Introduce yourself with a friendly greeting and tell us why you are interested in online teaching and learning. As you read through and explore the course materials and concepts consider possibilities for your own online course, question your assumptions about online teaching and learning, and air any concerns you may have regarding online teaching and learning.
It is recommended that you review the assigned course materials and resources for Module 1 to inform your contributions to this discussion. Remember you can and should return to this forum at a later time to interact and discuss the concepts with your peers and other more experienced online practitioners.
(Discussion Hints: What are some issues about the online teaching and learning environment that are of concern to you at this stage? What aspects of your course do you feel will be challenging to re-conceptualize for the online teaching and learning environment?)
Instructions: Select one of the Threads and click "Reply", to contribute to an existing discussion, or "Reply To This" to initiate a new topic for discussion.
My name is Denise Passero and I am serving as the ID for FM. I am in this course to update my own online teaching skills with this current newer approach to teaching online and to improve my ability to help my faculty.
What are some issues about the online teaching and learning environment that are of concern to you at this stage?
One of the readings we were assigned was the article, "Do Online Students Dream of Electric Teachers?" In this article, the author expressed the idea that some feel that their ability to be creative and inject themselves into an online course would be impeded. I can see how some of my faculty might feel this way. Also the sense of being locked in once the course is developed and no ability to change things as the course unfolds is a concern expressed to me by one of my faculty. Personally, I am good with this. I do better expressing myself in writing and I get along with machines so that is not a concern for me personally. My concern would be helping my faculty to be able to create courses that are high quality and engaging without them feeling like I am stepping on their creativity.
I too am more articulate, FAR more articulate, when I write. And, like you, my main concern is helping faculty find their way in providing a high quality and engaging experience for their students without interfering. I am blessed with a lot of faculty who are more than willing to have me help them. I find that by being able to answer their questions, I have an "in" to make suggestions without being obnoxious. Nice to meet you!
I think the issue you raise Denise about not being able to modify the course once it's underway is fascinating and important.
How have experienced online instructors dealt with this?
What aspects of your course do you feel will be challenging to re-conceptualize for the online teaching and learning environment?
We were asked to define heutagogy in Module 1. Heutagogy, the study of self-determined learning. What I am getting on this is that it is different from pedagogy in that pedagogy focuses on what the instructor does to teach a class rather than what the student does to learn the material. It is more about facilitating learning rather than us teaching (see the article, "From Androgogy to Heutagogy" by Sewartt Case and Chris Kenyon). I would have to say that Bill Pelz reflects this in his student-led discussions. This article says that we cannot really teach someone something directly. We can only facilitate learning. Each person determines for themselves what in the information is self-actualizing. The person themselves determins what part of the information they can assimilate into their lives and if they decide to expand their own ability to incorporate something into their lives that they thought they couldn't then they will learn it. This answers the question of why students ask themselves, "When am I ever going to use <insert lesson here>?" I have asked that question to myself in a circuit analysis class. I got an A in the class but I learned nothing. I did not learn it because it was not information I felt would do anything for me besides get me through a required course. Therefore, in my CIS105 microcomputers course, students will leave that course with whatever they think they can use ,,, not what I think I taught them.
The question becomes, how can I get them to think that everything I tell them is useful. The answer is, I can't. This is humbling. Not that they cannot get an A in the course. They can. They will just take away what they consider they can assimilate no matter how much I want them to absorb everything I share with them.
Thank you for this meditation on the art and alchemy of teaching.
I attended an interesting lecture over the weekend by Amanda Anderson, author of The Way We Argue Now: A Study in the Cultures of Theory (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2006). The topic of discussion was the Humanities - why are the humanities important?
Like you, Denise, she was digging deep into the big questions. Referencing Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow (New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011), she pointed out that research shows moral judgements are made by thinking "fast" - immediately and intuitively. Yet the very fact that we always worry about the morality of our judgement demonstrates how, with "slow thinking," we can double back, reconsider, amend, change course.
I asked Dr. Anderson, "How do you TEACH this kind of thinking?" "By having students practice close reading," she answered. That is, give students the space and the time, ask them good questions, and let them figure it out.
As I said in the Ice Breaker VT activity, I am the Instructional Technologist at Corning Community College. I've been here for about nine months and in instructor support/instructional design for about four years. Before then I worked as an English and special education teacher in the K-12 arena.
I am also taking courses online at UC Irvine (University of California at Irvine) through their extension program to get a graduate certificate in elearning and instructional design. I started the program a year ago to make myself more eligible for ID jobs. While I had several years experience in instructional design, my title was in instructional support and my master's in elementary education. Honestly, I did not think I would learn much from the program. Boy, was I wrong. It's been a great experience. I have three classes to go and I am looking forward to starting the next one in a few weeks.
Anyway, from that experience I learned that it's important to take advantage of every possible learning opportunity and to view everything as a learning opportunity. At the very least, it keeps me from griping. :)
This course itself is a great resource and it has great resources. I look forward to seeing how I can make my own course (where I provide Blackboard training to faculty) more useful.
One of the best resources I found was the video "Did you know?". Finding out that China has more honor students than the US has students speaks volumes. It also does a great job of giving us a picture of our students, that they're under increased competition from China and India, that we're working with 3-4 different generations (Crystal Kadakia created an organization based solely on helping the various generations work better together) and the significance of the digital explosion. It definitely makes me rethink my teaching style.
Meira Goldberg here: I teach flamenco dance and also dance history and criticism at FIT. I am taking this course to learn how to teach a dance history survey online! I think that teaching dance online (even a lecture as opposed to a practice class) will bring up a bunch of fascinating issues and challenges.
I read Mark Kassop's "Ten Ways Online Education Matches, or Surpasses, Face-to-Face Learning" with interest. I think many of his points about the advantages to online learning are well taken. I agree that supported and guided internet research fosters skills that are increasingly essential, helping students conceptualize the subject of their research, and think critically about what they read. I completely agree that requiring students to write their responses is essential to our obligations as teachers in fostering literacy. And I see his point about how that the veil of asynchronous online discussion means that many more students participate in class discussions.
I also think the autonomy of online learning is fantastic for students.
But I am concerned by the layer of mediation, of self-presentation, involved in these interactions. I love to watch the spark of discovery—the spark of emotion—filter through my classroom. How am I going to recreate that immediacy in an online environment?