It’s reflection time, looking back on the whole course. However, this reflection is really just considering the last couple of weeks, which include the activities of Module 6. Nonetheless, since this is my last reflection of this course I believe it is worthwhile to briefly comment on the whole enchilada. The activities of this course included great collaboration pieces that gave mutual support among my course peers. We were able to share insights and observations which enriched all of the learning process. The course objective continued to wet my appetite for online education. Additionally, the contact with the professor helped me imagine the real world experience of teaching online.
Module 6 was primarily focused on synchronous learning activities. The reading materials provided me with a review of best practices as well as a fresh look at synchronous teaching strategies. The synchronous lesson assignment required my partner and me to select one of these strategies for our lesson.
The student list allowed me to choose a partner on the basis on content specialty. I sought out Heather as a partner because we were really the only two that work with language based instruction in both English and Spanish. She agreed. We initially met to discuss our ideas. We came to a consensus to develop a lesson for a Spanish course by using the cracker barrel strategy. Essentially, this meant that our lesson would utilize breakout rooms where we would create a role play environment in the each room. In one room, I was the waiter in a restaurant, and in another room, Heather was taking orders at Starbucks; of course, all of this was in Spanish.
After we planned the basic idea of our lesson, we met at least twice to practice, and each time we were making revisions to the lesson. Our biggest revision was offering learning assistance to our classmates, who, we assumed, knew very little Spanish. We created a script that they could follow, so they knew what was expected of them in a response. They also had the choice to choose from the menu items, which was on the main whiteboard screen.
So we had our lesson developed and we were looking forward to delivery. It was our turn under the big lights, then I had a misfortune; my microphone cut out completely. It wasn’t easy to resolve, but fortunately our practice sessions did help me troubleshoot part of the problem. Eventually, I was back on and I was able to show up and take the order in the Mexican restaurant breakout room. Later, we were able to reflect on that experience, and we discovered that team teaching offers a tremendous advantage in these cases.
I was able to participate in all the lessons that were presented that night. Due to the time difference, I had to wake up at 3:45 am in order to join with everyone. However, it was worth it because I saw some great ideas and it was followed with great discussion about online learning and the course objectives.
- What are appropriate assessment strategies in synchronous and asynchronous delivery methods?
As a language based teacher, I realize that there are objectives that encompass every form of communication. Writing and reading objectives are more appropriate for asynchronous delivery. These assessment strategies come in the form explaining objectives, setting the standards in a scale or rubric, presenting comprehension questions, or perhaps even needing to show teacher examples. However, listening and speaking assessments can benefit greatly from synchronous delivery, and in many ways this approach is essential for this type of assessment. The form of assessment varies from objective based to diagnostic based. Students can be given specific objectives, but many of these assessment will measure the natural speaking level of the student. A teacher can use a checklist or rubric while listening to a discourse online.
- Does this look different than assessment in traditional classrooms? How and why?
The speaking and listening assessments will greatly differ from a traditional classroom. A controlled environment is the primary reason this assessment differs online, and I believe that an online environment has many advantages over a traditional classroom environment. The teacher can decide in an online environment if the communication is one-on-one, small group, or whole group. Most traditional classrooms don’t offer this. This is a huge advantage for the student, who might be intimidated to speak in front of others. Also, in listening activities, the online environment prevents students from gauging their peers’ responses to an inquiry about comprehension. This will generally produce truer results.