In class tonight, there was a lot of discussion about what good online teaching looks like. The discussion surrounded every person in class who made a comment that they hated online classes. These classes were a waste of time and completely ineffective. My question to the class then was, “How many of the instructors actually met with them in an online environment?” No hands. “How many professors have taught a lecture using screen-cast-omatic or camtasia?”
Instead, every member of my class has experienced an online class where the professor gave them documents to download and then read and post a discussion. The next step was to read others’ discussions and then respond to them. What? Is that online learning? No, that is online regurgitation.
Teachers and professors are not trained in how to engage in online learning. Online learning is not just taking a brick and mortar idea and now doing it in the virtual space.
What fires me up the most is the stigma surrounding cyber education and cyber teachers more specifically. Why is it that every online class has a forum where you have to download information and then respond? Is that how you teach in the brick-and-mortar classroom? If all you do is lecture at a student, are you a good effective teacher? No, of course not. In order to be a distinguished educator you need to engage; you need to differentiate; you need to reach your audience and make connections to the learning.
How do you do that through a computer screen? Believe it or not there are lots of ways to do that. Tonight in class the professor said he wanted Hollywood squares in a classroom with student in distance learning environments along with in class students and when school got to that point he would be satisfied. I hate to break it to him but I was doing that two years ago with my students. I was actually told that I must be speaking a different language when I referred to the varying types of technology that I’ve used in my classroom. Schools are so stuck in the past with technology that until they see beyond the brick wall around them they will never think outside of the literal box surrounding a brick and mortar classrooms.
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