USING ONLINE TOOLS IN A HYBRID COURSE: TEACHING IN A MULTICULTURAL AND MULTIETHNIC ENVIRONMENT
1 ISEL - Lisbon Engineering Institute (PORTUGAL)
2 Goce Delecev University, Computer Science Faculty (MACEDONIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:The present paper reports on a "hybrid" course, where a significant amount of the course-related learning activities take place in an online learning environment, making it possible to optimize the learning and teaching methodologies and the amount of time spent in the classroom for a short and intensive International Summer Course. Twenty eight candidates applied for the course from six different countries with different ethnical and religious believes. Twenty five students from four different countries (Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia) attended the ”Online Teaching” Summer Course. The official language of the course was English.
This paper addresses the authors (co-teachers) experience throughout the course the “International Summer School” that was held in Bitola, Macedonia, from 7 to 22 of July, 2007.
The traditional face-to-face instruction is reduced but not eliminated. Instead, active learning techniques are implemented, both in and outside of the class room and are used “to supplement rather than replace lectures”.
The use of an online learning environment allows for all sorts of teaching and learning opportunities and is fully integrated with the classroom learning environment. The online component has also proven to be a relevant way to assist in breaking the barriers between the social, the cultural and the ethnical background of the students and instructors.
The learning outcomes and assessment are described for this Summer Course which was allocated 2.5 ECTS. By the end of this Course students should be able to:
• Start using active learning (on- and off-line)
• Create and moderate a discussion forum
• Create a Blog
• Use synchronous and asynchronous communication when suitable
• Start the layout of an online or blended learning course
The teaching and learning methodology will be presented and the approach to the attendees, the classroom environment and the online learning environment are discussed in detail with the assistance of several practical examples which are transferable to other subject areas.
Evaluation is mainly based on in-class and online participation and interaction levels and on the delivery of two course assignments (individual and group work). Evaluation criteria, mainly based on purpose built rubrics, will be presented and discussed in detail.
This paper describes the initial activities for this course, meeting and acceptance of candidates, (their background, age, culture, country, computer and English language skills), leading through the course activities and to the learning outcomes at the end. Communication with the students through e-mail, forum, personal Blogs and SMS is described and an analysis is provided, based on both instructors experience, final official course questionnaires and student’s feedback online.
Overall the students were motivated and engaged in the course activities. It is important to acknowledge that the students’ immediate feedback, both in class and online, in addressing the relevant issues related to the “Online Teaching” course also helped in setting a quite demanding pace for this Summer Course.
From the teachers’ side these two weeks were both a challenge and a very rewarding experience. Certainly an experience we recommend others to undertake!
Keywords: hybrid course, multicultural, multiethnic, active learning, online teaching.