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
- Blackboard™ (Learning Management System – LMS)
- Discussion Boards
- Journals, Blogs, and Wiki’s
- Voiced-over or video converted power point presentations
- Group Learning
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:
- Blackboard World 2015, July 21-23 at Gaylord National in Washington, DC
- 12th Annual Online Learning Consortium Blended Learning Conference and Workshop 2015, July 7-8, Denver, CO
- The Teaching Professor Technology Conference 2015, October 2-4, New Orleans, LA http://www.magnapubs.com/teaching-professor-technology-conference/
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.
Revere, L., & Kovach, J. V. (2011). Online technologies for engaged learning: A meaningful synthesis for educators. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 12(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