After viewing the presentation, discussing it with your classmates, and listening to and looking at the learning activities in the courses posted for observation, please reflect on what you have learned.
Answer these questions in your blog reflections: Why do you do things the way that you do? What have you learned that you did not know before? How will you apply what you have learned to your own course? What decisions have you made so far about your own online course? How do you interact in this course? What if anything has been difficult for you? What if anything do you find yourself feeling resistance to? What is working for you in this course? What would you change/suggest to make it better for you?
July. How can it be July already?
As we finish Module 3, and consequently half of the course, I am compelled to reflect on my experiences so far. This course has been the most difficult course that I have ever taken before. I have turned a corner regarding my attitude toward the assignments and course set up, though. I began this summer session looking at this Moodle course, and these online videos, audio files, presentations, RSS news feeds, twitter, blogs, diigo, etc. and just getting completely overwhelmed with the experience. That coupled with the very high quantity of required student-student interactions and assignments and I was teetering between dropping the class or just flat out crying.
Obviously, one of those didn’t happen.
As I build more and more of my online course and evaluate “best practices” and complete assignments I am still under the impression that the interactions required of us in the discussion space are too numerous. Though I have grown accustomed to them and am adjusting to the newness of it accordingly, I know that I will not be requiring that level of communication of my own students. The course that I have stored in my mind as my favorite to date as far as organization required 3 posts per week, half of the requirement for this class. I do not say this to complain or intend any malice by it at all (and I certainly hope that I do not experience any punishment for my opinion) but rather as one professional educator who is using this one course as a comparison for what I will require of my own students, that is one aspect that I anticipate not duplicating.
As Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek (2009) discuss in Teaching and Learning at a Distance, too much forced interaction can have a negative effect on student learning, and possibly cause negative feelings or turn the student off to the course. Also, as Ms. Williams stated on the SLN faculty site videos, that online students are busy, and online teachers should be sensitive to the students schedules. That in NO WAY means make it easier for them! Definitely not. As I often find myself saying to any of my complaining students “welcome to higher education! It’s a lot of work!”
The jing videos have been a saving grace for me. If I didn’t receive DETAILED blog feedback with a visual demonstration I would have absolutely no idea that I was in “easy edit” mode and that any of the features I was required to use in my blog wouldn’t be available to me! In order to fix my links and categorize my posts I had to be in advanced edit mode in edublogs. Thankfully, Alex provided me with a step-by-step video and really reduced my anxiety about continually not performing well on my blog. Moving forward, I intend on giving that to my students as well as an online instructor. I even find myself, in the f2f environment being much more sensitive to my students’ technological difficulties. In my Anatomy & Physiology courses and biology courses we require that the students access an e-learning supplement to the courses from the textbook publisher called Connect. (www.connect.mgraw-hill.com) . When my students initially would complain that it was hard to use or confusing I was less than sympathetic, but now, after being placed in their shoes, we immediately go to a computer lab and sit down together and work it out so that they’re comfortable and can use the technology! I have seen a great improvement in my students’ performance since I began this practice. I realize that as someone who has been using Connect (or studying biology) for a while, what seems easy and intuitive to me, certainly isn’t for someone else. But I think that more importantly, this class (with how anxious and stressed I have been over it) has humbled me tremendously and really lead to my helping my own students more and more. As an example, I was tutoring three students last week for the final exam and they were complaining that they are smart people but my class makes them feel “retarded” (their word!) and I simply responded “I am almost finished with my Master’s degree, and the longer I am in school, the more I realize that I know nothing!”
My online course development has been great. I am really enjoying the process and I really appreciate how detailed all of the instructions have been. I continue to use our OWN Moodle ETAP640 course as a template and try to model my class after that as much as possible. I’m sure that once I get used to it and get more comfortable with it I will begin to make my own personalizations to it, but until then I will just model it after one that was designed by a pro!
Module 3’s discussions have been great! Jumping right into the module with the Socratic method of teaching by example and inspiring students was a great way to begin. I LOVE LOVE LOVED that Bill Pelz commented on our posts! I felt like a celebrity walked into the room and his comments could be equated to getting an autograph. When I visited the SLN site and watched the videos from the PennState interviews, I began with Bill Pelz’s since I wanted to see him talk and hear his wisdom. “education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel” is a fabulous quote and a great summary of what this ETAP640 class has been all about for me and I love the technoheutagogy website, especially that it Isn’t my mother’s pedagogy! 🙂
I have learned a lot this module, especially:
- NEVER give up (this has been especially resonant with me)
- Passion for teaching and learning go hand in hand, and are a must-have for online educators
- The best training tool for an online teacher is to be an online learner
- BE ORGANIZED
- MANAGE YOUR TIME
- Support your students and your faculty (whatever your role is)
- And last, but not least (yes, this was intentional) don’t procrastinate.
Bill Pelz’s 3 principles of online pedagogy (let the student do most of the work, interactivity is the heart and soul of effective asynchronous learning, and strive for presence) go hand-in-hand with Garrison, Anderson & Archer’s Community of Inquiry framework with cognitive, social and teaching presence, respectively. Bill’s principles are rather a direct application of a theoretical framework to a real online teaching situation.
Carla Zembal-Saul was another name that I learned this Module and she, and her view on authentic science learning and adaptive expertise really stayed with me. As I continue to interact with this course and these modules, I continue to discover people that make me say “I want to be like ____________ when I grow up.” And the more I say that, the more I am finding truth to Alex’s term “ROCK STARS!”