Having used Schoology last year with my students I felt as though I had moved somewhat into the world of online teaching. My course is definitely not an online program but I do try to weave aspects of online learning into the class. Using Twitter and blogs are tools that I would not have thought about utilizing in my course. I never went back to the Feedly account once we started working on our modules. Using these different communication methods stretched me the most this semester. It’s not the technology that I find challenging. I am not one to share my thoughts publicly very often so writing blog posts and tweets at first felt like formal assignments. As time went on I did become more comfortable with writing blog posts and tweets. I’m not sure how I would use these tools with my students as they don’t see social media as a means of instruction. With the Schoology platform many online tools can be found in one location making things less disjointed for my students.
When researching the historical and conceptual foundations of eLearning I found that much of this was just sound teaching practice. Teaching presence, cognitive presence and social presence should be integrated within any learning environment whether it be face-to-face or online. I do believe that the way in which we structure lessons and activities helps the student move from essential content knowledge to application of key principles. The Community of Inquiry website was helpful in that so much information was linked to the one website and much of it was written for a general population audience. I enjoyed reading about MOOCs, self-regulated learning but articles about lesson design and instructor roles seemed redundant as these are skills that I have worked on for many years in the face-to-face environment. At least these articles did confirm and support what I do in the classroom each day.
When designing the online module I felt the most comfortable as this is my strength. The TPack lesson plan had me consider other aspects of lesson planning that are unique to online learning. Planning online lessons requires you to focus very carefully on the flow of the lessons and on dialogue between the students along with feedback from the instructor. I did enjoy receiving feedback about my module from colleagues as they teach the same content as myself. It would have been nice to be in these assigned groups from the very beginning. I had the necessary experience to comment on someone’s lesson design where I did not feel as confident responding to blog posts about content that was new to me.
Lastly, the emerging technologies, such as virtual reality, are always a challenging part of teaching. The technologies develop so quickly now that I always feel as though I am one step behind my students. It would have been nice to be exposed to these emerging technologies before the end of the course. Teaching roles and lesson design could have been condensed somewhat allowing for more time to explore new technologies.