In the Communications for Professionals
course, a professional, collaborative online environment is created to challenge students to tap into their existing knowledge and experiences, and incorporate newly learned skills when presenting themselves in a professional venue. It is intended to build self-confidence and professionalism into their communications.
This activity is designed to encourage participatory learning. The course instructor is charged with channeling the students interests and aptitudes into a more professional focus. By molding online and collaborative abilities and interests into academic pursuits, an authentic learning environment is created. While focusing on discipline-specific learning goals, the instructor scaffolds the learners through a series of activities that increase in complexity, thus shepherding the development of higher-order thinking skills.
Scaffolding activities: A series of role-play introductions to specific work environments, where each work environment is introduced by a first -and report from current employees and business owners (via video).
Collaborative social environment: A course blog was created specifically for the course, while also being open to the academic community. By placing the students in a collaborative social environment like a blog and scaffolding the activities, the students can role-play authentic learning activities.
NUR 403 “Healthcare Policy and Delivery Systems” uses a blog activity to enable students to share posts and experience online publishing using a blog. The students prepare and post a comment addressing 3 of the 5 health policy topics. The activity is intended to familiarize students with the concept of sharing information publicly and electronically, as well as preparing well thought out and well prepared statements on current issues. In addition, the students experience just-in-time alerts in their e-mail and can start to consider how this method of sharing information can be used in other venues of health care leadership, education, and advocacy. https://commons.esc.edu/nur403-1
In Women, Girls, and the Media, learners create their own Blogs (Web Logs) and share the blog’s location on the web (its URL, or web address) with the class. Each week, everyone regularly post topics on their blogs about issues in the media and comment on each others’ posts. A custom feature, or widget, built into the course automates the collection of the most recent posts and they can all be viewed in on location. This way, staying current and commenting on each others work daily is quick and convenient. Below features a similar RSS collecting widget that allows for instant updating of posted materials which is similar to the one in the course :
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The open nature of the blog opens the students’ posts to the public. Their observations and discussions become an open discussion for the web community at-large. This also allows learners to connect with other blogs and participate in related discussions with bloggers all over the world. This reciprocity inherently increases the number of the members active in the course discussions occuring on the learners blogs. It also empowers the learner by indirectly teaching current web technology and trends.