Started off by listening to Tony Bates talking about the 9 steps to quality online learning and here are the points I personally found most memorable/useful & my reflections. The ones I want to think about more carefully about/ask myself in the future are highlighted:
- Decide how you want to teach: free up class time for the things you can best/only do F2F.
- Decide what kind of online course you and your students need: at present, my teaching is hybrid/blended; Content – think about how you input this e.g. lectures, notes, videos? Skills – application of content; F2F – why do students have to be here? Questions to ask yourself: What’s unique about a campus experience? Am I making best use of this/their time?
- Work in a team: share materials, resources, expertise; advise novices; Instructional design (= designing a course) – if done well, should reduce tutor’s workload.
- Build on existing resources: Ask yourself: How original is my content? Can I use pre-made sources? Choose/use quality content already out there (iTunesU, Open University, Khan Academy etc) and don’t reinvent the wheel! Share with colleagues – see above.
- Master the technology: Learn what features your LMS offers & how to best use tools to enhance learning. Videos of lectures NOT online teaching! But if you do make videos, max. 15mins and only of unique content not already out there, e.g. your own research, an interview with an expert.
- Set appropriate learning goals for online learning: Should be particularly suited to OL e.g. 21st century learning skills i.e. managing knowledge; Good communication skills – writing/speaking: yes, but students also need to learn to do this on social networks, via YouTube, blogs, wikis; Independent (SDL) and inter independent learning skills (with others/teams); Domain specific IT skills i.e. what students will later need for their jobs (Excel etc). Think about how you will assess these skills and tell your students too!
- Design course structure and learning activities: Teaching structure: determined by institution; teaching philosophy; needs of students – strong: students know what/when to learn i.e. what to do (my current situation); weak – less controlled by teacher. Ideas/tasks: SDL – assign/find a student “buddy”; after reading activities: 3 insights gained or questions you now have.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate: Be present as a tutor; tell students what expected of them e.g. how many posts to read etc; when commenting, try to add something new and not just agree/disagree.
- Evaluate and innovate: nothing I didn’t already know!
I’m in the process of updating/revising a blended learning Professional English course, so will definitely bear the above in mind.