What is the significance of knowing the technology available to you?
When learning online, students are registered for specific topics and the learning technology is not the topic. Knowing how to use technology will lead to less frustration of the students (Conrad, R., & Donaldson, J. A. (2011). Ideally instructors would have good working knowledge of the technology they will be using. This will help with troubleshooting as well as assessing the knowledge of the student. (Conrad, R., & Donaldson, J. A. (2011). When the students and the instructor know how to use the technology, more focus can be placed on the actual topics of learning.
- Why is it essential to communicate clear expectations to learners?
Online learning uses the constructivist theory at it truest form by creating a learning community. The instructor is key to facilitating discussions that engage learning between all participants. Themes are tools to assist the instructor with the basic goals for the class and students. The instructor should be attentive to the course beginning themes such as presence, community, patience and clear expectations (Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010).
Presence is the most important best practice for the online course. There are many ways to work on presence, in a learning community social presence is where all participants contribute to the discussion including the instructor and students. Cognitive presence encourages the students to state their goals. This can be accomplished by requesting the students state their goals in a discussion. Next is community. A sense of community can be built through an exercise called an ice breaker. I was reminded that first impressions are very important. I feel this was summed up by the video in which Drs. Palloff and Pratt discussed how important the first communications were to setting up a successful online experience. The importance becomes evident in the loss of participants in the first weeks of class (Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Finally patience, this is not only patience for your students as they become acclimated to the learning community. The instructor should also be patient with themselves as they are also acclimating to online learning.
- What additional considerations should the instructor take into account when setting up an online learning experience?
As a reminder the post by Tony Bates reminds us to evaluate in the article Nine Steps to Online Learning (Bates, T, 2012). Evaluation should be present in all types of learning and all stages of the learning process through the ADDIE process.Evaluation is needed “for instructors new to it, online teaching is different and therefore likely to be seen as higher risk” (Bates, T, 2012).
Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Launching the online learning experience [Video file].
Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The Online Teaching Survival Guide. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
Conrad, R., & Donaldson, J. A. (2011). Engaging the online learner: Activities and resources for creative instruction (Updated ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
Bates, Tony (2012). Nine Steps to Online Learning (http://www.tonybates.ca/2012/05/02/nine-steps-to-quality-online-learning-introduction/