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Learner: Barbara Andrine Koenig
Dr. Glen Gatin
The Online Learner
Faculty Use Only You have met the basic requirements of the activity. You write well and your ideas are well organized. A little more careful proof reading would resolve most mechanical issues. Try to shift your focus from the descriptive practitioner perspective to the conceptual theorist perspective. Your doctoral work marks a transition from practitioner to theorist and you should work continually to develop your doctoral competencies. Doctoral level scholarship requires that you develop the ability to use theoretical perspectives specific to elearning to approach and analyze all issues. Choose a current theory, cite the originator, articulate the precepts of the theory and describe how the theory provides the best explanation for the issue at hand. Support your analysis with citations of peer-reviewed published research conducted by others who used the same theoretical approach. The course readings provide topics only and are often very out of date. Look for information published within the last 3- 5 years. As this is an elearning program an expectation also exists that you be able to use digital multimedia for scholarly purposes. Consider developing your own blog, wiki or interactive web page to display your competence with digital multimedia. Don’t hesitate to contact me by for more feedback and clarification of expectations. My preferred means of communication is Skype.
Gatin May 26, 2012
Distance Learning Relationships Online learning is a rapidly advancing pedagogical method to reach learners and deliver curricular materials. Instructors of these online classes need to have means to create a welcome learning environment and foster positive relationships. Understanding the learner’s skills with technology is imperative to avoiding unnecessary frustration and assisting the learners to navigate successfully within the online environment (Conrad & Donaldson, 2004). Palloff and Pratt (2003) establish seven key components of distance learning that instructors can foster and focus on. These consist of: access to skills, openness to share personally, communication skills, commitment, collaboration, reflection, and flexibility (2003). Levine (2005) suggests that there are several responsibilities of the person hosting the learning. Whether they are referred as learner facilitator, mentor, teacher, or educator, this person has the responsibility to be an active participant within the distance learners process. These responsibilities include: knowing who your students are, asserting a level of control of the class, and balancing out the learning environment between educational opportunities and technology (2005). Varvel (2001) identify six skills to develop within the distance learner to increase success and they are: time management skills, discipline and motivation, sense of community, communication, technology skills, and access, either due to technical issues or through disability accessibility conditions.
Comment [G3]: ..learning.. What are the distinctions between distance learning and online learning? What is the effect of choosing one term over the other? Comment [G1]: Is it a pedagogical method or an administrative convenience? Comment [G2]: ..welcoming?
Initial challenges for both the instructor and the student of an e-learning classroom are how to engage each other through a technology-based medium. Setting up norms and appropriate methods of communication is a foundation of forming that sense of belonging and community where participants, both instructors and pupils, feel welcome, appreciated and open to learn together (Conrad & Donaldson, 2004). How to set this up successfully takes work from the instructor and a commitment from the students. Collaborative learning through technology is a process of appropriation, which is defined as “a process where both students and teacher have an active role in creating the learning environment with their earlier knowledge and ideas” (Vesisenaho, Valtonen, Kukkonen, Havu-Nuutinen, Harikainen, &Karkkainen, 2010, p. 273). Because of this, the opening week of a class is critical to get to know each other quickly, know the rules of engagement and expectations. Ice Breaker activities are a good method to crack open the means of cold communication that technology often fosters and allow the participants to have bonding experiences with each other. These activities can also allow the participants to recognize they are no longer in a regional learning environment but a part of a global learning community. Authentic learning at a global level allows the distance learner to make connections to their own lives. Of the 10 characteristics of authentic learning listed by Reeves and Herrington, there is a close call between number 1 is a valuable one. Number 1 states that in e-learning authentic learning there should be a connection with real-world experiences and number six states that the authentic e-learning experience should provide time for reflection (Reeves & Herrington, 2004). All three of the mandatory reading for this activity stress these concepts of reflection and connection to the learner. In my position, I am creating online learning courses for teachers, administrators, and support staff to learn district initiatives. These trainings are mandates that
Comment [G7]: ..readings.. Comment [G6]: ? Comment [G4]: Norms or standards? Comment [G5]: ..are foundations of…
