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Collaborative Communities 761


Contact Information
Sharon Thompson, Instructor
Madison, WI
E mail
or if you cannot reach me there:
Email me at any time and I will get back to you within 24 hours!
If you need to ask a question during the daytime hours, e-mail is the quickest way.
Home: 608-224-0517 Cell: 608-358-6151
Contact name:sharon.dave
Use this contact if you have Skype, and have a quick question.
Virtual Office Hours:
Daily, 5-7 pm for Skype or Phone calls. Email anytime, and I will get back to you within 24 hours!
Welcome to our class in Group Dynamics! 
This is going to be a real-time experience for you, learning to communicate with your online classmates as you create projects, encourage each other, and work out differences and conflicts in the process! We will begin by using self-assessments in personality type, learning style, and interest inventories. 
After I know a little more about each of you, groups will be formed to observe the process of group dynamics and to create an online project that reflects each group’s unique flavor! You will converse and learn using internet technology and experience the unique dynamics of cyber-groups by becoming part of this class.
So, I am looking forward to this term and to getting to know you! 

My Philosophy of Teaching
I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t looking for something new to learn. From the time I entered my last year of my Bachelor’s degree to now, I have always lived with my next learning goal ahead of me. I love being a student, with the immediate opportunity to apply new strategies and explore new ideas, philosophies and technologies in education. The strategies that I have learned have become a part of who I am as a teacher of middle school and high school students.
My Students
The upper high school students that I teach require an approach that is much like adult education, with a little more direction. While lacking the accumulated foundation of life experiences, they are generally goal and relevancy oriented. They want to be self directed, and respected as young adults. My response is to allow them considerable latitude in forming their own learning strategy goals, and organizing their materials. I provide them with opportunities to experience the content, and reflect upon it so that positive transference occurs. My role is to advise, but not direct, and to encourage, maintaining high expectations from each group and individual.
In the transitional years of middle school, my students are learning to adjust to another level of expectations and need to have experiences that help them to become independent learners by encouragement to step toward discipline in learning. They need to operate in their own strengths and talents. My goal for them is to learn to think logically and insightfully and to manage their routines while engaged in discovery. My online students will reflect as they create; an added learning opportunity.
My role as teacher
I believe there must be a balance between nurturing my students’ joy in learning, maintaining order in the classroom, and providing essential content with style.
My goal is to gather a toolbox of strategies to effectively balance these teaching skills. I need to be a lifelong learner in order to accomplish those tasks with excellence. In online teaching, I believe that the strategy goals are very similar to a classroom, but I will rely upon technology to communicate and build them.
I sometimes step into the role of facilitator as my students work in groups. I become an encourager and counselor for the young people in my classroom that will enter the adult world in a few short years. As an online instructor, my role moves more to facilitation as students begin to gain confidence to use their best judgment.
I have observed that the secondary school years can be a time where students blossom into adults who are lifelong learners, or they can become adults that avoid the challenges of the future. It is a privilege to lead them by example and deed into adults that can face the challenges because they can learn well. I have a poster in my classroom that reminds me daily of my tasks as a teacher of history. It says “Learn from the past, live in the present and plan for the future.” My goal is to lead my students to apply the facts of history to thisambitious model. To do that I will use the methods that work, care for my students as individuals, and embrace the future.

Sharon Thompson - Self Assessment - March, 2008
To Work on
1.Strong background in teaching experience in MS/HS
2.Broad content knowledge and level expertise.
3.Good writing skills – able to communicate well in writing.
4.Motivated to adjust to teaching online.
5.Willing to learn, be flexible and take criticism
6.Able to ask a variety of questions which deepen discussion.
1.Tend to reflect too long because of lack of confidence.
2.Need to work on questioning skills.
3.Need to work on integrating technology into coursework
4.Need to practice skills of facilitator
5.Need to use more self evaluation.
1. Finish certificate by September, 2008.
  -Practicum in Summer, 2008
2. Finish developing my Group Dynamics course.
-complete list of revisions.
3. Improve questioning techniques
-gather resource documents for reference.
-use resource documents to incorporate more questions into my f2f classes now.
4. Integrate technology more into present classes to make them hybrid.
-write a tip sheet for online resources relevant to each of my classes.
-require use of internet resources in my f2f classes.
Internet Resources:
David Thompson - Teaching & Learning Methods, Content expert.
–experienced middle school teacher – grade level expertise, motivational methods
Kirk -IT and networking specialist
Karen Library Science – Media Specialist
Susan E-learning expert.

