Monday, February 18, 2008

How would you describe online teaching and learning to faculty that are curious but skeptical about quality?

I posed the following question in my online teacher training course, and thought the answer given by Dr. James McKean from Ohio University, would be beneficial to share, with his permission, on the blog. How would you respond to this question?

After participating in this course, how would you describe online teaching and learning to faculty that are curious but skeptical about quality. What advice would you give the faculty about how to best prepare to teach online? What advice would you give students to help them become successful online learners.

I will describe online teaching to other faculty who are skeptical about quality in the same manner that a qualitative researcher explains the underlying theoretical construct of naturalistic inquiry in a qualitative research project--there is more than one path in our quest for knowledge. Quality in online classes like quality in traditional classes is dependent upon sound pedagogical practices, development of learning outcomes and appropriate learning assessments. Students learn when they are actively engaged and online teaching offers a variety of pedagogical aids to facilitate learning. For those faculty who as Parker Palmer stated possess the "courage to teach," I would encourage them to embrace online teaching as another means to the same end--learning.

The best advice I would give faculty is to broaden their knowledge of course design and online teaching by completing an online teaching and learning course. Experiential learning is powerful as I have discovered over the past two weeks. I would advise students to shift their learning paradigm and understand that online learning requires them to devote the same or an even higher commitment to the learning process as a traditional class--or as my statistics professor used to say, "junk in, junk out." In the final analysis, online teaching can be a rewarding and satisfying experience for both students and faculty.

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