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Teaching Task-Tool Matrix

The purpose of this matrix is to outline the administrative as well as teaching and learning tasks that can be accomplished using a collaborative learning environment.  These are tasks that are commonly carried out by most faculty members and tasks that facilitate student learning, encourage student interaction and help to achieve learning objectives.

 

The matrix describes the administrative or teaching/learning task, provides descriptions of ways in which the task can be carried out and indicates the appropriate technology tools. 

 

In addition, examples are provided of ways in which these tools can be used to enhance teaching and learning. 

There are some general advantages for faculty members in using a collaborative learning environment:

  • Online teaching tools can make instructors more effective by allowing them to devote more time to teaching and less time to common administrative tasks such as the distribution of documents, grading and the communication of course information. 
  • It can foster communication between students and between the instructor and students. 
  • It can be used for collaborative or solitary research.
  • Students appreciate having course information and materials available online because they can access those materials at almost any time, from anyplace with a computer and Internet connection.
  • Instructors can make content available in many different formats, including multimedia such as Flash and Web links, video, audio and text.
  • Links to web sites allow faculty to direct students to huge repositories of content on every conceivable subject.  In addition, instructors can link to content they create and that is created by their students.
  • Certain tools can foster a community online that talks to each other in either an asynchronous or synchronous mode. 
  • Instructors can collaborate online with people from distant places (colleagues, researchers, evaluators), including students who may not be able to attend class in person.

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Learning Activity/Task

How Can It Be Accomplished with technology?

Sakai Tool to Use

Administrative Tasks

1

Instructor can easily communicate with students

 

 

 

 

You can send an introductory announcement that welcomes students to the course.  This can include information about you, about the course and about any requirements of which students should be aware.

Announcements can be used to alert students to changes in class dates or for other important information. For example, you can inform students of bad weather closures or changes in schedules.

When you create an announcement, you can also send an email that goes to all students informing them of the new announcement.

Announcements

 

 

 

 

2

Instructor/students can track class events

 

 

 

 

The calendar allows you and your students to see all assignment due dates and other important class dates.  In addition to one-time events, you can add repeating events, such as a lab that occurs every Thursday at 7PM. 

You can attach files to a calendar item; for example attach a rubric for an upcoming graded in-class event. Remind students to check the calendar regularly.

Calendar

 

 

 

 

3

Assessment templates  and question pools speed the process of creating tests and quizzes

 

 

 

 

Before the start of the semester, create your own “type” (template) in assessments.  Make sure it has all the settings you want for that type of assessment.  Settings include items like whether all questions appear on the same page, or not; whether the student will be given immediate feedback; the number of submissions allowed, whether the assessment will be timed and so on.

You can create separate types for each type of assessment you give—for example, one type for short quizzes, another for exams.

Create question pools as you create an assessment so that you can re-use questions.  That makes it easier to create new assessments and to reconstruct an assessment.

Assessments

 

 

 

 

4

Private workspace is provided to help you manage courses and files

 

 

 

 

My Workspace is a private area to which only you have access. Store documents you don’t want students (or anyone else) to access in your My Workspace resources.  Use it as a repository for files that are “works in progress”.  Access and work on these files from home, from your office or from anywhere else where you have a computer and internet access.

Create a personal profile in My Workspace that includes your contact information and office hours.  You can add a picture to your profile so that students at a distance can see you.

Use Preferences to determine how you receive email messages from your sites—whether one by one, or in a daily digest.

Customize the tabs of your sites.  You set the order to determine which site appears first, which second and so on.

My Workspace

 

 

 

 

5

Course information and an organized outline of the course with assignment due dates is provided

 

 

 

 

Course and instructor information is provided in the syllabus.  Text can be copied and pasted (using the Paste from Word icon).  You can edit the syllabus directly on the course site to make updates or when you make changes in important dates.

 

A printable copy of the syllabus can be attached.

Syllabus

 

 

 

 

6

Easy delivery of course content

Course content is made available online so that students can easily access it at any time.  Course content can include lectures notes or outlines, handouts, readings, links to web sites, links to e-reserve articles, and media such as video, Flash, web pages, audio files.

Resources

 

 

 

 

7

Delivery of course content is managed

 

 

 

 

Dates of availability and Hide/Show features in Resources allow you to control the delivery of course content.  You can upload course materials into your site in advance of the course start date. Some documents that you post in resources can be set to always be available to students.  For other documents, you can set “dates of availability”.  To set dates of availability you set documents to become visible (to be shown) to students at a certain date/time and to be hidden from student view at a later date.

This allows you to control the presentation of new material during the course and to adjust as necessary to the rate and degree of learning that is occurring in the classroom, much as you would if all your course materials were in the form of hard copy handouts.

