Documentation:Learning Design/Michelle's Page

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Please choose two activities that you use or have used in your designs and answer the following questions: · How would you characterize this design and why do you think it is successful?

· What is the role of the facilitator/instructor, what is the learners' role?

· Under what conditions does this activity work and under what conditions does it not (i.e facilitation, learning environment)

· What are the barriers you see to the success of this design (i.e.constraints/costs/org/time factors)?

· How can we share these practices as a department and then with others?

This design is a collaborative activity design, where learners integrate theory, practice, skills and experience into developing a week long seminar for their peers.It works well as it is relevant, requires learners to work together using their strengths, allows them to practice skills, use tools they can use in their professional practice, and reflect on their experiences. Learners are also to provide peer feedback, so this also helps with motivation. The feedback is that it is relevant and ties together all of the concepts into the course.

During the activity itself the faciliatator monitors, prompts and provides feedback at various stages, as is an active participant in the activities. They will also provide technical support. Throughout the course they have modeled the facilitation techniques and strategies that learners use in the final facilitation week.

It requires active participation by all students, committment and accountability to group members and the entire course (as participants), as well as self-motivation, research skills (this is a graduate course), and some technological familiarity. Minimum numbers are needed for it to work well. The facilitator needs to be active and involved and needs to have modeled and provided scaffolded activities throughout the course. It is easily adaptable to any learning environment (f2f, blended, online). Works well if topic is relevant to professional practice.

Barriers: Technology, student time constraints, curricular time constraints (nice to have 3-4 weeks).

Creating an Online Facilitation Activity


In this assignment you will design a week-long seminar that you will use to practice the facilitation skills and implement the facilitation philosophy and methods you have been learning about and reflecting on in the course. The facilitation plan must be based on pimarily on one model, but you can include aspects of other models as you see would best fit your personal philosophy and teaching style. If you do include methods from other that your primary facilitation model, please identify the model from which the aspect was drawn). This will also be an opportunity to get feedback from your instructor on the facilitation plan you develop, and which you will present to the other participants in this course. Emphasis will be placed on student engagement and motivation, creating collaborative and interactive experiences, and gaining practical experience for the online activity that you design. It is helpful to re-read through the course assignment assessment criteria/rubrics to help centre and direct your planning.


Design a facilitation action plan on a specific topic including stated outcomes, processes, activities, and tools that will be used in an online learning environment. Your plan should be consistent with the philosophy for online learning that you have developed and the facilitation model you identified earlier in the course and should include reference to your KWL chart. You will need to include both asynchronous and synchronous components. You will need to describe the online environment that you will use to support your learners, including the components you intend to include such as additional readings, discussion forums, and links to resources such as related presentations and videos. You may include a guest speaker as a subject expert if you wish. If you have experience or feel confident, you are welcome to design a completely original week-long seminar, but you also have the option of adapting an existing activity. You are encouraged to enrich the activity by using photographs, drawings, movie or audio files to help communicate your ideas. Some suggested topics are:

  • How students can use their personal learning environment and informal learning in a formal course setting
  • How instructors can use their personal learning environment in a formal course setting
  • Groups versus networks in learning
  • Learning managment systems versus open learning environments
  • Mobile learning
  • The value of synchronous sessions in an online course
  • Pedagogies you can use in online learning that are not available in non-technology-supported learning
  • The importance of pedagogy over technology tools

You must submit your facilitation plan to your instructor by the end of Week 8.

Facilitation Plan—Suggested Outline

As a guide to designing your week-long seminar, you could use the following structure:

  • Activity title: Give your activity a clear and relevant title.
  • Learning outcome(s): Decide what you want participants to learn by doing this activity. Take into account participants’ prior knowledge and experience as well as their current contexts.
  • Purpose: Identify the purpose of the activity. State the purpose clearly and concisely.
  • Task: Outline the task that participants will be required to do. The task should be short enough to enable most participants to complete the task with ease in the given time period.
  • Instructions: Provide clear instructions. State whether students will be required to work individually or in groups.
  • Tools: Identify the online communication technologies that participants will require to complete the task (e.g. Elluminate, chat, discussion forums, email, Wiki). Identify the tools used and the purpose for using them.
  • Motivation: Identify motivational strategies you will use in your plan (refer to your work in week 7).
  • Support Strategies: Identify strategies for supporting your learners (refer to your work in week 8).
  • Time: Provide guidelines about when the task should be completed and how much time will be required by the participants.

