Online Teaching Certificate

Completed in 2011, this certificate was awarded through Lesley University.

Courses completed: (all A)

ECOMP 6201 Online Teaching: An Introduction for K-12 Educators

This course is designed to introduce teaching online to K12 educators. Utilizing a constructivist learning approach, we will explore the advantages of online learning and features of online environments and online collaborative tools, and examine the best pedagogical practices for teaching and learning online. Expectations, characteristics, and needs of online learners will be examined and specific strategies to help students assess their readiness to learn online will be developed. Solutions for involving all of the K12 stakeholders and the challenge of keeping students motivated to produce quality work through online learning will be explored

ECOMP 6202 Online Teaching: Assessment and Evaluation (Portfolio of Ecomp 6202 by A. Mollica)

This course examines assessment and evaluation in an online learning environment from the perspective of teachers and students in K-12 environments. A wide variety of effective assessment strategies are presented, including self-evaluation, authentic assessment, triangulation, continuous evaluation, pre- and post-testing, use of observational data, and others. Particular attention is paid to selecting the most appropriate and engaging assessment strategies for students and content that addresses the needs of students, keeping in mind the need to apply Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles when selecting assessment methods.

ECOMP 6203 Online Teaching: Building Communities and Facilitating Student Discussions

This course focuses on building the expertise needed to create a supportive and constructive online learning environment through appropriate facilitation techniques and strategies. Participants investigate various aspects of facilitating online discussions, including teacher and peer moderated communication, developing guidelines and modeling substantive discussions, and the use of multiple technologies to enhance contact with and among students.

ECOMP 6204 Online Teaching: Course Design, Development, and Strategies

This course provides the opportunity to synthesize components of online teaching by involving participants in the development of an online course. Content and age appropriate online activities and strategies that will engage students are studied and developed. Educational theory, best practices in online learning, principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and use of emerging technologies are researched, analyzed and used to produce online lessons that are viable and engage students in authentic learning.

Online Scenarios


What is a wordle? Wordle is an online tool that generates "word clouds" from text that one enters into a list. The words can be modfied to appear more pronounced than others and different fonts, colors, and schemes can be created. Wordles can be used for introductory activities as demonstrated below or embedded as a curriculum activity such as evaluating a reading passage or book, key issues in an historical event, etc. Create your own Wordle now! (http://www.wordle.net)

The Assignment:

Online courses should begin with ice breaker or team building activities that are designed for learners to get to know a little about each other! We're going to start with a creative visual called a Wordle that describes who you are!

My response:

Uses in Career Development:

I would complement the personality and/or learning style profile with Wordle by having students create a Wordle of their results! This would be fun an excellent culminating activity!

Online Learning Assessments

The Assignment:

Read this article - Online Student Support Services: A Best Practices Monograph.http://www.onlinestudentsupport.org/Monograph/readiness.php.

Take Dr. Lynn Schrum’s Student Online Readiness Tool (SORT) which is available online at: http://www.yourcallla.org/SORT/sort/html/tool.html.

Another good online assessment: http://www.elearners.com/advisor

Describe your current educational setting and then compare and contrast any two online learning readiness assessment including the features you feel would be most relevant.

I am currently working as an applications administrator for a school district in Lebanon, NH. I have worked as an educator since 1998 when I started my first teaching job as a HS Business Teacher. Since then I have also received my computer technology educator credentials and worked as both a teacher and technology integration specialist. This is the first “non-teaching” job I have had but I still spend over 50% of my time working directly with teachers and students in the classroom providing technology integration support. I have two areas of interest in online learning. First, I would love to have the opportunity to teach courses online, as it is a good match for my experience and learning/teaching style. I would be interested in doing this independently or as a facilitator for online learning at a HS as well.

Both the SORT and Washington Online (from the Cascadia Online link) offered questions in areas of computer skills, motivation, and reading and writing but I found the Washington Online Assessment more user friendly and helpful to me as a student. It offered specific feedback to each reply in each category. I felt it was difficult to bring the SORT assessment together in one place to evaluate the results. I feel that they each addressed the most important areas for students to evaluate for online learning. It is important for students to consider:

· Are they self directed learners/self motivated?

