This semester I am teaching a third-semester composition class for English language teachers in training and the following three classes for university professors: Content and English Language Learning I (CELL I), Content and English Language Learning II (CELL II), and Academic Writing. This is how I am flipping the learning design in terms of structure, readiness levels, and critical thinking.
Course content for all four courses are hosted publicly in Microsoft OneNote: Composition, CELL I, CELL II, and Academic Writing. The reason for using OneNote – as opposed to Moodle or any other learning or content management system – is because of its ease of use. I can easily add and manipulate content using any device (Macbook Air, iPad, and iPhone), anytime from anywhere, and share this information either privately or publicly as well. Sharing content and the learning experience publicly has particular relevance this semester as I am making a special effort to provide opportunities for learners to share their own learning experiences with those outside their given class. As their instructor, I too am able to share openly what I am doing and reflect on my own teaching practice by creating affordances for collaboration and cooperation.
In addition to using OneNote, Microsoft Word Online is used in Composition and Academic Writing so that text revisions can be shared amongst the learners and me. Links to learners’ Word online document are included in OneNote so that everyone can not only see each others approach to the writing process and but also see how I provide feedback to everyone and how subsequent changes are then made.
Since OneNote serves mainly as a content management system, Facebook complements the learning experience by providing both synchronous and asynchronous forms of communication. For example, the Composition facebook page, CELL facebook page, and Academic Writing facebook page allow learners to engage in the content mainly outside of class, but also face-to-face when such interactions promote course objectives. More immediate content is shared in facebook (publicly) which can either come from the content in OneNote, or when it is new content, may be added simultaneously to OneNote. Thus, content in OneNote is structured more chronologically or thematically while facebook is structured more to emphasize certain content or to engage learners around certain content through discussions and critical thinking.
In Composition, CELL I, and CELL II, e-portfolios are used for housing specific products learners complete in class. Learners become recognized for how they demonstrate their understandings, knowledge, skill sets, and dispositions through the presentation of artifacts that positions themselves as professionals. An e-portfolio becomes part of an online identity that illustrates where the professional has been, where the professional is currently, and what the professional wishes to become.
In summation, OneNote and Word is the “playground” the “laboratory”, the “sandbox”, etc. where initial learning occurs, primarily via private communications between learner-instructor and possibly learner-learner. Facebook extends the learning experience more publicly by opening up the conversation more fluidly with others potentially beyond the classroom. Finally, e-portfolios is the end result, the final objective of the learning process as everything within the learning structure leads to this final destination.