The overarching goal of the research is to understand strategies that can support utility and access to high-quality teacher professional development (PD). This study aims to examine the design and delivery of an online asynchronous course for science teachers using the edX massively online open course (MOOC) platform. The conceptual framework considers three areas of research: high-quality PD characteristics for K12 teachers, the development of social capital and known challenges in MOOC and computer-supported collaborative learning and participation.
This is an empirical mixed-methods study that details the design of the PD course and implementation strategies that instantiate the conceptual framework. The authors collected three data sources from 41 teachers who completed the course. These included post course satisfaction surveys, teacher semi structured interviews and discussion board contributions.
Survey findings revealed high satisfaction among teachers in the areas of overall course design, module construction and delivery and usability of materials in teaching. Interview findings showed positive perceptions of the social capital framing in developing tie quality, trust, depth of interactions and access to expertise. Analyses of discussion board contributions also demonstrated high degrees of information exchange resulting from prompts intentionally constructed to foster collaboration.
This study offers a set of strategies to build networked teacher PD communities in asynchronous online PD platforms and shows promising evidence of addressing quality and access issues.
Designing experiences to build teachers’ social capital shows promising potential to support high quality PD that may, in turn, raise the quality of science education for students and classrooms both locally in the US and globally.
The conceptual framework provides a novel approach to theorizing and operationalizing best practices for teacher PD and online participation.
Yoon, S.A., Miller, K., Richman, T., Wendel, D., Schoenfeld, I., Anderson, E., Shim, J. and Marei, A. (2020), "A social capital design for delivering online asynchronous professional development in a MOOC course for science teachers", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-04-2020-0061Download as .RIS
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For the past three years, we have conducted design and development research aimed at identifying and operationalizing professional development (PD) activities for high school science teachers in an online asynchronous learning environment. The overarching goal of the project is to scale-up delivery and use of curricular resources with an inquiry-based science and technology focus that incorporates what we know best about how teachers learn. This necessitates considerations in developing teacher collaborative experiences, addressing known challenges in enacting effective PD, and working with instructional technologies that will enable access to high quality PD. In this article, we discuss the decision to use a massively online open course (MOOC) platform and the design of an online PD course, where we aim to ameliorate learning and participation issues by applying a social capital framework to optimize the exchange of teaching experiences and resources.
High quality professional development characteristics and accessibility issues
In the United States, there is some agreement in terms of what makes PD high quality. For example, a recent report by Darling-Hammond et al. (2017) examined 35 research studies on effective PD for changing teacher practices and improving student learning outcomes. They listed seven characteristics summarized from their review. These include:
a focus on disciplinary content, both the concepts and pedagogies;
addressing how teachers learn through active learning and sense-making;
enabling collaboration among teachers;
using models of effective instruction;
offering coaching and expert support;
dedicated time for feedback and reflection on practice; and
sustained duration of PD participation.
Desimone and colleagues outline a similar set of core features of effective PD, i.e. content focus, active learning, coherence, duration, coaching and mentoring, collective participation and the consideration of contextual variables, e.g. percentage of non-native English speakers (Desimone, 2009; Desimone and Garet, 2015; Garet et al., 2001). Taken together, there is a great deal of emphasis on reflection and sharing of teaching knowledge between teachers in effective PD.
While some consensus on the characteristics of high quality PD has been reached, it is clear that access to it is not equitable. Reports from large scale surveys of teachers across portions of the US show a dearth of PD programs in geographically isolated areas (Peltola et al., 2017). In their review of the literature, Bancroft and Nyirenda (2020) revealed that both rural and urban schools (with high diversity characteristics that are not typically accounted for) are underserved by PD developers. Additionally, more and flexible time for planning and reflection on teaching has been implicated as issues of utility and access (Merritt, 2016). These problems have led to a preponderance of dissatisfaction expressed by teachers about the quality, availability, and usability of professional learning opportunities (TNTP, 2015).
Professional development needed for science teachers.
