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Topic A5: Designing Learning Activities that Promote Active Learning Introduction - Additional Resources

Dr. Tom Estes, Professor Emeritus of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education and former Director of the McGuffey Reading Center, teaches a Web-based course for the University of Virginia.  His course, Reading to Learn, is offered to teachers seeking professional development and to graduate students working on their Master's degrees. In the statement below, Dr. Estes describes his reasons for building his course around WebQuests.

"I want my students to organize their teaching around principles of inquiry learning and to give their students multiple ways to examine and learn the content. I also want them to provide ways to learn, as well as what to learn for their students. I do not want them to set themselves up as purveyors of information but, rather, to see themselves as architects of complex learning opportunities for their students. As they do the Web Quests that I create for them, I want them to "get" the message that I am that architect for them as they are for their students.

I want them to see that the Web and its vast resources, combined with the many informational texts they can use to supplement their standard issue textbooks, can be the resource they need to accommodate the range of learning abilities and interests of their students. I also believe that teaching needs to be redefined as a matter of providing learners the help they need to do what they want to do, not to learn what you want them to learn. The Web Quest is a way to organize that way of teaching."


Below are online resources which may help you in preparation. Take a moment to visit each. If you find a resource particularly helpful, remember to bookmark that page to make it easier to return to it at a later time.


Three types of interaction: American Journal of Distance Education

Online copy of the classic: Moore, M.G. (1984) (June) 3(2): 1-6.

While this article is somewhat dated in its discussion of the range of technologies included in distance education, the discussion of the three types of interaction is timeless.

Design and Sequence Your Way to WBT Interactivity: An instructional design methodology for building interactivity into WBT

by Atsusi Hirumi and Kathern Ley

The authors present detailed Web-based interactions grouped into three levels and outlines of nine research- based instructional models.  They offer a four-step process to integrate the instructional strategy with the levels of interaction to produce a highly interaction Web-based learning experience.

The Web: Design for Active Learning

by Katy Campbell, University of Alberta, Canada, Academic Technologies for Learning

While you may want to read the entire handbook, Sections 1 and 2, Introduction and Hypermedia and Constructivist Frameworks, are overviews of the concepts of active learning and constructivism.

Designing for a Constructivist's Approach

by Zane L. Berge and Marie de Verneil

This short article highlights cognitive flexibility theory as a branch of constructivism that the authors feel is most appropriate for a Web-based learning environment.

Promoting Student Interaction in the Virtual College Classroom

by Jack Cummings, Ph.D.

Written by Jack A. Cummings, Professor and Chair of the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology at Indiana University, this article reports on different kinds of student interaction in a virtual classroom.  He describes his success with recursive assignments that require students to submit pieces that are subsequently reviewed by other students.  He also presents virtual debate as a means to promote reflection and critical analysis.


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