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.