To complicate matters, revised goals for teaching K12 science offered in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), i.e. standards enacted to guide US K12 science education (NGSS Lead States, 2013), have set forth added requirements for PD (Wilson, 2013). The increased incorporation of technology has created a need for shifts in teachers’ knowledge, skills, and beliefs in teaching with technology that has historically been difficult to achieve (Ertmer et al., 2012; Tondeur et al., 2017). Gerard et al. (2011) highlight the importance of PD activities that provide time for teachers to customize the new curriculum and technologies to suit their contexts, mentoring by experts, and collaboration among peers with an emphasis on modeling successful classroom implementation. In our own research promoting the use of complex systems simulations in biology classes, we have demonstrated similar needs for PD support that include just-in-time modeling, extended time and hands-on practice, and building knowledge within a community (Yoon et al., 2017a).
Challenges in massively online open course learning and participation, computer-supported collaborative learning and online learning
Addressing issues of accessibility, Ho et al. (2015) noted that a surprising finding in the first generation of Harvardx and MITx MOOCs is that K12 teachers made up a significant proportion of course participants. Earlier Dillahunt et al. (2014) reported that their sample of MOOC participants were five times more likely than a comparison group to be motivated to take a MOOC course because of geographic isolation. Furthermore, in a survey of US teachers’ perceptions of online PD, 90% of respondents said that anywhere, anytime access was very or extremely important (Parsons et al., 2019). Thus, for teachers, MOOCs show promising possibilities for broader reach.
However, existing MOOC experiences typically lack the essential features of high quality PD delivery, especially as it pertains to reflection and sharing of teacher knowledge. A review of MOOC and computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) research, with a view to working with teachers, has highlighted three prominent challenges – the lack of sociability opportunities, high cognitive load with multimedia tools, and increased requirements for self and peer-regulation. We briefly examine these challenges below.
Lack of sociability opportunities.
Despite the appearance of the Communities of Inquiry (CoI) model 20 years ago by Garrison et al. (2000), which recommends designs for social, cognitive, and teaching presence in online learning experiences, a lack of sociability opportunities persist. Hew and Cheung (2014) found that often students drop out of MOOCs because of an inability to comprehend the content with no one to turn to for help. Teachers in the same study said that the lack of immediate student feedback and lack of participation in discussion forums posed instructional challenges. Especially for asynchronous online learning environments, a notable participation gap continues to exist that may impact rates of participation, cognitive engagement, and cooperation (Chen and Huang, 2019; Peterson et al., 2018). Furthermore, feelings of isolation are a common cause of drop out (Yuan and Kim, 2014). Other research has discussed problems related to sociability, for example in designing for social inclusion, a sense of belonging, and proximity in interpersonal connections (Cocquyt et al., 2019; Ludvigsen et al., 2017; Peacock and Cowan, 2019). Reflecting on the relationship between digital infrastructures and collaborative learning, Ludvigsen and Steier (2019) state that more research is necessary to understand the interdependencies between digital platforms and the actors who engage with them.
High cognitive load with multimedia.
A second challenge pertains to designing with multimedia tools to optimize learning and minimize cognitive load (Mayer, 2017). Sweller (2020) summarizes how the human cognitive architecture acquires, processes, stores, and retrieves novel information. Because the working memory has capacity and duration limits when learning something new, instructional designs must be mindful of the cognitive load placed on learning activities and must strive to connect experiences to long-term memory for efficient alignment with existing knowledge. Given that science teachers have added stressors on changing pedagogical practices, providing supports that can help in learning new ideas, sense-making in local contexts and modeling effective instruction is especially important to ease cognitive load. In online environments, the use of instructional videos has been researched extensively as a medium to support learning (Colliot and Jamet, 2018; Exposito et al., 2020; Hoogerheide et al., 2016) with some conflicting evidence on what makes a good instructional video. Lambert (2020) found that successful MOOCs employed a variety of support strategies including the use of expert peers in training videos; facilitated group interactions aimed at examining local contexts, and an interdisciplinary development team that can provide feedback on a range of participation issues. This review however, concluded with an important recommendation for more research on inclusive design and pedagogy.
Increased requirements for self and peer regulation.
