Over the past two weeks, Guilia and Hongyi facilitated a very informative discussion on Classroom Management. Though there were many great examples and ideas put forward around classroom management, what stood out for me was the number of posts about inappropriate or challenging student conduct in the classroom. The challenges discussed ranged from cell phone usage to lack of respect for the instructor, (with a wealth of other examples in-between). Though it provides little comfort, at least we are not the only ones facing the challenge of student incivility.

In, Civility in the College Classroom, (2008) the authors state that, “Recent studies have shown that classroom courtesy is declining (Schneider, 1998). As a result, the mood of the college classroom has changed. Today it is common to hear college instructors, both tenured and untenured, lamenting the misbehavior of students in their classes, at both undergraduate and graduate levels” (para.3).

Student incivility is also addressed by Barkley in Student Engagement Techniques, “Many teachers are increasingly concerned about student incivility in the classroom. Behaviours ranging from lack of consideration and respect to overt hostility and aggression undermine the sense of community and seriously disrupt the learning environment” (2010. Pg.111).

Though many (but not all), of the student behaviours mentioned in the discussion board would be considered as “annoyances” by Feldman (2001), they all impact the learning environment in a negative way.

So what is an instructor to do?

Several wonderful suggestions were mentioned in the discussion board:

-Co-creating classroom rules-guidelines-policies

-Creating student contracts

-Establishing Codes of Conduct

And several more.

Barkley suggests that educators:

-Prepare a statement to include in the syllabus that clarifies expectations for behavior and lists what you find acceptable or unacceptable.

-Reduce student anonymity so that students are accountable for their behavior.

-Establish a method for students to air grievances, such as designating a student ombudsman.

-Confront problems when they arise.

-Document incidences, and if the behaviour is particularly egregious, ask other students who witnessed the event to write down their observations of what happened.

-Know your institution’s policies and procedures for addressing disruptive student behavior.

(pg. 111-112)

Utah State University and Dr. Hanadi Saleh have also come up with innovative ways to get the message out to their students about classroom civility by creating videos.

Classroom civility Utah State University

Classroom Civility-SLS Technology-Created by Dr. Hanadi Saleh

Though we may not see challenging behaviors disappear completely from the adult learning environment, I feel that we may reduce their frequency by implementing these ideas.

Barkley.E.F. (2010).Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. (p. 111-112).San Francisco, CA. Jossey-Bass.

Feldman, L. J. (2001). Classroom civility is another of our instructor responsibilities. College Teaching, 49, 137-14

Schneider, A. (1998). Insubordination and intimidation signal the end of decorum in many classrooms. Chronicle of Higher Education, 44, A12-A14

Shroeder, J.L. & Robertson. H. (2008). Civility in the college classroom. Association for psychological science. (para.3).Observer. Vol.21.No.10. November 2008. Retrieved October 27 2014



“And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed!” Dr. SeussOh the places you’ll go

This week, motivation is one of the topics on the discussion board. One of the threads (started by Jolene) posed the following wonderful questions:

1) How motivated have you been in this course and the PIDP?

2) What increases or decreases your motivation?

After reading these questions, I knew that I had to put my full response in my blog.

Starting with number 1, I would say that I have been very motivated in this course as well as in the other courses I have completed in the program. For me, my motivation is more intrinsic than extrinsic but it has been a life-long journey to get to that place.

My desire and passion for learning really was not present during my high school years. Though I successfully completed my grade 12, I can honestly say that I found no joy in learning until I entered college in my early thirties. Even then my motivation was more extrinsic than intrinsic; get the straight A’s, get on the dean’s list, get awards and bursaries. Though I did it all and felt a great sense of pride and personal accomplishment afterwards, once the dean’s pin went into the box and the awards were put away for safe keeping, it was all that I had learned and absorbed during the ECCE program that stayed with me. I quickly realised that the knowledge and skill set I gained during the program was what I was taking with me into the ECCE field, not the accolades.

Once I began working in the ECCE field, I knew I wanted to learn more; not because I had to but because I wanted to. That was twenty plus years ago and I have been taking courses and seeking out learning opportunities ever since then.

