This week in class we discussed the importance of making online classes interactive and providing opportunities for engagement and community development. According to TeacherStream, LLC(2009), “Discussion forums provide the ability for asynchronous discussion to occur over a period of time”(p.2). Our group has chosen to adopt an asynchronous online means for our Medical Terminology prototype as a pre-nursing course. As Melinda discussed in her blog this week we overlooked the importance of building a community and having “student to student interaction” and “faculty to student interaction”. After reflecting on this following the class and after completing the readings for this week, we quickly decided to slow down and look at how creating a community could be possible in our course.
We needed to incorporate tools that would help build community and relationships. Through the use of the discussion board in Canvas we will pose questions that students will have the opportunity to discuss using their personal examples and reflections. We will ask students to give personal situations of how medical terminology may have caused confusion for themselves or their family members. We hope through the discussion board students will be able to take time to reflect and through writing articulate their thoughts online. Students will be able to to respond to one another and as faculty we will be able to respond to students. We hope to stimulate critical thinking and critical inquiry as these are extremely important skills needed in nursing. In our nursing program we often refer to Bloom’s taxonomy for reflection and this course will provide an introduction to how this is done through the discussion board. We have not highlighted Bloom’s taxonomy in our course prototype as of yet but this post has made me wonder if we should.
As faculty we will be committed to giving clear guidelines for posts. Although we have not developed a rubric for responses we may need to look at assigning some marks for discussion participation. Perhaps this would encourage more active participation. We will be visible within the discussion and monitor for appropriate netiquette(online etiquette). (This was something I had never heard of until these readings)
In my own experience I have found that discussion boards often become dominated by a few eager students. I know this has made me intimidated and often fearful to post for fear of not looking scholarly enough. I have also had peers that have been critical of my thoughts and this has made me pull back and put less reflection into posts. I believe as facilitators we have a duty to monitor the discussion board and give constructive feedback if we see these types of situations occurring.
I agree with many of Kristen Hansens thoughts on discussion boards. She discussed the importance of giving less pre-readings and more time for writing. Many of us have likely experienced this in previous classes. Often the pre-readings are very time consuming. By time we finish the pre-readings we don’t have the time or energy to write a lengthy scholarly post. Alec discussed the importance of wanting to be a participant in your own class. I think this is extremely relevant. Asking the question am “I wanting the students to do something in a class that I would be resistant to doing?”
The article posted this week by Schwier 2002, discussed elements of online communities. Four of these elements stuck out for me. I thought of examples of how our group is using these elements to create community.
Historicity- Through the use of the discussion board and flip grid, students will have the opportunity to discuss what brought them into nursing. They will be able to incorporate personal stories and experiences. As facilitators we used Adobe spark to create a welcome introduction video. Through this we have identified the history and why we chose medical terminology as our prototype. In our personal teaching history we have seen the gap in knowledge of medical terminology as a barrier for success and a means of frustration for students.
Participation- This course will be run asynchronously but will require students to participate in individual and shared peer learning. Through the use of flip grid as an ice breaker students will be able to introduce and put a face to their peers. The video creation in Module 3 will encourage active participation. Twana has modeled the way in her example video.
Technology- By employing technology that is easy for students to use we hope the activities and links will facilitate student learning. Canvas offers many evaluative activities right on the LMS but we have also provided links and examples of other virtual tools. In module one, I demonstrate to use of these links for students in my course instruction. This is link to the medical terminology matching quiz I have developed. I have also shown the students other tools such as an online source for cue cards called https://quizlet.com/. Furthermore, we will also be using zoom for faculty led weekly Q and A sessions. Although not compulsory students will have to opportunity to zoom in once a week to have questions answered or guidance given.
Future- Having students describe “ways they will use what they have learned in the community in the future” This is something we have not yet incorporated as of now but after completing the readings, I feel vital to include. I think it will make sense to include a discussion question that would have students reflect on how they might use the knowledge of medical terminology in their future education and career. I am known for telling my students “don’t memorize to forget, learn to empower” Our patients expect that we bring knowledge from all classes to provide optimal care.
As Melinda discussed we are not entirely sure where to “cap” the participation as we are running this course over 8 weeks. How much is too much? In a short asynchronous course it may be difficult to build the sense of community that exists in blended and face to face classes. I do hope that our course will at the very least build some peer relationships that will be developed further as students meet face to face in future nursing classes.