Synchronous and asynchronous communications

Video Glossary

With a blended class like English Writing with Multimedia, there are numerous approaches to providing a balance of synchronous and asynchronous communications. The Moodle tool that I’ve chosen for an activity that involves both types of communication is the glossary.  As explained in the video, students would be divided into small groups, and given in-class time to go out on campus and shoot specific types of videos that are clearly explained in a reading assignment that they had studied prior to class.

The would then use the glossary tool to collaboratively write and revise their glossary entries. This would most likely be an asynchronous type of communication.

During their video shooting excursions and small group discussions about the best videos to use for their definitions, students would be interacting synchronously (and face-to-face).

The process of writing and revising each glossary definition would most likely be asynchronous.  At this point of my familiarization with Moodle, I don’t know if its glossary app allows group collaboration like Google Drive does.  If it doesn’t, then I would urge students to use Google Drive for that process–pointing out that it allows both synchronous and asynchronous collaboration–and then remind them to publish their final version of each glossary entry after they have completed it.

Another asynchronous form of communication would be the peer reviews (Part B). Because of the sensitive nature of such a task, asynchronous communication is the only possible choice, in my opinion.

For Part C,  students could asynchronously (and possibly synchronously, depending on Moodle’s glossary app) peer-edit the work of another assigned group.  The main objective for this would be to complete a set of glossary definitions that the entire class can proudly activate as a “live” online resource that other students at the school would be able to access.  Providing such realism is vital to student motivation and, by having learners work individually, in small groups, and as a whole class, I think their understanding of the language of film would be significantly enhanced.

2 thoughts on “Synchronous and asynchronous communications

  1. Hi Gary,
    What a creative idea about the glossary tool! I like the hands-on experience. I am not sure how I would describe a term with a video, so I find the task challenging, which is good. I know you mentioned already how your students loved working with media, so this seems like a nice new project for them. The combination of real time and asynchronous activities is a nicely thought out. I am not sure what are the affordances of a Moodle glossary tool. If it doesn’t work, one of the other tools you may think about using is wiki. The students can expend on it as much as they like, edit and comment. You can see the authors on the back end. Maybe it could be rolled over to another term and build upon?

    • Thank you, Natasha, for your positive feedback! I share your uncertainty about glossary tool affordances and appreciate your suggestion about wiki as an alternative. Initially, I decided against wiki because I thought it might provide too many options (affordances?) which might become distractions, thereby leading learners off-task. I thought that, because the glossary is more limited in scope, that it would facilitate more focus on shooting and defining the actual videos that students create. Come to think of it, though, most of my students are familiar with wiki–and might prefer working on that much more than on a “glossary,” so I should definitely keep that in mind….and be prepared to “adjust” if necessary.

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