My thoughts – teaching online
A key point that Ko and Rossen make in chapter 1 of Teaching Online: A Practical Guide is that in an online learning environment the role of the teacher is somewhat altered, moving away from the classic “sage on the stage” to allow students to take a more active part. By skilfully steering the conversation and interaction, the role thus becomes more one of facilitating learning. Subsequently, the question is raised as to what kinds of people make the best online instructors, to which the authors declare, “it is ‘people-oriented’ people who make the best instructors” (p. 18). Oh, happy days for me it seems, both my field and my outlook are person-oriented. Furthermore, I want to develop/facilitate an online learning experience that places the learner at its centre and explores the notion of digital literacy ultimately enabling them to develop their own digital practices and competencies.
My reflection – results of the beginner’s questionnaire
On the questionnaire designed to discover your perspective on teaching I scored 6, indicating a strong Constructivist position. That is to say, I believe by experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world. It follows therefore that I favour discussion and other interactive student activities as the basis of this online learning experience that I hope to design.
Where am I in terms of getting started?
As I want the focus to be on discussion and group activities, I’m investigating the types of social learning platforms that are currently available to me. I’ve seen Buddypress in action and really like how this could be used to support my project but despite Ko and Rossen avowing that you don’t need to be a computer expert, I don’t have the skills or technological capacity to ‘self-host’ it. I’ve also heard of Instructure Canvas, which can be hosted in the cloud, but again it looks like it’s designed for a bigger project than the one I envisage. Therefore, I’m going to have to explore how I can make it all hang together using a combination of familiar discussion and collaboration applications like Facebook, Blogger or WordPress and Google Docs.Wish me luck.