ORMS: Online Content Construction

under construction

Over the last two weeks we have been discussing the ORMS (online research & media skills) model in education and how it can and should be implemented into classroom pedagogy. In earlier work I discussed how collaborative inquiry and online reading comprehension are two important pieces of the ORMS model as they ask for students to work together as they sift and search through online content.

The third piece of the ORMS model is online content construction. Online content construction defines the abilities necessary to communicate the information assembled while searching, sifting, and synthesizing knowledge gained during online reading comprehension. (O’Byrne, ONLINE CONTENT CONSTRUCTION: Students as Informed Readers and Writers of Multimodal Information). Ian explains in his work that students today should not just be “movers” of knowledge, but should “construct ‘representations of new knowledge.’” (O’Byrne, 73).


In his work, “’At-Risk’ Adolescents: Redefining Competence Through the Multiliteracies of Intermediality, Visual Arts, and Representation,” David O’Brien discusses the ORMS model in two facets: intermediality (the ability to read and write media online) and using art or digital media to express opinion and comprehension of content. Students today are not stuck with just printed text; they have unlimited resources available to them on the web. Students can access content anytime, anywhere; we educators should urge our students to access resources for class on the Internet and use their personal learning network to help them find their voice so that they can be heard around the world.

It is getting more and more difficult to be the first to do something in 2015. In his Ted talk video, Kirby Ferguson explains how we need to remix the work we create and not be afraid to steal work from others. This “remix culture” (Maria Popova) promotes students to go find the information, and give it your own interpretation. We do this constantly in our graduate coursework, as none of us are inventing any one thing specifically. We are stealing ideas from others, just as Steve Jobs did, and putting our own spin on an idea.

In my classroom, students will be reinforced that after reading the content found online (online reading comprehension), it is ok to use other people’s work in creating their own idea based off another’s (online content construction), posting it on their class blog for the class and the world to see (online collaborative inquiry). Students will learn what makes a resource credible and how to properly cite the source within a blog post, linking the text to the site so that the reader can go straight to the source of the information. Students in my class will blog weekly on skills learned and reflect on topics discussed from class, providing them their own mountain top where their voice will be loudest.

Man on top of mountain. Conceptual design.
Man on top of mountain. Conceptual design.

The best way for students to learn, and for a teacher to assess this learning, is for the student to create and reflect with consistency through weekly blogging and commenting on classmates’ work to respect other viewpoints and ideas. This will take time to build up in class culture, but when students begin to understand that they are learning collaboratively and that everyone’s voice is valued, they will be motivated to be the best digital creator that they can be.

-John V


4 thoughts on “ORMS: Online Content Construction

  1. Love your focus on class “culture.” This speaks directly to Ian’s article that states students may have to rethink what school is and what their role in school is. We are preparing to teach students new skills and variations of old skills. This is will turn students expectations on their head. The ideas of right and wrong are replace with create and a reflex. This new school culture allows many more learners to be successful than the old reading, writing, and ‘rthemtic methods of education. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that it’s important to help students, particularly at the high school level, learn how to cite and attribute credit properly. I plan to spend a considerable amount of time on it–much more than I have in the past because not everyone sees content as being published to share, use and remix. Once they learn how to give credit appropriately, their opportunities to create content are extended considerably. I also agree with your point about creating a culture that allows for searching and shifting. It will take time to do it well.


  3. I love the focus on having students create representations of their own ideas. Too often these representations are answers on a multiple choice test, or general “thumbs up, thumbs down” or discussions in class. I can only begin to imagine what you’ll have your students create as they engage with your content.

    Good work.


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