Online Teaching And Learning:
Online teaching typically refers to courses that are delivered completely online, meaning there are no physical or on-campus class sessions. Online courses can be designed for a handful of enrolled students or can be made open and accessible to a wide variety of participants, such as with a MOOC.Online learning is catalyzing a pedagogical shift in how we teach and learn. There is a shift away from top-down lecturing and passive students to a more interactive, collaborative approach in which students and instructor co-create the learning process. The Instructor’s role is changing from the “sage on the stage” to “the guide on the side.”The Online Fellows Program was developed through the joint efforts of the Center for Teaching, the Office of Academic Planning and Assessment, the Center for Computer-Based Instructional Technology, and Continuing Education.
Teaching and Learning Online is designed to guide you through the decisions that you will need to make if you teach online. It reflects the joint experience and wisdom of the Online Fellows, UMass faculty like yourself who up until a few years ago had no experience in teaching online. We have tried to make the guide straightforward and inviting, raising and answering the basic questions that novice online instructors would be contemplating.
Of course, no guide is able to cover every aspect of online teaching. There are several areas that we have not addressed, including specific technical issues (e.g., course management systems), legal issues involving intellectual property, and compensation issues. What we hope we have accomplished, though, is to provide you with a guide to the major pedagogical and assessment issues associated with teaching an online course. All of the Online Fellows have found teaching online to be a rewarding and invigorating experience, and we hope this guide eases your transition into the world of online learning.
Challenges of Teaching Online:
Some of the challenges for instructors of teaching online include:
• Familiarity with the online environment
• Capacity to use the medium to its advantage
• Being available to students on an extended basis electronically
• Providing quick responses and feedback to student.
Yet, the proponents of online learning argue that these obstacles can be overcome by employing such techniques as the following:
- Become familiar with the technology used in your online course: Long before your course starts, become familiar with the technology used in your online course, including hardware and software, and spend some time exploring their options. An online course requires a high level of computing power and reliable telecommunications infrastructure. Make sure you have access to both.
- Use the online medium to your advantage: The online environment is essentially a space for written communication. This is both a limitation and a potential of online learning. Written communication can be more time consuming, but “the ability to sit and think as one composes a question or comment also can raise the quality of discussion.
- Keep connected with students: Use the technology of the online environment to help you keep in touch with students. Communicate frequently with students, both individually and as a group. A main part of this handbook focuses on how to connect with students. While keeping connected with students can be a challenge, the online environment offers a number of interesting pedagogical opportunities.
Preparing to Teach Online:
As you plan your online course, it is helpful to remember that in any environment “good teaching is good teaching”. Experienced online instructors stress that teaching online is less about the mechanics of distance education and “more about what makes for an effective educational experience, regardless of where or when it is delivered”.They provide a safe climate for their students by providing reassurance and support to Qualities of new online learners. successful
• They invite student input regarding the goals and agenda for the course.
• They give frequent individualized feedback, using a variety of communication tools.
• They help students connect with one another.
A New Paradigm for Teaching and Learning:
Online learning is catalyzing a pedagogical shift in how we teach and learn. There is a shift away from top-down lecturing and passive students to a more interactive, collaborative approach in which students and instructor co-create the learning process. The Instructor’s role is changing from the “sage on the stage” to “the guide on the side.” Constructivism This point of view maintains that people actively construct new knowledge as they interact with their environment. This is a student-centered approach in which students “co-create” theirlearning experience. This approach empowers students as active learners instead of just passive recipients absorbing information and reproducing it for standardized tests.
Derived from the work of Swiss philosopher, Jean Piaget, constructivism emphasizes:
• The learner as a unique individual.
• The relevence of the learner’s background and culture.
• Increased responsibility for learning belongs to the student.
• Motivation for learning comes from successful completion of challenging tasks.
• Instructors as facilitators helping learners develop their own understanding of content.
• Learning is an active, social process.
• The dynamic interaction between task, instructor and learner.
Constructionism asserts that learning is particularly effective when constructing something for others to experience. This can be anyting from a spoken sentence or an internet posting, to more complex things like a painting or a presentation. For example, you might read this page several times and still forget it by tomorrow - but if you were asked to explain these ideas to someone else in your own words, or produce a slideshow that explained these concepts, you would gain a deeper understanding that is more integrated into your own ideas.
As an instructor, you focus on the experiences that would best generate learning from the learner's point of view, rather than just publishing and assessing the information you think they need to know. Each participant in a course can and should be a teacher as well as a learner. Your job changes from being the sole source of knowledge, to being a guide and role model. You connect with students in ways that address their own learning needs by moderating discussions and activities in a way that collectively leads students towards the larger learning goals of the class.
