Welcome to Adult Learning & Technology. This course is structured to develop the student with a proficiency in facilitating adult learning initiatives using technologies appropriate to any given teaching and learning opportunity. The theoretical principles upon which the course is based are borrowed from Malcolm Knowles's development of the concept of andragogy, which is a theory of adult learning. Andragogy is different from pedagogy in that it is a learning theory and not a teaching theory. The focus lies entirely on the ways in which people learn to adapt to changes in their environment. Changes in the environment are brought about by any number of reasons -- they might occur when people consciously engage in a new program of learning, when people expand or revise their job descriptions, when people adjust their situations in life and unconsciously undergo a new learning curve, when people are confronted with the changing social realities brought about by new technologies, and the like.
To begin talking about adult learning theory, we'd want to first learn something about what Malcolm Knowles was expressing in his text The Adult Learner, and what others who've followed him have developed as a consequence of his teaching. For one, Knowles drew a distinction between pedagogy, which is focused on the teacher's teaching method, and andragogy, which is focused the learner's learning method. As a result, andragogy operates under a different set of assumptions than does pedagogy, and these assumptions include the following (Knowles 66-69):
1) The learner's need to know -- the
learner has a practical necessity
2) The learner's self-concept -- the learner has a sense of his or her own presence in the world and is very self-aware
3) The learner's prior experiences -- the learner brings to the learning environment a wealth of life experiences that may facilitate his or her learning
4) The learner's readiness to learn -- the learner that approaches a subject on his or her own has a certain readiness to learn
5) The learner's orientation to learning -- the learner has developed a particular proclivity towards learning
6) The learner's motivation -- the learner has an intrinsic motivation
Each of you is taking this class for any number of reasons, but it is likely that all of these characteristics apply to you. This class, as a result, uses these assumptions as its underlying basis and aims at raising your consciousness about your own attitudes toward learning in order to develop your ability to work with others on the adult learning model.
This first week of class, I'd like to familiarize you with the structure and form of your semester projects by providing you with the websites built by the last three classes. These sites are similar to the one that will be created for this class, so your review of them will give you a broad picture of what it is that you'll be up to these next eight weeks. Don't be daunted by the extent of some of these projects, though -- we're going to do one part a week between weeks 2 and 7 and reserve week 8 (really the last week of class) for our online presentations.
The schedule will look kind of like this:
Week 2 -- Annotated Bibliography (or,
what resources are out there that are best for me to use and why)
Week 3 -- Tagmemics (or, the wonderful six-step method to breaking down an idea)
Week 4 -- Teaching Contract (or, how to articulate and develop a method for engagement)
Week 5 -- Development of Online Activity (or, how do I make this become an online reality)
Week 6 -- 3-page analysis (or, what this idea is all about)
Week 7 -- PowerPoint Development (or, how do I break my idea into a 15-minute presentation)
For those of you interested in the set of teaching methods that exist under the umbrella of constructivism, please take an advance look at a web activity I built on the idea for the WebCT 2004 conference in San Antonio this past year.
This semester, we're going to invest most of our time in a constructivist teaching strategy called problem-based learning. We're going to look at some learning need brought about by changes in our own environment, and we're going to try to develop our own learning skills while we're trying to learn how to develop them in other adult learners. For instance, in the summer of 2004, I had a set of new learning needs based on my wife's first pregnancy. We knew that there were concerns during pregnancy that needed to be addressed, and we tackled all of them in various ways. Our doctor recommended progesterone supplements, so we learned how to give injections. Our families recommended lamaze classes, so we signed up for them (and for a breastfeeding class). Other things we learned through books like What to Expect when you're Expecting. The Internet proved a useful resource, too, for all sorts of things. Aside from being a useful resource tool, the Internet is also a useful tool for communication with others who are undergoing similar experiences to ours. We've found that with over half a billion Internet users online, there's never been an instance where we've looked for an online community on a particular issue and been disappointed by not finding one.
Concerning the Internet, it is not only an important resource tool, but it also provides us with a forum through which we might contribute resources during the process of our own learning. This past summer, I learned that our having cats might be problematic for the pregnancy because of something called toxoplasmosis. (It became especially important for me when I learned that I was now the only one in the house qualified to clean out the litter boxes.) So, in conjunction with my summer adult learning class, I built a website (sebsteph.com/adult/toxoplasmosis) on it and learned about it in the process. In the fall of 2004, I built another (sebsteph.com/adult2/neonate) on gastrointestinal problems in neonates to learn how to deal with what appeared to be colicky behavior in our newborn, Alexander. Please take a moment to look at these websites -- all of you will create one over the next eight weeks based on a particular learning need that you have.
This week, then, we have two activities planned for us -- the first is to go to the discussion board and articulate some kind of problem or experience around which you have a desire to strengthen your knowledge and skills. That'll serve as the basis for your semester project. The second is to access the webspace I've created for you using Microsoft's FrontPage. Those of you who already possess your own webspace may use that for the purposes of your semester project -- just send me the link to your site and create a new page with your project title on it. I'll post a page with links on it to all the sites and include your link on that page.
For those of you who wish to use my webspace, access instructions are as follows:
1) Open FrontPage (for those of you who don't have any experience in web building, please know that it's fairly easy, and some helpful insights on how to do certain things can be found at sebsteph.com/adult/frontpage.htm)
2) Click "file" and "open web" -- if you're on a computer in the student lab, it is likely that a password mask will pop up asking for a username and password before you complete this operation. If that happens, cancel it out and then click "file" and "open web"
3) Enter "http://www.sebsteph.com/adult4/yourlastname" in the field that opens and click "open" (remember to replace the "yourlastname" part of it with your actual last name -- each of you has a different website already created for you.)
4) A new password mask will appear. Enter your last name for the username and again for the password. Click "open" or "okay"
5) Your website will open, and it should have a folder list on the left. If it doesn't, select "view" and "folder list" You'll see that you have a couple of empty folders in there. Your first step is to create an index page. Refer to the link above for instructions on how to do that.
You'll find that FrontPage works a LOT like Microsoft Word. The only real difference is that when you save your documents, they save online rather than to your desktop. We'll spend this week making sure that everyone can access their site and can post information in it. If anyone has trouble, please post the trouble you're having on the Main discussion board, and I'll address the concerns so that the entire class can benefit from the question. Those of you who haven't posted your autobiographies on your index page by Wednesday will be contacted by me to walk you through it.
