PEDAGOGICAL TIPS

Technology can be used to assist teaching and learning in many ways. Below is a list of useful strategies together with the learning outcomes they are likely to lead to. 

1. Consolidating viewpoints through debating

Debate enables students to learn actively as they are required to develop, argue and reinforce their own opinions on a particular topic. Students have to accurately define the problems at hand, evaluate the credibility of information sources, and identify or challenge assumptions. Through the tasks, students will be able to fully understand the issues and to think critically.

 

Running debates in the class time can be very time-consuming. We suggest that technology can be used in various ways to make better use of time.

1a: Argument write-ups

Instead of making the arguments orally and during class time, arguments can be in written format and be taken place over an extended period of time. Some students who are less outspoken in nature can be dispriviledged in oral debates but they should find elaborating arguments in writing a lot less stressful. Giving students a prolonged period to write up their arguments also likely to result in their deeper research into the topics.

 

The simplest way to run this kind of write-up debates is use the forum function. Each student teams (pro and con sides) is to take turn and post their arguments on it. Teachers should give students a very clear timeline that governs the exact due dates of the postings, such as one week for the first positive post, the next week for the first negative post, etc., up to the concluding posts of each side. To enhance the excitement, teachers may spare class time for some oral interactions, such as a chance for the teachers or the floor to challenge each side and see how well they react and respond immediately.

Technical notes:

Basic forum functions in Blackboard

1b: Video-recorded speeches

Instead of having the students present using class time, teachers may want to ask students to video-record their debate speeches and then upload onto a forum in your Blackboard course. Interestingly, you will find students spending more time in preparing for their speeches if you do it this way. Also, students will rehearse and record many times before they come up with the recording reaching the quality they want. In other words, we expect better quality of the arguments as well as the performance.

 

Teachers should give students a very clear timeline that governs the exact due dates of the postings, such as one week for the first positive speech, the next week for the first negative speech, etc., up to the concluding speeches of each side. To enhance excitement, class time can be used for some final oral interactions, such as a chance for the teachers or the floor to challenge each side and see how well they respond.

 

Technical notes:

Basic forum functions in Blackboard

Use of multimedia in Blackboard forums

1c: Voting of speeches

How about giving the students a chance to rate and comment on their peers’ arguments or performances? This will result in more serious engagement among both the debating teams as well as the audience.

 

Teachers may use the quiz function in Blackboard for this ‘voting’ activity so that students can rate their peers at home. Or if teachers want the voting to be an exciting in-class activity,  perhaps following right after the rigorous presentations and Q&A, the teachers may want to use uReply so that students do the rating and commenting on mobile devices on the spot.

 

Technical notes:

Basic quiz functions in Blackboard

Basic uReply functions

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2. Application of knowledge by going through real cases

A case study is the study of a complex past event, which aims to provide students with an understanding of important concepts through the use of real-life examples. For instance, story of a particular company or product can be employed as a case study to examine any marketing issues and dilemmas in an authentic situation. Technology can enhance case-based activities in many ways.

2a. Development of more resourceful cases

Explanation of the cases can be enriched