LMS Jigsaw – a Collaborative Learning Opportunity

Questions posed: What were the challenges and wonders of working collaboratively online? How might you do things in similar ways or differently with your students? How did you feel about working with the LMS system with which you were working?

SUNDAY:
I was placed on a team of OLTD students to learn about D2L. As it is a robust LMS we are each to  learn a portion of the system then instruct the others in the rest. I currently am using D2L in my classes but am looking forward to learning more about the system.

SUNDAY – FRIDAY:
There are a flurry of emails between the members of the team. We decide to wait to plan until we meet synchronously in class on Saturday as many of us are feeling overwhelmed and need time to adjust to the new class, OLTD 504 Learning Systems.

SATURDAY:
We have our online class from 10 – 12. Our group meets after in a collaborate room and use a Google+ doc to plan the jigsaw. Unfortunately I have an important family commitment and am unable to attend more that 10 minutes. Fortunately I know and trust my cohort so I ask them to give me an assignment. I am not worried. Had this been the first course, it may have been different.

SUNDAY:
When I look to see what my part of the jigsaw is I discover I am supporting a colleague in an aspect in which I am familiar. I am also responsible for teaching about release conditions. I have only used them once, so I am not an expert by any means. This will be a good opportunity to learn something new about a LMS that I use & like.

MONDAY – TUESDAY Reflections:
I notice that I have no apprehension about giving up control to my peers. I have complete confidence in their abilities to learn and teach a portion of the LMS. I think that is why I would be able to leave the planning session before it was finished. If there was a problem, I could connect with them and we would resolve it. We have built up tremendous trust in each other in a very short time (7 months). I have also seen many examples of their work & work habits. We are a group of high (over?) achievers.
I am not sure if I would use an assignment like this in classes I teach. As I teach adults in Adult Education, there is such a diverse background of experience and abilities. Some classes it would work quite well in, others not so much. I suspect it would be difficult not only because of the diverse abilities of students but also because the courses are only 10 – 13 weeks long! I know that not all of my students will complete all assignments or attend important classes. There are a few who will not complete online assignments, despite the class being 25% blended.
In class jigsaws may work well. I think I will plan one about HIV/AIDS. This way I can still circulate to ensure that students are on track and understand the material. There is a lot of paired work in my class, and on-line discussions but students are not responsible for teaching each other.

…. To be continued (after completion of LMS jigsaw activity on Saturday)

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