This week, we begin our readings in The Adult Learner. As we discussed during orientation week, the adult learner is different from the child learner in several significant ways even though the underlying assumptions on learning might be meaningfully applied to children (and this is one of the bases of the pedagogical theory of constructivism). The theory under which we'll be operating this semester, which is Malcolm Knowles's concept of andragogy, can be traced back to Socrates and Plato. As I write in my footnotes to "“Learned” in 60-Seconds: Assessment of Applied Andragogy in Credentialing Institutions, "It was rediscovered in Europe by Alexander Capp, who used it to facilitate German grammar training in 1833, and then by a German social scientist named Eugen Rosenstock (1921) who claimed, according to Knowles, Holton and Swanson’s 1998 book, that 'adult education required special teachers, special methods, and a special philosophy.' Knowles took the idea directly from a Yugoslavian adult educator named Dusan Savicevic." Even with its 2,300 year old history (presuming it was a "lost" theory that had to be rediscovered by Europe after two millennia -- and it's possible -- Aristotle was lost to civilization for almost a full millennium resurfacing in the 13th century in time to influence both St. Thomas Aquinas and Dante), andragogy as a learning theory has for a long time taken second place to pedagogy as a teaching theory. This week's readings, then, will explore the teaching theories with which we're familiar in order to build a foundation for our exploration of learning theory.
To break it down for you, Chapter 5, entitled "Theories of Teaching," deals with the idea that theories of learning are different from theories of teaching in that the former focuses on methods of learning while the latter focuses on methods to influence or control learning. The colossus in this field is John Dewey, who articulates the role of the teacher in shaping the learning environment. He argues that teaching is about engaging as key concepts the ideas of student experience, democratic learning environments, continuity of skill-building assignments, and interaction between external and internal learning conditions. Throughout the discussion within the chapter on teaching theory, it will become apparent to the reader that teaching theory and learning theory have a lot in common and interact quite well with one another.
Chapter 12 of Malcolm Knowles's The Adult Learner, entitled "Whole-Part-Whole Learning Model," discusses a method by which to deconstruct a learning module for the student. The idea is to first introduce "new content to learners by forming in their minds the organizational framework required to effectively and efficiently absorb the forthcoming concepts into their cognitive capabilities" (Knowles, 1998, p. 186). In a sense, then, you want to provide in general terms the nature of the project idea and the steps involved in getting there. You'd also want to provide the motivational construct that will inspire the students to make it through the project via, as far as I'm concerned, intrinsic motivation. Then, you want to work through each of the steps, or parts, of that process. In our case, we have six steps on the road to achieving our ends, and the first of which is coming up with a list of resources for our project this week. Each week, we'll work through another step until we complete all the parts and the students have achieved relative mastery of each part. Finally, we conclude the project by demonstrating the synergy of each of those parts in their relation to one another. What each of you has already done is introduced the topics on which you'd like to work and provided a rationale for doing so. What we'll want to do as we work through the various parts is strengthen our understanding of what the whole work will accomplish when done. Having a strong idea of what we'd like to accomplish at the onset is essential to our ability to negotiate that focus as we move throughout the realities of the project we've taken on.
If you visit the class web at http://www.sebsteph.com/adult4, you'll notice that you've already been clustered into groups. Because of the choices you made concerning the projects you wanted to pursue, I've clustered you into groups of three or four. There will be four groups total, then, and each student is responsible for providing a weekly review of his or her colleagues' progress in the appropriate group forum on the WebCT discussion board. What you're looking for each week is to measure others against yourself and yourself against others. Furthermore, if there is something that others are doing that you like, feel free to borrow the idea. If there is something that you feel someone else in your group might do, feel free to suggest the idea. While you have no obligation to comment on the work being done in groups outside your own, I'd like to encourage you to visit other groups' websites every now and then just to see if their progress has anything to offer yours.
Concerning examples or models I might give you, I've already created the shell of my semester project and posted it the class board. Each of you will want to do something similar to your homepages, but don't restrict yourself to my format. Use what's comfortable for you. On my bibliography page, I'm going to start dumping the links to the various resources I find this week. By the end of the week, I'll organize my citations into proper APA format. Your goal for the week is to do the same. Look for online journal articles, professional websites, online radio programs, online video clips, and the like -- whatever resources you choose, you'll want them to be accessible to your colleagues within the groups you've been assigned. (If there are books you'd like to use, provide links to the page on Amazon.com where people interested in them might go to purchase them -- you can also, under the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002, post for a limited time up to 10% of a given text in a password protected medium, which means that you'd create the bibliographic citation in your website and refer people to the posted scan in your group's project forum on the WebCT discussion board -- not required, but an option.) Think of it as a kind of webquest, and turn this hunt into a game.
To help you get started, I'd advise your trying not to hunt entirely at random. Find someone who seems to be a leader in the field and look at the resources on which he or she seems to rely, then hunt down those for their bibs, and so on. For the audio and video, you can use http://www.altavista.com, http://www.singingfish.com, or http://www.lycos.com, each of which does audio and video searches (for Lycos, by the way, you'll want to select the "pictures" radio button -- it then defaults into giving you audio and video choices). I use all three services because what can't be found on one might be found on another. (Keep the parental controls on, though -- there's some wacky stuff out there!)
Welcome to the second week's activities. Last week, we did two things -- we introduced ourselves on the discussion board, and we logged into our webspace and familiarized ourselves with it enough to learn how to post an index page with some information on it. This week, you have another two missions to accomplish, the first being the Annotated Bibliography (which will demonstrate that you not only have a handful of resources that will be meaningful for your semester projects but that you also understand how they are meaningful). The second will be our first readings in Malcolm Knowles's The Adult Learner, which include, as stated above, chapters 5 ("Theories of Teaching" pp. 73-113) and 12 ("Whole-Part-Whole Learning Model" pp. 185-197).
Concerning the annotated bibliography, you're engaged in a learning project that will endeavor to be reasonably comprehensive but that also focuses on materials that are meaningful (and not merely filler) for your project. For that reason, you'll want no more than 20 from a variety of media (audio, video, images, text, slideshows, and the like). To ensure quality control on my part and the part of your classmates, any materials you include on your bibliography must somehow be accessible to everyone through cyberspace. You must also be able to write a one-sentence blurb about each source (this is the annotation part) that states how that source is of value to the point or purpose (the thesis, really) of your project. (You won't have to have read all the sources in their entirety by the end of the week but you'll want to skim them sufficiently to determine their merit. It may be that as you move through this project, you'll find others you like better than the ones you have -- feel free to switch them out. A good tip on finding resources is to look at the leaders in the fields you're studying and then check out their bibliographies.) Finally, you'll be using APA format (for those of you who haven't had much experience with it, you can find the citation method at Purdue University's Online Writing Lab.
