My First Learning Environment Model

This was quite the experience for me. I cannot lie; I had some serious difficulties with this, mostly due to my own thought process, I think. I also had some issues with the technology, so I apologize if it isn’t as clear as it could be.

I outlined my original plan in this post: my goal here is to create the introductory week module for an online creative nonfiction II class I am currently developing. In this module, I wanted students to do three things: first, become familiar with the course procedures and protocols; then, think through and develop a plan of action for succeeding in an online class environment; and finally, share a short writing exercise with their classmates and me (a 6-word memoir). My initial post outlined the steps for all three of these goals. My first image below is an attempt to create a learning environment model of what that entire module might look like. As I developed this model, I worried that it was overly complicated and combining two many elements.

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With those concerns in mind, I then took a stab at dividing my initial model into two smaller models. This second image is the first half, which focuses on helping students become familiar with the course and evaluating their comfort level with an online learning environment. In this model, I struggled with the “practice” block in particular: “succeeding in an online course” is a separate course that was created by our Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning here at SWOSU, and every student is automatically enrolled in it. Once they take it, they receive a certificate, which they can share with any instructor who asks for it. I decided to make that a required component, as it is a short mini-course that offers success strategies to students. In reality, that is its own LEM, but I didn’t create that LEM and it is not in the class per se; instead, I am sending students out of the course to do it and asking them to upload the certificate and a short reflective essay as evidence of completion and self-reflection/awareness of each student’s perceived strengths and weaknesses in this type of learning environment.

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This third image is much smaller, because I envision this activity as a short learning opportunity in which students read about a specific flash nonfiction genre (the 6-word memoir) and then develop their own memoirs to share with me and their classmates via a discussion thread, which would be graded. My main issue in this section was with thinking about the final block: their 6-word memoir is meant to be an informal writing assignment on the same discussion thread as their discussion of the other 6-word memoirs, but I separated it out here to make clear the discussion of examples as separate from sharing their own memoirs for credit. I also wonder about the “practice” block in all of this. This is a writing class, so practice is always wrapped up in everything we do. Should this final evidence block be a practice block instead? Can it be both? Hmmm.

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I am an associate professor of English and writing center coordinator at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. I teach courses in composition, creative nonfiction, fundamentals of English, and peer tutoring.

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