Adventures of a Technology Challenged Online Instructor

Looking Back (Week 12)
Looking Back (Week 12) avatar

Wow – I cannot believe we’ve reached the half-way point of this course.  I feel a little conflicted about this – because I think am beginning to realize actually how much I DON’T know!  But learning is a process, and I’m making progress toward becoming a better student and,  more importantly, a better educator.

Welcome to the World of Blogging was my very first attempt at creating a blog.  I explained how I feel “technologically challenged” even though I teach courses online.  I’m definitely still feeling challenged in the technology department, but I have been exposed to a lot of various resources out there over the last 3 months.

Have You Ever Really Stopped to Think About Pedagogy got me to evaluate my teaching style.  Having not been trained as an educator, I think most of my teaching is modeled after what I experienced as a student.  This post really made me think about what it is I do in the classroom and why.  I still want to transition my teaching style to one that relies less on presentation and more on student collaboration; but for me, this is going to be a difficult process to give up “control” of the class.  I’m working on it, though!

A Wake Up Call on Course Design really was just that for me.  Although I like the basic structure of my online class, it is still just that – basic.  I’m slowly integrating more technology into my online course, but I want to make sure that everything I do use has purpose and meaning for my students.  Over the winter break, I am going to rework parts of my online course to allow for more student interaction and collaboration.

More Thoughts on Course Design helped me narrow my focus on what it is I want to change about my online course.  There are two key aspects I am going to focus on first in my redesign:  Group Oriented Work and Intructor Generated Content.  I don’t think I need to narrate 100% of my Powerpoint Slides, but I think creating audiovisual presentations for key topics each week would be a great start.  Again – something to focus on over the break!

My (somewhat) Interactive Syllabus got me thinking about the beginning of the semester and how to hold students accountable for knowing the information in the syllabus.  I think my course design is good, in the sense that the course is easy to navigate; but I could definitely re-work the syllabus posted within the course.  I am going to add a low-stakes quiz on the syllabus (for both my online and face-t0-face classes) to determine that students are actually reading the syllabus and understanding what is expected of them from the beginning.

It’s a Foreign Language to Me is when I started to step outside of my comfort level and try the RSS feed and embedding videos.  I am adding videos to my Blackboard course so each week has a short clip on something we’re learning about that week.  I really still haven’t used the RSS feed much.  I’m not sure why I’m not doing so – I think maybe because it feels like more “work,” even though I know that using an RSS feed should be less work for me in the long run.

Creating Community in My Online Course made me think about the lack of community I have created for my online students.  I’m pondering ways to work on this and I think adding a group component definitely will help.  In this post I questioned the use of Facebook or Twitter in a class setting, and I’m still questioning it.  I think I would like to try it, but I may survey my students first.  I’d hate to put a lot of work into creating a class Facebook page, only two have a few students find it helpful.

Turning Ideas into Action is where I think I became completely overwhelmed with the technology and options out there!  I’m still trying to figure out how and where I would use Collaborate and VoiceThread in my classes!  A fellow classmate commented on being able to embed VoiceThread into Blackboard – so I’m going to experiment with this as well!

Creating Meaningful Online Student Activities is when I was introduced to MERLOT!  Can I please just have endless hours to browse all of the material on this site?  I will definitely be including material from MERLOT in both my online and face-to-face classes!  I also gained a little more clarity on how I think I’m going to set up groups in my online courses.  Now to experiment over the break with how best to implement this!

Blogging About Student Blogging introduced me to the idea of having students blog as part of the online experience.  I really enjoyed the presentations provided this week and am interested in trying to set up student blogs for a project in my course.

The Legalities of Online Teaching got me completely freaked out and made me re-examine the material I use in my courses.  Instructors could really use a refresher on what is and isn’t legal to use in their classroom (hint, hint, someone please do a FLEX class on this!).  This week was also a good reminder to make sure that course material is accessible to all students – something I definitely needed reminding of.

And this week, Week 12, we were supposed to to the Mid-Year Self Assessment Check.  Unfortunately, my results were not great.  Although I am trying to keep up with the material, most weeks I am just getting the basic requirements complete.  I do feel like I need to dive further into the material, comment on other posts more, and spend more time re-working my online course as we go.  I’m definitely feeling like a student again and have a bit more compassion for my students who are trying to juggle multiple roles at once!  So far, this class has really inspired me to rethink not only my course design, but my pedagogy as well!  Luckily, I’ll have a few weeks to experiment with my new knowledge and determine what will work best for my classes!

Until next semester,

Melissa

One Response to “Looking Back (Week 12)
Looking Back (Week 12) avatar

  1. Jo Moore says:

    Your post is very informative and helpful for reminding us about all the wonderful technology tools we have learned. I agree with you that this course has certainly reminded me of the role our students play. I was considering taking more classes this semester, but found it difficult to juggle this course with my current schedule. Taking this course also reminded me to make my course easier for students to use with better guidelines than I have posted in the past. Thank you for the great input.