I always appreciate Colin’s work, because he’s so knowledgeable in this area, but he doesn’t mind laying it out for noobs like me—because that’s his job!
His initial Course Overview (http://colin.akschools.net/2013/07/08/thoughts-on-my-tutoring-course-doing-the-qm-rubric/) was very methodical and well-laid out. I found it interesting that, like me, when I began putting his plan into practice, it was the student element that made matters change. His student wasn’t communicating with him directly through email, which they had previously agreed upon. He wasn’t able to insure that the student was interacting correctly with the material. And communication through the chat was confusing. Colin then made the executive decision to use a different vehicle—Edmodo.com.
The challenges that Colin faced actually bring me some comfort. Why? Well because Colin knows what he’s doing, yet he still ran into some of the same problems I did with the student element. We both wanted to create a somewhat opened, technological resource to engage the students. However, the students didn’t react the way that we initially planned.
Colin did a fantastic job of utilizing his PLN! When something didn’t work the way he needed it to, he didn’t just give up—he looked for alternatives. Inspired by a peer’s module, Colin switched over the Edmodo. Needing an easier tool for synchronous instruction, Colin found Synchpad. Colin’s plasticity demonstrates what educators need to be in this technological existence.
As previously mentioned, Colin’s course overview and introduction are great. Very clear, concise, and easy to follow. Because he’s dealing with one student, there wasn’t really much of a need for him to promote online etiquette except for between himself and the student. His objectives were well established and clear. His assessments and measurements required synchronous meetings, because it was difficult to gauge how the student understood the asynchronous material. His instruction materials were very in-depth, in that Colin knew where to send a student to find the information. Everything was properly cited and current.
The learner interaction and engagement is probably the most difficult to obtain, as it requires motivation on the part of the student. How do we insure engagement in an asynchronous environment besides the ol’ “Because you have to do it,” argument? Fortunately, Colin had close communication with the parents, and that might be the angle we have to work for awhile. There must be something more though!
The course technology, as discussed, changed to accommodate the students and increase engagement. The learner was certainly supported and the accessibility was always made simple for the student.
Personally, I’m not much of a Mac user. But based on the tools that can be made available, like Synchpad, I may need to re-evaluate my systems.