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I think the following article and links/material related to it may be of interest to any of us who wish to pursue continuing this project. http://remediatingassessment.blogspot.com/2013/09/on-moocs-boocs-and-docc-innovation-in.html .
Here are some things we could think about.
Is OLCC the right name for this? This may seem a bit lame, but the acronym comes from the 90's, and it needs to reflect the 21st century, not 20th. The above link describes DOCCs as Distributed Open Collaborative Courses.
What type of online material best engages 21st century students? I am attaching at the bottom of this page an interesting article (you need to login to see it) "This Chart Shows the Promise and Limits of Learning Analytics" by Jeffrey Young in the January 2016 Chronicle of Higher Education. On page 4 he describes some discoveries Courtney Stewart (Utah State's School of Teacher Education) made through learning analtyics:
One of the biggest surprises he found: Only half the students ever used the home page he had so carefully built for the course. Instead, many students just jumped to the homework, and only clicked to a reading assignment or lecture if they didn’t know the answer to a question.
Did we see this effect? Did the students make comments on the papers the way I (Bob) expected? No, they only asked questions about the assignments, and the few of my students that did ask about the papers, were being proded by me in my lecture. That is, we would discuss the papers, and I would literally assign [read: force] them to ask questions. The students were uncomfortable asking questions about the papers. But I do not think that is the whole story, and there is something else that is also going on. Today's youth have grown up in a world a massive information access, and they navigate information differently than those who went to college before the computer and internet became prevalent.
We do have access to all comments, http://olcc.ccce.divched.org/comments , maybe we should analyse this for what students commented on? If there are clusters of comments on papers that occured Tuesday/Thursday 4:30-6PM Central time, or shortly after, they were being proded by me. (Many students were assigned specific questions that came up in class disussions - and asked them after class. They were not student originated questions, but the ones dealing with assignments, were).
Is Q and A the way to provide textual information? Harry Pence's 2008 CCCE Newsletter article Browsers and Burrowers , alerted us to a new trend which 9 years later may have become a reality in that today's students do not read the way they did 50 years ago. May and Cotton's molecule of the month Newsletter article showed that their style of presenting material online evolved from an encyclopedia style to a Q and A (Question and Answer) style. I (Bob) am trying an experiment here, and making this page in a Q and A, where the Q is red. My thought is does this make it easier for today's student to navigate? In the above paper's discussion I tried to bring forth the idea of a Q and A textbook format, and does that what we need for the Cheminformatics OLCC? Instead of writing a paper and posting that, should we be doing Q and As?
Is Cheminformatcs changing the fundamental cognitive artifacts used to represent, manipulate and communicate chemical information? Cognitive artifacts are entities outside of the mind that are used in cognitive processes. Some claim they need to be physical, but I would disagree and claim that a digital entity could perform the role of a cognitive artifact. The shopping list is a classical cognitive artifact, in that writing down what you need reduces the cognitive load involved with memorization to remembering to look at the list, not memorizing what is on the list. Cognitive artifacts change the cognitive process. Cognitive artifacts like the calculator enable extended cognitive processes where a single cognitive agent uses the calculator in to manipulate arithmetic cognitive tasks. Is a web page like this a cognitive artifact enabling multiagent distributed cognitive processes where more than one agent tackles a task, like deciding what worked and did not work with the cheminformatics OLCC?
Is a Lewis Dot Structure a Cognitive Artifact, a cognitive construct, or what? Good question, worth discussing. I would say it is a cognitive or mental construct in the sense that a line between to letters is only a bond for the cognitive agent who visualizes atoms as being letters and a bond as being a line between the "atoms", but the construct can be used to represent chemical information in a manner that enables distributed cogintive processes. The artifact would be tool used to create the lewis dot structure, be it chalk and a board, pencil and paper, or monitor and computer. So are the constructs based on the artifacts? I would say yes, and if you did not have the tools (artifacts) you needed to "draw" a lewis dot structure, it would not be a construct that represents a chemical entity.
Is a reaction mechanism a cognitive schema? Schema are frameworks used to organize and interpret construct-based information in the process of performing a cognitive task. I would argue that schema based frameworks we use to solve problems are based on the mental constructs used to represent the information which in turn are based on the fundamental cogintive artifacts. For extended or distributed cognitive processes, our ability to solve problems is defined by the artifactual technologies we employ
or concept that
mainstay in todays classroomstudents in today's world of instant access to multiple information sources have developed ways of navigating information analagous to Harry Pence's Browsers, in contrast to borrowers, maybe chunking information as discussed in the Molecule of the Month
Changing student expectations
Systematic chemical information is older than any of us