The last critical issue is the increased requirements for self and peer regulation. The plethora of research on this topic in online learning environments states that learners struggle to regulate their learning especially with the expectations of autonomy and consequently low levels of support that are typically found in MOOCs (Jansen et al., 2020; Kizilcec et al., 2017). Research in online professional learning communities has demonstrated similar outcomes for teachers (Zhang and Liu, 2019). Jarvela et al. (2016) suggest that this is also a problem with peer regulation when groups are expected to engage in collaborative learning. They found that groups that use multiple regulatory strategies achieve greater shared understanding that supports collaborative engagement. On the origins of CSCL research, Cress et al. (2018) state that digital tools were supposed to be designed to enhance interpersonal exchange such that individuals could be linked in co-regulated activities. To this end, CSCL researchers have examined the use of scaffolds, scripts, and prompts to orchestrate information exchange and knowledge building (Scardamalia and Bereiter, 2014; Vogel et al., 2014). However, as Jarvela et al. (2016) and others have noted, not all designs for regulating learning are equally effective and more research is needed to understand how learners benefit from regulatory supports based on their situated experiences.
A social capital framework for teacher professional development
Collectively, a fundamental feature of the research on high quality PD and participation in MOOCs is the relationships that must be cultivated between peers, contexts and experts. A number of educational scholars have indeed explicitly summoned the need for constructing networked teacher communities where negotiating practice collaboratively can provide a platform for ongoing feedback, reflection, and growth of teacher expertise (Yoon and Baker-Doyle, 2018; Baker-Doyle, 2011; Booth, 2012; Lieberman and Mace, 2010). We have clearly seen the importance of engaging in social exchanges and the call for continued research. Here, we wish to underscore the central notion of social exchange, which can be encapsulated in the idea of social capital. As opposed to focusing solely on human capital, i.e. resources developed and used by individuals, social capital is the acquisition of resources through direct and indirect social networks (Coleman, 1988; Lin, 1999, 2001).
Leana (2011) suggests that investing in social capital in school reform and improvement efforts is a major missing link related to high teacher dissatisfaction, increased turnover rates, and lower student achievement. We have made similar conclusions in our own research with teachers when learning to use inquiry-based science and technology curriculum (Yoon et al., 2017b), where a higher degree of social capital access led to a significant positive influence on student classroom participation. Based on this work and other recent research (Yoon, 2018), in this study we wanted to apply a social capital lens to the delivery of a MOOC PD course to see whether we may be able to design collaborative experiences that align better with high quality PD characteristics. We used a framework found in Coburn and Russell (2008) to guide our design decisions. The framework includes
Tie quality: How many people teachers talk to in relation to project implementation and the frequency of these interactions.
Trust: How willing teachers are to share information based on their comfort level in the community.
Depth of interaction: The content of interactions that are more or less related to the project goals whereby exchanges are expected to lead to deeper conversations about practice.
Access to expertise: The competencies and resources available in teachers’ network connections.
In the remainder of the paper, we provide more details of the PD design and strategies used to develop social capital. Our research goal is to illustrate the course’s impact on teachers’ perceptions of the PD’s usability, whether and how it promoted social capital and the degree to which collaboration or the exchange of ideas occurred.
This research encompasses the design and delivery of a six-week course on edX offered to high school biology teachers in July and August 2019. The course was structured around five biology curricular units that were developed in another project using PD in the face-to-face mode (Yoon et al., 2016). These units include agent-based complex systems computer simulations built in the StarLogo Nova modeling tool on the topics of Genetics, Evolution, Ecology, the Human Body, and Animal Systems. All the units require students to work through experiments that provide experiences in core scientific practices, as outlined in the NGSS. We developed seven online PD modules:
Introduction to the course, participants and facilitators;
What are complex systems;
Why modeling is a core scientific practice;
What is scientific argumentation and evidence-based reasoning;
How the curricular materials fit into the NGSS;
An examination of each of the simulations and corresponding biology units in detail; and
Conclusion to the course and framing for implementation.
The activities spanned about 40 hours of participation. With respect to designing for the characteristics of high-quality PD through building social capital online, we started with the four categories of social capital and mapped onto them teacher PD characteristics, the challenges in MOOC and CSCL participation, and the selected online design strategies. Table 1 outlines the details of this mapping.