· Do they have the access to technology that is required

· Do they have the technology skills required?

· Can they be organized and manage their time?

· Do they have a motivating reason to be successful or a strong desire?

My SORT Assessment:

I fared well with the sort as my strengths are very much aligned with the qualities that make for a successful online student. My area of weakness is the discussion board as I have difficulty interpreting “voice” or inflection if there are many different people posting. If that class is smaller it is easier for me to find ways to relate to each person’s ideas and contributions.

Applying to My Scenario:

I liked the Is ELearning For Me? assessment tool available through Washington Online:


This assessment is user-friendly and I found the feedback very easy to understand and use. I think students in my online course would prefer this assessment to the SORT.

Medieval Personality Activity

There are a variety of "personality" indexes and profiles available online. The Medieval Personality activity is unique and likely to engage participants.

Kingdomality Quiz

The Assignment:

Read the article and then access the Thy Kingdom Come quiz. It takes just 8 questions for you to determine your middle ages profession. Write a short paragraph describing your new medieval persona and post on the Online Community of Learners forum in the Discussion Area. Respond to at least three of your classmates posts to start building our community!

My Response:

My quiz resulted in "The White Knight." - I'm not sure I can relate to their dialog as a perfect match but here are some thoughts given the feedback:

I work very hard to help other people when I can, do my best and live up to my commitments and promises. I like to give to others when it is not expected. I enjoy doing random acts of kindness when noone is looking. I can be impulsive and I like to use the term emotionally immature as opposed to sentimental - but noone is perfect! I have a tendency to be a crusader for things I believe in to be good - but can often get tunnel vision.

They wrote:" Our distinct personality, The White Knight, might be found in most of the thriving kingdoms of the time. Don Quixote was a White Knight as was Joan of Arc, the Lone Ranger and Crusader Rabbit. As a White Knight you expect nothing in return for your good deeds. You are one of the true "Givers" of the world. You are the anonymous philanthropist who shares your wealth, your time and your life with others. To give, is its own reward and as a White Knight you seek no other. On the positive side you are merciful, sympathetic, helpful, giving and heroic. On the negative side you may be impulsively decisive, sentimental and misdirected. Interestingly, your preference is just as applicable in today's corporate kingdoms."

Use in My Scenario:

After taking this quiz I would have student reflect on the results and how they identify with the description and then relate their medeival career to careers that might be good matches today.


The Kingdomality Quiz:


Theories of Online Learning

The Assignment:

Read the "The Foundations of Educational Theory for Online Learning." http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book/pdf/TPOL_chp01.pdf

Classify & discuss the online learning activities Behaviorist, Cognitivist, Constructivist, or a blend of schools.

My Response:

The required and recommended reading, activities, and these examples leads me to the believe that typical online learning design chiefly employ the "constructivist" approach that is blended with cognitive and behavioral approaches in optimal ways? Does anyone else draw that conclusion?

Activity 1: Students work in collaborative groups to create a Thinking Map or other conceptual model of the properties and classification of minerals using a graphical wiki program such as Kerika.

"Constructivist’s promote interactive learning as a means of achieving higher-order thinking and here students are working collaboratively in groups thus “being interactive and involved in the process of “constructing” their own learning” while applying cognitivists methods with thinking maps to help facilitate processing."

Activity 2: Students participate in a virtual dissection simulation called Froguts.

Constructivist – students are interactively involved in “facilitated” learning if they are actually “participating” using interactive virtual tools. This would be well blended with the cognitivists “metacognition” by having a series of questions to check progress as one goes along.

Activity 3: Students take a Blackboard online quiz after reading a story on African cultures.

Cognitivist strategy of metacognition – a way to check and receive feedback on learning and behaviorist in the belief that learners should be tested to see if they have met the learning objectives.

Activity 4: Students work with a partner to create a PowerPoint presentation on the steps in calculating a discount shown in percentage and computing the sales tax.

