Virtual Lesson Course Design and Teaching Online Report (Assessment)
Teaching career is one of those where people have to improve their quality often considering the requirements and standards set by the government. It is not always easy to create a unit according to which students are free to match their skills, knowledge, and interests with the activities promoted at classrooms (Beatly & National Research Council, 2008).
In this paper, a K-12 content standard for social studies in high schools of California will be taken into consideration to encourage the best achievements for each student. What has to be done is a clear definition of student’s skills, knowledge, and concepts and apply them accordingly at the required Grade Ten.
The project aims at outlining a week-long unit that is based on the Internet technologies’ use and direct participation of the instructor in the vast majority of students’ activities.
The point is that students come to the courses with absolutely various levels of background knowledge (DiGiano, Goldman, & Chorost, 2008), and it seems to be rather challenging to consider all needs and requirements under the same conditions. This is why a unit has to be developed taken into account a number of factors such as student interests and skills, instructor’s attitude, available technologies, and timing frames.
Week-Long Unit Explanation
The outline of the unit under analysis is rather simple and clear to the instructor as well as to the students.
Unit Title: World History through the Internet
Unit purpose: To help students study better the world history and focus on the events which took place between the 18th and 21st centuries including the two World Wars and American experience in country’s improvement and stabilization. The students will learn how to use the Internet sources to find more captivating details about the topic.
Unit Subject: Social Science and History
Time: 50 minutes each day (one week-long unit)
- History-Social Science Content Standards for California schools for the Tenth Grade are taken into considered;
- Students focus on the analysis of the historical events, abilities to participate in discussions, explanation, descriptions, etc.
Outline Related to the Standard
- Relation of ethical issues to the development of the Western political ideas
- Comparison of revolutions in different countries;
- Analysis of the effects of Industrial Revolution in the USA, France, England, etc.
- Evaluation of the global changes in several countries;
- The First World War causes and effects: analysis;
- Investigations concerning the World War Second;
- Attention to the nation-building process in the world;
- Research of the countries’ integrations and the development of technologies;
- Evaluation of the achievements observed during the course.
The peculiar feature of the chosen unit structure is that it involves students in a variety of activities at the same time. As soon as the instructor introduces each member of the group (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010), he/she offers new material, makes students get involved into searching activities, and promotes students’ participation in discussions which are based on the information found.
It is not for the instructor to inform student but what is more important is to make students believe that different technologies are appropriate for improving students’ knowledge.
The instructor offers a number of assignments which have to be performed in groups that also promotes the idea of competition and the desire to demonstrate better skills in searching, cooperating, and discussing (Ko & Rossen, 2010). Students have to be encourage to develop into the offered learning environment and introduce the strategies which are more effective under the created conditions.
The main advantage of the unit structure is that flexibility in thinking is appreciated. Video or audio conferencing (Dawley, 2007) are chosen as the main means of communication, still, chat are also appropriate for the chosen unit.
As a rule, the outlines of the online lessons have to be similar so that the students as well as the instructor do not spend much time of learning the peculiarities of the new form of education.
Students have to learn one particular way of how the material is offered and the discussions are organized to focus deeper on the content of the lesson but not on its structure. The example of the outline given below must be implemented to all the lessons of the particular unit.
- Students are provided with the topic for discussion and the reasons of why the chosen theme is interesting and important in education;
- Students get the worksheets on the basis of which the lesson will be developed;
- Students share their background knowledge and their wishes concerning what kind of knowledge may be gained;
- The instructor offers the list of readings which are required and encourages students to make use of various Internet sources which are appropriate for the course;
- Discussions take place as soon as the task is given; however, the discussions are based on the material given the day before so that the students are able to prepare;
- The instructor may improve the discussions to promote better understanding of the topic;
- Students have to share their opinions about the theme discussed and the methods used to disclose the topic;
- The instructor should conclude the achievements of the discussion and the skills gained by the students (lesson assessment is required);
- Possible improvements for future.
One Fully Developed Lesson
In this part of the paper, one lesson will be fully developed to explain the techniques and approaches which have to be used by the instructor. There are three main aspects which should be taken into consideration: content of the lesson, student interest, and possibilities. The description of the second lesson in a weak devoted to the Industrial Revolution will be offered.
- To understand the importance of the Industrial Revolution;
- To promote the use of different sources of information to gather the necessary material for discussions.
- Internet access;
- Pencils and paper for students to make notes;
- Web cameras for videoconferencing;
- Online books and notes.
Evaluation of skills
- What do students know about the Industrial Revolution?
- What do students want to know about the chosen topic?
- What methods do students prefer to search for the material?
- The lesson begins with the discussion of the topic and the necessity to learn it. The Industrial Revolution in the middle of the 18th century changes the world in a variety of ways (Ross, 2008), and the students should know more about this period of time to know which methods were used and which outcomes were expected.
- Students have to be involved into the discussion: the instructor admits that in the middle of the 18th century, children did not find it necessary to visit schools and get appropriate education (Pierce, 2005), and students have to give as many reasons as possible for why such neglecting of education took place.
- Students are divided into the groups and discuss different spheres of life which underwent certain changes due to the Industrial Revolution. Pros and cons of the revolution are identified as well as the emergence of capitalism is considered as a dominant issue in the middle of the 18th century (“History-Social Science Content Standards for California Public Schools”, 2000).
