Essential Question: What would you require of instructors who taught a course you designed? Why?
Week Eight Objectives:
The reading and activities this week will assist you in:
- 3.c. Coach teachers in and model use of online and blended learning, digital content, and collaborative learning networks to support and extend student learning.
Week Eight Preparation:
- Read Chapter Six in Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning, 3rd Edition
- Read: Facilitating Distance Learning: Best Practices
- Read: Time Management Strategies for Teaching Online
About the Week
This week, we are looking at the skills and qualities necessary for teaching an online course. If online learning is a systemic priority, we have divided the job of delivering online courses into at least three distinct skillsets: 1) Creation of online courses (Instructional Designers and CMEs), 2) Administration of online courses (generally a central department within the organization, and 3) Facilitation of online courses (by a qualified facilitator of online learning with guidelines built into the system or course).
The most effective distance learning systems require facilitator development prior to the delivery of the course. Because the course has been designed and vetted by instructional designers and content experts, it is expected that the course itself is in keeping with best practices in online learning, and therefore it will, undoubtedly serve the student in learning. Very often, courses are evaluated with the Quality Matters Rubric, or a similar rubric, before it is even put into the rotation. Only courses of high quality should be offered to our students!
Once a course is designed and vetted, teachers should be given PD in the delivery of the course. The most effective PD I have seen for this purpose utilizes a 3 week online experience, which requires teachers to do the activities that the students will do (in terms of participating in discussion and teamwork – not literally the same activities), and also explicitly teaches use of the tools required (gradebook, discussion forums, announcements, video screencasting for feedback or announcements, etc). Note that in this model, teachers are not expected to have participated in the design of the course, therefore we teach teachers to facilitate the course, to give appropriate feedback, to respond effectively and immediately to student concerns, and to maintain visibility in the class. If teachers will not log in and participate for these activities, they are not “certified” and therefore, cannot teach the online course. Teachers are required to pass this course and demonstrate they understand how to facilitate the course as it is designed, before being deployed as an instructor.
Some teachers may wish to add resources to the pre-designed course; however, many systems frown upon this, as the addition of resources could interfere with the flow of the course design. In some cases, when teachers add resources to a course they don’t understand, the design of the course can be changed drastically – therefore, the student experience will change and could be detracted from. Therefore, it’s best to say whether you would allow addition of resources to the course, and if so, how many and what kind of resources are best.
Look at the interaction guides in the text, and do reference in your blog posting how you would support teachers in engaging in these interactions in a sensitive, student centered and responsive way.
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.
Be certain to post your Stage I UbD in outline form to the “Submit Unit for Feedback” link in Blackboard.
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.