Session 7: Discussions, Tests, and Quizzes

Session 7 Focus Topics.          _______________________________

For your blog post this week I would like you to discuss your reaction to grading the discussion by responding to these questions.

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  1. Overall, how well did your rubric work?

Overall, I think the rubric worked well.  It was simple to use, but still allowed me to do what Dr. Newberry stated in session 6 be “specific enough so that students clearly understand what they are to do and why” they got the grade they received.  In addition, as Dr. Newberry stated, the rubric would allow “instructors to be able to grade the discussions with a minimum of effort”.  I think I was able to do this when I graded the assignment for 2 students.

I also incorporated written feedback which included a positive comment and something the student needed to work on.

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  1. Identify and explain the strengths of your rubric.

 

The section on continued engagement (moderation) of platform for online discussion and posting is vital to maintain the students’ actively engaged in the discussions.  Students are extremely busy and may forget to continue to post on the platform after they have submitted their initial post, so I differentiated between the two.  This will encourage their continued presence in the platform since it is directly related to the points in the rubric for the discussion.

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  1. Identify and explain one weaknesses of your rubric.

 

A weakness is the part of initial participation in which I placed a quantitative amount of 3-5 times in the discussion forum.  However, even though the two students I graded fulfilled this requirement, they did not demonstrate a strong understanding of the key ideas.  Perhaps, I should break this apart into two separate sub categories.

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  1. What changes would you make to your rubric now that you have used it?

As stated earlier, I would break up initial participation into two subcategories, one for initial response and another for the quality of the response, so it would look like this:

Rubric for Online Discussions and Postings
Component Minimal-

Below Expectation

Adequate-

At Expectation

Thorough-

Above Expectation

Score:
Initial

Participation

__________

Quality of Response

Contributed by posting initially in discussion forum

_______________

responded to one of the topics on discussion forums.

Contributed by posting 3 times in discussion forums

______________

while responding to most of the topics on discussion forums

while staying focused on key ideas.

Contributed by posting 3-5 times in discussion forums ______________

all of the online topics on discussion forums skillfully with a strong understanding of key ideas.

/2

______

/3

Continued

Engagement

(Moderation)

Respectfully responded to one posting while connecting to key ideas. Respectfully responded to most of the other students’ postings while connecting to key ideas. Respectfully responded to all other students’ postings while connecting to key ideas.

/5

Summary General summary of online discussion forum.

Does not include any reflection on personal experience.

Key ideas of online discussion captured in summary

Some reflection on personal experience

Skillfully summarized key and emerging ideas from discussion.

Continues to reflect on unresolved topics for further investigation in future experiences.

/10

Resources Few to no resources and citations Adequate list of resources cited in APA format. Extensive and relevant list of resources cited in APA format. /10
Total Score:     /30

Reference

Garrison, D. R. (2011). E-learning in the 21st century a framework for research and practice. New York: Routledge.

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  1. Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.

I have learned that rubrics are quite subjective and I had to keep reminding myself to be “even handed” when grading the second student who I did not think put forth a lot of effort.  I had to try to be unbiased and look at the different aspects of the responses to maintain an unbiased view of the student and be equitable in my own grading practices.

I also learned some ways an instructor can continue to keep discussions lively by introducing creative ways to engage students through the use many innovative way to structure an online discussion such as the following:

  • Using jigsaw method to complete large tasks in small groups
  • Working with a partner in online discussion
  • Students view or listen to recordings and then write a comparative writing assignment
  • Interests groups within forum
  • Fictional characters/role-playing
  • An “expert” joins discussion
  • Polling
  • Debates
  • Peer review
  • Focus on current events in the news

It is important to maintain student participation levels high in the discussion forum because it will develop social presence needed to keep students from dropping online courses and it is a major component of the course, “the meaty part”.

