Summarizing My Learning
In this post, I am going to share with you my reflections about my work throughout the course. I will briefly discuss what lessons and strategies I gathered from the course and how those have changed my teaching styles in face-to-face and online environments.
I think the ideas and strategies discussed in the modules about social presence and teaching presence have had the most significant impact on my approaches towards teaching. Majority of the suggestions are useful and applicable especially in distance and online education. I now believe it is more about teaching presence rather than teacher presence and how the two concepts are different. My views about different components of effective teaching presence including design and organization, facilitation of online discourse, and well-focused direct instruction have changed since I started this course.
Additionally, I am now a strong believer of collaboration and social activities in education since I became familiar with the concept and role of social presence in the context of teaching. By applying the principles of social presence, participants are encouraged to establish a community of learning and to openly get involved in critical discourse and generating constructive ideas. My role as an educator is to provide engaging learning activities to increase different types of interactions among learners including student-student, teacher-student and student-content.
In my future courses, I will try to implement all these valuable lessons that I gathered from this course. Firstly, now that I know more about the importance of effective and cohesive communication in distance education, I will continue to welcome students to my courses with the hope to establish an online persona and to start building a sense of community. I found out that sending a one-minute video message is very useful to introduce myself and my course to new students and to welcome them to my virtual classrooms. With the presence of tools like WordPress in todays’ education, utilizing multimedia including audio/video messages and feedback are much more effective than just text-based messages. Additionally, audio and video files can also be a way of capturing course content that would otherwise be difficult to explain in a textual format. During this lesson, I researched several methods and software including screen streaming and audio/video capturing software for making and editing digital contents.
Secondly, I will provide opportunities for collaboration and sharing of knowledge in my online and face-to-face teaching. Online courses can be more enjoyable and effective when students have the opportunity to work through topics and assignments with either one or two or more fellow learners. To address all types of learning styles, I believe I should incorporate activities during design phase which provide options and opportunities for all types of learners whether they prefer to work collaboratively with peers or work individually.
Thirdly, in light of what I learned in the course, I will provide my students with a combination of feedback, feed forward and feed up to ensure their success. These new concepts in providing learning support to students tell me the importance and role of teaching presence and the distinction between facilitation and direction. I think a perfect teacher must consider the dual role of both facilitating and shaping the direction as both seem essential for a successful community of inquiry.
Finally, I think that unlike face-to-face setting where the responsibilities are ranked with emphasis on teaching then learning, for the online courses the emphasis should be on learning then teaching. CoI model of learning and teaching appears to be a suitable platform for today’s online and blended education. I learned great lesson throughout these courses. I have realized that for online courses students and teacher are partners in the learning process. I firmly believe collaboration and partnership can make learning easier to achieve and less expensive. CoI is a great model in presenting this concept of shared responsibilities between learners and teachers. This way we can create a true community of inquiry where everyone contributes in educational activities and learning outcomes are shared.