EDET 674 Week Ten Reflection

This week it was interesting to reflect on the future of online learning and consider the role that teachers may have in it. One article I read talked about content being delivered by computers and other technology, with the teachers taking on more of the role of facilitators, ensuring that students were successfully accessing the information and tending to their social/emotional needs. It’s strange to consider this change, but in some ways strictly being a facilitator would be a nice change from having to be a facilitator and also be responsible for curriculum design and delivery. The idea of having universal standards for courses would simplify online teaching also and develop consistency for students and teachers.

Mariah talked about how professional development and support for each other are key as online learning changes. I agree with her ideas and think that collaboration is important to learn from each other. It was interesting last night in class when she asked which of us had seen enormous changes in education during our lifetime, and almost all of us said yes. Bridget stated that as teachers we need to be curious and diverse in our teaching, and I think that this will help us maintain our relevancy as online learning changes. Like she said, curiosity will help us seek out new ideas with technology and other strategies to keep refining our teaching. Diversity will let us be open to recognizing the needs of our students and matching technology to the resources they have available. Online learning is changing at a rapid pace, and we need to be flexible about our roles in it.

EDET 674 Week Ten

Essential Question: How can we manage the change that is inherent in our distance learning efforts?

Distance learning is exploding around the world at the same time that technology is rapidly evolving, and many times teachers can feel unable to keep up with the new media as quickly as their students. The knowledge we learn quickly becomes obsolete as newer information is produced, and we can get caught up in the fervor to gain more and more knowledge so we are not left behind in the Information Age. Whereas once humans considered knowledge to be solid for a lifetime, we must now engage in the “process of first preparing and then ‘repairing’ knowledge throughout the life span” (Moore & Kearsley, 2012, p. 276). As we attempt to maintain our effectiveness as teachers in this period of rapid change, it’s imperative that we focus on core elements that will allow us to teach distance courses.

As we design and implement online learning we need to keep in mind the Quality Matters elements and use the QM rubric to constantly be assessing our online courses, using this tool as a formative assessment to change our practices as needed. This allows us to make sure that our teaching is effective and is tailored for distance learning. Also important for us to consider is how we integrate technology, and whether we are using technology to enhance the course or simply using it because it is the modern thing to do. Most important for teachers’ success with distance learning is for them to receive training in the content and delivery of the distance courses.

As online educators we need to engage in professional development in order to develop effective courses that maintain their relevance in today’s rapidly changing world. Quiroz, et. al (2016) maintain that there are four key elements that teachers need to keep in mind while designing distance courses: authenticity, relevance, mentoring, and considering the standards. Authenticity promotes the idea that online courses need to be project-based and utilize the inquiry model. Assessing relevance ensures that students are finding the course content having value in their lives. Having a mentor system in place for teachers helps to ensure that they are delivering online courses in a manner that sets up student success. Courses have to be standards-based to ensure that they cover the necessary content. Keeping these four elements in mind are key to managing the plethora of data available in our world.

Many people try to predict the future of education and teachers’ role in a system where face-to-face learning may no longer be the normal practice. Rather than doubt the necessity of teachers, Rosen (2014) states that, ” In fact, elearning can be a great resource because it frees up time and provides much richer content, and educators’ roles will evolve to fit the times.” We need to do our best to embrace the changing system of education and keep learning through seeking out contact with people in the field, participating in learning communities, reading research, and trying out new technologies to see if they would enhance online learning. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the burgeoning amount of information around us, but as Zane (2015), states, “the key to lifelong learning is [to be] a human mediator, someone who has engaged in the ancient task of searching and sorting through knowledge.”

 

Resources

Larkin, I. M., Brantley-Dias, L., & Lokey-Vega, A. (2016, September). Job Satisfaction, Organizational Commitment, and Turnover Intention of Online Teachers in the K-12 Setting. OLC Online Learning Journal, 20(3), 26-51. Retrieved November 6, 2016, from http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/read/online-learning-journal/

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: A systems view of online learning. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Quiroz, R.E., Ritter, N.L., Li, Y., Newton, R.C. & Palkar, T. (2016). Standards Based Design: Teaching K-12 Educators to Build Quality Online Courses. Journal of Online Learning Research, 2(2), 123-144. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Rosen, D. (2014, July 11). ELearning Future: What Will eLearning Look Like in 2075? Retrieved November 06, 2016, from https://elearningindustry.com/elearning-future-what-will-elearning-look-like-2075

Zane, J. P. (2015, March 19). In the Age of Information, Specializing to Survive. The New York Times. Retrieved November 5, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/20/education/in-the-age-of-information-specializing-to-survive.html?_r=0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDET 674 Week Nine Reflection

This week it has been interesting to learn about Global Distance Education. Theresa made an interesting comparison between distance learning in the United States and that in other nations. In many aspects, our country seems to be lagging in its attempts to bring distance learning widespread to all people.  I wonder if it’s because we don’t have a unified university system nationwide and that colleges are either run at the state level or are private. It makes me realize that I don’t know that much about the US college system. Genevieve included the University of Alaska system in her blog post, and I commented that I felt silly not to have thought of it, since this system of distance education allows people from many locations and walks of life to access higher education, including all of us in this class!