Initial enrollment in the course was 463 teachers. We used clickstream data to understand how many intended to actually take the course (measured by those who clicked past the welcome page to enter the course). That number was 260. We also found that only 91 teachers posted at least one discussion board comment. This number is significant because it provides a more accurate account of those who will have benefited from the online design strategies for some amount of time. The final number of teachers who completed the course was 41. We interviewed 10 of those teachers at the end of the course who were selected based on their agreement to collect student data in their classrooms. Of those teachers, nine were female and one was male. Seven taught in the US and three taught in India. Six identified as White, and four as Asian. Their teaching experience ranged from 4 to 28 years with an average of 12.8 years of experience. The US schools they taught in were all public and ranged on the student-body low-income parameter from 6% to 99% with an average of 46%; and on the diversity parameter from 14% to 72% nonwhite student enrollment with an average of 41%. The two schools in India were private international schools.
To investigate our research goal, we collected three data sources: PD satisfaction surveys, teacher postcourse experience interviews, and transcripts of the discussion board posts.
At the end of the course teachers were administered a PD satisfaction survey comprised of 18 five-point Likert-scale (1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree) questions. All 41 teachers completed the survey. The questions asked about their overall course satisfaction (e.g. The course covered topics that are relevant to the grade(s) I teach); module construction and delivery (e.g. The modules actively engaged those in attendance); and usability of materials in teaching (e.g. The student worksheets given out during the course will be useful in my teaching).
Post course interviews with the 10 selected teachers were conducted to gather information about participating in the online PD mode. The 11 semi structured interview questions were constructed to probe thoughts and experiences on design efforts toward building social capital (e.g. To what extent did you find the discussion aspect important to your learning? To what extent do you feel an online course like this depends on building a community within itself? Do you feel you received adequate support?). Individual interview lengths ranged from 19 to 42 minutes with an average of 32 minutes, and the audio-recorded interviews were transcribed.
As noted in Table 1, prompts to encourage interaction in the discussion forum were integrated with other learning materials throughout the PD. These prompts comprised three categories, i.e. content, implementation, and collaborative (derived from the literature on effective PD), and were designed to promote reflection, feedback or interaction between teachers. Content prompts explicitly encouraged teachers to reflect on specific content knowledge from the PD (e.g. How does this activity illustrate complex systems?). Implementation prompts encouraged teachers to draw on past pedagogical experiences and to consider unique challenges or opportunities they may encounter when implementing PD materials in their own classrooms (e.g. What would you do in your own classroom implementation of this activity?). Collaborative prompts encouraged teachers to read each other’s contributions and engage with one another (e.g. After you have responded to these questions, read a couple of other posts and respond to the challenges mentioned). We used teachers’ responses to these prompts to analyze the extent to which they engaged with each other’s ideas and contributions, also referred to as transactivity (Vogel et al., 2016; Weinberger and Fischer, 2006).
To determine teachers’ satisfaction levels with the course, average Likert-scale responses were calculated for all 18 items on the PD satisfaction survey. We then aggregated responses in the three areas of overall course satisfaction, module construction and delivery and usability of materials in specific teaching activities.
To code teacher interview responses, we used the social capital coding scheme found in the Appendix. The qualitative analysis included first mining teacher interviews for comments related to the social capital code definition and then assigning a positive or negative teacher perception value. This perception value was based on overall tone of the comment and whether the comment expressed praise or criticism of the course and the participant’s experience. For example, in the social capital category of Access to Expertise, the following comment was given a positive code:
I really, really liked watching the online implementations…with watching those videos of classrooms, I got to see what it was going to look like for my students, and I got to think about what I might have to modify for my particular group of kids.
Other examples are included in the table. Reliability on the coding scheme was obtained on a previous data set (Yoon et al., 2020) where a Fleiss Kappa test returned an acceptable 0.84 reliability score. The coding for this data set was conducted by one of the researchers who conducted the previous coding. In total, 87 interview utterances were given 116 codes with 23 utterances and 3 utterances double and triple-coded respectively.
