Monday, 27 May 2013

Refection on New Online Teacher course


I liked some of the postings on Social Media Presence. What I believe is as follows:

Most of the online learners prefer to have social presence in online learning experience. Social presence develops strength and relationships among learners and between the facilitator and learners. Online learning experience acquires  depth, richness and stability through social presence and so it becomes more interactive and collaborative. It helps develop online communities and other supportive social structures. This, in turn, enhances learning productivity and makes it more meaningful because it also adds value to learners’ experiences by linking individuals to one another and improving access to supportive resources. The resources might be academic, for instance, content expertise or analytical tools. They also might be affective, in a sense, getting help from mentors and more experienced e-mates. Or, they might be technical like using technology as a productive tool.

I always prefer to connect with learners through social media via Facebook, Twitter or even Linked-in; or create online learning groups to make my online learning and teaching more interactive and productive.

I also liked one comment on discussion forum on Discussion whether discussion participation is to be marked or not.

It is a significant question being asked in the field of online education worldwide whether students should be graded for their participation in online discussion forums or not. As such, it depends on the intake of the learners in that particular course, the learning outcomes of the course and also on the  online facilitator’s  teaching philosophy.

If the learners are ‘surface learners’ rather than being deep absorbents and only do the minimum work necessary to get a pass grade, then some form of grading of their online participation might may be essential.

If the main motto of the course is to teach participants online participation or collaborative learning skills, then again there may be a justification for grading participation.

However, as a general practice, it is good not to grade students directly on their online discussion contributions.  Grading  might divert the nature of the discussion, that is to say, participants will begin posting long comments to gain marks rather than engaging in discussion. Students learn in different ways: some by playing hide and seek, some other by reading some or all of the comments, rather than actively posting their own comments, few others by posting.

The discussion forums are a means to an end than an end in them, the end being better learning in interactive and collaborative way.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Etmooc - Introduction

Friday, 7 December 2012

Learning Essence to be Added to My Life Juice

Hi all e-mates,

I learnt a lot in this course. When I failed, I kept continuing. After two or three weeks, I felt so much motivated that this course became my priority. I feel in love with the web world tools embedded in the course.

Time was a great constraint for me. I tried best to manage time effectively. When there is a will, there is a way.

I learnt so many new fascinating tools. The more I got absorbed int his novelty, the more layers were opening up. This tech - teach world was amazing. I finished this course with open mindedness, perseverance and confidence.

I tried to become comprehensive and all - inclusive. I tried whatever resources I could. They were fun. Often, they were so enhancing that once I commenced using them, I became a firm believer that I would use them forever in my future academic enterprises.

I kept looking closely for what was to be studied each week. The course page each week offered me a blueprint of my weekly study schedule. Trust me, I enjoyed almost all the suggested reading/links. They would remain in my knowledge treasure forever as precious assets.

I tried to share your idea and opinions, reflections and reviews, experiences and learning. Sometimes, I failed to be so active in discussion due to my Doctorate occupancies. Discussion Threads and Blog Roll proved to be interactive and collaborative platforms that at the end of the course you felt as if I had just arrived at my home town airport after having passed almost two and a half months at University of Oregon itself with all my e-mates all around the world.

In fact, form the discussions and blogs only, I obtained the idea for my Final Project. I tried to incorporate all my learning throughout the course in the final project. My final project has not ended yet. I will keel updating my online course in future, too. I got highly benefited referring the past learners' projects.

Once I started taking interest in the course, all other preferences and priorities got subsidiary. I feel that I have reincarnated as an ICT proficient innovative e - teacher.

I am a staunch supporter of online education. Traditional in-class learning in the brick and mortar classes is also having its own significance  However, I do not hesitate heralding the efficiency, efficiency, productivity and magic meaningfulness of online education.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Retrospection with introspection


During this week # 10, I read the LoTi framework and took the LoTi survey. They helped me immensely to assess the level of technology integration into my online teaching and learning expertise.

