Just Sayin': The Benefits of Incorporating Oral Activities in a Cyber Classroom

Concurrent Session 2

Brief Abstract

Introducing new technologies in an online course requires a mixture of well-designed course tools, consistent technical support, and starting small.


Martha Ezell is an Academic Technology Consultant at Sonoma State University. She received her M.Ed. from Western Oregon State University and a certificate in Online Teaching and Learning from California State University East Bay. She has taught both high school and college classes. She currently works in the Faculty Center and consults with university faculty on instructional tools and design, teaches Moodle and technology workshop.

Extended Abstract

Hear the results and experiences of both students and faculty on how a written online exam was changed to a venue with verbal responses. We are examining nursing students' reactions to an exam in which participants practice communication-based skill development through oral presentations of their answers to an assigned reading.

In-class discussions have been shown to support development of important verbal skills. Students who participate frequently in class discussions have opportunities to develop these important communication skills. However in an online environment, the oral competency may be neglected. We are interested in the effectiveness of assignments which require oral responses rather than written responses and whether it contributes to skill development in nursing students.
Nursing faculty for an online course wanted to experiment with multimedia discussions in her course. She had tried a collaboration tool in her course before with limited success. The application proved to be complicated for both the instructor and her students, requiring installation of additional software on their computers and using a rather complicated interface. For this reason, the faculty was cautious about further experimentation in her course.

Engagement in online learning is essential to meet students learning needs.
It is well-established that students achieve academic success when offered a variety of pedagogical approaches in both learning and outcomes assessment.

In higher ed, there exists a need for faculty to collaborate with academic technology professionals to create a cyber classroom where students can express themselves similar to a face to face environment.

The benefits of providing tools for students to present themselves and their ideas in an audio-video recorded discussion will add an additional dynamic to the class environment.

The instructor was offered an opportunity to explore and experiment with communication tools in her online environment with consistent technical support from an IT collaborator.
Multimedia Options
Although many tools can be used to create audio or video discussions, Voicethread was chosen for its simple interface and user-friendly design.
At the end of the session the audience will:

ï Appreciate student's experiences and comments as they make their first verbal recording of an assignment.

ï Identify the variety of students' reactions to hearing their classmates spoken responses.

ï Explore faculty perspectives on the value of verbal assessment of students.

ï Receive a checklist of recommended steps to follow when introducing faculty and students to assignments using new technology.