Resources:

https://www.edutopia.org/pdfs/stw/edutopia-onlinelearning-mastering-online-discussion-board-facilitation.pdf

http://vmjorum.ds.man.ac.uk/xmlui/download/bitstream/handle/10949/11752/data/downloads/rovai_2002.pdf?sequence=5

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Session 3: Best Practices

Session 3 Focus Topics. _____________________________________________________________________
Respond to the following items on you blog. Your responses must be available on your blog no later than midnight on Sunday ending the week.
In addition, you must visit other student blogs (from session 1) and make at least three posts in the comments section of those blogs.
Don’t forget to monitor your own blog comments section so you can engage with students who read and comment on your blog!
For the following be sure to provide citations (URL’s etc.) for sources of information you consulted to answer each items as appropriate.
_____________________________________________________________________
1. After reviewing the Quality Matters Checklist, what are three best practices you can extract. List each one and explain its significance and importance. Be sure to give an example of how using this idea would make either delivery or assessment better in a specific eLearning context.
The three best practices I can extract after reviewing the Quality Matters Checklist are the following:
 Course Overview and Introduction
 Learning Objectives (Competencies)
 Course Activities and Learner Interaction
Course Overview and Introduction, Learning Objectives, and Course Activities and Learner Interaction are all components of three key things associated with the successful delivery of eLearning from Session 2 that encompass:
 Clear Communication of Learning Objectives (Competencies) which need to be introduced during the first online session in the Course Overview and Introduction to help students navigate through the location of materials within the online course materials and to communicate what students are to expect from the course. Consistency in the structure of the course with delivery and design placing location of course materials in a similar manner while still integrating a variety of interactive resources for learners to explore will help online learners focus on the academic tasks, rather than the structural task regarding the structure of the course.
 Clear Learning Objectives (Competencies) will motivate online learners by focusing their attention on measurable outcomes with relevant high quality meaningful content, increasing levels of student engagement in the subject matter.
The content should help students learn a skill or increase their expertise on a topic according to the level of the course.
 Course Activities and Learner Interaction requiring human interaction increase active learning to make online courses more personable. Learner interaction and expectations should be clearly stated in the Course Overview and Introduction. Requiring group collaboration through discussions on online forums, problem-solving in online chat rooms, and including social media sites into eLearning curriculum will provide ample opportunities for student interaction to become actively engaged in the course material.
Resources:
7 Tips To Develop a Successful Interactive eLearning Strategy. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://elearningindustry.com/7-tips-to-develop-successful-interactive-elearning-strategy
Evaluating best practices in your course design | elearning. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ltu.edu/blogs/elearning/?p=411
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2. After reviewing the readings (and other sources that you locate on your own) what are some ideas that you can take from the work of Chickering and Gamson? How well do their suggestions map to online education in general? How well do they map to the students and/or content you might teach or develop for?
Chickering and Gamson offer some ideas that are effective such as creating and requiring interactions between students and staff and providing prompt feedback as stated in Arbaugh’s work (2006) titled, Do Chickering and Gamson’s Seven Principles Also Apply to Online MBAs? (p. 14).
In general, suggestions provided by Chickering and Gamson are applicable to online education as a starting point for developing courses online, but “the ways different institutions implement good practice depend very much on their students and their circumstance” according to The Center for Teaching and Learning (para. 9). Therefore, instructional designers, instructors, and educational institutions must take this into account and tailor the design of their courses to better meet the needs of that particular group’s needs, which may vary form course to course.
I would use Chickering and Gamson’s Seven Principles and integrate them to my work with second grade students in face-to-face courses and online learning in the future by ensuring my implementation of the most effective research based strategies like creating opportunities for
various interactions among students and myself. For example in my face-to-face interaction with students, I would pose a question and then provide sentence frames for students to respond to the question in complete sentences. After students, have had some time to think about their responses, I would have them write it down on whiteboards. Then they would share their responses with a partner and explain their reasoning. Afterwards, we would share out responses as a class by randomly selecting students to share their work with the class. Then I would provide immediate feedback by making positive comments about the student’s work. Of course, this would look different in an online setting as far as technological resources that would be needed. I am planning to work on this during the third trimester of this school year when students have become more familiar with the technology in the classroom. Right now, we have 20 netbooks, but we are supposed to be getting a set of chrome books.
http://www.thejeo.com/Volume3Number2/ArbaughFinal.pdf
http://teaching.uncc.edu/learning-resources/articles-books/best-practice/education-philosophy/seven-principles
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3. According to the text, what are Objectives, Outcomes and Competencies. Provide an example of each.
According to the textbook, Assessing the Online Learner (2009):
 Objectives are:
“What students will learn generally at the end of a unit or study” (p. 6).
Objective Example: Unit objectives in a course like the ones we have for ETEC 648 elearning Technology and Methods stated in the course syllabus, “Developing and understanding of different models of eLearning delivery” (p. 2).
 Outcomes are:
“What students will be able to know or do, generally at the end of the course” (p. 6).
Outcomes will usually include these 4 areas of learning:
 Knowledge
 Cognitive skills
 Subject-specific skills
 Key skills
(p. 10).
* “Well-written outcomes contain 3 parts” (p. 11). They are: behavior, criterion, and conditions.
Outcome Example: According to Dr. Newberry’s course syllabus in ETEC 648 online learners will be
