Distance Education Course Proposal Form 2008-2009 Course Title & Number

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Chabot College

Distance Education Course Proposal Form

Course Title & Number: English 7- Critical Thinking and Writing Across Disciplines

Faculty Name: Victoria Sansome

Course Delivery Method (check one):

  • X Online (all instruction is online except for an campus orientation and the final exam)

  •  Hybrid online (instruction occurs both online and on campus)

  •  Telecourse

  •  Other (please describe)

First Semester To Be Offered: Summer or Fall 2009
1. Need/Justification

  • What is the intent in offering the course by distance education? What student needs will this offering meet? Are there learning opportunities made possible in a distance education course that might not be available in a traditional course?

  • If this course has previously been offered at Chabot using this delivery method (online, for example), what have you learned from prior instructors that will influence your instruction in this course?

As the ASSIST online transfer information system will attest, English 7 is one of the English courses currently offered by Chabot College, which will satisfy the critical thinking requirements as set by both the CSU and UC University systems. Additionally, even though the English accreditation protocol between Chabot College and other four-year colleges or universities may not be firmly established, one could argue that an English curriculum involving a combination of English 1A and 7 would undoubtedly fulfill the language arts, written composition, or rhetoric education requirements of many other institutions. To that end, I will conduct English 7 with an emphasis on reading materials from a variety of fields, such as readings related to history, literature, psychology, sociology, as well as readings from various authors in relation to the theme of the class. Overall, similar to what I stated in my English 4 proposal, I will ensure that the students build upon the skills that they should have acquired in English 1A, while also encouraging them to think more analytically and demonstrate in-depth, focused writing skills.
Traditionally, distance education (DE) courses are aimed to fulfill the course requirements of those students who have difficulty scheduling on-campus classes due to the demands of full-time jobs, family responsibilities, transportation difficulties, or physical mobility issues. However, as the academic requirements levied upon the typical community college students are steadily increasing, it is conceivable that online courses may offer students the necessary maneuvering margin for them to progress through their educational plans in a timely manner instead of requiring them to extend their length of study at Chabot College. Being that Chabot wishes to remain competitive in the modern era's continually evolving higher education system, it is essential that we ensure that all students who are required to take English 7 are able to do so, whether they choose to participate in a traditional setting or through the internet. Through discussions with students in English 4, I have discovered that by the time the students reach this level, many of them have taken one or more online classes, so they clearly feel comfortable with the format.
Note of interest: During my required English 4 meeting on January 22, there were forty students. Out of the forty students at the meeting, every one of them has already taken at least one online class and over half of them have taken two or more online classes.

2. Course Content Delivery

  • Describe the distance education modalities used to deliver the course content and provide an approximate schedule of the time allocated to each modality.  What percentage of the course will be on-campus, if any? What percentage of the course will consist of online lecture, video, podcasts, email, supplemental websites, CD-ROM, etc.?

  • Provide examples of course components taught using distance education technology.  This will include either or both synchronous—online at the same time and asynchronous—online at different times.

  • Note that the total number of contact hours should approximate the equivalent number of hours required in an on-campus setting. For example, a 3-unit course typically meets on campus for 54 hours of instruction, assessment, discussion, and group activities. Account for those hours in your proposal.

While on campus, English 7 is taught as a course worth three (3) academic units that requires three instructional hours per week and six additional hours per week outside of class devoted to work necessary for the students to enrich their learning experience, such as reading, conducting research as applicable to their assignments, and crafting essays or other forms of writing assignment. The necessary instructional hours throughout the term will be utilized in much of the same way that they are typically used in an in-person English 7 course. (From experience as an online student and as an online professor, I believe that serious online students who want to be successful in the class commit this amount time or more.) I will use the online format to ensure that the students complete assignments equivalent to the three hours mandated for an on-campus course, such as modules of lectures and instructor presentations, threaded discussions, readings with companion exercises, peer review, formal essays, and group presentations.

To ensure that there is sufficient interpersonal interactional between all parties involved in this course, there will be two mandatory on-campus meetings, with first meeting being an orientation. In my experience, orientations are ultimately incredibly helpful for the students, even though the idea of being required to physically meet when one has signed up for a DE course does seem to be slightly counterintuitive. During the orientation, I will accomplish two goals: 1) Obtain a timed in-class writing sample from each student, so that I can evaluate the academic performance level of each student and as a tool to avoid plagiarism, and 2) I wish to introduce the students to the Blackboard system, so that I can help ensure that students learn how the course is set-up and how to navigate the BB system. Then, towards the end of the semester, the second mandatory on-campus meeting will be for the in-class final essay exam.
I will maintain contact with the students continually via regular announcements and by holding regular office hours in Blackboard’s virtual office. Through experience, I have found that I have far more contact with online students than my on-campus students. Through continual reminders, I encourage the students to contact me with any questions, concerns, or comments. This encouragement to contact me clearly seems to work since the majority of my online students feel comfortable contacting me with their questions and comments. Since some students feel more comfortable talking on the phone, I offer that option to them as well.
3. Nature and Frequency of Instructor-Student Interactions

  • Describe the number and frequency of your interactions with and feedback to students making satisfactory progress and of interventions when students are at-risk of dropping or failing due to poor performance or participation.

