Personally, the idea of online/blended learning has been great for me as a busy, multitasking teacher. Classes such as Alec’s allow to flexibility assignment completion, independent learning, and an ability to connect with classmates outside of “classroom hours” via twitter and the Google + Community. My first experience with online/blended learning was in my Inclusive Ed certificate. It was in a spring semester and we met face to face on four Saturdays, and also had to meet on zoom room on two additional evenings in order to get through the material, collaborate, and use the breakout rooms to complete group assignments. After this, I felt this tool was essential for me as a learner. I am a busy person, but online/blended classes allow that additional flexibility that perhaps a face to face meeting does not. The reason I like Zoom in particular is because….
- Breakout rooms: For those who do not like speaking in front of the whole class (whether it be in class or online), the breakout room option allows small group discussion to alleviate stress some may feel about speaking in a larger group. It allows you to gain deeper insight into your classmate’s experiences and provides its own learning environment in a safe secure place.
- Flexibility: We are in class for an hour and a half that requires a lot of participation and focus. After the class, you don’t feel as exhausted, and you still have energy to complete required readings and prepare yourself for the following week.
- Independence and Group Work: I love that we have to get together with a group to do a presentation because this allows us to network with people, learn from our peers and collaborate which is an essential skill in the teaching world! In addition, we also have a week to complete our blog post which allows accommodation to everyone’s schedules. You are able to complete your work at your own pace and on your own time. This is a lifesaver!
From my perspective as a student, I love the online/blended class. Now, if the roles were reversed, and I was the teacher of an online class I am not sure I would feel the same. I am a relationship teacher and love the bond of face to face interaction. I feel like I would miss the working one on one beside a student. For example, I love the light bulb moments when students understand math concepts. Just as Michael said in a tweet a last week…
Effective online instruction requires a teacher who is able to effectively develop the teacher-student relationship at a distance. Teaching is all about relationships… and effective online instructors are able to maintain those relationships.
Regardless of the environment you are teaching in, online or face to face, I think we all need to realize the value and importance of student teacher relationships. For me, if I didn’t have strong relationships with my students, I feel they would have less trust in me and I would be a less effective teacher. What are your thoughts? Do you have experience with teaching any online classes?