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Collab Communities in E-Lrng-SU16-960C-1124

Module 3 - Small Group Evergreen

Refer to Module 3 Activities page for directions. Please do not post until the practice facilitator posts the
prompt.

UPDATED - PLEASE re-READ: Productive
feedback
Sandra Loucks - Jul 11, 2016 8:15 AM

Hello Team Evergreen,

Welcome to one of our Module 3 discussions!

In this age of "thumbs up"s and "likes", it is so easy to do that in our formal discussions as
well. Even face to face conversations are filled with "I know, right?"s. As a facilitator, our
goal is to have meaningful discussions. While it's nice to have someone agree with us, it's
not going to challenge our thinking.

How might the facilitator promote substantive, constructive feedback? Give examples
from your own experiences, if you can – especially those that might help provide ways to
encourage students who have slipped into the habit of only answering with “I agree” or
“me too!”

Please create a new thread for your original response to this post.
I will be traveling today and will not be able to be online for 4-5 hours, so if you don't
"see me around", know that I have not abandoned you! I will log on as soon as I arrive at
my destination.

Looking forward to learning lots with you this week,

Sandy - Eagle, WI

Substantive responses
L - Jul 11, 2016 4:37 PM

Hello Evergreen!

This concern regarding interactive and ongoing dialogue in discussion boards is a valid one. As instructors we
probably battle this topic more frequently than many others as most learning plans/modules/units of study include a
discussion board topic. I post in both my syllabus and the initial course welcome email/announcement a section on
discussion board replies that even specifically includes a definition of the word substantive. Since I have done this I
have to admit that I have had significantly fewer issues with this. As I did some on line research on this topic I came
across an article that may also be helpful to include in student readings at the course onset. It provides suggestions for
being successful in discussion board assignments. 5 ways to ace on line discussion boards In this article Haynie
(2015) states as an example:

“Say something substantive: While online instructors want to hear student opinions on discussion boards, they want
those opinions to be backed up by facts. Citing sources from inside and out of class can cut back on plagiarism and
make a student's argument seem more legitimate”

Clear explanation of expectations is very important in ensuring student interaction in discussion board dialogue.

I am curious whether anyone else has specifically documented those expectations in the CMS or syllabus and if so,
how did you do so?

L

Haynie, D. (2015). 5 ways to ace discussion board assignments in an online class. US World and News Report
Education. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2015/04/03/5-ways-to-ace-
discussion-board-assignments-in-an-online-clas

Substantive responses
D - Jul 13, 2016 10:34 AM

L,

Thanks for the reference to an excellent article. I think it is difficult to overemphasize the need to read the directions. So many students fail to
do this, either because they assume they know what is expected, or because they are unconcerned about meeting expectations. This is true in
both online and face to face courses. My students frequently are required to redo an assignment because they did not follow instructions. This
is frustrating for the student and the teacher, and it is entirely avoidable, as long as the student takes the time to read the instructions..

Thanks,

D

Reading directions
Sandra Loucks - Jul 13, 2016 4:04 PM
D makes an excellent point about students failing to read directions. Not reading directions completely could
effect quality of responses. Does this problem fall across all age levels, or is more descriptive of a certain age
level? Have you incorporated something to address this in a course?

Sandy - Eagle, WI

Justify Your "I Agree"
D - Jul 12, 2016 4:03 PM

How might the facilitator promote substantive, constructive feedback? Give examples from your own experiences, if you can – especially
those that might help provide ways to encourage students who have slipped into the habit of only answering with “I agree” or “me too!”

Peer to peer feedback plays an important role in both face to face (F2F) and online learning. In a middle school math classroom, students
frequently learn from their peers, who explain things in ways the instructor cannot. However, it can be difficult to convince some students
that the feedback they provide is an important part of learning. Silberman and Hansburg (2005) offer four strategies for encouraging
others to provide helpful and constructive feedback:

 Invite others to give feedback that’s really wanted

 Develop an on-going commitment to feedback

 Take into account the needs of the person on the giving end

 Keep the focus on the future, not the past

These strategies can be instituted in both online and F2F classes. By making it clear that feedback is valued, by modeling the kind of
feedback expected of students, and by incorporating received feedback into future discussions, a facilitator can help even those students
who find the idea of providing feedback intimidating to see the value of feedback in both the F2F and online learning environments.

