Check Points for Long Range Assignments
Online students will procrastinate! Long range assignments, such as projects, presentations, or papers, need to be duplicated throughout the course as check points to create session reminders. Check point examples are paper topic choices, draft outlines, or preliminary peer reviews. These can be created in the Blackboard assignment tool for complete/incomplete settings, so grades are not necessary.
Instructor-Generated Cases: Place set number of cases on the Web and link to a bulletin board system or conferencing tool for students to discuss. These cases can be used as collaborative quizzes that instructors and students from other universities or institutions can use.
Student-Generated Cases: have students generate a set number of cases during the semester based on field experiences or job-related experiences and respond to a set number of peer cases.
Exam Preparation Cases: Post a set number of cases for each small group to discuss and answer (these might be on their exam) and all groups must respond to the solutions of one other group.
Team Cases: Post case situation and have students respond in small groups (Online Reading and Writing Techniques: Bonk, 1998; Bonk & Reynolds, 1997; Oliver, Omari, & Herrington, 1999; Paulsen, 1995).
Minute Or Muddiest Point Papers
Individual Minute Papers: Have students send the instructor 1-2 minute reflections via e-mail perhaps to recap a class or to summarize things that remain unclear.
Team Minute Papers: Have students share their minute papers in a group and summarize their key points for the instructor and/or for other groups (Online Reading and Writing Techniques: Bonk, 1998; Bonk & Reynolds, 1997; Oliver, Omari, & Herrington, 1999; Paulsen, 1995).
Muddiest Point: In the Discussion Board, ask students, "What was the muddiest point?" for a particular lesson and discuss it as a class. This could yield content clarification and participation credit (Classroom Assessment Technique by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross).
Discussion Board Makeup Assignment
If students fail to post in the class discussion but truly need/want to receive credit, have them create a summary of the entire discussion and submit via email for credit. This assures you they have read and understood the discussion even though they were unable to participate. You may still assess a late penalty as described in your syllabus.
Ask students to keep a journal of Aha! or epiphany moments they experience during the course. Encourage them to share these moments in a discussion board at some point during the course or on an ongoing basis. It will enrich the course.
After reading the text or lecture material, have students recall the most important points related to a particular topic. These could be posted in the Journal tool and may help prepare students for an exam (Classroom Assessment Technique by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross).
Provide students with an empty or partially completed outline of lecture material or a reading assignment and direct them to fill in the blanks. This could be completed in using a word processor and the Assignment feature, the Quiz tool, or submitted to an online Journal or Blog tool (Classroom Assessment Technique by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross).
Students create a one-minute paper in the essay function of the quiz tool with the timer set to one minute. This is a good way to assess new information presented in the session (Classroom Assessment Technique by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross).
What, How, and Why Outline
In this exercise, have students analyze a particular type of content (reading, case study, literature, etc.) and write brief notes answering the what, how, and why questions in outline format. This can be submitted to the Assignment feature in Blackboard and quickly read and assessed (Classroom Assessment Technique by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross).
Require students to write a one- to two-page analysis of a specific problem or issue. The person for whom the memo is being written is usually identified as an employer, client, or a stakeholder who needs the analysis to inform decision making. (Classroom Assessment Technique by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross).
An organized assignment activity using the Internet. All information gathered by the students is drawn from the Web. These activities can provide opportunities for students to think using levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. San Diego State University hosts a website devoted to WebQuests located at http://webquest.org.
Web Explorations and Readings
Evaluate Existing Articles: Students search for electronic articles on a topic and summarize, categorize, and/or react to them.
Generate Reading Packet: Students find a set of similar articles on a topic and create an electronic reading packet (Online Reading and Writing Techniques, Bonk, 1998; Bonk & Reynolds, 1997; Oliver, Omari, & Herrington, 1999; Paulsen, 1995).
Field Observations Reactions
Individual Observations: Students observe situations in their field or discipline during internship or job experiences and reflect on how these experiences relate to current course material. Instructors post issues or questions for student reaction.
Private Online Diaries: Students reflect on field or internship observations in a private online journal (with or without instructor feedback).
Team Observations: Teams reflect on different aspects of field or internship experiences and summarize them for other teams (Online Reading and Writing Techniques: Bonk, 1998; Bonk & Reynolds, 1997; Oliver, Omari, & Herrington, 1999; Paulsen, 1995).
Instructor Generated: Send students on an online scavenger hunt. Such a technique is a useful way to acclimate them to using Web technologies or to a particular content area.
Student Generated: Have students generate a scavenger hunt for the class as an optional or a bonus assignment (Other Online Learning Pedagogical Ideas: Bonk, 1998; Bonk & Reynolds, 1997; Herrington & Oliver, 1999; Paulsen, 1995).
Peer Feedback Roles
E-mail Pal or Web Buddies: Assign everyone a partner to comment on his or her work (privately or publicly) and generally help each other out during the semester such as with providing peer feedback on self-tests and assignments.
Critical or Constructive Friends: Assign students a critical or constructive friend who analyzes and critiques one's work as well as points out positive aspects of it while providing additional support where deemed necessary (Other Online Learning Pedagogical Ideas: Bonk, 1998; Bonk & Reynolds, 1997; Herrington & Oliver, 1999; Paulsen, 1995).
Gallery Tours and Publishing of Student Work
Individual Work: Post student work to the Web as a classroom legacy or archival record to display course expectations to future students.
Work with Feedback: Post students individual or group projects to the Web and have expert panel, practitioners, or community member evaluate them (Other Online Learning Pedagogical Ideas: Bonk, 1998; Bonk & Reynolds, 1997; Herrington & Oliver, 1999; Paulsen, 1995).
Inside Experts: Have an online panel(s) or symposium(s) or student experts at the end of the semester after students have gone deep in to topic.
Outside Experts: Have students vote on a set of outside experts they would like to invite for a panel discussion or online symposia and then invite these individuals. Hold symposia and then debrief (Other Online Learning Pedagogical Ideas: Bonk, 1998; Bonk & Reynolds, 1997; Herrington & Oliver, 1999; Paulsen, 1995).
One of the most important principles of online learning is to create a sense of "community" among the students - to get them to engage and discuss freely and exchange ideas. Assign a short outside article that pertain to the weekly assignments for the first weeks and assign teams. Each team is to read the article and present questions (one per team member) to present to the rest of the class. They are to use the Group discussion boards of Blackboard to agree on the questions to present. Once presented, the rest of the class is to respond to the questions. After the initial response, they must also make a second response to someone else's inital posting. After everyone in the class has been on a team and evaluated an article, the instructor can take the lead to discussions back.
Submitted by Lynn M. Rye, College of Lake County