The interactivity “working with a partner” would employ some constructivist approach, however wouldn’t it depend upon how this assignment developed? Were the students in charge of researching the steps (constructivist) or is this a summative activity to what has been taught (behaviorist)? This activity could have began with a behaviorist approach to learning with an instructor “teaching” the steps and sequence to develop learning. This could be a cognitivist (metacognition)-constructivist approach to assessment – giving the students an opportunity to analyze and synthesize information to demonstrate understanding while working interactively.

Use in My Scenario:

I like blended activities and online learning is the perfect environment for that. Having students participate in online activities and then create something to demonstrate their growth is motivating and effective. An example in professional development would be to take a lifestyle calculator quiz and then produce a "budget" that brings together their expenses and income.

Online Discussion Facilitator Response with Scenario

The Scenario

A teacher posts this writing prompt in the online discussion forum:

Choose an experience in which you helped others by serving as a volunteer, making a charitable donation, or stepping in to help make a situation better. In one paragraph describe the experience. In another paragraph explain why that experience is worth sharing with others. In the third paragraph describe how much information you would need to include to make sure your audience understands and appreciates the significance of your actions.

The student posts this response:

One Thanksgiving, my family and I decided to help out at the Salvation Army by helping to cook and serve dinner. We worked hard to help these people. Some of them were very nice to us and some seemed to be embarrassed because they were there. Even though I missed my mother’s home cooked meal that day, I still feel good because we helped.

The information I included to ensure that the audience understands and appreciates the significance of my actions is to tell them that we worked hard and gave up Thanksgiving Dinner at our house.

Your turn:

Reply to this student, using what you think is an appropriate voice and tone. Remember that you are addressing the whole class, not just this student so that everyone learns more about planning and drafting a paragraph, and that the online dialog is extended, focused, or redirected to promote your learning goals.

After you have posted your response to the student, reply to your posting identifying the type of voice and tone from the article, Learning Online Facilitation Online that best describes yours. Also include how your response furthered your learning goals. Be sure to read and respond to others postings as well.

My Response:

" Certainly helping out the Salvation Army at Thanksgiving is a genuine way to help others! I would be interested in any details you might want to add to your first paragraph for example, what exactly your role was and how you helped as well as who you helped. What would their alternative be if they didn’t have this dinner?

For your second paragraph, I would recommend making a list of at least three things that makes this experience worthwhile and build your second paragraph from there.

Does your audience understand how important Thanksgiving is to you or who the people were that you helped? What was their situation? These details may need to be included so your audience can appreciate your efforts!

Good start!"

this case I tried to clarify by being analytical and "curious." I wanted the student and others in the class to think more deeply about the details to include in the response.

My voice stems from "omissions/misunderstandings" in the post - so I took on more of a "reflective guide" to bring out what was good and what needs to be built upon.

Use in My Scenario

Learning Online Facilitation Online http://leaders.flexiblelearning.net.au/fl_leaders/fll00/lyn_ambrose.htm

I will uses this resource to help me organize and facilitate my online course. Some of the procedures I would like to apply to my course:

  • Having students login right away and get acclimated with the learning environment.
  • Send weekly emails that recap recent learning activities and post the highlights for the upcoming week.
  • Develop a strategy for providing ongoing private feedback
  • Use the above article when crafting posts to make sure I am applying voice, tone, and critical thinking strategies effectively.

Collaborative Web 2.0 Toolkit

The Assignment:

Work collaboratively to research and evaluate web-based collaborative tools that may complement the instructional experience. Post the results to the discussion board.

My response:

Web Publishing (submitted by me)

  • http://sites.google.com Google Sites Google Sites is the quickest and easiest way I know to create a professional looking website. In addition it integrates with Picassa, You Tube, - making it easy to add photo shows, video clips, etc. It is all quick-click - there is not html required. There are templates to choose from and you can even make your own template and share! It links to google calendar as well so you can easily post to your google calendar and embed it in your website!Classroom Example: http://sites.google.com/a/googleclassrooms.org/mrs-richau/Home
  • Here is a link to a site I created (http://sites.google.com/site/lebanonms/) - for our district. They wanted a web site independent of the district site for their Middle School Project. It is so easy to add elements. I was able to add video, audio, slide shows, in just minutes! This was the first time I had used Google and it was easy!

