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Stanford researchers use diverse, global discussion groups to boost online learning experience for participants

Stanford researchers use diverse, global discussion groups to boost online learning experience for participants | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

... A typical MOOC includes enrollees from every habitable continent, spanning diverse cultures and societies across the globe. That diversity is key to Talkabout, an online video discussion group tool developed by Stanford computer science Professor Michael Bernstein, his graduate student Chinmay Kulkarni, and Scott Klemmer, formerly a Stanford professor of computer science and currently associate professor of computer science and engineering and cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego...

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Via Lucas Gruez
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Data Mining Exposes Embarrassing Problems for Massive Open Online Courses | MIT Technology Review

Data Mining Exposes Embarrassing Problems for Massive Open Online Courses | MIT Technology Review | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

It wasn’t so long ago that the excitement surrounding online education reached fever pitch. Various researchers offering free online versions of their university classes found they could attract vast audiences of high quality students from all over the world. The obvious next step was to offer far more of these online classes.

 

That started a rapid trend and various organisations sprung up to offer online versions of university-level courses that anyone with an Internet connection could sign up for. The highest profile of these are organisations such as Coursera, Udacity, and edX.

 

But this new golden age of education has rapidly lost its lustre. Earlier this month, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania reported that the online classes it offered had failed miserably. Only about half of the students who registered ever viewed a lecture and only 4 percent completed a course.

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Brinton and co studied the discussion threads associated with 73 courses offered by Coursera. These involved 115,000 students who wrote over 800,000 posts in 170,000 different threads. The team then plotted how the volume of discussion varied through the course and what factors correlate with this decline.

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Brinton and co say that posts fall into three categories. The first is small talk, student introductions and the like, that are of little use in completing the course. The second is about course logistics such as when to file homework. And the final category is course-specific questions which are the most useful for students.


The problem is that the useful posts are drowned out by the others, particularly the small talk. “For humanities and social sciences courses, on average more than 30% of the threads are classified as small-talk even long after a course is launched,” say Brinton and co. “Small-talk is a major source of information overload in the forums.”

 

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A handy flowchart for enhancing classroom discussion - Daily Genius

A handy flowchart for enhancing classroom discussion - Daily Genius | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Do you like to have a free-flowing exchange of ideas in the classroom? Do you encourage and nurture dissenting opinions? Do your students feel empowered to voice their thoughts and critiques of research or ideas?

If you answered ‘YES’ to all of the above questions, you’re leading a fantastic classroom filled with a lot of engaging discussion. Bravo!

But if you aren’t satisfied with the level of discourse taking place in (and out of) the classroom, then this flowchart from Wonkblog is for you. It’s designed to help anyone (not just students or teachers) engage in a discussion about a topic they don’t agree with. For example, let’s say a student cites some research in a project-based learning assignment that another student doesn’t think is quite relevant. How would that student voice his or her opinion? Is interrupting okay? Is one opinion better than another?

Via John Evans
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Frances's curator insight, April 7, 1:37 PM

Learning to discuss, debate, disagree.  Do we need that now?

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How to get students to participate in Online Discussions…

How to get students to participate in Online Discussions… | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

Students’ participation in online discussions is central in online learning courses as it contributes to a participative and meaningful instruction where learners build their knowledge in a constructive way with instructors, colleagues, informal sources and by reflecting upon the process.

Debbie Morrison is posting a triplet series on how to create effective discussions in an online learning environment. In part I she presents components which make online discussions effective, namely:

 

1.  A solid course design 

2.  Guidelines and expectations for students  

3.  Well constructed topics/questions

4.  The existence of a skilled facilitator or moderator

5.  An assessment component

 

References:

Wang Y. & Victor Der-Thang Chen (2008). Essential Elements in Designing Online Discussions to Promote Cognitive Presence, Journal of Asynchronous Communication. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 3-4 (12).

Wade, D. A., Bentley, J. P. H., & Waters, S. H. (2006). Twenty guidelines for successful threaded discussions: A learning environment approach. Distance Learning, 3(3), 1-8.

 


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Karine Thonnard's curator insight, January 22, 2013 8:22 AM

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