tasks, self-tests, simulations and many more. If you have a new idea you'd like to try, talk to your faculty teaching and learning support staff - it might not be as hard as you think.
- Open your Unit design matrix again. For each ILO and assessment item, consider the kinds of learning experience the students will need to achieve the learning outcome and pass the assessment. Holistic activities that address several ILOs and assessments can often be more motivating than isolated activities, provided the activities are really relevant to the ILOs. Write these into the Activities column.
- Do any of the DSO technologies lend themselves to providing a platform for these activities? Consider Desire2Learn discussions, e-portfolios; eLive presentations; wikis; Drupal-based virtual learning environments.
- Can you provide a choice of different types of activities, to cater for the diverse student population enrolled in your unit? For example, can you provide a choice of collaborative/individual, text/audio/visual, computer-based/paper based/practical/research options?
- Look again at your student characteristics on the first page of the matrix. Do you need to adjust any of your learning experiences in light of your students' likely characteristics (eg location, academic background, level of teacher-independence)?
Examples of good practice in online activities
Contemporary online teaching cases using online assessment
The Contemporary online teaching cases website contains a variety of approaches to online learning from across discipline areas at Deakin. These include experiential, case-based, problem-based, activity-based and many other different approaches. The cases were compiled some years ago, when Deakin was using a different learning management system, but most of the ideas can be implemented with the current technologies, and may be well worth considering.
Using the Desire2Learn Instructional Design Wizard
If you are using the Desire2Learn Instructional Design Wizard:
- Open your unit site and click on Edit site at the top right side of the screen (next to the help link).
- Click on Instructional Design Wizard in the Design menu.
- Click Resume at the bottom of the screen.
- The step to decide on your activities is Step 2.2: Define and categorise content activities aligned to objectives. The wizard lets you choose activities that are appropriate for the type of intended learning outcomes and assessments you have set. The options are different depending on the type of learning approach you selected in the 'assessments' step. Again, placeholders are automatically created in your unit site for activities that require online support.
- See the Guide to using the Desire2Learn Instructional Design Wizard for instructions.
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