  • For each type of interaction listed above, describe why you believe it will be effective for this particular curriculum and delivery model.

  • Describe how the interactions will facilitate student learning and how students will benefit from the DE modalities selected.

The primary component of this course will require asynchronous interaction, since such a feature is virtually demanded by the online format. To receive full credit, students will be required to post discussion board responses to instructor issued topics/questions weekly. In addition, they are also required to post thoughtful and substantial responses to the postings of their peers, much like an on-campus class discussion. Typically, I expect proper posts to be between 250-500 words in length. For example, I will post a number of questions on the discussion board for each assigned reading. I also require each student to respond to at least two other classmates with thoughtful, substantial responses. Alternatively, another possible method of student interaction could be the establishment through biweekly chat sessions using blackboard's chat room feature. By issuing an inductive question, it could serve to create a foundation for the students to discuss their own personal reflections and thoughts in an environment similar to a traditional classroom. If properly coordinated, chat sessions could be employed as an eloquent counterpoint of the asynchronous nature of an online course.

By properly setting up guidelines for discussion board work, all of the topics or questions relevant to the reading(s) will be fully addressed by students. While each week’s module and corresponding DB forum(s) close on Sunday evening, I make them available again while students work on their essays. Students' own posts can serve to generate ideas and also serve as preparation material for the essays that will be assigned to them. It is important in all English classes to make sure that students can contribute their thoughts to the discussion. I privately offer some feedback and comments to student’s postings, with a focus on content, college-level English writing skills, and development of personal writing style. Since I have been a student in a number of online courses, I appreciate the need for regular instructor-student interaction. I will be involved in the Blackboard Discussion forums as well monitor peer review group work and group presentation projects.

Last semester, I took part in a number of lunch time online seminars. One of particular interest is the use of a program called “White Board.” This program allows me to lecture or illustrate concepts “live.” With this program, I can lecture at a set time and students can attend the live session, or they can log on at any time and view the entire lecture including student’s comments and questions. This program requires no cost or plug-ins on the students’ end. Another advantage to this program is that it allows “live, real-time discussions” with students who have microphones and speakers for their computers (though they are not required). For those who do not have microphones or speakers, they can type their comments during the live session. “White Board” is also an excellent format for office hours. I look forward to implementing this program in my online classes.
Students will have access to their grades via the online grade book. When needed, I will privately contact students via email informing them of missed assignments (online absences). Although deadlines will be clearly posted for each assignment, peer reviews, and essays, I will contact students who do not participate in required DB work, peer review or fail to turn in their essays by the due date. For any students having trouble with the work in English 7, I will recommend student resources that might prove helpful, such as English 115 or tutoring. Plus, all of my courses have relevant External Links with various helpful links, and a number of the links have assignment components, which will also receive my comments and feedback.

4. Nature and Frequency of Student-Student Interactions

  • Describe opportunities in your course for student to student interaction. This may include discussions, group projects, peer review of assignments, and other approaches.

Much of the fundamental learning within the course will derived from interactions between students: The weekly threaded discussion board posts will require the students to respond to each other, conduct peer review, group work for presentations (hopefully synchronously using the virtual chat room), and Café English 7 created for informal online discussion and chats.

Because all students are required to post to discussion board and respond to classmates’ postings, all students will have a voice in this online course. Since reading and writing are essential in our English classes, Distance Education is conducive to critical thinking and writing. While DE courses are more time consuming than most students think, the online format offers students the opportunity to read other classmates’ postings and reflect on their own postings before submitting, which is not possible during on-campus discussions. For reticent students, the online format might prove to be a more comfortable arena for sharing their thoughts and ideas than the traditional on-campus class discussion.
Since peer review is an essential and successful component in all of my classes, it is a required component in my DE classes. Peer Review offers students the opportunity to see how other students address the topics assigned, while also seeing the different writing styles of their classmates. Group peer review is invaluable for a number of reasons, but it is clearly advantageous in maintaining a student-centered learning community.
Additionally, group presentations are another component in my classes, whether online or on-campus. As such, students will work in groups of 3-4 students to create a presentation and lead class discussion on their topic. I am always delighted with the quality of work produced by the groups for these projects. As the students work closely in these groups, it helps to solidify the student-centered learning community, which is important in many college classes. While student-centered learning is important in on-campus classes, I believe a student-centered learning community is more important in an online course. From experience, I find that online classmates often turn to other classmates for help or clarification. I am always pleasantly surprised how much communication takes place outside of the online class site.

