Friday, January 27, 2012

Engaging Learners with New Strategies and Tools

Engaging learners is a vital component in any learning environment. Educators must design creative, challenging, and exciting activities for their learners to ensure they are motivated and engaged in their classrooms and online programs. According to Durrington, Berryhill, and Swafford (2006), learning can be effective whether students are participating in traditional face-to-face classrooms and/or in online programs. Educators can incorporate technology devices, software, and strategies into their curriculums that will assist their learners in being higher-order thinkers, and successful in their learning experience. Learning and instruction must provide opportunities for students to collaborate and build relationships with others and promote positive attitudes as well as increase student participation.

In order for learners to be successful in the learning experience, instructors must provide a clear outline of what is required and how students will be assessed within their course of study. Learners need to feel a sense of comfort, supportiveness, and respect with the learning environment, so they can be successful. Instructors can provide a discussion board for students to collaborate and discuss concepts within the course to build relationships with other students. Students will become more comfortable with others, and develop meaningful connections through dialogue and positive feedback from their peers. Eventually, students will begin to ask knowledgeable questions about course related concepts, tasks, etc., and this will foster opportunities for collaboration within the learning community. Students an also connect through email, telephone calls, computers using facebook, instant messaging, smart phones with twitter, You Tube, ooVoo, iPods, iPads. For more strategies and tools used to engage students in a traditional face-to-face classroom and/or in Distance Learning Programs, see information located at


Durrington, V. A., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006). Strategies for enhancing student interactivity in an online environment. Information retrieved from

Engaging Learners with New Strategies and Tools

Sunday, January 15, 2012

storyboard module 3

Module 3: Story Board: Learner Engagement

For the next several weeks, I will be working to complete my Story Board on Learner Engagement.  I will be revising my story board through the duration of this course.  Please take a look at what I have completed, and provide me with feedback.  Thanks a bunch.  Shannon B. Casimier~

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Module 3: Assessing Collaborative Efforts

According to George Siemens (2008b), participation in a collaborative learning community should be assessed by learners’ participation, learners’ knowledge of the content of courses, assigned tasks/projects/class discussion, feedback provided to members within the learning community, and social interaction with the instructors and other members in the learning community.  Instructors can also assess students how many hours they spent completing their assignments, how many times students logged on the various websites and resources for the courses, how much time students spend in group-related activities, and how may posts the students contribute to during a specific task or

The varying levels of skill and knowledge students bring to a course affect the instructor’s “fair and equitable assessment” of learning are based on the degree of the students’ growth.  When students can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding by engaging in the learning community, instructors are then able to assess them fairly and equally. 
According to George Siemens (2008a), if student does not want to collaborate in the learning community for an online course, other members within the learning community should make sure he or she understands what each member is being assessed on.  Students can participate in role-play activities to get the student who is reluctant to participate in the collaborative community.  Students must feel a sense of trust within the learning community to ensure all members feel comfortable to express their views and/or thoughts with others.  Information retrieved from also says that communication is vital to any teaching endeavor.   Collaboration fosters effective learning environments.  Members can email that person to see why he or she hasn’t participated in any of the collaborative activities with the learning community.  A telephone call from members of the learning community may also encourage and/or motivate that student to participate in the groups’ tasks.  When all members reach out to assist the students who may be reluctant to participate, he or she will gain the confidence to interact with other members in the learning community.  According to Palloff & Pratt (2007), students must feel a sense of trust, sense of belonging, sense of support, and a sense of membership. Students want to feel comfortable in a collaborative learning community. By doing so, students are then able to demonstrate their understanding of what they have learned by socializing and providing constructive feedback to their peers and instructors. Once collaborative efforts are made among members within the learning community, they can achieve the desired outcomes.

Instructors’ most important role within a learning community is to assist students in forming, shaping, and empowering their learning community. As a result of this, students will nurture, extend, and use their learning community to developing and share meaningful knowledge with others. Learning communities are more productive when they possess social interaction rather than individual exploration. Once collaboration among members in the learning community exists, students are then able to achieve and show their goals for learning.  Instructors must also get community leaders involved in learning environments in order to provide students with real life experiences. Instructors need to exposed students to different learning activities, so they will gain a better understand of the courses’ concepts. Whether students are to use Wiki or any other social networking website, educators need to model what is expected of them in order for positive communication and relationships to develop. 

Once the students within the learning community are able to demonstrate true collaboration amongst members, instructors will be able to provide the necessary feedback for members to be successful.  Students can also provide other members of the learning community feedback that will assist them in gaining the desired outcome of the group.

Comeaux, P. (2005). Assessing online learning.  Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company  information retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (2008a). Principles of distance education. Baltimore: Author.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2008b). Principles of distance education. Baltimore: Author.

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online learning communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Shannon B.Casimier