When I reflect on the readings and question what motivates me to teach online, I think there is a basic justice issue that comes to the forefront. If my class is online, it could ultimately be offered to anyone regardless of location and social standing. In the traditional classroom, especially at a place like Emory, we live in a place of privilege and at worse, a bubble of common experience. The online classroom could possibly open up that constraint not only for us teachers, but also for our students. If successful, course content could be spread to new audiences untouched by our traditional classrooms.
My biggest concern is how emotional intelligence plays or doesn’t play in the virtual environment. I use emotional intelligence to see how my students are reacting to the information I am presenting in my traditional classroom. Without that use, I will need to find alternative ways of feedback. I will need to do that without adding busy work, a common complaint, to the online students. I am hoping this class will give me some ideas about how to address this issue.
David, Thanks for naming emotional intelligence as a factor in teaching and learning. It was one of the dimensions I had been searching for when I face what I perceive to be limitations of on-line teaching. For those of us teaching relational skills, this is not a subtle skill, but fundamental. David Jenkins
David – you bring up a very good point on accessibility. The online environment has very few boundaries compared to the geographical and financial challenges of being at an institution. And, as you mentioned, the learners also need to be considered…not just how online teaching and learning affects teachers. Without our learners, we’d be out of a job.
More importantly, you bring up the excellent topic of emotional presence in online environments. It is so easy to see in a face-to-face environment how learners are reacting to your teaching, or how they are comprehending the content you’re presenting. I think this will be an important topic to address throughout the course.
I haven’t personally read this particular book, but you may want to check out “Creating a Sense of Presence in Online Teaching: How to ‘Be There’ for Distance Learners” by Rosemary M. Lehman and Simone C.O. Conceicao
I enjoyed your reflections…I do like the idea of the extension of the educational reach that you speak of, and I think we are at a time in education, as a whole, that information can flow to those who want it most. One of my biggest fears, ultimately, is some kind of additional control of the Internet (end of Net Neutrality or the Internet Tax Mandate – outlandish laws that need to be defeated over and over) – as I have been earning my living for many years as well as earning two degrees, a grad certificate and a professional certificate over the last nine years. My whole world has revolved around the Internet and will continue, so as long as I can see.
Busy work is not desired, but sometimes, formative assessment is necessary, to meet instructional goals. I think it’s important to distinguish between the two and make intentional activities. For example, it was evident to me that if I didn’t show you all the main platforms that we support and encourage faculty to use, in this online class which also can translate to the f2f class, I would be doing you all an injustice to feel more prepared to venture into this online realm.
You mentioned alternate ways of feedback. Do you mean to or from the learners?
In fact when someone doesn’t understand after that its
up to other people that they will assist, so here it happens.