I'll be posting my bibliography on teething in one-year-olds on my own project site, the link to which you'll find on http://www.sebsteph.com/adult4, our class webpage. You'll also find that based on the project ideas you submitted, you've been clustered into small, collaborative learning groups, and group members are free to ask to leave one group in preference to another this week only. If you're happy with the group in which you find yourself and opt to stay in that group, then your task will be to review the submissions of your group members each week and post your thoughts and reflections on the group forums posted at the bottom of the class discussion board in WebCT. We'll reserve the general discussion forums as a means by which to engage our reading on Knowles.
Having just finished reading about theories of teaching, we ought now begin talking about theories of learning. While learning theories work in tandem with teaching theories, the main difference is that a learning theory will focus on the ways in which people learn while a teaching theory focuses on the methods by which people engage others. A teacher will create a system to which students are expected to adapt, and students will be evaluated on their ability to adapt to that system. A learner, on the other hand, will learn outside of the system and often adapt to it imperfectly because no system can contain the entirety of a person's skill sets. Someone who understands these distinctions will be in a better position to develop environments conducive to both teaching and learning. I call these environments 'architectures' because the andragogue is really designing a space for learning to occur and allowing learners the latitude to engage the discourse through their own natural proclivities. That's what we're doing with our semester projects; while you're building them, moreover, you're learning a new skill set (webs, for many of you) and you're developing an understanding of your own learning methods. That's one of the things I'm going to ask you about in this week's discussion.
Concerning your reading for this week -- Chapter 3, entitled "Theories of Learning," argues that "many of the 'scientific' theories of learning have been derived from the study of learning by animals and children" (Knowles, 1998, p. 180, the methods for engaging in focused research over the learning paradigms of either requires foremost controlled environments. For that reason, I'd argue that the learning theorists preceding Knowles were actually engaged in the study of teaching theories, or how the teacher in the controlled environment might most effectively engage the learning patterns of the student. In order to provide us with manageable categories for these teaching and learning theorists, Knowles breaks them into two types, those who have propounded theories of learning and those who have interpreted the theories propounded by others. He then breaks the theories themselves into two types -- those that deal with elemental learning models, which represent "the universe as a machine composed of discrete pieces operating in a spatio-temporal field" (Knowles, 1998, p. 23), and holistic learning models, which represent "the world as a unitary, interactive, developing organism" (Knowles, 1998, p. 23). While these classifications are viable means by which to develop a sense of the people and their models, that there's a lot of overlap in these fields. Knowles himself points out that propounders of theories are often also interpreters of theories (he fits this description himself), and I'd add that elemental theorists have to also be able to see their field holistically and holistic theorists have to also be able to see the parts within theirs.
Chapter 13, entitled "From Teacher to Facilitator of Learning," discusses what it means to take responsibility for one's own learning and how Knowles shifted from being a 'content transmitter' to a 'process manager.' This latter identity required, Knowles says, a different skill set than he was used to as a presenter of information -- he needed to engage in "relationship building, needs assessment, involvement of students in planning, linking students to learning resources, and encouraging student initiative" (201). For the andragogue to be effective, he or she has to have some confidence in his or her ability to interact with and encourage others within a given discipline -- that's much harder than just telling people what they ought to remember for an exam. In fact, in comparison, lecturing is the easiest thing in the world.
This week we're going to build on what we did last week, but there are a few issues still outstanding for us that we'll want to address:
1) Web-building is still new for some of us, and the learning curve on that is slowing down the development part of your project. Let's do this -- we'll agree that you don't have to learn web-building all at once; instead, we'll just focus on the parts of web-building that are immediately applicable to your needs. We'll also agree that when you have a specific need, I'll make a short movie for you showing you how to navigate through it.
2) The chapter readings -- several of you began posting your thoughts on the teaching theories chapter, but many of you have remained silent on it. In order for our group to develop into facilitators of learning, we must all participate in that process of dialogue which is so crucial to the development of a community (especially an online community). This means not just posting our own thoughts but responding to the thoughts of others when we have something meaningful to add to them. Aside from the teaching theories chapter, there was also the chapter on the whole-part-whole method, a method that is presently being employed on you. How helpful is it, btw?
3) I've added group forums to the discussion board for each group. Be sure to use them to comment on the progress of your classmates. You might find that task easier now that most of the bibs are posted.
4) Bibliographies -- Most of you have developed quite impressive beginnings with your projects -- that is, you've found resources that will be helpful to your understanding of what it is that you're interested in learning. There are ways to systematically go about a research project. First, look to the institutions or organizations that might be responsible parties in your field of interest. Second, look to the people who are leaders in that field. Third, look to their bibliographies. Even if you don't know anything about a field going into it, you're bound to see words and names common to a number of sites you visit. Start moving in the direction of those concepts that come up over and over, and you'll find yourself warming into your topic. The more you read about it, the more you'll learn which path to pursue. (Beautiful how that works out, really.) The main thing for some of you, though, is to put your bibs in proper APA format. Check out the bib on my site for a handy reference to it.
Tagmemics Project -- Click here for the video
This week, we're going to take what we learned from last week (and those of you in need of catching up, do so, and ask for help if you start to flounder) -- the readings we did in our field, that is -- and develop a quick reference chart that breaks the idea we're pursuing down into three static parts and three dynamic parts. The method is called tagmemics, and you'll find out all about it when you click on this week's activities.
Tagmemics is a concept originally developed for rhetoric and composition by Kenneth Pike in 1969. Pike borrowed the concept from the field of linguistics (generally, a great many concepts in composition theory and literary theory have been borrowed from linguistics). What it does is break an idea down into its component parts in order to enable the writer to turn those parts over in his or her hands in order to get a better understanding of them. I call it the Six-Step Method to Breaking Down an Idea when I'm trying not to intimidate people with the word "tagmemics," which sounds kind of ominous.
This method only requires you to look at an idea in three ways -- 1) what it is, 2) what it's made of, and 3) what its environment is. You look at these three things in two ways -- 1) while its changing and evolving and 2) while it's just staying put. Take a look at the PowerPoint posted on this week 3 page for a walk-through of this concept.
After you've walked yourself through the PowerPoint that explains the method, try to break your idea down by answering those same questions. Think of it as a grid. How would you fill out these squares? Post your response as a separate page in your website. I've included an example in here of what the template looks like.
|Static (The way it is at this point in time)||Dynamic (The way it changes over time)|
|Unit in Contrast -- What it is|
|Unit as a system -- What it's made of|
|Unit in a system -- What its environment looks like|
And a full example here on the topic of hyperliteracy of what that template looks like when it's fleshed out. I made this grid on the subject of hyperliteracy for a workshop I gave to incoming full-time faculty at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park this past September. I'll be posting another one on teething on my project site this week.
