Mod 3: Teaching in the Online Environment

Teaching in The Online Environment

The incorporation of any technology-based instructional tool in the classroom requires careful planning and execution. Most importantly, it should be remembered that technology should be utilized as a means to achieve a goal and to help students learn (Schmid, Bernard, Borokhovski, Tamim, Abrami, Surkes, Wade & Woods, 2014). The literature tells us that technology, when used effectively, can promote student engagement, foster a student-centered atmosphere, and bring enjoyment to the classroom (Revere & Kovach, 2011). Online classes can benefit from the use of a variety of technologies in the same fashion as a traditional face-to-face class. In this blog, I will discuss a few instructional technologies that can used in the college online classroom, which ones I embrace to enhance the learning of my online students, how additional technology-based learning strategies would benefit me, as well as how I can increase my knowledge in online technologies.

A Few Technology Resources

  1. Blackboard™ (Learning Management System – LMS)
  2. Discussion Boards
  3. Journals, Blogs, and Wiki’s
  4. Voiced-over or video converted power point presentations
  5. Group Learning

Embraced Technologies

I actually have used all of the technology resources listed above in both my online classes and in my face-to-face classes, as well as trained other faculty in the use of these resources. Blackboard is one technology that is extensively utilized at my institution for all types of classes, including face-to-face, online, and hybrid. The Blackboard program allows instructors and students to readily communicate knowledge online using built-in technologies including discussion boards, journals, blogs, wikis, group learning, etc. Each of these built-in features encourages students to actively participate and engage with content, fellow classmates, and the instructor. The group feature in Blackboard is an excellent way to divide a large online class and to foster team work. Within groups, students can also create blogs and wikis as well as collaborate using a group discussion board and document sharing area. Lastly, I have used voiced over power points to bring a humanizing element into online class lectures. By adding voice and notes to a power point presentation, multiple student learning styles—verbal, visual, auditory, and intrapersonal–can be included in the instruction. 

A Little More Training Needed

Although I am comfortable using the above mentioned technologies, it would be helpful to learn different ways in which to incorporate the technologies into the online classroom to engage my students and a offer a variety of instructional techniques. 

Professional Development Opportunities and Solutions The following upcoming conferences would assist me in learning more about online technologies:

In addition to conferences, participating in webinars, such as Magna’s Online Seminars (2015), will provide me with new ideas for the use of technology in the online classroom. In house mentoring would be another avenue to learn what other faculty members have found to be successful when brining technology into their  online classrooms.

References

Revere, L., & Kovach, J. V. (2011). Online technologies for engaged learning: A meaningful synthesis for educators. Quarterly Review of Distance Education12(2), 113-124.

Schmid, R. F., Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski E., Tamim, R. M., Abrami, P.C., Surkes, M. A., Wade, C. A., Woods, J. (2014). The effects of technology use in postsecondary education: A meta-analysis of classroom applications, 72, 271-291. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.11.002

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9 responses to “Mod 3: Teaching in the Online Environment

  1. Sharon,

    How has your use of Wiki’s worked with your online classes? Have you had trouble with groups managing conflict?

    Mark B

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    • Hi Mark,

      I use both wikis and groups in my online critical thinking class.

      Students are asked to create a wiki (similar to Wikipedia) that differentiates three types of writing: argumentative, expository, and narrative. They are asked to post only one-two sentences at a time and keep adding to the wiki so that everyone can participate. They are encouraged to edit each others posts to create a final page that can be used as a study guide. The Blackboard system allows me to see who posts and what changes have been made to the wiki.

      I divide my critical thinking class into groups so that 3-4 students can work together to analyze an article and present their findings in a power point presentation. I have found that clear instructions and a lot of support help to facilitate this project. Student reflections on this project have been positive. 🙂

      ~ Sharon

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon,

    This is an excellent example of merging learning and teaching theories using technology to enhance opportunities for learning. Thank you for sharing.

    Mark B

    Like

  3. Hello Sharon. Great post. You have had some great experiences with different technology. I was going to ask the same question Mark did about Wiki – that was interesting. At first, I couldn’t imagine how that would be utilized. I’m also curious about blogs. How have you utilized blogs for the online learning? I ask this because I’m not really impressed with the whole process we are experiencing here (no offense Dr. Stein).
    To assist you with learning additional ways to incorporate technology into the online classroom environment, I found a Faculty Focus article that addressed this topic. You can find it at the following link: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/integrating-technology-online-classroom-part1/

    Thanks Sharon.
    Debi

    Like

    • Hi Debi, Thanks! I have played around with the Blog feature in Bb, but I have not incorporated it in my class yet. I actually like the idea of a Blog outside of the LMS, simply because then students can keep the Blog and carry it with them throughout their educational journal and beyond. However, we have not been given permission to create outside Blogs at my institution. They like to keep everything in the LMS so that educational digital content can be somewhat controlled. ~ Sharon

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  4. That wiki idea sounds interesting. I am going to push my American History survey courses towards theme oriented concepts and a wiki set up would work well as a group project. I will need to explore this a bit. Fortunately, I will have a small summer group to work with. I will have to figure out how to put a wiki together with the app for Fall, but for Summer I can go outside the LMS.

    I am not even going to ask about using the LMS for it. It looks like we will be leaving it next year and I do not want to construct anything in it. That is why I am going to push on with my iTunes U app because no matter what, we will have those iPad carts. Since I’m the only one who uses them, I might as well get some use out of them.

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    • Hi Jim, here is an article that you may enjoy. It discusses how wikis can promote historical analysis. 🙂 ~ Sharon

      Cabiness, C., Donovan, L., & Green, T. (2013). Integrating wikis in the support and practice of historical analysis skills. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 57(6), 38-48. doi:10.1007/s11528-013-0700-y

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey!

    I am jealous of your online opportunity and my college needs to step up its game!

    I think there may be some downfalls to too much online resources as we can become dependent on them. what do you think?

    Joshua

    Like

    • Hi Josh, there are always new tools being developed in the LMS and new technologies that can be used outside a LMS. The variety of technologies that we can now choose from just gives us new ways to teach and engage with our students. I know that I rely upon my computer–is that a downfall? ~ Sharon

      Like

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