The class subject I’ll be teaching is Intro to Spanish. The course will be open to all college students interested in learning a second language that will benefit them throughout the course of their lives. By learning a second language, students will become more marketable in their job search and career. Students will be able to learn the basics of Spanish such as the alphabet, numbers, grammar, pronunciation and word processing. The course itself will be online and taught per quarter. With the use of tools such as Blackboard, YouTube, PowerPoint, SlideShare, Blog, Skype and Fuze, students will be able to learn and have fun with the course materials.
Criterion 1: Develop rapport while providing a clear outline of the course.
The first criterion I would like to incorporate would be to ask students to engage in a first day ice breaker activity followed by a detailed outline of the course. For example, I would provide students with a brief background of myself and ask students to do the same as part of a group discussion. I would then encourage students to review the course syllabus, grading scale, assignments, due dates and instructor contact information and to address any questions/concerns immediately. The goal for this would be to allow students to familiarize themselves with the instructor and their peers while learning the course goals and expectations.
Justification for Criterion 1
Since e-learning courses can be somewhat of a challenge for some students due to the lack of community, I have to incorporate various factors to assist students’ success. Social presence and cognitive presence alike must be incorporated in my course to ensure students are getting the maximum learning experience. For example, students will be placed in groups of 2 and will be required to respond to their team member and describe what they’ve learned for that week and describe something they are having a hard time understanding. The reason behind this would be to allow students to engage with one another, but also so that students can maintain a level of communication, critical thinking skills and to help one another be successful.
Learning a new language like Spanish can be challenging. Therefore students have to be able to exercise all of their resources available to them which not only includes that of their peers through social and cognitive presence, but also that of teaching presence by their instructors. “Therefore, we do not focus specifically on the social and cognitive elements themselves but on the roles of a teacher or the actual functions a teacher must perform to create and maintain a dynamic learning environment.” (Garrison, 2011).
Criterion 2: Applying the three learning theories: Behaviorism, Cognitivism and Constructivism.
The second criterion I would like to incorporate would be creativity and clarity when applying the three learning theories. Since no two students think, interpret information or learn the same, I would have to factor in all three learning theories into the course to accommodate all students. With behaviorism focusing more on the response, cognitivism focusing more on interpretation and constructivism focusing on creativity, providing students with balance will be key.
Justification of Criterion 2
“Learning is a complex process that has generated numerous interpretations and theories of how it is effectively accomplished.” (Ertmer & Newby, 1993 p.51) One way to accomplish this would be to allow students to share their ideas. There would be no right or wrong answers in doing so and the purpose of this would be to allow students to learn from one another in accordance with the course materials. I believe in doing so, this will allow students to collaborate and also take bits and pieces of information from each learning theory and apply them in their work.
Criterion 3: Incorporating instructional technologies.
The third criterion I want to discuss is incorporating instructional technologies such as Web 2.0, social media and mobile learning. Students in an e-learning environment need to be able to utilize every technology based tool available to them. This not only allows students to access the course at any given time, but it also allows students to remain up to date and in touch with the instructor and their peers. One benefit of incorporating instructional technologies is that it “promotes communication and facilitates learning”. (Daher & Lazarevic, 2014)
Justification for Criterion 3
Students need to be able to communicate and connect with the instructor and their peers in an e-learning course. One reason why is because students need to be able to feel a sense of community and belonging. How a student learns and what a student learns is crucial in an e-learning environment. Therefore, incorporating instructional technologies is important for both the students and the instructor. The use of Blackboard, Blog and Skype are just a few of the tools that will allow students and instructors to develop and maintain an open forum of communication, teaching and learning. Garrison (2011, p. 73) went on to state that “e-learning is not about technology, it is about flexibility, connectivity, and community.
Criterion 4: Incorporating activities and strategies for effective e-learning.
The fourth criterion I would like to discuss is incorporating activities and strategies for effective e-learning. Activities would include discussions, read and respond, Q&A, and quizzes via Blackboard. In addition to this, weekly reviews in a Blog would also be required so that students can reflect on their work and the work of their peers. Students would also be encouraged to utilize tools such as SlideShare and PowerPoint in an effort to provide as much visual life to their work as possible.