“Developing the ability to recognize and discussion best practices for delivery and assessment” (p. 2).
This can be considered the measurable outcome according to our behavior on our written work in Blackboard and our Blogs. In addition the criterion is stated in Session 3: Best Practices Requirements Description and Evaluation Rubric. In addition, there are conditions in which, we have deadlines to meet.
 Competencies are:
“How students demonstrate knowledge or skill acquisition, generally at the end of a program or study” (p.6).
Example: Professional Competencies for teachers in which skills, abilities, and knowledge are required to complete a teaching credential and obtain a clearance by exhibiting successful implementation of Standards for the Teaching Profession.
http://www.ctc.ca.gov/educator-prep/standards/CSTP-2009.pdf
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4. List the six levels in Bloom’s taxonomy. Now list one eLearning task, question or assignment for each level.
Bloom’s Category:
How it can be used in eLearning?
Creating
eLearning students develop their own set of Best Practices, which will be well-suited to their target audience as they design and develop their own eLearning course.
Evaluating
ELearning students evaluate different best practices list and select ones that they can incorporate successfully for the needs of their particular target audience for their own eLearning course, supporting their selections with current research.
Analyzing
ELearning students differentiate their online curriculum to meet the needs of a variety of learners within their course.
Applying
ELearning students write their own rubrics to be utilized to grade students participating in their online discussions before the course begins.
Understanding
ELearning students will explain the rationale for the selection of a variety of assignments incorporated in their course and how it addresses different levels within the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Remembering
eLearning students will remember their own experience as online learners as they reflect and record this in a journal so that they will become increasingly responsive and sensitive to the needs of their own learners.
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5. According to the text, what is “learner focused teaching”? How does this concept relate to the work of Chickering and Gamson? Provide some ideas for providing “learner focused teaching” in an eLearning setting and give at least one example.
According to the textbook, Assessing the Online Learner (2009) learner focused teaching is when the instructor facilitates learning by working with students to assess learning within an online community based on “papers, projects, performance of authentic application activities, portfolios, and the like” (Palloff & Pratt, p. 24).
The concept of “learner focused teaching” relates to the work of Chickering and Gamson because of its active learning component in Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as a Lever as presented by The Teaching, Learning, and Technology Group (TLT).
Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just by sitting in classes listening to teachers.” …They must talk about what they are learning, write reflectively about it, relate to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves (p. 2).
http://www.tltgroup.org/programs/seven.html
Students have to actively participate in the coursework and cannot be passive learners in the instruction because they are required to become actively involved with the skills and concepts on many different levels throughout instruction.
Some ideas for providing “learner focused teaching” in an eLearning setting is to integrate technological resources available on the web:
1) “tools and resources for learning by doing” in an apprentice style learning environment with simulated learning environments through software like medical students performing heart surgery
2) “time-delayed (asynchronous) communication through the use of e-mail, computer conferencing like Skype, and other opportunities on the internet
3) “real-time conversation” within study groups, collaborative learning, group problems solving, and discussion of assignments in a Q and A platform within Blackboard
I would provide “learner focused teaching” by ensuring learners are focused in class in which, “students construct knowledge by gathering together and synthesizing information by using inquiry, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving” in their interactions with each other in an online discussion board by developing a rubric to be used for grading purposes of their online participation (Palloff & Pratt, 2009, p. 24).
http://www.tltgroup.org/programs/seven.html
Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2009). Assessing the Online Learner: Resources and Strategies for
Faculty. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
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6. Explain how the readings this week (and your own research) connects with the Blackboard discussion.
 The readings this week on best practices connects with my own research, along with the Blackboard discussion because it deepened my knowledge regarding what specific best practices I will utilize depending on the particular situation is at task in which, I have to consider the needs of my target audience for delivery and assessment purposes. For instance, The Center for Teaching and Learning ‘s Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education at http://teaching.uncc.edu/learning-resources/articles-books/best-practice/education-philosophy/seven-principles states that “the ways different intuitions implement good practice depend very much on their students and their circumstances” and it is our duty as educators to get to know “our students, our colleagues, our institutions, and ourselves” so that we may understand how to effectively implement best practices into our work in online courses so that students can benefit the most from it (para. 10). I think it is important to remember that what is effective for one course, may not be effective for another due to changes in target audience, curriculum, intuitions, and other factors. Therefore, we must familiarize ourselves with an abundance of best practices, so that they will be at our disposal when we need them. Another example is the manner in which Bloom’s Taxonomy has been updated. Educators must learn to also change the manner in which they incorporate Bloom’s into their courses as research has shown that it is more effective in engaging students into using higher level thinking skills. For instance, “Using the Table to classify objectives, activities, and assessments provides a clear, concise, visual representation of a particular course or unit. Once completed, the entries in the Taxonomy Table can be used to examine relative emphasis, curriculum alignment, and missed educational opportunities” (Krathwohl, 2002, p. 218). I really enjoyed learning about Best Practices that I can implement in my class tomorrow.
References
Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy: An Overview. Theory into Practice, 41(4), 212–18.

