After the first module of my online course…

I have to share what I have experienced these last two weeks. I have had a wonderful time talking with different people about their own interests and concerns about teaching and learning online. I am learning so much in this course and I know I will have to improve it a lot. (For example, students are not happy with the ammount of new technologies I am introducing in the first module, so I will have to think how to introduce them more slowly.)

I love voicethread because I can get to know each of my “students”, their faces and voices and I know that they appreciate it.. who doesn’t want to know their classmates?  However, I couldn’t convince everyone to participate, so some of them didn’t introduce themselves at all to the class- besides the profile information they wrote. And I really feel that I know a lot more about the ones who participate. So, I will have to consider another way of breaking the ice, maybe an easier technology without camaras involved, or an additional forum.

The discussion forum has been great, every student had to post their main concern about online learning, so they had the opportunity to share their own fears and interests about this and we learned a lot from each other.

They talk about transforming and reforming higher education, the old paradigms, how it is changing and how we can help in this change, how we can face the fact that there are curriculums…

We discussed a lot about the importance of the writing and reading comprehension skills to participate in online courses. At INACAP we have a big problem in this area, our students have lower writing and reading skills. So, we know that online learning will be revealing, will make the problem more explicit, but as they will be required to write more than in face to face class, maybe they will have the oppportunity to improve these skills. It would be interesting to do some research about this with our online students. Also, we discussed the importance of correcting our students “netiquette” but validating their “language” outside the classroom.

We talked a lot about the very important role of the faculty in the online learning process and the activity design. How we can stimulate reflection, how to present content, how affections are important too and how we can express them without being phisically there.

We talked about how to engage adults, the skills that they have to have to be successful, and we have some open questions like: what make some people be more self motivated to learn?, how to make people really want to learn? how we can use the technology, social networks and everything that students use everyday, to engage them in learning? when learning becomes necessary for the student? what about their own individual responsbilities and progress? is some of these a reason to be engaged?

I learned that there are a lot of challenges now because the way we communicate with others is changing a lot. I think it is important to focus on the benefits of the new tools that allows us to improve our communication channels and try to avoid prejudices and accept the limitations. We need to value the fact that we have time and rules that allows us to make better resposes, better contributions and to think more deeply.

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