written by Diana Thompson (2016 TCC Guest Blogger)
It’s time to think outside of the box. We already know that preparing an online course is different from preparing a traditional face to face lecture. But let’s take it a step further, and help our students more, by more accurately defining the role of the learner, the teacher, and the curriculum of online courses.
Ana Cristina Pratas, who has taught all over the world, calls herself a practitioner who finds herself in a research position when she wishes to solve a problem. In some cases the problem comes from how we idealize our online learners, rather than accept and accommodate those who may struggle with the skills that they need. I loved that she addressed that online learners are often busy people with many other responsibilities outside of just their role as a student. How do we as teachers, or we as course designers, accommodate for the needs of these students?
One of my favorite tips was providing a form of orientation that would be available to students prior to the beginning of the course. This improves their odds of succeeding in the classroom. Even better yet, integrate a social component to help keep students motivated, engaged, and critically thinking throughout the duration of the course.