the learner must learn and demonstrate the essential learnings by completing the required objectives. For example, the real world application for the Teacher Data Reports learning module is to demonstrate how these reports contain data about individual teachers that should be included in their overall performance appraisal. The reflective piece of the Teacher Data Reports learning module is to analyze the data present to appropriately apply the correct designation of Effective Teacher or Non-effective Teacher. Careful reflection application is essential to ensure that an effective teacher is retained and a non-effective teacher is provided the support to improve. In the field of education, we stress that the learner must reach standards of performance; they must demonstrate that they met the objectives set forth to know or be able to do the task at hand. Oliver explains that through a trifocal approach to the development of online learning tasks using a balance of learning activities, resources, and supports, the critical and essential foundation for appropriate knowledge construction is possible ( n.d.). Oliver also supports Reeves and Herrington, stating that through interaction and interactivity “students work in groups and small teams, the interactions frequently engage higher order thinking and lead to critical reflection by the students” (Oliver, (n.d.) p. 1). I am taking an advanced Captivate training course right now through ICON Logic, and they agree with Oliver that the learning must be delivered in a way that provides the learner the opportunity to interact, especially when dealing with the adult learner. I have experienced great online, e-Learning classes and I have experienced the worst of the world of online classes. The readings for this activity echo what I have observed and experienced. The best classes I ever participated in online where through Hamline University in Minnesota. I took the hardest classes I ever took at a graduate level online. Each of the professors was on top of it, in every class, every assignment. It was a challenge to get an A in
Comment [G9]: Similarly, certain expectations of doctoral level scholarship exist. Comment [G8]: ..activities?
the class; more like painful, but in a good way. I was pushed to improve my technology, interactions with people, my personal and work schedule. Each class was tough. Believe me; you paid my writing extensive papers, re-writes and only having the opportunity to interact with the professor alone via email. In these Hamline classes, they incorporated individual teacher to student interaction, full class interaction (38 students), and small group interactions of five to seven which rotated every one to two weeks. We had individual interactions between peers, threaded discussion, group blogs, and one of the coolest interactions was when we group edited a group paper by differentiating our contribution by text color, we then collaborated to edit one final document. These class incorporated asynchronous and synchronous e-communication that involved the professor or collaboration between the learners. This was a solid e-Learning delivery and their classes inspired me to select e-Learning as an area of further study. Most of the interaction was done through the Blackboard learning system. They allowed you to feel welcome immediately. I believe in the power of e-Learning and e-conversations and interactions. From the reading, I found an interesting idea that the concept of e-conversations evens the field because there are no first impressions based on race, color, size, or age within the conversations (Maeroff, 2003). I never really thought of this, and Maeroff even suggested that e-conversation is liberating, if done correctly, because it does not allow students to hide in the back of the classroom. I could relate to that comment because I did not ask one question during my bachelor’s degree at Colorado State University (2003). My 101 classes had 300-500 people in them and I was so intimidated and even would not go to class sometimes because there would be no seats left or could not find parking. I can now do my
Comment [G11]: Who are they? Comment [G10]: ?
classwork any time, any place, if not too exhausted from working my day job. I am open to embrace the change that is among us.
Conrad, R., & Donaldson, J. A. (2004). Engaging the online learner: activities and resources for creative instruction. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass. Levine, S. J. (2005). Making distance education work: understanding learning and learners at a distance. Okemos, Mich.: LearnerAssociates.net. Maeroff, G. I. (2003). A classroom of one: how online learning is changing our schools and colleges. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Oliver, R. ( (n.d.)). Developing online learning environments that support knowledge construction. Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2003). The virtual student: a profile and guide to working with online learners. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Reeves, T., Herrington, J., & Oliver, R (2004). Authentic activities and online learning HERDSA Varvel, V. (2001, March/April). Facilitating every student in an online course. Retrieved March 15, 2012 from http://learners.ncu.edu/CourseRoom/Default.aspx?course_code=EL7004&learner_course _id=213818 Vesisenaho, M., Valtonen, T., Kukkonen, J., Havu-Nuutinen, S., Harikainen, A., & Karkkainen, S. (2010). Blended learning with everyday technologies to activate students' collaborative learning. Science Education International, 21(4), pp. 272-283. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ Watkins, R. (2005). 75 e-learning activities: making online learning interactive. San Francisco:
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