I'm very sold on the idea of using OERs (Open Educational Resources) -- they save students money, and they allow all students to have immediate access to course materials. The downside is that some students seem less engaged with these types of course materials; I think this is because they have been conditioned to the ideas of a textbook.
So, my approach to promoting active learning and student engagement with OER materials was to develop Structured Learning Plans (see attached files for my HUM225 online course -- note, students receive these one part at a time, which is less overwhelming than the enormous files I attached here!)
I designed these SLPs to clearly direct students (through links backed up by citations) to the materials that they need to read and then immediately follow up with an activity that requires that students use the materials they just read. My hope is that this will help them build the learning approach that will help them succeed.
I placed my results in the comments section -- "The Results are In!"
Wow, Susan, I love the SLPs. You take the students through the process step by step. What a great idea to facilitate learning and check for understanding! I look forward to the results.
The Structured Learning Plans were a huge success in my online HUM225 (Intro to Popular Culture Class.) First, they worked for me, the instructor, by making grading simple and by helping me be able to "catch" student who were getting off track; this is great because my plan in developing these courses was to set them up for adjuncts, and I think this approach will really work.
The more important success is with the students. I was a little apprehensive because I believed that students might feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that was required, but the early assignments that explained to students how they were gradually developing the information they need for future assignments really worked -- students liked the idea that all of their work was "useful" -- in surveys, one said "it's way better than some rambling discussion in class that doesn't match with the assignments," and another said "it's like a textbook that is exactly what I need even if I do have to make it myself." Overall, 67% of the students said the Structured Learning Plan approach was a good or their preferred approach to learning.
As I watched my students progress through this class, I was extremely pleased with two things -- they were able to work well on their own, and they reached a much deeper level of analysis than I had been able to achieve in my earlier efforts at HUM225. This is an approach I will keep working with -- I think it helps the students integrate their research and their reading of OERs into their learning more easily than my previous approaches.
Did you complete the cycle? It appears that you did. Nice job.
It's so great that you get direct student feedback on not only if they like a learning method you use but if it would be their preferred style to use! 67% is great considering all the different types of learners there are!
Well done, Susan! And you definitely closed the loop on this one! I especially like that you got multiple positive results from this!
What a great experience for the students and it seems as if they were definitely engaged. Keep it up!
Susan, I like your idea of the structured learning plans. I have had my concerns about OERs and what happens when they disappear off the internet. Perhaps I should like at some of your examples of OERs if you have some time to share. Thanks! Olga