Personal Learning Log


3.3, 29 June

Noticing kids

When choosing digital tools (Shannon):

Soundcloud for presentational activities.

Save this for guidelines for instructions. Very clear!

Part A: Make dinner and movie plans with a partner.

For this activity, you will meet with a partner in a synchronous oral (audio or video) environment to figure out your plans for Friday evening. You are making plans to go to a restaurant for dinner and then go to a movie – but you don’t know any of your friend’s preferences or any of the details yet! To complete this activity you will need to:


  • choose the synchronous tool you will use and
  • a time to meet.
  • Complete the “Activation” tasks on the handout in preparation for the oral exchange activity. Remember, your topic is to find out your partner’s preferences, and then make decisions about your dinner and movie plans for Friday night together during your conversation.
  • Conduct your real-time “Interaction” exchange. You should plan to spend about 10 – 15 minutes completing the activity. Take notes on the handout during the conversation.
  • Complete the “Reflection” activities on the handout.


Part 2: Report your dinner and movie plans to the class.

Write a report to tell us what your plans are and what you learned about your partner by replying to this forum. Only one person from each group needs to post this report.  Tell us the following:


  • Who your partner was and what tool you used
  • What you learned about your partner’s restaurant and movie preferences and what your partner learned about you
  • What your final dinner and movie plans are.
  • You can also share any positives or challenges you experienced in making these plans (coordinating a time to meet, technology, etc.)


Mystery Skype calls


3.2, 28 June

Shannon’s city assignment (interpersonal) Drew’s travel on Google Earth: kids could do this assignment, or they could do a room tour or a neighborhood tour. Students in a class could collaborate on an assignment to show a pen pal group what their school region looks like. Lots of good group work possible.

Drew’s assignment #great instructions

  •         Activity Theme: Describing a recent vacation
  •         Mode / Format: Presentational/Asynchronous/Oral)
  •         Materials needed / Technology tool or application: Photos from recent vacations
  •         Learning target: Student will be able to narrate in the past (perfect and pluperfect tenses) to talk about their vacations.
  •         Estimated time for completion: 15-20 minutes

Detailed Student instructions

1.) Choose a recent vacation destination of yours and find three photos that you took of three different sites from that place.  If you do not have photos with which you can work, you may find three images from the web that best represent the places. Make sure that you cite your sources if you decide to this.

2.) Create a new presentation in Google Slides and place one photo in each slide. You will have a total of four (4) slides.  In the first one (slide 1), you will put your name and the name of the vacation destination. The next three slides (slides 2,3 and 4) will each contain one picture that you chose from that particular destination as indicated in step 1 above.

3.) For slides 2,3,4, you will answer the following questions for each picture in that slide: What is the name of the place that you visited? What did you do in that particular place? Had you ever visited this place before or not?

4.) When you are ready, use Screencastify to record your answers. As you move from one slide to another, provide the answers to the questions in Step 3.

5.) Submit the Google Slide presentation along with the recording in Screencastify to the teacher.

How to Screencastify:


Chapter 9 Ko and Rossen: ***Keep folders of original material in case of free websites changing and to edit. Indeed. (Remember the Ning.)

FB: Free Technology for Teachers: great page!  to create animated presentations

Flipgrid (not free)


3.1, 27 June

Interpretive Aural Activity


26 June: Second weekly reflection


This week was not so full of surprises as it was of deepening appreciation for what it means to put together an online course, and of admiration for my colleagues who have been successful in this field. I love hearing what Lynn has done with guest speakers, and am very impressed with Yanlin’s PLL (so much more organized than mine!)


I can see that I’m going to eventually want some very good software for activities in lessons.


As I made the unit plan revision and the transition plan, I realized that I will have to curtail my enthusiasm for applications. I can’t expect students to be able to learn all sorts of different ones. I feel like a broken record saying this to myself. Ritu put it well when she pointed out that we want students to be spending more time learning language than learning the apps.


Listening to colleagues’ comments on the pace of the Russian lessons, I can also imagine that everyone is learning about the need to slow down! I am often a culprit in this area, and I continue to think of how to trick students into listening and reading many times. Shannon suggested using sections in Google Forms to create that need.