Don't let the word "hyperliteracy" confuse you -- we're really talking about computer literacy.
|HyperLiteracy||Static (The way it is at this point in time)||Dynamic (The way it changes over time)|
|Unit in Contrast -- What it is||Hyperliteracy is not only the understanding of the mechanics involved in working on a computer, but it is also what Walter J. Ong (1982) has called secondary orality. Hyperliteracy is characterized by what is called a tactile consciousness, which is a multisensory consciousness. Those of us who are hyperliterate have an understanding of not only the way in which cyberspace is different from printspace (an understanding of the differences in space) but also how cybertime is different from standardtime (an understanding of the differences in time). Hyperliteracy, then, is really a way to modulate time.||
Hyperliteracy began as an extension of the age of literacy, but it rapidly
developed its own identity as something different from the linear,
sequential, predictable patterns of printed text.
that before the age of literacy, we lived in an age of orality, in which we
had strong acoustic consciousnesses. In the age of literacy, we shifted
from an acoustic consciousness to a visual one. Now, in the age of
hyperliteracy, we are presently involved in the merger of the acoustic and
visual consciousnesses and are entering a tactile consciousness. This
tactile consciousness has become
characterized by something that is ironically intangible -- non-contiguity
of expression, where certain lines of code cause a person's reading to leap
from one place in the text to a different place or to a different text.
This has led to a greater realization of the value of imaginary (or virtual)
community relationships. Today, computer literacy continues to evolve as we
explore our sense of place during a time of global transition in the use of
|Unit as a system -- What it's made of||Hyperliteracy is marked by an increasing distancing of human persons engaged in authentic forms of community so that the non-contiguous community takes precedence over the contiguous, of polyvalency rather than linearity in means of expression and thought, and of a merger between the visual and the acoustic consciousnesses that has given birth to a tactile consciousness.||Hyperliteracy is the end-point of literacy, but it is also the beginning of something completely new. Non-contiguous communities will strengthen in their authenticity as bandwidth increases and new technologies like holographic projections allow us to beam ourselves into other people's homes for dinner parties or into global conferences to engage with other holographic projections. Polyvalency may grow to mean not only an ability to jump around in space but also an ability to jump around in time like the present generation of children is learning how to do with video games in which they save their places in certain parts of the game's history. In an age of interactive video, this kind of place saving will mean a player's being able to see the consequences of a certain move in real time and return to an earlier point and try again -- in real time. The tactile consciousness will continue to merge our visual and acoustic senses and this will rewire the way in which we view problems as both halves of our brain grow more accustomed to working together..|
|Unit in a system -- What its environment looks like||Hyperliteracy is a product of our greater society, which at present is in a state of transition (and has been for the last half-century). It is only recently, however, that we've begun to double our technologies every year and a half rather than every generation. We now live in an age where we cannot reasonably predict for our children what their job prospects might be or what kind of communities will be available to them five years from now. At present, educators are training themselves on these technologies but they're several generations behind the youth who started working with these technologies in the early 90s or those youth who are presently growing up with them having never known anything else. The average age of today's incoming college student places his or her birth around 1986, and the Internet was already a reality in that year through a service offered by Compuserve in 1982. Over half our society then has its foundation more in the age of literacy than it does in the age of hyperliteracy.||As hyperliteracy continues to expand, our society will grow more divided as resistance against these changes increase in proportion to the speed at which the changes are occurring. Marshall McLuhan (1964) has argued that our technologies are extensions of ourselves in the world, but with every new extension of ourselves, we suffer an equal and opposite amputation of some other part of ourselves. This will not phase the younger generations, but the older ones will be concerned about losing control of these technologies that Marshall McLuhan has claimed are extensions of ourselves in the world. This fear is already manifest in the creation of science fiction films like I, Robot, The Terminator, Star Trek: The Borg, The Matrix, etc. Isaac Asimov, though, the same man who gave us I, Robot also gave us Bicentennial Man, which is a much more positive discussion of the role computers and robots might play in our society. We're in for a rocky time of transition, but I feel we'll emerge from it stronger and better in spite of the amputations that will necessarily occur.|
Andragogy, as we've been discussing, is the theory behind the learning patterns of adults. To steal a little from the conference materials I prepared for the Society of Philosophy and History of Education conference in Oklahoma City in September of 2004, I'll add that andragogy is based on transactional methodology where the teacher designs and manages “a process for facilitating the acquisition of content by the learners” and serves “as a content resource [who can] provide leads for other content resources" (Clark, 2000, “Andragogy,” http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/history/andragogy.html ) In short, adult learning is highly self-directed, experiential, needs-based, and situationally-contexted. Because the process of adult teaching and learning is different from that of the process of child teaching and learning, it makes sense to posit that the process of assessment for adult learners ought also to be different from that of child learners.
If we dichotomize teaching and learning into pedagogy and andragogy, we find that the main difference between the two models is their theoretical bases: pedagogy is a teaching theory that is usually based on transmission, and andragogy is a learning theory that is usually based on transaction. Theories of transmission work on the basis of filling deficits in student knowledge and comprehension of their environment while theories of transaction work on the basis of addressing the immediate, practical needs of context-dependent learners. Stephen Brookfield, in his book Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning (1986) adds that adult learners who are already embarked on some kind of career path have little desire for generalized learning outside the context of their immediate practical needs. The teacher as facilitator of learning through transactional pedagogy (or set of teaching methods designed around interactive student collaboration with one another), moreover, also becomes a facilitator of assessment in that the teacher can hardly ask the students to take greater responsibility for their own teaching and learning and not also cultivate their ability to become better assessors of how well they have adapted themselves to the materials or methods involved in any course of study. This is a radical idea for institutionalized education as even the most constructivist of teachers will guard the integrity of the grade that is assigned outside of the student's constructive paradigm.
Since we've elsewhere discussed andragogy in relation to pedagogy, here we might discuss andragogy in relation to heutagogy. Hase and Kenyon (2000) extended the litany of learner-centeredness brought about by Knowles in his focus on andragogy to what they believe is its natural conclusion – the irrelevance of the teacher. We reside, they write, in a world in which “information is readily and easily accessible; where change is so rapid that traditional methods of training and education are totally inadequate; [where] discipline based knowledge is inappropriate to prepare for living in modern communities and workplaces; [where] learning is increasingly aligned with what we do; [where] modern organisational structures require flexible learning practices; and [where] there is a need for immediacy of learning.” For that reason, they have advocated a new approach to teaching and learning called heutagogy, which “recognises the need to be flexible in the learning where the teacher provides resources but the learner designs the actual course he or she might take by negotiating the learning.” They conclude that we as teachers “should concern ourselves with developing the learner’s capability not just embedding discipline based skills and knowledge” (Stewart Hase & Chris Kenyon, (December 2000), “From Andragogy to Heutagogy,” first published in ultiBASE (http://ultibase.rmit.edu.au) and located online at http://ultibase.rmit.edu.au/Articles/dec00/hase2.htm ). Assessment, in that setting, cannot obviously be done by the teacher who steps outside of the teaching and learning process; instead, it would have to be done by the student and be based on the student’s level of comfort with the degree of his or her own learning. The role of the learning institution, then, would become, according to Hase and Kenyon, descriptive instead of prescriptive; institutional standards would be replaced by commercial norms; and assessment activities would be based on the functionality of design rather than on its theoretical underpinnings.
