Thursday, March 10, 2011

8. Not as Easy as it Sounds!

Instructors' Vantage Point: teaching Online vs. Face-to-Face
The Chronicle of Higher Education
October 31, 2010 V57 i11 pNA

This is definitely a short reading I would recommend anyone who is beginning to be engaged with online learning or has become curious about online and F2F instruction differences. Written as short reflections from instructors who have walked the path of the adaptation or the full delivery into online environments, in different subject areas, the key messages that emerge from these voices range from enthusiasm, frustration, understanding the complexity of the tasks and appreciating what challenges and possibilities lie in the experience.

Here below some highlights and my personal reflections on their key messages:

  • Simple F2F tasks need to be translated and adapted to fit the new online formats. Almost always. This means they definitely can be adapted AND at times the translation enriches the original task and instructor go back to the F2F with modified versions that feed from the online delivery.
  • Knowing the technologies is a MUST. Support for teachers is paramount and must be kept ongoing.
  • Teaching online classes may still require instructors to be creative to maintain a sense of community. ideas in the article mention the printing of assignments, hand written feedback and scanning of documents for filing and storing. Recording live sessions for people who miss is also a good tip. How many times we wished we had recorded a really good lesson or lecture for those who were not in that day? Technology helps us with that.
  • Give clear instructions - this is a helping tool for all right?
  • Take some time to respond - do not set instructor's feedback expectations to high and to hard to live up to!
  • Institutions must support professional development for instructors. Sharing, teacher mentoring and peer reviews should be experiences enhanced by faculties.
  • Consider the idea of bending space but not bending time with online learning. This refers mainly to the concept that there cannot be satisfied expectations about shortcuts on time and commitment required to complete tasks. Even when learners may think so and administrators may assume when assigning online courses to instructors.

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