The ADEIL video was very helpful in how to present reading material and websites. Again, Yanlin is my model with her beautiful website, following all the guidelines for making a text easily readable.


We have considered how to organize and effect collaboration, now that we understand more about how to connect group members. Random grouping sites might help us, and paying attention to which students comment on others’ responses will also give us ideas in the OL environment. Organizing group work is not simple in face-to-face classes, and we need to help define roles and set out directions for collaboration even more carefully online.


2.5 24 June 2016


3:00 Ritu’s Synchronous group meeting to discuss how to transition from the lesson in the Spanish Class video (Annenberg Videos)


We had a few initial glitches with the technology. Plan B in this case was being able to use the phone. Both Yan and Selman were on their phones.

We had many areas in common with the other two meetings that Shannon wrote up. Almost everyone has used a lot of technology in their classrooms, and had interesting suggestions about how transfer the technology. Lynn mentioned Adobe Connect and has used Skype, most have used Google docs, forms, or classroom.

Ritu led the discussion on the main challenges we face in transitioning to an online situation. We’ve mentioned most of those in our posts. The group agreed that the easiest section to duplicate is showing the video that the teacher presented as part of the warmup. Brainstorming might be one of the difficult areas, though it could be more effective for slower processors online and work more easily on a shared document than we might think.

Drew suggested that aspects of the lesson could be achieved over email, and that the teacher might Skype with a guest speaker for the class. Meanwhile, individual students can record their responses over VoiceThread, and the teacher and other students can add comments. [Lightbulb moment for Michele: I hadn’t thought about how those comments on VT are feedback!]

Ritu asked whether we can manage to probe for greater detail when students are sharing; one idea is to have students return to their Google doc or other collaborative brainstorming page to add more information each time. Selman does story chains with his groups; one student starts, and others continue, adding new information with each piece. No repetition!

Our group liked the variation in the directions for student A and student B, which were much like the directions that Shannon gave us in the 2.4 partner exercise. She didn’t have to make a different recording for everyone, but she gave pairs a gap-fill exercise. It would be possible to do the same thing online. [Michele did that in her transition plan.]

Yan suggested that we consider using Padlet for brainstorming with questions, and that it’s easy now to ask family and friends who speak the target language to make little videos for us on different topics. Lynn said that talking with tourists who speak the target language is a great way to find people in the right time zone for a f2f class. There are many logistical challenges for having synchronous meetings, either with just the students, as in our setting, or when we want to add inviting speakers to meet with the class.

If the class is mostly asynchronous, a long video interview will be difficult for our lower level students to understand. One way to solve that problem and make up for not having a teacher nearby is to chop up the video (possibly using EdPuzzle) and insert questions and scaffolding along the way. If students have only a short section to listen to, they aren’t overwhelmed. Everyone ended up agreeing that inviting and recording Native Speakers will actually be easier online.

We’ve seen how to handle short, simple responses on Voice Thread. Another idea would be to have two students create a VT by themselves to mimic a synchronous interview. It is possible to ask them to meet on the phone with WhatsApp or Viber, and record with another device, but then they have to upload the recording. VT would be simpler, although it could take more time.

Yan has in the past assigned students to work with peers in China. They really liked doing that, and it gave them direct experience. It’s wonderful when teachers have such willing contacts who will help in that way.

Ritu asked about generating online pairs. She mentioned the difficulty of knowing who would work well with whom, and how to judge abilities so that there is a strong and weaker member in each pair. That knowledge will come with time. Drew uses his Smartboard to generate random pairs in the classroom. has such tools as well.

Ritu pointed out it’s easy to get carried away with different tools, making students and teacher spend all their time on the technology, rather than the acquisition. DuBravac made the same point in one of the readings. Ritu suggested that all documents from class members and all comments can be visible to everyone, so that participants can gain from one another’s work. Drew pointed out that class size will make a difference in how the instructor can work with everyone, and how much of a class can participate in a full group.

Other challenges include repeating enough times for students to acquire. Students may not realize how many times they should listen to a text or watch a video. They may be frustrated by not learning as much as they should because a teacher may not be able to “force” them to repeat enough. Another area is in assessment: we have many ways in f2f classes to do formative assessment, from prompts to responses, recasting and negotiating meaning. We have to find ways to do the same, and it’s probably necessary to set up a degree of automaticity in OL assignments (like in Shannon’s exercises). We can use student and teacher feedback, rubrics, quizzes and tests for other kinds of assessments.

As we’ve mentioned, planning the lessons so that they are effective and comprehensive is going to take a lot of time. Carrying them out with technology is even more time consuming. Preparation and understanding of goals and effective techniques are all critical to success.

Lynn summed up the biggest challenge of all. She noted that the teacher was visibly passionate about her class. She sang, shouted, used body language to make information clear, showed enthusiasm for what students learned, and it is very hard to communicate all those positive teaching moments in an OL environment. We have to use videos, communication, humor, whatever we can to make the teaching as effective.

We had a great discussion! Thanks to Ritu for leading it, and to Yan, Selman, Drew and Lynn for so many interesting contributions. If it looks as though we left something out or if there are any mistakes in this record, that is all Michele’s fault for not writing fast enough.

DuBravac chapters: I realize that one way to give students a place to post would be to set up Google site portfolio templates for their assignments. They can collect things there, and I will be able to find them, because I’ll be the one who sets up the template. (Like

Integrated Performance Assessment I always forget what IPA is. Second DuBravac chapter.

Fabulous article, especially the part on e-portfolios. *need to print out.

Transition Activity: this was a very useful exercise. I found even more proof that it will be more work to do lessons online. Making a plan like this helped a lot, because I could figure out where to put things.

AAPPL Conversation Builder

This article reflects what Akshay S. told us!

Pair activity

Set up so that pairs sign up, listen to a voicemail, and complete a gap exercise together. Very cool! They have to arrange the time, and connect on voice.

2.4 June 23

Participation rubric  link.

About reading while listening, from Yanlin:

In the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning by Mayor, there is a principle called modality principle which states learning with audio and text at the same time has better effect than only text. The theoretical foundation is the dual channel of human being.  The input through both ear and eyes can reduce the cognitive loads.

Online talks with students: investigate Zoom

Here are a couple of rubric-creation sites that have ready-made templates

From Layali on participation:

Participation rubric needs to include:

community building: establishing presence, introductions, getting to know one another

discussion forums: expectations for posting, commenting

absence, tardiness, and missed work

partner and group work expectations

contribution to overall class learning & progress: casual forums for asking and answering questions, sharing thoughts, insights, resources, etc. and helping each other



. using machine translation is not allowed and, if the teacher believes it has been used, the student will not get any points of participation for that post.

. only posts in the target language will be graded (except if the teacher specifies that a posting should be written or can be written in English).

. your post must contain a number x of words.


– how well the student responds to the question (complete answers, basing on class texts, bringing something new to the discussion)

– how students participate (timeliness, comprehensibility, responsiveness, etiquette)



My kids are flying to Latvia!!!


How to give directions for group work (example):


Divide and conquer.  Each member of the group should be in charge of a different part of the lesson.  Start the conversation about roles in your Small Group café. I suggest the following, but feel free to design your own roles:  

  • Google doc creator and administrator: invite everyone including your mentor.
  • Consensus person:  in charge of polling the group to decide which artist or artists will be the focus of the lesson.
  • Researcher(s):  Search the web to look for materials and post the links in the Google doc with a brief description of each one.
  • The activity type person (s):  propose different types of activities for the different steps
  • The wordsmith(s):  in charge of instructions
  • The assessment person (s): in charge of proposing various types of assessments to produce the evidence of achievement.
    • The assessment rubric and expectation person
  • Anything else that you can think of……..

   This is a plan for an art lesson to be delivered in an online (or hybrid) course.  



2.3 June 22


Shannon recommends the AAPPL conversation builder. Look for her resources there. All of Shannon’s incredible lessons. I sent the award-winning Russian family lessons off to the kids going to Latvia. They will be able to use and benefit from them even while there.


For student recordings: Soundcloud. Timeline allows teacher make comments at specific points.


Based on your reference readings,  the ADEIL video, and your learner experience with reading comment on the following topics:


  • Authentic vs textbook reading materials: pros and cons
  • Use of English and the TL (target language)
  • Types of feedback


I loved the ADEIL video! The first thing I noticed was the instructor’s voice. I don’t know whether she emotes that audibly in a f2f conversation, but her enthusiasm and modulation motivated me to listen to her. It’s like when Shannon says, “Yes, that’s right!” on her audio. I hadn’t ever thought about how much of a difference a voice makes, especially if one can’t see the instructor. The points on white space, location, and text colors were obvious, once I’d thought about them. I will never do blocks of text like that online again…except for this course!!


I’m feeling a bit lost in the goals for today:

  • Evaluate the elements of a successful online reading activity
  • Identify the different modes of feedback and its applications
  • Articulate the three gradations of cohesive class participation assessment rubric using the information from today’s readings and your posting in yesterday’s discussion

I’m not sure what the different modes of feedback are as defined here, and I can’t find the three gradations of cohesive class participation. I found this


Authentic vs textbook

Authentic resources: buzz word.

Students like seeing that they can operate in the real world.

It’s easy now to find authentic texts (though not necessarily easy to comb through all that’s available).

Language, cultural and current events are up-to-date.

Songs, videos, advertisements, infographics, poetry, blogs, news sites, email are all authentic texts

Easy to personalize for individual students


Can frustrate students

Require more work on part of instructor

Don’t supply input +1 that is needed for unconscious acquisition of grammar, syntax, etc. at beginning levels. adds:

Shows non-verbal interaction



Proceeds in an orderly fashion, ideally using input +1

Easy for instructor to use as resource

Gives students a common language


Limits natural grammar exposure

Gets out of date

Can’t be easily personalized

Grammar is often presented in an order that seems “easy” to the writers or is the “accepted” order, rather than by order of acquisition or highest use

Limits language connectors (forgot the correct term for transitional phrases etc)

Text (videos, readings, audio) are often stilted and unnatural



Pictures – creative commons license:

  • Google search tools – limit your search to those
  • Flickr has ways to search for only CC images.
  • Pixabay

2.2 June 21 (our anniversary! 30 years!)

Grant’s post on connecting: I think I’m coming up with ideas about how to keep this sort of thing rolling in an online class. I could ask students to do their writing assignments by answering questions about what they did yesterday, what their favorite shows are, and so on. Then I can do follow-up summaries as our instructors here did at first, in Russian, about the students and their lives. #figuring it out!!

Rubrics: For later: Drew and Vanessa on keeping growth mindset in rubrics. Check rubrics to make sure that they are supporting especially the lower levels. Also check Olympiada rubrics.

Tools for recording lessons (Shannon): I used Adobe Captivate. You are unlikely to use this exact tool, but there are many tools that can accomplish some of the same things. You can use screencasting tools like Camtasia to record your screen. You can use iPad apps like Explain Everything to demonstrate things with movement of objects and words, and you can use Zaption.

Finding grammar resources, teaching grammar in the classroom.

For group projects:

As the group member who kept forgetting certain details (to share editing privileges, to post our project), I think I would add a few directions at least the first time, or maybe have a “hints for smooth sailing” list. • remind students of the basics of sharing editing permission

  • suggest students tell group members when they’ll be online (I was gone for a lot of the day and missed messages with requests to share)
  • agree on the tasks, however basic they seem. For HS kids, maybe a “who did what” fill-in.  

In our group, other members picked up the pieces. Lynn started us off well by sending us an email with the points she was going to use, before we even started on the slides. That helped because we could refer to her list so as not to duplicate without going to the presentation, and it made things faster for me at least, because I just had to transfer the details. Then Lynn and Vanessa did such nice work on their slides that I had to change mine to improve them! Lynn sent me a resource on making better Powerpoints when I commented on hers.  

2.1, 20 June 2016

Improving listening: make sure our sound is high quality. Shannon suggests a mic: Blue snowball, they cost around $50.

New ideas from article  by Akshay Swaminathan and  TED talk by Julian Treasure

Both are on how to use listening, a skill that we are losing.

How can these affect our online teaching? It seems as though having more chance to listen more often is one of the benefits of the online classroom. In our home classrooms, it’s not possible for students to hit “rewind” and hear exactly the same line again. Motivated students would definitely gain from this opportunity.

19 June 2016

Why learn a “hard” language? Because it will transform you. It will give you new ways of thinking and seeing the world. It will unlock your ability to understand. Irina Pravet

For student resources page:

How to learn any language in six months | Chris Lonsdale |

Can watch with subtitles in several languages; can help students learn faster.

These two guys suggest the “no English” rule.

My colleagues are so smart! Hueywen Branch posted the following in her weekly reflection:

Three considerations for me to keep in mind when transitioning a course to online:

  1.  Readiness for both the instructors and students. Marlene and Michele shared the links of readiness tests:

Online Learning Self-Assessment Survey and

Penn State Instructor Readiness Survey

Texas A&M U. Teacher Readiness Survey, etc. Currently my daughter is taking an online college course and she took the self-assessment survey, which helped her a lot to understand her readiness for the class. Many teacher ready checklists are well-thought and well-organized for us instructors to consider our readiness from different perspectives, e.g. LMS, technology, course expectations, outcomes, and assessment, etc.

From Moodle we even a quiz for Syllabus, in order to test how much learners understand the map and procedures of the TTLO course.

  1.  Quality Online Courses. From Moodle we see many links provide guidelines and checklists for quality online course Syllabus:

Quality Matters Rubrics, Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Rubric, Connect Thinking Checklist, Checklist for Online Interactive Learning (COIL) etc.

18 June 2016

Week 1 Reflection

Three considerations as I begin transitioning to teaching online:

  • Stress communication with students, heavy especially at the beginning: The model set by our instructors encouraged us to respond in a timely fashion to the activities and to communicate with one another.
  • Expand the syllabus to answer questions and offer guidance to students. Doing it in book form as the TTOL instructors did makes it easy to follow and find information.
  • Keep a routine. I will have to be very focused as I create my course so that students don’t get confused by the way I often follow a trail into new territory.

Group work

Group work online is very different online. I liked the fact that we had a small group to work in, but that we could still communicate with other groups’ members. Having the introductions helped focus the voices. I felt really bad when I made a remark that I didn’t explain very well, and it set off a slightly negative thread, so I tried to make up for it with the other participant in other sections. I’m very impressed by my fellows in this class.

For the optional group project, I was happy that a classmate reached out to me from another group. It made me feel really good. I did not feel strong about how to manage working in a small group, though I wanted to, and the invitation was a nice way to teach me how to reach out too. It will probably be necessary to help younger students learn how to reach out too.

Big picture

  • Course prep is critical. Take the time to create and prepare up front.
  • Best practices and tips are available; follow them.
  • Limit clicks. Find ways to make navigation easy.


How long does it take to create e-learning, whether for teachers or students? This slideshow is illuminating. Thanks to Shannon Spasova for reconnecting me with it.

All administrators should see it so that they understand the time necessary for setting up any online materials. This data explains why most of us who have Smartboards in our classrooms end up using materials created by others or using them only as glorified projectors.

18 June 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 9.48.17 AM

How long does it take to create e-learning, whether for teachers or students? This slideshow is illuminating. Thanks to Shannon Spasova for reconnecting me with it.

All administrators should see it so that they understand the time and money necessary for setting up any online materials. These data explain why most of us who have Smartboards in our classrooms end up using materials created by others or using them only as glorified projectors. They also explain why online materials are so expensive. (2010 dollars)

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 9.49.48 AM

1.5, 17 June 2016

Shannon shared: online free Russian textbook. By Bill Comer and Lynne deBenedette. (OMG. This is gold. If you ever wanted to learn Russian and are willing to push through a little bit, this is for you.) 

Assignment: Take a look at the suggestions/checklists from our book and from other universities/organizations that are listed below in the Resources box.

  • What do they have in common and what their differences?
  • What sections are new to you?  Why are these sections needed for an online course syllabus?
  • Take a look at the syllabus for this TTLO course and evaluate it with the syllabus checklists. What’s missing? (why do you think it is missing?)
  • What is missing in the syllabus checklists that we will need in order to teach language online?

Most of these checklists are similar, though as Vanessa and Drew pointed out, some have more focus on policy alignment and others are more specific about information I liked the Angelo State University one as being in blocks that could be used in visuals on a weebly-type page. I don’t know whether that would work for all LMSs, but probably it could be word processed and connected? Maybe not.

Whenever I’ve taught a continuing ed class for our university, there are pages tacked onto the syllabus template to make sure that we don’t miss the legal information. I wish I’d had a checklist though! Instead, I just filled in the sections on a sample syllabus. That’s how so much of the teaching world is. We get thrown into it, and we have to make sure that we keep up, even when we have good professional training (thanks to Janice Gullickson, ACTR and the TPRS world for everything I know). A comment I found today in the Ko and Rossen book was how teachers get taught to do some basic things like learning objectives very haphazardly. That’s why we can keep learning how to do better well into our careers, and why I’m appreciating the resources and assignments here.

When I googled “Quality Matters Checklist,” I found a checklist from Central New Mexico, but can’t share the link, only how the label came up, because it went right to the document download. It was Quality Matters Self-Assessment Checklist – Central New Mexico …, and it has something I hadn’t seen anywhere else. It requires a section for student introductions and gives guidance on how to do that. It also includes sharing the purpose of materials and activities that I now realize are on other syllabi. A piece I hadn’t seen elsewhere suggested making distinctions between the purposes of required and optional materials; I notice that our TTOL course did that. I got at least one book because of the “former participants gave this book rave reviews” note.

The “netiquette” parts are what I am not doing enough of and I would like to have help on. Students and parents sign off on an agreement, but there is so much more that everyone needs to learn. Net safety is an additional area that I would want to add for high school kids at least.

Missing from the TTOL checklist is different pieces of the tutoring, grading, and policy information, for obvious reasons.

I’m having trouble figuring out what I would add to an online WL syllabus. Found these attractive ones for f2f WL classes. Maybe: tips for acquiring languages? Extra resources? Fun stuff? 5Cs? Standards? Definition of modes? Proficiency guidelines? Can-do statements? I like this syllabus setup, though it’s a little too engineering for me. At least it’s clear.

Resources to keep in mind:

Angelo State University syllabus with topic areas: these would be good to use as block-links for clicking on in the way that some did their PLL.

Has an Online Learner Self-Assessment Survey

And a  Motivation Survey

Oh heck, here’s the whole useful page with tech stuff too. Also learning style strategies. This is a great resource for OL teachers!

FSU’s chapter on syllabi is helpful. I leave a lot of this out in mine, b/c it’s HS, but might consider more of it, both for increased clarity for kids and for the APEX classes especially.

How does my syllabus need to be revised? Well, first of all, the syllabus that our high school calls for is not really a syllabus. Instead, it’s a page of course policies and expectations! I’ve written syllabi for AP and IB classes, but I want to write something for a beginning class that is not mixed into upper levels. I haven’t ever had to do that.

I will have to write:

  • Course content and outline
  • Material
  • Student responsibilities, including the self-assessment and motivation piece
  • A (new) grading method and scale
  • Instructional Activities
  • Unit by Unit Schedule (because there won’t be official dates for now)
  • Connections: FAQs, Forum, and Getting to Know You

I would also want to add some other sections

  • Resources
  • Just For Fun
  • Why Learn Language

1.4: 16 June 2016 (my baby turns 27! EEK!)

Reading back through forums, I found information about MOOCs. I gather that they are time sensitive, and it looks as though only those at universities can create and offer courses. I need to find out more.

This tip is about engaging experts in the classroom. I think that the idea is that the students come up with the questions, the expert answers their questions (maybe asynchronously), and then the students send follow-up questions. I like this idea both for online and f2f classes.

Now I see that the suggestion included interviewing authors of the textbook. Very cool!

This links to a page I’d like to look at more later for syllabi ideas. Love the history ones.

First thing I notice in the Survey Results reading: Marlene has turned her PPT into a pdf, just as the first video recommended. I appreciate that. And I can see why it’s so much nicer than a google presentation.

Next, two dejavu things: “Don’t do it if you don’t believe in it.” I think it’s like a letter I got today from my friend Haiyun: she said to stay away from the negative. And the next, “Be sure to take a break at least every hour [from the computer].” I was just writing that we all need to do that!

Want to see a sample: Use a survey to help students decide whether online is right for them.

“Sensible caps: 15-20 students.” Hah. I had 38 each of three periods in 52 different courses in the lessons I was overseeing last year. Too much, but there’s no high school in Anchorage that will let an online course (or any other, for that matter) be under 35 students without special reasons.

Need more info on Plan B, C, D. I know what that looks like in f2f when planning a technology lesson, but not when it’s an online class..

“Online teaching takes a lot more time than f2f teaching.” That concerns me, but it makes sense, since you have to have a personal relationship with every student.

Aaron Johnson tips: lots of connectivity with kids in the first two weeks.  This is a tip I will use in my APEX classes much more next year. There is an announcement option where I can send notes to kids. It will probably be a time eater, but “professor presence directly impacts student presence.” I want those kids to succeed, so I will take the time to do that. I wonder whether I could set up something where kids could go – maybe Google Classroom – so that they could have the same kind of interaction, building a community, as this course. Having them label with their course names would be kind of like our group numbers.

Use tools like VT to get to know students: I need to ask how our instructors set it up for us to go directly to VT without signing in, and how they got that page of students up for the VT videos. That would be a great way to connect all the kids in a given class. There were only 25 here, but surely I could get more on a page, either just for a particular class, or for everyone. I like it that everyone in every group is on one page, but that would be hard to do if I again have 120 students for each semester.

Don’t be brief and to the point (New Yorker example): there are too many tips!!! These are all gold. This one means that you need to spill a little love into each email. Our current instructors are doing that well. Don’t know what it is that they’ve learned to do to make me feel so comfortable, but need to mimic it.

Okay. I have to stop. This guy is amazing, but I will spend all night writing up his tips. Every single one is gold, from those above, to “don’t check email first,” to “give yourself time.” These are all great for f2f teaching as well as online. I’m going to be a better teacher next year. Right now, I’m going to read the rest of his tips, trying hard not to take any more notes. But before I don’t do that, I want to remember to check out more of the Learner Centered Classroom review.

One more: Create a sense of mystery – sounds a little like the great Teach Like a Pirate.

What are the things these checklists miss?

  1. Methods of reducing the affective filter for language acquisition
  2. Methods of repeating structures through many contexts so that students acquire them more naturally.
  3. Methods of scaffolding texts, whether written or aural, so that students can comprehend them.
  4. Ways to help students speak with one another
  5. Ways to naturally assist students with grammar. Duolingo is good at that on the computer platform: grammar notes are available but not out in front.

1.3: 15 June 2016

Little things to remember: when it’s my day to summarize, I need to take notes throughout the day on what people say. #2: I should probably start taking notes on reading. I start a section, and it sets me off on a search for something in my computer or in another book, and those searches at least might be worth recording. But…there’s a lot of reading, and I’ve got four books open on my bed plus the one open in Kindle. Still…

With the activity to judge an online language course, I realized that a lot of smart people have tried to put courses online, and it’s just not as simple as a person might think. There are a lot of reasons that the courses might not be very good: those putting them up might not be actual teachers who understand pedagogy. They might be teachers who haven’t kept up with current research in SLA. And they might just not have enough time to put all the pieces together. A well-done course is going to be very complex and very difficult. I am hoping that we can see some examples of well-made online courses, but those might all be proprietary information.

What I’d like is to be able to do a branched quiz. I just now remembered there’s something in Google that can do that, and I should go looking for it. I also remember that it’s a bit time-consuming. I want to remember to ask Shannon if she’s the one who quoted the ratio of activity minutes to preparation time for an interactive online video.

LOVE the interactivity of the Blackboard system, but also realize it must take a lot of thought to put it together. I want to see how Shannon’s online Russian course is set up. I think I could learn a lot from that, since she is part of this amazing team that put the Startalk class together. I wonder how long they took to put it together the first year, and how much tweaking it requires each year. Just the responses that the faculty are doing are impressive.