Referencing discussion boards in online courses, Lehmann and Chamberlin (2009) write, “(b)ecause online learners and facilitators cannot
see each other, the medium is ripe for misinterpretation” (p. 41). As a result, care must be taken by the facilitator not to alienate those
students who consistently post only brief messages of agreement. The objective is to get those students to state explicitly why they agree
with the original post. What experiences might the students have which lead to agreement, or what have they read which supports the
original post? Eliciting this kind of feedback can be done either through a reply posting that asks for more specific information without
saying the original reply is inadequate, or the facilitator might send a private message with a more detailed explanation of how to justify
the statement of agreement.

References

Lehmann, K. J., & Chamberlin, L. (2009). Making the move to eLearning: Putting your course online. Lanham, MD: Rowman &
Littlefield Education.

Silberman, M. L., & Hansburg, F. (2005). How to encourage constructive feedback from others: Leader's guide. San Francisco, CA:
Jossey-Bass.

Thanks,

D

More Please
J - Jul 13, 2016 1:16 PM

D,

You have thought of many things that could help your online students to respond to a prompt. You talked about the importance the
facilitator modeling proper feedback and about students giving each other feedback, saying that students can learn better from other
students. You also talked about the importance of tone in their feedback. An online facilitator also watches for evidence that students are
understanding the concept and they ask questions to help clarify misunderstandings. What broad, open-ended question could you ask to
stimulate discussion about answering prompts?

J

Questions
A - Jul 13, 2016 9:05 PM

I don’t have the experience from the teacher’s point of view, but I can speak from a student’s perspective. In my first online class at
Stout I felt like a fish out of water. I don’t teach in a K-12 or college setting and had a difficult time feeling like I had any real life
experience to add to the discussions like so many of my classmates. I struggled at times knowing what to write. It takes time for me to
think about my responses. So I would be tempted to write “I agree” or “me too!” if I knew I could get away with it. Other students
might also find it hard to articulate their experiences or opinions. Others might simply not want to bother elaborating on their view
point.

The instructor might remind the students of the guidelines for discussion. In my classes so far, every instructor has clearly outlined what
they expect in the discussion forum. The instructor might also follow the advice of Palloff and Pratt (2007). When there is little response
to a question they suggest asking another question to help stimulate thinking about the first question that was asked (p. 171-172).

Additional questions might be:

Please tell me specific reasons why you agree.

Can you provide any example of why you agree?

Please describe a similar experience you have had.

I’ve appreciated when online instructors ask me questions that have me think deeper about a subject. I think most students would think
the same way once they have really made the effort to formulate meaningful answers.

A

Reference:

Palloff, R.M. & Pratt, K. (2007) Building Online Learning Communities: Effective Strategies for the Virtual Classroom. San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass.

Digging deeper
O - Jul 13, 2016 11:44 PM

A,

You are right, digging deeper by asking open ended questions allow the students to think deeply about the response. One thing that I really
found valuable in one of my online class was the peer to peer feedback whereby students are able to give constructive feedback and ask
questions to deepened the discussion.

Thanks

L

Just ask
J - Jul 14, 2016 10:06 AM
Hi A!

Great suggestions! I've always found that if I wanted people to respond, I simply asked! :) I find that if I let people know that I need
help or would like additional feedback or alternative point of view, they will respond with plenty! When we enter classes as students we
are very used to taking in information and we forget to ask to promote our learning. Great information to share with your peers!

J

PIP - Providing Constructive Feedback
O - Jul 13, 2016 11:33 PM

Hello Team,

According to Dunlap and Grainger (2003), " the process of reviewing someone else's work can help learners reflect on and articulate their
own views and ideas, ultimately improving their own work". In the online learning environment, substantive and constructive feedback is
very crucial. Students need to be open to criticism in order to make corrections and improve on current and future project. The response
has to be specific and provide suggestions.This will allow the student to be open, dig deeper and re-evaluate the response and make
necessary corrections.