In the same way, you can set exam review sheets on your site to only be available the week before an exam. 

Resources

 

 

 

 

8

Multiple files can be uploaded to the course site

 

 

 

 

You can use a technology called Web DAV that allows you to upload multiple files (documents/images/media) from your computer hard drive to your site.  You can also upload multiple files (up to 10 at a time) using the Resources interface.  This can save you time.

Resources

 

 

 

 

9

Instructor can easily communicate with students using Email

 

 

 

 

Email sent to your course site is automatically sent to all students in the course, making it easy to alert students to changes you make or important events. 

All email sent to students is also archived on your site—so that students can access all messages at any time.  You can use any email client to send email to the site.

Email Archive

 

 

 

 

10

Completed assignments are easily accessible and feedback can be quickly provided

 

 

 

 

Student assignments can be submitted online in a text box, and/or as attachments, depending on what you have specified. 

You can provide feedback on assignments and allow students to resubmit their work. You can easily see which students have or have not completed the assignments, so you can track student progress and remind students that are behind.

Assignments

 

 

 

 

11

Students can easily upload assignments to a personal dropbox

 

 

 

 

Assignments can be submitted via the dropbox in numerous formats including as documents, pdfs, media files, graphic files.

You will not have to create individual drop boxes for your students; folders will automatically be created for each student in your roster.

Students can immediately see their uploaded file in the drop box and don’t have to worry about whether the assignment was received by the instructor.

Dropbox

 

 

 

 

12

Grade information is easily distributed to students

 

 

 

 

Use the gradebook to calculate, store, and distribute grade information to students online. 

 

You can view information in the gradebook by assignment, by the student roster, as a summary of assignments or by section or group. 

The gradebook will auto-calculate a final grade, but you can override the auto-calculated grade if necessary.

Gradebook

 

 

 

 

13

Students can easily access the latest updates/news on a particular academic topic or area

 

 

 

 

News Feeds that aggregate the latest news on a wide variety of topics and academic areas are available on the Internet. The News Feed tool allows you to link directly to such feeds so that your students can rapidly find the latest on the topic/area.  You can find feeds by doing an internet search using the keywords “RSS, newsfeed” plus the name of your topic area—for example “Biology”. 

Send students an email alerting them to important articles in an RSS news feed. Ask students to share items they read on a news feed with the class.

News Feeds

 

 

 

 

14

Provide students an easy way to contact you during regular “office hours”

 

 

 

 

Establish online office hours. Regularly remind students about your online hours where they can discuss questions and concerns. 

Make sure they understand that what you chat about is not private and is visible to all site participants.

Chat

 

 

 

 

15

Flexibility in adjusting permissions

 

 

 

 

Add a trusted teaching assistant in a TA role for such tasks as grading/tracking work submitted in student drop-boxes, entering grades and monitoring discussions. You can adjust permissions for the TA role in several tools including Gradebook, Syllabus, Assessments and Discussion.

Set permissions in tools

 

 

 

 

16

Ability to re-use an existing course site

 

 

 

 

If you teach the same course over several semesters, you can duplicate your site and then change the course name to reflect the new semester.

Site Info

Duplicate a site

 

 

 

 

17

Ability to make changes to course site

 

 

 

 

Once a course site is created, you can make changes to the course site name and description. You can also add and remove tools used in the site.

Site Info

 

 

Teaching and Learning Tasks

1

Transfer of new knowledge

 

 

 

 

Store documents/media/web links containing the new knowledge.  You can create new folders and folders within folders.  You can upload multiple files at a time using the Resources interface or using WebDAV.

Resources

 

 

Link to web sites that provide new sources of knowledge

Web Content

 

 

Set up an RSS Newsfeed which will appear as a link in your site menu bar on the left-hand side of the screen. Newsfeeds aggregate the latest news/reports on a specific area of interest and make them available as links.  Newsfeed are available on a wide variety of topics and academic areas.

News Feeds

 

 

 

 

2

Formation of new concepts

 

 

 

 

Store examples of a concept that are available on a web site through web links, or through media that tell a story (a video, picture, mind map).

Resources

 

 

Reinforce concepts through simple repetition of lesson highlights, or through a new “story” that you record and make available to students through the podcast tool

Podcasts

 

 

You can also create podcasts that provide students with accurate pronunciation/definitions of foreign language/technical vocabulary

Podcasts

 

 

Students can use the blog tool to enter their comments demonstrating their understanding of the concept and building on it.

Blog

 

 

Students could take part in an online chat, moderated by the instructor or by a designated student in which they “talk” about the concept. This would demonstrate to the instructor their understanding, or lack of understanding, of the concept. 

