The last two weeks in the ONL-course focused on design and how we as teachers can design better when we are designing courses for online teaching or so called blended teaching. I think this was an interesting topic and also very useful in my own teachning, even though I never work completely online. Some parts of my courses take place online – mostly in the LMS (It’s learning) we’re using at my campus, but most of my teaching is done face to face – in lectures and seminars. I thought I should write more about my own teaching in relation to what I’ve learned during the ONL-course in a later blogpost.
For me, the ADDIE-model and the Five stage model have been both interesting and useful. But I‘ve chosen to write this blog post about some of the advice from Bates (2016) that I find really interesting. For example Bates gives an interesting overview of in what contexts online or blended teaching is suitable depending on which students you are working with:
- Fully online learning best suits more mature, adult, lifelong learners who already have good independent learning skills and for work and family reasons don’t want to come on campus
- Blended learning, or a mix of classroom and fully online courses, best suits full-time
- undergraduate students who are also working part-time to keep their debt down, and need the flexibility to do part of their studies online
- ‘Dependent’ learners who lack self-discipline or who don’t know how to manage their own learning probably do better with face-to-face teaching; however, independent learning is a skill that can be taught, so blended learning is a safe way to gradually introduce such students to more independent study methods.
Bates also writes about how online teaching can be used for changing existing courses:
Re-design of very large lecture classes, so lectures are recorded and students come to class for discussion and questions, making the classes more interactive and hence improving learning outcomes.
This is really interesting and important. But Bates also recommend that you only start this transition to online teaching if you have access to proper technical tools at your institution. Better not to do it than to do it badly, according to Bates. But he also writes that it’s important to be open to do things differently. This I find inspiring!
The last thing I would like to point out is Bates very clear instruction to communicate with your students online.
There is substantial research evidence to suggest ongoing, continuing communication between teacher/instructor and students is essential in all online learning. At the same time, it needs to be carefully managed in order to control the teacher/instructor’s workload. Students need to know the instructor is following the online activities of students and the instructor is actively participating during the delivery of the course.
Bates recommends that you as a teacher are aware of that most students need:
- Well-defined learning goals
- A clear timetable of work, based on a well-structured organization of the curriculum
- Manageable study workloads appropriate for their conditions of learning
- Regular instructor communication and presence
- A social environment that draws on, and contributes to, the knowledge and experience of other students
- A skilled teacher or instructor
- Other motivated learners to provide mutual support and encouragement.