Assignment: Using a checklist for course evaluation: University of Hawaii

What TTOL is doing right: Learner Support (tutorials, resources, syllabus organization). Course goals are very clear, as are resources. The daily checklist is very helpful. Online Organization and Design: There is not an alternative thematic organization, but there are elements (like the ePortfolio) that are separate from the weekly folders. Thematic organization doesn’t make as much sense for this course. The setup is consistent, and now I understand some of the elements making for greater accessibility; they are helpful for more than learning styles.

*Now I realize what was wrong with how I organized my class website for my students. Often it was too hard to get to what we needed to do.

Instructional Design: course members are encouraged to make connections, and the activities seem so far to lead to the desired concepts. The daily summaries, in particular, are an excellent way of tying the groups together. Assessment: While the course is not graded for all, the formative assessment in terms of response is great. Feedback from both instructors and fellow students is helpful; since we are all teachers, it makes even more sense to have collegial feedback. There is a nice variety of ways (as well as a small push to use different tools) to complete assignments. Use of Technology: excellent, even including one video (prepared by outside source) so far with poor transcript so that participants could experience why a transcript can be so helpful. While there is no specific synchronous work (yet), the course almost seems synchronous because of the quick response rate by the instructors. Student Feedback: there are multiple informal opportunities for feedback, and there will be two formal ways to submit feedback of the course.

14 June 2016

Wow. The Calico and BOLDD sites offered really interesting questions and ideas on context, learners and delivery. I’ve put my conclusions into my Snapshot Analysis.

CALICO workshop: Planning for basic Online Learning

Old Dominion Delivery Modes Matrix

13 June 2016 (written over several days)

I did the optional reading on my computer, where I’d downloaded it. I have to admit that finding one more book was a bit defeating, and when I saw all the links to different programs to do different parts of a course in the Hockley & Clandfield reading, I was starting to feel even more concerned that there’s no way I could set up an online course. At high school, the support isn’t really there for programs that a teacher might purchase or create, and teaching five periods a day already often takes me at least ten hours a day at school.

But then I remembered a friend’s advice to keep things as simple as possible, and resolved to choose those applications that are easiest for me to acquire and connect, while also trying to use the ones that offer the most flexibility. The beginning of anything is a learning curve!

As a fast reader, I didn’t like the video very much because I would have preferred to read it in slides, rather than listening to it. I tried clicking on the transcript of the video, but as it’s through voice recognition, and the author didn’t correct mistakes, it’s frustrating to read. It’s good for me to remember that students might feel the same way about readings.

I appreciate the tips, such as keeping due dates in a single spot. I like what our course is doing with the check boxes. And I really like the level of response on the initial VT videos. It makes me feel connected. In Alaska, working with Yupik teachers, I had to relearn that the beginning of every group meeting is a recitation of where the group members have come from. The first time I co-taught a workshop, I was frustrated to find that two hours ended up going to the long explanations of family and personal history. But later, I realized that those connections made our group a much tighter one, and led to greater trust among members, and now I encourage that kind of sharing, continuing through a semester with more detail, in every class. I like the way that these videos and requirements to ask/answer questions are helping us get an early connection as well.

Other tips: keep source files, but use pdfs as much as possible, esp w/PPoint presentations.

Jing? Software tool for screencasts. Also on mac: preview. Use for tour of program.

Don’t design, create and teach at the same time.

Unlock content with prerequisites completed, as in APEX classes.

Use resources that already exist.

Pedagogy resources

Hold virtual office hours

Run from the email monster: the ACTFL people should learn from this! When we five were submitting our portfolios, they answered our questions individually, and the answers to such questions as page limits on specific documents were not the same. Sometimes they answered a question with an email one way, sometimes they directed us to the the general information that had a different answer, or to the rubric, with still a third answer. Having a forum or even answering all our questions with group emails would have been better. It was just luck that three of us knew one another.

Assessments: rubrics, low-stake quizzes, revisions allowed.Audio/video feedback, text comments, mobile app grading.

On Voice Thread: I have 82 unread messages in these threads. I don’t have time to go check them all out, though they’re really interesting. I like this as a way to get acquainted, but I have a feeling that it is too much to really keep track of. Make that 85 unread messages. Now I understand why my kids balked when they had to respond to messages on Edmodo. There really has to be a limit, so I’m glad it’s “respond to your own small group” here.