The online discussion system of CREATE consists of four phases of activities, preceded by a Reading Questions activity. The CREATE system supports discussion groups from planning, to chatting, to individual assessment, and finally to group reflection. The system takes the individual assessment scores and provides the team with a visualization of their average scores. Then in their group reflection, groups of students enter their greatest strength and weakness in the system, and then the system provides advice and strategies for improving their area of weakness.
During the current pandemic, media commentators have often expressed the plight of college students in terms of their lectures being forced ‘online’. Moreover, fee-struggling students will themselves complain about the unanticipated loss of this face-to-face form of teaching. Yet, because the expository content of lectures is now made accessible as online recordings, any sense of that loss must be associated with the ‘live’ experience of exposition. However, such reactions are surprising: because lecturing has long been criticised for how it places the student in a relatively passive role – rendering the occasion a rather poor example of learning that is socially mediated. Our goal in this project has been to protect ‘the lecture’ as a central feature of college education: and so address the constraints imposed by social distancing. This has entailed recruiting networked technology to facilitate novel forms of social interaction around expository material. We have explored a number of institutional design solutions and can now report encouraging results. Our focus has been on how the content of a lecture can be choreographed to facilitate rich interactions between student, teacher, and expository texts. But also, how the recorded lecture could become a key artefact that facilitated subsequent collaborative knowledge construction between class peers.
The goals related to building an online community outside the classroom is to create a positive, holistic learning experience that contributes to improved engagement, sense of belonging, and retention. A well-curated online community provides scaffolds for building social presence. It also encourages interaction between groups of students who are usually perceived as separate groups (e.g., campus-based and online), thus enabling a sense of cohesion and mutual support. Studies suggest increased social presence and sense of belonging contribute to higher levels of engagement and retention among college students.
This pilot study focuses on an introductory course on Human-Computer Interaction for Educational Technology. This course is intended for graduate students who are interested in learning about design issues and key considerations while designing or evaluating educational technology. As such, the topics in this course cover the basics of interaction and usability issues and also go beyond by introducing students to various pedagogical and learning theories that influence the design of educational technology.
In partnership with the Mendon-Upton Regional School District, the MIT Playful Journey Lab is developing Learning Dens—virtual spaces that provide a weekly activity series to promote playful interactions and reflection among learners. These spaces create a safe, social, virtual opportunity to help educators connect with and support their students and for students to connect with and support one another. Learning Den activities emphasize creative and collaborative forms of reflection and empower each student to recognize the different circumstances that their peers have faced over these past months of the pandemic, fostering a sense of connection and community.
Conference Theme: Reflecting the Past and Embracing the Future. The 2021 Annual Meeting of the International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS) is the first of its kind, the first of a new series of annual events that will bring together the international community of the Learning Sciences as a whole. This is a milestone in the evolution of our community and a good reason to reflect on and celebrate our achievements in the past, and to embrace and envision a bright future.