Ways to Connect 
with students and between students
Group Dynamics Course
My To-Do List – Sharon Thompson
Collaborative Communities (761) – Module 4
Methods of connecting*
Note: Some of the methods may be eventually combined in a CMS or with several features in one application.
Who/what needs to connect here*
Materials needed
Resources I have
Resources I need
By What Date
To develop community in the whole group
A -Email
S - Skype
A - Discussion board (Wetpaint Wiki)
S – Chat (Skype)
P <>P
P<> I
Email and Discussion board could be part of a CMS. Skype contains a chat component that works well
-I have Skype, and personal email.
-Class Wiki with discussion board
-Chat available on Skype
Find how to set up a course on Moodle, which includes Discussion board.
Sept. 2008
To communicate for the group project
S - Skype
A – Google Docs
S - Voicethread
Individual student accounts for each of these applications.
-Established account -Skype
-Tip Sheet for Google Docs
Tutorials and instructions for each application
March 2008
To produce and present the group project collaboratively
A, S - Mind mapping
A - Voicethread
A - Wiki - Wetpaint
Individual and group setups for each application.
MindMeister – group accounts set up by instructor
Tutorials and group set-up instructions for each application.
To offer formative/summative feedback
A - Survey
A - Blog
A - Email
P <> I
CMS survey tool or Survey Monkey.
Blog tool –
Survey Monkey account tutorial. Survey Monkey tutorial, or
CMS survey
April, 2008
To record individual reflection
P <> I
Participant blog sites at
Personal blog site.
April 2008
To post learning materials for students
CMS – Moodle?
WetPaint Wiki
Preferably a CMS, capable of embedding podcasts, etc.
Use Googledocs as additional site for documents. 
Google Docs
CMS – Moodle?
-Google Account setup Tip Sheet
Gmail accounts (Gmail is an option, but other email ok.)
Google Docs
June, 2008
To offer private communication
g-mail account to access applications such as googledocs, wetpaint,
-My own account
Tutorial and instructions for setup.
Gmail Setup at
April, 2008
*P = Participants; I = Instructor; SGP = Small Group Participants; LGP = Large Group Participants; L = Learning materials
A = asynchronous S = synchronous

First email Contact: two weeks before class begins:
Dear ________________,
Welcome to our class in Group Dynamics! 
This is going to be a real-time experience for you, learning to communicate with your online peers as you create projects, encourage each other, and work out differences and conflicts in the process! 
We will begin by using self-assessments in personality type, learning style, and interest inventories. After I know a little more about each of you, groups will be formed to observe the process of group dynamics and to create an online project that reflects each group’s unique flavor! You will use internet technology and experience the dynamics of cyber-groups in our class.
So, I am looking forward to this term and getting to know you! Watch for your next email, coming this week, to learn the way to get you off to a good start!
Sharon Thompson, Instructor
v     Email:
v     Or
v     Email anytime and I will get back to you within 48 hours!
v     Phone: 608-358-6151
v     Skype name: sharon.dave
v     Virtual Office Hours: Daily, 5 – 7 p.m. CST for Skype and phone calls.

