Immersive view on Zoom

Immersive mode on Zoom allows us to have a “Classroom” feeling when conducting small classes. It is recommended for small class below 24 students so that all students can fit inside one immersive screen. I feel it encourages students to turn on their videos during the studio sessions and helps in some ways to make the lessons more fun and engaging.

It is available and relatively easy to set up. I have prepared a guide which I hope can help you get started on using the immersive mode.

You can find the guide here:

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Have fun Zooming!

Topic 5: Lessons Learnt – Future Practice

It seems like we started the course not so long ago, yet now we are at the end of the chapter of our Open Networked Learning. More accurately, it is the beginning of a new chapter as we take forward what we have experienced during this course and apply them in our own practice and to help our colleagues and students in the area of online and collaborative learning.

Our team’s meme aptly summarized our thoughts on this topic: “Don’t Ask What Online Learning Did For you, Ask What You Did For Online Learning“. Our team accomplished a collaborative MEME where each of us were part of the message and it was coordinated via Zoom.

Taking this course amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic highlights the importance to be able to use online learning and teaching tools and to engage student learning using online platforms. Though the face-to-face and social interaction will still be important, being ready for online learning and assessments helps us to be resilient when facing times or uncertainties or adversity.

Future Practice:

With the topics discussed, I have found greater understanding and confidence in my course design for both online and blended learning. The pedagogical readings help us to reinforce our ideas of successful planning and execution of online learning, and as an assurance of what we have already been doing correctly in our own practice.

Most importantly, the experience helps me to be stepping in the role of a student and be able to understand better the difficulties that they may face. This can help me to develop the course design to better engage the needs of difference students in the near future.

The journey is just beginning and I am really glad to have started it with the valuable ONL201 course.

 

Stay Safe!

Cheers, Cindy

ONL Topic 4: Online and Blended Learning

Topic 4 is a great summary and sharing of our ideas and experiences of online and blended learning. The learning materials and activities, especially the padlet and webinar activities were very engaging. I remember in the webinar’s breakout session, I was in the same breakout group as another female educator who also teaches engineering and found that we shared similar experiences in the aspect of emotional presence in the classroom both online and offline, and how sometimes we may be seen to be perceived like a “mother” in the classroom. Another interesting point we shared was how we sometimes also need to understand how the mindset and culture change in our students changes over the years. I recalled how i have been teaching a course in “renewable energy” since the start of my academic career and one of the examples that I illustrate to provide some thought provoking humor in class is a snapshot of one of the classic scene from a famous chinese movie by Stephen Chow. The first 2 batches of students i have taught immediately identified with the images and could understand the humor and message behind. But in the more recent years, i can clearly see that many of my students do not know/watch Stephen Chow movies and that the message then becomes less relevant. Nevertheless, these are part and parcel of our journey as an educator to constantly refine how we bring the message across to our students.

For the task on Blended and Online Learning, where we found that there were so much information to share and hence, deciding on the focus for the topic was the most challenging task in the beginning. However, it is also through our active interaction and discussion that we manage to move forward to bring our presentation to fruition. Our presentation can be found here: (click here)  Despite the fact that we are a team of 7 (plus 2 facilitators) who has never met in person and from different countries and background. The tasks that we have been working together on for the past few months has helped us to build the necessary trust and rapport to work well together towards a common goal.

In line with our investigation on the 5-stage model by Gilly Salmon, I feel that one can clearly see how in the ONL201 course has supported our learning in the following ways:

1 Access and Motivation

Right at the start, our organizers provided a good summary of the schedule and overview of the course. The ONL website provides a good summary of the information we need and the first week was dedicated to making sure our blogs are connected right.

2 Online Socialization

The introductory meetings on Zoom and the group meetings helps us to get to know the community and also our group members. We also started by posting our introduction on the blogs. We got to know our facilitators and feel really assured that they are around to support us during the course.

