UW Continuum College Instructor Resources

Engaging Students in the SyncDL Learning Environment

Workshop for SyncDL Instructors

October 27, 2014  |  6:00 – 7:30

Karen Freisem (kfreisem@uw.edu)

Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL)


Guiding Questions

1.  What is your experience engaging students in the SyncDL learning environment?

Write/Pair/Share: Take a couple of minutes to reflect on your experience. Consider what you do to promote interaction and engage students.

a.   What is one strategy that works for you?

b.   What is one challenge you face?

2.  What tools can we use to engage students?

a.   Learning Management System (Canvas, Moodle)

b.   AdobeConnect

c.    Collaboration tools: Google Docs, GitHub d.  Polling tools: PollEverywhere

3.  What interactive strategies have you used in your SyncDL class?

Complete the first part of the grid on page 4 and discuss your responses in your group. What questions do you have? What strategies would you like to discuss?

4.  Why use interactive strategies? What does the research tell us about effective teaching in a synchronous online environment?

a.   The science of learning

  • Learning happens through interaction.
  • Principles – motivation, prior knowledge, organization, practice & feedback, metacognition, learning environment (Ambrose)
  • Using active learning strategies increases student learning (Mazur, Freeman).

b.   Learning in synchronous online environments

  • Distance learning is enhanced by synchronous conferencing and increased interaction (Teng, Thurairajah, Oyarzun).
  • Synchronous web conferencing enables student collaboration and active learning (Tucker).
  • Instructors find it challenging to manage interaction and feedback (Cornelius) and to create social presence (Kear).

c.    Interaction & community

  • Community of learners, social presence

5. How can we adapt the interactive strategies to the SyncDL learning environment?

Reconsider the strategies in the grid on page 4. Choose one or two strategies that you might use to address the challenges you identified. What would the strategy look like for students in the classroom? What would the strategy look like for students online? What high/low tech tools could you use?

6. What are key considerations in incorporating interactive/active learning strategies?

Consider the strategies and tools you’ve discussed so far today. How does it address
one or more of the following?

  • Build interaction into your course design.
  • Set students’ expectations.
  • Build community.
  • Plan for and structure interaction in each class session.
  • Assess.
    • Get feedback from students, reflect and talk with other instructors.
  • Revise.

7.  Reflect

  • What interactive strategies did we use in this workshop?
  • What was the experience like for you as a participant – in person or online?
  • What facilitated your participation?

One minute write:

What is one key idea that you’re taking away from this evening’s workshop?

RESOURCES Articles & Books

  • Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: 7 research-based principles for smart teaching (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Cornelius, S. (2013). Facilitating in a demanding environment: Experiences of teaching in virtual classrooms using web conferencing. British Journal of Educational Technology.
  • Freeman, S., Eddy, S.L., McDonough, M., Smith, M.K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H. & Wenderoth, M.P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, (23), 8410.
  • Huxham, M. (2005). Learning in Lectures: Do ‘Interactive Windows’ Help? Active Learning in Higher Education the Journal of the Institute for Learning and Teaching, (1), 17-31.
  • Kear, K., Chetwynd, F., Williams, J., & Donelan, H. (2012). Web conferencing for synchronous online tutorials: Perspectives of tutors using a new medium. Computers & Education, 58(3), 953-963.
  • Mazur, E. (2009). Farewell, Lecture? SCIENCE, (5910), 50-51.
  • Oyarzun, B., & Martin, F. (2013). A case study on multi-modal course delivery and social learning opportunities. Bulletin of the IEEE Technical Committee on Learning Technology, 15(1), 25-28. http://lttf.ieee.org/issues/january2013/Oyarzun.pdf
  • Rodger, S. (1995). An interactive lecture approach to teaching computer science. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, (1), 278-282.
  • Teng, D. C., Chen, N., Kinshuk, , & Leo, T. (2012). Exploring students’ learning experience in an international online research seminar in the synchronous cyber classroom. Computers and Education, 58(3), 918-930.
  • Thurairajah, N., McAdam, B. & Williams, A. (2012). Using Synchronous Web Conferencing to Enhance Situated Distance Learner Experience in Built Environment Context. ASC Annual International Conference Proceedings.
  • Tucker, J.P. & Neely, P.W. (2010). Using Web-Conferencing and the Socratic Method to Facilitate Distance Learning.  International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 7, 6.
  • White, G. (2011). Interactive lecturing. Clinical Teacher, (4), 230-235.

Web Resources

Questions 5 & 6: Active Learning Strategies

Strategy I’ve used it a lot I’ve used it sometimes I’ve never tried it I don’t know what it is How would this strategy work for students in class? How would this strategy work for students online?
Small Groups
One Minute Paper
Backchannel chat
Structured notes
Background Knowledge Probe
Defining Featires Matrix

Center for Teaching and Learning

100 Gerberding Hall, Box 351265, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195