Second Email contact: Several days after the above contact: or about one week before class begins.
Welcome to our class! It doesn’t officially begin for another few weeks, but I wanted to let you know a few things that you can do to prepare for this class. This may be a whole new way to learn for you, so I want to help you to be ready to take off the first day!
Our class will involve both the theory and practice of the study of groups. Using technology and the internet, we will learn about group behavior, observe the behavior within our actual groups and then reflect on what we have learned. You will enjoy the experience of group communication and realize that groups behave similarly wherever they are able to form.
Before the first day of class on ___________, please have the items on this checklist done. If there are “how” questions, feel free to email me and I will get back to you within 48 hours. I may be traveling in the two weeks before class, but just leave me an email and you will hear from me soon!
Here’s the list:
1Check your required equipment: Make sure that you check the technical requirements for this class. Besides your working computer, monitor, and speakers (see the “Skype” section below), you will need to have a webcam and a microphone. These will be used several times during the course for communication with your classmates and your instructor. You will need to test that they work well before the beginning of class. After you have them connected and have opened a Skype account (see # 3.1) you can practice a contact with me. My Skype account can be found in the contact information you will find at the end of this letter.
System Requirements:
·         PC running Windows 2000, XP or Vista. (Windows 2000 users require DirectX 9.0 for video calls).
·         Internet connection (broadband is best, GPRS is not supported for voice calls, and results may vary on a satellite connection).
·         Speakers and microphone - built-in or separate.
·         For voice and video calls we recommend a computer with at least a 1GHz processor, 256 MB RAM and of course a webcam.
·         For High Quality Video calls you will need a high quality video webcam and software, a dual-core processor computer and a fast broadband connection (384 kbps).Not necessary for this class.
2Log in to the course site successfully.   Log on to the course site at _____________. Your id is your last name followed by the first letter in your first name. The password for you is group. Once you enter the site, you can browse through all of the links. You will notice that they are divided into modules. Each module represents one week of work, and there will be an introduction, reading assignments, activities to finish, discussions to participate in, and a question to help you reflect in your blog. You will also find contact information there for your instructor and your classmates.
3. Set up the following web accounts: You will need to set up a web account for each of the following web sites to get started: 
            3.1 Skype   Skypedownload       my sign in_________________
                                                                        My password_______________
When you finish, view this Skype tutorial: Part 1 , and Part 2
This is absolutely necessary when you are using multiple web pages for your assignments.) 
3.2.Google account:    In order to use Google Docs,  Blogger and other applications in this class, you will need to set up a Google account. See this Google Tip Sheet to set up your Google Account
3.3 Optional Gmail Account: G Mailsetup – (if you do not have an email account) view this G mail tutorial (watch just the first few minutes.) Then set up your account: This is optional. You must have some email account, but it does not need to be Gmail.                                
My id._______________________
My password_________________
3.4 Google Docs Access: Google Docs– view this Google Docs tutorial. Then go to the linked web page and use your Google Account id (username) and password  to log in to Google Docs. On that login page, there is also a Google Docs tutorial that will help you know how to learn to use the service. 
3.5 Blog Account: – (You will set up your own blog that you will add to in each module as you reflect on your experiences.) Watch this Blog tutorial and write your first blog entry explaining the class that you have set this blog up for, and what you expect to get out of this class. 
When you are finished with these setups you will need to contact me by email, confirming your new Gmail address, and the location of your Google Docs and your Blog. My Contact information is below:
Sharon Thompson, Instructor
Email anytime and I will get back to you within 48 hours!
Phone: 608-358-6151
Skype name: sharon.dave
Virtual Office Hours: Daily, 5 – 7 p.m. CST for Skype and phone calls.
My goal is that you will all learn the technology quickly so that you can have fun learning how to communicate in groups using this exciting way to communicate! 
I will be waiting to hear from you!
Sharon Thompson, Instructor

