From this week’s readings, websites and voice threads, I have realized how much time is involved in modifying lesson plans for online learning platforms. Lessons that were originally designed for traditional face-to-face classrooms need to be modified to put online. For example, in the voice-threaded discussion this week, Chris Mertens, a teacher at Sundre High School in Sundre, Alberta, found that he needed to digitalize his entire Math 31 course to upload to Moodle. This included lectures, assignments, quizzes and tests, etc. He also found that he had to adjust his delivery to meet the needs of a video conferencing audience. When adding recorded comments to the voice thread discussion, I realized I initially felt uncomfortable with my voice and my performance, but I soon gained confidence having my voice recorded and began to enjoy the experience with time. As many researchers have acknowledged, much teaching and study time is required for educators to be successful in online delivery (Richards and Ridley, 1997; Warschauer, 1998; Well, 2000; Davidson-Shivers, Tanner and Muilenburg, 2000).
Even though some lesson components need to be modified for online delivery, other parts remain the same. Whether an instructor is teaching in f-to-f environments or online, activities should be varied to meet the needs of diverse learners. Educators need time to develop these diverse learning activities. Furthermore, teachers must monitor students’ progresses whether the class is conducted f-to-f or online. One advantage of using cyber asynchronous teaching platforms is the enhanced ability to track and keep records of students’ learning outcomes (Tanimoto et al., 2002; Shi et al., 2006; Hew et al., 2010). Such records allow students to review their learning activities, and increase reviewing time and reflective abilities leading to higher order learning including analysis and evaluation (Newman et al., 1997). Technology minimizes the time teachers require to monitor students’ learning progresses.
Regardless of the teaching environment, educators require time to create and adapt lessons in both f-to-f and online platforms. Teachers need time to also develop scaffolding exercises to promote and support long-term retention and self-directed learning (Rourke, 2010). Time is the secret ingredient that educators need to practice good teaching principles including the development of diverse, engaging lessons that are supported by appropriate scaffolding exercises and are transferable between face-to-face and online learning environments.
I continue to improve my comfort level with technology, and I am learning to implement it appropriately into curriculum rather than using it to lead teaching. I have spent much time adapting to teaching with technology, and I predict more time will be required for me to develop my skills. For pedagogy to lead technology, educators need time to develop skills in lesson design and transferability. Are educators being given the time they need?
Davidson-Shivers, G., Tanner, E., and Muilenburg, L. (2000). Online discussion: How do students participate? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, New Orleans, L.A.
Hew, K. F., Cheung, W. S., & Ng, C. S. L. (2010). Student contribution in asynchronous online discussion: A review of the research and empirical exploration. Instructional Science, 38(6), 571-606.
Newman, D. R., Johnson, C., Webb, B. & Cochrane, C. (1997). Evaluating the quality of learning in computer supported cooperative learning. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 48(6), 484-495.
Richards, C. N., and Ridley, D. R., (1997). Factors affecting college students’ persistence in on-line computer-managed instruction. College Student Journal, 490-495.
Rourke, A., & Coleman, K. (2010). E-learning in crisis: should not the pedagogy lead the technology? Journal Of Education Research, 4(3), 265-282.
Shi, S., Mishra, P., Bonk, C. J., Tan, S. & Zhao, Y. (2006). Thread theory: A framework applied to content analysis of synchronous computer mediated communication data. Retrieved March 22, 2011, from http://punya.educ.msu.edu/publications/submitted/thread_theory.pdf.
Tanimoto, S., Carlson, A., Husted, J., Hunt, E., Larsson, J., Madigan, D., & Minstrell, J. (2002). Text forum features for small group discussions with facet-based pedagogy. In G. Stahl (Ed.), CSCL’02 Proceedings of the Conference on Computer Support for Collaborative Learning: Foundations for a CSCL Community (pp.554-555). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associate.
Warschauer, M. (1998). Online learning in sociocultural context. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 29(1), 68-88.
Well, J. G. (2000). Effects of on-line computer-mediated communication course, prior computer experience and Internet knowledge, and learning styles on students’ Internet attitudes: Computer-mediated technologies and new educational challenges. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, 37(3), 22-53.