Creative Use of Discussions
Considering that discussions are the primary medium of online learning and
interaction, (this has been the case in our master's program), it should
be worthwhile to see how to make the most of them. One innovation I
learned about as a result of our master's is the collaborative learning
experience. I wonder how many other innovative approaches exist or will be
Does anyone have any thoughts regarding the following?
How will the use and management of discussions
evolve over time?
How can the use of this forum be maximized?
What outcomes are expected from discussions? How do we achieve them?
Are there studies on this?
What are some innovative ideas for discussions?
What ideas are online teachers using?
Also: Is there another approach to delivering online learning in which
the discussion medium is minimally used?
Thanks for your reply,
|Variety of Articles
Since many of my fellow students have
already discussed the three aspects of distance learning: sole
responsibility, mixed mode and consortia, I am going to discuss some other
aspects of our readings.
of articles brought much new information as well as points of view I have
not yet seen discussed in any other class: award winning online courses
and negative aspects of developing online courses which much be dealt
My favorite article is "Online Education:
New Paradigms for Learning and Teaching" which discusses online courses
that won awards from the Paul Allen Foundation of Virtual Education. I was
not aware of this foundation . I visited the Paul Allen site ( the Online
Education: New Paradigms...link was not working.) to see discussion of
online courses. . Unfortunately there are no direct links to the courses
from this article but I did find a few. Here is a link to the
syllabus of one a French course:
I particularly liked the way the courses
given awards were divided into different categories - a major one being
courses developed by individual instructors and institutions.
On another note, "Walking the line:
Rectifying Institutional Goals with Student Realities" discusses
institutions enthusiasm for promoting distance learning and their neglect
to recognize that there is a large student body that seems ready to
participate but is really not. The author, Derek Maus, discusses, among
his points, that some of what is attractive about distance learning
(use of fancy technology) does not really help promote learning. He also
make a strong case that the younger student may appear to know a lot about
using the computer but still should be required to take a computer
competency course, or test out, in order to participate in a distance
learning course. The institutions overstate the young person's computer
ability in an effort to quickly enroll these students in courses. When
this is done, problems occur for both the student and the instructor
because now energy must be directed to get the student "technology able"
to participate in the course.
The other articles presented a number of
interesting institutional related discussions such as universities using
underpaid contract instructors in order to save money and how it is
impacting the future of higher education.
moving as fast as technology
|This well-written, to the point
article published by the Software and Information Association,
examines a multitude of points on the current trends in education as
it relates to distance learning. I have listed the ideas described
in the article. The article really presents the speed and depth in
which technology and distance education is influencing education in
the present and near future. It is an excellent article to
"Technology presence is permeating the learning environment.
Instructional technologies are encouraging innovative education
goals, structures, policies and practices and helping redefine
education" (Redefining Education)
- From Technology Adoption to
- Education and Training
- Personalized Learning.
- Instructional Management
- Distributed Learning.
- Enhanced Communications
- Collaboration - Economic factors
among publishers involved in E-Learning
- 21st Century Skills
- Life-Long Learning.
- Equity & Access.
Technology is hard to impossible to
keep up with. Education using technology is moving into that same
realm. Ideally it would be wonderful to have many of these
progressive concepts embraced by the establishment. However, how
difficult is it for IT people to keep up with current technology?
Answer: Just about impossible. How difficult is it for educators to
keep up with current computer technology? Answer: Impossible (many
will never even try.)
moving as fast as technology II
Technology can be great, but so
can seeing a student know how to do the times table. Too many young
teachers think that technology will be the answer. I think it opens the
door to tremendous resources. However the basics still can and should be
accomplished with a pencil and paper. Too many kids can't multiply or
divide or check for spelling or grammar without a computer. This holds
them back from getting into higher level reasoning.
Also, the computer does not solve discipline problems in the classroom.
Discipline, learning problems and all the rest bring a teacher into the
world of saying "I can't wait to retire." I am not in that boat, but I
have not been teaching for 25 years either.
Participation question? Forum for discussing general questions?
|Hi Janet and Yin,
I wonder if there is or will be an area
to discuss general questions/concepts as we progress through the
In an effort to become
a better teacher, I would like to bring up various topics and
read the responses of my instructor and my classmates (some who are
already teaching online.)
- Here is a topic I am interested in
bringing up which concerns participating in courses:
looks a really good course. I am happy to see how well it is
planned and structured. I am pleased to see our instructor's
expectation for discussion,
"Make an original, spell/grammar checked posting of 100-250
words with citations from your chosen readings." This seems
to be practical and effective. I hope fellow students will follow
these guidelines in their discussions. I plan to. There is only a
limited amount of reading and writing that a student can be expected
to process at a high level of cognition.
I think our studies should promote
and reward writing succinctly in discussions. Studying how to
write in a terse and concise style would even be a good adjunct to our
course work. The following is a quote taken from
How to Write (Herbert and Jill Meyer, 1994.)
