Friday, March 6, 2009

Online Professional

The article, "Online Professional" by Jim Vanides speaks to teachers contemplating "teaching" online courses. He discusses the challenges of translating his lecture material into concise written material to be used online. What is spoken during a classroom session does not necessarily convert to proper reading material. His course/workshop is on the science of sound, which requires the students to "hear" various samples throughout the coursework. To enable students to share in the experience, kits were mailed to each student prior to the beginning of class. The online students were responsible for keeping a science notebook, which was a private discussion board which the teacher also had access to. There were also various discussions and response forums. Testing was done with multiple choice, as well as three other methods of evaluation. The article was very encouraging of taking on this type of classroom, listing several advantages.

Q1. What were some of the disadvantages in putting this course online?
A1. The author listed several issues such as making sure the material is understandable in its written form, loss of inflection and subtle humor, and the lack of impromptu guitar lead singing sessions.

Q2. Were there any areas where the online students were able to reach a greater depth?
A1. Because the sessions take place over several days, the discussions were often longer and more thought provoking, perhaps because of the time involved in forming answers. Additionally, areas which are quickly passed by in the classroom setting, such as after a demonstration, would often lead to greater experimentation by the online students, because the "flow" of the material did not necessarily push them along to a new topic.

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