Replied to Waving the Asynchronous Flag (CogDogBlog)

Do people think of asynchronous as adrift, alone in space? There’s every reason to feel a sense of conversation in a place of being in different times there, exchange, that can be every bit as engaging as being there exactly together.

Alan, this reminds me of Dave White’s discussion of lectures and the need to create moments of shared presence to facilitate new connections. We worry so much about the presentation of information and forget about learning opportunities. The problem is that for some this is not the work that matters, however I would argue that it is the work that often makes the biggest difference.
Liked 7 Strategies Designed to Increase Student Engagement in Synchronous Online Discussions Using Video Conferencing (

Caitlin Tucker with guidance on keeping it simple as you design online video discussions.

  • Provide students with an agenda and a list of discussion questions ahead of time;
  • Communicate your expectations for participation and behavior online;
  • Ask students to generate their own discussion questions;
  • Start every virtual conferencing session with an icebreaker question or a quick check-in;
  • Use the chat window strategically;
  • Host shorter sessions with fewer students;
  • Ask students to assess their participation online.
via Ian O’Byrne
Bookmarked Some ‘lesson recipes’ for maintaining quality teaching and learning from home (Bianca Hewes)

The idea is that we take our excellent face-to-face teaching practice (both its diversity and structure) and modify it for the Learning From Home context. It features four types of lessons – synchronous (individual and collaborative), asynchronous individual, asynchronous device-free and asynchronous creative/collaborative which teachers can rotate through over a week or a cycle. (This is the bit Kelli McGraw helped me with – deciding which four to include!) It is not meant to be prescriptive, just a template to support planning of lessons. Teachers who choose to use it can fill in the template for the four lessons and it can be shared with students on the beginning of the week/fortnight.

Thank you for sharing your ‘recipes‘ Bianca. Your mix reminds me of Zach Groshell’s suggestion to look beyond synchronicity and focus on interaction and directions.
Bookmarked The Unproductive Debate of Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning (Education Rickshaw)

In the field of instructional design for online learning, this is not a new concept. Transactional distance theory (TDT, Moore, 1996) is a useful theory for online course design that proposes that the distance during instruction is transactional, not spatial or temporal (Gorsky & Caspi, 2005; Saba & Shearer, 2017). TDT suggests that if we work to reduce the psychological space between participants and instructors through pedagogy, it will likely lead to higher learning outcomes.

While traditional TDT includes additional components that can be used to reduce transactional distance between learners and their instructors, I think all teachers teaching online during the Coronavirus online learning period should pay particularly close attention to the TDT’s core constructs of dialogue and structure.

Zach Groshell suggests that our focus in the turn to online learning should be the various forms of interaction and directions provided.

Instead of having an unproductive debate over asynchronous or synchronous learning, one way we can improve our practice during these unusual circumstances is by attending to the design components of dialogue and structure.

This is an interesting read in relation to Maha Bali and Brad Meier’s post. The focus should be on context.

via Cameron Paterson

Bookmarked Distance Learning During a Global Pandemic | It’s About Learning

What will young people remember about their time in Covid19? It won’t be a laundry list of facts from school subjects. What will endure are the dispositions and habits of character that we are able to nurture, the foundations of intellectual character that a good education is based on – independence, resilience, self-regulation, problem-solving, and collaboration. The enculturation of these dispositions will define how successfully educators cope with Covid19.

Cameron Paterson suggests that what will matter over the next period of time are the learning dispositions: independence, resilience, self-regulation, problem-solving, and collaboration. This is similar to Yong Zhao’s call to focus on productive learners and responsible citizens.
Bookmarked An Affinity for Asynchronous Learning (Hybrid Pedagogy)

There is something that bothers us about conversations about replacing face-to-face teaching with online learning: they often fall into a trap of assuming that incorporating synchronous interaction is the optimal way to make learning more personable, that it approximates the face-to-face setting closest, and is therefore preferable and better. More often than not, synchronous interaction here implies some form of two-way audiovisual interaction, even though there are text-only forms of synchronous interaction (e.g., Twitter live chat). There are also asynchronous forms of audiovisual interaction (e.g., voicemail, recorded lectures).

But we feel the enthusiasm for audiovisual synchronicity often comes without sufficient discernment, and without deliberative consideration of how asynchronous learning can be not only viable but productive.

Maha Bali and Brad Meier dive into the world of online learning, comparing synchronous and asynchronous learning. The two authors suggest that that asynchronous learning is the only way to properly include all learners. It also promotes deeper learning. The piece ends with a series of useful pedagogical, logistical and ethics questions to consider when making decisions about synchronicity.