Using the information we looked at in our facilitation module, create a moderate post (150-300 words) for the following topic:
Pick ONE of the following scenarios:
1. Angie has not been participating very regularly in your class. She has not been contributing to forum posts and has been turning in homework late. After a couple of efforts to visit with her without success, she finally approaches you about an extension. She mentioned that it has been very difficult to get on a computer because she has no access at home and can't stay too late at school. While normally this would be something that you would emphasize with, you are having some doubts as the records show she has accessed it late at night.
What would you say to her?
2. Sarah and Brian are in a group together for a project. Sarah is very conscious about her grade in the class and is desperately trying to get the group project finished. However, each participant must contribute, and as of yet, Brian has not contributed. She has complained to you about Brian's lack of effort.
Brian, on the other hand, mentions that the last group project did not work out well at all. Every suggestion that he had, Sarah basically turned down. Sarah ended up doing her own work anyways. Brian feels as though he can't make a contribution to the group.
What would you say to Brian and Sarah?
3. With your class of adult students, Caleb has been very open on different forums. However, he has told some personal stories where he has made some derogatory references to women. He seems unaware that they are derogatory, but while other participants have not said anything directly to you, you notice a sudden end to the discussion thread every time he contributes.
Brian and Susan are having difficult times due to an imbalance in what should be a peer activity. I would quietly take them aside and discuss that group work is about sharing ideas and work. I might set up an "every other suggestion" situation. Susan would have her idea implemented in one area, then Brian would have his implemented in another. If they are both working at the same time in different areas, Susan won't feel as pressured to do all of the work. Brian will take more ownership in the assignment.
As they are in different parts of the project I might check with them to see if this is working well. Also to discuss how a group works and then how to blend the topics into the final overall projects.
When Angie approaches me about an extension I would first listen to why she needs an extension in order for her to feel validated. Second I would praise her for approaching me, letting her know that I am glad that she values her work and wants to ensure that she completes the assignment. I would then pose a series of questions that would guide her into taking responsibility for completing the work on time. I would ask her if she had read the syllabus and understood the demands of the class. I would also ask her if she kept some type of calendar or followed the announcements I had posted in order to stay on top of the due dates. In addition I would inform her that I had noticed earlier that she was beginning to fall behind and had made several attempts with no success to meet with her to create a plan that would allow her to turn her work in on time. I would hope that these questions would cause her to look at the situation in a way that would cause her to realize her responsibility in the situation, however if she brings up the fact that she doesn’t have access to a computer at home and can’t stay at school late I would help her problem solve. I would ask her about the nights where records showed that she was working on an assignment and see if she could possibly take one or two nights to stay late like she had previously done. I would also suggest that she create a study group or look into using computers at a public library. If these options still don’t work I would tell her that I could look at altering some of my assignments so she can complete them without a computer. I could also look into the possibility of her responding to form posts on a phone instead of a computer. Overall I would not give her an extension unless this is an issue that the majority of my students are facing, rather I would support her efforts in completing her work on time. If in fact the majority of my students are having issues in completing the work on time I would reflect on the demands I have given my students to see if there are any adjustments I could make in the time frame, quantity, and delivery of the work. Within my reflection I may make some changes that would allow my students to still access a depth of learning in a way that is more conducive with the demands their schedules.
First, I commend Caleb for his willingness to contribute to class discussions. I want to convey to him that I want everyone in the class to be willing to share their perspective because everyone brings a unique set of experiences to every class or situation in their life. Continuing on this theme, I would take the approach of trying to help Caleb understand that his posts are seen as derogatory to some. I think that often times people don’t understand how they can come across to others, and I would try to help Caleb realize this. I would point out that his posts seems to end whole class discussions and hope that he is able modify his posts so that they are not hurtful to anyone and are able to stimulate, instead of stifle, other classmates’ posts.
If this approach did not work, I would have to find another way to change his behavior. The first option I would try would be to change his requirements so that he submits his posts via email to me so that he doesn’t affect the quality and frequency of the other students’ posts. He may not like this idea, but if he doesn’t respond to the first-level attempt to modify his behavior, I would have to find a way so that the rest of class is able to respond in a way that they feel safe to post.
In response to Sarah and Brian, I would have to pull them aside to talk to them together. I would tell them that in the workplace, where I have been for over 20 years before starting teaching, that there are going to be projects where you will have to work with someone who doesn’t work the same as they do.
They are going to have to talk to each other to figure out why each other can’t or doesn’t want to work with the other. Once we can get them to talk about why they can't or don’t want to work together, they might actually see what each other’s strengths are and each other’s weaknesses are.
If they don’t bring up what is happening to each other in that discussion, I would talk to them individually to explain what is happening. Then I would get back together to talk and find a work out what needs to be done to get the top grade possible for them.
Sarah might not know that she could be over-bearing and Brian might need to know he does make great contributions and needs to build up his confidence and not back down. If they can find a way to make this work for them, then I would grant them a small extension to see what they can do. They will have to set up a schedule to show me what they plan to do.