Chat

 

 

Similarly, students could be required to take part in an online asynchronous discussion about the concept, to demonstrate their understanding.

For online discussions that you will grade ask questions to which there is a defined answer. You may want to provide example answers as a guide to students that are inexperienced in online discussions.

Open-ended questions can be used to encourage initiative and creativity. Generally, you can expect online discussions to be more thoughtful than in class discussions, but less formal than written compositions.

Discussion

 

 

 

 

3

Practice new knowledge and skills

 

 

 

 

Use a structured discussion or chat to allow students to practice new knowledge and skills.  For example, have students take the part of historical figures and discuss an historical event in character.

Debate students could hold a practice debate using the chat tool.

Discussion/Chat

 

 

Create assignments that require students to respond inline, meaning that they enter their responses in a text box in the assignments tool.  You can comment on their work and “return” it to them electronically for corrections/improvements.

Assignments

 

 

Practice quizzes/tests allow you to gauge student understanding or knowledge of a topic.

Assessments

 

 

Students can blog their reflections on classroom discussions or on course topics.  Such reflection is a way for students to internalize what they have learned in class.

Blog

 

 

Students can collaborate to analyze a topic in the wiki.  The wiki allows students to collaborate on the construction of a document.  It preserves a history of all changes to the document so that you can tell which students have contributed and which have not.

Wiki

 

 

 

 

4

Problem-solving activities

 

 

 

 

Just as with paper assignments, you can provide students with a detailed problem that they must solve, but have them do it online using the assignments tool.  An advantage of the online delivery of assignments is that you can provide active web links within the assignment description to sources of help and information that students will need. 

Assignments

 

 

Problem-solving can be a major part of online assessments.  Assessments can include links to outside web sites, and attachments.

Assessments

 

 

You can provide course materials such as documents, media or web links used for problem solving activities in the Resources tool.

Resources (Web Links)

 

 

 

 

5

Active participation

 

 

 

 

Chat sessions can be pre-arranged and students required to attend and to participate.  Such events can be used to assess students understanding or knowledge. 

Students may elect to use chat for online study sessions.

Chat

 

 

Various topics of discussion can be posted at strategic points in the course timeframe.  Discussions can be graded for content, or used for a participation grade.  Either way, rubrics can be provided so that students understand what is expected of them and how many points they can earn. You can monitor and sum up key points at the close of discussion.  

Discussions are generally more thoughtful than chat sessions, because they are asynchronous and students have more time to think about what they enter. 

Discussion

 

 

Students can be required to enter comments in a Blog for a grade or as participation.

Blog

 

 

A wiki allows students and/or others to collaborate on the creation of a document.  It can be used for group projects.  Students can edit the document and a history of their changes is preserved.  They can revert to earlier versions of the document if desired.

Wiki

 

 

The poll tool allows you to create quick polls on course content, on current events, or simply to determine student sentiment on the course.

Poll

 

 

 

 

6

Assess student knowledge/skills

 

 

 

 

Assignments can be used to assess student’s knowledge and skills.  Assignments can include attachments and web links. 

Students can respond online and/or can attach documents.  Online submissions can be reviewed and returned to the student for improvements.

Assignments

 

 

Online assessments can be used to assess students learning. To minimize the chances of student cheating on online assessments, have students take graded assessments in a computer lab with a proctor. 

Alternatively assessments can be used to gauge student’s level of understanding, or as practice tests.  In all cases, grading criteria should be made clear and explicit, and known to students prior to submitting work.

Assessments

 

 

Polls can be used to evaluate student’s knowledge on a topic.  Such polls could be given at the start of a class to determine whether students have retained a previous class’s content.

Poll

 

 

Discussion questions can be used to assess student knowledge and understanding of a topic.

Discussions can be graded on the quality of their content.  If discussions are graded, students should be provided a rubric that sets out criteria that will be used in evaluating their participation.

Discussion

 

 

 

 

7

Apply new knowledge/skills in real world environment

 

 

 

 

Students can use a project site as a collaborative space to work on a group or solo project. They can create documents and upload them into Resources, or create a document in an HTML page or in the wiki.

A project site is not tied to a semester or to the registrar’s database.  It can exist for as long as you need it.  You must add participants to the site and you can add individuals from outside the university.  The Resources tool is used to store files.  You can also create HTML pages in the Resources tool.

For example, students could be asked to create a simulation showing concepts or themes they are studying.
    In a technology course students might create
    technical plans for a new piece of software.

    Science students may design an experimental
    model. 

    Archeology students may collaborate on a set of
    instructions to be used in excavations.

Students can design and/or build a model that illustrates the concepts they're learning. 

For example, Child Development students using the wiki or an HTML page could design a day care center, complete with floor plan, schedule, lists of necessary supplies and links to sources where supplies could be purchased.

