It is the middle of the second week of the eDesign course and participants are progressing more slowly then I expected. I realise everyone is time poor and some people were away on holidays the first week and have only joined the course this week. But, I thought most would have created their blogs and joined the course groups by now. I think, this expectation is typical of online teaching and we commonly feel learners are not progressing as fast as we would like them to.
I have sent an email to people who have not accessed the course yet, asking if I can help. I have also added a forum post to the LMS encouraging people to get week 1 activities completed so they can move forward and added a link to “showmewhat’swrong” an online recording tool in case they need some technical help. I want to be encouraging and supportive, not harassing, so now I just need to be patient and monitor their progress.
Well, the day turned around very quickly. I’ve gone from having a hohum sort of day to having a great day. There was a flurry of activity on the LMS, Skype and Diigo and I received a couple of emails asking for assistance. So now I’m feeling pleased as people appear to be interested and moving forward.
Jan (my research supervisor) visited the LMS. She introduced herself to the participants, tried out the “showmewhat’swrong” tool and created a dropbox where students can access an electronic “draft” of her new “A guide to authentic e-learning” book. She is so very generous! She is such a supportive and positive person and I feel very privileged to have her as my supervisor.
A few participants have now created blogs and written there first posts. Brad posed a question about scaffolding and supporting learners in his first post, that prompted myself and Leitha to add comments and offer our thoughts.
How do I integrate the principles of open-ended, longer term, problem-solvng tasks where students drive their own learning and collaborate with others, with the need that younger students have for a significant amount of scaffolding and structure in most aspects of their learning, where tasks are broken down into manageable and achievable units? This is a question I need to ponder.
Michelle de-constructed a well known chinese proverb to present her view of behaviourist, cognitivist and constructivist learning theories and express her opinion about the complexities involved in creating effective online learning. She poses a number of questions, she feels need to be answered in order to create effective e-learning experiences and invites others to share their thoughts.
What other questions might educators ask themselves prior to creating or migrating content to an online setting? I’d love to hear your thoughts as this by no means is an exhaustive list.
Helen blogged about her technology trials and triumphs and how she has discovered that creating personalised video responses to student questions may be of benefit in her own courses.
Leitha and I had an interesting conversion on the Skype chat about building an online community of practice (eCoP) for lecturers around Blackboard. Unfortunately, not many participants have joined the Skype chat group yet, so most will not see this conversation. You can only see Skype chats that are posted after you become a member of the group.
Leitha has also been active in the Diigo eDesign group and added resources and comments which will be seen by the rest of the group (and the world at large if they stumble across our Diigo group). Hopefully her interaction will encourage others to become actively involved and to explore the potential of how these technologies might support their courses learning objectives.
What else can I do to encourage people to signup to the course groups so they don’t miss out on the interesting exchanges that are starting to take place?