Glogster http://glogster.edu Glogster.edu - Well, glogs are not exactly web pages - or web sites - but Glogs are a way to publish on the web - it is like an online poster! Glogster Edu -a couple of is an examples:

Podcasting (submitted by me)

  • If you are using a MAC or PC, I recommend downloading a free tool to create your audio file - Audacity is a popular tool which will allow you to create your recording.
  • Then, check out this excellent tutorial for creating podcasts in the classroom. You can use this set of instructions to have students create podcasts or create them yourself!
  • He even has another page posted with instructions on setting up a blog, posting your podcasts so they can be RSS feeds as well. Click here for the RSS Feed Instructions.
  • Here is a list of podcasting links and tutorials.
  • All of the above come from Room 34 - Mr. Coley's Classroom at Tovashal Schoool. This is so comprehensive and focused, these resources should be more than plenty to get you started with Podcasting!
  • Also, here's a podcast rubric: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/podcastrubric.h
  • Assessment (submitted by me)

Quizstar http://quizstar.4teachers.org/indexi.jsp

  • Quizstar is a web-based quiz maker that allows the user to create, grade and manage quizzes. Quizstar is great because you can add multimedia to the questions, it can be accessed from any internet computer and allows the student to review a test after completion citing incorrect responses with explanations.

Rubistar http://www.sites4teachers.com/links/redirect.php?url=http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php Rubistar is a free tool that helps teachers make quality rubrics. You can create an account allowing you to build your own rubric or search for an already designed rubric that suits your needs. In Rubistar a teacher can save, print, edit and even analyze their rubric. If you have a hard time getting started on a rubric, are looking for ideas or just simply want to use a tool that makes the rubric building process efficient – Rubistar is for you!

  • Other Responses:

Wikis (submitted by Y. Lanier)

  • http://:www.wikispaces.com wikispaces make wikis easy to use for everyone, not just technical users. It provides a simple interface, a visual page editor, and a focus on community collaboration. It is available exclusively for K-12 educational use. It is open worldwide to teachers, students, and educators. Cost: Free for educators
  • http://www.wiki-teacher.com Wiki-Teacher is a forum for teachers to share their collective intelligence through lesson plans, unit plans, demonstration videos, unwrapped standards, and much more. Cost: Free for educators
  • http://www.curriki.org Curriki is a wiki for teachers. It provides a great way for teachers to share curriculum and teaching resources. Cost: Free for educators

Accessibility Tools (submitted by L. Fosco)

  • A-Checker http://achecker.ca/checker/index.php Description: On line accessibility checker that tests web pages for conformance to various accessibility guidelines. Free.
  • Acc-an Accessibilty Evaluator http://appro.mit.jyu.fi/tools/acc/ Description: Acc - an Accessibility Evaluator is a developing Firefox Extension, which is capable of evaluating and reporting some accessibility criteria. Can spot some basic explicit HTML-coding flaws like other tools, but it includes features like: Visual layout extraction implementation; Basic scalability test; Deeply nested layout tables test; Skip to Main Content link check; Navigation consistency check compared to previous page; and Scripted page evaluation. Free.
  • Acrobat 7.0 Professional (version 7.0) http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/tutorials.html Description: Acrobat 7.0 Professional has a variety of accessibility checks for PDF accessibility: 1) the Acrobat "quick check" examines a PDF file for structure and tags to see if it has the information necessary to make it accessible as well as checking for inappropriate protection settings; 2) the Acrobat "full check" list errors and provides suggestions for how to fix them; 3) using the "read out loud" feature assists an assessment of access to all appropriate content and that the information is presented in an understandable order. $$

Video Conferencing/Communication (submitted by T. Eisenhartt)