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7. Quote your best entry from this week’s Blackboard discussion. Explain why you chose it and what it demonstrates about your understanding, learning process etc.

Thread: A rose by any other name would still be a Bloom! How has Bloom’s taxonomy been updated? How can we use Bloom’s taxonomy in eLearning. Share a lesson or activity idea for each.
http://zaidlearn.blogspot.com/2014/03/creative-visualizations-of-blooms.html
Bloom’s taxonomy has been updated in the following manner:
 Creating has been added to the newer version. Its purpose is to increase rigor by having students complete something like a performance task in which the use of a rubric would be incorporated into the grading process. Rather than just multiple choice responses in which, Remembering is required, which is the lowest level of the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, which used to be Knowledge in the original Taxonomy.
References
Anderson, L. W. (1999). Rethinking Bloom’s Taxonomy: Implications for Testing and Assessment. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED435630
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 The original Taxonomy included Knowledge as its lowest level. The Knowledge category included both verbs and nouns, which made Knowledge
dual in nature and thus different from the other Taxonomic categories. This anomaly was eliminated in the revised Taxonomy by allowing these two aspects, the noun and the verb, to form separate dimensions, the noun providing the basis for the Knowledge dimension and the verb forming the basis for the Cognitive Process dimension (Krathwohl, 2002, p. 213).
 Even though there are still 6 categories in each of the Bloom’s Taxonomy there are great differences within them. For example, “Three categories were renamed, the order of two was interchanged, and those category names retained were changed to verb form to fit the way they are used in objective” (Krathwohl, 2002, p. 214).
 Comprehension was renamed as Understand.
 “Application, Analysis, and Evaluation were retained, but in their verb forms as Apply, Analyze, and Evaluate” (Krathwohl, 2002, p. 214).
 Synthesis was replaced by Evaluating.
 Creating was added.
 “All the original subcategories were replaced with gerunds, and called ‘cognitive processes.’ “(Krathwohl, 2002, p. 214).
 “The original Taxonomy consisted of six categories, nearly all with subcategories. They were arranged in a hierarchical framework; achievement of the next more complex skill or ability required achievement of the prior one. The original Taxonomy volume emphasized the assessment of learning with many examples of test items (largely multiple choice) provided for each category” ((Krathwohl, 2002, p. 218).
http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/1105/elearning-guild-research-reconsidering-blooms-taxonomy-old-and-new
 The revised Taxonomy “are arranged in a hierarchical structure” that is more flexible (Krathwohl, 2002, p. 218). For instance, “Using the Table to classify objectives, activities, and assessments provides a clear, concise, visual representation of a particular course or unit. Once completed, the entries in the Taxonomy Table can be used to examine relative emphasis, curriculum alignment, and missed educational opportunities” (Krathwohl, 2002, p. 218).
References
Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy: An Overview. Theory into Practice, 41(4), 212–18.
Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used in eLearning in the following ways:
Bloom’s Category:
How it can be used in eLearning?
Creating
eLearning students develop their own set of Best Practices, which will be well-suited to their target audience as they design and develop their own eLearning course.
Evaluating
ELearning students evaluate different best practices list and select ones that they can incorporate successfully for the needs of their particular target audience for their own eLearning course, supporting their selections with current research.
Analyzing
ELearning students differentiate their online curriculum to meet the needs of a variety of learners within their course.
Applying
ELearning students write their own rubrics to be utilized to grade students participating in their online discussions before the course begins.
Understanding
ELearning students will explain the rationale for the selection of a variety of assignments incorporated in their course and how it addresses different levels within the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Remembering
eLearning students will remember their own experience as online learners as they reflect and record this in a journal so that they will become increasingly responsive and sensitive to the needs of their own learners.
