Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My perceptions on online learning and teaching

Originally Posted:  Sunday, September 13, 2009

Well, I now understand what my students mean when they say their brains hurt after class. My brain is really hurting—it’s on overload. This is really a computer intensive course and I will know about my computer by the time I finish this course of that I am sure. I have never taken an online course and I’m learning very quickly that there is a lot of reading, going to various links, and being dropped by the online provider while I am reading or thinking.

I have never taken or taught an online course so this is my first attempt with this type of teaching and learning paradigm. The readings have been interesting and very thought provoking. I really liked the article “Campfires in Cyberspace: Primordial Metaphors for Learning in the 21st Century” by David D Thornburg, PhD. What a creative way to describe learning as storytelling and sitting around the campfire and listening to the story then, going to the watering hole to discuss it and other information that the participant felt were important and lastly the cave to ponder and think about what we learned, how we will use it and what it really means to us. He then went on to use cyber space and online teaching and online information to show how that teaching and learning metaphor continues into the computer age. I know my students when I first began teaching 15 years ago hardly had any computer knowledge, now they come to class with their computer and take notes, their books are on the computer and more and more courses are being taught online. It is really interesting to see this technology grow but, I feel like a cave man in the sense I am so non-computer savvy. I always felt that online teaching was so impersonal but again the lecture on “High teach and High Tech” by McMahon and Davidson showed that the course can really have a personal piece by what you say and how you set up the course. They also show that there must be a lot of interaction between the students and the faculty. I liked their E-word list and the suggestion to use images in your course and not just typed words to make it interesting. We have developed a Sims Lab (simulation lab) at the college and it has really been a wonderful experience for both the students and faculty. We have mannequins that are adult, toddler , infant, and pregnant female. By computer we can make them do all kinds of things: different heart rhythms, respirations, lung sounds, even deliver a baby and so much more. This has really opened my eyes to what computers can do and thinking about what I could do to enhance teaching online and in the classroom.
I really hope to learn a lot about online teaching during this course. I would like after completion of the certificate program to design one of the nursing courses I teach to go online. I would also like to possibly hybrid some of my courses that the college will not allow to go online completely. 
But, I really need to learn a lot more about online design and
curriculum.  I kew I knew I didn't understand the workings of the
computer but, I really didn't realize how much it can do.  I also now understand the course is only as good technincally as the person developing it and the faculty teaching it.  As well as, a student taking an online course there wil be frustration but, I will learn to work with the computer.  

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