Archive for category Lit_Review

Challenges to developing a blended learning course

This extract is from the article Development and Implementation of a “Blended” Teaching Course Environment in the most recent issue of JOLT:

Roadblocks/challenges to Developing a Blended Course

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to developing a blended course is the student fear factor. Many individuals in my class had never crafted a PowerPoint presentation, much less navigated in an online
discussion. Despite their familiarity with Web 2.0 tools like Facebook, MySpace, and instant messaging, the thought of being graded for online participation was somewhat threatening and intimidating. It was also difficult initially for students to understand the rationale for some assignments (such as Second Life). In future classes, more emphasis on business necessity, future usage, and SL current applications will be incorporated into the course pedagogy. Because there were many different types of assignments in this course (including group work, both on and off line), some students also expressed dissatisfaction with having to rely on team members. Use of the Team Agreement did however help to coalesce groups, and to give members a framework for expected behavior. Instructor feedback on the Team Agreement is essential in providing guidance regarding conflict resolution, assignment schedule, and interpersonal interaction among members.

The blended model is a student-centered approach that allows the instructor to behave as a coach, a facilitator, and a cheerleader for his/her students. It is a way to let students lead in an environment in which they’re guided to success. In the words of Singh (2002, p. 476), “To be successful, blended [teaching]… needs to focus on combining the right delivery technologies to match the individual learning
objectives and transfer the appropriate knowledge and skills to the learner at the right time.”

by Jacqueline Gilbert and Ricardo Flores-Zambada

Development and Implementation of a “Blended” Teaching Course Environment
Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Vol. 7, No. 2, June 2011 pp. 244-260

This interests me because I have been considering including an assessment of online PLN participation in my unit next semester.

Given that this study found that “the thought of being graded for online participation was somewhat threatening and intimidating” for students, I’m going to avoid actually grading their participation per se.  Rather, I’ve decided that students must show (in an assignment appendix) participation in their online PLN for the unit to achieve a Distinction (Grade ‘6’) or High Distinction (Grade ‘7’).  That way, they either do it, or they don’t.  They don’t have to feel anxious about quality.

Has anyone else done something similar to this?  Making students demonstrate their PLN building?  How can I do it – get them to attach a screen shot of three blog comments and five tweets?  Would that suffice?  Hmm…


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List of Artistic Media

Some more thinking about what we mean when we say ‘medium’ in English curriculum…this list of artistic mediums has been helpful in contextualising English as a subject area within a broader notion of ‘arts’:

In the arts, a media or medium is a material used by an artist or designer to create a work.

  • Architecture
  • Carpentry
  • Digital
  • Drawing
  • Film
  • Light
  • Literature
  • Natural World
  • Painting
  • Performing Arts
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Sound
  • Technology
  • Textiles

Wikipedia ‘List of Artistic Media’

Within that list, the medium of literature appeared with the following explanation and links:


Main articles: Literature and Writing implement

The art of writtenwords and typography is traditionally an ink and printed form on paper or is creatively written with many forms of media.

Common writing media

Common bases for writing

This is food for thought.

The investigation into medium continues…

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Media – Definition

Was looking for a good defintion for ‘medium’ in English and along the way have found my new go-to definition for media:

MEDIA as a word derives from the plural of Latin medium,  meaning ‘middle’ or ‘between’ (hence ‘mediator’ as a ‘go-between’, also medieval, coined in the nineteenth century to label the age between the classical period and the Renaissance).  From the early twentieth century, however, it has become increasingly common to talk of ‘the media’ (definite article and plural).  The media thus understood mean two interrelated yet distinct things:

  • those specifically modern technologies and modes of COMMUNICATION which enable people to communicate at a distance, characteristically through print (especially newspapers and magazines); the various telecommunications (‘tele-‘ comes from the Greek word for ‘far’, hence telegraph/’far-writing’, telephone/’far-sound’, television/’far-sight’), as well as film, video, cable, satellite and the Internet;
  • by extension, the institutions which own and control these technologies as well as= the people who work for them (e.g, newspaper proprietors, TV and film companies, advertising agencies and governments, as well as reporters, camera operators, editors, producers, presenters, etc.).

Pope, R. (2002) The English Studies Book: An introduction to Language, Literature and Culture (2nd edition)Routledge, London. p.68

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Inquiry based learning

The more I delve into curriculum materials in Queensland, the more I find references to ‘inquiry based curriculum‘.

Does anyone have any materials that outline the relationship between (evolution from?) constructivism as a learning theory, inquiry based learning as a general pedagogic approach, and more specific approaches such as project based and games based learning?

Or did using the terms ‘learning theory’, ‘general pedagogy’ and ‘specific pedagogy’ just then pretty much do the job?

I desperately want to explain these ideas to students next semester, but am wary of leading them to believe that newer ideas are intended to replace the older ones, when my message is rather that they should be building a complex pedagogy.

Or is this wrong too…connectivism, anyone?

(This definitely needs some kind of graphic representation eh? Anyone up for a prezi collab?)

Inquiry based curriculum model: developing deep knowledge and understanding

Adopting an inquiry approach ensures that students have the opportunity to examine concepts, issues and information in a range of ways, and from various perspectives.

The inquiry approach values the skills of creative and critical thinking, informed decision-making, hypothesis building and problem-solving. As our society becomes increasingly complex and the role of the citizen becomes even more vital, these skills provide the foundation for discerning citizenship.

Students are encouraged to become active investigators by identifying a range of information, understanding the sources of information and looking for bias in it. They are thus better able to evaluate data and to draw meaningful conclusions which are supported by evidence. Rather than examining an issue from any one perspective, students are challenged to explore other possibilities by applying higher order thinking skills in their decision-making endeavours.

(QLD DET, 2008, ‘Implementing the QCAR: Curriculum‘ accessed today)

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Sociolinguistics: language and cultures

I found this excellent set of definitions in the text Language and Literacy in the Early Years 0-7 by Marian Whitehead.  Thought it worth posting here.

My hope is that this post marks the start of a new category on this blog – ‘Lit_Review‘ – for posts that contain material of the kind you just know you’re going to want to find again later when you’re doing that review of research literature…

Language Variety – Summary

  • Language variety is reflected in the different language of the world but it is also a feature within apparently uniform language communities.
  • Two major aspects of variety within a language are accent and dialect.  Accent refers solely to differences in pronunciation – the sounds of a spoken language.  Dialect is a variety of a language with distinctive variations in syntax and vocabulary, as well as pronunciation.
  • Standard English is the high-status dialect of English that is used in the written form of the language.  It is also used widely in business and professional circles, the media, education and the teaching of English as a foreign language.  Standard English dialect may be spoken with any accent.
  • Received Pronunciation is a prestigious non-regional accent associated with higher education and, traditionally, the private school system in the UK and Oxford and Cambridge universities (Oxbridge).
  • Variety is also found within every individual’s linguistic repertoire because we all switch registers, changing the degrees of formality in our language, according to the social context.  Individuals use a variety of other forms, including other dialects, slang and jargon.  We all develop a unique idiolect that makes our voices and language styles instantly recognisable.

Whitehead, M. (2010) Language and Literacy in the Early Years 0-7 (4th Ed.) Sage Publication: London. p.25

Neat summary eh? Pass it on!


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