I had an interesting and positive experience in one of my E- learning class. We used peer to peer feedback working in small groups and I
found out that the PIP sandwich method of providing substantive and constructive to be beneficial. Starting with positive feedback, being
specific and praising the student for something good in their presentation or project. An example is the jigsaw project, I really love the
detail and the presentation of one of the team project but the choice of color was too dark and project fonts too small, making it difficult
for readers. My feed feedback was as follow:

"Neil, I really love the theme and detail of your group presentation. You put a lot into getting your message across to the audience by using
graphic and bulleting key points to keep the audience focus on the key advantages of each assessment tools.Great job on this and I
commend you and your team member for working hard together. One area your group need to work on is your choice of color and font
size. The background color is too dark and I have difficulty reading it because of the small font size. Remember you are presenting this
project to adult learners. For them to enjoy and get the best out of this project, revise it by making the font larger and changing the
background color to a lighter color. Overall, I admire your group project and you are way ahead of the deadline. Great job once again!

Below enjoy my short video on PIP

http://www.dvolver.com/live/movies-1191604

L

Reference

Dunlap, J. C., & Grainger, S. (2003). Preparing students for lifelong learning: A review of instruction methodologies. A Performance
Improvement Quarterly, 16 (2), 6 - 25

Sandwich (Positive, Improvement, Positive) in its simplicity. Retrieved July 12th 2016 from http://www.DOCS/EMM2-SANDWICH.pdf

peer to peer feedback - what age?
Sandra Loucks - Jul 14, 2016 9:52 AM

L and D bring back the PIPs that some of us were made aware of in J's group discussion
in the first module. When we have pointed out where something we've discussed before
is relavant, we can see how important it really is or how to use it in a different context; or
for those of us who skimmed it the first time, might "get it" the second!

This Positive, Improve, Positive is a great tool to use when giving a student feedback, or
when adult peers are giving each other feedback. I wonder if it could be used with younger
students giving peer feedback. How young? Has anyone tried to teach middle school or
elementary students this?

Sandy

Good discussion so far!
Sandra Loucks - Jul 14, 2016 10:30 AM

Good discussion so far everyone! This week’s topic was how a facilitator might promote
substantive, constructive feedback. I've summarized your responses and here’s what
we’ve got so far:

 Post clear expectations and a definition of “substantive” in the course syllabus and
initial course welcome email/announcement.

 Make it clear that feedback is valued in this class: model it and incorporate
feedback into future discussions.

 Ask questions of the students that will help them probe further such as asking for
specific reasons or examples or similar experiences.

With a couple notes:

 Be careful not to alienate those students who consistently post only brief
messages.
 Emphasize the need to read directions carefully.

When you look at our list, what strikes you?

Sandy - Eagle, WI

Substantive responses
L - Jul 15, 2016 7:23 AM

D,

You raise a great point and one that I have tried in both f2f and on line classes.I have students in f2f classes sign a form stating they
have read and agree to abide by the information provided int he syllabus. This form is detached from the syllabus and given to me. I
file it away unless I need to pull it to remind them that yes they did indeed have the opportunity to know this expectation at the
beginning of class and I have their signature to prove it. I do something similar in the on line classes where they have to email me an
acceptance and understanding statement for the syllabus. I admit I don't often maintain such a hard nosed attitude with students but
at least I have it should I feel a student is trying to take advantage. Do you utilize something like this in your classes? Is it effective?
L

Signature confirmation
D - Jul 15, 2016 12:02 PM

L,
I do the same thing with students in my math classes. However, in addition to the student's signature, I also require a parent signature on the
form. There have been several instances when this has come in handy. As an example, students in my Algebra class are required to maintain
a minimum cumulative average of 80% over the academic year in order for me to recommend that they move on to Geometry. Social
promotion is the norm here, so parents are surprised on those occasions when I recommend that a student repeat the Algebra class. I point
out to them that this requirement is clearly outlined in the syllabus, which they read and signed at the beginning of the year. At that point,
the parent usually says "Oh, uh...yeah." So, it is effective in the sense that the parent and student cannot say that I never told them about the
requirement.

