Moving from Face-2-Face teacher to online instructor
Cracking the egg from the inside
With every online class taken, the importance of participating fully in the social introductions with peers and instructor becomes ever more clear. It sets the tone for the course and gives you a chance to interact before you get assigned a team project(Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).
Something seems different about this class, in comparison to the classes I took for the TESOL Master. The prompts are similar, but making connections to the material in the prompts is done in a different way. There is some kind of jump in there you have to make. Might be because this is my first Online Teaching and Learning course, and so I don’t have much stored in my memory or experience on this topic, except from the student perspective. The focus seems to be more on personal/flexible expression in response, applying core concepts in an individual way.
The most important concept I took away from unit one was the notion that there are no passive learners in online instruction(Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). This made me review the interaction in F-2-F classes I have taught, and reflect on how much passive learning was going on and how I could further engage all students.
The second most interesting insight for me was the 3 different lines of communication that takes place in online learning: Faculty to Learner, Learner to Learner, and Learner to Material(Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). While I have learned many interesting things from peers in my TESOL classes, I was more focused on learning from the instructors. However, learner-2-learner communication makes up the majority of communication during an online course, when students comment on peers discussion posts and collaborate on projects (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010 ). It is that collaboration with peers, along with the other two paths of communication, content delivery , and assessment(with rubrics!) that create quality online instruction(Rhode, 2014), as well as clear expectations and patience from the instructor(Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).
Best practices from Jason Rhode (2014) for Online instruction include orienting your learners by teaching them how to navigate the course, technical tips to handle information efficiently, and being careful not to give too much information/material to your online students. To see what not to do in regard to eLearning (one of the types of online learning we studied in this unit) , you can check out this video:
Another best practice is to incorporate multiple intelligence principles into the design of online courses. The dominant theme in applying multiple intelligence in online learning is giving learners multiple ways of responding (Pritchard, A., 2013). Hmmm, that sounds familiar…kind of what I mentioned in Unit 1 about how this course is different.
Unit 3 F-2-F Instructor presence
In F-2-F teaching, it is your physical presence that engages students and peers, with the energy you bring with you to school, your enthusiasm and off the cuff remarks, as you cover the material and field questions.
How are online instructors different from this?
Online instructors are facilitators (Noce, Scheffel, & Lowry, 2014). They use their social, teaching, and cognitive presence to create balanced sets of dialogues between faculty-learner, learner-2-learner, and learner-2-material.
The online instructor generally plans the online discussion in more detail, and with more specific goals in mind, than a F-2-F teacher(Boettcher & Conrad, 2010 ). While both types of teachers follow solid teaching pedagogy, including scaffolding of material, and universal standards of thinking when communicating and explaining(Paul. R., 2008), online instructors focus on asking authentic questions, rather than test questions, in order to promote student elaboration and coherence in sustained and meaningful discussion(Noce, Scheffel, & Lowry, 2014). They use key vocabulary on students’ posts, while performing an uptake of students’ ideas to give students an opportunity to apply their knowledge by relating new information to their own experience and knowledge(Noce, Scheffel, & Lowry, 2014)
Writing our first discussion question was an excellent exercise, and it was harder than I thought it would be. It required a distillation process to condense thousands of words of material to 2 or 3 sentences. While the focus of this week’s discussion boards was clearly on forming engaging and relevant questions, I can imagine its quite a bit of work to check out students’ citations in their responses. An online instructor has to know the materials they are using very well. They also have to cut to the heart of the matter, the core concepts of a course, and get their students to engage with, and apply, that knowledge. An interesting 3 weeks!
Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The Online Teaching Survival Guide : Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Rhode, J. (2014). Best Practices in Online Teaching. Blog. Retrieved from the internet on September 13, 2015 from http://www.jasonrhode.com/best-practices-in-online-teaching.
Pritchard, A. (2013).Ways of Learning : Learning Theories and Learning Styles in the Classroom. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
Noce, D., Scheffel, D., & Lowry, M. (2014).Questions that get answered: The construction of instructional conversations on online asynchronous discussion boards . MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10(1).
Paul, R. (2008). On the Intellectual Standards excerpts from the Socratic Questioning Series. The Foundation for Critical Thinking. Video. Retrieved on September 10, 2015 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNCOOUK-bMQ