Volume 15, Number 1, Summer 2017
Communication and Security Issues in Online Education: Student Self-Disclosure in Course Introductions
In designing online and hybrid courses, instructors should consider structure, student motivation, and interaction (per Moore’s 1993 Theory of Transactional Distance). To motivate students to interact and to build course community, instructors may assign student introductions. However, after examining students’ introductions in a hybrid content-design course and an online design course, we noted that students self-disclosed private information in their introductions, whether to classmates or instructors. To investigate further, we analyzed the content of discussion-board and email-to-instructor introductions in a community college (first data set). Then, we analyzed discussion-board and memo-to-instructor introductions at a four-year university (second data set). We identified categories in the information that students disclosed, noting that they shared demographic, professional, academic, and personal information, some of which were identifiers that could compromise the students’ privacy. Our findings are relevant to professional communication, instruction design, pedagogy, and writing research as the study sheds light on issues that we address as investigators, instructors, and student advocates in a variety of contexts, specifically online spaces.
Exploring Classroom Microblogs to Improve Writing of Middle School Students
Many of today’s adolescents are constantly engaging with information through texting, watching videos, listening to music, and even writing papers. Learning to interact properly with information through writing presents a challenge for the students because they are employing all of these applications at once and believe that they are multitasking successfully. This study explored whether participants’ writing changed when using a microblogging tool in Edmodo. The Inside Writing Frame served as the conceptual framework and was employed in creating the microblogs and grading rubric. This qualitative case study examined six microblog work samples from six eighth grade students to determine how the students’ writing changed while using the microblog tool and how the participants viewed their experience. Eight themes were used as codes for the writing sample rubrics: explore, investigating, gathering data, brainstorm, organizing, defining, redefining, connecting, and citing. While using the microblogs, participants showed growth in each of their previously weak areas and experienced a positive change in their writing. During the focus group, participants indicated a positive outlook about using the microblog as a tool for writing and expressed that they would like to see Edmodo expanded to other subjects.
Online Microteaching: A Multifaceted Approach to Teacher Professional Development
In this paper, the author proposes that microteaching may be practiced through online media. The core concept of traditional microteaching is that it is a manipulative technique used to facilitate self-reflective and critical thinking processes while teaching. Preliminary research was conducted with elementary teachers who were participating in University Terbuka, Indonesia online microteaching program. A questionnaire was administered in the Smart Teacher Portal with the aim of seeking teachers’ opinions on the performance of microteaching. Small scale, but in-depth, interviews were conducted to elucidate the in-service teachers’ beliefs about the virtues of online microteaching. The result showed that 82.68% of survey respondents agreed that online microteaching improved their professional teaching. Most respondents interviewed admitted that they were more confident in their teaching after their involvement in the online microteaching program. It was generally admitted that online microteaching had strengthened their ability to develop more extensive critical thinking and reflective actions while practicing quality teaching.
A Critique and Defense of Gamification
Gamification has received increased attention in education in recent years, and is seen as a way to improve student engagement, motivation, attendance, and academic performance. While empirical studies on gamification in higher education are showing modest gains in some areas, this data can be difficult to interpret because of the many ways that gamification can be designed and implemented. Gamification is also controversial for appearing exploitative, seeming over-simplified, and having the tendency to rely on extrinsic motivation and learning analytics that may not translate to student learning. This paper provides a brief overview of gamification in higher education and looks at findings from recent empirical studies. It then examines its key criticisms as well as its potential contributions to improving instructional design in higher education. A practical example and a set of recommendations are provided to show how instructors new to gamification and interested in implementing it can adapt it for their courses.