Help Students Organize Their Knowledge

Information without organization and context does not promote learning. "Information organized in personally meaningful ways is more likely to be retained, learned, and used" (Angelo, 1993, p. 5).

Examples of Sakai use

  1. Have students construct time lines that illustrate sequential events.
  2. Have students contribute news items or other information that relates the information to their major or career.
  3. Organize posted course documents in a meaningful way.
  4. Have students create a "Concept Map" (Cross & Angelo, 1993, pp. 197-202) using PowerPoint or a mind-mapping application and post it in a Forum on the topic at hand. Students are to diagram major concepts and how they relate to each other. For example, direct students to write "Democracy" in the center of the screen, then around it, add related terms, people, or concepts that come to mind.
  5. Provide external links to recognized expert information on the topic.

General best practices for helping students organize their knowledge from current educational models

  1. "[People] seek regularity and meaning constantly, and we create them when they are not apparent….To be most useful, the ways learners organize knowledge is a given domain need to become ever more similar to the ways experts in that field organize knowledge" (Angelo, 1993, p. 5). Make what is implicit, explicit. "Show students a number of different, useful, and acceptable ways to organize the same information. Use prose, outlines, graphs, drawings, and models. Assess students' organizing schemas and skills by getting them to show you their 'mental models' in a similar variety of ways" (p. 5). 
  2. Provide meaningful organization to the content.
  3. Encourage students to inquire further and explore external resources. 
  4. List references to other resources.
  5. Relate student activities and organizations to students' overall college experience.

References

American Library Association. TEACH Act best practices using Blackboard. Retrieved November 3, 2004 from http://www.ala.org/washoff/teach.html

Angelo, T. (1993). A "teacher's dozen".  AAHE Bulletin, April 3-13.  Retrieved October 20, 2004 from http://www.csuchico.edu/~lseder/ceeoc/teachers_dozen.pdf 

Best online course management practices. Retrieved November 3, 2004 from http://www.csuchico.edu/tlp/webct/instdesign/bestpractices/coursemanagement.html 

Bloom, B. S. (1994). Bloom's taxonomy: A forty-year retrospective. Ninety-third Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (pt 2).

Broski, D. C. (2004). Five immediate goals for 2004-2005. Retrieved August 12, 2005 from http://www.bradley.edu/about/goals.shtml

Bruner, J.S., & Haster, H. W. (1987). Making sense: The child's construction of the world. New York: Routledge.

Chickering, A, & Ehrmann, S. (1996).  Implementing the seven principles: Technology as a lever.  AAHE Bulletin, October 3-6.  Retrieved December 1, 2004 from http://www.tltgroup.org/programs/seven.html

Chickering, A., & Gamson, Z. (1987).  Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education.  AAHE Bulletin, 39(7).

Cross, K. P., & Angelo, T. A. (1993).  Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for faculty (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Drummond, T. (2002).  A brief summary of the best practices in teaching. Retrieved November 3, 2004, from http://northonline.sccd.ctc.edu/eceprog/bstprac.htm

Elements of High Quality Online Instruction. Retrieved November 3, 2004 from http://www.csuchico.edu/tlp/webct/instdesign/bestpractices/bestonlinematrix.html

Frautschi, L., Gasper, P., Hess, P., Holding, C., Kinsinger, J., Peterson, D., Richrath, J., & Strasma, K.  (2003).  Recommended Guidelines for Designing, Developing and Delivering Quality Online and Quality Web-supported Courses at Illinois Central College.  Peoria, IL.

Gardiner, L. F. (1998, Fall). Why we must change: The research evidence. The National Education Association Higher Education: Thought & Action Journal, 71-88. 

Graf, D., & Caines, M. (2004).  WebCT Exemplary Course Project 2004 Nomination/Rubric Form.   Retrieved November 3, 2004 from http://www.webct.com/exemplary 

Institute for Higher Education Policy. (2000).  Quality on the line: Benchmarks for success in internet-based distance education.  Washington, D.C.  Territory: Author.

Lubawy, W. C. (2003). Evaluating teaching using the best practices model. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 67(3).

McKeachie, W. J. (1999). Teaching tips: A guidebook for the beginning college teacher (7th ed.).  Lexington, Massachusetts: D. C. Heath & Company.

Norman, D. A. (1980).  What goes on in the mind of the learner.  In W.J. Mc Keachie, ed., Learning, Cognition, and College Teaching.  New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 45.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Rolheiser, C., & Fullan, M. (2002).  Comparing the research on best practices. Retrieved November 3, 2004 from http://www.cdl.org/resource-library/articles/compare_best.php