Communication and Collaboration is Key!

After reading Bates 4.4, I began thinking about the course Stacey and I am developing, and I was left a little worried. When looking at our course, we have different places set up that allow for communication between teacher and student. For example, students have the opportunity to ask questions on our google classroom forum posts, as well as logging onto the google meet at specific times through the week to ask questions. However, as Bates outlined, these ideas are good for students and parents to clarify and ask questions, however, it does not open much for collaboration and communication between student and student. So, what now?

When starting to think about how I can incorporate an OCL in the course I am creating I was left a little loss. I met many roadblocks in my brainstorming for a few reasons but most importantly the age of my students. These students are in grade 2, with that, I am not sure the extent these young students would be able to participate in an OCL. As mentioned by Bates, “students come to the educational experience with different expectations and backgrounds.” Furthermore, in the context of my course, the parents/guardians also come into these courses with different educational backgrounds. So how do I create collaborative learning experiences that all can participate?

After reading the other two articles: “Applying the 6 Strategies for Building Community in Online Courses” as well as “The Importance of Community-Building” I was able to further grasp what I already have in place to create a collaborative learning environment for my students as well what I can change and create moving forward to provide more interactive learning opportunities.

Things I have in place to provide an OCL Environment:

  • Create a plan for communication: In the course profile, and on our google classroom Stacey and I have outlined that we will be available to meet at Google Meets from 3:00 – 3:30 on weekdays where they are able to ask questions and clarify assignments. Students also have access to make an announcement on the Google Classroom which is broadcasted to all the classes to be answered. These options were communicated when the course was first opened!
  • Meet in Real-Time: Again, students and families are able to meet us in real-time on the Google Meet, as well, most of our students are joining us for in-person learning as this is a blended course!
  • Consider flexible options for online participation: we are doing this by providing short videos instead of long synchronous videos that are needed to be watched.

Things I want to create to provide and OCL Environment:

  • Create opportunities for information and expertise sharing: This step, was one I found complicated when working with young students. As our course has been created to support in-person learning luckily the students know each other and are able to communicate in person. One aspect that I hope to create moving forward is an activity where students are able to share their learning with items that they are interested in at their homes. For example, this may be them, creating a video about making an increasing pattern with Lego and sharing this to our course page or through Seesaw! This way students are able to share work that represents them and their interests and also share in the teaching and learning among peers. After watching Wesch videos, I have seen how valuable sharing through videos can be and how simple they can be created. When creating this activity, I will model making a simple video with my increasing pattern and then ask the students to respond to my video with their own increasing pattern video! This will be a way to communicate in a different way with the students. From there, I will use either a Padlet or Flipgrid link that will allow all students to see their peers video. As Bates outlined, this form of collaborative learning “can lead to deep, academic learning, or transformative learning.”
Here is just one example of a simple video done by a Grade 1 Student!

Connection to Assessment:

Thinking about assessment in the younger grades it looks a lot different then in high school and adult education. Assessment is not just giving summative tests, but rather gaging their understanding based off of constant observations and conversations that are ongoing in the classroom. Anecdotal notes in the younger grades are a teacher’s best friend and small learning activities where you can take a quick picture of the students learning is essential. But how can I do these forms of assessment work in an online course. Luckily, many tech experts have created numerous apps and tech tools that allow for the easy showcasing of knowledge. For example, Seesaw is a student friendly app where they can complete activities and easily share videos on their accounts. When assessing participation in a blended course, you luckily have the opportunity to assess both the in-person conversations, but also the conversations created through online engagements. For example, when the students create their short videos and share their learning with others. However, I am interested to see how other reflect on the assessment piece when it comes to participation online as it is something I struggle with in the elementary grades! Let me know your thoughts!


4 thoughts on “Communication and Collaboration is Key!

  1. Wonderful blog. Collaboration involves more than simply teamwork; it also involves execution. It has to do with the work that a team puts into accomplishing the team goal. It’s really that simple: collaboration is what allows a team to function as a unit. Teamwork and productivity are always enhanced by a collaborative effort between team members. An organization can reach its planned goals through collaboration, which aids in many areas such as scope management, time management, budget control, problem-solving, and so forth.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Finally, A Final Course Walkthrough! – Miss Stacey Mamer

  3. Pingback:  | And so the Adventure Begins

  4. Good Job! In addition to being able to work together, collaboration also involves the act of accomplishing tasks. This is beneficial for an organization as it allows it to achieve its goals and improve its productivity. Besides being able to solve problems and manage time, working together can help an organization develop its various operational areas.


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