5. Assignments & Methods of Evaluation

  • List the criteria that will be used to substantiate student learning, and describe the methods of evaluating student progress. 

  • Describe planned interactions and evaluations to ensure participation and verification of student learning that permit timely instructor intervention.

Student progress will be evaluated as follows:

  • On-campus orientation and in-take essay: This essay will not be graded but used as a writing sample and to help identify possible plagiarism.

  • Discussion Board postings and responses to classmates based on course readings. Though students may not always post the “correct” answers to the questions posed, my focus is primarily on their effort since the “correct’ answers to the questions will ultimately be flushed out through the discussions. For English 7, my concern is on detail, thoughtfulness, and the ability to use evidence from the reading(s) to support their claims/points. Also, since written communication requires detail and clarity, DB posts and responses serve to strengthen these skills.

Homework exercises and class discussion via DB is worth 25% of the course grade.

  • Group Peer Review: Just as required in my on-campus classes, students will receive a full letter grade deduction on their final essay draft if they fail to participate in peer review. A

  • Group presentation: students will be graded on the content of their presentation (per comprehensive guidelines), originality, creativity, and the overall effectiveness.

The group presentation is worth 10% of the course grade.

*Formal writing assignments: three MLA style essays increasing in length (40% of the

course grade) and an 8-10 page research paper, which must included a correctly formatted works cited page (20% of the course grade).

  • Final in-class essay (5% of the course grade).

All essays will be graded using the general rubric included with the syllabus as well as the rubric designed for each essay assignment. Generally, all formal essays will be evaluated based on the following criteria, at minimum: Focus, a central idea, unity, organization, order, transitions, coherence, development, support, details, sentence skills, proofreading.

All formal essays must also adhere to the MLA format.

  1. Technology

  • Describe any special software or multimedia tools you plan to utilize in your course (PowerPoint, Articulate, Camtasia, Flash, podcasts or other audio, etc.). This is helpful to determine technology support needs.

Depending on what file format I post on the website (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, PDF, Quicktime movie clips, etc.), the students may need to download a software plug-in or a converter in order to view the file or content.

Word processing software: Microsoft Word 98 or later, but students that use Open Office, Pages, or NeoOffice will be supported as well.

Browser: Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher and/or Mozilla Firefox is recommended. JavaScript must be enabled; Cookies must be enabled; allow pop-up windows

Modem: At least 56 K, but broadband such as DSL or cable modem preferred.

According to Blackboard's recommendations, the minimum specifications to work with their software are:

Platform: Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT, ME, or Vista; MAC OS 9.2, OSX.1, or OS X.2

Hardware: 64 MB of RAM and at least 6 GB of free space
White Board: As stated previously, I plan to use the program “White Board.” This program does not require plug-ins or additional software on the students’ end.

  1. Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

  • Describe how you will accommodate students with disabilities. For a telecourse, is the video close-captioned? If you plan to use any multimedia (video, podcasts, specialized software), is that accessible to your students in terms of both software availability at home and on campus and accessible for students with disabilities?

  • Syllabus statement:

Students with a documented disability and require accommodations should inform me at the beginning of the semester or as soon as possible after documentation has been received. Students with documented learning and/or physical disabilities may receive accommodations. To this end, I will work closely with the Disabled Students Resource Center to ensure the course is accessible to all students.

  • Blackboard is in compliance with all federal accessibility requirements.

  • If I use videos, they will be those owned by Chabot’s library since most that have been purchased in the last few years are close-captioned.

8. Input from Colleagues and Administrators

As you develop your proposal and build your course, please consult with your colleagues and do some background research, including the following:

a. Meet with Instructional Designer for initial consultation and Blackboard training.

Date(s) completed: Completed in the creation of Eng 4

b. Review of similar courses elsewhere. Are similar courses offered at other


I have been teaching the equivalent course at the College of Siskiyous for the past two or three years.
c. Meet with your Division Dean and subdivision colleagues to secure preliminary

support for offering this course via Distance Education. Date completed:

d. Consult with other faculty experienced in DE. With whom did you consult?

____________________. Date completed:

e. Review your completed plan with your subdivision colleagues. Attach a separate

page listing attendees, meeting date, and a summary of the recommendations or

reservations of your division/subdivision.

9. Submit your proposal (electronic version via email and hard copy via campus mail)

to the chair of the DE Committee
Faculty signature: _______________________________ Date: _______________
Division Dean signature: __________________________ Date: ________________


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