This week we discussed the "Perfect Storm" which was written by Dr. Curtis J. Bonk. It was a very interesting article. I will post my thoughts on the article.
The first storm was introduced as "Emerging Technology". There is so much"innovative learning technology" emerging everyday that it is really hard to keep up with the new. My experiences so far in the Assessment Class is that there are some many really useful sources that can be used to assess the students in the real world environment. The assessments that have been discussed in our class include blogs and wikis. When to use which one, is a decision that the instructor needs to make based on the needs of their students. There are advantages and disadvantages to using any learning tool. The important thing to remember is to choose the best fit for both the teacher and the students. The teacher must feel comfortable using the tool before introducing it to the students. I have found that my students usually know a little more about the tool than I do because they spend so much time on the computer. It is really good to collaborate with your students and other teachers. Sharing and working together to understand how to use new technology has great advantages and the outcomes can be surprising.
The second storm was introduced as "Enormous Learner Demand". There are so many people who want to take classes online for so many different reasons. I am just one of the thousands who find that taking classes online is so much more convenient. I would never have been able to take the E-Learning Certificate at the University of Wisconsin because I live in Michigan. I would have to leave my home and spend the money to live near the University. It is a great opportunity to be able to take online classes, continue to teach, and take care of my family without leaving home. There are some advantages and disadvantages to this particular development in online learning. Universities expect online teachers to teach up to 100+ students online. Sometimes the teachers do not have any online training. The classes are given to those instructors with seniority. Some of the questions which came up in our discussions were: Should teachers get paid per student? How can teachers protect their work? Should all teachers have access to projects, syllabi, and assessments of other teachers? Do online degrees have the same value as degrees obtained from "brick and mortar" institutions?
Online instructors need to give the best they can to their students.
The third storm was introduced as "Enhanced Pedagogy". Online instructors need to "engage" their students in both synchronous and asynchronous environments. In the article a survey was taken by online learners. They were asked to choose the learning technologies that helped them the most in online learning. These were some of their choices: asynchronous discussion, Web-based videoconferencing, synchronous presentation tools, and online testing and examination tools, were all selected by five to ten percent of the respondents. Simulations were rated the highest of all of the tools. I really have a problem with developing simulations such as "Second Life". It requires a very technical skill which I have not developed yet. I think that maybe students chose this because many of them play video games. I don't think that online classes should be made into video games.
The fourth and last storm was introduced as "Erased Budgets". More money and more training will be necessary to keep up with the development of online classes for the population who want to take these classes. If universities do not meet the demand of the online student, they will go elsewhere and find what they need.
This article is very helpful in helping me to understand how online learning can be developed creatively to meet the needs of the students. I really wonder sometimes if the universities want us to meet the needs of the students or the needs of the administration!!!!!