I thought it was interesting how many countries with the digital divide issue have been inventive about how to bring distance education to their people without dependable internet access. Using satellite programming and video and radio broadcasts can still bring learning opportunities to remote areas. This reminds me of how in the age of budget cuts, state workers have had to get creative about connecting from a distance using technology rather than flying to a central location for a meeting. I think Global Distance Learning will continue to grow as the demand for additional skills and training are needed, and as people want to learn for personal growth.

EDET 674 Week Nine

Essential Question: What lessons can we take from Global Distance Learning Efforts?

Distance learning has existed for decades, evidenced by the formation of the International Council for Correspondence Education (ICCE) in 1938, which became the International Council for Distance Education (ICDE) in 1982 (Moore & Kearsley, 2012). Since that time many countries have worked to make distance learning widespread so that their people can access education from afar, recognizing that education provides opportunities for job skills and promotion. Distance learning also also attracts learners from all walks of lives, as it serves as a convenient way to get a university degree or for personal growth. We can learn from many of the successes and limitations of Global Distance Learning thus far, helping us refine it for the future.

One of the countries who has developed a successful model for widespread distance learning is the United Kingdom, which strives to make it accessible to all interested adults. The British Open University (UKOU) allows all individuals over the age of 18 to study without meeting prerequisite qualifications. In addition, the UKOU has worked to keep the cost of distance learning reasonable. Courses are designed by teams and are delivered using a mix of face-to face, correspondence, telephone, and online communication by tutors who are knowledgeable in the area of adult education. For these factors, the UKOU is considered a model for many aspects of successful online learning.

Many countries have recognized that online learning has to look differently in their nations because technology is not evenly distributed throughout the world. To address this digital divide, many Latin American countries have turned to television and radio broadcasting, and several Asian countries have used satellite programs to deliver courses. Developing ways to reach learners when internet is not available is an important lesson to take away from Global Distance Learning.

One issue faced in distance education is making courses relevant for the learners. If classes are designed by individuals who aren’t familiar with the needs of distant learners, there is less of a chance that the course will succeed. The Open University of China is controlled at the national level, but the provincial governments develop courses to meet the needs of the learners from that region. In addition, local learning centers provide assistance at the community level. With various levels of programming, the Chinese people respect the Open University as a credible learning source but also feel like their specific regional needs are reflected in the courses.

Another issue that needs to be considered in Global Distance Learning is the cultural norms of the target country. Rules of interaction vary greatly in different parts of the world, and course developers and instructors need to be sensitive to these differences.  For example, Japanese learners are used to little teacher-student interaction and more pencil and paper tests. Distance education in Saudi Arabia allows women to continue their education in ways accepted by society, since there are strict rules about their role in the community (Quinn, 2014). By keeping cultural standards in mind as we design and teach courses, we can have a large influence in the success of online learning.

The number of participants in Global Distance Learning shows no signs of decreasing, and institutions continue to refine their practice to better appeal to distance learners. Because it allows people from all walks of life in all parts of a country to continue their learning, distance education has to appeal to a variety of students. By building upon successes and learning from limitations of worldwide distance education, we can help plan for future success of global online learners.

 

Resources

McCue, T. (2014, August 27). Online Learning Industry Poised for $107 Billion in 2015. Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2014/08/27/online-learning-industry-poised-for-107-billion-in-2015/#41a3bcd866bc

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: A systems view of online learning. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

O’Lawrence, H. (2007). An Overview of the Influences of Distance Learning on Adults Learners. Journal of Education and Human Development, 1(1). Retrieved October 30, 2016, from http://www.scientificjournals.org/journals2007/articles/1041.htm

Quinn, J. (2014, September 22). The Soaring Growth in The Global E-Learning Market. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from http://www.skilledup.com/insights/soaring-growth-in-global-e-learning-market

EDET 674 Week Eight Reflection

It was interesting to read my classmates’ blogs this week and gather ideas about what instructors would need to teach a course we designed. Genevieve compared this training to the detailed sub plans we leave when we are out of the classroom, and I like this analogy. I responded to her that the more detailed the sub plans, the more smoothly the day can go since the sub has the necessary information to keep the day structured. Similarly, if we can provide teachers with detailed training to teach our courses, they will have the tools they need to provide students with the structure and support they need.