  • Skype http://www.skype.com Skype is a free software. It is designed to support instant messaging as well as video chatting (conferencing) to users with cameras and microphones. This is a great tool for expanding the classroom beyond the walls of the school. It is useful to all ages and is easy to load and use.
  • iVisit http://www.ivisit.com iVisit is a free software. It allows you to communicate one-on-one, in 8 way videoconferencing rooms, or with up to fifteen other people anywhere anytime on both Windows and Mac PCs. You can combine video conferencing, voice calls, instant messaging, web co-browsing and file sharing for all your online meetings. This one is more geared toward higher education, ie.-11, 12, college
  • ooVoo http://www.oovoo.com Oovoo is a free videoconferencing software that allows 2-way conferencing and chatting. It has upgrade abilities that can record conversations. This would be useful if students needed to recall lectures or video meetings for projects or class assignments. It is easy to download and upgrade.

Learner Interactions

The Assignment:

Chapter 2: Toward a Theory of Online Learning (download the PDF)

Post a response to the Discussion Forum on Learner Interactions: How would you prioritize the three types of interaction --student-teacher interaction, student-student interaction, and student-content interaction? Explain your rationale.

My response:

Prioritize Learner Interactions

Student-Content: I support Information Literacy as a major literacy for all of us to be competent and competitive in society (and the workplace). Therefore, I feel that this is the most important relationship in online learning. I feel that students need to be able to locate, organize, analyze, and synthesize information fluently! This is a vital skill to be a competent citizen in this era! There fore, in my opinion, this is the most vital component of online learning.

Student-Teacher: Teachers in an online course often serve as facilitators to learning and although are the expert on the material the students are usually involved in a discovery learning process. Teachers can support learning objectives with some synchronous communication but this should not be overplayed or overemphasized in a rigid manner - such as a rigid schedule or platform. In other words, a teacher should not try to "recreate" face-to-face" / the physical classroom in a virtual environment.

Student-Student: The discussion forums and areas where students enrolled in an online course can review and comment on each other's ideas is a valuable arena. This helps bring many facets of the course together. However, I do not feel the collaborative work in an online course has the same relevance as it does in face to face situations and should not be considered as "vital" to learning. I think it should be integrated as much as possible as an "option" so if there are 2 or more folks enrolled that want to and can work collaboratively together they can but those who thrive working independently should not have to.

Use in My Scenario

After reflecting on my above response and that of other students in the course, I may value student - student interaction more. I think younger students will be more apt to find this as a vital/important interaction where as the older students may not simply because of time constraints and thus one of the reasons they engage in online learning. My target audience is younger in this scenario so I believe my prioritizations for this audience will be different with more emphasis on the student - to - student interaction.

Learner Support Agreement

The Assignment:

A learning support agreement establishes roles and responsibilities of the facilitator, learner, and other members of the online community. Revisit the article Learning Online Facilitation Online and read the section on Learning Support Agreements. Look at the sample Learning Support Agreements in the second item in this folder. Design a Learning Support Agreement that you feel would be suitable for the grade levels you teach and save it as a Google Docs word processor file. Invite your group from Module 5 to make editorial suggestions for your Learning Support Agreement. When your Learning Support Agreement is finished, attach it to the LSA Discussion Forum posting.

My response:

Learner Support Agreement for HS Sakai Online


Welcome to HS Sakai Online! This document is meant as an overview on this online course and a confirmation that both the student and instructor agree to the general expectations of each other throughout the duration of the course. Sakai Online will allow us to collaborate more easily and provide more opportunities for various communication and assessment activities. However, we will need to be fully aware of our responsibilities to the online environment in order to make it a successful experience.


Online learning requires a more interactive role between the student and teacher. Much of the learning takes place as a process of student discovery and research. The instructor guides the student through that process. Therefore the student needs to be prepared to take an active and interactive approach. Some learning will take place independently while other initiatives will be collaborative.

There is a video in on the home page of the course that describes the Sakai environment and how the course will be conducted.

My Workspace

In your workspace are tools that are exclusively viewed/owned by you. This is where you will complete your FIRST ASSIGNMENT. You will need to update your profile by adding your email address in the email field and SKYPE id in the inline text box. More details about this are provided in Module One.

