Online Learning Activities, Web 2.0 Tools and Social Networking in the Online Classroom

Wow! What a great selection of readings this week. I enjoyed learning more about different web 2.0 tools and activities that can be used in the online classroom in Ko & Rossen’s book and sharing information about Social Networks as a learning tool in our discussion form.

While reading about translating traditional classroom activities into the online realm, the theme of “past, present, and future” kept floating through my mind and I asked the following questions:
What online tools have been used in the past? Why are they still around? Which ones didn’t work? What tools do we use today? Why do we use them? Will they be replaced in the future? What new technologies will be introduced in the coming years? How will they transform the online classroom experience?

Additionally, I often thought back to our discussion of choosing an activity first, then the learning tool. With so many new online offerings, it is easy to want to find activities to fit a certain tool. The danger in this is using trend, instead of teaching to guide a lesson. This has been a big takeaway from the class so far!

I was also intrigued by the large number of learning resources that were mentioned in Teaching Online. I visited MIT Open CourseWare site and am existed to incorporate some of the materials into future classroom lessons. I also had forgot that many museum’s offer large online database with photos, articles and simulations. I’ve added the Louvre’s to my list to check out.

One thing that was not mentioned as a learning tool was the idea of creating online magazines with free programs like Issu. This is something that I’ve been exploring as a way to present course material in an interactive but familiar fashion. All you need is an existing PDF or Powerpoint slides and then upload them to the site. Once created, the magazine can easily be embedded into course management systems or learning blogs.

Edtech 522: Week One Reflection

Define online teaching and learning
    Online teaching is the act of teaching a class almost completely or totally online. It is unique because many of the traditional elements of the classroom are interpreted in different ways. For example, students do meet in a brick and mortar setting nor do they usually adhere to set class meeting times. Students are often free to work on materials any time of the day, which allows for greater flexible for the student. Another unique element of online teaching is the fact that the class may be full of students from different cities, states and even countries. Students and the professor are free to travel as long as they have access to the web!
    Online learning is the act of acquiring and using new knowledge gained through an online setting. Learning takes place in many of the traditional forms (lectures and homework), but can also occur through activities that take advantage of the technology available at the time. For example, students might conduct a virtual scavenger hunt, hold a discussion using a forum, or explore another world using an online game. Additionally, the online classroom gives students who may be too shy or uncomfortable participating in discussion face-to-face the opportunity to chat in a safe environment.  

Describe the various models used in online teaching and learning (blended/hybrid), 
fully online, web-based, LMS, etc.

There are several models used to deliver classes online:

  • Blended/Hybrid- These classes mix a combination of face-to-face meetings with online activities and collaboration. Students are often asked to complete assignments during online weeks and then present these assignments when face-to-face. The instructor may also use the site to present sample material or notes, as mentioned in Teaching Online by Susan Ko and Steve Rossen.
  • Fully Online- These courses do not have meeting places and some do not have meeting hours. Students are free to complete assignments at home or on the road on their time. Discussion boards become an important focus in these classes as they are often the main way for students to collaborate and share with their peers.
  • LMS model- The learning management system model incorporates third party software into the classroom environment. An example of popular LMS includes Blackboard and Moodle. These programs provide a familiar and consistent interface for students and staff and offer valuable tools. Some of these tools include instant messaging, grade books and assignment uploaders.