For the discussion board and transactivity analysis, a coding scheme was adapted from Vogel et al. (2016) and Weinberger and Fischer (2006). Four categories of information contributions were identified (constructive activities, general elicitations, dialogic transactivity, and dialectic transactivity), with all other comments coded as “rest”. Similar to Chi and Wylie (2014) and Vogel et al. (2016), we used a hierarchical coding scheme, with 1 indicating the lowest levels of transactivity and 5 indicating the highest levels. A detailed description with examples from discussion board posts can be found in the Appendix. Participants responded to 58 discussion board prompts with some straddling more than one category, which broke down in the following way: Content = 28; Implementation = 41; and Collaboration = 30. Participants (including peer-teacher facilitators) posted 4157 times, with some double or triple coded, resulting in 7932 coded responses, (2464 responses in Content prompts, 2924 responses in Implementation prompts, and 2544 responses in Collaboration prompts). To obtain interrater reliability, two researchers coded 21% of the discussion posts (875 codes). A Cohen’s Kappa test returned a reliability score of 0.89. The remaining posts were coded by one researcher. A single-factor ANOVA analysis was conducted to determine if the variation in transactivity levels across prompt types was statistically significant. A post-hoc Bonferroni test was then conducted to identify the source of the variation between responses in prompt types.
Teachers’ high satisfaction of online professional development
Findings from the post course PD satisfaction survey showed that the MOOC teachers on average rated all 18 Likert-scale items between 4.18 and 4.77, which indicated positive experiences. Aggregate averages in the areas of overall course satisfaction, module construction and delivery, and usability of materials were 4.43 (SD = 0.64), 4.53 (SD = 0.53), and 4.60 (SD = 0.52), respectively (see Appendix for the full set of survey results). These ratings are quite similar to previous research on the same content delivered through a face-to-face PD mode (Yoon et al., 2017a) and a pilot implementation of the online PD with much fewer teachers (Yoon et al., 2020). The high satisfaction our participants experienced compared to previously reviewed research in which teachers indicated high rates of dissatisfaction (TNTP, 2015), demonstrates success on several indicators of high quality PD.
Positive impacts of the social capital design
Figure 1 shows the breakdown in terms of positive and negative comments in each social capital category. The data reveals greater frequencies of positive versus negative responses across all categories. In the category of Tie Quality, the responses were more even. However, on closer examination of those comments, many of those coded as negative (8 out of 18) were simply suggestions on how to increase social ties rather than negativity expressed on the lack of opportunities to create them, such as in the following comment:
Sometimes it just became a lot of things to look through, so I do think to some degree a community was developed, but I think it might have been easier to really start to get those longer winded conversations with a little bit more back and forth if it was a smaller group.
High degrees of transactivity in collaboration prompts
Responses in the discussion forum resulting from content, implementation, and collaboration prompts had average transactivity scores of 2.86, 2.91, and 3.12 respectively. Figure 2 shows a graph of the percentage of codes in each transactive level parsed by prompt type. It is notable that implementation and content prompts demonstrated higher percentages of constructive posts relative to the collaborative prompts. This is not surprising considering that the higher percentage of responses from content and implementation prompts did exactly what they were meant to do, which was to enable individual participants to construct their own ideas based on the learning materials provided. It is also notable that greater percentages of responses from collaboration prompts were transactive in nature. This transactivity often emerged around points of agreement and expansion of shared ideas between participants, which was coded as dialogic transactivity. Dialectic transactivity (i.e. interaction grounded in disagreement or argument) was much less common, which may be indicative of a low level of comfort or trust experienced by the teachers to disagree in a public discussion context.
The ANOVA analysis resulted in an F value of 39.50 and a p-value of less than 0.0001, indicating that the variation in levels of responses due to prompt type was significant. The post-hoc Bonferroni test confirmed that the variation in transactivity was attributable to the higher percentage of transactive responses in the collaborative prompts, which was significantly higher than responses in the content prompts (p < 0.001) and the implementation prompts (p <* 0.001). No significant difference in transactivity levels was found in responses between content and implementation prompts.
From the results, we can see clear indicators of the benefits to designing online PD experiences for teachers with a social capital framing. We carefully designed the online strategies to address characteristics of high quality PD (Darling-Hammond et al., 2017; Desimone and Garet, 2015). We believe that critical to these positive outcomes was the development and sustaining of participation in a networked community of practice (Lieberman and Mace, 2010; Yoon and Baker-Doyle, 2018) in which teachers were scaffolded to develop social ties, build trust by sharing experiences and resources, participate in collective sense-making on practice and access peer and expert support through multiple channels.
