Sunday, January 27, 2013

Effective Online Learning Experiences

Week 3:  Setting Up Effective Online Learning Experiences

The steps for setting up an effective online learning experience for adult learners should not be that much more different than that of a face-to-face adult class.  The most important thing should be the instructor’s connection with the content.  Does the instructor have a wealth of background knowledge and experience with the course to help direct and support learning adults or no different than children when it comes to learning we need someone to learn from to.  This helps to set up the learning environment and what is expected of students.  Learning online only takes place when the instructor and students are engaged in the material and one another. 

Online learners depend on each other to build knowledge based on constant feedback from each other.  While in a face-to-face class students take notes, take a test and write papers and experience a great deal of interaction with the instructor and peers.  With online classes there is this notion that independent discipline is a must.  Students must make it a point to read and re-read for understanding how to navigate an online university from the course page to the resources of the course and the university’s library.  Students answer discussion questions, post papers and as in this course create blog pages.  A lot depends on the clarity of written communication because online is in a sense not in real time.  If there’s a question you have an area you can email the instructor for assistance or call during normal business hours (keep in my online means students from all over the world with different time zones).  But for the most part there’s a technology support line to help with technical difficulties.

In planning a face-to-face course, many faculty devote significant time to creating and developing lectures.  For online teaching, the time spent in preparing lectures transforms into preparing short text, audio or video introductions or mini-lectures, developing and managing threaded discussions, and monitoring other student spaces, such as forums on the course site (Boettcher and Conrad, 2010, p. 65).  The instructor should always keep the discussions interesting, because they have an advantage with communicating with students that face-to-face instructors don’t have.  Investing time in developing good questions for the discussion boards and planning out the scoring rubrics and evaluation of the discussion boards makes a real difference in how quickly a learning community starts to form in a course (Boettcher and Conrad, 2010, p. 66).  I think online students are willing to respond and share more not only about the course but also about themselves opposed to in a face-to-face course.     More simply put just keep in touch with students and provide them with as much feedback that fosters positive learning as possible.



Boettcher, J.V. and Conrad, R.M. (2010). The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and  
      Practical Pedagogical Tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Week 1: Online Learning Communities

When I reflect on my experience as an online learner I have to agree with Dr. Palloff and Dr. Pratt with online learning the Instructor can’t be the focus of attention is not a face-to-face show where all eyes are on the instructor, but rather students and their ability to communicate with one another and build conversations that foster feedback and learning from each other.  Students cannot be passive knowledge-absorbers who rely on the instructor to feed information to them.  In an online course, it is imperative that they be active knowledge-generators who assume responsibility for constructing and managing their own learning experience (Conrad and Donaldson, 2011, p. 5).  There has to be a sense of accountability for students taking ownership of their learning by actively engaging with their peers and instructor every step of the course.  The involvement of the learner in the course, whether one calls it interaction, engagement, or building community, is critical if an online course is to be more than a lecture-oriented course in which interaction is primarily between the learner and the content or the learner and the instructor (Conrad and Donaldson, 2011, p. 4-5).  Online learning gives every student the opportunity to have a voice and grow academically with their fellow classmates at the same time.  Online offers students the forum to communicate openly especially those learners who are reserved to speak out in face-to-face classes.   Often times in face-to-face classes only a few students participate in discussions, but online every student participates in some way whether it’s with personal experience or building off of the experiences of others.  Online learning communities can be sustained by instructors making learning student centered, engaging in discussions, providing feedback, ensuring that the course is learner friendly without millions of navigations and posting places, making sure the technical help is available 24/7 and access can be from anywhere.  The relationship between community building and online learning is that the curriculum should be designed to promote individual and group activities that enhance continuous learning.  They should be real world applicable as possible.

Conrad, R.M. & Donaldson, J.A. (2011). Engaging the Online Learner:  Activities and
      Resources for Creative Instruction. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Welcome To Aubrey's Blog Page

Hello Fellow Classmates!

Happy New Year!

Welcome to my blog page.  This is my second certification course with Walden University.  I must say I have truly learned alot the last 8 weeks ~ I had no idea that there was so much to this big world of technology.

I look forward to learning and growing with each of you!