Week 3—Emerging ideas in online teaching

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The challenge for the past three weeks of the course was to focus on getting comfortable with our course learning tools, get to know one another, reflect on an online learning manifesto and delve into developing a personal philosophy of online teaching through guided readings and personal investigation. It is great to see different contexts and perspectives emerging, and I look forward to everyone further exploring ideas and issues that are of personal interest and to share these and interact on each others blogs.

Online Learning Manifesto

Many of you have commented on the online manifesto and have identified which unique features most resonate with you. I think everyone picked up on different elements, with Tashmyra reflecting on the open nature of the statements with also thinking about the ramifications of open beyond efficiency in that “there is a whole other world of concepts, questions and possibilities.” Fabian and Arlene both highlighted the ideas around feedback – and that if used as a tool, can go beyond the idea of it just being a response, and that it can be “digested, worked with, and created from”. Susan picked up on the idea that “best practice” is a “totalizing term blind to context” and that culture and context can bring different perspectives and meanings to the ideas of what works “best” for different people. Arlene also identified with the ideas that connection online can be meaningful – going beyond the didactic to “make eye contact online”. For me, a common theme that came through your responses is that the valuing of connections – through feedback, understanding and valuing different perspectives and context, creating a sense of self and identity and sharing it – is what makes a valuable online learning experience.

Concepts Maps and Philosophies

As we move into Week 4, some of you are still focused on creating an initial concept map and rationale of your current philosophies and understanding of teaching. Tashmyra, Arlene and Susan have posted their concept maps and have highlighted a variety of ideas that encompass student-centeredness, flexibility, different pedagogical approaches (constructivism and connectivism), and the idea that technology should not drive the process. As Arlene points out “good teachers will only enhance and develop student centered learning through the use of technology and not be replaced by it”. Tashmyra highlights the role technology can play in using time and place effectively “What an online learning course can provide is the structure and connection to other students in different geographical locations, and to a continuing relationship with Mentors.” Susan notes she takes a humanist/progressive view of learning that focuses on fostering collaboration, getting learners to questions assumptions and focus on personal growth. I expect a few more posts related to philosophies are still to come, so will look forward as you build on some of these ideas.

Considering Technology

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In the “Best practices to Online Learning” page of our blog, it states “As a teacher, creating a good learning environment online is similar to what you would do to create a good learning environment in a face-to-face classroom. Most importantly, you need to know how to ready your students and your course to provide for an effective learning experience.” Online teaching and learning relies on learning technologies to mediate our interactions and communication. As you start to think about your first assignment (choosing how you might organize your ideas and presentation, as well as reflecting on the readings so far) and your final project planning, you may want to consider how technology can be leveraged and used. One of the great challenges in online learning is to create supports for the tools, encourage enthusiasm for exploring them and using them to enhance the learning experience, but at the same time making sure they don’t become the focus at the expense of the concepts.How do you weave in different technologies so that they don’t create barriers? How do you choose the best tools to meet the needs of your learning design and learners?

Week 4 – Philosophy of Online Teaching Assignment

Week 4 offers the opportunity for you to continue with readings and project planning, as well as provide time to work on your first assignment, philosophy of online teaching. Review the Week 4 description and description and rubric in the Assignments and Assessment page. For one example of a personal philosophy of online teaching read the following by Diana Dell.

Collaborate Session

It looks like this Wednesday at 5pm (PST) works for a live classroom session. Bring your ideas and questions about assignment 1, questions about working in the blogs and any ideas that you might have for the final project. Updated Feb 3: See the link below.

Blackboard Collaborate


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