We are studying instructor feedback this week. Oddly enough, the only courses that discuss feedback (this one and another one by the same professor) are the courses that actually have helpful feedback. Most of the classes I am taking do not have very much instructor involvement in the discussion threads, with my classes with Dr. K having the most presence. I have one class where I can’t even get an answer over three words long in response to my email, much less a discussion.

So this is how I see it. I have projects, discussions, readings, etc. that I must do to receive a grade in a course. I do said classwork and turn it in. I receive a grade and feedback that consists of a couple of sentences. If I have questions about the feedback, and email the instructor, I am ignored. (I am not talking about Dr. K ,who answers all my questions.  I have three other classes.) The first thing I mention when I write is that I have a question and I am not whining about my grade. But I don’t even get a reply.  Am I too much trouble? After all, each instructor probably has a 100 students.  Maybe because the classes are online it simply takes too much time to be personal to a bunch of people the professor will never meet.

An article in the Journal for Interactive Online Learning said that “student-instructor interaction is one of the most critical factors in enhancing student satisfaction in an online course…The findings specifically suggest that the instructor must encourage students to actively participate in the course discussions; they must provide feedback on students’ work and inform them of their progress periodically; and treat them as individuals.” (Sher, 2009, p. 102)

I read an article the other day that some may find interesting. It said “Supportive relationships in the classroom can encourage students to become more invested in learning, enable them to extend beyond their current abilities, and form a bridge for mentorship.” (Meyers 2009, p. 209)

Sher, A. (2009, Summer) Assessing the relationship of student-instructor and student-student interaction to student learning and satisfaction in Web-based Online Learning Environment. Journal for Interactive Online Learning.

Steven A. Meyers (Fall 2009) Do your students care whether you care about them? College Teaching

It’s Lonely at the Bottom

In the Computer Applications in Education class we are supposed to do a project that other people review. My project has been up for 5 days and no one has reviewed it yet. At first I thought it was because the subject was boring (reviewing software and showing what you know in a certain software program with before and after), but the other person who picked that subject didn’t get a review either.  I made sure I reviewed her project the other day. I deliberately didn’t want to review her project because it was about Word and Excel, and I don’t know either of those programs, but she looked so lonely at the bottom. Plus I know what it is like to have a project no one is interested in but me. It’s not like no one saw my thread. There were eight other views besides mine. So that is eight people that moved on. It shouldn’t bother me, but it does. I worked so hard on it.

Constructivism, Situated Learning, and the Selfish Learner

In Researching Current Issues, the authors argue that the best approach to teaching “is to ground all learning as much as possible in tasks, activities, and problems that are meaningful to the student.” (Tiene, D., & Ingram, A., 2001) Simple albeit profound, learning is about the student! If the student learns something important to them, then they will learn not only what interest them but many peripheral facts as well. Ahhh! That’s why I can listen to tapes on how do use a particular software, go through the exercises, and still not retain the knowledge! Not only does it put me to sleep after a while, but if the exercises do not mean anything to me personally, I have a motivation problem and forget what I have learned quickly. That’s why I work better as I follow along if I am working on a real-world project. So, selfishly, I get the project done, and I also learn the task of running the software!

This would also work if I was given a task to make a web page on cloud computing. I would need to research cloud computing and I would have to learn the skills necessary to construct a web page. In addition, if my assignment is to share the web page with the class and to discuss it with others, then according to Mason, R., & Rennie, F., (2008) I have pursued my “‘selfish interest’ of passing the course while at the same time adding value to the learning of other students.”

Mason, R., & Rennie, F. (2008). E-learning and social networking handbook: Resources for higher education. New York, NY: Routledge.

Tiene, D., & Ingram, A. (2001). Researching current issues in instructional technology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

What about the Encyclopedia?

I’m reading in my Exploring Current Issues In Instructional Technology (Tiene, D., & Ingram, A. 2001), and on page 77-78 there is a discussion on using encyclopedias and how CD/DVDs make it possible to have so much more information within a small amount of space–the thought being that now it doesn’t matter if libraries are small in size. Is that true? I realize it is true in theory, but does having DVDs help with library resources. A DVD isn’t as expensive as an encyclopedia, but don’t you need a computer to run the DVD? (I realize a TV can run DVDs but not interactive ones, correct?) And computers are expensive, take a lot of space, and are quickly outdated. Plus, do patrons scratch the disks? How often do they need to be replaced. And are encyclopedias another medium that will be accessed from the cloud?

Pet peeve here. I purchased a set of World Book Encyclopedias when my daughter was in first grade. I don’t think a teacher ever asked for research from the encyclopedia. Maybe that is because a library may only have one set, and most homes don’t have them, but honestly, Grace didn’t even know how to USE THEM! It was the first place I went when I was doing research. We were very lower middle class growing up but we had a set of World Books that were well-used. Our set, on the other hand, looks brand new and they are 10 years old.

It is frustrating to me to find all of Grace’s research in the form of URLs. Am I missing something?


Tiene, D., & Ingram, A. (2001). Exploring Current Issues In Instructional Technology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.