3. Information exchange

Readings, videos and webinars can all be found and access on the ONL website. I find this so well-structured that it is not difficult to find the article recommended for our reading. Our PBL group Google Drive also provide fast and easy access to our group meeting and task materials.

4. Knowledge Construction

Every 2 weeks, we will work with our PBL group to complete one task and along the way, we discuss and exchange information and knowledge via our Zoom meetings.

5. Development

After ever task, we are also encouraged to post our reflections on our blogs to document what are our biggest take-away and most importantly how to apply our learning to develop our own practice.

 

The course and this topic has helped me to better appreciate and understand how to design online and blended learning.

Stay safe!

Cheers, Cindy

ONL Topic 3: Learning in Communities – Networked Collaborative learning

For topic 3, we looked at the scenario of networked collaborative learning. Learning in Communities present many opportunities for sharing, thinking and creativity. However, assessment fairness, timely feedback and ability of students to work harmoniously together present challenges to facilitating such learning activitives.

Networked collaborative learning is exactly what we are currently doing with our participation in the open networked learning community. The weekly meetings, learning activities and webinars provide us with a structured and focused environment to work on our task. For this topic, we have shared our inputs using Google Docs, something that we are all very comfortable with using at this time. Another new tool was the creation of brochure online which was our presentation output for this discussion.

One of the challenges in this topic is finding the focus point as the topic has many interesting areas worth investigating. Eventually, we agreed on a structure for our brochure and efficiently narrowed down our findings into succinct and condensed points that we want to share with our community. I admit that this process of distilling information and coming to a common consensus of what to share is the most difficult part of the collaborative work. I am reminded of the many times when students complain about the page limits we impose on them for their group project reports as they feel that they have so much to share.

Overall, this topic and the recommended readings provided helps me to reflect on the challenges and frustrations faced by our students in online collaborative learning, but also provides an understanding of how to better facilitate effective online collaborative learning for our students, an activity that proves to be both useful and necessary amidst the Covid 19 situation around the world.

Stay Safe Everyone!
Cindy

ONL Topic 2

In topic 2, our team explored the use of Coogle (https://coggle.it/)  to collaborate and prepare our presentation for our topic.

Overall, i feel that there are so many take-away lessons from this collaborative process:

Tools for collaborative learning

Together with my team members, we all learnt and explored a new tool and used it to collaborate on the topic. Overall, the use of tools such as Coogle, Google docs, Google drive, blogging, Zoom, etc. has kind of “forced” me to learn to to be comfortable with the use of such resources in a very short period of time and understand the limitations and possibilities in such tools for learning and instruction.

Structure of collaborative learning

As we get to know our team members and the structure of this open network learning community, we become more efficient in communicating and sharing our ideas. Thanks to the guidance of Sandeep and David, our 2 great facilitators for PBL Group 10, we always manage to keep to our tasks and timeline. I particularly enjoy the sessions where we discuss our thoughts for focus of investigation at the start of each topic. It is particularly interesting to observe and learn about the ideas and opinion of each and every other member.

Mindset

One of my goals is to learn to be a better educator and instructor to facilitate learning for my students. In this ONL environment, I can see myself as a learner and at the same time, allows me to revisit some of the common issues and problems faced by my students when I try to incorporate collaborative and project based learning activities.

Certainly look forward to the next 2 topics to come!

Stay safe!

Cindy

Week 1 Topic 1 ONL PBL Group 10

It is week 2 as I write this blog post. Last week has been an intense week of this, working on the tasks, in addition to my daily routine. Also, tuning in to the webinars and also to the online meetings. The thought of doing this with a great team of like-minded coursemates, encouraging group facilitators Sandeep and David, really helped a lot in this journey.

I  feel like a student again and it really helps me reflect on the difficulties faced by students in terms of time constraints, datelines, information (sometimes overload) etc. Sometimes we think, how hard is it to learn this. They had 1 week to understand my lecture before coming to my tutorial. But the truth is that they do NOT HAVE 1 WEEK to learn my lecture. They have 5 other lectures, projects, assignments etc in the week as well and all this adds and really dramatically reduces the time they have to spend on our modules.

