Collaborative learning activities have become a common phenomenon in online learning environments (Pea 61). For this reason, an online psychology course meant for adult learners will be rolled out in a community college in Texas. To enhance the effectiveness of this course, a lot of preparation is required. To begin with, multi-faceted questions would be set and distributed to different groups of students taking part in the course. The group members would be required to brainstorm and come up with solutions to issues raised by the instructor. All groups will have the same number of students to avoid bias. In the event that one group has more members than the others, additional responsibilities would be assigned to them in order to ensure equality (Vygotsky 26). It is assumed that 15 students will take the course. Consequently, each group will consist of three individuals. As a result, there will be a total of five groups. The reason for this is that small groups are easy to manage. In addition, having as many groups as possible will mean that a wide range of issues can be addressed at a go.
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Students are to respond to the multi-faceted questions on a weekly basis. The questions will be posted to the group by the instructor. Students will be given one week to respond to the issues raised. The questions will be based on the previous week’s readings. Each member of the group will make at least two postings per week. One must not go beyond four postings. As such, everyone will be involved in the collaborative learning process during the course (Siegel et al. 32). The performance of students will be appraised based on the postings made on their group’s forum. The learners are likely to face a number of challenges in the course of the module. To begin with, the course material may be inaccessible as a result of technological issues. Lack of face-to-face communication may also negatively affect the willingness of students to participate in group work. The technological issue will be addressed by holding face-to-face meetings at least three times during the course. One of the meetings will be aimed at looking at how the problems can be solved through constant troubleshooting of the systems. The first meeting will be held at the beginning of the course, another at the middle, and the last one at the end. As such, group members will have a chance to interact at a personal level.
A number of online assessment strategies have been developed over the years. They include self-assessments, portfolios, timed tests, projects, peer evaluations (either with or without feedback), as well as asynchronous discussion. Asynchronous discussion is the best assessment approach for online and hybrid courses (Gaytan and McEwen 123). It involves the use of web-based texts. The asynchronous discussion board allows multiple users to interact online. All messages are displayed on this board. In most cases, discussions are organized into different forums. They include folders dedicated to specific topics. As such, it is easy to assess the contribution made by members of a particular group. However, all participants must have access to a computer and internet connection.
There are a number of pros and cons associated with the assessment strategy. One of the pros is that participants are able to compose texts and submit them at their own convenience. In addition, everyone has an equal opportunity to post on the discussion board (Siegel et al. 32). As such, all can be heard. At the same time, students become accountable for their learning. They can view feedback from others. In addition, they have the chance to alter their previous statements as they gain more insights into the issues being discussed. The instructor also has an easy time assessing students (Gaytan and McEwen 123). The teacher can keep track of the postings made by the learners.
One of the weaknesses associated with the assessment strategy is that it is time consuming. Some people take long to respond to the issues raised. Misunderstandings are also difficult to correct. It may take long for the instructor to note that a student is in the wrong situation. The assessment strategy can work best for open-ended discussion questions. As such, the students can give their opinion on the matters being addressed as long as they can support their views with materials learnt in class (Baden 7). However, a lot of repetition may be witnessed with regards to questions with definite answers.
I will use asynchronous discussion for my hybrid psychology course for adult learners. The assessment strategy relies on online discussion boards. As such, technology is vital. Internet is also needed. As such, delivery of information to all is assured. Pedagogy is also achieved through human interaction (Gaytan and McEwen 123). Various teaching styles can also be used. They include the use of presentations, videos, and images. Learning outcomes are also met since the instructor can correct the students.
There are a number of emerging trends that are set to improve online education. One of these trends is teleconferencing. It can help one to become an effective psychology professor for an online course offered by a community college in Texas. The technology reduces the need for face-to-face meetings between adult learners and instructors. Web 2.0 will also greatly impact on online education (Roberts 14). It is set to improve interactions between participants and support such features as video sharing. In addition, it allows for the creation of more interactive user interfaces, which are likely to promote learning activities.
It is difficult to teach practical aspects of psychology through an online course. However, the situation can be changed through the use of videos to explain the various psychological concepts. Online and face-to-face teaching methods should not be compared (Baden 93). The reason behind this is that online methods are constantly evolving. As such, their various aspects, such as mode of delivery, change constantly. The situation is different in a face-to-face method of teaching psychology, which is largely static.
For one to become an effective online psychology instructor, they should have exemplary computer skills. As such, they will be in a position to troubleshoot issues relating to the discussion board. One must also have patience. The reason behind this is that some of the adult learners will take a considerably longer period of time to respond to questions posed by the instructor (Johnsson 69). The experience I have acquired in this psychology online course has changed my future aspirations as a student and as an instructor. I will enroll for online courses instead of the face-to-face learning modules. As such, I need to improve my computer skills. Given the current technological advancements, people will be able to keep track of their learning process offline (Baden 93). They can achieve this through notifications sent to their mobile devices.
Baden, Maggi. Problem-Based Learning Online, Maidenhead: Open UP, 2006. Print.
Gaytan, Jorge, and Beryl McEwen. “Effective Online Instructional and Assessment Strategies.” American Journal of Distance Education 21.3 (2007): 117-132. Print.
Johnsson, Annette. Dialogues on the Net: Power Structures in Asynchronous Discussion in the Context of a Web Based Teacher Training Course, Malmo: School of Teacher Education, Malmo U, 2009. Print.
Pea, Roy. “Practices of Distributed Intelligence and Designs for Education.” Distributed cognitions: psychological and educational considerations. Ed. Solomon Gavriel. New York: Cambridge UP, 1993. 47-87. Print.
Roberts, Tim. Online Collaborative Learning Theory and Practice, Hershey PA: Information Science Pub., 2004. Print.
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Siegel, Mercelle, Swan Derry, Constance Steinkuehler, Jong Kim and Johnson Seymour. “What and How Preservice Teachers Learn: Designing a Course that Fosters Development of Useful Theoretical Knowledge and the Assessment Methods to Capture it.” Proceedings of the Annual American Educational Research Association Held in 2001 at Seattle. Seattle: American Educational Research Association. Print.
Vygotsky, Lev. Thought and Language, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986. Print.