Reflection The most recent reflection is now at the top of the list. I also tried to focus more on my job as facilitator as the reflections progressed. Having not taught online yet, I was focusing my reflections on face-to-face teaching too much. These reflections have really helped me to consider the work that I have done during this class. By focusing on synthesizing the information in regard to my own use of it, I was able to think about the ways that I would integrate what I was learning into my own experiences as an online instructor. After having reflected after each module, I see the value in this contemplative process. Having my students reflect on their work, and the choices they have made, should provide them with the insight they need to become more self-aware.
Module 8 Reflection As this class wraps up and I reflect on each of the artifacts I've created and revised, I can see just how much I've learned in this eight weeks. This week's reading and discussion forums were some of the most helpful, as we were able to synthesize what we had read and learned throughout the course and apply it to our real-world situations. The manage discussion was so, so helpful, and I have created a list to remind myself of how best to manage online teaching and maintaining a life at the same time. Likewise, the resources collaboration provided fantastic tools to help make the learning process more exciting; anything from websites to listservs and e-journals to visit frequently were brought to my attention. I'm left realizing that e-learning is far from the individualistic endeavor many see it to be. It must be a collaborative effort in order for it to be beneficial for all involved. As I begin my first online class on Monday, I know that I am better prepared because of the two classes I've taken thus far. I am better prepared, and I now also have great resources and suggestions for success that I can refer to as I move forward. Module 7 Reflection This week was a real eye-opener for me. I learned a lot by having to think critically about the types of questions I ask my students. By taking topics and questions that I have already used, I was able to think more purposefully about the significance of implementing analysis, evaluation, and synthesis in the extenders and redirects. From the weekly reading, I tried to integrate the concept of backward design into my prompts and follow-up questions, and looking to what I wanted to have the students eventually achieve was very helpful. Likewise, it was fascinating to read the work the other students in our class produced, although I did find it difficult to respond to many of them, as I was unfamiliar with the topics they teach. I tried to respond to those students whose subject matters were more relatable. One of the best parts of this week was the synchronous chat with other students. I felt like I was nervous to use the new technology at first, but once I was on the system, I really enjoyed getting to see and talk with my classmates; it seemed as if it created a more humanistic quality to the class, and it helped me realize that I should try to do this type of chat each week with my students for virtual office hours. I have now set aside a specific day and time for my fall students to be able to log on and speak with me—a human being! I also would like to try an activity having my students work in small groups using synchronous chats as well. On the flip side, it was also interesting to see the types of glitches that can happen with synchronous chatting. I can definitely see how a tip sheet on using the specific type of platform would be a great idea.
Module 6 Reflection Two of my big take-aways from this week’s reading, particularly “Time Management Strategies for Online Instructors” were to create a Q & A Discussion Forum for students to use throughout the course of the semester so that they can connect with one another and ask questions or address concerns they may be having; students may be able to help one another out, or I can field questions that many students might have. I have already created this discussion board for my class that will be starting this month, and I feel so fortunate to have been given the idea. Secondly, keeping a journal of things I would like to adjust for the next time I teach the course is a great piece of advice as well. This idea is something that I have tried to do in my F2F classes, but I always tend to find myself so overwhelmed with work that I tend not to do as thorough of a job as I would like. I’m thinking that if I keep a file dedicated solely to changes/adjustments on my desktop, I should be able to open it quickly and make the notation when an idea comes up—it actually seems more convenient than a F2F situation. I also really enjoyed the “Reply Only” activity that we worked on this week. For one, the class created a list chock-full of fantastic ideas, and secondly, I can now really see how that type of posting can help students gain needed information and ideas about the work they are doing.
Module 5 Reflection I'm loving the focus on small group discussion! I feel like the small groups make the class seem more meaningful, as we're able to deal with a manageable number of posts and start to dig deeply into the subject matter. It's very interesting to observe the way in which different facilitators operate, and I'm realizing that there's a fine line between sitting on our hands and jumping in when necessary. This week's work on First Week introductions and assignments was extremely beneficial for me as I'm putting together my own class that will start in a few weeks. The chapter reading helped in setting up some excellent parameters to follow when dealing with issues like student absences, students trying to fly through the class and move through modules too quickly, and not participating fully. The responses that Lehmann and Chamberlin offer in response to these scenarios have been highlighted so that I can revisit them as I know I will be needing to in the coming months.
Module 4 Reflection What a fruitful module! Although I found myself overwhelmed with the amount of 2.0 information this week, I am so appreciative to have learned about so many great resources to foster collaboration: Wikis, PBWorks, Voicethread, Prezi, and the list goes on and on. My wheels have really been turning regarding how I want to integrate as much collaboration in my fall class as I possibly can. As we near the midway mark of the course, I am definitely beginning to realize the importance of having a strong sense of community and collaboration within online courses. My realization is not solely coming from the weekly readings, but more so from the engaging discussion boards that are lighting up each day. Both the large- and small-group discussions seem to be the lifeblood of the course, and I know that I need to focus on highlighting this element in my own teaching. Varying the interaction between learner-facilitator, learner-content, and learner-learner has now become one of my priorities. Module 3 Reflection I was very nervous to be the facilitator this week, and I certainly hope that I did a good job, seeing as it’s the first time I’ve ever done something like this online—what great practice! It was difficult not to chime in often, but I felt that the students needed time to be the ones responding before I jumped in . . . just as I would in a face-to-face class. I really enjoyed reading the responses about fostering deeper exploration on discussion boards from my peers. So many great points came up from asking students to find articles to share with the class to providing more options to students when it comes to the types of questions they respond to in the discussions—I know that I’ve learned so many great techniques that I’ll take with me to the online class environment. The large-group discussion this week was also incredibly helpful and practical. Having our peers respond as students gave some excellent and realistic feedback to our responses to them.
Module 2 Reflection I am really happy that we read and discussed andragogy and constructivism this week. I’d been exposed to andragogy in the past, and I like the differentiation that is made between teaching children and adults, particularly as it pertains to the online environment, which seems a very good fit or adults who prefer to have a strong sense of why they are doing the work they are. But, it was the reading on constructivism that really opened my eyes this week. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I was under the impression that constructivism was a theory that basically allowed students to construct their own meaning about topics, which always made me nervous because I assumed that meant that no one was really emphasizing the importance of facts. After a more thorough read of the textbook, as well as the plethora of great articles I now have at my disposal (thanks to my fellow students), I am interested to find out that I am quite a constructivist. The concept of allowing students the power to investigate ideas on their own so that meaning and learning is purposeful and lasting is what I think true education is. I also really appreciated the small group discussions this week; I’m finding that I’m much more comfortable in a small group, which just feels more intimate, as opposed to the large group, which I find somewhat daunting, due to the large size of our class. I’m thinking this small-group concept would work well with my class of 28 in the fall.
Module 1 Reflection As this first week comes to an end, I feel somewhat accomplished. I’m not sure if it was just me, but I felt like there was A LOT of work to do this week. I’m enjoying the other students’ introductions and comments, and I can, again, see just how important building that sense of community is . . . not to mention the significance of having a strong professor presence. Dr. Kay has managed to respond to each student, which is quite a feat because this class seems enormous. I’m inadvertently learning through both this week’s reading, as well as the professor’s demeanor, about the importance of good practices, such as those mentioned above. Working on the portfolio that I created in the previous class is daunting, but it’s also the push I need to get myself moving in the right direction.