My motivation in this 3250 course and the PIDP remains strong and will continue to remain strong because I am internally driven to keep it that way. Would I ever say no to an A? No, but at 51, grades no longer drive me, the learning does. I love learning and learning from others. I am excited when I learn something new and equally excited when I get to transfer this new knowledge into my work as an ECCE instructor.

Though external obligations or events may at times impact my performance or the time it will take to complete the PID program, (life happens),  life (and my mother), also taught me that I can overcome any obstacle and succeed at anything I put my mind to, “Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed!”

As for number 2- What motivates me? Me (as you can see) and a few other very critical things:

  • Regular Feedback- from my instructor and others in my cohort
  • Supportive family, friends and colleagues
  • Clear course outlines and assignments
  • Practical, useable information

What decreases my motivation? When the above are not visible.






One of topics on the discussion board this week is “group work.” As a strong believer and practitioner of collaborative learning, the topic of group work really peeks my interest. In fact, my second journal entry for this 3250 course is about group work, (please click on the journal icon to access my assignment).

As I make my way through the all the wonderful posts and investigate the links made available by my peers on the discussion board, it seems that the most successful and effective group work occurs when it is carried out by members of a group working as a team…but is a group not the same as team? According to Kristen Arnold –The Extraordinary Team Blog, there are differences between the two.

“A group is a collection of people whereas a team is that same collection of people who are working together on a common goal.”

Kristen illustrates the difference in this scenario, “A group of people walk into an elevator.  They all have different goals and agendas for being on the elevator.  The group becomes a team when the elevator breaks down.  Now they all have the same goal: Get out of the elevator!”

Even if a team has a shared goal (like getting out of the elevator), the success of the team will depend on the individual’s ability to work in collaboration with others. To assume that adult learners have the skill set to work successfully in groups in a collaborative manner as soon as they enter the learning environment would (in my opinion), be presumptuous on the part of the instructor. I agree with Richardson (2011. Para.1.) who states that, “collaboration needs to be seen as a process that happens over time, and that the crucial groundwork for successful collaboration needs to be laid before the “actual” collaborative work happens.”

Collaboration is a team sport and you need to warm up:

By engaging the students in safe and supportive team building activities prior to implementing group work, I believe that we can help lay the foundation needed for successful collaboration. This site offers some great activities that can help us work towards that goal.

video dude

Summary of my Digital Project on Reflective Journaling.

For my 3250 digital project, I decided to make a 5 minute video on Reflective Journaling and how this learning tool can be used with Early Childhood Care and Education students (ECCE).

In this video, I discuss what reflective journaling is and speak to its importance. I also address the challenges learners may face in the reflective journaling process and how the instructor can support the learner to overcome those challenges. Here is the link:

Though I truly appreciate videos and the value they hold as teaching tools, I will be honest, when I found out that a digital project was one of the assignments for the 3250 course, fear was my first reaction. Having never created a video, I knew this assignment was going to take me far out of my comfort zone.

So I did what many of us do when faced with carrying-out a non-familiar task, I went into avoidance mode. Oh I spent hours researching the subject, made notes, enlarged and categorized my notes, explored the various recommended video making tools, watched all the tutorials, watched other instructional strategies videos, talked to other instructors about reflective journaling…for weeks I prepared until there was nothing left to prepare. Finally the time had come to face my fear and summon the courage to press the record button.

When it was over, I will admit that I was relieved, but I also knew that I had just created a purposeful video that will support me and others in our work with ECCE students. What surprised me the most was how much I had really enjoyed making the video itself. As a result, I fully intend to continue building onto my budding video production skill set by making more videos to use in my teaching.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is never easy but like Patty Chang Anker says in her inspirational Tedx Talks video, “If you chose to step out of your comfort zone, exciting things can happen.”

Warning: Leaving Comfort Zone: Things Could Get Exciting-Patty Chang Anker

DF People

Week 3

Well it is Sunday and the last day for the Positive Learning Discussion Board. What an amazing experience! I can honestly say that the information, perspectives and experiences that the cohort provided truly added to my learning, and I (humble) hope that I was able to contribute something of value to this collaborative endeavour.

