EDTECH 522 Module 1 Reflection

Assignment Module 1:
After creating your blog, you will then make your first reflection entry. Based on the readings during Module 1, please select two questions to answer from below. Write your answers and reflections on your blog.

1. Define online teaching and learning.


Online teaching and learning is instruction distributed and received through the Internet. According to the University of Massachusetts, “Online instruction includes real-time (synchronous) and anytime, anywhere (asynchronous) interactions” (p. 5). The difference between real-time and anytime is important when discussing online teaching and learning because this type of learning environment gives students and instructors the freedom to work whenever, wherever.

According to Kor and Rossen (2010),

Teaching online means conducting a course partially or entirely through the Internet you may also see references to online education as eLearning (electronic learning). It’s a form of distance education, a process that traditionally included courses taught through the mail, by DVD, or via telephone or TV-any form of learning in which students and instructor must be in the same place at the same time. What makes teaching online unique is that it uses the Internet, especially the World Wide Web, as the primary means of communication.

The “Internet” is the key component of online teaching and learning. Kor and Rossen (2010) also point out that, “In 2007 nearly twenty percent of all higher education students were taking at least one online course” (p.5). The numbers increase each year as more and more students find online learning more affordable and more accommodating.

Motivation to take online courses may depend on student demographics. Stewart, Bachman, and Johnson (2010) found that, “online students placed a greater emphasis on differentiating between course schedule concerns and time constraints due to work and home responsibilities as separate extrinsic motivation dimensions that did traditional students” (p.5). I chose to take an online master’s degree program for this very motivation. I have two kids and a full-time job. Online learning was the only way I was going to achieve my educational goals. When I was a traditional student (taking only face-to-face courses) I had absolutely no concerns about work and home responsibilities, as they did not exist.

Online teaching and learning must be broken out into sub-categories. The Sloan 2012 Report distinguishes between the levels of Internet activity in a course. The level of activity makes it either Blended/Hybrid, Web-Facilitated, or fully Online. The report described fully online courses as, “those in which at least 80 percent of the course content is delivered online” (p.7).

2. Describe the various models used in online teaching and learning (blended/hybrid), fully online, web-based, LMS, etc).

The Sloan 2012 report details the differences between online, blended or hybrid, and web-facilitated courses. The most important discrepancy between the types of online learning and instruction is the time and variety of ways the Internet is used during the course.

According to the report Web-facilitated learning and instruction is, “a course that uses web-based technology to facilitate what is essentially a face-to-face course. May use a course management system (CMS) or web pages to post the syllabus and assignments” (p. 7). More and more this type of learning environment is seen in the K-12 arena. Teachers post their curriculum and assignments online for students and parents to view. Grade books and scales are online for parents to view and students to follow.

The report describes Blended/hybrid instruction as a, “Course that blends online and face-to-face delivery. Substantial proportion of the content is delivered
Online, typically uses online discussions, and typically has a reduced number of
face-to-face meetings” (p. 7). In a blended course environment thirty to eighty percent of course content is supplied via the Internet.

Online means a course, “where most or all of the content is delivered online. Typically have no face-to-face meetings” (The Sloan 2012 Report, p.7). Online courses span the globe and education level. They allow students to participate in forums, communicate with professors, and some may say even “interact” more with the course than they would in a traditional lecture hall of 300 students.

All three versions of online teaching and learning are found in K-12 education as well as higher education. My online learning experience began when my family moved to South Korea due to my Husband’s career. My son was just starting Kindergarten. The local U.S. military schools were terrible. I decided to teach Kindergarten via an online learning company. It was a blended learning environment where the course management was online, as well as the tests, videos, readings. However, there were also many hands-on activities like handwriting and letter manipulation. It was a great course and to this day my now nine year old claims he will attend college fully online.

When we returned from South Korea, I decided to go back to work in education, but needed to earn my teaching license back after a ten year lapse in my credentials. I found that with two young children and a Husband who was never home, online courses were the way to go. I took one class at a time through a university in my home state of Iowa while living in Tucson. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was very nervous. As the courses came and went, I found that I enjoyed online learning much more than I did my six years of traditional learning environments. The semester I spent learning online gave me the confidence to start my Master of Educational Technology program at Boise State University. After two years of course work, the end is near and I still find myself enjoying learning more than I did as a traditional student. I can see my son completing future degrees online, but a part of me still wishes him to have at least a small part of the traditional learning experience, just for the “experience”. Only time will tell!

References
Allen, E., & Seaman, J. (2013). Changing course: Ten years of tracking online education in the United States (p. 7, Rep.). Wellesley, MA: Babson Survey Research Group.
Feldman, R., & Zucker, D. (2012). Teaching and learning online communication, community, and assessment (Publication). Amherst: University of Massachusetts. Retrieved from http://www.umass.edu/oapa/oapa/publications/online_handbooks/Teaching_and_Learning_Online_Handbook.pdf
Ko, S. S., & Rossen, S. (2010). Teaching online: A practical guide. New York: Routledge.
Stewart, C., Bachman, C., & Johnson, R. (2010, June). Students’ characteristics and
motivation orientations for online and traditional degree programs. MERLOT
Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org

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