Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Setting Up An Online Learning Experience

What is the significance of knowing the technology available to you? 
In order to be successful in helping others learn you must be adequately prepared in a plethora of ways. Your teaching and assessment tools require careful planning and must be combined with the effective use of technology and learning goals. With the effective use of technologies such as the Course Management System (CMS) allows for learning to be fun and engaging.

With the advancement of technology and recent social media boom combined with increasingly busy lifestyles, online learning has become very popular. It is becoming very prevalent for K-12 and higher education institutions to offer online courses. These online courses typically require a CMS, this CMS must be learned inside and out by the instructor(s) so they can harness its full potential and pass along the benefits to the students. The first thing teachers need to be concerned with is to get acquainted with the tools the course management system offers and to “keep it simple” (Boettcher, J., Conrad, R., 2010, p. 57). Some different course management systems include Blackboard®, Canvas®, Moodle®, and Angel®.
Why is it essential to communicate clear expectations to learners? 

Clear expectations must be delivered right away as it is the starting point for the rest of the work to come. Once the student understands what is expected of them, it is their responsibility to achieve the goals. One way is an instructor can make sure their expectations are being delivered is by a syllabus and updated weekly plans. Also, a more engaging way of communicating expectations and information is create a short weekly video explaining the assignments for the week or holding a live lecture/information session weekly that can be archived and referred to at a later point in time. One tool I like to use is: The role of the instructor is to “guide and mentor students in learning content knowledge and achieve the performance goals of a course” (Boettcher, J., Conrad, R., 2010, p. 71).

What additional considerations should the instructor take into account when setting up an online learning experience?

The more engaging and interactive an online learning experience is the more likely the student will be able to retain and recall the information. Many Instructional designers use ADDIE as the model for developing e-learning (ADDIE, 2013). Online learning can be conducted in simple written text with pictures. However, that is not the most effect way to use online learning. Social media, audio, visual, interactive blogs, games, and live feeds all need to be utilized (when appropriate) to create a memorable learning experience. At the college I work for our retention rate is most greatly affected in the first two weeks of class and the first quarter of school. If the students are not engaged in the first two weeks, the likely hood of them withdrawing is significantly high. If they fail 25% of their course load in the first quarter they are less likely to continue their degree (Associates Degree).
ADDIE. (2013, 05 23). Retrieved from Big dog little dog Performance Juxtaposition: 

Boettcher, J., Conrad, R. (2010). Chapter 4: Phase One: What's Happening, Themes, and Tools. Starting Off on the Right Foot in Course Beginnings. In J. C. Boettcher, The Online Teaching Survival Guide. Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips (pp. 51-61). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. A Wiley Imprint.

Boettcher, J., Conrad, R. (2010). Chapter 5: Phase One: Tips for Course Beginnings. In The Online Teaching Survival Guide, Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips (pp. 62-99). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. A Wiley Imprint.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Online Learning Communities

The goal of most classrooms is to become more of a hybrid classroom. These classrooms aim to boast the benefits of a traditional class room setting infused with technology to increase student and teacher interaction and provide a unique type of learning environment.  “While the traditional classroom remains teacher centered, the online environment fosters more interaction among students and is one of the cited benefits of online learning by both teachers and students (Stacey, & Wiesenberg, 2007).”

The hybrid classroom requires a considerable amount of planning and additional resources which makes them hard to develop without proper funding and resources. “Although considerable time is needed to build the course material prior to launching the course, teachers have seen growth in their craft by the reflective practice of reviewing their content for delivery online and in the rich discussions students create online and which instructors facilitate rather than dictate (So, & Bush, 2008).” 

The flexibility and access to course materials that hybrid classrooms offer is very beneficial to the students and the instructor. It removes limitations that were once present before the advent of online learning. Learning can take place in a face to face setting, synchronous or asynchronous environment. The typical restrictions and limitations that were accepted in the learning world are now being shattered and considered unacceptable. For example, the limitations of the learning location is no longer an issue. Students are able to cross collaborate with other students and instructors across the globe.

As the spectrum of learning is changing so are the expectations of students and instructors. Both students and instructors need to understand that online learning complements the traditional instruction without doubling the workload (So, & Bush, 2008). Teachers who pay attention to student workload and facilitate their online environment, the benefits are greater for blended classroom instruction than either virtual or face-to-face methods alone (Gedik, Kiraz, & Özden, 2012).


Gedik, N., Kiraz, E., & Özden, M. Y. (2012).  The optimum blend: Affordances and
challenges of blended learning for students.  Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, July 2012, 3(3), 102-117.

So, H., & Bush, T. A. (2008).  Student perceptions of collaborative learning, social
presence and satisfaction in a blended learning environment: Relationships and critical factors. Computers & Education, 51, 318-336.

Stacey, E. & Wiesenberg, F. (2007).  A study of face-to-face and online teaching
philosophies in Canada and Australia.  Journal of Distance Education, 22(1), 19-40.