Monday, February 14, 2011

Static and Dynamic Progression

My Philosophy of Distance Education

I had never considered having a philosophy of distance education before this class. As I reflect on my philosophy of teaching, my distance education beliefs are not far from the values that I embrace in the traditional classroom. The ideology that tilts the continuum for me is technology. Distance learning is wrapped up in how technology literate the teacher and the pupil is and strives to become. Every objective is met using some digital assessment tool, and how well you are able to use that tool (and connect it to content) determines the level of progress made.

When it comes to static and dynamic tools in the distance classroom, I am progressively developing the skills on tool selection, tool manipulation, and tool integration in the distance learning environment that will allow my students interact with content and abstract ideas about the content being covered. I see myself moving more toward dynamic tools in technology integration that support the learning of my students and promote social change and academic growth.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Graphic Organizer for Module 4

Module 4 graphic organizer
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Engaging Learners with New Strategies and Tools: Module 4

Engaging Learners with New Strategies and Tools

The distance education classroom does propose certain restrictions in the minds of those that are not familiar with the distance approach to instruction and learning. Today, there are several tools outside of the classroom portal that allow for a remarkable peer collaborative environment on project, class assignments, and the general aura of the class itself. Some of the most fundamental stepping stones of the success of distance learners is knowing what to expect and understanding how to effectively communicate and collaborate with instructor and peers (Durrington, Berryhill, & Swafford, 2006). Within the classroom environment, one will find a discussion area for subject matter, an area for general collaboration, a chat area, and a place to share documents. Outside of the classroom environment, ®Skype can be used to communicate real time, wikis and blogs can be used to work on group assignments and provide feedback to peers about the assignment, ®Facebook is a place where students network ideas and share assignment reminders or even post meeting times, and ®Slideshare is available to share ©Powerpoint presentations and videos. These shared items can be linked through blogs and wikis.

Durrington, V. A., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006). Strategies for enhancing student interactivity in an online environment. College Teaching, 54(1), 190−193.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Assessing Collaborative Efforts

Assessing participation in a collaborative learning environment can be done by both the instructor and the participants. The instructor usually has a rubric or some type of scoring tool to measure the quality and quantity of work completed by the students. The students can, however, assess each other by responding to surveys generated by the instructor that addresses the individual and collaborative effort of each group member (Laureate Education Inc., 2008). The instructor must keep in mind the diverse skill background that students often bring to distance learning interfaces and provide some resources for training (online) and information about technologies that will be required to complete specific assignments (Palloff &Pratt, 2007).

Sometimes a student may be reluctant to participate in a online collaborative learning community due to unfamiliarity of the environment or task (Laureate Education Inc., 2008). The instructor must model the effort and establish a non-threatening atmosphere without compromising the expectations for the class (Palloff &Pratt, 2007). The members of the learning community can provide a positive community with support for the member that is reluctant or unwilling to participate. It is understood that everyone’s contribution is necessary for desired success. However, there may be times when a community may have to regroup and redistribute responsibilities so that the completion of the assignment stays intact (Palloff &Pratt, 2007). The reluctant student is still responsible for the outcomes of the effort and should still be assessed as the other students will be assessed (Laureate Education Inc., 2008).

Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). Principles of Distance Education. Baltimore: Author

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online learning communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass