Leveraging Synchronous Engagement and Asynchronous Flexibility within an Integrated Online Model for Team-Based Learning

Workshop Session 2

Session Materials

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Brief Abstract

The Integrated Online model is an online Team-Based Learning (TBL) course design that utilizes asynchronous and synchronous modes of engagement to foster active learning.  Participants will experience an overview of the IO Model through elements of TBL and will consider how it might be implemented within their own course contexts.

 

Presenters

Dr. David S. Williams provides support to faculty, staff, and students on matters pertaining to online, blended and web-enhanced courses for all colleges and departments at the University of South Alabama. He also provides assessment support for ILC program activities and assists faculty in designing evaluation of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and course improvement projects. David received his PhD in Instructional Design and Development at USA with research focusing on program evaluation theory. He received a Master of Public Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and his Bachelor of Arts in social science from the University of Mobile. He has over 12 years experience in teaching, course design, and coordination of K-12 and higher education programs.

Extended Abstract

Specific Learning Outcomes of the Workshop:

(1) Workshop participants will experience an overview of the Integrated Online Model and practice its components through preparation materials and the readiness assurance process characteristic of Team-Based Learning.

(2) Workshop participants will analyze students’ perceptions of the Integrated Online Model to determine possible challenges and affordances of adopting this TBL model. Data to be analyzed come from implementation on the Integrated Model in a teacher preparation graduate-level course at the University of South Alabama.

(3) Workshop participants will create a plan for how the Integrated Online model might be implemented within their own courses by sequencing phases of TBL and corresponding technology platforms within and across modules.

Presentation Description

The purpose of this workshop is for participants to explore the Integrated Online model, an online Team-Based Learning (TBL) course design that utilizes both asynchronous and synchronous modes of engagement. With the steady increase in online course enrollment, methods of providing online students with the same learning and engagement opportunities TBL often provides within face-to-face environments are greatly needed. Although online courses provide many benefits, these courses can have higher dropout rates, and enrolled students often struggle to develop a sense of community within the course. To remedy the challenges of online learning, the Integrated Online model is an initial effort to provide online students with the same learning opportunities available within face-to-face TBL courses.  This workshop will most benefit faculty, instructional design staff, and educational developers who work in course design and redesign efforts at higher education institutions.

Although best practices around implementing TBL within fully asynchronous and synchronous courses have been shared, a model that leverages both modes of engagement might be more helpful for particular courses and/or instructors. As such, the Integrated Online model was designed to combine the flexibility of asynchronous engagement with the connectedness offered through synchronous meetings. Further, the related essential principles of TBL were considered in the design of the Integrated Online model to ensure opportunities to establish cohesive teams remained central. The Integrated Online model includes synchronous class sessions for the course orientation and to start each module. The synchronous class session for each module includes the readiness assurance process (feature of TBL) and one or more 4S application activities.

The 4S’s are used to describe key components of team activities in the TBL course: 1) activities involve a significant problem that is meaningful and relevant to students, 2) all teams work on the same problem, 3) students solve the problem by making a specific choice, and 4) teams simultaneously report their choices. Application Activities increasingly advance to higher-order learning over the content module. This structure promotes active student engagement, eliminates a “divide and conquer approach,” and limits answer drift. Permanent diverse teams, accountability for individual and teamwork, frequent immediate feedback, and carefully crafted assignments that promote both learning and team development are essential to TBL (Michaelsen & Sweet, 2008). Additional 4S application activities are also assigned and completed by teams asynchronously.

The Integrated Online model has been implemented within a single education course during two semesters and both learned best practices and students’ perceptions of the model were collected. Workshop participants will gain an overview of the Integrated Online Model through preparation materials and the RAP. Workshop participants will also consider students’ perceptions of the Integrated Online Model to determine possible challenges and affordances of adopting this TBL model. Lastly, workshop participants will consider how the Integrated Online model might be implemented within their own courses by sequencing phases of TBL and corresponding technology platforms within and across modules.

Description/summary of the application exercise:

Team-Based Learning will be used across all aspects of the proposed workshop.