Thanks,

D

Signature confirmation
L - Jul 16, 2016 9:39 AM

D,

What a great addition to have parents also sign. I can see that it would add another layer of accountability within the family. I had to chuckle
the thought of requiring that for my adult learners........but maybe there is still something to think about there..... thanks for the great idea...and
also the smile, L

Taking the time.
O - Jul 14, 2016 5:07 PM

Hi D,
I love the idea of the instructor taking the time to help students who are afraid of providing substantive peer-to-peer feedback. You
stated, "a facilitator can help even those students who find the idea of providing feedback intimidating to see the value of feedback in
both the F2F and online learning environments". This is very true, in one of my past informatics class, during peer-to peer feedback,
one of the students said he was not comfortable providing feedbacks to fellow student and he would rather have the instructor carry
out this activity. The instructor was patient in working with this student and by the end of that course, he gradually learned the
strategies and tips of providing constructive feedback.

L

More Questions
D - Jul 14, 2016 10:38 PM

J,

I suspect you have a particular question in mind, but I will have to think on this. If I were addressing the question to someone who had posted
an "I agree" response, my immediate reaction would be to ask "Why do you agree?"

D

Just get them started.
D - Jul 14, 2016 10:45 PM

L,
Students in middle school classes (seventh and eighth grade here in my district) are notoriously reluctant to provide feedback. What I
have experienced in my math classes is that when students see how helpful peer feedback actually is, they become more willing to
participate. In many cases, once they have started, that kind of feedback becomes more important to them than the feedback that I
provide as the instructor. My advanced classes are so good at learning from each other that about all I have to do is ensure they know
what the learning objectives are. They take it from there.

Thanks for your thoughts,

D

Not too wordy!
Sandra Loucks - Jul 15, 2016 9:14 AM

Personally, if an instructor simply asked me, "Why do you agree?" it would really make
me think and help me take it to where I wanted to go. We've talked about being too wordy
at times; I think this is brilliantly simple! (I was going to say more, but deleted it because
I think it was muddying the conversation!)

Questions
L - Jul 16, 2016 9:52 AM

A,
I appreciated your post and the perspective that you hold. I always encourage beginning teachers that I have mentored to not lose that
perspective as you gain teaching experience. It will provide you with insights that others will miss as they deal with students.

I really related to your statement "Can you provide any example of.....". I often use this or the phrase "Could you provide additional
insight on...." I have always felt that these comments both build up (saying you feel they have something valuable to add to the
conversation) and draw them out further. It has always felt like a very positive way to encourage more interaction.

As a relatively new on line learner what do you think would work the BEST for you to draw you out but not make you feel like you are
under the microscope?

L

Sandwich
L - Jul 15, 2016 7:39 AM

L,

I appreciated your detailed explanation of this process. As the years have unfolded I have loved that this has become a "thing". I
employed it , without the name or research behind it and with mixed success, while raising my own children 30 years ago and have
continued to use it through out my teaching career. I have always felt constructive criticism is better received when the person realizes
that you also value what they have accomplished. Thanks again, L

peer to peer feedback - what age?
Lisa Weaver - Jul 15, 2016 7:42 AM

Sandy,

I think your question is valid and it is exactly my reply to Lara's original post. I have unofficially used that method, without knowing it was a
"method" when I raised my kids 30 years ago and continue it today with my grandsons. I have always felt that people will receive
constructive criticism more fully if they feel you have found some value in what they have already done. If you acknowledge the work they
have already done they may be more motivated to improve the final product. L

PIP/Sandwich Method in young children.
O - Jul 15, 2016 7:59 PM

Sandy,

You raised a good question about using PIP (Positive, Improvement, Positive) in young elementary school children. I think one should
be able to apply other assessment methods to the PIP/Sandwich methods. I found this video helpful and PIP/Sandwich method can
easily borrow from this method. I hope this helps.

Thanks

L

Reference:

Jobs for the Future (2013, August 22) Peer Assessment: Reflection from Students and Teachers. Retrieved
from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqWCJZH8ziQ
PIP and parenting
O - Jul 15, 2016 8:14 PM

Thanks L for sharing your experience. I was somehow surprised too when I ran into this hamburger or sandwich method of feedback. I was
amazed how many parents used this method in parenting. Like you said it was a positive experience and personally since I started using it both at
home and work, I noticed that people are more open to constructive criticism.

