CTL Idea Exchange – Episode 2

Thank you, Mark, for participating! If you’d like to try out Skype (which is one of the most popular communication tools on the web), check out the Skype website to create a free account, and let us know if you need help!

Do you agree with Mark’s views on the proliferation of online learning? Let us know what YOU think. Join the conversation by leaving your comments below!

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8 responses to “CTL Idea Exchange – Episode 2

  1. I like your ideas about taking advantage of the flexibility of the internet for teaching – especially in today’s technologically advanced environment. However, I do think there is something to be said for the structure of a class. I think it teaches more than just the content of the class. It’s about responsibility and accountability for needing to attend a class. It’s kind of like having to attend a job even though many people could do their job from home because of technology.

    • Mark Champagne

      I know what you’re saying and I definitely agree that showing up for a class at a certain place and certain time shows a student’s dedication and helps to focus the student and instill a habit of accountability.

      But looking at how fast technology is changing when it comes to communication in general and teaching and learning in particular, I really have to believe the on-ground classroom is on the way out. Not completely, but it may soon play a minor role.

      And let me just say that I think that’s unfortunate. I love my on-ground classes! But in fifty years it seems unlikely that our current students’ grandchildren will be flying their hovercraft and rocket sleds over to 12 Mile or Hall Road :)

  2. I love the skyping with students idea!!

    • Mark Champagne

      You’re students will love it.

      It’s how many of them view their world – through a computer screen :)

  3. I am just finishing up an online educational technology class in which the instructor has had weekly meetings, on Sundays at 7 pm. They were not “mandatory” and she did record them for those who could not participate, but I can’t help but wonder how participation (or lack thereof) fed into her perception of student interest and commitment. Some people just don’t want to do that type of activity, but what does not participating mean?

    I would have the same hesitation with Skype: Many online students choose online classes because they aren’t comfortable with face-to-face interaction, even one-on-one. I’ll never forget one of the most awkward moments of my entire life was when a student who had been in several of my online classes came to my office hours to meet me in person (her idea). She was so nervous that she couldn’t get a word out.

    I’m all for being responsive but I’d rather do it without faces attached and without the “demand” for instant response on my part or the students’ part.

    • Mark Champagne

      That’s the beauty of Skype! I have had more than one conversation with students in which they didn’t allow an image of themselves to be seen. They could see me and the whiteboard I was using, but from my point of view they were just a blank screen.

      Online students are definitely a different breed. My courses are actually hybrids so I get to see my online students once a week and they are some of the shyest students I’ve ever seen.

      They do great by email, which I’ve learned to use pretty effectively even with some chemistry subjects that are easier to explain in pictures than in words and I think email will always be the main way students communicate to me in my hybrid course, but Skype has proven to be a powerful tool for those of my students willing to try it.

  4. Nice job, Mark. I definitely appreciate what certain technologies have done for the classroom and student learning (particularly in making my job easier), but I hope (echoing Monique) onground classes are not on the way out.

    Some students find online classes more convenient (and involve less anxiety, as Edie noted), yet many students prefer and enjoy onground classes. Mark, you make a good point about how having to be in a classroom at a set time can be difficult and somewhat restrictive, but online classes can also be restrictive and limited – just in different ways. I think this is why it is so important to make that time in class – both onground and online – as interactive and engaging as possible. I’m still working on that, and will let everyone know when I’ve it all perfected. Ha!

    I’d also like to say this blog is a great idea, and I’ve learned a lot from it already.

    Mark – what’s the poster on the cabinet behind you? Looks like a good movie!

  5. Pingback: The online courses debate « Instructional Technology at Macomb

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