Online and Distance Learning

When it comes to online teaching the jury is out on its impact on students. It doesn’t necessarily have to be negative, or positive for that matter, but it is about our preparation as instructors to facilitating students’ learning in a new environment. Michelle Miller’s Minds Online provides a way for instructors to think about the space of the online classroom. According to Miller “The asynchronous online environment also affords more opportunities for deliberate reflection, whereas in-class discussions tend to reward immediate, off-the-cuff responses.” While for Britt Watwood the key for instructors is to:

“Ask students to respond – Chunk material into short segments and have students
do something (answer a question, click on a hotspot, etc).
• Take advantage of automaticity – Use auto-grading features of LMS’s [Learning Management Systems] to provide
practice opportunities and feedback, with incentives for completion.
• Assess Cognitive Load – Positively impact cognitive load through design
features. Poor instructions or requiring new features without practice can
negatively increase cognitive load.
• Discourage Divided Attention – The web is full of distractions, but simply
informing students that they should pay attention actually increases attention.”

Recognizing that online learning is here to stay for the foreseeable future means that more and more instructors ought to think about what motivates student to be online learners as well as how to better get their teaching across. For me, online learning is a new opportunity to think about what motivates students to speak across a new medium as well as how to problematize the varying assumptions about online learning. I do so in order to develop a new repertoire that allows me to reflect about my intentionality and reflect about my learning goals that have been impacted since the move to online instruction.