Project site Resources

 

 

Student teams can be assigned certain material to read and then create a set of questions based on the material. They could post the questions to a discussion forum and then collaboratively address the issues with the whole class.

Discussion

 

 

 

 

8

Students develop critical thinking and engage in peer analysis/review

 

 

 

 

Students may be asked to complete an assignment that will be assessed by their peers through a tool such as discussion or the wiki. 

This could be a paper, a piece of writing, a case study, a compare and contrast exercise or a real world scenario.  

This method can be used when there is no single right or wrong answer or when several methods can be used to solve a problem or address an issue. 

Discussion

Wiki

 

 

 

 

9

Students can collaborate on exercises and projects

 

 

 

 

Students can take part in an exercise where they introduce themselves to classmates through a short biography. The instructor can provide a framework for this by posting a set of points each student must address.

 

Students can be separated into groups and assigned a different piece of a concept or of course material which they must digest and present to the rest of the class through the discussion tool or the wiki. This method is commonly called a “j igsaw”.

Discussion

Wiki

 

 

Students can create their own project site and enroll members of a class group that is working on a common project/exercise. 

 

Students can then collaborate on the project, exchange email, store resources and more.

Project sites

 

 

The wiki can be used for collaborative writing projects.  The wiki stores each set of changes to the page as a version, and a history of changes is also provided. 

 

Demonstrate the use of the wiki and have students do a practice run with a simple task before starting a major project. For example, have each student enter their favorite recipe in the wiki.  This will give them a chance to become familiar with the basics of using the wiki.

Wiki

 

 

 

 

10

Students engage in project supervised by the faculty member or a mentor

 

 

 

 

Students work with a partner or small group on a project, supervised by the instructor. They can use the project site to store documents/media and other files; to create HTML pages, to collaborate on a wiki, to send email, to chat or use a discussion forum and so on. 

Alternatively, students could be matched up with an outside expert who acts as a mentor.  The expert provides feedback and guidance to the student from a “real-world” perspective and facilitates an instructor-designed learning experience.

For example, psychology students might be mentored by a local psychologist. The students could experience the psychologist’s world firsthand and later correlate and discuss their experiences in writing and through discussions with other students

Project site

Discussion

Chat

Wiki

Blog

Email

 

 

 

 

11

Use of historical speeches, or speeches by subject experts

 

 

 

 

Guest speakers/experts can be recorded and the recordings turned into podcasts that students can listen to at their convenience.  Students can then be required to discuss the speaker’s comments in a Discussion forum with guided questions.

Podcasts

Discussion

 

 

Students could also be required to enter comments about the speaker’s remarks in a blog.  Blog entries could be graded according to a rubric that is also supplied to students.

Blog

 

 

 

 

12

Provide feedback so students can improve a skill

 

 

 

 

Student writing is entered in the assignments tool where the instructor can analyze it and provide feedback.

Assignments

 

 

You can enter feedback comments when you create an assessment.  If the test is a practice and the goal is to increase understanding, you can set feedback to be available immediately, as the student is taking the test.   You can also set feedback to become available at a set time and date, once all students have taken the assessment.

Assessments

 

 

 

 

 

Provide opportunity for repetition of important course information

 

 

 

 

To improve student retention of foreign languages and of terms specific to a discipline, (such as medicine, statistics, computer science, biology, etc), you can make recordings of vocabulary/terms and definitions that students can listen to. 

Consider creating pre-class content outlines that should be listened to prior to class.

Podcasts

 

 

 

 

13

Reflect and analyze learning/experiences

 

 

 

 

Students can reflect individually on their learning and their experiences in the Blog and Assignments tools. 

The Discussion and Wiki can be used for group reflections or analysis of a topic.

Blog

Discussion

Assignments

Wiki

 

 

 

 

14

Students have convenient access to the instructor

 

 

 

 

You can set up online office hours for students.  Certain students may find it easier to “talk” via chat rather than in person.  Always tell students that chat sessions are visible to anyone who logs in to the site and are not private.  Don’t discuss personal or sensitive subjects in Chat.

Chat

 

 

Create a discussion area for off-topic discussions to keep the instructional discussion areas focused on course content

Discussion

 

 

 

 

15

Evaluate student learning

 

 

 

 

Different types of evaluation can be accomplished using these tools.  Assignments and assessments generally provide students point values for answering questions related to core concepts and knowledge. 

It may be important that students are not assessed solely on tests/quizzes but can also demonstrate proficiency in other ways.  For example , you can provide rubrics for students which will allow you to grade discussions, blog entries, wiki entries and certain assignments.

Assignments

Assessments

Discussion

Blog

Wiki