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The role of the tutorials is to provide a platform for a more intensive scientific exchange amongst researchers interested in a particular topic and as a meeting point for the community. Tutorials complement the depth-oriented technical sessions by providing participants with broad overviews of emerging fields. A tutorial can be scheduled for 1.5 or 3 hours.

Susan M. Zvacek, Ph.D.
Fort Hays State University
United States

Higher Order Thinking in Online Classes

Faced with the prospect of developing and teaching an online course, it's only natural to start by pondering, "What am I going to do?" This workshop will present the argument, however, that the more important question is, "What are my students going to do?" Although humans are pre-wired to store and recall information, it takes effort and engagement to build out the neural structures that are required for higher order thinking. Advancements in our understanding of cognitive processing suggest that deep learning (the kind that enables problem-solving, creativity, and analysis, for example) occurs only when we move beyond recall and recognition to more complex, engaging tasks. Online courses have an unprecedented opportunity to act as a catalyst for meaningful change in education by focusing on student engagement – after all, there's no way to sit passively in the back row of the online classroom. Participants in this workshop will explore strategies for utilizing online tools and resources that guide learners toward more complex thinking, problem-solving, and self-regulation. Bring a course syllabus and willingness to try something new!

Tutorial Objectives
After participating in this tutorial, you should be able to:
Explain the value of incorporating higher order thinking skills into online instruction;
Identify specific higher order thinking skills you'd like your students to learn;
Use online tools to integrate higher order thinking skills into your instruction.

  • What are higher order thinking skills (HOTS)?
  • Why are they important?
Course Design Basics
  • Three-step model for building courses, units, or lessons
  • Events of instruction
Teaching HOTS with Online Tools
  • Problem-solving
  • Analogical reasoning
  • Self-explaining
  • Synthesizing information
  • Creating visual representations of learning
Experience with online tools for teaching and learning

Intended Experience level
Beginner to Moderately Experienced

Biography of Susan M. Zvacek
Susan M. Zvacek has been involved with higher education for more than twenty years and has worked in community college, corporate, university, and adult education environments. Currently, she is the Senior Director for Teaching Excellence and Learning Technologies at Fort Hays State University, in Hays, Kansas. Dr. Zvacek holds a B.A. in Speech from Iowa State University, a Master's in Education from the University of Utah, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instructional Technology, also from Iowa State University. Her scholarly work has been primarily in the field of educational technology, with publications and presentations at national and international conferences on topics such as higher order thinking skills, distance education, and the assessment of learning using online tools. She is co-author of a popular textbook, Teaching and Learning at a Distance (now in its fifth edition) and Blackboard for Dummies.


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Dr. David Kaufman
Faculty of Education
Simon Fraser University

Enhancing Student Engagement in eLearning: Applying Theory to Practice

This tutorial introduces participants to the concept and importance of engagement in eLearning. A definition and brief rationale is provided which is followed by a description of the characteristics of net generation learners. A variety of learning theories then are discussed, as well as some key research evidence, and some key principles from these are presented as a guide to practice. The major portion of the tutorial then demonstrates a variety of practical and useable examples for participants to incorporate into their own teaching. The session concludes with some guidance regarding resources for instructors who wish to learn more about this topic.

Tutorial Objectives
By the completion of this tutorial, participants should be able to:
1. Explain the concept of engagement and its importance in e-Learning
2. Discuss the characteristics of net generation learners
3. Describe several learning theories and the key principles for practice derived from these
4. Describe several key research findings that support the concept of learner engagement
5. Use a variety of examples from this tutorial and elsewhere to enhance the engagement of their learners/students
6. Locate resources for further study and skill development

Rationale: Why change our current teaching approaches?
1. Critiques of 'traditional' teaching
2. Net generation learners
3. Learning theories
4. Research evidence

Some Characteristics of Net Generation Learners
1. Technology skilled
2. Rely on search engines for information
3. Interested in multimedia
4. Like to create Internet content
5. Learn by discovery / trial and error
6. Multitask on everything and have short attention span
7. Crave social interaction and prefer teamwork and collaboration

Applying Learning Theories to Educational Practice
• Social Constructivism
• Experiential Learning
• Adult Learning Principles
• Reflective Practice
• Social Cognitive Theory/Self-Efficacy
• Communities of Practice

Research Evidence
APA Learning-Centered Psychological Principles (1997)
(2 key ones)

Practical examples
1. Use collaboration
2. Use co-operative learning structures
3. Assign group challenges
4. Use technology creatively, engagingly, and appropriately (many different examples)
5. Resources for instructors

Basic knowledge of, and skill in using, the internet
Some experience in eLearning

Intended Experience level

Instructor's Qualifications
Dr. David Kaufman received his doctorate from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1973. Since that time, he has held a number of academic and administrative positions. He has held faculty appointments in Faculties of Engineering, Computer Science, Medicine, and Education at Concordia University (Loyola), Dalhousie University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of British Columbia. He also has served as Coordinator of Research and Development for the former Educational Research Institute of British Columbia, Director of Course Design for the Open Learning Institute (British Columbia's distance education institution), Director of the Medical Education Unit and later Director of Faculty Development in Dalhousie University's Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Kaufman is the 1998 recipient of Dalhousie University's Instructional Leadership Award for his efforts in promoting and enhancing teaching. In 2001, he was appointed Director of the Learning and Instructional Development Centre at Simon Fraser University and has recently completed a seven-year term. Since 2003, he has been a Professor in the Faculty of Education and is continuing his academic work. Dr. Kaufman has given more than 200 presentations at universities and conferences in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the Caribbean. He has published extensively, with more than 100 published articles and chapters and a co-edited book (Distance Education in Canada) to his credit. He is the co-author of this books entitled Educational Gameplay and Simulation Environments: Case Studies and Lessons Learned, published by IGI Global, and Jeux et Simulations Educatifs: Etudes de Cas et Lecons Apprises, published by the University of Quebec Press. He also is a reviewer for many journals, professional associations and funding agencies, and recently completed a term as member of the national SSHRC Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) research grant committee and currently sits on the national SSHRC Standard Research Grant adjudication committee (Education and Social Sciences). Dr. Kaufman and his colleague (Dr. Louise Sauvé) recently completed an SSHRC INE Collaborative Research Initiative grant of $3million over four years on Simulation and Advanced Gaming Environments (SAGE) for Learning. He and his colleagues currently hold an SSHRC research grant to study digital games for seniors and are continuing their work in this area.


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