Reflection Week 3

I see great potential in the use of visuals for course content. As an online teacher I already embed pictures, videos, and webinars into my courses. One of the pitfalls of online is the amount of reading we insist students do. Creating a video allows for differentiated instruction as well as a different kind of class intimacy (no, not that kind please).

When you combine videos with opportunities to interface through Hangouts, Skype, or WeChat there are more opportunities to experiences virtual classrooms.

There remains the issue of students who don’t have reliable Internet access, or who don’t “get it”. As an instructor of Eportfolio I find myself on the phone with students talking them through what they are seeing on their side. This requires absolutely CLEAR communication, and an understanding by the student to NOT CLICK ON ANYTHING WITHOUT PERMISSION. Sometimes they “get it” and click ahead. Then we are both lost in the darkness of the telephone trying to talk each other back-to-center. It can be very frustrating.

I don’t believe anything will replace the sound of a voice or the nonverbal communication of seeing a face. Being a human is about being connected, and NOT isolated. Online can further distance some kinds of students in a detrimental way. Creating opportunities for live-time interactions can help bridge that gap.

But it is necessary to “reach out and touch someone” as the old telephone ads promoted. It is easy to make assumptions about students ( and teachers) who aren’t showing up in a course. We have to be very mindful. It is our responsibility as instructors to engage students to the best of our ability.

Movement forward is all about connections and interfacing.

Movement forward is all about connections and interfacing.

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4 thoughts on “Reflection Week 3

  1. I’m wishing I could see your courses, imagining the color and creativity you must bring to them. They are locked inside Moodle, though?
    We confront the trouble with talking-people-through-techtrouble-without-seeing-what-they-see all the time. We’ve tried different things to “remote in” with some success. I used to use a great tool called Mikogo to instantly share screens ad hoc w/o the person having to login and all that. It was free, but now that it’$ not, I don’t use it. Unfortunate, because although Skype/Google+ and others have screen sharing, you always have the buggaboo of joining that network, with all the baggage that comes with it (Zoho has some chat features that don’t require joining that are useful). In a class, it seems acceptable that students go ahead and join one of those networks for group get-togethers.
    And on the visual end, do you like Pinterest? here’s some beauty

  2. Always, it seems to me, we teachers have to stay close to our student’s processes. That attention is SO much easier when f2f. I have not taught online, but imagine that online, asynchronous paradigms must be so challenging. I would imagine that it requires MANY check-ins and much progress monitoring in order to be assured that the students are staying focused and are engaged in the ways required by the course. It sounds like you are using as many tools as possible…and it appears that the task is still daunting!

    • That it does. And after this weekends’ experience with my new computer (having lost my old Toshiba in a tragic crash; read: best friend)
      trying to match windows 8 with everything I thought I knew before has required lots of deep breathing.
      What I don’t know is if and how this constant upgrading plays for the millennium generation. My guess is that generalizing technological information is more seamless for them. I am envious.
      I continue to think of all this as play. That helps me to maintain bright spirits…particularly when I’ve lost new blog pages.

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