Essential Question: What will you require of the instructors who teach the course you design? Why?
Engage, engage, engage. Pay close attention, trust your instincts, ask questions, never let an opportunity pass, give timely feedback and thorough evaluations, discuss how to reach goals, be timely, ask more questions…
Tonight we just started to touch on the criteria of what our course module instructor, or co-instructor would need in order to appropriately facilitate learning. Our text this week has us understanding the why distance education is difficult to be sure…in the first paragraph of the chapter our authors point out that some distance education teachers may be new to their trade, not having the experience to understand the nuances of reading a students online “body-language.” They may not be the most tech-savvy instructors on the planet or they may not understand what type of student they are dealing with, dependent, independent, new to distance education? (Moore & Kearsley, 2012) Online instructors need to be able to possess the same qualities of a great in-class instructor.
Not having actually designed the course they are teaching, the instructors that teach the course we are designing must have a thorough knowledge of the definitions of the standards that each module addresses, must be well-read (and I use that term to encompass any videos the students are to watch as well) in all of the materials, understand how to use Blackboard (that’s our online learning forum), and be 100% committed to “establish an environment in which students learn to control and manage and apply and engage with these material as independently as possible, in the quest to relate them to their own lives, and thus to convert the designers’ information into their personal knowledge, relevant to their different circumstances” (Moore & Kearsley, 2012).
Moore and Kearsley, point out that each individual student be held to the highest standard and that distance education be learner-centric (p.132). They go on to say that “the role of the instructor is to support and assist each student a he or she interacts with the content and converts it into personal knowledge.” In my opinion, winning the trust of the student is vital to opening a dialogue and building a relationship that allows for the student to feel safe within their learning environment enough to be honest if they are frustrated or lost. Trust can be built by finding out about your student, asking questions and sharing who you are. I also agree with our text that it is so important that an instructor be transparent with what the learning goals and outcomes should be, what the grading criteria is, and exactly what the students roles and responsibilities should be. I learned a long time ago that if you tell people what to expect, it comes as no surprise.
I whole-heartedly believe in paying close attention to students language and test results. So much can be heard when very little is said… It is very easy to gage a students level of involvement by seeing how they answered their essay questions or how they wrote their paper or how they gave their presentation…looking at answers missed, or misspelled words, improper use of tense, several “ummmm’s” all tell a story of a students engagement, perceptions and, or, misunderstandings of the material and allow for a true moment to teach. Our distance education instructor must be able to take these subtle cues from his or her students and address them by asking questions and bringing attention to the student were their learning opportunity lies.
I think it will be important for us to bring diversity into our online classroom with the tools that are used to relay the standards content. Jon had talked about having students watch a movie instead of read a book…geez! How many books do you really have to require a high school student to read (over the summer, potentially)? If the standard doesn’t specifically state that a book has to be read, why not mix it up a little to keep it fun and interesting? It will be important that our class facilitator understand technology and use it. He/she should hold Google Hangouts, or Skype calls or at least make sure there is a discussion board. Nicole also brought up that we should think about putting “a dress and some lipstick” on our Blackboard shell to make it aesthetically more appealing and up to date with the graphics that our student population is used to seeing. If it looks dry and boring from the first perception, we may have just lost them again.
There is soooooooo much to think about when addressing someone else teaching a class you’ve designed. It will be imperative that there is a tremendous amount of support given to the teacher and I think the teacher should be trained before teaching the modules. At UAA we have a CAFE, Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence, that holds a series just about every week that addresses some part of the pedagogical process.. perhaps the distance ed. instructor could be given access. They started in 2000 and have several (hundreds) that are recorded and may be gone back through.
So, what I would like to see whomever teach this class do is “Engage, engage, engage. Pay close attention, trust your instincts, ask questions, never let an opportunity pass, give timely feedback and thorough evaluations, discuss how to reach goals, be timely, ask more questions…” (Everett, 2014)
Everett, N. (2014). Okay, this is what I would like you to do….(Web blog comment). Retrieved from https://monk1ak.wordpress.com/page/2/
Moore, M., and Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Morrison, L. (2014) UAA Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence. Retrieved from http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/cafe/