I am assuming that everyone in this session has some solid background on the technical aspects of Blackboard and the Control Panel so I want to discuss more advanced, creative and innovative (proactive) strategies for engaging your online students. For the most part this is going to be a hands on session. Please keep in mind that I don’t have all the answers when it comes to online teaching because there are so many variables and diverse teaching styles, however I have been teaching online consistently for over 15 years and I know what WORKS and what doesn’t work when it comes to teaching both totally online courses and hybrids. We also want to keep in mind that true online distance learning has only been used as a viable instructional delivery method for less than ten years. Just think about what the possibilites for sharing knowledge and education will be in the next ten years with the rapid development (evolution) of technology and methodology in this global (post-information) age we live and work in.
Communication and Instructor Feedback are Key!
Effective communication (and timely and constructive feedback) are keys to quality online learning. This is GOSPEL! It separates online courses from correspondence courses, turning passive learning into active learning. Let’s face it…we can’t take what works in the traditional classroom environment and use that same methodology into an online course. This will NOT work.
Teaching online demands a completely different approach (pedagogy) and the first step is to realize that we are no longer talking heads in a room filled with neat rows of students sitting at desks waiting for the teacher to fill them with KNOWLEDGE. Those days are over and the sooner we as educators come to grips with this reality the better. We are facilitators – guides so to speak, on this journey through our course material. Students can (and should be empowered) to play an intergral (active) role in the learning process.
Digital media and global communication networks are providing educational opportunities for “other” ways of thinking about teaching and learning to evolve. Never before, in the history of education, were such powerful tools available to change the relationships between learners, teachers, knowledge, and evaluation (assessment). Digital systems (technologies) now provide exciting opportunity for the development of learning environments over instructional environments, to change the concept of time and space in education, and to view and challenge traditional environments found in higher education.
Instructors can no longer rely on the archaic industrial age educational model to teach students skills they’ll need to succeed and thrive in a highly technological, creative and entrepreneurial (global) work environment.
This can no longer be accomplished with yesterday’s teaching methods.
The didactic talking head standing in front of neat rows of students imparting knowledge on a given subject is no longer effective or viable when compared to the way global businesses and industries conduct business over and through complex and secure digital networks.
Business and industry have embraced and continue to harness a variety of sophisticated communications and educational technologies such as video conferencing, Podcasting, streaming video, interactive online forums, blogs and digital informational / educational media (content) exchanges like Curriculum Pathways and Itunes U.
The web provides a vast amount of information for instructors who truly understand how to apply, channel and integrate this vast (constantly growing) web content into their courses. Distance learning provides the best (and most flexible) instructional environment for connecting and exposing students to the resources (and information) being generated exponentially around the world.
This is a very exciting yet intimidating and challenging time for educators. If we don’t aggressively retool mentally and technologically we are going to eventually become obsolete and other forward thinking educational venues will fill the void we leave, due to being left in the dust by the rapid growth and evolution of technology and web culture.
The sense of urgency is high and now it’s a matter of breaking out of the outmoded industrial model, in and beyond the information age and into the creative, conceptual age where we can educate and train our students in the technologies being used in the global marketplace. Educators no longer have a strong hold on the knowledge anymore. We have to accept this reality. Students can go anywhere in the world to obtain the information (education / instruction) they need to succeed in the fluid global marketplace.
Recognizing (and adapting to) these changes in society (and education) is an absolute MUST if we are going to remain a viable and competitive force in higher education.
If you spend some time researching Online Teaching Best Practices from a variety of college you will realize they are ALL saying basically the same things.
Now for some Technical Stuff
Why Should I Use Podcasts in my Online Courses? What is a Podcast? What is an Enhanced Podcast?
How do I produce a Podcast?
How do I edit my audio once I record my lecture?
How do I get my podcast on the Blackboard?
How do I put images and video in my Podcast?
What is Itunes U and how can use this technology and content delivery system in my online courses?
Hands On Time!!
Let’s Produce one. Let’s Edit one. Let’s upload and link it to your course.
You all NEED to DOWNLOAD this FREE Software to edit your Podcasts.
Audacity Free Download
Check out CCC’s Itunes Site! Click ITunes and do a Podcast search – check out some podcasts!