Heutagogy seeks to democratize the assessment process by allowing it to be driven by the realities of the marketplace – the determination of real material value is predicated entirely on the use-value of the material learned, both in the student’s design of the course of study and in the student’s ability to use that course of study for personal or professional gain. However, this single way in which heutagogy improves or extends the theory of andragogy, which is the removal of the teacher (or governing entity), is the very thing that makes the idea of heutagogy impractical in a credentialing institution. By arguing for heutagogical release to be applied to andragogical initiatives, indeed for we teachers to “relinquish any power we deem ourselves to have,” the great innovation on Knowles cannot be done without the loss to the designer of a role in assessment. If the teacher is removed, moreover, then so should be the credentialing institution.
The best that heutagogy can hope for, then, is for the teacher to remain a vital part of helping learners interpret their world while at the same time maintaining a distance appropriate to encouraging learners to actively engage in that world through the process of discovery as it relates to their own interests and needs. In this, we are back to Knowles and the negotiated reality between the teacher, the student, and the course materials. The use of andragogical principles in the teaching of adult learners justifies the existence of the teacher and the institution to which that teacher is attached in ways that heutagogy cannot, and this is why andragogy will remain a valuable teaching and learning tool, or, in Knowles’ word, a valuable “technology” for the myriad of teaching and learning environments in higher education.
Chapter four, entitled "A Theory of Adult Learning: Andragogy," discusses the adult learner as a neglected species, the original subtitle of Knowles's book. Of the two streams of adult learning theory, the scientific and the artistic, only the latter can truly be called a learning theory as it is interested in how adults learn rather than in the fact that adults are still learners. For discussion this week, we can talk about the process involved in adult learning -- anyone want to venture a start?
Chapter six, entitled “An Andragogical Process Model for Learning," is new to the sixth edition and seeks to clarify andragogical methodology.
Chapter fifteen, entitled "Some Guidelines for the Use of Learning Contracts," discusses the use of learning contracts as ways to keep learners focused on their goals. The book breaks the contracts into four columns -- first, the objective to be accomplished; second, the methods meaningful to accomplishing the objective; third, documentation of process and results; and, fourth, assessment of process and results.
We'll be using this idea in the activity for this week.
For those of you who would like a few more examples of the tagmemics activity, you'll find them at http://www.sebsteph.com/bunn/entirety.html provided from an incoming faculty workshop I did in September 2004 entitled Reading, Writing, Mathematics, and Technology Across the Curriculum. The workshop was intended to develop the faculty's ability to break a project idea down into its component parts and begin the process of integrating basic skill sets into whatever it is the teachers are teaching in the classroom. This is especially important for community college attendees whose non-traditional student populations may not enter the academic setting with strengths in one or more of these skills areas. This site will provide you not only with the tagmemic charts but also the Reading, Writing, Mathematics, and Technology (RWMT) teaching and learning grids. When you open the above link, also take note of the Bloom's taxonomy breakdown -- in moving from a level of knowledge of a given area to an ability to evaluate that area, there are a handful of points of mastery along the way that provide the facilitator of learning with opportunities for engaging the co-learners, our students.
This is the week that we're finally going to talk about andragogy proper even though it seems as if we've been discussing it all along. On the week four discussion board, we might discuss the six different points that Knowles articulates as characterizing andragogy (the graph of which is located on page 4 in your book). However you want to introduce your impressions of this material is fine, but let's get into the spirit of it with greater collaboration with your classmates. Respond, for instance, to someone you haven't yet engaged, and when you receive a response, engage it.
The project part of this week will focus on the Teaching and Learning Contract that Knowles shows us in chapter 15. These contracts can be amended in any number of ways as long as they maintain the four basic elements -- objective, methods, documentation, and assessment. To give you an example of my adapting them to fit the needs of St. Louis Community College -- Meramec, see as follows:
Teaching Contract -- [feel free to fill it out entirely in this grid if you want to use the TRWM model, but be sure to copy and paste the results on the confirmation form into your own webpage as it won't otherwise be saved]
where the students produced methods, documentation, and assessment ideas for each of the top four skills areas in school -- reading, writing, ciphering, and technologizing.
What you'll want to do is create a learning contract of your own that's suitable to your field and populate it with methods, documentation procedures, and assessment ideas for posting on your websites. Enjoy the activity and post questions for this week on the Week 4 discussion forum. If you have your contracts up by Thursday, by the way, that'll give your colleagues and you time to respond to them in the latter part of the week.
This week's reading materials include Chapter 7, entitled "Andragogy in Practice," Chapter 9, entitled "New Perspectives on Andragogy," and Chapter 12, entitled "Making Things Happen by Releasing the Energy of Others." Both of these chapters fit into your project for this week, which is the design of an online activity.
Chapter 7, entitled "Andragogy in Practice," deals with practical applications of the andragogical model. Knowles makes the point that adults who do not continue to advance their learning in a dynamic society will not be able to improve their socio-economic status; they will, in fact, diminish in their ability to engage their work environments. Now, this is a really short chapter -- but it's built around a very complex idea, that of that chart we saw on page 4 as we entered his book. Within this chart, we find the six principles of adult learning with which we've become familiar over the course of the semester. What Knowles does here, though, is put these principles in context with the differences in individual learners, in subject matter, and in situations as those things relate to the individual, the institution for which he or she works, and the society in which he or she lives.
Chapter 9 talks about the six andragogical principles articulated by Knowles. Concerning the learner's need to know, Knowles explains that this core principle "has led to the now generally accepted premise that adults should be engaged in a collaborative planning process for their learning" (1998). Concerning self-directed learning, Knowles argues that "it is having the freedom to choose their learning strategy that is critical" for adult learners (1998). Concerning the prior experience of the learner, Knowles states that constructivist methods (as long as they're not extreme) work well with andragogical methods, and the experience of adults in building their own programs of study should be valued. He also says by way of caveat that while adult learners indeed bring a great deal to the plate, there's also work that needs to be done in their unlearning materials that hinder their advance into new materials. Concerning the readiness to learn, Knowles writes, "The challenges for adult learning leaders are to a) recognize where individual learners are at the beginning of a learning experience and b) be attentive to changes in needs for direction and support during the learning experience" (1998). Concerning an orientation to learning, Knowles provides the example of experiential learning, which entails "the roles of current experiences in shaping the need to learn," where adults "learn best when new information is presented in real-life context" (1998). Finally, concerning the motivation to learn, Knowles concludes that "adult learners will be most motivated when they believe that they can learn the new material (expectancy) and that the learning will help them with a problem or issue (instrumentality) that is important in their life (valence)" (1998).
