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Overview of Pedagogical Theory I

Page history last edited by Anne McKinney 14 years, 11 months ago



Differences between online and face-to-face learning

There are many differences between online education and face-to-face (f2f) learning - the kind traditionally found in the classroom. When we move a class from that f2f environment and place it in an online setting, we lose some of the benefits of being in the same room atuiu the same time with our students. You are probably already aware of some of the disadvantages of leaving the f2f environment. We can't see each other and talk with each other back and forth with the same immediate level of interaction. We can't glance at students during a lecture to determine how well they understand the material. We also lose a degree of the students' level of commitment to the course by showing up to the classroom.


However, several aspects of f2f learning can be re-purposed to apply in online courses. Some ways of bringing f2f elements to online learning include:


  • Auditory learning: podcasts, RSS feeds, broadcasted synchronous lectures
  • Visual learning: photos of yourself and students, images and screen captures, video clips with lectures and/or hands-on demonstrations
  • Synchronous learning: audio lectures, chat discussion sessions, announcement text messaging


Additionally, online learning holds some advantages that traditional f2f education hasn't had:


  • Access to web resources and document sharing during discussion
  • Diversity of students in distant locations
  • Flexible use of time on task
  • Greater levels of accessibility for students with physical and learning disabilities


What makes online learning effective?

This website and its online resources will hopefully introduce you to techniques to help you effectively communicate knowledge to your online students. The biggest key to making this happen is by maintaining communication with your students.


By keeping an open line of communication throughout the duration of your course, you can help them feel engaged about the topic, learn by interacting with other students, and contact you when something doesn't go according to plan. Online learning can be an isolating experience when a student is disconnected from other people. For this reason, most online courses include learning activities that stress communication with other students. Just like going to the gym is more likely to produce results when you have a friend to meet you there and keep you from ignoring your workout, online learning is more effective when students know they are expected to participate in a shared experience with their peers. (This is a reason why we have the WISE forums to help you share what you are learning here with other learners.)


Communication affects student engagement, which is another important tenet of online learning. When students are actively engaged in the course, they will keep participating in the course activities and communicating with you and other students. You don't have to load up your course website with clip art and animation to keep them interested in the subject matter. To a certain extent your own level of enthusiasm for what you are teaching will rub off on them. If it's interesting to you, there's a reasonable chance that it will be interesting to them, too! As we move forward we will discuss ways for you to promote communication and student engagement in your courses.


The next page will discuss some more specific approaches to online pedagogy, followed by a reading assignment.




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