If they can’t solve their differences, they will have to divide the assignment up so that they can still do their work but each one has their own responsibilities to complete. I would help them determine the boundaries of responsibilities if they can’t determine them but only if they have tried to solve it.
In response to Sarah and Brian, I would pull them in small group to confer about why they are having an issue communicating with each other. It would be important to once again pull up the expectations of the group project and have them both understand that it is a GROUP project, meaning all must contribute. Even Sarah's grade will be affected if she is unwilling to participate and work with others. One of the skills I would would focus on the ability to take on a variety of group roles. Meaning, that Sarah would need to learn to be both a group leader, but also a partner. Brian, would need some further conferring on how to contribute to a group to have a voice. This group may benefit from a task list, together we could look at their project and I can help them determine how they will divide up the work so they each have a job.
In response to Angie I would explain to her that I understand it can be difficult to not have internet access at home. I would give her some resources that are available to her on campus. The library has hot spots, and laptop computers available to check out. I would also explain that she could also go to the library for free internet and computer access. I would probably grant Angie and extension; however I would have a discussion about course expectations and a calendar for completing course work that we would both agree to. I would document our conversation and tell her to contact me if she feels like she needs help or has questions.
Angie has struggled with the posts and with completing work. She is stating that she cannot access the work at night at home. You have noticed that she does appear to access it at night. I would ask if she can come in during the day for a bit to work on it. Whether she does that or not, I would ask how we can help her to complete the work and if she understands it. Maybe understanding the work is the issue and further instruction or intervention is needed. Lastly, I would show that she's been on at night. Ask if this is randomly that she is on later or if that is here and there. Is the Internet hit and miss at home? Does it kick her off? These are questions and concerns to address.
Given that there has been some evidence that she is accessing the class resources late at night, I would first want to establish how that is happening if she is indeed unable to work at home. If there is any purposeful deception about why the work is not being done, that is going to necessarily impact my response. However, it is equally likely that other things are occurring that are preventing her from such access. Parental controls, spotty internet service, cost of using wi-fi hotspots from cellular service, etc. I would want to make sure that I was not "punishing" a student for behaviors that are beyond their control.
That said, the main thing I would want to clarify is how to get the student back on track. If they sincerely want to create success, then I would be willing to grant an extension. If they can't demonstrate concern for successful completion of the assignments, then I would be less likely to grant such a request. If delaying the completion deadline is not likely to have a positive impact on the student's performance ... I wouldn't make the exception.
Assuming this is an online class, Angie's lack of contribution to the forums or other assigned work will necessarily impact the rest of the class as there will be a missing voice. The lack of her voice as part of the overall dialogue of the course limits the diversity of the discussions that take place. No student should be allowed to negatively impact the overall quality of the experience, and all online learners have a responsibility to understand their role in the process. Not participating is not an option, and I would make sure that the student understood this expectation and why it is such an important part of the course.
After attempting to establish the reasons for the request, I would weigh the pros and cons of the extension. If there were more important reasons to grant it, than to deny it ... I would allow it.
In response to Caleb, I think it would be important to address his responses publicly as well as privately. I believe it would be important for the other participants in the class to know that I do not condone the statements he's made and that they are inappropriate for our class communications. So, as a response to one of the first times this happens, I would directly address it. I would reply on the post a reminder of our netiquette guidelines to keep hurtful opinions to ourselves and to make sure we are only addressing the topics at hand using positive statements. I would then send Caleb a private message. "Caleb, I really appreciate your reflections on our conversation topics. I want to caution you to make sure you are keeping your comments and opinions positive in order to encourage others to participate in the conversation. I'm assuming you did not intend to hurt feelings, but noticed that participants dropped out of the conversation after your comments, so I worry that participants may have taken offense. Now that you are aware, I know that you will work to make sure you do not include those types of phrases in the future. I look forward to hearing from you on our next topic."
Brian And Sarah-sounds like a communication problem!
I would ask a series of questions to find out how why or how communication is breaking apart and hopefully guide them into thinking how about achieve their personal goals with each other's help.
1. How are you communicating your ideas? 2.How are you communicating your concerns? 3.What are your strengths? 4.What are your roles in the project?
Maybe Brian is struggling with expressing is ideas, so I may ask Brian to share his ideas and help him improve in communicating them.
I would ask Sarah to make a list of strengths on Brian and encourage her to let Brian use them to to help with the project, no matter how small. Once Brian has a role, it can grow which would boost his confidence in expressing his ideas. Sarah will be more willing to listen to his ideas which builds trust between them.
I believe getting students to talk to each other and figuring out what their individual roles would be a step in the right direction. A short and fun trust building activity would be another approach to build or start communication.
In regards to Caleb, I would look at the different answers with more detail again. After studying his responses, I would send him a private message explaining to him the boundaries of appropriate speech in the forums.
