Monthly Archives: February 2015
The reflection this week is guided by the following questions:
- Reflecting on the information covered in this module, how might your instructional methodologies need to change in an online or blended learning environment?
- What skills and strategies might you improve or expand upon in order to best support student learning in a blended or online environment?
Having a good foundation and understanding of effective instructional methodologies and strategies is key to any learning environment. In an online or blended learning environment, much of this does not change but the online component does require an awareness and often a change of methodology. During this module, we reviewed four emerging models (flex, rotation, self-blend, and online lab) where either all or part of the student contact time is online. Whether it is the online component of the blended classroom, or a fully online course, attention to the following areas can be noted:
- Communication-students will expect, and within reason should expect, regular feedback and replies to their questions and assignments. Parameters should be set so that student expectations are reasonable to keep the pace and progress of the course. This is the same for a face-to-face course, but in an online course there is a bit more urgency due to the 24/7 nature of being online.
- Class Discussions-guiding online discussions require closer attention to keeping on topic and moderating discussions towards the lesson objectives. Since several students can post at once, versus just one student being called on at a time, this can be challenging but also can lead to very rich and informative discussions.
- Assessment-not being able to adjust on the fly based on facial cues and body language as in a face-to-face class, the teacher needs to interact and question students to ensure understanding in ongoing assessments. Pre and post assessments remain largely the same.
There are other instructional methodologies that need to change, but those are a few of the areas that came to mind after reviewing this module. Depending on the course and the students themselves, other strategies can be effective as well.
Personally, the skills and strategies I can improve on revolve around stability and keeping on top changing educational technology and course design. In an online course, students can be left feeling isolated and not part of the class if the teacher does not maintain a regular presence online. Replying to forum posts, returning assignments in a timely manner, maintaining regular “office hours”, and personalizing lessons can help offer this stability. When designing courses, an awareness of these factors can help make for a more interesting and engaging experience for the teacher and students. To some extent the LMS (learning management system) maybe set so there is only a limited number of ways to set up the online environment, but this is where knowing what does and does not work related to instructional design is valuable.
Considering the online learning self-assessment you took this week, and thinking about your reasons for taking this course, what is your highest priority learning goal for this course? What are some specific skills, strategies or tools you are hoping to learn more about?
My highest priority (other than completing the course) is to have a portfolio completed by the end of the course that is a good representation of my knowledge and skills in this area. I have learning objects and lessons all over (on my computer and in various places on the web) so it will be great to have one place that shows some of what I know and can do.
I am hoping to learn more about what makes a great and engaging online lesson, how to abide by copyright and online safety regulations, and since I work as an instructor and an Instructional Designer, what I can do as an ID when working with others (instructors, SME’s, etc.) to create quality online materials.
I admit, I did not read all 29 pages of the letters, but after getting through about half of them there were some common themes-plan, work hard, read everything, relate to cohort members, and have fun (among others)! Hey, I like to have fun so there is the piece of advice from the LEC letters I connected the most with. I really do love technology and have ever since I was a kid. I really enjoy learning new tools, playing around with new software or new web 2.0 tools as we are in this course. Even when I am working on a tough project like programming or learning how to build my own mod for Minecraft, I am having fun. Sure, sometimes I might want to throw my computer across the room at times when things get really tough, but it is so rewarding in the end. I know I will be putting a lot of time and effort into this course and at times with other stuff going on, it may get a little frustrating but I know we are all in the same boat and will have our portfolios and the certification when we are done! Along with having learned about some new tools and skills-that sounds like FUN to me! Let’s do this!
This week began with a full day introduction to the Leading Edge Alliance course “Online and Blended Learning”. After the completion of this 8-week course, participants such as myself will received the certification and have a completed portfolio showcasing our skills in that area. Like others, I have learning objects and lessons in various places so it will be great to put some of that together in a professional and organized fashion.
Part of the course requirements include regular reflections on the weekly units, and I will be posting those reflections here. I encourage feedback, tips, and other related information on those posts (as I do for any posts).
For more information on this course, please visit their website.