Sunday, 29 May 2016

Designing Week One of the Course in Google Classroom

I've selected Google Classroom as the tool to build my course in for the simple (and excellent) reason that it's the one we're deploying as an organisation so it makes sense to use the real tools we'll use for the course (as opposed to making it in something else and it never being used). This blog post sets out the work to build week one of the course (which I'm setting for the week of 7th November 2016 simply to keep it in the 'far future' at the time of writing).

All the screenshots below are clickable to view full sized. Delegates will be welcomed to the course by following an invitation email link.


The first announcement, programmed to appear on the morning of day 1 of their course is the invitation to join the online conference for live discussion and instructions on how to join. The tool used, Appear.In, is one we use fairly often without any incident, but we can't assume all delegates will have prior experience.

During the web-conference we will introduce the course and the activities shown below for week 1, and demonstrate some activities in Code.org that we know to be simple, straightforward confidence building activities, where teachers can see the demo over screencast and then load the site and try them themselves.


As soon as the online conference ends we will send out email invitations to join the private course discussion forum. At this stage all we want to be sure of is that every delegate can log in, post something and respond to someone else, so as a tutor my main focus will be in following up on anyone that doesn't post in the group within 48 hours and ensuring that no post goes without comment (but by the same token, keeping in the background so that wherever possible the comments and responses are from the delegates themselves).


This task uses a simple online question to ask delegates to put the resource (what children need to learn about programming, in the language used in the national curriculum guidance) into plain English and in particular engage with the term debug, decompose and repetition. In the online conference and demo of code.org all three terms will have been a particular focus in the presentations. 

Where the delegate fails to respond, this will be an opportunity to reach out to them to ensure they are engaged with the course and discuss it either by email or telephone.

Where they respond well and demonstrate real understanding that will enable the tutor to publish the response to the Yammer group to share with other delegates for comment.

Where the response shows an ongoing dependency on using "defensive terminology" rather than clear explanation, direct feedback via email and an ongoing dialogue will help to explore that further.


This is a resource that the delegates will find useful later, that is best engaged with after a period of "play" with code.org.

As well as giving a stimulus to go back to code.org to look again (for anyone that engaged superficially only) it gives delegates some links they may later pick up and use in the planning activities.

At the same time as publishing the tutor will post in the Yammer group a thread to ask for opinions and suggestions about the links. 


This view shows how in Classroom assignments that are not released appear in a "queue" - by the end of the course this will be quite a substantial list of documents!

Approaching the end of week 1 this is the final assignment, scheduled for the Friday.



This assignment shares the course objectives with the delegates (again, they will have seen them when they first enrolled) and asks them to edit the document to create their own personal plan.


The tutor is able to view (and comment) on the objectives set by delegates.

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