Tag Archives: learning community

Social Bookmarking Meets Academic Research

A moderated “Think Tank” is created for students to collaborate and support one another as they plan, research and formulate a research project while taking the Nursing Research course at CDL.  Students work collaboratively in Diigo to create a shared online reference repository, and  their final research projects are “showcased” in a student gallery and peer-reviewed. It is hoped that students will feel some ownership for their peer’s projects when they have collaborated in the “think tank” and worked together in the shared reference assignment.

The Power of Words: Using Wordle in Online Discussions

The Global Workplace: Its Impact on Employers, Workers, and Their Organizations

The Global Workplace course examines recent global trends, especially the transformative effects of information technology and the increasing importance of service work on the economy.

Students participate in several class discussions to establish an informed position on some of the issues of the global workplace. Using posts from every discussion, the course instructor creates an image using Wordle, a free wordcloud generator, and posts the link to the wordcloud for students to see each week.

Before the end of each learning module, students are able to visualize those thoughts, ideas, concepts and themes generated through their discussion participation. The word collages therefore become evocative of the most pressing and controversial issues in the global economy today.

2010 Curriculum Retreat: A Shared Vision

Held at 113 West Avenue in Saratoga Springs, the 2010 Curriculum Retreat fostered meaningful conversation and highlighted the ongoing collaboration between Center for Distance Learning (CDL)  faculty and Curriculum & Instructional Designers (CIDs). On February 9th ,  faculty from across the disciplines gathered together for a full day of discussion and contemplation on the current and future state of the curriculum at SUNY Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning.

New to the retreat this year, members of the Technology in Action Committee took the initiative to demonstrate the flexibility and unique capabilties of the Angel Learning Management System (LMS) currently being used at CDL.  Members of the CID group were called upon to present alternative content design approaches using the Angel LMS.

Highlights included presentations on the following content design approaches in Angel:

The Easter Egg

The Graphic Organizer

The Taskbar

The Humanities Desktop

Dr. Nicola Martinez, then Director of Curriculum and Instructional Design at CDL, also gave a brief overview of processes related to the infusion of creative design elements in courses, and encouraged faculty from all areas of study to continue collaboration with the CID group and promote ongoing innovation in courses offered by CDL.

Creating Social Policies for the 21st Century

The fall of the Berlin Wall.

The fall of the Berlin Wall.

Privacy, Security and Freedom:  Social Concerns for the 21st Century is a course that explores the sociological and philosophical aspects of privacy, security and freedom in the 21st Century in the context of both theoretical and practical, policy-oriented aspects of these social concerns. To that end, one course exercise requires students to develop a hypothetical scenario on a security issue — school security or computer network security — and a policy that addresses the concerns raised by the scenario. Students choose one of the two options and then work in teams to develop the scenario and the policy.

First, the teams meet in their own discussion areas to share research results and to reach consensus on details of the scenario. Each group then begins the collaborative writing of the scenario in Buzzword, an online word processing tool that allows multiple users to edit the document at the same time (or not). These documents are then posted and each team can review and comment on the other’s submissions.

Next, the teams develop the security policy. They return to their designated discussion area and again share research and reach consensus on a policy approach that, in their opinion, will best address the issue. The teams return to Buzzword and fashion a new document, working collaboratively, until all agree it is ready to be submitted to the instructor. Each team can review and comment on the other’s submissions.

This activity not only gives students an opportunity to apply in a practical way the sociological and philosophical aspects of security they have studied, they also have the opportunity to work as a team, including all the real-life implications of developing policy with people who may not have a single shared perspective.

Using Mapblogs to Create Learning Communities

Screenshot of mapblog. Markers indicate student entries.
Screenshot of mapblog. Markers indicate student entries.

Community Health: Context

Community Health explores the health care needs of various ethnic and cultural population groups and the cultural, social, political and economic factors involved in the access and utilization of health care systems by diverse groups of people in the US. Students are required to meet with state and/or local health care contacts in their communities to identify challenges the community is facing and the methods by which area professionals attempt to address these challenges.

There are field assignments threaded through the course in which students must talk with public health officials from their communities. The information they gather through the interviews and their own research helps them develop their culminating project: a strategic health plan for their communities.

Screenshot of a blog entry accessed by clicking one of the markers

Screenshot of a blog entry accessed by clicking one of the markers

MapBlog Activity

One of the benefits of online education is that students often come from diverse geographical locations, and each location comes with unique challenges or unique methods of dealing with common challenges. As students conduct their field assignments, they post information that they’ve gleaned from their contacts and research on the mapblog. The mapblog provides a great way for students to share field results with their classmates, comment on one another’s results, and discuss their communities’ challenges and the attempts to solve them. 

Through this activity, students can gain new insights and fresh perspectives that will assist them as they develop a strategic plan for their communty’s health.

Classmates can comment on the posting by clicking the marker:

Screenshot of a classmate's reply to the initial post

Screenshot of a classmate's reply to the initial post

Child Development: Infants and Toddlers

Infant_toddlerThis Infant and Toddler Development course provides students with an overview of major theories in child development.  Students will also develop an understanding of research strategies and the impact of culture, biological and environmental influences on the development of the young child. Current research in the areas of prenatal development, physical, cognitive, language, social, emotional and early brain development will be examined.

As part of a course assignment, students are asked to look to their own local communities in order to observe and compare two infants between birth and three years of age in both fine and gross motor development.  Through observations and analysis, students interpret their results and then report their findings to the class.