In this course, Women and Gender in Science and Technology, students discuss how social factors influence the way male and female science and engineering professionals experience the fields of science and technology. In order to meet the learning objectives of the course, the instructor wanted to ensure that the course:
- Encouraged intellectual discourse and a high-level of student participation, resulting in a shared sense of intellectual ownership and learning
- Provided a safe environment for expression in an on-line format
- Gave students an effective teamwork experience
- Delivered content in ways that met multiple learning styles
In order to encourage intellectual discourse and provide a safe environment for expression online, I encouraged the instructor to use a combination of VoiceThread and Moodle forums. VoiceThread is an asynchronous discussion tool that allows students to have discussions around images, videos and other media using audio, text or a Webcam comments. The ability to have both types of discussions was particularly important in this course where students often are asked to relate what they are learning to their personal experiences. Students were also asked to work in groups to lead one of the discussions each week. This included creating discussion questions, doing research on the topic, and moderating the discussions themselves.
In order to meet multiple learning styles, content was provided to students in a variety of formats including custom web pages, Articulate narrated presentations, readings and films, and a Vuvox interactive timeline. I also worked with the instructor and our Video Communications Services team to create a series of videos including an interview with the authors of the textbook.
To give students an effective teamwork experience, I worked with the instructor to provide guidelines to students on how to work together in groups. This included creating rubrics for each of the group assignments, asking students to peer review each other, and providing recommendations to students on how they might communicate with one another at a distance.