Syllabus for Group Dynamics
Term:                                    Fall, 2008
Instructor:                            Sharon Thompson
Contact Information:        
E mail: or if you cannot reach me there:
Email me at any time and I will get back to you within 48 hours! If you need to ask a question during the daytime hours, e-mail is the quickest way.
Phone:         Home: 608-224-0517 Cell: 608-358-6151
Skype:         contact name: sharon.dave Use this contact if you have Skype, and have a quick question.
Virtual Office Hours:      Daily, 5-7 pm for Skype or Phone calls.
Course Description:
            This is a high school course in Group Dynamics that begins with a body of knowledge about individual behavior, how groups develop, and the reasons why people act the way they do within a group. 
The class will include an authentic small group experience through which students will observe and connect principles of group dynamics that we study.
The 8-week class will be entirely online, but will use collaboration tools that provide video and audio interaction within the small groups.
Goals and Objectives:
  1. In a written reflection, the student will demonstrate understanding of basic theoretical explanations for small group interaction by explaining the basic connections and historical development of group theory, at a minimum of 85% proficiency as outlined in the Reflection Rubric.
  1. As a part of a small group, the student will use the discussion board to demonstrate active participation in a small group project and collaboratively create its presentation, at a minimum of 85% proficiency as outlined in the Participation Rubric.
  1. Using role play of a position within their group, the student will participate in asynchronous group discussion so that their role is observable on the discussion board in key, identifying phrases, at a minimum of 85% proficiency as outlined in the Discussion Roles Rubric.
Course Mind Map:
Weekly topics will include all (but not limited to) of the following in this order generally:
Week 1. Getting connected
Week 2. Members in focus
Week 3. Development of                                        Groups
Week 4. Group Project                                            Orientation
Week 5. Leadership in                                            Groups
Week 6. Roles and Norms in Groups
Week 7. Conflict within Groups     
Week 8. Power
Week 9. Decision Making
The Group Project will begin approximately the fourth week and will continue until the last week, running parallel with your regular assignments. You will be assigned to a group who will collaboratively online, using a project scenario, plan a project using real information, and authentic solutions. 
Using a variety of online technology, the group will present its project, when completed, for feedback by the other class members. Written reflections and observations of the principles of group dynamics operating within their group, is part of the individual grade. The group presentation is the group grade, partially determined by other class members. 
Course Geography:
The first thing that you do in this course is to browse the Dynamics Course Wiki.
ü      The first page that you see is the Home Page which will contain links to the outside sites and applications that we will be using in this class.
ü      The Discussion Forum is found just under the “Dynamic Groups” title. When you click on the Discussion forum, you will see the list of Threads that we will use, identified by Module number and subject. The Thread titled “THE CIRCLE” is the place to discuss with your classmates, and ask questions. The Thread titled “INSTRUCTOR’S Q & A” is the place to ask me a question, because I will check that often,
ü      Going back to the Home Page, you will see a navigation pane on the left side of the page. Each module begins with its module number, and may contain any number of pages under it. Under each Module, you will find a page for Reading Assignments, Activities, and other relevant information. Near the bottom of the Navigation Pane, you will find a page that contains extra links and resources that you may find helpful.
Attending Class: 
ü      Daily attendance in this class is required. Since this is a completely online course, you need to understand what I mean by “attendance.” This does mean that you will need to log in to our class site at least 4 days per week. You will find new announcements, if any, on the home page, or on the first page of the Module.
ü      You will need to check for any assignments that are posted as a Discussion Thread topic, and add your responses. Remember that you will not be considered present unless you post a response on the Discussion board that day. 
ü      A minimum of 3 responses per topic, per week, plus your original posts.
ü      In order to pace yourself, you will want to keep close to the following schedule:
Monday – reading assignments, begin work on activities (individual or group)
Tuesday – reading assignments, begin work on activities (individual or group)
Wednesday – post original response to discussion prompts and responses to others
            Thursday – Work on activities, post responses (individual or group)
            Friday – Work on activities, post responses (individual or group)
Weekend – (optional) Finish any projects and submit by Midnight (CST). Work on group project
Grading Policy:
                        A – 90-100%
                        B – 80-90%
                        C – 70-80 %
                        D – 60-70 %
                        F – Below 60%
            Weight of Course components
                        1/3 individual assignments
                        1/3 discussion
                        1/3 group project (50% of this based on class feedback)
In this class, you will find that you will be rewarded for three things in your weekly assignments and activities: Quality of response, Quantity of response, and Timeliness of your responses. 
            Quality: Your responses should be well-planned and written clearly addressing the issues or questions involved. They should be on the subject and not include a lot of off-subject social “talk.” There is a place in the “Circle” for just hanging out! This means that your responses should not use IM shortcuts and should be spell-checked. You may include general questions after your response or address someone by name. Some students find it more comfortable to write their responses in a Word document and then cut and paste it into the discussion thread. This also gives you a good record of your responses when you are finished.
            Quantity: You will post your original response to a discussion prompt. In addition, you will need to respond to at least three of your classmates’ original posts. Beyond that, you will need to answer any response you may get to your original post as well as others that you feel you could comment on. Avoid writing “I agree” or “That is great!” response without furthering the conversation with an explanation of why, or a question that probes deeper or wider into the subject. I suggest you keep a check off list of your response activity each module so that you make sure you are meeting the requirements.
            Timeliness: You will need to have all weekly assignments in by midnight on Sunday night. However, written original posts must be submitted by Wednesday midnight. Your written responses can be throughout the week, but on at least three separate days. I suggest that you keep track of the days that you responded, so that the opportunity to respond in a timely manner is not lost. Remember, discussion for your group is hindered when you are absent
            Rubrics: Your performance on each of the above areas will be graded by using a rubric. Click here to see a sample rubric. Please notice that for each category, I have described the quality level and associated grade. I suggest you print out your Discussions Rubric and keep it by your computer for your reference.
Participation (discussion): A large part of your learning in this course will happen in the Discussion areas. You will be reporting findings, responding to prompts and conversing about a number of subjects. It is a graded component of the class, so you will need to keep checking the Discussion area to find responses.
Time Zones: 
Please note that due dates and times are CST. If you live outside of this time zone, please calculate what time you need to submit your assignments so they will arrive on time CST. The same is true for my office hours. Please make sure that you are attempting to contact me by phone or Skype using the CST standard.
This course is divided into 8 major subtopics and will require you to actually experience what you are learning about! While learning about each of these aspects of Group Dynamics, you will be collaborating with your small group about its own created project. Your weekly assignments will be due on the noted dates. Your group project will be self-paced (decided collaboratively) within your group with several checkpoints due (decided by the instructor) throughout the time of the course. 
While you will be graded individually on the weekly assignments, your project will be a group grade. Part of that grade will be the quality of your project and the quality of your collaboration. So you will need to regularly reflect on your roles and responsibilities as well as of others in your group. This weekly reflection will be accumulated on your blog so that at the end of the course, your reflection will be already consolidated for grading.
Late Work Policy:
Late work will be graded if handed in within 12 hours of the due date. Any work finished after that (up to 48 hours) will be assigned a 50% grade. You may contact me by email in advance if you know you are going to be late. I will adjust the above policy at my discretion.