L

What strikes me so far
L - Jul 15, 2016 7:31 AM

Sandy,

I think the thing that stands out most for me as I re-read our accumulated comments is that if the instructor makes the information
VERY clear at the outset we will have better results. While we can't shoulder ALL the responsibility for the students we will all have
better success in the classes if we provided specific and timely instruction and perhaps repeat it information through out the course as
well . L

Good discussion so far!
D - Jul 15, 2016 11:49 AM

Sandy,

I was thinking the same thing as L-an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Careful planning at the outset will encourage students to
participate on a regular basis, and modeling the kind of feedback expected will help even the most reluctant student gain confidence in the
feedback process.

Thanks,

D

Examples
A - Jul 16, 2016 9:46 PM

"I am curious whether anyone else has specifically documented those expectations in the CMS or syllabus and if so, how did you do so?"

L,

I’m hoping a face-to-face test preparation course I teach for my employer will become an online course. I currently outline my
expectations in the syllabus. If I add the discussion component, as a result of the course being online, I would provide an example of what
a substantive and a non-substantive discussion post looks like. I would hope this would provide clarity about what I’m expecting when the
student posts to the discussion board.

A

Are all examples equal?
Sandra Loucks - Jul 17, 2016 11:37 AM

Examples are a great way to show what you are looking for. Why would it be important to
show one that does NOT meet the criteria?

On a similar note, in elementary school, back in the day, many of us wrote sentences on
the board with mistakes in them that the students were to correct. A faction of educators
felt that we shouldn't be giving examples of what NOT to do. They said that having seen it
on the board puts it in their visual memory and confuses the student as to what is and isn't
correct. Would this argument fit for our examples of how and how NOT to write a
"substantive response?"

Sandy

Are all examples equal?
A - Jul 17, 2016 7:43 PM

Sandy,

I teach in a corporate environment. I have found in face to face teaching employees are afraid of looking ignorant. Once my employer moves to
the classes being offered online, it will be a new experience for many of the them. I want them to succeed and hope that by providing an example
that does not meet the criteria students would be set-up for success. I believe that if students have acceptable and unacceptable examples of how
they should respond, they would be prone to provide more substantive answers from the beginning. As a student, I much prefer having examples
of both so I know how to proceed.

A
Similarities and differences are both important
D - Jul 17, 2016 9:16 PM

Sandy,

Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock (2001) write that "(p)resenting students with explicit guidance in identifying similarities and differences
enhances students' understanding of and ability to use knowledge." This would certainly seem to suggest that comparing and contrasting
both correct and incorrect examples will be helpful to students.

I do this frequently in my math classes, and having examples of work that is not up to the standard definitely helps students avoid some
common mistakes, especially when the students can compare answers side by side to really see the differences.

Reference

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student
achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Thanks,

D

Open-Ended Questions
A - Jul 16, 2016 9:44 PM

J,

As I think about your question, I think about asking questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. If I could ask open-ended questions with this in
mind, I think even deeper discussion would occur. Some questions I might ask include:
What are the alternatives?

What conclusions can you make?

What do you see as other possible outcomes?

What are the pros and cons of?

A

Questions
A - Jul 17, 2016 4:15 PM

L,

Good question! I’m someone that always want to improve. Receiving immediate feedback has been helpful for me. Also, instructors asking
questions that cause me to think about the topic in a different way has been helpful as well. I’ve never been asked questions that have made
me feel like I was under a microscope.

A

Immediate Feedback
A - Jul 17, 2016 10:09 AM

L,
Thank you for the movie. It was a fun way to present information about PIP!

You wrote, “The response has to be specific and provide suggestions.” I would also add feedback needs to be immediate. As an adult
learner, I want to know immediately what I’m doing wrong so I can correct my ways. If I’m provided feedback six weeks into a
course that an instructor should have given me in week two or three of my course, I’m much less likely to correct my mistake.

A