Another way we need to support teachers of online courses is to provide them training with the technology they’ll use to teach. Dan commented that we need to have a back-up plan in case the technology fails. I responded that I prefer to have a plan B, C and D just in case, and to have practiced with the technology ahead of time. That way, I don’t panic when there is a glitch. I think that providing teachers with strategies and possible what-if scenarios to troubleshoot ahead of time is key to helping them have a successful online teaching experience.

EDET 674 Week Eight

Essential Question: What would you require of instructors who taught a course you designed? Why?

Teaching an online course is different from teaching a traditional course in a face-to-face environment. To encourage the success of instructors teaching my course, I’d want to be sure that they had considerable training in how to set up the course and encourage students to do their best throughout the semester. To this end, I’d set up a training course and have teachers walk through the class they would teach, becoming familiar with both the content and method of delivery. In the course, I’d focus on getting the instructors comfortable with the three types of interaction that are imperative to online learning success: Learner-Content Interaction, Learner-Instruction Interaction, and Learner-Learner interaction (Moore & Kearsley, 2012). Additionally, teachers would learn technical aspects of the course and how best to do the many administrative tasks that come with it.

Online teachers need to understand how to facilitate Learner-Content Interaction, where the instructor has to guide the students through the course content in ways that allow learners to scaffold their new knowledge to what they knew previously. This interaction allows students to feel like the content is valuable and relevant to their situation. One strategy that teachers can use to facilitate this interaction is to know the content well and stick to the provided materials so that they don’t overwhelm students. In the instructors’ class, I’d focus on introducing the agreed upon curriculum and help the teachers develop a clear plan for teaching it to their students and tracking whether learners are meeting the learning targets.

Instructors also need to be taught the skills to facilitate Learner-Instruction Interaction, to ensure that students are getting the teacher communication they need. Online educators need to be available to offer assistance and provide timely feedback. They have to be trained in how to recognize when an individual student is falling behind or not making connections in the class, and be given strategies about how they can intervene. The course geared for instructors would give them skills about how to relate to their students as individuals, and how to use formative assessment from their students to refine their teaching.

The third type of interaction, Learner to Learner, involves the interaction of the students with each other and how the teacher needs to help them collaborate successfully. Online instructors need to be adept at facilitating learning groups so that students can interact online and share ideas. The organization of online discussion forums is key to having students be able and willing to build relationships with their peers and learn from each other. To be able to facilitate this type of interaction, teachers need to be trained in the technology and tools that they and the students would be using to interact. In the instructors’ course, teachers would learn how to use the technology needed to facilitate communication and how to provide assistance to their students in using the needed tools.

Potential online teachers would receive training in each of the three types of interaction, but they would also need education about how to manage the many demands of online classes and how to take care of themselves to prevent burnout. The ideas I’d address in their training include topics such as how to get organized, possible technology tools to use, efficient grading practices, email and file naming protocols, response to student questions, and setting limits with time and boundaries (Lehmann & Chamberlin, 2015). By participating in a training course focusing on delivering the course I designed, teachers would have a better chance of facilitating a positive learning experience for their students.

 

Resources

7 Strategies to Make Your Online Teaching Better | GradHacker. (2012, February 7). Retrieved October 22, 2016, from https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/7-strategies-make-your-online-teaching-better

Lehmann, K., & Chamberlin, L. (2015, November 16). Time Management Strategies for Online Instructors. Retrieved October 22, 2016, from https://www2.uwstout.edu/content/profdev/rubrics/time_management.html

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: A systems view of online learning. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

EDET 674 Week Seven Reflection

This week I’ve been reflecting on how we as teachers can help our students be successful with online classes. I think that what we do before class begins is very important, as this sets the tone for our students and lets them know that we care about their success. Teresa mentioned the importance of building a social presence for our students, and I commented that part of this is sharing a little about ourselves so that we are more than just a voice over the computer in online classes. Bridget shared an example of how she and her prospective professors emailed back and forth for some time, but when she was able to sit down with them in person, all of her questions were answered in 20 minutes! This reiterates the need to have authentic communication with our students. I like how Lee shared in her interview earlier in the semester that she will call a student if there is confusion or frustration. Human contact is still so important in online learning!

Sharing about our own experiences with online learning was helpful for me this week. Sara talked about how taking online courses has been a practical and convenient way of continuing her education when she lives away from a physical campus. She went on to say that her time is not wasted in online classes when the courses have been well-designed. I commented that our many hours spent in planning our course will pay off with students’ success when they feel that the content is useful and relevant in their jobs or lives. I enjoyed hearing about my classmates’ online learning experiences this week, and it gave me many ideas of how I want to foster a positive social climate in the course I design.