Online Learning

Technology     

          Technology is a fantastic tool when you are capable of utilizing it properly.  As an instructor it is very important to understand the tools available to you (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).  This can make your course more interactive and engaging.  If you are unfamiliar with the technology, it can make your course harder for your students.  In fact, I often have students in my classes who complain about teachers who do not know how to use the technology they ask students to utilize.  Additionally, I work with teachers who could make their classes easier by utilizing technology appropriately.  In an online course this need becomes magnified (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).  Instructors must be able to help students with the technology that they choose to use.  If they cannot, credibility can become an issue.  As an instructor, I always test new technology several times before deploying it with my students.

Communication

                Communication is the key to creating a successful online environment.  It is important for the instructor’s presence to be felt by students early and often (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).  The best way to keep students from feeling isolated is to communicate with them throughout the course (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).  Some instructors prefer e-mails while others work via discussion threads.  The one thing that I have learned is that it does not matter what method you utilize as long as your students feel connected to you on a personal and social level.

Key Points                

                Every time I take an online course, I learn something new about online learning.  One of the things that surprised me this week was the importance of introductory activities.  Getting acquainted with each other and setting up a positive learning community are top priority for the beginning two weeks of an online course (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).  When working in my online courses I will focus on the themes of presence, community, patience and clear expectations (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).  While accomplishing these things, I will be cognizant of my role as the instructor.  I am the guide on the side, not sage on the stage (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). 

References

Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2012). Online Learning Communities.  [Video webcast]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flaunche

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One thought on “Online Learning

  1. Hi Marla,

    You bring up a great point on the importance of teachers knowing how to use the technology they choose for their students. This may not be too much of an issue in higher education institutions but in elementary schools it is still an issue (at least in schools around my area). Part of it may be the “generational differences” Conrad & Donaldson, 2011 noted. While the neo-milleannial generation of students can easily adapt to any technology, it may not be the case for their teachers. The other part may simply be the resistance to change. In both cases, I think school administrations need to do a better job of providing technology training and support to teachers so they in turn, can select the right technology, as well as, use it to promote effective learning.

    On the topic of “neo-millennial” generation, (Baird & Fisher, 2005) discuss the learning styles of this generation—which they also refer to as the “Always-On” generation. They stress the importance of instructor’s ability to integrate technology in the learning process, particularly social media technologies.

    Great post!

    Thanks for sharing,

    Marta

    Reference:

    Baird, D. E. & Fisher, M. (2005). Neomillennial User Experience Design Strategies: Utilizing Social Networking Media To Support “Always On” Learning Styles. Journal of Educational Technology Systems. 34(1). (pp. 5-32). Retrieved on September 21, 2013, from http://gatortracks.pbworks.com/f/social+media.pdf

    Conrad, R. & Donaldson, J. A. (2011). Engaging the Online Learner. Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction. (P. 21). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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