Creating this philosophy, I came across some quotes that I found intriguing as well as inspirational. One by Jennifer Fleming states, “Teaching in the Internet age means we must teach tomorrow’s skills today.” (Nunez, 2015) Fleming’s statement is intuitive as well as correct.
The other, I believe, is the most prevalent today is by Cammy Bean, “People expect to be bored by e-Learning—let’s show them it doesn’t have to be like that!” (Nunez, 2015) This quote made me think about the online course I have seen. Just a series of links to publisher content and publisher PowerPoint slides. Nothing at all like I believe an online course should be.
I feel an online teaching philosophy encompasses several factors but no limited to; engagement, community, collaboration, student orientated, facilitation and more. I believe that the days of teachers standing up and lecturing are coming to an end. I strongly feel it is more import to create an environment where the focus is no the student. This encourages critical thinking and self-sufficiency.
Using various types of social media works to create community and collaboration. Students cannot meet in an online class as they would in a podium class to interconnect. Therefore it is critical to create an atmosphere where everyone is comfortable and willing to contribute without fear or feeling left out. Use of social media in the classroom can also help students gain a social network that can lead them to professional connections for the future. Especially in their specific field.
Communications is vital in online learning. The facilitators must outline what they expect of students but what students can expect from them. Communication student to student is important as well. Twitter, Facebook and other social media programs can be an effective tool in encouraging this element. Bard has it right!
“To utilize social media tools effectively and properly, you must absolutely generate spontaneous communications in direct response to what others are saying or to what is happening in that moment. Be yourself. Be conversational. Be engaged.” (Bard, 2016)
Privacy, security, and technical ease of use, and support are another critical area that I believe is paramount. With the prevalence for viruses, malware, and social engineering the need to be keenly aware of these elements. Keeping as much as feasible in an LMS is one of the best solution. Students can then use the blog, discussion, and chat tool in confidence for privacy and security. This also protects the facilitator and university in the event a student posts items that are unacceptable.
I find that making sure students know where to find technical support is fundamental for online learning. Facilitators need to be free to concentrate on the content. The break fix or technical questions should be directed to a university support team. I put contact information in my syllabus and introductory module overview so our student technical know where to find the support area.
I am careful choose the types of media tools for my courses as these tools are becoming indispensable in online education. “Teaching with technology isn’t just about staying current on the latest tools, it’s about knowing how to successfully incorporate the best tools into your teaching when and where it makes sense.” (Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications, 2016)
There is definitive criteria for selecting education tools for a course. Get to know your students and their learning styles. Technology must benefit and enhance the learning environment. If most students in the class are non-traditional then the students may have technical phobia. The tools must be easily accessible to the students, easy to use, and know what support materials are needed. Are the tools cross platform? An instructor cannot expect students to use and Apple based tool if most of the students use Androids.
I work to avoid the social media mistakes that can be made. Mistakes are similar to ignoring the community. Instructors must give regular feedback to the students so they feel a part of the online community. Another poor use of social media involves properly broadcasting information to students. Not all communication media is the same as the others. “Essentially, the rules to good, creative content applies across social networks, while still taking into account each platform’s audience.” (Giuliano, 2015)
Using social media for e-Learning is here to stay. The Babson Survey Research Group reports, “90% of all faculty are using social media in courses.” (Moran, Jeff, & Tinti-Kane, 2011) Educational trends can change rapidly. I am sure I will be updating my online teaching philosophy over time.
Bard, M. (2016, ). 99 Favorite Social Media Quotes and Tips. Retrieved June 22, 2016, from www.mirnabard.com: http://www.mirnabard.com/2010/04/99-favorite-social-media-quotes-and-tips/
Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications. (2016). (Magna Publications) Retrieved June 22, 2016, from Teaching with Technology: http://www.facultyfocus.com/topic/articles/teaching-with-technology-articles/
Giuliano, K. (2015, July 2). CNBC Social Media. Retrieved June 22, 2016, from The 5 biggest social media mistakes to avoid: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/02/the-5-biggest-social-media-mistakes-to-avoid.html
Moran, M., Jeff, S., & Tinti-Kane, H. (2011, April). Teaching, Learning, and Sharing: How Today’s Higher Education Faculty Use Social Media. Retrieved June 22, 2016, from ERIC: http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED535130
Nunez, M. (2015, March 31). Famous Quotations (#My Fav.#). Retrieved June 18, 2016, from http://margsjemkristelnunez.blogspot.com/