First reflection, Adult 640

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Stairway in Harris Hall.

* I have so far really enjoyed the text–partially because it’s free and I can read it on my iPad (I work for the state, money for books is sometimes hard to come by), but also because of its clear and concise academic styles.

* One of the things that struck me in both the reading and the Sir Ken Robinson video in class was this idea of learner-centered teaching. With budgets the way they are and the number of students in most classes, this seems insane. I understand it from a theoretical perspective but it seems completely impractical for an instructor in say, a large Chemistry reciitation, to teach towards every student’s learning needs. How do you find out what they are when you see them three hours a week? I have appreciated in the past instructors who combine learning styles (presentation, groups, etc) to attempt to appeal to every student’s strengths, but unless an instructor spends a lot of time with the student or the student is very clear about his or her learning needs I just see this as crazy.

* I have never taken a class online; I’ve only done online trainings at work. I haven’t necessarily found the training lacking (it’s fine if you read it), but I do find the tests to be completely bizarre. You have to get 100% to pass, and it’s really complicated to get the test reset. The questions are tricky so it’s hard to cheat but they make them so tricky that the training materials often contradict the multiple choice answers. I think when you create training and tests you need to be really familiar with every word that’s posted on Blackboard because students will complain.

* Another thing that’s new to me is the idea of the triad, and interacting with my group electronically during the four weeks that we’re not meeting in class. I’m excited to read what everyone is writing and responding to their thoughts. However, I’m concerned that not meeting will allow me to slack on the work because I’m not going to be held accountable in public. This is very new to me and I hope my groupmates will allow me to make some changes–for example, I don’t like to use my VCU email if I’m working after work hours. I am non exempt and I should not be checking my work email at night. I want the conversation to be open all the time, so I plan to use my personal email that goes to my phone as well as Twitter and other social media.

* Looking forward to see where this class takes me and what I learn.

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7 thoughts on “First reflection, Adult 640

  1. I hope that after this class, you do not carry forward the impression you have from rather badly designed mandatory training as a model for elearning for the future. πŸ™‚

    What is exciting about new strategies for elearning is that they make possible individualized learning that could not be done in large Chemistry classes in the past. With learning analytics and 24/7 delivery of instruction, those leading the instruction can pinpoint who needs help and who does not and redesign face-to-face time together towards more productive instruction. One of the reasons I show Sir Robinson’s video is to open up the idea of letting go of old models.

    …which is tough!

    • But there are so many badly designed mandatory training modules! I hope that there is more training offered at VCU about how to write those modules and quizzes–not everyone in charge of them has an eLearning or even Adult Learning background!

      I’m going to try to be open minded about new theories and ways to teach–I’ve never taught in a real classroom before, just led professional trainings, so I’m excited about this M.Ed. program and the new skills and ideas that we will all develop.

  2. Hey Melissa! I’m super nervous about the online aspect of the class as well; like you I’ve never taken an online course and, like me, I get nervous with the unknown. However, I know that our Triad (Yksi – read “yikes” :::winkwink::: ) will learn together πŸ™‚ I also understand wanting to use a personal email account, and maybe we can talk more on this tomorrow?

    I also wanted to comment no the learner centered education, aka learning centered education. Determining where each student is coming from, gaining insight to his or her preconceptions of the topic, was one aspect that the e-text mentioned. They referenced using surveys to get at this information in the online context – seems rather impersonal but so be it. I do agree with you, though, that knowing learner needs for 300+ students is impractical – but then again isn’t most of our society that way?

    All jesting aside, I thought this quote was the most important from that section of Ch.2, “the effective online learning teacher is constantly probing for learner comfort and competence with the intervening technology, and providing safe environments for them to increase their sense of Internet efficacy.” A prime example? – Dr. Watwood’s consideration for the security preferences of the students in class – and I say that in all seriousness, not just coz it sounds good. Keeping in mind the cultural background and previous learning of students, while difficult and sometimes impossible, to me represents one quality of the skilled online teacher.

    You rock! Thanks for the intellectual challenge!
    Kat

  3. We’ve got your back! Even those of us outside your triad will help keep you motivated and on track. No slackers allowed! πŸ™‚ And with that said, I will disclose that my Mom used to say PROCRASTINATION

  4. We’ve got your back! Even those of us outside your triad will help keep you motivated and on track. No slackers allowed! πŸ™‚ And with that said, I will disclose that my Mom used to say PROCRASTINATION was my middle name. Group work is definitely a cure for that.

  5. Online learning is certainly intimidating at first, but I think you will grow to like it. I find it actually improves my learning – for example in traditional face to face classes I find myself trying to be a quick processor of information (furiously taking notes on lectures, while trying to listen to others’ questions, etc) but with online instruction I can look over material as many times as I want, reflect, and carefully formulate questions to clarify what I don’t understand. I can easily communicate with any of the other students (not just the ones sitting near me) or the teacher to get clarification. Sharing information & collaboration is easier & virtually timeless. Those training modules may have left a bad connotation, but don’t let that dissuade you! Our class is small and the “Yikes” are strong! You may be physically alone while blogging & reading but you’re never digitally alone!! πŸ™‚

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