Change has ever required education professional’s to evolve with their teaching philosophies. In the 21st century, digital literacy has prevailed as the common status quo where the Internet and e-mail are second nature in our technology driven world.
Educators of the future will not thrive unless they are willing to unlearn past practices and take risks with new technology. A critical self-analysis constantly challenges me to revamp my philosophy as the environment in which students learn is like no other ever seen before. Teaching and learning ahs become more transparent and diverse than ever before.
Good Online Teaching Goals
A product of online education, I have taken numerous courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in communication and education. Expectations which were unheard of online became a reality to me as well as many others as online education has evolved. However, there are shared principles among face-to-face and online frameworks which are desirable to be an effective educator:
- Building relationships with student-faculty contact
- Collaborative learning among students (i.e. discussion boards or traditional setting)
- Emphasize deadlines and balancing time
- Offer alternative methods of assessment to match setting
- Peer feedback/evaluation challenges the learner to know content
- Prompt feedback by the instructor
- Respects diverse learners
- Sets high expectations for students and faculty
Active participation is vital in an online setting and passive learning will not due. As an instructor at any level, my ultimate goal is to center the classroom (virtual or traditional) on the needs of the students in it. Utilizing a backwards design model, I identify the skills which are most critical for a student to walk away with at the end of the course. Next, I create a map in which students will engage in real-life problem solving situations that are located along the journey. Embedded into the instructional activities are opportunities to transfer reading, writing, and technological skills as students engage in the curriculum.
I encourage students to take risks and offer opportunities to take different paths to get to the same standards or skill. Whether it’s an open-ended assessment to showcase student learning or a project based summative evaluation, I want students to display their learning and monitor their own progress along their journey. In addition, I always offer evaluations of my practices as well as their own choices to self-reflect upon whether students met the course objectives set before them.
Students are entitled to actively learn in a course and it requires quality instruction that stimulates a learner. Students are encouraged and permitted to multiple opportunities to interact with their peers and professor. Classroom examples and learning goals need to be current with the needs of the students and society. Expectations will be challenging, yet attainable. In closing, learning is not a one-time activity, but a journey and process all must assertively pursue to produce results. I highly encourage students to constantly reflect upon the journey to ultimately improve one’s own learning.