Course Tools

  • For this class the following tools will be used:
    • Syllabus - Review the syllabus of this course and email me if you have any questions.
    • Announcements - I will post the beginning instructions when modules are released here. Any other relevant course information will be posted here.
    • Resources - All course documents and files are located here.
    • Wiki - Collaborative pages that all participants have access to read/edit.
    • Roster - Contact information for all course participants - click on individual names to view contact information.
    • Modules - The course is organized into weekly Modules (units). Each module has the resources, reading assignments, activities, rubrics, and a final checklist.
    • Discussion Forum - The first post in the discussion forum explains "how to use it." Make sure you follow the general guidelines when posting.
    • Assignments - The assignment link will contain the assignments for each module - some assignments will be submitted inline (typed or copy/pasted into the text box) - others such as multimedia files or word documents with formatting will be submitted as an attachment.
    • Tests/Quizzes - If a module contains a test or quiz component, it will be accessible here.
    • Polls - Each week there will be a new poll question that correlates with the current module.

Learner Roles and Expectations

    • Reply promptly to emails from your instructor
    • Log-in regularly for updates and announcements
    • Look to the Modules for general dates, deadlines and update your Google calendar or any external calendar you may use.
    • Complete assignments in a timely manner.

Facilitator Roles and Expectations

    • I review the discussion forum and email daily. If you post a question in either area I will normally respond within 24 hours.
    • Feedback on forum posts and assignments will be provided within 3-5 days of submission.
    • Upon notification of omissions or errors within the context of the site, I will respond within 24 hours.

Need Help?

    • Tech Support Resources:
      • Use the HELP feature link in Sakai for general questions about using Sakai.
      • Join our Learner's Support Site for help with Sakai and Online Learning. (In "My Workspace" go to Membership>Joinable Sites>Click on Learner's Support
    • Academic Support: Contact me with questions about the course! If you think your question has relevance to all, please post to the discussion forum (if you include your email in the question I will reply to the forum and email you the response directly as well. This may help others who have the same question. If you are not comfortable asking questions in the forum or it is an individual question, by all means email me directly.

Access to Course Content

  • All courses are re-assigned at the end of the term. Please be sure to back up/save any course documents to your workspace resources if you would like to access them after the course ends.

Use in My Scenario:

  • I will definitely use this LSA as a foundation to creating one that I will use in my online course. I think they are a vital part of the course and by having this will most likely impact success for all parties.

Parent Guide to Online Learning

Parents Parental involvement and interaction in K12 online learning is critical. Most students are minors and parents will want to play an active role in monitoring online activities for safety reasons, ensuring that students are meeting learning objectives, and communicating with the instructor about student progress. A Parent Resource Guide for your course is an invaluable communication tool for helping parents to become involved in their student’s online learning activities.

The Assignment:

Use Contribute and work collaboratively with a partner/group to develop a Parent Guide to an Online Learning Scenario.

Our response:

Whoville Online Virtual High School

Parent Guide - K12 Online Learning


Welcome to Whoville Online Virtual Learning Environment. Our online collaborative suite is open to all K-12 educators and students. This guide is to provide you with information to provide information for parents as they support their online learner. Please read through the information below that will outline some of the key advantages and challenges of online learning, an overview of our virtual environment, parent access information and learner readiness and suggestions for helping your online learner.

Advantages of Online Learning

Having to be in one particular place physically at a specific time...that's what we've been used to in prior years whether it was high school or college. Today, all grade levels have an opportunity to explore online learning. Many parents tell us they think they know that online learning is a good thing but don't really know why. Here are only some of the advantages:

One Stop Shopping! Resources, assignments, syllabus, gradebook, discussions, chat, etc - they are all in one place - in one online location. This makes it easy for students to stay focused on what really matters in the course and not waste time chasing resources and information!

24 Hours / 7 Days! Every student has access to courses and materials 24/7. With the hectic schedules we live with today, being able to access a course early in the morning, middle of the day and late at night allows us to accommodate everyone's schedule!

Assessment - Useful & RealTime. Students can get immediate feedback on assessment and teachers can implement a variety of assessment strategies "just in time" to help them with both formative (where do we go from here) assessment and summative (how have we done/have we learned) assessment!

Collaboration and communication. Students don't have to meet at a library, stay after school or travel far to work in groups. Collaboration can take place with our wiki tools, forums, chat, and shared workspaces. The best part is that students can work together and the technology can demonstrate how each person contributed to the group.

Overcoming Challenges

Even with the many advantages online learning offers, as with anything it has it's own set of challenges. But again, there are always ways to tackle individual challenges and here are some tips for facing some common challenges:

Be Informed- Each course schedule is posted through the "modules" section.

Read through the course syllabus, content, and learning modules at the beginning of the course.

Prepare For Your Class

Put contact information in your email address book, bookmark web links, etc.

Post the steps toward completing the assignments/modules in their calendar/schedule in coordination with their other activities.

Set up required elements of the course at the very beginning - for example if you need to download a tool or register for a web site do this right away so you have time to troubleshoot problems and learn how to use it.

Have a technology back up plan - if you lose access to your Internet/Computer - does the library have what you need or a relative? Have a plan if you can!

Keep Current - To avoid the last minute "crunch" students should:

Regularly schedule time to "be in class." This means a regular time to check the course for updates/assignments, post to the discussion forum and/or work on assignment

Check progress via the grade book regularly. This will indicate if all the course requirements have been met to date and what the assessment (grades) are.

Avoid Distractions - It's easy to get distracted especially if you participate in your class while doing other things. That is a big mistake! To avoid losing your way:

Create a study space where it is quiet, has good lighting and immediate access to the computer, Internet, and printer.

Turn off cellphones and other devices that could pull your attention away from your studies during your "class time."

Description of Virtual Environment and Tools

Each course provides students with online assignments, test, and quizzes. The announcements and calendar sections of the course provide up-to-date information about assignment dates, changes, and directions. Students use these tools as well as collaboration tools within the course context. Such tools may include discussion forums, group pages, and chat. Students must read and sign our online acceptable use policy and conform to acceptable standards for using these tools. Essential to each course is the GRADE BOOK! Parent have access to this tool through the parent portal which is described below.

Access Information for Parents

Upon enrollment, both students and parents receive a username and password to access the course information. Parental access is limited to viewing the grade book, emailing the instructor, viewing course requirements, and viewing general announcements/calendar updates from the instructor. Parents may use this portal for observing only. Active posting and submitting assignments is designated for student access only.

Learner Readiness

In order for students to be successful in the online learning environment, they must have access to computer software and hardware as well as a reliable network to access the Internet. Students who are successful demonstrate the following characteristics;

  • strong organizational skills
  • strong motivation
  • good reading, writing and computer skills.
  • willing to ask questions.

To check your students compatibility with the online learning environment, try on the Student Online Readiness Tool (SORT) questionnaire below.

Student Online Readiness Tool (SORT)

Suggestion for Helping Your Online Learner

  • Time Management: Help your learner with managing daily activity and long-range projects.
  • Communicate with the course instructor: It is essential to the success of your learner to understand the expectations of the course and the course instructor. Be proactive in your approach with the instructor.
  • Talk to your learner: Communicate with your learner on a daily basis. By talking about due dates and daily workloads, you can help them organize their thoughts and plan for the future.
  • Use the parent portal: Whoville offers you a secure link to the grade book where you can monitor your learner's progress. This helps to guarantee that course requirements are being met. Within the portal, parents can email the instructor and view upcoming due dates as well as general announcements from the instructor.

Use in My Scenario:

I think for my scenario a parent guide would not be distributed but I would definitely post something like this on my public web page for a parent resource. As the school begins to use online learning more it may be something we (as a school) may want to include in our School Handbook.

This type of assignment could be incorporated into my class. Students could collaboratively create policies or guidelines for the classroom as part of "preparing themselves professionally" for the world of higher education and/or work.

Universal Design for Learning Resources

The Assignment:

As in the face-to-face classroom, you will have online learners with special needs. Read the Universal Design for Learning articles posted below and write 2 paragraphs with a description and suggestions for how you can implement UDL to meet the needs of all of your online learners.