My original posting from the Blackboard discussion this week is my best as I dedicated a lot of time to conducting research using both websites and journal articles. Even though I am familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy and the manner in which, I apply it to the classroom as a second grade teacher; I had difficulty writing about this as I was not aware of the history behind the changes and the research based implications it has for implementing components of it in the delivery and assessment of eLearning.
I think I did a good job according to the feedback I received from my colleagues.
For instance, Daniel Perkins wrote: Hi Guillermina, I saw that you too found the digital taxonomy in your research! As I said in my posting the accompanying guides and the resources that were part of the educational-origami were extremely useful and led to a great number of additional links that proved to be very productive and useful as well. I was curious to see if anyone has utilzed the rubrics from the site and whether or not they are as relevant and conntextual as they seem. I am attempting to switch my current series of courses I teach into an eLearning environment, and I think these will greatly assist me in this endeavor. Great research and citings!
In addition, Lorraine Gersitz posted: Your chart indicating ways Bloom can be used in eLearning was very helpful to me, Guillermina. Since I’m not a teacher, I have never taken an education class. Until now, that is. Therefore I never studied Bloom’s taxonomy. Everyone who posted on this topic did an excellent job and I now feel very comfortable with the theory and it’s significance. What does this (meaning Bloom’s taxonomy and the update) have to do with delivery and assessment of eLearning. In addition, it is evident that instructional designer must implement a variety of Bloom’s to increase student engagement in the delivery of online courses as well as integrate a various ways students can show their knowledge with assessments other than just multiple choice questions like case scenarios, performance assessments, just to name a few. How does this connect with concepts like deep learning?
Various assessments will reveal if students engaged in deep learning because it will require more than just regurgitating facts like ones in multiple choice assessments.
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8. Identify the student you think was the most important participant in the Blackboard discussion. Explain why and provide at least one quote from that student’s contributions to the Blackboard discussion.
I like the manner in which Christen Smith provided us with online resources that can be integrated in an online classroom with each level of Bloom’s. It really set high standards for the rest of us to follow in her example. For instance, Christen wrote that for the Bllom’s Level of : Creating- In teaching Phonics, Stress, and Syllables, I have students create haiku poem. Try letting students set their poem to a beat. “GarageBand. This offers a host of tools from various musical instruments to beatbox jams and electronic drum kits for users to create, edit, save, and share their musical creations” (Edudemic)
9. Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.
I have learned that there are many resources that are available to ensure that instructional designers create effective courses by incorporating best practices into the delivery and assessment. When instructional designers create courses they can uses Bloom’s Taxonomy, Quality Matters Rubric, Chickering and Gamson’s Principles to ensure the development of effective online courses that will benefit eLearners.
This will help me in the effective implementation of interactions (delivery) and assessments within my own second grade course to increase student learning on a deeper level.
I will also keep this in mind when I implement an online component in my classroom as more technology such as the Chromebooks we are supposed to be getting in December become available and students become more familiar with the logistics of using technology in the classroom and hopefully at home too, if they have the resources available to them.

Session 2: Delivery and Assessment

Session 2 Response Items. Respond to the following items on you blog. Your responses must be available on your blog no later than midnight on Sunday ending the week.
In addition, you must visit other student blogs (from session 1) and make at least three posts in the comments section of those blogs.
Don’t forget to monitor your own blog comments section so you can engage with students who read and comment on your blog!

For the following be sure to provide citations (URL’s etc.) for sources of information you consulted to answer each item as appropriate.


