UAS EDET 674 Online Teaching in Alaska

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The objective during this 12 week tutoring course is to understand the concepts necessary to pass the math portion of the Alaska High School Graduation Qualifying Exam (HSGQE). Passing this test is required for High School graduation.

The course consists of weekly units with two modes of delivery. At the end of every week there is a synchronous video conferencing session where the student and tutor go over the previous week’s work, work on sample problems together, and go over the learning objectives and resources for the next week. To increase the chance of success the student will also be working during the week with additional help as required, either with another tutor or with their parents.

Content to be worked on is developed on a week-by-week basis and is based largely upon the results of the HSGQE practice test results and the progress made during the preceding week. A rough guide as to the focus of the course as it progresses:

- Weeks 1-3

- Developing good working relationship
- Becoming familiar with the tools we will be using
- Assigning a practice HSGQE and then going over pre-test results
- Working on fundamentals of terms, expressions, and equations

- Weeks 4-9

- Focusing on particular content areas identified by the pre-test

- Weeks 10-12

- Developing test taking strategies
- Building confidence
- Assigning and going over representative practice tests

Outside of the weekly video conferencing session the student and teachers will communicate primarily over email. The instructor will make every effort to respond within one day of receiving the email.

Each week the instructor will work with the student to come up with an activity that will require the student to use what they’ve learned in class to create something in the real world. Whenever and however possible, this activity should use existing skills and interests that the student has to serve as an anchor for the student and to make it fun.

Ideally the activity would take up to two hours to complete and allow the student an opportunity to be creative and choose their outcome for the assignment as long as it meets the requirements that the tutor and student agree upon.

In addition to the weekly hands-on activity the instructor will develop one or more example problems that will be relevant to the student’s interests. These problems will typically be word problems that will require the student to identify how to translate the narrative into the set of math equations necessary to solve the problem. In addition, the student will be given the opportunity to develop and solve their own word problem using the example as a guide.

The instructor and student will use Skype as the main tool to communicate to each other every week during a regularly scheduled meeting. Skype is a well-known, easy to use,and reliable service that allows for real-time discussion and sharing of video.

To provide feedback to the student during the weekly video conference, the instructor will utilize ClassDojo (http://www.classdojo.com). The student can look back and see a tally for their feedback during the session organized by day:

During the online tutoring session we have started using a tool called CoSketch (http://www.cosketch.com) as an interactive whiteboard so that we could both draw on the screen. There are many alternatives that we could use to fill this role and the decision to use this tool may change in the upcoming weeks based on how well it will work with a tablet and stylus. What’s useful about this tool is the ability to load up a background image (for example a sample problem from the HSGQE), and draw on it to highlight terms.

At the student’s suggestion we will be using video resources and exercises from the Kahn Academy (http://www.kahnacademy.org). Kahn Academy provides a wide variety of instructional materials in a format that is entirely self-paced; the student chooses when and how quickly they move through the videos and exercises. These resources provide two benefits to this tutoring effort: first, the instructor can assign a set of videos and exercises for the student in order to support the topics discussed during the weekly video conference. Secondly, whenever they want to, the student can choose to work on other areas to cover fundamentals or to see where the current line of work is leading to.

The instructor can view the areas and statistics about how the student devoted their time on the site:

Every week we will use Quizlet (http://www.quizlet.com) as a means to keep track of vocabulary words to focus on for the week. Either the instructor or the student should have the ability to add definitions that work for them and a variety of ways to view the vocabulary words as flash cards:

As we move through the course the instructor will make an effort to find educational games to supplement the materials the student is learning and that have low bandwidth requirements. The intention here is to have the student develop improved mental math skills and feel more comfortable with mathematical representations of numbers.

During the first weeks of the tutoring effort, the student will complete a sample Alaska HSGQE math test in order to identify weak spots, areas of strength, vocabulary to work on, as well as to glean any test-taking strategies that may be helpful.

During the instructional period ongoing assessment is provided through the use of Kahn Academy exercises with feedback provided in realtime. In addition, we will be using practice Alaska HSGQE tests towards the end of the tutoring effort to examine the student’s progress and get a sense of test preparedness.

Since the goal of the course is to prepare the student to take the Alaska HSGQE, the final assessment is provided by the HSGQE itself.