As Rhonda pointed out in my summary post, “unbelievable how much we discussed”; I would have to agree with her. It was amazing to see how one idea or thought could branch off into so many areas, yet still all relate to the learning environment. What was equally amazing is that even though we have never met face-to-face, the connection I felt to my cohort throughout this process was wonderful. Building a sense of community can be challenging in an online course, but by participating as a cohort in multiple discussion forums, I feel we are all doing just that.

“Discussion forums promote interaction and discussion between learners and assist in building learning communities” (Garrison, 1993).

So it is on to week 4, threads to follow, comments to add and new learning to be gained. Then there is my instructional strategies video and the mid-term discussion board assessment to complete. Though at times I do find myself feeling like the “little engine that could”, (trying to gather up steam to make it up the hill), I will not adopt an “I think I can” attitude. Instead, this week I have decided to switch it up a notch and adopt an “I know I can!” philosophy.

For you information, I have Included my Positive Learning Environment Summary and two great reads about Discussion Boards in this post.

Positive Learning Environments Discussion Board Summary-Katrina

Using Discussion Forums to Support Collaboration

Conrich. S.Kinshuk.Dr. Hunt. L.M.

Eastern Institute of Technology, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

Massey University, New Zealand

Should you let Students Lead Discussion Boards?

Faulty Focus-Joan Thompson Author


Please have a look at the amazing Learning Styles summary Silvia Diblasio compiled. She offers a wonderful synopses of the discussion that took place and provides the links to a wealth of additional resources. Read the rest of this entry »


Week 2

Wow, what a busy week!

It was great to submit my first journal entry (even though I discovered  a spelling mistake after it was submitted). For this entry, I chose to focus on the impact of emotions in the learning environment. Though there were multiple topics addressed by Barkley in the first 4 chapters of her text, I found myself continually drawn back to the section on The Affective Domain and particularly Affect and Learning. I believe I was drawn to this topic because I have seen both the positive and negative impact emotions can have on the learner, yet often find that their importance is often down-played or not even considered by those creating and delivering curriculum.

In my research for this journal entry, there were several articles that I found of particular interest regarding emotions and their effect. I encourage you to check-out the following:

I must say that I am enjoying reading Barkley’s text- Student Engagement Techniques, particularly Part Two-Tips and Strategies. As several of these ideas are new to me, I have found myself eagerly trying out several of the strategies she outlines. In-fact my colleagues and I are now using the “Critical Incident Questionnaire” (p.328) on a monthly basis. We did adapt a few of the questions to meet our needs, but based on our results so far, we are finding that this questionnaire is a great way to collect student feedback.

I must also add that I have been truly enjoying participating in the discussion forums. I really appreciate having Amie as a co-facilitator on the Positive Learning Environment forum we are currently hosting. She has been a great learning partner, and I truly value Amie’s perspective and the information she continuously seeks out and shares.

Though keeping up with all of the posts can be challenging, the learning I am acquiring through each is amazing.

Enjoying this collaborative process and looking forward to week #3!!!

Week one has actually come and gone and I am left wondering where the time goes? A little overwhelmed, but I feel like things are moving along in a productive and positive manner. I just have to finish off my reference page and journal 1 will be ready to submit. Posting the link to my blog and reconnecting with my discussion forum partner are the next scheduled steps on the agenda. Really looking forward to co-facilitating the Positive Learning Environments discussion with Amie starting on the 18th. It will be fabulous!

Post again soon 🙂

When I first read that we are to make an instructional strategies video for the 3250 course, I must admit that a slight sense of panic set in. Though I am comfortable teaching face to face or delivering courses through a blended learning format, I have yet to delve into the world of producing videos.

So instead of climbing into bed and pulling the covers over my head, I decided to embrace this personal challenge and explore the topic of video production further.

What I found was a wonderful article by Jeremy Vest titled Six Steps to Creating High Quality Video Training. In this articles Jeremy explains the importance of instructional videos and offers the reader his six steps to making a great video.

I encourage you to check it out.

I am also including the links to 2 youtube videos

The first one brought a smile to my face:)

“How to make an Instructional Videos: The easy way

Professor Carl Oliver has an interesting take on instructional videos. This innovative & quick method allows you to get your feet wet, while creating effective electronic learning materials. Get up and running in minutes using the technology you already own!”

On the more serious side of things…

How to Screen Cast or Make a Teaching Video

By Jerry Desol

My PIDP 3250 Journey

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