- Students share their personal opinions about the role of the Industrial Revolution: it is not enough to introduce some general facts which are well-known, what students have to do is to prove that the revolution influenced human life and the ways of how people could develop business in different countries.
- Video conferencing takes place to ask questions, give answers, develop the theme under analysis, and improve personal knowledge about the Industrial Revolution in different countries. It is a luck in case the class consists of the students from different countries so that they can share their personal ideas and the impact of the revolution of their countries.
- The instructor offers the lesson assessment within the frames of which students are free to demonstrate the level of gained knowledge.
- Students are assigned to create PowerPoint presentations disclosing one of the aspects of the revolution.
- Students evaluate their achievements by means of audio conferencing with the tutor and discuss the improvements which are required.
Media/ Technologies Used in the Project
The success of the virtual course depends on the properly chosen technologies and media sources with the help of which the communication between the instructor and students may be developed. Communication systems serve as the most frequently used media that promotes the learning process implementation. Within a short period of time, media becomes a dominant factor in learning online (Anderson, 2008).
Microsoft Office, Media Player, and Adobe Reader are the main programs which have to be available for the students so that they can easily read the instructions sent and perform their tasks accordingly. Skype is the program that may help to develop video and audio conferences any time for free.
The only point that has to be discussed at the beginning of the course is the technologies which may be used. If the vast majority of students as well as the instructor support the idea of Skype and some discussion boards, all the students have to use the same media.
Web 2.0. Technology
Web 2.0 is one of the newest propositions for the Internet users to improve their online communication and writing. As a rule, this technology supports numerous blogs, wikis, and social networking by means of which people are free to talk to each other (Solomon & Schrum, 2007). In the course under analysis, the Web 2.0 technology such as wikis is offered to be used.
Wikis are appropriate for a number of projects which promote several people to write, create, or revise in one team. With the help of this technology, it is possible to observe the recent changes and contribute the development of the topic. Under the chosen technology, the instructor creates a task and allows students answering the questions and developing the topic.
Wikis do not take much place on computers and it is easy to understand how to use its services. The students should spend several minutes to learn the main aspects of the program and start using it.
Pedagogical Approaches and Their Justification
The chosen online learning process may be considerably improved by properly chosen pedagogical approaches. Some of them are given below:
- Behavioral perspective aims at developing appropriate skills of students to achieve the necessary behavioral outcomes. Students should understand that some form of control is required for the chosen form of education, and the instructor has to introduce it. The justification of this approach lies into the fact that even online learning has to correspond to certain norms, rules, and standards. And this approach as nothing else helps the instructor to choose the most effective ways of organizing student work online.
- Instructional perspective helps the instructor to organize the activities for the whole group: each step has to be properly weighted and each idea has to be justified. This approach is justified due to the required order of steps taken. A person has to understand the logic of personal activities and explain the necessary order to the students, and the peculiarities of the chosen approach will help to take the right direction.
- Social constructivism is the final approach to be used in pedagogy that promotes the development of the required learning environment and students’ participation in discussions. The peculiar feature of this approach is that online learning is based on numerous technologies and media. The offered approach will show the right way of how to organize online communication between the students who participate in discussion.
There are several methods of how unit assessment may be organized. One of the most frequently used is writing essays. The instructor asks to create a project that will help to understand how successful each student in learning the new material and using the technologies offered.
The chosen content of the unit is easy to combine with the media used. It is possible to discuss a certain historic even studied and evaluate the conditions under which the material was learnt.
Online quizzes and some questions may also attract students’ attention. The following example of the quiz is possible to organize by means of the available Web 2.0 technology. The instructor creates a question and points out the name who has to answer it; then, the student who answers the question creates a new question on the same topic and asks another student to answer it.
As soon as all students and the instructor participate in the quiz, they have to evaluate each question and answer and give the points. A person who gets more points gets a high grade and may omit other types of assessment. Such activity will promote the development of students’ imagination and the desire to do their best.
Finally, the students are questioned about the quality of the course offered and the ideas of how further courses may be improved. It is very important to consider students’ opinions in order to provide them with the best ideas, material, and knowledge.
In general, the success of the evaluated unit is predetermined by a variety of factors. The point is that both the instructor and the students have to be involved into the learning process.
The way of how the instructor organizes students’ activities and the ideas offered by the students during the discussions determine the level of the course success. This is why it is useless to find the main person who is responsible for the course organization but try to choose the best activities to introduce an interesting and educative unit.
Anderson, T. (2008). The theory and practice of online learning. Edmonton: Athabasca University Press.
Beatly, A. & National Research Council. (2008). Assessing the role of K-12 academic standards in states: Workshop summary. Washington: National Academies Press.
Boettcher, J.V. & Conrad, R.M. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons.
Dawley, L. (2007). The tools for successful online teaching. Hershey: Idea Group Inc.
DiGiano, C., Goldman, S.V., & Chorost, M. (2008). Educating learning technologies designers: Guiding and inspiring creators of innovative educational tools. New York: Taylor & Francis.
“History-social science content standards for California public schools, kindergarten through grade twelve.” (2000). California State Board of Education. Web.
Ko, S. & Rossen, S. (2010). Teaching online: A practical guide. New York: Taylor & Francis.
Pierce, A. (2005). The Industrial Revolution. Edina: ABDO.
Ross, S. (2008). The Industrial Revolution. London: Evans Brothers.
Solomon, G. & Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0.: New tools, new schools. Suite: ISTE.
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