We are in the
midst of a writing revolution. The combination of today's
computers and the word processing software they run has virtually
eliminated the physical drudgery of creating text...The result of
this revolution is an exponential increase--an
explosion, really--in the total volume
of new text being created. Today more people are
communicating more ideas, and more information, than ever before in
history...More than ever before, a writer must
help his or her reader by making that reader's job easier--by
writing so clearly, and so concisely, that with the least possible
effort the reader can understand what ever the writer is trying to
Re: April 7
Week - Reading assignments
I am still not clear what the assignment for this week is. Since we
already made our primary post to discussion board in Lesson One, are
we supposed to spend the remainder of the week responding to these
posts and reading? Did I miss something else?
Blackboard - Copy of Course
I have been saving copies from
Bb, of each course I have taken, by copying and pasting into Microsoft
Anyone have a suggestion for an alternate way to save Bb data?
Question Regarding Interview
going to try and interview my public school superintendent. I will
try to use this moment as a chance to show some of the work I have been
doing on a course and program web site. I will ask if my superintendent
has an interest in implementing an online program, and if so, why. If they
have no interest, I will carefully ask why? As I stated in another
thread, I am not interested in doing anything to shake things up and
possibly jeopardize my job: make an argument to incorporate distance
learning or give them an unsolicited lesson on what distance learning is.
If I can get the interview, it will make for an interesting paper.
But what if I can't get an
interview with a key person within my school. Any suggestions for an
alternate person to interview: fellow teacher?
My principal has indicated to have no interest
in any major program changes - no funding and enough to do keeping up with
the increased student loads. (I am not about
to volunteer to increase my student load and not charge for creating a
custom course management system.)
Best Practices Discussion
Keith had a great discussion idea! Let's run with it. We'll start
off with his question/comment. Add others that you think of, please!
We'll keep the "Chatting Corner" for fun stuff!
PS I reposted everything in what I hope is a semi-sensible order.
Please participate if you're interested in these topics--these are
useful and practical topics! Participation in this forum will NOT be
included in your grade, however, so don't feel compelled to post
for the acknowledgement.
Janet, I appreciate you mentioning my suggestion to open up an additional
discussion area. Many other instructors would never think to do this. I am
a 55 year old teacher and I still appreciate positive feedback from my
teacher. It is encouraging to have you for an instructor and it is an
example of excellence in teaching. I wouldn't be offended if you remove my
name and just leave the discussion area available:)
Question to Experienced Teachers
1. How do you deal with students
who are under-participating?
2. In the world of writing (as opposed to oral), how do you deal with
students who complain, are negative, threatening. In a F2F class you can
have a casual conversation and hopefully take care of it. But online, it
seems like there is a tape recorder going, just waiting for someone to say
the wrong thing. What does the administration say about this subject.
I really am trying to save myself from learning the hard way (if it is
grading and returning papers
After six of these master's
courses, the only papers I had returned to me with comments were those in
Dr. Jodi's Education Research class, (and this was prior to turning in the
final paper which was not returned with comments.) How does the
experienced teacher deal with returning papers to students with comments
in this online environment. In F2F, it is easy to point out and discuss
aspects of a paper. In online, it seems like it is more difficult. Is this
why none of the other teachers return papers with responses?
It seems like an additional obstacle to have to insert comments using
Word's "Track Changes" feature.
Thanks very much for your response.
I am wondering what the pay ranges for doing online teaching? Obviously
there are many factors, but can anyone come up with some figures: Hourly
Pay, Contract for a Semester, Fulltime, Benefits?
Thanks, I really appreciate your input.
Corporate List of
Vendors Providing Distance Learning
In our Unit Two reading resources,
there is a link to an article named Learning Circuits. The article
presents recent news in e-learning. Presented is a huge list of corporate
providers of distance learning. I believe I will be contacting some of
these companies in the future regarding some kind of employment.
Some of the companies:
Here is link to article:
I want to state
that I appreciate the teaching style and approach our instructor, Janet,
uses in our class. I (we) have taken some courses where the instructor
required, what I call, excessive participation in discussions and doing
many, many time consuming projects. The result of doing all these
activities was a blur of work and stress. I felt like I was not being
treated like the adult student I am. I can't say I learned much from that
approach. In fact, I began to get those old feelings of disliking school
and particularly some teachers.
Janet's approach is different than that. It has not demanded endless
commentary in discussions. Our course seems more like a F2F college course
where students are given reading assignments, attend lectures and do one
or two projects. But the online aspect of the course includes discussion
and interaction, which enhances the learning beyond F2F.
I appreciate being treated like an adult and be given the opportunity to
get my money's worth out of the course: to take responsibility for my own
learning, do the readings, actively participate in projects, do a
reasonable amount of posting to the discussions and stay within the
guidelines of the course in order to receive my grade.
I am glad I experienced this approach to online teaching.
|High School Professional
Yet - Computing Our Way to Educational Reform
Of all the articles I have read
in our master's program, Computing Our Way to Educational Reform by Paul
Starr, impresses me the most. I appreciate the perspective he presents
regarding the impact of technology upon learning. He states," In 1913,
Thomas Edison predicted that books would "soon be obsolete in the schools"
because of motion pictures."
He successfully describes what effect the computer has had upon education,
concluding that it has been very little. However, with the ability for our
present-day computers to display multimedia, he shows how this form of
media will truly have an impact upon education & learning.
Heald College Rejects the Online Model