1. What are three key things associated with delivery of eLearning?
Three key things associated with the successful delivery of eLearning are the following:
• Clear Communication of Learning Objectives while focusing on relevant high quality meaningful content, which will motivate learners and keep them engaged in the subject matter. The content should help students learn a skill or increase their expertise on a topic.
• Consistency in delivery and design in location of course material while integrating a variety of interactive resources for learners to explore like:
1) Links
2) Stories
3) Visual Components with hyper-links
• Encourage human interaction by providing information on a list of resources students may access on the university campus to help support them on issues related to the course. In addition, require group collaboration through discussions on online forums, problem-solving in online chats, and include social media sites into eLearning curriculum.
I used these 2 resources to compile my list:

7 Tips To Develop a Successful Interactive eLearning Strategy. (n.d.).

Retrieved from http://elearningindustry.com/7-tips-to-develop-successful-interactive-elearning-strategy

Evaluating best practices in your course design| elearning. (n.d.).

Retrieved from http://www.ltu.edu/blogs/elearning/?p=411

Continue reading Session 2: Delivery and Assessment

Introduction

Session 1 Tasks

Please use your first blog post to respond to the items below. Be sure to copy the question and make it part of your response:

1. Introduce yourself. This introduction is for students in the class who may not have ever met you. Tell us who you are, what you do, why you are taking this class, what you do for fun, etc.

2. What connections do you currently have with eLearning, what do you want to do with eLearning, why are you taking this class?

3. Copy and paste your best post from the Blackboard discussion forum. Explain why this post is your best and explain how it demonstrates your knowledge, your process for investigating topics or has helped you identify something you need to learn more about.

My name is Guillermina Gonzalez.  I have a B.A. in English with a minor in Spanish from the University of California, Riverside.  I also attended UCR for my multiple subject teaching credential with a BCLAD.  The 2014-2015 school year is my fourteenth year teaching.  I am a teacher in the Riverside Unified School District which has always emphasized the use of technology in the classroom.  I enrolled in ETEC 648 eLearning Technology and Methods because I am interested in instructional technology.  The effective use of technology in education has shown to improve students’ performance in the classroom and enhance their learning experiences.  This is why I am currently pursuing my masters in Instructional Technology at California State University, San Bernardino.  

After I complete this program, I want to continue to make a difference in the classroom by utilizing my knowledge and expertise gained in this program as an instructional designer to create authentic tasks for my students, which will help them be better prepared for college and/or careers after completing their K-12 education.  This course will help me create  effective web-based instruction and assessments through Haiku and Gooru, which are platforms already being utilized in Riverside Unified School District.  

Here is my best post  from the Blackboard discussion forum because the professor, Randall Wright posted it as an example in announcements for EDUC 603 during the Spring of 2014. The post demonstrates my knowledge as an educator and all the politics involved in education, which comes with experience.  I have seen teachers leave the field of teaching because they have difficulty functioning effectively in a certain school’s culture.  I did not think about this in depth until last Spring. Therefore, I must  learn to take more time to reflect on my experiences, so that I will learn more about them along with the knowledge I have gained in the program so far.    

 Procedural Tasks

                Adler, Rodman and du Pre (2014) state that “Procedural norms guide operations and decision making” (p. 274).  In an elementary school, there needs to be certain procedural  norms that are clearly established in order to maintain order in a school as far as discipline is concerned as one cannot teach effectively, if students are out of control.    Professor, Wright  in Course Lessons : Small Group Communication states the case of Ms. Wallace, a prison school coordinator in which,  “…the potential hazard caused by sending an inmate back into class who was just removed for not complying with direction by the instructor” is unacceptable as it is considered a security breach (p. 10).  However, there are some differences in a public school elementary school setting and a prison setting as far as the status of students.  Yet, there are also some similarities in the types of messages that are communicated to staff, students, and the community by the manner in which, behavior issues are handled.  For example, at the beginning of the year, I had some severe discipline issues being exhibited from some of my students in class like a student who was not pleased when another student kept glancing back at her during an exam.  She then proceeded to barricade herself under the desk and yell, “Stop looking at me!”  Needless to say, I was not pleased with both students for their behavior.  Although, I found out later that many students in my class were mimicking behaviors they saw displayed by another student in their class last year, while they were in first grade.  The display of unacceptable behavior has ceased to exist in my classroom.  However, my colleague in 2nd grade has not been so lucky.  The student who displayed this type of behavior last year is in her class and continues to do so this year too.  In fact, the situation is only getting worst.  The principal and campus disciplinarian which is merely a classified individual do not have a well-established procedural norm to follow when this particular student disrupts instruction by barricading herself under the desk, throwing chairs, throwing items at her teacher, ripping down bulletin boards, kicking other staff members, refusing to follow simple directions like getting off the swings when recess has come to an end, just to name some of her behaviors.  The principal has “washed” his hands of the entire situation.  He will call upon the special education staff to come and remove the student by appeasing her through unconventional practices like letting her play on a staff member’s phone or letting her have some “cooling off” time in the severely handicapped class.  Then when the special education teachers are unavailable, the classified support staff; an instructional aide in special education gets pulled to coax the student from under the desk.  Therefore, it is evident that my school does not have a discipline procedural norm present, which sends the wrong message to students and the staff is encountering more instances of severe behavior problems without being able to resolve them successfully.

