Virtual Teaching and Learning

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#OLTAK Week 2 Reflection

The one point that has really hit home this week through reading everyone else’s blogs is that support and feedback is fundamental to online learners. I have felt this way for a long time and am glad that I’m not alone. I learned about LMS’s (learning management systems), which is a pretty new world to me but it seems a lot less foreign with other people in the class sharing information and their thoughts about the benefits or shortfalls of using one versus another.

 This week I feel as if I was able to be more of a support to my fellow classmates by offering examples of my own that related to ideas or situations expressed in their blogs. One student had a much different perception of the readings this week than I did and I was able to offer up an idea I had read in another blog that, hopefully, he found useful. I think I could better facilitate the learning of others in this class if I make an effort to post remarks in a more timely manner. My days slip away so quickly that I find myself in the middle of Sunday not having responded to anyone! Ahh, if only there was just one more day…..

 I found the information and conversations this week very helpful in my understanding of important principles to remember when creating an online course.


#OLTAK Learning theories

I enjoyed the readings this week and was grateful to be reading on Behaviorist theory again because I have to give a presentation on it in another class next week! Ha!

I think there is a bit of truth and something to glean from all three theories when it comes to aspects that would benefit an online learning format.

In Blooms Taxonomy of Learning, he discusses the importance of “the cognitive domain, which involves knowledge and the development of intellectual skills including recall or recognition of specific facts, procedural patterns and concepts that serve in the development of intellectual abilities and skills” (Harasim, 2012, p. 39).  Gange’s subdivision of the nine events of instruction; gaining attention, informing the learner of the objective, stimulating recall prior to learning, presenting the stimulus, providing learning guidance, eliciting performance, providing feedback, assessing performance, and enhancing retention and transfer (Harasim, 2012, p. 51), and Vygotsky’s “Zone of Proximal Development.”

All of these theories provide valuable insight into providing a disciplined, conscientious and well-rounded approach to teaching. The ideas presented create an opportunity for the instructor to take a deeper look at the potential learning capabilities of the student by delving into the why and how people’s minds work.

I think I most closely relate to the cognitivist learning theory with a strong slant towards constructivist. While I think there is much benefit to what behaviorists have brought to the table with understanding stimulus and response within human behavior, I agree that there are important variables within our own perceptions and experiences that affect our decision making and lifestyle choices. In my own classroom I have such a wide range of diverse learners that all come to the classroom with different backgrounds. As I get to know them, I am able to understand that they all vary in how they respond, remember, produce, and retain information. It actually took me quite some time to figure out that I had to pay attention to how each students learning style was and to use that as a tool to better teach them as individuals instead of one group that perceives information in the same way…before that, I found myself frustrated and beating my head against the wall! I wish I had known this when I was in management when I was first starting out in a career field.

I think that all of these concepts are transferable from a synchronous environment to an asynchronous environment but definitely more challenging. As we learn more about our group project, I am realizing how important it will be to be engaging and create a diverse format as well as very comprehensive support materials.


Harasim, L. (2012), Learning Theory and Online Technologies, London: Routledge

Atherton J S (2013) Learning and Teaching; Constructivism in learning [On-line: UK] retrieved 23 January 2014 from

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#OLTEC 1st weeks review

So, the recap…. I learned that some folks are far more “scholarly” than I, how Tweeting works, and how cool it is that if I just include #OLTEC in my header, my posts will be included in an online community! Wow!  My greatest interest is with how as adults we learn. Online learning is a whole other ball of wax and I’m intrigued with how to design and support such a learning environment. I will say that I need to be far more organized with my time taking this type of class. I think that my fellow students have posed questions that have forced me to think outside my realm of understanding and have reinforced or reinvigorated my hunger for understanding how to present engaging subject matter in a distance education setting. I believe, in turn, I have supported them in their findings by sharing personal experiences that I am able to relate to and have tried to pose questions that will hopefully further dialogue and qustioning.


#OLTEC Theories of Research

What theories or research can inform your current practice of distance learning?

I have never taught a distant education class. However, I have taken several. Within our readings for this week, one particular point resonated with me. A research study documented in chapter ten addressed “understanding the relationship between cognitive style and achievement levels”  (Moore and Kearsley, 2012). While being an adult educator, the greatest tool I’ve learned is to stop, watch, listen and ask questions of my students in order to better understand their learning styles. It’s challenging to know how to best facilitate a learning environment for a diverse student cohort. The following is part of a journal article that addresses the construction of a learning environment to help support the learning patterns of individual students in a distant education environment.

1. Online contact: Since students can’t talk to the teacher or other students face-to-face, the teacher should attempt to construct a supportive environment and provide timely online contact and assistance to all the students (Ehrman, 1990). In most situations, the teacher should provide a listserver mailing list or a chat room for all students in a specific class to talk about the course matters and ask or answer questions in order to reduce learning anxiety and maximize learning performance.

Online contact and assistance includes two major types. One is the online peer contact between students and students. According to Amundsen and Bernard’s (1989), peer contact could significantly discriminate between final academic standing and course completion. The other is the online contact between the teacher and students. This can be achieved by talking either through the list server mailing list to all students or through the teacher’s individual e-mail account to the individual student. In addition, the teacher should use various media as needed, including face-to-face, telephone, e-mail, letter, note, memo, and the like.

2. Diversified learning styles: The adaptation of the design of distance education to students’ cognitive styles should allow diversified learning styles to meet all students’ characteristics. Specifically, the teacher should selectively provide theory-based learning to the assimilators and application-based learning to the accommodators; provide individualized learning to field independent students and cooperative learning to field dependent ones.

I’m going to have to expand upon this further this week….this is a first-time post and I wanted to make sure I had something up for us to think about. In a synchronized learning environment, understanding and meeting students where they are in their learning styles is challenging in itself. I am very intrigued on how to achieve such a task in an online blended or asynchronous classroom!!  
Moore, Michael and Kearsley, Greg (2012). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning. Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Retrieved from

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume II, Number III, Fall1999 State University of West Georgia, Distance Education. Retrieved from