As we explore the topic of digital literacy in this week’s topic. I cannot help but think how the availability of such tools and platforms has enabled/ unabled learning. On one hand, there are many more possibilities of how information and knowledge may be disseminated, but too much information may also mean more time needed to distil the useful information from the non-essential or unreliable ones.

I look forward to consolidating our ideas for this topic with my coursemates and share it with the wider ONL community. (and maybe even a wider learning community :))

Sincerely,

Cindy Lee

ONL201 Introduction

This is the connecting week to ONL201 course and I am excited to embark on this journey with like minded members across the globe to learn and network.

This will be the category assigned on my blog to follow my progress on this journey. Looking forward to filling up with new updates regularly.

E-tutorials

Zoom for E-Tutorial

Having gone through the very useful training for “Zoom for online teaching (Webinar)” by CDTL, by Ms Charina Ong and Ms Kiruthika Ragupathi earlier this week, I decided to start to use this tool to facilitate my tutorials for my module CN2101: Materials and Energy Balances. Since the class is < 50 per session, I decided to go ahead with the face-to-face session, but also make the session available online LIVE to allow students to join remotely and interact with the session.

I would say its quite a successful attempt for a first try. There was not much problems. The tool is quite easy to use. I got students to participate, comment, ask even questions in the session. I asked students what they think of such an arrangement and the feedback were very positive.

Interesting Features:

Students in the class can “see” their friends who logged in online and there was some interaction even between the students in the class and their online classmates.

I used Kahoot to create a Quiz for the students. The screen sharing feature allow the Quiz Game to be accessed by both students online and in class. The interface was smooth using ZOOM. Some of the those who won the “top 3 prize” in the quiz is from the online participants. Students are responding and participating online and offline.

Technical considerations

Computer system: 
I used my personal Surface Pro laptop. The camera is therefore my laptop camera. But i can also plug in my USD webcam. (Problem with Surface Pro is that there is only 1 USB port, since i use it for my presenter, I didn’t do it this time)

Audio System:

Since I am doing a face to face tutorial together with the online streaming, I need to make sure I am still audible when i walk around the classroom for the session. The tool that I used was the Trekz Titanium (Bone conduction) Headset which is hands-free and wire-free (blue

Teaching tools:

I used primarily powerpoint slides to present to the class for the session. I normally do this session with powerpoint and visualizer to work through problems by writing. But since i cannot share visualizer with students using my laptop, I had to prepare all materials as powerpoint slides. Some writing was done using my pen for the Surface Pro.

Proposed Ground Rules:

For short sessions like a tutorial (45-50min), it can be very disrupting when students are late. Both walking into the class or logging into the class late. Therefore it will be really useful to make it very clear to students the importance of being punctual.

 

I do hope that more experience sharing within the community, we can share how to improve our delivery of online sessions so that students can benefit.

Hope everyone stay SAFE and HEALTHY and continue to learn!

 

Best Regards,
Cindy

 

E-Learning

So we have been implementing and providing elearning due to the state of virus alert in the recent weeks.  How does this impact students and teachers?

I believe that eLearning can be as meaningful as physical learning. But the interactive touch with the teachers also need to be present. There are many types of eLearning ranging from video lectures, webcast, online discussion forums and etc. I think that the effectiveness of the eLearning will lean more towards student’s efforts to tune in to these resources and to make use of these resources to facilitate their learning. There should still be channels for interaction with the instructor, be it a forum or online consultation, to reinforce the concepts or for clarification.

Here are some of the E-Learning mode i have provided recently and the tools that I use to create the resources:

WEBCAST

This is mainly provided by our University IT support, where a recording during our lecture session will be made. Quality is good if you use the mic and capture the sound. One feature i like is that LTs like LT6 allow 2 screen projection, So i can keep my powerpoint on one side and also do demo/derivations on the visualiser that will be beamed on the other side. Both sides are captured during the recording simultaneously and so its really nice.