Justification for Criterion 4
Incorporating activities and strategies for effective e-learning are two-fold. This will serve as a way for the instructor to bring students together in a fun and productive way. Second, students will be able to incorporate course materials and enhance their learning when they interact with their peers as they will increase their participation, communication and experiences throughout the course. “Much like the activities and games used in traditional classroom training, e-learning activities can be used by sharing experiences, benefiting from team learning, increasing participation, or encouraging learners to develop constructive online relationships throughout the course”. (Watkins, 2014)
Criterion 5: Maintain student motivation to succeed.
The fifth criterion I want to discuss is maintain student motivation to succeed in an e-learning course. Since e-learning allows students’ academic freedom and endless flexibility, instructors need to be able to keep students on task and on track to being successful. One way an instructor can do this is by sending out weekly reminders, providing prompt and constructive feedback and by being easily accessible. In doing so, this will encourage students to want to produce quality work as they know the instructor is in fact paying attention and will ultimately be the deciding factor on how serious they’re taking the course.
Justification for Criterion 5
Students want to be able to relate to what they’re learning. This will obtain and retain their attention and eagerness to learn. Additionally, students want to feel a sense of satisfaction in an e-learning course as this too will serve as a motivator to keep them engaged and interested in the course itself. “Because the sense of teaching presence, which structuralizes learning content, encourages the learner’s continual participation and facilitates discourse, it can lead learners to continue meaningful learning.” (Joo, Joung &Kim, 2013)
In conclusion, including all five of the above mentioned criterion will provide my students with the best possible learning experience I can provide in my opinion. Developing rapport and including all three learning theories will engage students and the instructor to maintain an open line of communication so that everyone can learn from one another while applying critical thinking skills. Incorporating instructional technology and activities and strategies for effective e-learning will give students the chance to learn about new tools available to them that are unrestricted. It is my belief this will motivate students to complete assignments in a fun way that is easy for both the instructor and the students. My students will not only be learning, but they will also be automatically applying all of the five criterion without my having to ask them directly to do so. Last, if all of these criterion are executed effectively, I have no doubt the students will have a problem being successful in my online course.
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- Did you fulfill the requirement to make your first post no later than Wednesday in the discussion? Yes
- Did you fulfill the requirement to post at least three times in each discussion topic between Monday and Friday? Yes
- Did you fulfill the requirement to post the answers to the prompts in your blog no later than Sunday? Yes
- Did you fulfill the requirement to reply at least two classmates’ blogs on Saturday/Sunday? Yes
- Quote your best post(s) from the week and explain why you feel these are the best.
“Students need to receive suggestions about how they can improve their performance. It is best practice if online instructors can structure assignments for students to respond in different ways. This will help to respect the diverse talents of students, motivate them to participate hence make online learning interesting.”- By Carolyne Obonyo.
The reason why I chose this as my best post from the week is because I have taken several online courses and every experience has been slightly different. I have found that when an instructor provides feedback rather than just a grade for example, I have wanted to do better or make changes. This makes online learning interesting because it allows students to reflect on their work and adjust if/when necessary.
- Quote several of the best posts from other students. Explain why you chose the ones you present.
“This unpreparedness runs the gamut from lack of commitment, inability to manage their time, skill deficiencies in the use of hardware and software applications, and lack of experience using Course Management Systems.”- by Michael Verhasselt.
The reason why I chose this as one of the best posts is because I firmly agree with this statement. I believe there are some students who may be under the impression that online courses are more lax than face-to-face courses therefore they sign-up for these courses not knowing what they’re getting themselves into. When this happens, this takes away the opportunity for students who are well prepared for an online course.
- What did you learn in the discussion this week that will be useful to you or that changes the way you view something?
I learned that there is no right or wrong way of developing an online course. I learned that in order for an online course to be successful for both the instructor and the students, all parties have to be well educated in what they’re getting themselves into. The instructor must be willing to be an active participant in the course by providing feedback, making themselves easily accessible, and providing clear expectations. Students must be willing to learn, participate and engage in the course.