Wednesday, March 9
4:00 PM-5:00 PM

In and Out-of-the-Box Workshop

Roundtable ID: 31696
  1. Joann Nichols
    Rivier College

Abstract: Online instructional planning for the lone student at a screen can be used in exemplary backward design to make online and face-to-face instruction a pedagogical continuum, one enhancing the other with more hands-on work online, the design of which then enhances in-class activities.


Workshop participants will be presented with two versions of course activities—one face-to-face and one all-online, comparing the design and result of the instruction and student learning. My own action research results will be shared. Participants will then work to apply “out-of-the-box” thinking to their own choice of instructional content. This workshop, presented for the faculty of Rivier College in August, 2010 in a 2-hour format, was not only enthusiastically received, but well-understood and then applied to a variety of teaching venues. It is not only fun and interactive, but inspiring for those instructors who tend to view online and classroom instruction as two separate entities, rather than a continuum of exemplary practice. It could be expanded to 3.5 with the addition of discussion and help sessions.

Topical Outline

Discomfort with the “box” of the computer often causes otherwise inspiring teachers to resort to simplistic online delivery, such as having students read a journal article and participate in a discussion board about it. The face-to-face instruction for the same course, however, may include engaging hands-on activities that transmit and cement concepts for their students. In an attempt to duplicate the appealing hands-on unit used in the face-to-face class, and effectively transfer them to psychology of education courses, digital components with hands-on activities were developed. The solitary online student may then experience the course in multiple ways, beyond reading and typing, more in keeping with the treasured interaction model of the traditional active classroom. For example, a unit on memory finds the online student printing out a template and constructing a thaumatrope, a craft that demonstrates the psychological concept of sensory register. In planning the online units and garnering feedback from both online and face-to-face course participants, it became evident that the backwards design necessary to implement the online materials well actually enhanced the face-to-face version of the course.


The “In and Out-of-the-Box” Workshop is for college faculty, teacher education professionals, secondary school educators, and other instructors who are working to transfer their traditional course delivery to an online format. No technological prerequisites are necessary, but familiarity and some desire to develop online instruction will enhance the workshop.

Experience Level



Full Faculty Instructor at Rivier College in Nashua, NH. Doctoral degree in Education, concentrating in Language and Literacy from University of Massachusetts Lowell Seven years experience teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in psychology of education, early childhood courses, and other teaching preparation topics, including hybrid and all-online Six years as Kindergarten teacher and college instructor
No presider for this session.


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