Where we aimed to construct and implement strategies that also addressed three big and ongoing challenges of online participation in MOOCs and CSCL environments, this study makes a contribution in articulating those strategies and offering triangulated evidence of our design’s success. Intentional designs to improve sociability, such as supporting peer exchanges that proffer tried and true classroom activities, likely enabled trust building through interpersonal relations (Ludvigsen et al., 2017). Providing models of classroom enactments from previous project participants provided a level of authenticity and visualizations of what instruction could look like in practice. We believe that this strategy supported the lightening of cognitive load through immediate connections to ideas stored in the long-term memory (Mayer, 2017; Sweller, 2020). Furthermore, we contend that discussion board prompts geared toward negotiating content and implementation challenges promoted feedback and reflection that supported self-regulatory behaviors, while collaborative prompts that promoted interaction supported peer-regulation (Jarvela et al., 2016).
Addressing our major goal of increasing access for teachers to PD (Peltola et al., 2017), this study shows promising potential for the use of MOOC platforms with largely asynchronous components to deliver PD that is high quality and usable, thus expanding the landscape of professional learning opportunities. As our MOOC course is scheduled for another run beginning in May 2020 with almost 700 teachers signed up from over 70 different countries, we look forward to reporting on outcomes with another cohort of teachers to see if our conclusions hold true.
Design choices for building teachers’ online social Capital
|Social capital category||Teacher PD characteristics||MOOC and CSCL participation||Online design strategies|
|Tie quality||•Collaboration or collective participation||•Self and peer-regulation||•Online profiles to share professional and personal information, e.g. Write a post that describes your background (e.g. how long you have taught, unique skills or knowledge that might interest your classmates). After you have responded, use the forum to connect to a couple of other course participants by clicking “reply” to comment on their posts|
|•Collaborative prompts to seed interaction, e.g. Share one triumph in creating your model along with one unexpected moment. Then, leave some encouraging comments on other posts!|
|Six-week PD with follow up Moodle participation|
|Trust||•Feedback and reflection with peers||•Sociability tools, e.g. proximity in interpersonal relations||•Synchronous meet-ups (scheduled 3 hour-long meet-ups for participants to connect course names with a real person)|
|•Networked communities||•Content and implementation prompts, e.g. requests to share tried and true resources|
|Depth of interactions||•Disciplinary content||•Ease of cognitive load||•Demonstration videos and practice with technology|
|•Anticipating and discussing problems of practice, e.g. Imagine your own classroom, what challenges do you see happening with your student population around building computational models? Think through some strategies with others|
|•Active learning and sense making||•Sense making in local contexts|
|•Relationships to standard curriculum, e.g., argumentation|
|•Lesson planning with peers on module capstones|
|Access to expertise||•Coaching and expert support||•Multimedia tools for optimizing learning||•Videos with narration of expert teachers delivering classroom instruction|
|•Expert teachers as course facilitators|
|•Models and modeling||•Interdisciplinary PD development team|
|•Help forum with technical and pedagogical support from PD development team|
Social Capital coding scheme for interview data
|Social capital category||Code definition||Example|
|Tie quality||Represents mechanics of teachers’ communication and their motivations. It responds to how and whether or not ties were built in the online mode||(Positive) If you’re used to taking online courses, you’re used to not being in the classroom, so you know that coming in. But having an occasional person to bounce off or occasional feeling like you are not the only one there, I think that does help and I think it does make a difference|
|(Negative) I don't know if I didn't get responses because of any particular reason, or if I wasn't at the top of the list of responses, so the people are just going into the first couple and then not going any further|
|Trust||Reflects how teachers felt about the community. Did they feel comfortable? What added to or detracted from that comfort?||(Positive) Also it helped me in the sense of in collaboration if you will, teamwork it is. Of course, we were far, far away online only, we were. But still I felt it as a teamwork|
|(Negative) I didn't really make connections with anyone. And I haven't really spent much time on Moodle because with me starting the new teaching job, I’ve been completely behind the eight ball with things…So, I haven't reached out to anyone and no one's reached out to me as far as I know|