Prompt for Introduction
It is widely known that color has a way of conveying a message. Colors that you choose may either "set the tone" or "reflect the mood." If you had to choose one color that reminds you of yourself, what would it be? Do you "set the tone" with this personal style, or do you tend to "reflect the mood?" Give some examples from your personal style that will help us to get to know you better!

For this class, we will be using several Google applications. In order to use Google applications, you need to have a Google account
1.      Go to by in the address box of your internet browser.
2.      Click on the “Sign in” link in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
3.      This is where you will create a Google Account. Notice I did not say a G-mail account. You do not have to have a gmail account to use the Google applications. You do have to have a Google Account. You can associate any email address with your Google Account.
Move your mouse arrow down to “Create an account now” and click.

  1.  Complete the following areas:

You can use any email address here.
You can use your email password or any other to make it unique to your Google Account. Then re-enter the password in the next box.
Type the letters you see. If you type the incorrect letters it will return to this screen after you click “accept” and give you new letters.
Click on the “accept”


  1. Your screen will go to the Google home page. Click on the “more” menu at the top and go down to Google Docs, or any of the other Google applications.

Notice that you are signed in to your Google Account.

  1. When you enter Google Docs, you will be asked a little information. Notice that this screen, which asks for your name, is optional.

Fill in your name above, if you chose to, then click “continue.”


  1. This is the Google Docs window. You can create a new document here, upload documents and share them.

Your document, new or uploaded, will show up in this window

  1. You can Browse to find the document on your computer, or type in a URL for a file.
    You can also rename your uploaded file here.
     You can Upload documents, PowerPoint presentations or Excel spreadsheets that you have already created:

Type your message and add an attachment. Click “send”.
Cut and Paste this address into the “ To:” on your email.
Click here when you have found your file.

You can also create a new document by sending or forwarding an email. Attachments will be uploaded as separate documents. If you add an attachment, that will be the uploaded document. With no attachment, your email will become a document with the name found in the subject line.
  1. Sharing a document: Click “Share” and this window appears. Add the email address of one or more collaborators and then click “send invitation.” .”
This is how it will look in the email of those you invite to collaborate:

Discussion Prompt:
How it can be Used:
What is the “muddiest” point in this module? (or discussion, lesson)
This could be used to promote critical thinking. It would be a good question to generate evaluative comments about the course/module/discussion and syntheses of the ideas.
Prompt to start a discussion.
Could you predict an outcome of your decision (or conclusion) if it turns out you were right? How about if it turns out you were wrong?   
This prompt encourages synthesis of the conclusions already drawn by a student, and encourages them to look at it from the opposite point of view.
Prompt to start a discussion about a stated position.
Give an example from your life, personal or professional that illustrates your conclusion.
This is an attempt to lead the student to find the relevance of the information they’ve learned.
Prompt or as an Extension of a discussion
How do you know “this” to be true? 
“this” can be inserted by facilitator who has proposed a particular thesis, or it can be used to extend discussion, when the student has already made a position statement. This asks for proof.
Extension of a conversation.
In what situation or for what reason would ________be better than ________? 
This prompt can be an exercise asking the student to think critically about two related arguments, methods or ideas.
Prompt to initiate discussion or Extension to deepen discussion
What if…..? (insert a difficult example or a real life situation.)
This one is from Jeanne! The purpose is to challenge find answers to a real life or a hypothetical situation.
Extension to establish relevance and application
That is a unique perspective! How did you come to that conclusion?
Encourages creative thinking and calls for analysis and substantiation. 
Extension to encourage and promote substantive conclusions.
Let me challenge you to dig deeper into your thinking. Can you give me an example when “this” would NOT be true?
Encourages metacognition and an uncommon shift in perspective that is opposite of the stated opinion.
Extension for an “I agree” response.
What evidence do you have to support the opinion/ idea that……….
Asks the student to offer reasons for agreeing with a statement or echoing someone’s disagreement with the statement.
Extension for an “I agree” response. 

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