Week Four


Essential Question: What lessons might we take from successful (and unsuccessful) OCL Institutional Innovations and from the concept of the Community of Practice (CoP)?

Week Four Objectives:

The reading and activities this week will assist you in:

  • 6-A Deepening content and pedagogical knowledge in the foundations of distance learning literature
  • 6-C Reflecting on professional practice and dispositions to improve your ability to model and facilitate distance learning experiences

Week Four Preparation: 

Read Chapters  Eight and Nine in Learning Theory and Online Technology (LTOT)

Read xMOOC vs. cMOOC

About the Week

This week, we are delving into successful models of institutional adoption of online learning. While individual instructors were the initial innovators in online learning, the institutional support and systemization of distance learning initiatives truly brought online learning to the forefront of quality education offerings. Those initiatives which survived and thrived had a significant OCL component, and integrated many levels of institutional support including faculty training with mentoring and systematic design of online courses.

It is interesting that even now, when people discuss the effectiveness of “online courses”, pedagogy in these courses is not addressed. In my own institution when people say “online course” they could mean a course delivered over the telephone and supported with course materials in the Blackboard shell, with little or no student interaction – essentially information delivery. They could mean (and most frequently mean) a course conducted through Elluminate, in which the faculty may lecture a bit, and students may then break into groups for work – a somewhat social-constructivist experience. Or they could mean a fully online experience asynchronously delivered – essentially lecture and test: a behaviorist and traditional experience.  Or they could mean a blended experience such as the one we are engaged in, with elements of social constructivism, connectivism and integrating OCL.

I have noticed the same issue as people discuss MOOCs.  There is a big difference between an xMOOC in which thousands of students work and learn in essential isolation from each other (lecture, test, possibly some peer interaction, a great deal of self-direction and somewhat unorganized chaos), and a cMOOC (or more accurately cOOC) in which communities of learners are expected for the good of the order to gather in self-organized spaces to learn what they’d like to know, and to teach others. In this course experience, we strive to create a CoP and we invite others to be a part of this CoP if they wish through our blog entries and twitter postings. We are trying to create an authentic, real world, sustainable model for learning both inside and outside of the classroom. The brain wants to learn. If we can design educational experiences which match cognitive and developmental desires, the educational experience will be far more natural than if we work against the brain and our social tendencies.

Please create your initial blog entry, due on Thursday. 

Interact with others from Thursday through Sunday to extend their understanding. It is important that you share resources and ideas that will influence the learning of others.

Finally, on Sunday, create a reflection of the week, focusing on the new ideas you have encountered and the way you might implement these ideas in practice. Be certain to also note the way that you impacted the learning of others in the class.


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