Overview

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oregontrail_1907.jpg
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oregontrail_1907.jpg
In my courses I use the metaphor of the hiking trail to help you organize the information you are learning. Like a hiking trail, there will be times that you will want to stop and think about an idea, just like you might stop to ponder the colors of a dragonfly resting on a rock near a stream. At other times, you might have to stray off the main trail to learn something that will help you on the main trail or that interests you. This is very similar to the spur trails that jettison off the main trails that people follow to explore caves, rock formations or swimming holes. If you don't hike, think of a trail as the roads, streets or highways people take to go from one place to another.

In this section, I will describe where to start a course and how to complete the assignments.

1.) The Course Wikipage (the starting place of the course)

I teach a number of courses for college students and for veteran teachers. Each course has a main wikipage, that I call a trailhead. It is the wikipage where you should start each time you work on something for my course.

All courses start at http://chrisshively.wikispaces.com
  1. View the slideshow below to see how to access a course



2.) Assignments for a Class

Course assignments are called "trails of learning." You can follow a trail of learning by clicking on the links from the course main wikipage.

A. Completing a Trail (Assignment)

  • i. Project Based Learning: In all of my courses, I use a project based learning (PBL) pedagogy. This student-centered pedagogy can be described as a collection of carefully constructed “problems” that are derived from professional practice in education (Schmidt, Loyens, Van Gog, & Paas, 2007). You will be presented with educational problems to solve and the web resources you need in order to solve the problem. I will provide you with everything you need when you follow a "trail of learning."

  • ii. Demonstrate Your Learning: Unlike a typical assignment, such as read chapter four in the textbook and write a summary to share with the class, I expect you to solve a problem related to education and produce something from what you have learned. You will post the product of your learning on a trail wiki (a wikispace devoted to a trail of learning). You might be required to produce a concept map, a unit plan, a lesson plan, a web resource evaluation, build a city in Sim City or a number of other items. In order for you to create your product of learning, you will follow a trail of wikipages that will contain research and directions for you to read. You will navigate through the trail by following a hiker who looks like Figure 1
hiker_cactus_navigation.png
Figure 1
  • iii. Hiker Navigation: This hiker can be found at the bottom left hand corner of a wikipage. When you click on the hiker, you will be taken to the next wikipage along the trail. A "trail of learning" can contain any number of wikipages. Figure 2 shows three wikipages from the Concept Mapping Knowledge Trail and the hiker.

Wikipage Navigation.png
Figure 2: Trail Navigation. This figure shows how to navigate a "trail of learning" by clicking on the hiker at the bottom of the wikipage.

  • iv. Side Navigation
    • (1.) The trails of learning are long and I do not suggest you try to do them in one sitting. To compensate for this, I have also built side navigation into the trails so you can start on the part of the trail where you left off. Figure 3 shows where the side navigation is located on a wikipage. The navigation is numbered so that you can keep track of where you are on the trail
Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 6.21.20 PM.png
Figure 3: Side Navigation. A student can navigate through the course using the hiker or the side navigation.

  • v. End of the Trail
    • (1.) You will know that you are at the end of a trail of learning because I will present you with an End of Trail marker on the last wikipage of the trail. This sign will is shown in Figure 4.
TrailsEnd.gif
James Earle Fraser's Sculpture called End of the Trail

Figure 4: End of Trail Marker. This figure shows an End of Trail maker. End of Trail Markers will look the same for each trail.



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Sharing Work Tent - click me -
Next up...
Sharing Your Work. In the next section of the Base Camp, I will provide you with an explanation of how you will share your work with your course mates and me. You can do this by walking into the Sharing Work Tent in the Base Camp.






References

Schmidt, H. G., Loyens, S. M., Van Gog, T., & Paas, F. (2007). Problem-based learning is compatible with human cognitive architecture: Commentary on Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006). Educational Psychologist, 42(2), 91–97.