Benefits of Online Teaching and Learning:
Why online distance learning and why now? Online distance learning meets the needs of an ever-growing population of students who cannot or prefer not to participate in traditional classroom settings. These learners include those unable to attend traditional classes, who cannot find a particular class at their chosen institution, who live in remote locations, who work full-time and can only study at or after work, and those who simply prefer to learn independently. The minimum requirement for students to participate in an online course is access to a computer, the Internet, and the motivation to succeed in a non-traditional classroom. Online courses provide an excellent method of course delivery unbound by time or location allowing for accessibility to instruction at anytime from anywhere. Learners find the online environment a convenient way to fit education into their busy lives. The ability to access a course from any computer with Internet access, 24 hours a day, seven days a week is a tremendous incentive for many of today’s students. Some of the main advantages of online learning include:
Some strategies you can implement to improve your online teaching and make your eLearning course a successful experience for both you and your learners.
- Engage With Your Learners Online. ...
- Create A Supportive Learning Environment. ...
- Use A Mix Of Learning Tools For Better Engagement. ...
- Provide Ongoing Feedback.
Online Learning Platforms:
A Learning Platform is an integrated set of interactive online services that provides the teachers, learners, parents and others involved in education with information, tools and resources to support and enhance educational delivery and management.A Learning Platform is an integrated set of interactive online services that provides the teachers, learners, parents and others involved in education with information, tools and resources to support and enhance educational delivery and management.A Learning Platform is a comprehensive system enabling secure, web-based training and e-learning solution that employs a simple and intuitive user interface.
Online learning is education that takes place over the Internet. It is often referred to as “e- learning” among other terms. However, online learning is just one type of “distance learning” - the umbrella term for any learning that takes place across distance and not in a traditional classroom.Online learning is most effective when delivered by teachers experienced in their subject matter. The best way to maintain the connection between online education and the values of traditional education is through ensuring that online learning is “delivered” by teachers, fully qualified and interested in teaching online in a web-based environment.
Online learning is education that takes place over the Internet. It is often referred to as “elearning” among other terms. However, online learning is just one type of “distance learning” - the umbrella term for any learning that takes place across distance and not in a traditional classroom. Distance learning has a long history and there are several types available today, including: • Correspondence Courses: conducted through regular mail with little interaction.
• Telecourses: where content is delivered via radio or television broadcast.
• CD-ROM Courses: where the student interacts with static computer content.
• Online Learning: Internet-based courses offered synchronously and/or asynchronously.
• Mobile Learning: by means of devices such as cellular phones, PDAs and digital audio players (iPods, MP3 players). By far the most popular approach today is online learning. According to the Sloan Consortium, online enrollments continue to grow at rates faster than for the broader student population and institutes of higher education expect the rate of growth to continue increasing.
Two parallel processes take place in an online environment:
1. Students become more active, reflective learners.
2. Students and teachers engage in learning through the use of technology and become more familiar with technology by using it.
Approaches to Online Learning:
Two approaches to online learning have emerged: synchronous and asynchronous learning. Synchronous learning is instruction and collaboration in “real time” via the Internet. It typically involves tools, such as: Live chat,audio and video conferencing,data and application sharing,shared whiteboard,virtual "hand raising",joint viewing of multimedia presentations and online slide shows Asynchronous learning methods use the time-delayed capabilities of the Internet. It typically involves tools, such as:e-mail,threaded discussion,newsgroups and bulletin boards,file attachments Asynchronous courses are still instructor-facilitated but are not conducted in real time, which means that students and teacher can engage in course-related activities at their convenience rather than during specifically coordinated class sessions. In asynchronous courses, learning does not need to be scheduled in the same way as synchronous learning, allowing students and instructors the benefits of anytime, anywhere learning.
Advantages of Learning Online:
- Online learning offers a variety of educational opportunities: Student-centered learning The variety of online tools draw on individual learning styles and help students become more versatile learners.
- Collaborative learning:Online group work allows students to become more active participants in the learning process. Contributing input requires that students comprehend what is being discussed, organize their thinking coherently, and express that thinking with carefully.
- Easy access to global resources: Students can easily access online databases and subject experts in the online classroom.
- Experiential learning through multimedia presentations:New technologies can be used to engage and motivate students. Technology can also be used to support students in their learning activities.
- Accessible for non-traditional students: Online delivery of programs and courses makes participation possible for students who experience geographic and time barriers in gaining access to higher education.
- Draws on student interest in online learning: Many students are interested in online learning. In a recent survey conducted by the Office of Academic Planning and Assessment at UMass Amherst, more than 50% of students surveyed said that they were “very interested” or “somewhat interested” in taking an online course.
Advantages of Teaching Online Teaching:
- online courses canOffer the opportunity to think about teaching in new ways: Online teaching can allow you to experiment with techniques only available in online environments, such as threaded discussions and webliographies.
- Provide ideas and techniques to implement in traditional courses: Online email discussions, a frequently-used practice in online learning, can be incorporated into traditional courses to facilitate group work. Other techniques, such as web-based course calendars and sample papers posted on the Internet (with student permission) can easily be incorporated into a traditional course.
- Expand the reach of the curriculum:Online teaching can expand existing curriculum to students on a regional, national, and international level.
- Professional satisfaction: Teaching online can be an enormously rewarding experience for teachers. Teachers often cite the diversity of students in online courses as one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching online.
- Instructor convenience: Teaching online can offer teachers conveniences not available in traditional classroom settings; for example, at-home office hours and flexible work schedules.