Chapter 12 talks about the idea of releasing the energy of your target audience so that they make things happen for their own benefit. I once had an officemate of mine at St. Louis University extol the virtues of the garden method of teaching -- he said, "All the students are really plants in their seats, and the instructor has the opportunity to add a little fertilizer to one, a little water to another, and just sit back and watch them grow over the semester." I told him that was putting the student in a really passive position -- after all, students aren't members of the plant kingdom but of the animal kingdom, and animals, as he knows, don't sit docile in their chairs while they're being fed all the material that they'll later be expected to regurgitate on his exams. "Don't think of your students as plants," I told him, "Think of them as tigers, quite capable of hunting down what they need to more fully participate in the teaching and learning experience -- quite capable of biting your hand off if you try to determine the shape and nature of their needs without any collaboration on their part." Knowles, though I hadn't read him back in 1999 when this conversation took place, backs me up on this by saying that "creative leadership is that form of leadership that releases the creative energy of the people being led" (1998). Creative leaders, Knowles explains, "make a different set of assumptions (essentially positive) about human nature from the assumptions (essentially negative) made by controlling leaders," "accept as a law of human nature that people feel a commitment to a decision in proportion to the extent that they feel they have participated in making it," "believe in and use the power of self-fulfilling prophesy," "highly value individuality," "stimulate and reward creativity," "are committed to a process of continuous change and are skillful in managing change," "emphasize internal motivators over external motivators," and "encourage people to be self-directing" (1998).
Hopefully, the material in these two chapters will put you in good stead as you develop your online activities this week. I'll participate in every online activity as I know that each of you will participate in those online activities created by the other members of your group. Then, provide feedback to your group members on what they have done well and what they might still do to strengthen their activity for others.
The main announcement for this week entails my completing my mid-project review of the class progress and sending each of you an email to that effect. In our conversations on the discussion board and through email, I've learned quite a bit about your project goals, and this has been supplemented considerably by the work that you've posted on your websites. Moreover, it seems that many of you are communicating well with your groups though some of you are less communicative than others. Some suggestions that you might follow at this point in the semester:
1) Go through your bibs and check them against the APA manual of style located at http://www.apastyle.org/elecsource.html. There are a few of you who could do with a closer review of the format that APA provides.
2) Go through your tagmemic charts and make sure you haven't cut and paste wholesale from your source materials. Morever, when you use source materials, make sure you cite them in your bibliography with a link to the site on which you've found your materials. If you take a look at my site, you'll notice that I've embedded my tagmemics citations into the chart itself using hyperlinks. Remember the cardinal rule about using other people's materials -- no matter what the purpose, always cite where you got your information. Otherwise, it's called plagiarism, or, in more friendly terms, a violation of intellectual property rights which is actually a federal offense carrying a fine of up to $100,000 per offense. (Tell that to your students!)
3) Take another glance through your teaching and learning contracts. What you're trying to accomplish is the articulation of clear and do-able goals. Your contract should be realistic in that regard. Then, for each goal, all you have to state are the methods you plan on using, the way in which you plan to document the use and effectiveness of these methods, and the criteria by which you'll assess or evaluate the effectiveness of your methods. Remember that assessment is always reciprocal -- it deals not only with how well your audience is able to adapt to your system but also with how well your system is matched to the needs and abilities of your audience.
4) Remember, also, to review the projects of your group mates and provide them with some meaningful feedback on their work. You might also look at the relevant bibs of your classmates (this works well in two of the four categories) to see if there's anything in there worth pulling into your own bib. Such are the mid-project reflections on my part. My hope is that by giving you this feedback in toto now, you'll have a better opportunity to shape the direction of your next three tasks -- the online activity, the 3-page analysis, and the PowerPoint presentation (which you'll deliver to a live class on http://www.activeworlds.com the last week of class -- those of you who've never visited that 3-d graphics-based world, please feel free to get a head start at seeing how it works). Of course, don't go back and fix everything possible if it's going to slow down your advance. Your next step is the online activity, which I talk about in the activity section if you click next.
This week, we're going to focus on the development of an online activity. I've shared many of my own activities with you these past few weeks, notably, the following:
The online conference with the University of Calgary at http://www.sebsteph.com/calgary2004 where I guide people through online project-based learning.
The online conference with the Catholic Biblical Association at http://www.kenrickparish.com/cba where I guide people through the concept of transaction-based learning.
The online conference with WebCT at http://www.sebsteph.com/webct2004/constructivism.html where I guide people through the idea of developing an online activity (also embeded within the Calgary conference materials).
The online conference with Garrett-Evangelical and Seabury-Western entitled Theology and Pedagogy in Cyberspace at http://www.kenrickparish.com/tpcii where I guided people through different methods they might use for online teaching and learning (or even for distributed learning modules used in conjunction with face-to-face classes.
The class activity in which I'm presently engaged in my Intro to Theological Studies class at http://www.kenrickparish.com/ws2005 where each of the student groups are presently building their own websites based on globalization, technology, and the text in the service of the Church. Their mission is to make them as interactive as possible.
The developing site of activities I'm creating with our Church historian at http://www.michaeljohnwitt.com that presently houses 80 hours of video and is moving in the direction of embedding meaningful activities for each of those 80 hours.
Those should be enough examples for you to get the idea of what we're going for on this web activity of yours. Basically, we want something that someone can do when visiting your site that will better help them understand the topic in which you're engaged. The first thing to do in moving toward accomplishment of this goal is to determine who your audience is and build the project in deliberate response to that audience. What do you want the audience to learn, for instance, and what kind of activity (or game) can you put together to achieve that learning. That's what you're after.
The activity doesn't have to last too long -- between 5 minutes and 45 minutes, perhaps, to engage (longer if the audience wants to linger and you've provided materials to help them do that like I did on my constructivism site). The important thing to do is base your activity on your learning contract -- either on achieving all the goals or just one of the goals. Whatever you build will be a response to what you've already accomplished.
Good luck, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
This week's reading materials include chapter 10, entitled "Beyond Andragogy," and chapter 16, entitled "Core Competency Diagnostic and Planning Guide." As we move into writing up an analysis of our study to date, we're actually preparing ourselves to present the content of our learning thus far. In a sense, what we've accomplished by this point is the establishment of a topic and the creation of an activity that articulates it in part. Were we to "stand in front of the class" and explain the value of our work, we'd likely come up with something very similar to an analysis of it in context with the goals that drove us in that direction in the first place.