It helped me to retrospect and introspect the whole process of my online learning and teaching so far: Where I stand exactly on the scale of using technology in my online and hybrid courses, and how much is yet to be active in the ensuing voyage of enhancing my web skills.

I assume that I am operating at the level 4b – Integration: Routine.

Level 4b includes integration of technology as a routine in learning and teaching. In my class, students are fully engaged in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources. I am within my comfort level with promoting an inquiry-based model of teaching that involves students applying their learning to the real world. I promote inquiry-based model of teaching through group work, project completion, assignments preparation (individual and group or pair based). I always emphasize learner-centered strategies. In my class room teaching, I always strike a balance between student centered and teachers centered interactions and collaborations. Maximum weightage is on student centered activities. The ratio of my facilitation and student contribution in my class is generally 60:40, or some time even 70:30 depending upon activities and project. Higher level of student contribution, normally, promotes personal goal setting, self-monitoring, and student action. More focus on student participation and balanced amount of my facilitation increases higher levels of student cognitive processing and in-depth examination of the content.

I try my level best to encourage my students to use digital tools and resources meaningfully and productively because these tools are inherent in my hybrid courses as well as completely online courses. I try both automated feedback and my own feedback to motivate the student enquiries; it effectively answers student-generated questions that dictate the content, process, and products embedded in the learning experience either in my hybrid or online courses.

As I summarized above, I am operating regularly on Level 4b – Integration: Routine. Although I cannot claim that I have been operating at Level 5 – Expansion, I feel that I often use the features which have been mentioned in this category.
Sometimes, my students opt for collaborations extending beyond the classroom employed for authentic student problem-solving and issues resolution. Here, they themselves take the initiatives, so these activities are learner-centered strategies that promote personal goal setting and self-monitoring, student action, and collaborations with other diverse groups using the available digital assets. For example, they prefer to go for peer tutoring. This option might generate some revenue for them (not always). If not, then it cultivates a sense of belonging and fulfillment among them. In addition, I inspire them to do some volunteering work as well.

When they go for peer tutoring, they use digital tools and resources to teach their peers. They answer peer-generated questions that dictate the content, process, and products embedded in the learning experience.
I think the complexity and sophistication of the digital resources and collaboration tools used in such collaborative activities are now commensurate with the diversity, inventiveness, and spontaneity of the teacher and student's experiential-based approach to teaching and learning. Such initiatives also enhance students' level of complex thinking (e.g., analysis, synthesis, evaluation) and in-depth understanding of the content experienced in the classroom.

However, my ultimate goal is to reach at Level 6 – Refinement. When I was doing the final project to be submitted to Robert, I encountered this possibility. My project was to make my online course more interactive and collaborative. As a part of my project, at one step I started two way feedback systems. Here, I had to comment on the learner’s performance so far, and they were expected to give me feedback regarding what they liked and what they did not like in the course, and also how to make the whole course more interactive and collaborative. The whole process was based upon collaborations promoting authentic student problem-solving and issues resolution as a norm. My entire instructional curriculum is learner-based. I modified the course and the content based on the needs of the learners as reflected in their feedbacks including their interests, needs, and/or aspirations. Whole feedback system ans the entire course was supported by unlimited access to the most current digital applications and infrastructure available.

The pervasive use of and access to advanced digital tools and resources provided a medium for information queries, creative problem-solving, student reflection, and/or product development. Students had ready access to and a complete understanding of a vast array of collaboration tools and related resources embedded in the online course itself which were sufficient to accomplish language learning particular task.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

I have fathered an eye catching project

All e-mates,

I am just shuddered to even think of the fact that after the next week, we all will not be in as close touch with all of us as we are now.

This week, Robert shared with me an altogether a novel maxim. He suggested that we all need to be thinking of ways of re-purposing tools, so we can use them in ways that conform to our needs. For example, the surveys can be used for designing quizzes. How wonderful it is even to think in this innovative and exemplary way!  Now onwards, I will initiate in terms of re-purposing web tools.