|Depth of interactions||Refers to the content of communications. What did teachers communicate about and what was valuable to them? Did the PD allow for deep level interactions?||(Positive) Actually watching and seeing how teachers actually implemented it and being able to have a discussion with other teachers, like, “Okay, I really like the way that she did this,” or “I feel like you could have tried that,” or “I would do it this way in my classroom because I have a different set of kids.” Those conversations I feel are really powerful, and we don't get to have them that often|
|(Negative) Yeah. It didn't jog anything that was like, “Oh, that's interesting”, or, “Oh, I feel that way too”. It almost felt like some were being posted because we had to post|
|Access to expertise||Refers to teachers’ access to the project team and the DCs as well as their perceived value of access to course resources||(Positive) Yes, I got full support immediately. I would get that as far as what they were, I used to post email…Once I posted, I go down the same day. So yes, I got full support|
|(Negative) I also, and this is something that I had commented about in the survey, I feel the classes that we observed are relatively high performing groups of students. And I have a pretty mixed population of students, so I'd love to see videos that show how to support students with an IEP. How to support ELL students, how a co-teacher could help with that whole process|
Transactivity levels, codes, definitions, and examples
|Transactivity codes||Code definition||Example|
|Level 5 Dialectic||Contributions that directly interact with or account for a partner’s constructive contributions from the perspective of disagreement, critique, or argument, rather than agreement (Vogel et al., 2016)||I would disagree because there is a centralized command from the brain and according to the complex system format, there is no single leader who controls|
|Level 4 Dialogic||Contributions that directly interact with or account for a partner’s constructive contributions from the perspective of agreement or elaboration rather than disagreement or critique. (Vogel et al., 2016)||I like how you mention the opportunity for data visualization here. I was thinking I could ask my students to run this simulation and create a large graph of their findings to share with the class|
|Level 3 General elicitations||Contributions that are made with the intent of initializing transactive discussion with peers (Weinberger and Fischer, 2006). In the discussion forum, these occur when learners engage with the community at-large and specifically elicit feedback or follow-up discussion||I would welcome any recommendations on how you do this in your classroom!!!|
|Level 2 Constructive activities||Contributions in which a learner generates or produces outputs or products beyond what is provided in the learning material. Constructive activities do not take another learner’s contribution into account (Vogel et al., 2016)||Although I do not teach enzymes in my class (other than briefly mention how they relate to catalysts), I can see how the simulation could be helpful. I especially like how some of the monosaccharides are cleaved off in the absence of the enzyme|
|Level 1 Rest||Posts that do not fall in the other 4 levels. These may include instances of copying and pasting, off-task statements, or interactions that are strictly social in nature||It seems we keep following each other! Hahaha!!|
Satisfaction survey results
|Overall Course Satisfaction|
|The course included an appropriate amount of information||4.56||0.55||3–5|
|There was adequate time available to learn the material||4.18||0.81||2–5|
|The course covered topics that are relevant to the grade(s) I teach||4.44||0.59||3–5|
|The information presented was clear and understandable||4.59||0.49||4–5|
|The information presented was useful to me||4.54||0.55||3–5|
|The information presented could be put into practice immediately||4.26||0.71||2–5|
|Module Construction and Delivery|
|The modules were well informed on the topics addressed||4.54||0.55||3–5|
|The modules actively engaged you as a course participant||4.59||0.54||3–5|
|The modules conveyed information in a variety of ways||4.41||0.54||3–5|
|The modules' goals were clearly stated||4.62||0.49||4–5|
|The goals of the modules were met||4.49||0.50||4–5|
|Usability of Materials|
|The teacher guides for the BioGraph units will be useful in my teaching||4.74||0.44||4–5|
|The student activity guides for the BioGraph units will be useful in my teaching||4.77||0.42||4–5|
|The articles I have read/received in the course were useful to me||4.56||0.50||4–5|
|The exposure to agent-based modeling technology (StarLogo Nova) will be useful to me||4.54||0.55||3–5|
|I will be able to use ideas about complex systems in my teaching||4.49||0.55||3–5|
|I plan to share the ideas about complex systems with my colleagues||4.54||0.55||3–5|
|I plan to share the agent-based modeling technology (StarLogo Nova) with my colleagues||4.54||0.55||3–5|
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This paper is part of the special issue, “A response to emergency transitions to remote online education in K-12 and higher education” which contains shorter, rapid-turnaround invited works, not subject to double blind peer review. The issue was called, managed and produced on short timeline in Summer 2020 toward pragmatic instructional application in the Fall 2020 semester.
This study was funded by a US National Science Foundation grant #1721003.