Creating online activities will help you to improve at teaching online.
If you are clear about the activities you will create in your online course you will improve how you teach online.
Create online activities.
Activities are the heart and soul of your online course. Weekly activities are essential for helping students learn by connecting to other learners, the teacher, and the learning activities.
Effective online learning provides opportunities for learners to develop their digital literacy skills, create online learning resources, and have support to make wise decisions. Where do you begin?
Relax. Take it easy. Keep it simple and start with the basics. Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. Confucius
What online activities will you create for your online course?
The meaning of sadhana.
Sadhana does not mean any specific kind of activity. Sadhana means you are using everything as a tool to open to the flow of natural experience.
Natural experience opens your connection to understanding and wisdom as it naturally comes and goes in the give and take of the river of life.Sadhguru & T.Y. Pang
The meaning of true education.
True education should wake up the Innate Humanity inside of you. When you reach a higher level of practice and understanding, you learn to harmonize yourself inside, then you become able to harmonize with other people, and with outside situations.T.Y. Pang
It is up to you to make the time for practice; the more you practice the more you will learn.
Time is a created thing. To say I don’t have time,’ is like saying, I don’t want to.― Lao Tzu
Practice In Order
First, please complete the sadhana practice. Second, click on each question and review each answer. Third, take a break!
1. Complete the Elements of Thought sadhana practice.
Sadhana does not mean any specific kind of activity, sadhana means you are using everything as a tool to open to the flow of natural learning.
Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudiced. If we want to think well, we must understand at least the rudiments of thought, the most basic structures out of which all thinking is made. We must learn how to take thinking apart.
Foundation for Critical Thinking
The purpose of this sadhana is to help you open to the flow of natural experience and reasonable thinking.
1. Relax for 5 minutes.
Quietly sit straight and upright for 5 minutes, head and spine straight, concentrating only on your breath. Sit in an erect position, shoulders relaxed, palms flat on thighs. Center your focus on your midsection. Breath in and out deeply through your nose.
Pay attention to your spine. Your spine is where you will feel the flow of energy. Notice which parts of the spine feel warm and where there are no feelings or numbness. This information will indicate where your energy is flowing and where it is not. Your energy originates in the spine and flows out through the body.
When thoughts come up, let them go gently. Don’t beat yourself up. That just brings more thought. Gently let them go. Remember to keep your head and spine straight.
- Recognize your thoughts.
- Allow your thoughts to be just as they are.
- Investigate your thoughts with kindness.
- Natural awareness will come from not identifying with your thoughts.
2. Watch the video below.
3. Clarifying your concepts.
Now tap into your awareness. All reasoning is expressed through, and shaped by, concepts and ideas. Concepts are ideas, theories, laws, principles, or hypotheses we use in thinking to make sense of things.
Be clear about the concepts you are using and use them justifiably. Make sure you are using concepts with precision.
- Identify key concepts and explain them clearly.
- Consider alternative concepts or alternative definitions of concepts.
Complete the following understanding of purpose:
- I understand “concepts” to mean…
- In other words, [elaborate in a few sentences]…
- An example of someone having purpose would be…
4. Keep reminding yourself why you do sadhana.
Otherwise, your thoughts, your emotions, your physicality will get entangled with your runaway mind.
2. What do I need to do first?
Online teaching technologies can be overwhelming. Begin by asking your colleagues how they use technologies and strategies to create authentic online activities.
If you are new to teaching online, take it easy. Begin slowly and gradually build up your experience and confidence. Introduce one online activity, use it, evaluate it, and change it to improve. Then repeat the process with another online activity. Select technologies that you are already using, that are easy use, or that your school provides training and support for.
3. How do I begin creating activities?
Begin with the end in mind- your unit/week/module outcome. Then work backwards. The purpose is to align your activity outcome with your unit/week/module outcome. Then ask yourself, what is the best the technology to use to help learners reach outcome? Keep the following in mind when you are beginning to create online activities:
- The intended learning outcomes for the course.
- The student situation (location, access to internet, number of students in the class, etc).
- The learning experiences or technical requirements of the course content (eg inclusion of large graphic files, collaborative tools, live chat features, external guest lecturer access, file sharing, discussions, etc)
- The breadth and depth of the teacher’s previous online experience.
4. How many online activities should I have?
Online courses have activities every week. Activities need to be regularly spaced and have an estimate of the time learners will need to complete the activities. This will vary wildly based on each learner’s prior experience.
Carefully monitor how much time each learner needs to do the activities each week. Focus on improvement over deadlines. Most important, provide learners timely feedback and comments on their activities- from the instructor and from other students.
5. How do I choose the most effective technology to use?
Put pedagogy before technology.
It is important to examine the reasons for choosing an online activity. Students value technology when it adds to their learning, not when it is used with no apparent relationship or benefit to how they learn. It is important therefore to consider the following issues:
- Establish the key pedagogical principles and then decide how technology can support activities that explore them: For example, what are the learning outcomes, what do you want to achieve, what skills do you want students to learn? Ask these questions and then decide how best you can integrate the technology in order to achieve or support these outcomes.
- Technology is just a means to an end: When you teach online you can select from multiple technologies, however the technology is just a facilitator of the learning process – you still need to have sound teaching strategies in place to support the learning.
- Activities should remain relevant to the learning process: Be discerning – don’t be caught up in allure of technology and its many features. Ensure that activities, tasks, etc have an educational purpose and stimulate learning.
- Online learners complete activities that include points toward their final grade. Learners very rarely complete activities without points.
6. How do I create activities that make cheating difficult?
Use and create authentic activities.
Authentic activities do not to measure how much information learners acquire. The purpose of authentic activities is to help learners improve by using information. Authentic activities have no one right answer. Learners construct new knowledge that differs from other students. It’s very difficult to cheat.
7. How do I create authentic activities?
- Provide authentic contexts that reflect the way the knowledge will be used in real life
- Provide authentic tasks and activities
- Provide access to expert performances and the modelling of processes
- Provide multiple roles and perspectives
- Support collaborative construction of knowledge
- Promote reflection to enable abstractions to be formed
- Promote articulation to enable tacit knowledge to be made explicit
- Provide coaching and scaffolding by the teacher at critical times
- Provide for authentic assessment of learning within the tasks.
8. How do I embed critical thinking into each activity?
If teaching online is about devoting yourself to helping develop the power of your learners minds, then you must begin to think about critical thinking. To think critically we use reasoning by asking questions, gathering information, making inferences and assumptions to come to conclusions. We do not want to look at content as a lot of information to remember, but as tools to think about critical thinking. Thinking about critical thinking is about using empathy, attentive awareness and reasoning by asking questions, gathering information, making inferences and assumptions to come to conclusions about how things should or ought to be, which things are good or bad, and which actions are right or wrong.
We must be clear about the purposes of using thinking critically online. We must begin to ask questions, and recognize the questions being asked, about critical thinking to improve how we think about critical thinking. We must begin to sift through information, and draw conclusions about critical thinking. We must begin to question where information about critical thinking comes from. We must notice the different interpretations that are formed about critical thinking give meaning to critical thinking. We must question those interpretations to understand them better. We must begin to question the implications of various critical thinking interpretations and begin to see how to reasoning is used to come to conclusions. We must begin to look at the world and develop the viewpoint of how to think critically and embed it into online learning. Consequently, you are encouraged to infuse critical thinking into your own online course.
9. Do you have examples to help me get started?
The following thinking tool examples can be used to get you started creating online learning activities.
If you can read a paragraph well, you can read a chapter well, because a chapter is nothing more than a collection of paragraphs. If you can read a chapter well, you can read a book well, because a book is nothing more than a collection of chapters.
Skilled readers do not read blindly, but purposely. They have an agenda, goal, or objective. Their purpose, together with the nature of what they are reading, determines how they read. They read in different ways for different purposes in different situations. Of course, reading has a nearly universal purpose: to figure out what an author has to say on a given subject. The Critical Thinking Foundation
Relate activities to your students lives
10. Is there a tool to help me know how well learner’s know something?
Yes. The SEEI tool.
This is an excellent thinking tool for creating activities that help us know how well we know something. Start with a term or concept.
- S is a STATEMENT: A clear, concise, correct definition of the term.
- E is an ELABORATION: Another way of saying it, using your own words.
- E is an EXAMPLE: A good one, one that is correct and actually works.
- I is an ILLUSTRATION: A metaphor, image, or comparison, e.g., the term is like a … The Critical Thinking Foundation