Exchanging our projects with peers, getting the feedback from peers, and revising and improving them – all of these steps were able to create an organic whole as a part and parcel of an enlightening process.
I am really impressed by the issue which IIdiko has raised in his blog regarding disabled students. If they are learning along with other normal students, then to teach them would be a big challenge for the teacher. However, if the teacher involves them into technology aided activities, then the teacher’s task might be a bit easier. They can, of course, learn according to their own pace and that too with necessary repetitions reconfirming their learning. They can experience supportive and fertile academic environment and can grow as well.

As an online teacher, I have concluded that e-teachers can freely use some activities for visual learners like replacing words with symbols or initials; translating concepts into pictures and diagrams; underlining or highlighting notes or textbooks with different colors; turning visuals back into words; and making and displaying flashcards of key information with words, symbols, and diagrams.

To teach audio learners online will be another challenge for the facilitator. Online teachers can productively use certain activities for the benefits of auditory learners like making the e-learners attending lectures and tutorials; discussing topics with them and inspiring them to discuss the same among the peers; summarizing notes on tape and listening to them; motivating the learner to join a study group or have a "study buddy"; tape recording and hearing lectures;   and talking out loud when recalling information or solving problems.

The online teacher can transform his/her teaching to be more efficient for tactile/ kinesthetic learners by motivating kinesthetic/tactile learners to sit near the instructor in classroom situations; read out loud from textbook and notes; copy key points onto large writing surfaces (i.e. chalkboard or easel board); copy key points using word processing software; listen to audiotapes of notes while exercising,; take in information through field trips, laboratories, trial and error, exhibits, collections, and hands-on examples; put real life examples into notes summary; recall experiments and role-play; and also to use pictures and photographs that illustrate an idea.

To make the online teaching more interactive and collaborative for reading/writing learners or passive learners, the facilitator can motivate them to write important information again and again, read notes silently, organize any diagrams into statements, e-write the ideas and principles in other words and create flashcards of words and concepts that need to be memorized.



Sunday, 25 November 2012

A wonderful voyage to sail through endless ocean of innovations involved in various projects

Hello e-mates,

I passed through painful but productive process of my project, and on the basis of that I am now becoming convinced that the more you make online courses interactive, collaborative and student cantered, the more you get your students motivated, inspired, responsive and responsible.

When I read all other projects I realized the existence of my scantiest knowledge in Academia.  It was wonderful voyage to sail through endless ocean of innovations spread throughout various projects. I have to achieve so many milestones before I sleep.

It was amazing to work with Bernard as my project peer reviewer. Thanks, Bernard!

I tried to explore most of the innovative tools or resources for enhancing learning. Ultimately, I decided to try my hand on surveys. I used Google Docs to create a survey for an online course.

There is strong rationale behind it. As you all know, being an online teacher, I teach a group of online students an English language learning course. At the end of the course, it is essential to retrospect and introspect whatever we learnt or taught. Apart from providing us an utter sense of fulfillment  the surveys offer an opportunity to reflect upon what to do and what not to do in the next course. Student’s feedback is inevitable to get the right sense for chartering out future academic strategies or enterprises. Therefore, I decided to make a survey.

The students also might have the sense of contributing their experiences or perceptions regarding the course through surveys. I have noticed on the basis of past experiences that certain students are actually serious and sincere in providing their feedbacks in the form of filling out surveys. Therefore, I always appreciate surveys, and accommodate the suggestions offered through surveys. An academician’s life should be an open book sharing all academic developments and thoughts with the organic whole of academic fraternity. 
At the end of the course, it is essential to retrospect and introspect whatever we learnt or taught. Student’s feedback is inevitable to get the right sense for chartering out future academic strategies or enterprises. I always appreciate surveys, and accommodate the suggestions offered through surveys.

Surveys enhance learner’s autonomy. They are free to share their learning achievements in built witnesses of drawbacks in a course, and also their past and future expectations.