Module 6 involved the presentation of a synchronous lesson. My partner for this project was Marci Smith, who is also a math teacher. Based upon her suggestion, we chose to do a lesson on transformations. Our main synchronous learning strategy was the solo fishbowl. This strategy lend itself well to the lesson because it allowed students to practice sketching their transformations and receive immediate feedback on how they were doing.
Since Marci has taught this lesson much more recently, she adapted her plan to a synchronous environment. I handled much of the administrative work in Adobe Connect by setting up our layout, adding polls and creating the whiteboards for the fishbowls. We split up the instruction of the lesson into four main parts: the introduction activity (taught by me), the main lesson (Marci), the fishbowl activity (me) and self practice (Marci). In order to be prepared, we spent two nights going through the lesson in mock fashion on Adobe Connect.
Overall, the lesson went well. Working with Adobe Connect for a second time, I found that it was easier than the previous time. We ran into an issue where Marci was not able to stay connected and I had to start the main teaching portion, but she was able to get reconnected and pick it up without missing a step. We did prepare more than we needed for the time allotted, but we had planned for what to eliminate without compromising the key points of the lesson.
Reflect on assessment of learning outcomes in online environments. Consider the following questions in your reflection:
What are appropriate assessment strategies in synchronous and asynchronous delivery methods?
The best type of assessment strategies in the online environment are formative ones: assessment that occurs ongoing throughout the course. This could be informal assessment in the form of immediate feedback during a live lesson (such as our solo fishbowl activity discussed above) or more formal assessment using a rubric. In the asynchronous environment, reflection post such as this are extremely useful tools to assess a student’s level of knowledge. Students should seek out feedback from their fellow students. This form of assessment helps to create the collaborative community that drives much of the virtual classroom. Students should provide feedback on how well the assignments met their learning needs. Finally, in order for online learning to have any value, the students must realize that their participation in all activities is vital.
Does this look different than assessment in traditional classrooms? How and why?
The biggest difference between the online and the traditional classroom is in quizzes and exams. While online classes can administer quizzes and exams, to rely on them to the extent they are in a traditional classroom would be faulty. While test security measures can be created online, assuring that the student taking the test is the actual student of the class can be, while possible, an impractical feat. While a student could get someone else to do his/her work in the online environment, the time involved would make it infeasible.
Pallof, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online learning communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.