SCREEN RECORDING

For lectures where i have to do self recording during the lecture session, I used screen recording tool Panapto on my laptop. This is a bit tricky in terms of recording the voice. As we walk around during lecture. Also, as i am using a Surface Pro with smart pen. The writing on the laptop screen causes very noisy background sounds and makes the video very difficult to hear. My solution for this was to use my Trekz Titanium bluetooth (bone conduction) earpiece with built-in mic for the voice. Works very well as its hands free and wire free.. And because its bone conduction, it does not hinder my hearing. Downside is because I’m using my laptop, it doesn’t capture my writing on the whiteboard or on the visualizer. Since I’m aware of this, I try to keep my writing on the laptop as much as possible since it has a smart pen. Also, screen capture works very well when doing demo on software like Excel and Matlab.

SELF RECORDED LECTURE

I started this when I missed my lecture due to CNY this year. So we can record in our own office or at home. I used Panapto mainly because it allows the ppt slides to be captured very well and that students can skip to the slides they want to focus on if say they are watching for the 2nd time.  In LumiNUS, we can analyze the statistics and see how many students watch the videos and also how much (%) they watched. Self-recorded lecture tends to be faster paced that webcast as it lacks the interactions with students. In future, i will plan to put in activities like a quiz in intervals during the recording.

SELF RECORDED TUTORIAL

Tutorials are different from lectures, lots of explanations and writing. As such, i used Camtasia which has an easier editing toolbox. Camtasia is also screen capture and I used it in making tutorial videos. For the writing and derivation part, I use a self-made visualizer (Out of recycled materials) together with Whitelines paper to capture my writing and expanation. The screen capture tool allows me to toggle easier through the writing, Excel and MATLAB demonstration.

One alternative that can be used is the ZOOM online webinar. This can be used to facilitate e tutorials and e consultations. Just attended the training from CIT and look forward to testing it with our students by next week.

DISCUSSION FORUM

For Discussion, I used Padlet as the platform to allow students to ask questions and comment on the module. In the beginning of the class, this is not adopted were much by students, but i see students warming up to its use. Perhaps at the beginning, they still not very clear on what to ask etc. Padlet is very easy to use and very convenient for us to keep an overview of the topics of interest or concern to the students.

OTHERS

  1. KAHOOT for Quizzes during Flipped classroom sessions.
  2. Using Poll on LumiNUS on students’ preference on elearning or F2F sessions during the initial stages of the virus situation
  3. Using Survey on LumiNUS to facilitate contact tracing by students.

If there are any queries or suggestions about any of the abovementioned methods/ tools, please feel free to have a chat with me on chellyc@nus.edu.sg

STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY!

 

Asian Scientist Writing Prize 2019

Link

Asian Scientist Writing Prize (Awarded 4 Dec 2019)

Thrilled to be one of the winners of the Asian Scientist Writing Prize 2019 (Merit prize, $500 book vouchers)

This is really meaningful for me. Growing up in a predominantly Cantonese – speaking environment, English has not been my strongest subject. Over the years of teaching, many of my students also face the struggle and insecurity in writing reports, and I always tell them that technical writing and communication is something we can all learn and develop with practice and experience.

My essay was about supercritical carbon dioxide and sustainability [Click here to read the article], inspired by my passion for supercritical CO2 research and also my love for superhero movies. Many thanks to Asian Scientist Magazine and Singapore Science Center for organizing this wonderful event, as well as the attractive prizes given.

This award for science communication is a timely and heart-warming reminder for myself. I believe how I write is actually a reflection of my life experiences and interactions. Therefore all my mentors, students, friends and colleagues whom I interact with have all been part of this achievement.

Many thanks to Asian scientist magazine and Singapore science center for organising this meaningful event.