Time management – just when I think I’m good at it, life gets in the way! I have been struggling over the past three weeks to balance life! I have been sick with a sinus infection, working like crazy, traveling for the holiday, taking care of my son after he got tubes in his ears and adenoids removed, and being a wife! School unfortunately fell by the wayside, which is one downfall I have with online classes. Without that face to face accountability, it’s easy for me to push classwork to the bottom of the priority list. But I do think these last two weeks were extraordinary circumstances. Normally, I am able to carve out school time during my son’s naptime. But now that I am feeling better, I am back on top of things and ready to finish this quarter strong! I am still finding the program quite interesting and looking forward to what future courses will bring! I have also enjoyed utilizing additional technologies I don’t normally use, such as blogs, twitter, and Google sites. Lots of learning!
Community of Inquiry – I completed a Bibliography assignment on this topic. I found the sources to be quite interesting. I think it addresses a great learning style to engage students in learning, rather than pushing a textbook at them to read and self-assess. I remember being very good at school, it just came easy to me, but I don’t recall much discussion in class as far as putting deep thought into concepts. The teacher presented a topic for the day, or a chapter from the book, it was reviewed, homework as assigned, and later in the week or month, a test was given. Of all the concepts learned in school, I only remember the ones that I actively utilize today, such as English skills and Math skills. Of course there are some basic ideas about science that I have committed to general knowledge (i.e. photosynthesis), but without the ongoing discussion and utilization of topics, the learning about them ceases in my opinion.
I think for students at the graduate level, who are supposed to learn useful skills that can be translated in the workplace and turned into promotions and higher salaries, I would love to see more discussion and “community of inquiry” style teaching. In her article about a children’s program, Sally Hagaman quotes Lipman saying, “The structured collaboration of the community of inquiry is an attempt to avoid the didactic approach which, regrettably, constitutes much of what goes on in the name of education” (1990). I do think that many online programs are attempting to do this via the classroom discussions, where students and instructor are supposed to engage with each other in significant discussions about course topics. It’s a little harder, as we can’t speak to each other and hear voices, but the idea is certainly there. I think as technology improves and online programs incorporate more technology, synchronous technology that can create more of a community of inquiry will begin to be utilized.
Hagaman, S. (1990). The community of inquiry: An approach to collaborative learning. Studies in Art Education, (3), 149. doi:10.2307/1320762
In reading for 601 Week 6, Keegan is cited in discussing the definition of distance education and how the role of the institution makes a big difference. Does the institution take a significant role in planning and preparing courses, and providing students with support, or is the material presented and left for the student to teach themself? This is an interesting point. I think originally I wanted to believe that “online classes” were simply the material being put out on the web, and I follow along, complete a few simple assignments, and then get a degree. However, that does not fully encompass the definition of distance education, as that definition includes both teaching and learning. As much as we as students would like to be left alone to do the work, get the grade and move on, we must admit that we still need instructor interaction. In past courses where there was no interaction, I can say I got nothing out of them and don’t remember what I learned, if anything. In newer classes, it seems universities are embracing the idea of a full spectrum learning environment and the instructors have embraced teaching from a distance. This classroom should be treated no differently by the instructor, except to reinforce their presence due to the distance. It does make a difference, and I think will help increase pass rates and retention over time.
Keegan was quoted from:
Rumble, G. (1989). On defining distance education. The American Journal of Distance Education, 3(2), 8-21.
I found this article by Tony Bates to be quite interesting regarding Open Educational Resources…take a look: http://www.tonybates.ca/2011/02/06/oers-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/
I am so new to this blogging thing! But it is 2013, so time to come into the new millinium. The OMDE 603 class is definitely opening my eyes to all sorts of new technology available, that both everyday people use, and that is being utilized in DE. This is great!