Thursday, March 22, 2012

Advice for Course Design: Sometimes the Simplest is the Best

I attended a webinar yesterday put on by Aaron Sams and Jon Bergmen, strong advocates for Flipped Classrooms.

As I listened, the biggest take away was the simplest.

In answering the question, how do I decide what to flip? Their advice was brilliantly simple:

"Ask one question:
What is the most valuable use of class time? Direct Instruction? Exploration? Discussion? Application? Assessment? Remediation?"
Then ask:
What can I time shift out of class to increase the value of face-to-face (class) time."
What simple advice.

From webinars to web conferencing . . .
From Brick and mortar classroom to flipped classroom . . .
From virtual classroom to virtual assessment . . .

That advice is crucial.

Your scarcest resource is the time you have to spend with your students. It doesn't matter whether it is face to fave or virtual, you can't afford to waste it.

So, don't look for places to insert video or technology. Look for the place where you can maximize your resources.

If a video gets the content across, use it.
If a textbook does, use it.

When you do, you begin to realize that some students may prefer "sit & get." Others may like to read. Others experiment. When you realize that, you have differentiated your instruction, AND you can develop relationships.

Don't be locked into a mindset.

As a teacher of professional development in the area of online education, we need to be looking for ways to improve our delivery. Just because something is online doesn't make it good.

We need to be looking for best way to impact our students learning.

What's the most valuable use of your scarce student contact time?