Three of the Master degree classes I am currently taking at Western Oregon University for my Masters of Science in Education: Information Technology include:
- Web 2.0 Tools for Teaching and Learning
- Designing and Teaching Online Courses
- Electronic Portfolios
These three classes are an excellent complement to each other.
The 'Online Courses' class covers an amazing array of concepts and techniques to assist in the initial creation of an online course and in the effective delivery and teaching of the course. In particular, we are learning how to create a true online community including both the students and instructor(s) so everyone feels like they are part of a real community who works and learns together. In addition, we are learning how to effectively organize an online course and create engaging lessons, activities, and assignments including group activities (forums, peer reviews, groups assignments, etc.). We are 'learning by doing' in this course, which is amazingly effective, as we create our own mini-online courses.
In the 'Web 2.0 Tools' class, we are learning about, and applying where possible, the many web-based tools that can be effectively used to assist teachers both in teaching and in creating and maintaining our own Personal Learning Network.
In the 'Electronic Portfolios' class, we are not only learning about how to construct an effective portfolio, we are learning about how these types of digital portfolios can be used for various purposes including in education and teaching.
What is really great this term is the connection between these classes where the Web 2.0 tools we are learning about can be effectively applied to help teach engaging online classes. For example, blogs can effectively be used by students in an online class for writing their own reflections on specific readings they have done or concepts they have learned. These blogs allow fellow classmates to comment on and share their own related reflections and learnings. In addition, digital portfolios can be assigned to students in an online class as an effective way to collect their class assignments in an organized and connected fashion, allow reflection on learning, and allow fellow students to both work collaboratively on portfolios and provide constructive feedback on each other's portfolios.
These are just three of the many outstanding classes I have taken so far as part of the Masters of Science in Education: Information Technology degree at Western Oregon University.