After implementing the changes needed because of issues with the technology, the students really enjoyed the new format and were really engaged during class time. Class activities based on the readings were lively and every student offered an interesting point of view. Usually there is always one or two students who do not participate as much, but this new format really helped every student become an active participant.
One student shared that she hoped her other classes were so engaging. Another said that she was thinking about dropping the class because it seemed too complicated at the beginning, but, after the changes were implemented, she really had a great time and was happy to have continued
In the Fall of 2013, we ran 2 hybrid pilots and 1 online pilot of the course. The grant is for hybrid courses; however, one of the developers was teaching the online section and modified the course for an online section so that we could compare the course formats as well in our data.
Initially we ran into a lot of issues with technology in the classroom. The classrooms were not setup to allow for such a heavy technological focus in teaching. Students were not able to log in to the course at the same time. The technology in the classroom didn't allow students to access the network. We immediately had to make major changes to our course format and push many assignments to be completed outside of class rather than in class. In class discussions and short quizzes or surveys were utilized and all other assignments were moved to online only.
The game and content in the course was setup originally to release after the student viewed certain items or performed certain actions, such as viewing the syllabus or completing an assignment. We found that some students didn't plan their time well and some couldn't find all the assignments. By level 2 we had modified the course to release all course content materials immediately for the week on the date that the course week started. The game continued to have release restrictions specific to actions taken by the student, although we dropped down the game challenges from 4 to 1 or 2. We found students were more successful and motivated to complete the game and level by doing so.
We did find an error message at the beginning of the semester which seemed to deal more with the traffic load on the D2L servers than an error with the game. After the first 2 weeks of class, we didn't see the error again. We do have a fix for the error should it happen again. Below are the details.
Developer: I have received an error message when I updated a content item and recently just had a second error message. The error message disables my ability to access the content area completely. It an error message very similar to one that I have seen in Blackboard.
Current fix: hit back arrow until I return to the content item that I was working on and then click "revert to draft". I can then view the HTML code and clean it. The content area is then again viewable.
Over the summer, we tested out the pilot with a small number of students. They had access to the first few levels of the game. The students overall provided positive feedback. We made a few changes in organization of content.
As soon as we received the grant, we started working on developing the basic course shell to make the course shells unified. The basic course shell was complete by May of 2013.
We focused on getting our first pilot ready for the summer. After completing the course shell, we worked on moving our content from a textbook to online materials. Then we worked on creating a flipped format where students learn outside of class and apply their knowledge in class together. For our first pilot, we had all assignments due in class and all reading, videos, and lectures outside of the classroom.