On Line Instructor Advice Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2579 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … E-Learning & Successful Online Teaching

Many who transition from traditional brick and mortar teaching environment into the online teaching environment have the misconception that they are the same. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. Teachers making this transition need to realize that there will have to be many changes in the way that they present their lessons, interact with students, and think about the educational process in order to become successful in this new medium. The following will examine these areas of teaching and how the teacher can enhance the teaching environment and make the endeavor a success.

Changing Relationships

The adoption of the e-learning environment requires some basic changes in the way teachers think about relationships with their students. In the traditional brick and mortar classroom, the student is a captive audience. They must remain the classroom and are compelled to be in a certain place at a certain time. They are told where and how to sit. In the e-classroom the student has considerably more freedom of choice in these matters. They can get up when they wish, take a break when they wish, or even eat a snack while working. This places the student in the e-classroom in a different mind set than the traditional brick and mortar classroom allows. This also places the teacher in a different mind set as well. The e-classroom is much more relaxed than the traditional brick and mortar classroom setting.

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Student-teacher roles are different in e-classroom than in the traditional brick and mortar classroom. In the brick and mortar classroom the teacher presents information to the students. The students act as recipients of the information. They have little choice as to whether they wish to receive the information, or in the format that is chosen to present it. In the e-classroom, the student takes an active role in seeking the information (Sweeney, 2005). They must choose to turn on the computer, open the lesson and to engage in the learning plan. In the e-classroom, the student is a willing participant, who must first seek to learn the information. It is much easier to avoid turning on the computer, than to cut class in the traditional brick and mortar classroom.

Term Paper on On Line Instructor Advice Assignment

The student must take a more active role in learning process when engaged in e-learning (Arsham, 2007). Rather than having the information presented to them in a lecture style, the student must take an active role in seeking information and exploring answers. They must examine websites and take online quizzes. They must ask question of the teacher if they do not understand something. The teacher cannot make inferences as to if they are being understood by the expression on a student's face. The student must be the one to initiate communication if they do not understand something.

These basic differences are the key to understanding that although the e-learning and brick and mortar settings are similar in many ways, they require a different mindset, both on the part of the teacher and on the part of the student. Understanding these differences is the key to beginning to develop a successful e-learning experience for both the teacher and the student. Not all teachers or students are suited for the e-learning environment. The teacher must be willing to give more power to the student and the student must be able to take more responsibility for the learning process. Both student and teacher must be willing to recognize that learning in this environment is a partnership that differs from traditional teacher-student roles.

Changing Lesson Plans

In addition to recognizing that the roles of the teacher and student must change in order to create a successful e-learning experience, the teacher must also realize that what works in the brick and mortar classroom does not necessarily translate online. Transitioning a lesson plan to the e-learning environment requires that the teacher take a look at the presentation and decide if it will work online. The content does not have to change, and in many cases, cannot change due to state educational requirements. However, the manner in which the material is presented must change in order to be effective.

It is not enough to simply copy text to the screen (Arsham, 2007). In order to effectively translate material to the e-learning environment, the teacher must be able to put themselves in the student's place. They must pretend that they are not the sender of the message, but instead the receiver. They must take a critical work at their presentation from the student's perspective in order successfully to transition classroom material into the e-learning environment.

One of the key points to consider in translating material in into the online classroom is an awareness of the senses that are used to receive and process the information (Broadbent, 2002). For instance, in the traditional brick and mortar classroom, the student primarily receives information through hearing and sight. The same can be said for e-learning classroom as well. However, there are other classroom experiences that are used to enhance certain subjects, such as science that engage the other senses. For instance, a science experiment might use the sense of smell or touch. These experiences are difficult to translate into the online world.

One could make a video of an experiment, but this would still only encompass two senses. If one wishes to provide the student with the full sensory experience of the classroom, there are only a limited number of ways to achieve this task. One could have the student run the experiment at home, but there are limitations in the ability to do this. For a simple experiment, using common household items, this may be possible. However, if the experiment requires specialty equipment or compounds, the student will not be likely to experience the full sensory lesson. This is only one example of a lesson that may not translate well into the online classroom.

Translating the full classroom experience into the online setting requires creativity on the part of the teacher. They must often improvise in order to provide the maximum experience possible. The online teacher must often work harder to engage the student in a way that goes beyond simple printed text and reading material. Visual aids and films are an excellent way to bring some of the lessons to the online environment. However, one must be careful to create them in such as way that entices the student to listen and engage in active, rather than passive learning. Two excellent websites that meet this goal are http://www.brainpop.com/and http://www.studyisland.com/.

Interacting with Students

One of the greatest changes in transitioning from the brick and mortar classroom to the e-learning environment is the way in which students and teachers interact. In the brick and mortar classroom, students and teachers have many more ways to communicate than with voice and written communication. They communicate with body language, gestures, and facial expressions. In the online environment, many of these forms of communication are not available. Advances in the past several years have leaned towards developing ways of communicating online that mimmick these personal experiences. For instance, we now use emoticons to represent emotions and other elements of communication that are missing from the online experience, but these still cannot replace the real thing.

The online teacher must work especially hard to develop the type of personal relationship with her students that the brick and mortar teacher has. This is not impossible in the online world, but it does take extra effort. Online chats, white boards, and webcams can provide many of the missing elements of the personal experience. However, there may be limitations that prevent the teacher or the student from accessing this technology. The technology may be cost prohibitive, or the digital divide may be in the way (Broadbent, 2002). Some students might not be technologically advanced enough to operate the equipment, or they may not have access to the equipment at all.

Where advanced technology is available, it is adds a valuable personal level to the lessons and other material. However, in absence of this technology, the teacher and student must make an extra effort to develop personal relationships. Personal relationships are an important part of the learning experience. In order to keep it personal, we must sometimes remember not to get so caught up in the technical aspects of the lesson that we forget the person behind the screen.

Adding personal notes to the graded work or other emails can help to maintain these valuable relationships. For instance, instead of just saying, "You received a 98% for that assignment," one might add something about what the student did on the weekend. These conversational elements are natural in face-to-face communication. However, one must make a conscious effort to include them in the online environment. These elements are essential in order to develop the types of relationships that make the online educational experience a success.

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