Using Video Streaming In an Online, Rich-Media Class to Promote Deep Learning While Educating For Social Change

Using Video Streaming In an Online, Rich-Media Class to Promote Deep Learning While Educating For Social Change

Diane Zorn (York University, Canada) and Kelly Parke (York University, Canada)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-800-2.ch005
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Abstract

In the latter part of this chapter, we outline the theory behind our practice. We discuss the factors that impelled us to rethink ways of creating online, rich-media learning environments, and move toward innovation. We explain the principles, ideas, and concepts that have grounded our approach and inspired us to embrace video streaming, podcasting, and advanced Internet technologies. We unpack a fundamental assumption: deep learning and educating for social change are made possible by an acceptance and understanding of the radical intertwining of learner, educator, technologist, and technology. In sum, we draw on our course to illustrate enactive, online teaching-and-learning.
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Background And Overview

The authors co-designed a rich-media, online learning course for which Zorn developed the pedagogy and course material and which she leads as the course instructor, at York University in Toronto, Canada. She grades students’ work with the assistance of a teaching assistant. Parke chose the technologies, designed the technology interface, and adapted the technologies to meet the needs of the course, the students and Zorn. Parke teaches innovation at the Schulich School of Business at York University, and along with a team of people at York’s Faculty Support Centre oversees the use of the technology used in teaching-and-learning.

The course is called Reasoning About Morality and Values. It is a full-year, first-year undergraduate course, and was first offered in summer 2005. The most recent version of this course, offered in 2009/2010, comprises an in-class section with 60 enrolled students and a corresponding, fully online section with 150 enrolled students. The online section has one teaching assistant; the in-class section has none. It is one of many general-education, modes-of-reasoning courses offered at York University. However, it is York’s only fully online, rich-media course and has the distinction of being the second course in Canada to provide lectures in video podcast format. It was awarded the United States Distance Learning Association 2008 Silver Award for Excellence in Distance Learning Teaching (“York Recognized as a Leader in Distance Education,” 2008). It was also nominated for both the 2006 Council of Ontario Universities Award for Excellence in Teaching with Technology, and the 2007 Commonwealth of Learning Excellence in Distance Education Teaching Award for Distance Education Materials.

An interdisciplinary course, it aims to produce effective students and citizens by teaching skills most needed by first-year university students (namely, critical thinking, essay-writing, and reading comprehension) and skills required to participate fully as a citizen of a liberal democracy (namely, critically evaluating what is read or heard, clearly and cogently expressing and supporting one’s views, and rational decision-making). The course design, pedagogy, and choice of course materials takes an antidomination approach. The issues, topics, cases, examples, and course content focus on morality and values.

The course is cumulative, skills-based, and multimodular. Module 1 begins by studying argument and argumentation. Module 2 emphasizes informal fallacies in everyday logic. Module 3 focuses on conceptual analysis, Module 4 on passages and issues analysis, and Module 5 on argument analysis. Weekly homework, two fully online tests, and an assignment consisting of analysis of a passage and an article assess the students’ ability to analyze and criticize arguments. Since this is a skills-based, not a content-based course, the weekly homework plays the important role of providing the opportunity to practice the skills learned in class.

Classes are three hours in length. The first hour and 50 minutes consists of minilectures (Young, 2008, 2009), punctuated by collaborative learning exercises, with corresponding worksheets that students need to complete. In-class and online students complete the same worksheets. In-class students are divided into learning teams to complete the collaborative learning exercises. Examples of collaborative learning exercises are: viewing a video (DVD or YouTube), discussing, answering questions about it, and collaboratively filling out individual worksheets; listening to pieces of music and applying skills taught in class; completing tasks using skills taught in class and reporting findings as learning teams to the entire class. Zorn moves around the room and brings the microphone to each student, so that all dialogue and discussion is properly video streamed for the online students. The remaining 50 minutes is a workshop session.

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