My response:

  • UDL - focuses on the learner, not the "lecturing of knowledge." I LOVE THIS IDEA! Students (learners) should always be the focus of instruction! The UDL is identifies that inflexible - and rigid approaches can be unable to meet the needs to students with OR WITHOUT disabilities. In other words, - we are not all "vanilla" so how can we accommodate all flavors to meet our goals? It's difficult as an instructor to identify all the individual challenges one might face. As a learner with ADHD I know what is helpful for learners with my same perspectives and needs .
  • To provide multiple means of representation in an online course I could provide a variety of ways to access information - ie. text, podcasts, and/or movie/multi-media files. This would allow for a variety of ways to access content for learning. For those who have difficulty visually, having auditory (podcasts) available for reading could be a major help! It would be ideal to have the the text and audio versions available of the same or similar material.
  • To provide a multiple means of expression allows for a variety of assessment techniques. Providing opportunity to demonstrate understanding in alternative ways. While one learner may thrive with written expression in a text/composition form, another may find the creation of a digital poster (example: Glogster) to demonstrate comprehension of a particular topic. Many times an assessment can be written (a drawing of an ancient city), digital (Google Sketchup design of an ancient city) or built / modeled (lego replica of an ancient city). In an online course a student would have to submit a digital photo or video of the "model."
  • The way I understand the multiple means of engagement for an online course is similar to the way this course is set up. A learner that prefers a routine can access all the modules and plan ahead but with weekly announcements regarding new modules a spontaneous learner can be given the opportunity to access the course in that fashion. I like the idea of setting up the modules and having them available from the beginning as that most fits my learning style! I don't like "waiting" to see what is next. I also think having the objectives clearly stated and all of the assignments clearly defined is important to all learners. I like the idea of having a systematic approach to all the modules/units. This way the learner doesn't have to guess where to find the content, activities and assessments.

Use in My Scenario

Alternative assessment and multiple means of assessment can be applied to one learning situation. When possible I like to give students choices in demonstrating competency. I like the idea of providing various ways students can access information - via text, audio, video. I will continue to apply these principles with both my online and offline instruction.


Describe any experiences in this course that were personally meaningful.

  • The most meaningful parts of this course for me were the differences we shared as students in our ideas about Learner Interactions - and how we prioritize these. There were other areas such as practicing our "voice" in the Online Learning Scenario in which I learned from the input of others as well as my own.
  • I felt that evaluating different LMS systems allowed me to further reflect on where we are at with Sakai - the challenges, successes, etc. One thing I learned is that every LMS/CLE has something the other doesn't have and is missing an important component. Sakai has the built in opensource portfolio but does not interact with PowerSchool and PowerTeacher. Tapestry has GREAT assessment tools, is integrated with PowerSchool and PowerTeacher but does not have a Portfolio piece. Blackboard 9 seems dynamic but expensive and again is missing the portfolio (right?) Finally, more K-12's are using Moodle and Maraha than I thought - I was informed a few years back via a tech conference and other media that Moodle was going downhill and schools were seeking out alternatives. I do know folks have been frustrated with their portfolio component but don't know why. Well, I'm sticking with Sakai but it is good to have this background information.
  • I learned a variety of ways to incorporate activities that appeal to all learners in an online environment.
    • How will you use the experiences in this course to shape your online teaching practices?
  • I feel more qualified in teaching online and better prepared to create and facilitate online courses. I will use the resources about facilitating, moderating, and voice to better interact and facilitate online discussions and student interactions.
    • How does participation in this course help you with your professional goals?
  • My goal is to teach online or facilitate online learning, be dynamic and effective with learning and assessment activities, and keep up to date with instructional technology. I much closer to reaching my goal as a result of this course.
    • What suggestions do you have for improving this course?
  • I would go through the modules and tidy them up a bit - by taking away repetitive information - put the reading links in either assignments or reading and try not to be too redundant throughout the module. It was confusing for me at times. But, I really like the activities and felt that I was kept challenged and motivated throughout the course.