Tuesday at the Seminar

Reporting live from the forefront at FRN’s On-line Learning Seminar

Today we worked on Authentic Learning tasks: here are two examples from courses I developed.

a) Computing literacy course (Web-based, hybrid)

A group collaborative task, to be carried out on- and off-line. Design a travel itinerary with a specific objective (i.e. adventure, culture, fun, romantic, etc.). First, choose among a set of “not usual” journey proposals (for instance, from Istanbul to Tehran); then follow the guidelines. Use the Web to gather travel information (specific, concrete) on transportation, accomodation etc. Generate a map, collect images. Last, design a travel brochure (using the provided desktop publishing software) to illustrate your concept (again, follow a set of predefined rules).

b) Teaching On-line course (Web-based, fully on-line)

A group collaborative task, to be carried out on-line. Collaborate with participants in your (predefined) group and design a complete didactic task for a course of yours. The material will be in multimedia format; participants are encouraged to use video/images pulled from the Web (YouTube, etc). The material will also use Web resources liberally, but “creatively”. The task must be organized around these points (students may modify the pattern):
-Explain: prepare the terrain for battle/game/study.
-Assign work (with clarity); project high expectations to your prospective students.
-Then, discuss the experience.
Use a (given) wiki space to collaborate and produce the (possibly linked) document(s) to support your project.

Both tasks are “authentic tasks” since they:

  1. Have real-world relevance (they are about real problems to be solved with real tools)
  2. Ill-defined. No full definition of project is given, nor complete 1-2-3 instructions. Participants must break the task down into easier pieces. Must show some intentionality.
  3. Comprise complex tasks to be investigated by students over a sustained period of time.
  4. Provide the opportunity for students to examine the task from different perspectives, using a variety of resources The second task certainly allow this. The first, I’m not sure.
  5. Provide the opportunity to collaborate Collaboration is integral to the tasks!
  6. Provide the opportunity to reflect
  7. Can be integrated and applied across different subject areas and lead beyond domain-specific outcomes
  8. Are seamlessly integrated with assessment
  9. Authentic tasks create polished products valuable in their own right rather than as preparation for something else Tasks culminate in the creation of a whole products.
  10. Allow competing solutions and diversity of outcome.

I am not too clear on this…

Today we also shared a lot of resources, from chemistry simulations to Language labs, that use the “authentic” approach.
I gave an improvised presentation of Moodle (moodle.org) and the way I use it in my courses, especially in the HETS Teaching On-line course (TOL: instructions on how to enter a demo are in the Seminar’s Discussion Board).

Last, I’m am supposed to write something about my experience with wikis and blogs.
Well, I’m using wikis in the TOL, and I just described the way I use them above. Moodle has incorporated wikis within its modules and activities, so it’s reaaly easy to add a wiki module in a Moodle course. We were told one can do pretty much the same in Blackboard.

Now, Blogs!
Well, I love blogs both as reading and participating material and as a writing and publication form. I have started this very blog (Skate of the Web) some time ago, and with more or less continuity I have been posting my ramblings on education, culture and whatever Web, in English and Spanish.
I was fortunate to participate in the First Puerto Rican Congress on Educational Blogs (Edublogs 2007) at UPR Mayuagüez. Here is my presentation: Livin’ the Web: Blogs, Wikis y otros monstruos del.icio.sos (pdf) and video.

That’s all folks (for today)!

About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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3 Responses to Tuesday at the Seminar

  1. Antonio – seeing the way(s) you use Moodle, with the demo today (Wednesday) about how Phyllis is using it, I’m totally sold. (Now I just have to get our early-adopter tech guy to install it on the University servers!) Thanks. -Richard

  2. Linda says:

    Antonio, I really appreciated your Moodle demo. It gives me lots of questions to take home to our IT people. And I loved the “travel itinerary” assignment; it would make students acquire/demonstrate a variety of skills, from web search to public relations/advertising. Plus it allows them to map (quite literally) their own way. That’s one of the big problems I have with authentic assignments; I always try to make the assignments as clear and structured as possible. I’m learning that being structured at all times is not necessarily being a good teacher–quite an eye-opener. –Linda

  3. jim says:

    Thanks for the demo—it was informative and answered many of my questions.

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