This design is paired, simulation that requires analysis and problem solving. I think it will be successful as I have done similar science activities f2f and this one is adapted to work using ICTs for communication. It takes an abstract concept (creating phylogenies) and lets students simluate it using manipulative that they are familiar with. It links theory to practice, and then gets them to build on their knowledge by creating a phylogentic classification system and then comparing/contrasting to other groups.

During this activity the faciliator organizes, monitors and may prompt where needed.

Learners need to be accountable and engaged for this to work. Can be adapted to any learning environment.

Constraints would be learner engagement, access to resources (if not candy bars!)

Phylogeny of Candy Bars Activity and Blog Post


In Weeks 5 and 6, you will participate in a two-part activity and blog posting. For Part 1, you will work in conjunction with your partner to identify the characteristics that differentiate “species” from ten candy bars and complete a phylogenetic analysis of your sample. You will post to the class blog your decisions on the number and type of species you identified. For Part 2, you will work with your partner again to outline your phylogeny and post to the class blog. For both parts, you will comment on peer work posted on the blog.

Learning Outcomes

This exercise is aimed to help you achieve the following: · Use recently developed tools and applications in the field of evolutionary biology. · Interpret and communicate scientific knowledge and results effectively to a wide audience. · Justify arguments effectively, using logical and scientific support. · Demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively.


Phylogeny Exercise Task Weighting Due Date
Part 1: Work with your partner on species identification and post on the course blog

Respond to others’ postings

Part of Participation mark End of Week 5
Part 2:Work with your partner on phylogeny reconstruction and post on the course blog

Respond to others’ postings

Part of Participation mark End of Week 6


To complete the Phylogeny of Candy Bars activity and blog postings, do the following:

Part 1

1. At the end of Week 4, your tutor will assign a partner for you. With your partner, who your tutor assigned to you at the end of Week 4, pick ten candy bars, which you will both purchase.

2. During Lesson 5, discuss with your partner how to identify different species of the candy bars and how many different species you can identify in your sample. After doing this, don’t eat your candy bars—keep both the bars and the wrappers, as you will need them for Lesson 6. (Okay, if you can’t resist, you can always buy new ones.) Think about the different definitions of species you were introduced to in Lessons 2 and 3 and which one is most appropriate here.

3. Once you have made your criteria for different species and identified them, write two or three paragraphs with your partner to describe the species you identified and your justification for identifying different species.

4. In your answer, demonstrate your grasp of the learning outcomes for this activity.

5. Post these paragraphs on the class blog.

6. After posting, read what your peers have found. Are you boggled by any results? Please comment on the work of at least two other groups.

Part 2

1. In Lesson 6, with the same partner, revisit your candy bars. This time around, you are looking for characteristics that will help you differentiate between candy bars. Some examples may include: colour of the wrapper, shape of the bar, type of information on the wrapper, texture of the bar, number and type of layers in the bar, and so on.

2. When you have at least fifteen characteristics, start coding your bars for each.

3. Use your coding to reconstruct a phylogenetic tree. For an example on how to do this, please revisit the phylogeny exercise presented in the course materials [insert link to:].

4. Once you have the phylogeny of the candy bars, answer the following questions: Which candy bars are most closely related to one another—which form clades? Are the clades you identified in the phylogeny similar to species you identified in the first part of this exercise? Why or why not?

5. In your answers, demonstrate your grasp of the learning outcomes for this activity.


7. Post these answers on the class blog.

8. Once you are done, you deserve a taste test!

After you post your phylogenetic tree, read what your peers have found. Are you boggled by any results? Please comment on the work of at least two other groups. In this assignment, you will be assessed for all blogging criteria: quality of your post, communication skills, critical thinking and self-reflection, participation, and adherence to blogging protocol. Follow the guidelines for blogging and re-read the explanation of criteria provided in the Course Overview.