OUGEO Presence at JALT2017

Tech Resources from Osaka University Global English Online (OUGEO)

Photo created by Canva

Mehrasa and I had two poster presentations on our joint PhD project at JALT2017.

1. Multimodal e-Feedback in an Online English Course

As online English courses are growing in popularity exponentially in higher education, providing electronic feedback is also gaining currency, as students might feel disconnected, unengaged, and unsupported if they are not provided with effective feedback. The provision of electronic feedback can be enhanced through multimodality, particularly in asynchronous online environments. There are also a number of factors such as social presence and collaboration which are related to feedback effectiveness.

In this study, we explored the use of online interaction platforms available on Blackboard Learn and web-based tools such as VideoNot.es to provide multimodal electronic feedback in an online course of English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP), entitled Osaka University Global English Online (OUGEO). Additionally, we examined how Japanese learners of English perceive the multimodal electronic feedback they have received on their online writing and speaking tasks. We also investigated the perceived usefulness of the provided feedback in relation to learner collaboration and sense of presence in the online course. To collect data, we asked the participants to respond to a set of surveys and open-ended questions.

The findings indicated that the majority of students valued the multimodality of the feedback on their productive tasks. Furthermore, the students’ perception of social presence and collaboration was found to be related to their perception of feedback usefulness. Finally, we discussed the practical implications for providing effective online multimodal feedback as well as further facilitating collaborative online environments.

2. Developing a Blended Course: Why Quality Matters

In this poster presentation, we reported on the development, implementation, and evaluation phases of a blended course of English for general academic purposes targeting second-year undergraduate Japanese students at Osaka University. In general, the course aimed to develop students’ practical English skills to help them advance to higher levels of conversational and academic English up to B2 and C1 levels of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

The basic Successive Approximation Model proposed by Allen (2012) informed the design and development of the online course. In order to ensure course quality from the outset, we used the Quality Matters® Higher Education Rubric (Fifth Edition) as the major reference. The pedagogical practices within this fifteen-week course hinge on recent approaches in ELT, e.g., project-based language learning. As part of the evaluation process, we measured the students’ perception on the usefulness of the course quantitatively and qualitatively through an attitudinal survey instrument and open ended reflection questions. Furthermore, to deploy learning analytics, we analyzed the data generated by the learning management system Blackboard Learn, also known as CLE (Collaboration and Learning Environment) to further delve into students’ performance, track their progress, and provide insights into ways to improve it. Eventually, to examine learner achievement and the fulfillment of learning outcomes, we also examined the students’ scores on the placement test, weekly assigned tasks, as well as quizzes and the final exam.

 

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OUGEO PRESENCE AT JALT CALL 2017

Poster, JALT CALL

Poster available on academia

In our poster presentation at JALT CALL 2017, Mehrasa and I focused on the design and development phases of an online course of English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP), which we have referred to as Osaka University Global English Online (OUGEO).

Initially, we reviewed two mainstream models of instructional design for online course delivery—namely, ADDIE and SAM. The ADDIE model is a generic, systematic, linear, step-by-step process, known as waterfall model, which consists of five ordered phases: (1) Analysis, (2) Design, (3) Development, (4) Implementation, and (5) Evaluation.

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Photo source: https://goo.gl/UxisAn

Unlike ADDIE’s five giant sequential steps, SAM (Successive Approximation Model) is an iterative, cyclical, and agile approach to instructional design which tries to address the roadblocks in the way of instructional designers in repeated small steps.

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Photo source: https://goo.gl/3JF7om

Following that, we explained the intertwined design and development phases of our prospective online course, which include the following: Assessing students’ needs and technological skills, defining the course overall goal and learning objectives, determining online course technologies, requirements, accessibility, connectivity, and support system, developing course syllabus, instructional materials (available via these hashtags: #OsakaUniversityGlobalEnglishOnline #OUGEO), tasks and activities, objective-based assessment, management strategies for team teaching, and formative and summative course evaluation. We also discussed copyright restrictions, the use of Open Educational Resources (OERs), as well as several e-learning authoring tools and their merits and demerits. Finally, we touched upon issues related to quality assurance with reference to the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric.

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OUGEO Presence at Osaka JALT Back to School 2017

Back to School 2017

Despite the rapid growth of online teaching and learning at institutes of higher education worldwide, switching to online courses can pose a great challenge to those involved in creating and administering them. In our presentation at Osaka JALT Back to School 2017, Mehrasa and I tried to simplify, clarify, and exemplify the process of online course design.

We focused on practices that we found successful in designing online English courses based on the related literature and our hands-on experience as online instructional designers.

Under the project title of Osaka University Global English Online (OUGEO), we designed and developed, and are now implementing, a blended course of English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP) at Osaka University targeting second-year undergraduate students for a period of 15 weeks, of which 10 sessions are purely online and 5 sessions are face-to-face.

First, we reviewed popular instructional design models like ADDIE and SAM. We also discussed topics such as online syllabus, learning management systems, e-learning authoring tools, online visual design, e-assessment, and e-feedback. Finally, we introduced the most practical standards checklists for online course self-evaluation: The Standards Checklist by Marjorie Vai and Kristen Sosulski (2011) and Quality Matters Higher Education Course Design Rubric Standards, Fifth Edition (2014).

Slides: Online Course Design 101: All You Need to Know to Get Started

Buggy Blackboard

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Osaka University has been using the Blackboard Learn™ platform since 2005, which is known as CLE (Collaboration and Learning Environment). I used to be a Moodler, and I personally prefer Moodle, because Blackboard often gets buggy, which makes the process of online course design extremely slow! That is why many universities are switching to Moodle such as Montana State University, California State University, and Long Beach (Blackboard Learn: Criticism).

Here is the list of major bugs I struggled with during the development phase of the online course, named Osaka University Global English Online (OUGEO):

  1. Formatting glitches (e.g., extra spaces were added erroneously to the text, font got changed after uploading)
  2. Unresponsiveness of Bb Student and Blackboard Mobile Learn apps (e.g., large images and some fonts were not shown properly on the apps)
  3. Errors in the process of making tests and assignments

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Moreover, no spell/grammar checker is available on Blackboard. This can cause serious problems in the design, development, and delivery phases of an online course, especially an English course.