John Fritz, Director of Instructional Technology & New Media at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, presented on student use of online discussions and how to avoid initiating every thread or simply counting all their replies.
- John discussed his alternative delivery program for faculty at his institution. Delivers a hybrid training for faculty and there is a set list of items for what faculty must accomplish in the program.
- Evolution of Course Management System: user and document management pull students into the website. They use Blackboard. The communications aspect is push where there are announcements, email, discussion and chat. Then there is push and pull with electronic assignment delivery and collection, and there are quizzes, surveys and other course usage.
- Online discussion problems: too much to read and grade (amen!) or there is not enough. Also students write to the instructor instead to each other. He discuss the major assessment problems. You have either quantity problems = how to avoid rewarding "me too" responses vs. quality + tedious to find, subjective responses.
- The solution is to have a self-graded portfolio where students propose the grade they feel they deserve based on 3-5 examples of each. He uses a template for students to copy and paste their best examples.
- There are three discussion interaction types: student to content, student to student, and student to group. These are three narrowed down types by John, and he does a great job of defining each.
- He provided a great example of a grading rubric that encompasses these three discussion interaction types. Four point scale.
- He sets fixed durations for his discussions to avoid the piling on at the end of a semester.
- Developed a MS Word form for students to use for submitting their portfolio (evidence of participation). Students can complete and submit online. He showed us how to created the forms in MS Word. Works in both Mac and PC. He has the template available on the conference website.
- Showed a video of one of his faculty discussing his use of this "Participation Portfolio." Video was in his iTunes U site - UMBC Teaching & Learning podcast.