Task Norms

            Task norms are not ascribed into my school as it lacks certain procedures on “how members get the job done” when it comes to behavior (Adler et. al, 2014, p. 274).  There is an unpredictable nature about how discipline issues will be dealt with so the staff, students, and parents do not know what to expect.  However, the behavior problems seem to be escalating in severity.  For example, there is a family of three brothers; 2 of which are twins that have access to a whole special education bus to themselves without even being in special education just because they kept having issues on the regular bus.  Yet, these first grade twins fail to function appropriately in the regular classroom, but nothing has been done about it.

Social Norms

            “Social norms govern how we interact with one another” which is highly entrenched in my school culture.  However, it depends on the staff members involved as the social norms vary.  For example, there are cliques within grade level teams that might be on a friendlier basis with each other than with the rest of the staff.  You can hear their social encounters outside of school in their loud and boisterous conversations in the hallways as they pass you.  They might include you in their conversation if they view you as part of their inner circle somehow.  Yet, your status can quickly change for petty reasons.  For instance, there is a teacher that over obsessives about some trivial issues.  She was upset because students in my class were using the hooks outside our classroom door to hang up their jackets and backpacks.  She quickly asserted that those hooks belonged to her and that my class could not use them as she confronted some parents, the principal, and me on this issue.  I am not sure why this became an issue this particular year as we had been using the hooks in prior years and everything had been okay.  Well, the principal had to tell her that my class could use the 4 hooks on the end of hers, but my social standing and the manner in which she and the other first grade teachers began to treat me quickly changed.  Needless, to say the first grade teachers are not even civilly friendly with me. 

School Culture

            The procedural, social, and task norms reveal that my school culture is toxic.  I believe that the staff  that has been teaching at my school for a long period of time are caught-up in the notion that things have to be done in the same manner that they have always been done in the past (Adler et. al, 2014, p. 275).  However, the school population has changed dramatically as the district boundaries were redrawn my first year that I began teaching there, about 6 years ago.  According to the school’s accountability report card for the 2012-2013, 82% of students are socioeconomically disadvantaged.  Many staff members talk about the way things used to be before we had such a needy student population and have failed to change according to the needs of the students.  Our school culture is in turmoil unless something is done to remedy the current situation.

Organizational Identity

            My organizational identify is shaped in such a manner by all the norms at my school in a manner in which, I have to resolve behavioral issues in my own classroom.  I want students to view me as the disciplinarian that can handle most behavior issues on my own without enlisting the help of the campus supervisor that is ineffective.  For example, when I have to written referrals, I am the one that chooses the consequence, contacts the parent, enforces the consequence, etc.  Otherwise, the other consequence might be to sit out at recess in the lunch court, which is not as effective as my own consequence of sitting out in an upper grade classroom to complete work.   The social norms are ones that I ignore as I do not associate with most of the staff socially and I do not have the same interest as they do.  Any social instances are composed of my careful listening to their weekend outings or after school activities with just polite comments on their conversation if they are directed towards me. 

Norms that Need Changing

            It is evident, that if I had the chance I would change all the norms at my school.  This would be difficult as they are deeply ingrained.  However, it is possible if the leadership style and some staff members change too to accommodate the needs of the students.  For example the viewpoints and attitudes of my team are changing to respond to the upcoming 2nd graders for the next school year as we are already discussing a plan of action to respond with interventions for behavioral issues and putting forth a protocol in place for the best way to deal with the severe behavior issues we might encounter.  If we all put our heads together, we may be able to change the school culture and focus more on the academics without the constant interruptions associated with behavioral issues.  

References

Adler, R. B., Rodman, G., du Pre, A. (2014). Understanding human communication (12th ed.). Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.