Application Activity 1: The first application activity presents the scenario that you are redesigning an online course and are considering the Integrated Online TBL model. Your colleague recently implemented the model and has offered to share how her students perceived the course and course design (things students thought were going well in the course and suggestions for the course). The application activity asks, (1a) Which of the provided student suggestions would be most challenging to resolve for those enrolled in the online courses at your institution? (1b) Which of the provided student suggestions would be most easily resolved? (2) Which student identified affordance has the greatest ability to outweigh the challenges of the model? The provided student responses were collected through Small Group Instructional Feedback (a form of student focus groups conducted midway through the semester) sessions during both semesters of implementing the Integrated Model (Spring 2018 and Summer 2018). For example, two related student suggestions include, “We find it somewhat difficult to meet after class for group assignments with our sometimes conflicting schedules; completing the assignments throughout the week with teams has been difficult.” Likewise, two related student identified affordances include, “The video conferencing helps give me some sense that I am actually talking to my professor and classmates; Much more personal than other online courses.” All listed suggestions and affordances will be assigned a letter (A, B, C, D, …) to allow teams to easily indicate their specified choice. In considering the 4S criteria, all teams will be provided the same scenario and problems. The scenario and problems are significant as they are representative of the decisions online educators face in selecting and implementing instructional approaches. Teams are forced to make a specific choice in selecting the associated letter with first, student suggestions, and second, identified affordances. After the first problem is presented, teams will have an opportunity to engage in intra-team discussion and simultaneously report their identified suggestion, followed by inter-team discussion. The same sequence and simultaneous report will occur for the second question. To ensure feasibility, question 1b may be easily removed if time becomes an issue.

 

Application Activity 2: The second application activity provides workshop attendees an opportunity to consider how they would sequence essential elements of TBL and preferred technology tools within and across module/s. The activity prompt would state, “Using large poster paper, create a visual representation of an ideal timeline for a TBL module using the Integrated Online model. Include the essential elements of TBL (prep, iRAT, tRAT, 4S application activities, peer evaluation), preferred technology tools, and the number of days for each TBL component.” Each team will create their idea TBL module timeline. Posters will be simultaneously displayed. A gallery walk will be conducted in which each team will evaluate the other teams’ work and provide feedback on the best model and suggestions for improvement. Responses will be simultaneously reported and the facilitators will conduct inter-team discussion and summarize key takeaways. In considering the 4S criteria, all teams will be provided the same task of creating an ideal timeline and selecting the best model. The task of sequencing the essential elements of TBL within and across modules is significant as this is a required of instructors in all TBL courses. An opportunity to select the best model requires teams to make a specific choice. Teams’ posters and selection of best model will each be simultaneously reported.

 

Detailed Workshop Schedule – Outline total duration of workshop in minutes,

Total Time –  90 minutes

  1. Workshop Orientation (12 minutes total)

    1. Team Formation (5 minutes)

    2. Orientation to video-conferencing platform and TBL management system (7 minutes)

  2. Readiness Assurance Process (20 minutes total)

    1. Simulated online iRAT (8 minutes)

    2. Simulated online tRAT (8 minutes)

    3. Clarifying Lecture/Inter-Team Discussion (4 minutes)

  3. Application Activity 1: Examining Challenges & Affordances of the Integrated Online Model – (20 minutes total)

    1. Intra-team discussion and simultaneous report (15 minutes)

    2. Inter-team discussion (5 minutes)

  4. Application Activity 2: Sequencing Essential Elements of TBL within the Integrated Online Model – (25 minutes total)

    1. Intra-team discussion and simultaneous report (15 minutes)

    2. Inter-team discussion (10 minutes)

  5. Closing Comments/Questions (13 minutes total)

Participants will take home preparation materials that include a 3-5 page summary of the Integrated Online TBL model and an iRAT/tRAT preparation guide.  These guides will help participants create and plan strategies to implement the Integrated Online model Team-Based Learning at their institutions.

To experience the maximum benefit from the workshop, participants should bring a laptop or device that has Internet connectivity as well as an open-mind to brainstorm ways that the IO model could enhance their current course designs to foster more active learning with online team-based learning.

Multiple opportunities are provided within the framework of the workshop for participants to brainstorm, ask questions, and create individual plans for implementation in their work.

Audio-Visual Requirements: Projector with hdmi or vga connectivity

Maximum Number of Participants: 75