Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Halfway through—Part 2

Original Post:  Sunday March 14,2010

I can hardly believe we are half way through this class.  Part two has been a very interesting set of lessons.  We began with learning about pedagogical roles and models, benefits of the virtual classroom, and the pedagogy of a web site.  One of the readings was by Dr. E.L. Skip Knox The Pedagogy of Web Site Design.  This reading discussed the various parts of putting together an online web class.  Dr. Knox shared his experience on developing a web site course in humanities.  Having taught for 6 semesters he felt he had enough experience to share what he had learned with others who wish to teach online, I found the article interesting.  I learned about the online lecture being more formal in writing so that there is no misunderstanding in what you want to say. He also talked about the basics --consistanency, clarity, navigability and speed.  The need to keep what you lecture on clear and concise, there is consistanency in the presentation of the information so that the students can easily navigate the site with efficiency.  I also found as I researched this topic -it was my facilitator topic- information on adult learners and how they learn. It was very interesting and since I teach at a community college it was something that I was interested in.  These adult learners want something that is useful to life, they learn best usually by doing and discovery of information.  I know I use my experience as a nurse when I teach my students in theory and in the clinical it is the floor nurses and me that are used to create that community of scholars for them to draw good learning from.  I learned I expect adult learners to be more engaging and sometimes they just seem to sit there and then; I really have to be careful not to just tell them what I want them to know.  I learned from these reading that I need to not probe and prod them to get the discussion started. but to interject questions that will start the discussion.

Another topic in part two was building community.  This is real important in an online community since the students will only have contact online and not face to face.  So it is important that they feel a sense of belonging to the group and not feel like they are learning in isolation.  I learned that I do this in my face to face classes and my enhanced class with a letter I send to my students at the beginning of each class session, in the way I begin the class be making sure the students get to know one another and work on at least one group project.  This social development is very important in nursing since we need to really work as a team in order to help a person reach their optimal health or to have a death with respect and dignity.

Units 7 and 8 I learned about setting up for an online course and how to run an online course.  These were very interesting units.  Some of the information was not new to me but some of it was. What wasn't new reaffirmed my own ideas and thoughts on items like turnaround time for grades, answering e-mails, and discussion questions.  I also had affirmation on what I needed to have set up in the site to have a well managed course i.e., calendar, syllabus, expectations and discussion question.  This was really helpful as I was setting up and enhanced site for this next 8 weeks that begins March 15th. I am sure I will learn allot by the time I finish these next few weeks on online learning even though it is enhanced.

Technology!! What an overwhelming topic.  There is so much out there and how do you get through it all and make sure it is appropriate and worthwhile.  This unit really had me in a tail spin. I did find a web site that had standards and guidelines for being an online teacher which I found interesting.  In nursing education we have standards we have to address for our accrediting agencies and so I just felt that the same should be for an online teacher.  I guess I find it difficult to say someone is an online teacher when they have not even taken an online course let alone and any courses work in teaching one.  I have also learned the need to keep up with the technology that is available to online teaching and be knowledgeable in it in order to assist my students in having a successful learning experience.

This whole part 2 has been overwhelming and yet a real learning experience. I have drawn lots of good information that I plan to apply to my enhanced course this 8 weeks and the online course in the Fall.  Now as I begin part 3 I hope to learn more about online teaching.

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