Chapter 10 discusses, to that end, the nature of adult learners as a rather heterogeneous group of people. We've seen that in this class as our group divided into four subject areas and began pursuing those areas in very different ways from one another. Knowles writes on page 153, in fact, that "The andragogical model is a system of elements that can be adapted in whole or in part. It is not an ideology that must be applied totally and without modification. In fact, an essential feature of andragogy is flexibility" (1998). The focus of this chapter is the very thing on which most of the discussion and emails of the past week have rested -- the individuation of project activities and assessment models. Each of you has demonstrated some different gift in that regard derived from the teaching and learning environments out of which you come and the life experience you've had. This chapter is the first real study, then, of the variances in cognition and learning style that adults are likely to find within their groups.
Chapter 16's emphasis on core competencies puts chapter 10 into perspective -- though there are differences in the way individuals engage a given program of teaching and learning, there are core elements that are common to all such programs. To provide an example that's close to your class experience, for instance, we need look no further than the assessment strategies each of your projects uses. While there are differences in the way you might assess the value of a project and the way you might assess the performance of one engaging in the project, both types of assessment must be done in order to determine the viability of your goals. In these ranking lists describing a learning facilitator, a program developer (and that's all of you -- not just those who deal with digital programs but educational ones), and an administrator, where would you place yourself on a scale of 0 to 5, 5 being the highest? It wouldn't be a bad idea, I think, for me to turn these pages into an activity that measures andragogical differences using PhP on a MySQL database (I plan to learn how to do that after my dissertation defense).
In your responses to the readings this week, I'd like you to consider some of the areas of discussion above in relation to your progress on your own learning goals.
The most common issue we have left over from last week centers on the idea of assessment -- it seems that almost everyone has been able to come up with an idea for an activity and has been able to express that idea in some fashion. The real key to any activity, however, is the way in which the value of the activity and the value of the student response is measured. Let's spend a few moments, then, talking about the nature of assessment.
Assessment can take many forms, but it basically talks about the viability of any given act. If I teach a unit in intellectual property rights, for instance, I've got to develop an assessment grid on many different levels. For one, I need to assess my target audience -- a group of sixth graders using the Internet for purposes of research is a different target audience than a group of adult learners using the Internet for purposes of research. How might I best address the ideas on which intellectual property rights are based, I might ask. Moreover, I might ask which of those bases are the best to address and for what reason in context with the needs of my learner. Concerning this class, I might base my teaching on the idea of authenticity or authorship -- those who rely on Internet resources as a method of obtaining information will want to qualify whatever information they obtain by citing the source from which it was obtained -- after all, the source might be wrong, or it might conflict with a larger body of research, and the adult who uses it without qualification will suddenly be thrust to the front of a debate in which he or she is not qualified to engage. I might say the same to a group of sixth graders, but I'd simplify the concept of authenticity or authorship through a discussion of appropriate sharing practices (after all, who's going to hold a sixth grader accountable for his or her ideas on quantum physics?) and the proper reliance on source materials in the engagement of an idea or practice. My assessment strategy, then, would be to determine how effective the teaching was based on providing the students with a research assignment in an area about which they know very little and comparing their effort there with a research assignment in an area about which they know a lot. I'd try to determine the kinds of strategies of engagement they come to the plate knowing and discover through those the breakdown in their ability to use source materials appropriately. After assessing their work there, I'd then be in a better position to assess the viability of my lesson to achieve the appropriate results. There was a 20/20 episode on the idea of plagiarism in which a teacher did this very thing -- but the show never provided the means by which the teacher used the data to appropriately assess her classroom instruction. It seemed only to point to the fact that students will plagiarize regardless of the amount of instruction they received -- no cathartic revelation at the end of the program, which is what made the experiment interesting but uninspiring.
In my own assessment strategies, I try to use a four-fold method of formative, continuous, summative, and recursive assessment. Though I've spoken on these before, I'll provide another brief overview. In fact, I'll quote from what I wrote before: "Formative assessment is what you do in the planning stages of a given learning activity. You decide upon the goals and purpose of the activity and test the methods to see if they fulfill those purposes. Continuous assessment is what happens during the learning activity -- when I email you about one thing or another on your projects, I'm engaging in a kind of shaping behavior. I'm also taking data on how you're responding to the kind of assignment that you're doing so that hopefully I can improve the way in which I articulate the needs of the project in the moment. Once a project is finished, I engage in summative assessment -- how well did students respond to the environment I established and how well did my environment meet their needs. Finally, at the end of the next semester, I engage in recursive assessment -- how well do the suppositions I made at the end of the first semester continue to be true for the group reaching the end of the second semester. Maybe my evaluatory remarks were wrong the first semester based on the new evidence I received. So, if I were to change my evaluatory remarks from a semester previous, how would that change the way I view the ability of my environment to respond to the needs of the students."
Any way you go about it, determining the viability of a given method is crucial to your work as a facilitator of adult learning. It's that kind of a discussion you'll want to include in your 3-page analysis of your project.
You've likely often heard that every great project is usually accompanied by more paperwork than it's worth, and it is for this reason that I've limited your analyses to three pages. Of course, that could work against you on the other end of it as it is sometimes more difficult to write a brief and cohesive report than it is to write one of length. Last spring, I wrote a 46-page report on the globalization initiative at Kenrick based on a survey of the faculty concerning their teaching in four key areas. It was harder for me to write up the 2-page summary than it was to produce the 46-page report. Likewise, your task to produce a 3-page analysis may also prove challenging. Take comfort, however, in the fact that you've already got much of the writing done and that your task at this point is really just to synthesize the notes you've collected already.
A way to do this analysis, then, is to pull from your tagmemics chart, your teaching and learning contract, and your project schema. In the articulation of my gastrointestinal problems in neonates analysis, then, I planned to start out with a general discussion of gastrointestinal discomfort in neonates and my interest in the topic (tagmemics), develop the specific learning goals I came up with as areas on which I feel most needed development (teaching and learning contract), and talk about a specific activity from that list of goals in which I was able to engage (project), ending with what I learned from that activity and how I might apply that learning to my greater understanding of the topic (e.g., that Xan really isn't colicky, after all). My teething analysis will be similar in scope -- and when I break it down, I'm only asking three questions -- why did I engage the project, what did I learn from it, and where might I take it?
