Monday, April 5, 2010

What is Online Learning and How Much Easier is it Than Face to Face?

A key ingredient for online learning is MOTIVATION. Because students don’t have to be at a specific place at a specific time, it’s easy for them to forget the online class exists. I recently read a blog post on Teaching Online where the virtual professor talked about adult learning environments being “learner-centered education that guides learners to be self-directed and independent in their learning.” The desired end result in such an environment is that students and teachers become equal partners in the learning process. This to me is a perfect description of online learning

Sometimes students don't realize how reading- and writing intensive online classes are. Students need to self-evaluate to determine if this format will work for them.

One way to change the perception that online=easy is for instructors to be clear and up front about the time commitment necessary and how the way one operates in an online setting is totally different than the traditional classroom.

When instructors are clear about their expectations, serious students will be motivated to think about their schedule and how they will fit the level of interaction necessary to succeed into what is likely a pretty busy lifestyle.

I, for one, am often at the mercy of my kids and my students (and my husband, and the laundry/dishes/house, and the kids a little more). It's kind of scary to be committed to teaching and taking an online class because there will be days (like today) where I can cyber stalk the discussion boards, but there may be others where I'm so busy that I miss that 48 hour window.

Do how do students/teachers get organized?

One of the first things I tell my online students is to get a calendar and write down due dates for all assignments for not only my course and their other courses, but also their other commitments in life. There's a healthy population of young adults out there who don't know how to manage a calendar.

Weekly announcements help as well. I try to be friendly and conversational in them as I remind them of the week's due dates and to look ahead to next week.

This will not guarantee a student will be successful in an online course; however, being clear about expectations and helping students get organized are two important factors in achieving success in an online class.

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