Week Three Reflection 674

Week 3 Reflection 674

Our essential question this week was,“What is the role of discourse, collaboration, and technology for distributed learning in online courses?” With the Internet, online courses have increased every year since they started. I talked about three distinct models commonly subsumed under the title of “online learning”: Online Collaborative Learning (OCL), Online Distance Education (ODE), and Online Courseware (OC).

“OCL refers to educational applications that emphasize collaborative discourse and knowledge building mediated by the Internet; learners work together online to identify and advance issues of understanding and to apply their new understanding and analytical terms and tools to solving problems” (Harasim, 2002). This is like the type of class I am taking now. We are working together and trying to understand new readings by writing about them and responding to each other.

“ODE is primarily based on traditional 19th- and 20th-century correspondence education models, but replaces postal-mail delivery with the cheaper, faster and more efficient email delivery of course materials and tutor feedback” (Harasim, 2002). I took something like this a long time ago. They would mail me the information and I would mail it back. It has now changed to email.

Online Courseware or OC (also known as Online Computer-Based Training) refers to the use of courseware (pre-packaged content) that a learner accesses online (Harasim, 2002). This is a class where you have to take a test at the end. I have taken this type of course before, when I got hired at an airport. I had to watch a bunch of videos and pass a test at the end.

In responding to others’ blogs, Sara wrote, “We are starting to realize that it is not important to know everything but more important to know how to find the answers we desire to know.” This is very true and I try to teach my students this. She also mentioned how students text more than they use the phone. This has become true for me, too.

Josie’s post made me remember when I first started teaching and we had chalk boards. I hated those, as they always got your hand full of chalk. And then came the white boards. I loved the white boards and the overhead projectors that used transparencies. I still have one that I’ve kept. We now have the new Dell projectors in our rooms.  I agree with other students’ statements that the Internet has opened up many new avenues for learning. I know I wouldn’t have been able to take classes at the University to get my degree without distance learning. I love taking classes online, but I do struggle sometimes. Life can get difficult, but if I’m able to keep up, the Internet will have made it possible for me to broaden and deepen my education, making me a better teacher.

I agreed with Cherie that we do have discourse in our online classes together. We meet with each other, respond to each others’ blogs, and listen to and teach each other. She mentioned Padlet and MindMeister, which allow students to work together and bounce ideas off each other. Sounds interesting! I have to check it out sometime.

Amy got this from McAuley et al.: “In a distributed environment a learner has to be able to put his or her ideas forward in a way that others can see and engage with, even if those ideas are not yet fully thought out or polished.” I agree—even if your ideas are not firm, collaborating with others can help you work them out. Another interesting fact she wrote was, “The current Knowledge Age throws information at learners faster than they can process it independently. Being able to collaborate and engage in discourse with other people is key to assimilating this new information into previous experiences to deepen their understanding.” This is why we need to collaborate—so that we can fully understand what is being thrown at us.

It has been a busy week. I have been working ahead because our group is presenting next Thursday. I feel pretty good about it. We have the main points we want to say, and I created a PowerPoint for it. My two teammates are formatting a survey or quiz, and then we just have to come up with some questions for it to use in the break-out rooms. I think it will go smoothly, or at least that is what I am hoping. Other than worrying about that, it has been a good week!

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