You can write this report in two ways -- one, as an academic paper in which you feel free to quote from your resource list that you created the first week of the project. (DO NOT OVERQUOTE OR OVER-RELY ON YOUR RESOURCES.) Or, two, as a reflection paper in which you engage your analysis more conversationally as though you were preparing to deliver it orally to a group of your colleagues. You might even integrate those two methods. Both kinds of write-ups will prove useful to you -- the first will provide you with the kernel of what might eventually make its way into an educational journal (especially those of you writing on online learning -- journals like http://www.thejournal.com ; http://techlearning.com ; http://convergemag.com ; and http://campus-technology.com might accept your work), and the second will provide you with a good resource to publish to your colleagues or to submit to an online discussion board (blog) on the subject as your contribution to that community. (I'd encourage you to disseminate your work in some venue beyond your own webspace, by the way, and if you do so before the end of the semester, let the class know about it.)
That should be enough to carry you through this week. Have your analyses done by Saturday night, and I'll have my feedback by Sunday noon.
The reading for this week is Chapter 7, entitled "Andragogy in Practice," which deals with practical applications of the andragogical model. Knowles makes the point that adults who do not continue to advance their learning in a dynamic society will not be able to improve their socio-economic status; they will, in fact, diminish in their ability to engage their work environments. Now, this is a really short chapter -- but it's built around a very complex idea, that of that chart we saw on page 4 as we entered his book. Within this chart, we find the six principles of adult learning with which we've become familiar over the course of the semester. What Knowles does here, though, is put these principles in context with the differences in individual learners, in subject matter, and in situations as those things relate to the individual, the institution for which he or she works, and the society in which he or she lives.
A clear look at the grid at this point should provide us with nothing new considering we've been talking about these concepts in one way or another for the duration of the course. Take a look, though, at the little arrows around the corners of this grid -- they suggest some kind of dynamic interaction between the various fields that Knowles has given us. What these arrows suggest is that we can take a concept like "motivation to learn" and apply it deliberately to situational differences in institutional growth, individual learner differences in societal growth, or subject matter differences in individual growth -- or any of the various permutations that can be found between these 6 terms and their two tiers of outlying terms. It might prove interesting for your PowerPoint this week to try to use this chart to engage in practical andragogy.
The last three chapters of the book deal in some way with an applied andragogy in the workplace. While I won't require a reading of two of them, I think your reading chapter 17 would be most useful in understanding the nature of expert interaction with adult learners as a way of contextualizing your role as a teacher and andragogue in that diagram posed in chapter 7. I've developed an exercise for you that you can do in conjunction with Chapter 17's read-through. Please complete that exercise by the week's end, and I'll have the results for you on Sunday. (My apologies for the page -- some of the form fields didn't line up exactly the way I wanted, and you may need your books in front of the screen to make sense of some of the questions.)
As we prepare for our final presentations of our course materials, I've set up a webpage for a representative from each of the four groups to list a time when all members of that group will be ready to present their materials online to the other members of his or her group. While only one group will be presenting each session (with the option of any group to present on the following Monday, the 19th), all students are invited to the presentations. As you're building your PowerPoint this week, be thinking about how you're going to you it as a virtual presentation tool.
The activity for this week is to create a virtual means by which to present your work to date. In the online medium, a simple text-based PowerPoint with bullet points doesn't do much to advance your ideas since PowerPoint presentations are generally geared for face-to-face interpretation. The PowerPoint, in fact, supplements the live speaker, which is what makes the posting of a PowerPoint online without video or audio accompaniment less useful than the posting of one with video or audio accompaniment.
In the creation of your PowerPoint, then, you'll want to make use of the slide narration feature that allows you to talk through your slides so that when your viewer plays them, they speak to that viewer while they show him or her the images and text that you are using to punctuate your arguments. You can also use, for those of you with web cameras, Microsoft Producer, which is a free download from Microsoft.com. Producer is the program I use to build conference presentations for conferences that I don't physically attend. I developed a class on Producer at http://www.sebsteph.com/producer for those of you interested in learning how the program works. There's also a video-based tutorial I developed at http://fishersnet.blackboard.com , which you can access with the username and password of "cyber" (entered into both places). Examples of my Producer presentations can be found through the interactive videos link at http://www.kenrickparish.com/tpcii
Your PowerPoint with its audio should run at least five minutes, and you may use it as part of your live 15-minute presentation that you'll be delivering during Week 8. To accomplish the audio narration only, all you need is a $6.95 microphone for your computer. For those of you who want to do a video presentation, you'll need a $20 web camera. Both of these peripherals can be purchased at any computer store or at Target or Walmart. You can also order them online through any online electronics outlet. (I usually find the best deals online, but you'll want to get these things in time for you to use this week. If you don't already have them, then, a physical purchase is the most expedient route.)
As for the content of your presentation -- feel free to just focus on what you've written in your 3-page analysis. You can include material on what you did with your online activity and how your tagmemics chart and teaching contract were helpful to you. In short, the presentation does not have to be more than a reflection on the value of your work to date provided you contextualize that reflection in the form of a conference presentation where you're talking to people in your chosen area of focus who may not be familiar with your particular method or insights into your work. (Think of it as a presentation to your colleagues at school or to a professional conference. Then, you'll be able to make some use of it after you're done.)
Folks, Welcome to Week 8, and the last week of the course. There are no assignments this week outside of preparing for your real-time presentations this coming weekend. To do this, you'll want to review the websites of your colleagues (and of any other group whose presentations you are planning to attend).
This is how the online presentation method works:
1) We'll log into the chatroom entitled "Project Presentations" at the time scheduled for each group at http://www.sebsteph.com/adult2/presentation.html To do that, click the "chat" link on the course menu. Try doing that before your presentation to make sure your computer can handle it. If it can't, then there's an alternative method to presenting that I'll share at the end of these instructions.
2) Once the members of each group have arrived in the chat session, any one of them can volunteer to present first. All you're doing during these 15 minutes of fame is answering questions from your colleagues. Each of the members of your group will have already read your analyses and reviewed your PowerPoint presentations (and you'll want to do that for each other if you haven't already done so), so your task can be any of the following: a) you can come up with talking points to lead the discussion, b) you can throw yourself on the mercy of your colleagues to come up with talking points of their own, or c) you can discuss your reasons for choosing the project, what you learned from it, and where you might go with it.
Any areas of your PowerPoint, in fact, can be open to your colleagues for greater discussion or elaboration. The point to the presentation is to give you some direct face time with your classmates and to walk us "verbally" through what you learned about the way you learn this semester.
Now, concerning the alternative presentation method -- sometimes, students have difficulty getting into the chatroom. If that happens, post a message to that effect in your group's discussion forum. I'll find it there, and direct the group to enter the discussion forum during your presentation. They'll read what you've posted and submit a reply to it. Then, they'll click the "update listing" link on the discussion board, which will refresh the list and reveal the new postings. The last time this happened, we ended up with almost five dozen postings in the 15-minutes one student presented.