I would explain to him how his postings are making other students uncomfortable. Students need to use what is known as social register, is how one modifies the language to communicate correctly with specific audiences or places. The language that someone uses to communicate face to face or with a friend is different that the language used in forums like the one in the example.
Sometimes students in a forum don't understand which social register they should use.
In response to situation regarding Sarah and Ben and the group project, I think the obvious first step would be to pull them both aside together to help facilitate a little deeper discussion into what the issues may be within their group and how they could best be resolved. Once they were pulled aside, I would ask questions to help encourage them to resolve the situation. For example, I would ask them each to respectfully state what they were struggling with in terms of the group project. I would ask Sarah to maybe consider how motivated she would be to participate if no one wanted to give merit to her ideas. I would also ask Ben, on the flip side of that, how difficult it may be for the group if he is refusing to participate, whatever the reason may be. I may ask him to consider why his ideas had been turned down, and maybe if there were other ways that he could get involved.
I would also make some points regarding the purpose of group projects. I would talk about how it is important to communicate within the group, but also to make sure everyone is heard and has a purpose. The grade will reflect how well they can work together despite conflicting opinions and ideas, and that it is important to find common ground to move forward. I would also explain the fact that as they move on to jobs in the future, these same issues will arise as they learn to work with co-workers. I would then explain that while grades of course are important, the lessons that they learn about working in a group are also very valuable and shouldn't take a bake seat, so to speak, to just earning a grade for the group project.
I would first send Angie a response about the late assignments, her inability to access the internet at home, and other issues via an email. This would give me documentation that, I as an instructor, followed up in a timely matter with student work and issues. I would also call her in to discuss the issue(s) face to face. I would suggest that while online work is convenient and useful in education, students need to be responsible for following deadlines and completing work on time.
I would then suggest that she works on the assignments during our daily homebase time. Homebase is a daily meeting of our homeroom at Sumner-Fredericksburg. The students report to homeroom for 28 minutes everyday. This time can be used for meetings, as a study hall or time to meet one-on-one with a teacher. I would suggest that the internet issue should now be a non issue if she uses her time wisely during homebase. I see time and self discipline of use of time as a major issue for high school to budge time wisely and following deadlines.
Angie sounds very much like a few fifth graders I have had in years past. First, I would have a conversation with Angie to see if things are going okay at home. Many times when a student begins to fall behind in their work there is an underlying worry or problem that is going on. Next, I would also check on the availability of a computer and wifi at her house. It could be that she is not allowed to use the computer during the evening if a parent needs it for work or schooling. Maybe the only opportunity she has to use it would be late at night after the parent is done with it. If this is the case, then Angie is not going to give the quality work she needs due to being tired and having to work so late at night. If there is not a computer available for her to use, I would work out a set time with Angie to work after school 2-3 days a week. I would set this up so that it doesn't seem like a punishment for her. I would offer her an after school snack and drink to help entice her to stay. This would allow her to complete her work at a decent time of the day and hopefully, allow her to turn in better quality work. I would also be around to help her if she had any questions about her assignments. Another option would be to give Angie the schedule to the local library. This way she could pick and choose the times she would be available for and she could head to the library on her own time. Basically, keeping the lines of communication open with Angie is the key. She needs to understand the importance of being honest and being responsible with her work. She can't let the excuse of not having access to a computer keep her from doing her work. I feel that if I would show her some empathy, then give her some options, that she will come through.
I would first commend her for coming directly to me about the problem. I would then point out that the records show that she had indeed accessed the computer after hours late at night, and politely ask her to explain which computer she used at that time. If possible, I would suggest that she continue to use that computer; if not, I would suggest using a public computer at a library instead since they typically are open beyond school hours. I would grant her the extension and develop a specific time frame and schedule using a calendar tool or spreadsheet to lay out specific dates and times to complete the work. The caveat for the extension would be that she will need to follow the schedule. I would be sure to get affirmation from her that she can make it work and will do it. I would also give a copy of the schedule to her parents so that they are aware of the expectations.
It sounds like I would be making lots of suggestions, but my method typically is to ask questions of the student such as: “Can you think of another computer that might be available to you?” “Have you considered using a computer at a public place like the library?” “Are you willing to let me help you make out a schedule of dates and times for you to post and do your homework for this class?” “Is this schedule workable, do you think?” “Will you commit to it?”
First, I would tell Angie I was happy she approached me to take ownership of her learning. I would explain to her I would help her. I would need more information from her, though. I would ask her to tell me her schedule. We would look at how she could carve out more time since she cannot come after school. Could she come before school? Does she have a study hall that can be used? She could even have a working lunch. Then we would discuss her accessibility to technology at home. Is it an equipment issue? Is someone else using the only computer? Do they have wireless access? If I trusted Angie, I could even suggest checking out a piece of technology that would allow her to complete her activities. Depending on Angie’s personality, we could involve her parents. I deal with 10-11 year-olds, so sometimes the parents do not know the expectations of an assignment. I would talk to her parent/s about the expectations of the class.