The 1-9-90 Rule and Observations of a Classroom Experience

I’ve referenced Vilma Mesa‘s Classroom Mapping for a while now, and want to give this some more thoughtful due diligence.

You can see examples of Vilma’s Classroom mapping in this Slideshow (the images are shared with her permission and you may reshare them by sharing the slideshow).

The 1-9-90 rule is a rule of thumb governing interaction in collaborative environment: 1% of the participants are creators, 9% are contributors (they comment, like and share things), and 90% lurk. While it is applied mostly to collaboration and networking in digital environments, I was struck by how it also plays out in classrooms. If you click through the slides, you’ll see the same ratio play out over and over.
The instructor (one person) creates the content. Roughly 3-4 students ask and answer questions. The rest of the class? They lurk, probably hoping to just watch it all play out without having to participate.
If this is the natural norm of collaborative environments, this gave me a couple questions to ponder. First, should we even try to shift the norm by mandating more participation by the lurkers? I think that classroom environments are a good place to try to engage students in more active learning. Even if a students’ natural tendency is to lurk, she/he has to learn to participate actively even when it is not desirable (they will have to face an employer eventually that will require this of them). So I think that we should try to increase the participation by the 90%, but just be mindful of this natural social breakdown in collaborative settings (translation: there will be pushback).
The second point to ponder is this: typically online instructors do “force” the lurkers to participate in activities like discussion boards. But often the same instructor will have no such type of participation requirement for a face-to-face classroom. Clearly one reason is the time that would take too much time to let everyone in the class have a say in every discussion, not to mention that the discussion would quite quickly become a lot of rephrasing of what other people said. Oh wait … that is what required online discussions are like. If you teach both online and face-to-face, give this some good thought – I think it is our goal to create the most high-value learning experience we can, and while the environment should impact the design of the experience, be mindful of creating dull experiences just because everyone “has to” participate.

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Surviving (and Thriving) in the Age of Technology-Enhanced Teaching

I’ve been giving versions of this presentation at several events lately: AlaMATYC, SXSWEdu, STEAM3, and Elgin CC’s Distance Learning Conference. I said I would post the slides, and so here they are in one version.

To see the video of students in the math classroom, here are some links to the YouTube videos:

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Video Code Easter Eggs

I have this sneaky trick I use to tell which students watch online videos and which don’t.  I hide “secret codes” in the videos (like the programmer’s Easter Eggs).  When a student finds one of my “Easter Egg codes” they can submit it for 1 point towards participation.  Sometimes the codes are numbers I generate at random (Ex: 40234) and sometimes it’s a word, phrase, or story (my cat is chasing a fly in front of my computer).

I don’t tell the students where the codes are. I don’t tell them HOW I’ve shared the code or what kind of code it is.  Some videos have codes, and many don’t.  Because of the random distribution of codes in videos, and my “loose” way of collecting them for points, I can always add or remove videos with codes, and it won’t affect the overall point system.

Here's an example of a video code inserted as a callout bubble. Click on image to enlarge.

Let me explain. Students are not required to watch particular videos and there are two other ways to earn participation points.  Participation for each unit is counted out of 10 points, but 5 extra credit points may also be earned.  Thus, there is a cap on the total number of points I will count.

Participation points can be earned by:

  1. Participating in a live online chat. (2 points)
  2. Posting something substantive in a Discussion. (1 point)
  3. Turning in a video code. (1 point)

Here are various ways that I hide the codes in videos:

  • In callout bubbles I add post-recording and pre-production
  • On calculator screens (sneaky, huh?)
  • In something I say out loud
  • In something I write on the journaling screen
  • In something I say and write on the journaling screen
  • In the text of a math equation
  • Underlining a particular word or phrase on the screen from a lesson
  • An action to take (call my office phone and sing the quotient rule to me)

Collecting the codes is the real trick.  Some years I’ve used a Google Spreadsheet or Doc for the collection.  This year, I’m using the comment field of the Canvas Graded Discussions.  I set up one Discussion for each unit, worth 10 points.  When a student participates in an online chat, I go to the gradebook for this Discussion and add a comment “Chat 7/9/12 = 2 points” for that student.  When the student submits a video code, I go to the gradebook for this Discussion and add the comment “Video Code 40234 = 1 point”.  Then when I go to grade the assignment, I see not only all the students’ discussion posts, but also all their collected codes and chat points (see image).

Canvas Discussions grading screen with comments. Click on image to enlarge.

It’s really interesting to see which students find and submit the codes and which students never submit a single code. This helps me to track the progression of students through a particular unit.  Pessimistically, it helps me to “catch” those students who claim they are watching videos when, in fact they aren’t.  But optimistically, I can also tell who consistently watches all the videos by seeing their collected codes pile up.  While I haven’t always enjoyed keeping lists of students and codes, the “Easter Egg” method has worked well over the years to keep track of video-watching as a way to participate in online courses.

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Escaping Blackboard and Redesigning for Instructure Canvas

I’ve been in the process of redesigning my Online Calculus course for Instructure Canvas, and I thought I’d share a bit about the design of the new course. In the redesign video, I will compare the same content as it existed in Blackboard, how it transfered “raw” to Canvas upon import, and then how I’ve re-styled it to design for “Pages” instead of “Folders.”

You’ll find that it helps to settle on a consistent look and feel for your new Canvas pages. Find a relatively complicated page and spend some time thinking about page design. What elements do you consistently want to highlight on these pages? Videos to watch? Pages to be printed? Required elements? You may want to play with several different styles and layouts before making your final choice (remember you can always resurrect old styles by going to the Page History and restoring to a previous version of the page).

My Canvas Page Design (click on image to enlarge)

Here’s a little guide to my redesign:

  • Topic in Header 2 style
  • Body of text in Paragraph style
  • Learning objectives listed by bullet point below Topic
  • Light Green highlighting = printed material
  • Image “snapshot” of printed material uploaded using “Images” panel
  • Light Yellow highlighting = video lecture
  • Light Blue highlighting = link to outside webpage
  • Horizontal line = break between topic areas (has to be manually inserted in the HTML)

 

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Tech Tools 2010

Today I was the keynote speaker for Tech Tools 2010 in Scottsdale AZ, which was really fun!

I survived the twitter backchannel (I “called out” the tweeters, according to @soul4real).  This seemed to work really well and I’ll write more about what I did later.  I also got “best dressed presenter ever” for wearing my magic doc martens with silver swirls.

techtools2010-poster

Here are the links to today’s presentations and resources.

GE Plug into the Smart Grid (Augmented Reality)

Teaching & Learning in the Digital Age Mindmap

Careers in the Future

Have PRIDE in what you TEACH. (What did you learn this month?)

Interdisciplinary Studies

Organize Your Digital Self  (Slides or Mindmap)

For future reference, you can find all of my mindmaps, slide decks, and past recorded webinars under Resources in the menu bar on the top of this blog.

Several of you asked this afternoon about the magnifying program I used to magnify web URLs.  It’s called Virtual Magnifying Glass (free, PC, Mac, or Linux).  If you teach anything from the Internet to a room full of people, you should consider using it!

I was also surprised to discover that many participants who are Second Life regulars had not read Neal Stephenson’s book Snow Crash.  Stephenson basically describes “Second Life” (called the metaverse) in Snow Crash, written in 1992.  So if you want to speculate about what Second Life will become, reading Snow Crash would be a good place to start!

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