The following responses have been derived from the resources listed in the bottom of the post.
- What is the significance of knowing the technology available to you?
It is important to know the technology available to you so that you are able to apply the right tools to achieve what ever instructional effect you want. The Boetticher text submits that while getting acclimated with all of the applications at your disposal might be daunting and take some time, “these tools make it possible to design almost any experience that you [may] have designed for your face-to-face environment” (p. 58, 2010).
- Why is it essential to communicate clear expectations to learners?
It is essential to communicate clear expectations to learners so that they can approach the course and proceed with confidence. The text explains that “unambiguous guidelines…make a significant contribution to ensuring understanding and satisfaction in an online course” (Boetticher, p. 55, 2010). If the learner doesn’t know what is expected of him it is highly likely that he will have a hard time finding focus and very unlikely that he’ll arrive at the learning outcomes.
- What additional considerations should the instructor take into account when setting up an online learning experience?
The instructor should understand that just as a f2f course is dynamic and might change as a result of student’s needs or other factors, online course “[go] through a gradual process of refinement” and it could take “about three cycles of teaching a course for it to be fully developed” (Boetticher, p. 63, 2010). They should bear this in mind as they set up and implement an online learning experience as that awareness and responsiveness could contribute to making the course that much better. I discussed the importance of clear expectations, the text also lists “presence, community and patience” (p. 53, 2010) as essential themes for course beginnings. The instructor should make it clear that he/she is present and available; they should be patient with learners who may be new to the online experience and the increased responsibility that the learner assumes and they should foster an environment rich with discussions and ideas.
To successfully launch an online learning experience ample thought should be given as to the type of environment you are facilitating. Is it inviting, challenging and exciting or flat and impersonal? As the experts in the Launching the online learning experience video submit, the first couple of weeks are very critical in guarding against attrition. Providing engaging icebreakers, coming across as approachable, human and knowledgeable are all key factors in laying the foundation for a solid course. I learned that the introduction and icebreaker elements of the course are integral pieces of the course machinery and shouldn’t be approached as throw away bits.
Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Video: Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Launching the online learning experience [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu