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Participate in an Online Teaching Community

Module by: Larry Ragan. E-mail the author

Summary: This module focuses on the importance of joining an online learning community for support and suggestions about best practices in online teaching. This module is part of the Best Practices in Online Teaching Course created by Penn State University World Campus as a guide for faculty who are new to teaching in an online environment.

What to Do?

Figure 1: Photo: chairs and coffee by Muriel Miralles de Sawicki, Photo #732128, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/732128
Figure 1 (graphics1.jpg)
Instructors may communicate with an external “expert,” someone who is familiar with online technology and pedagogy, to solicit advice, understanding, as well as psychological support, and to understand the changing concept of “quality teaching."

How to Do It?

  • Communicate with a colleague who has experience with or is teaching online to talk about the related challenges, successes, or other issues.
  • Join a listserv or sign up for newsletters discussing teaching online.
  • Participate in training courses, workshops, or seminars about teaching online.
  • Talk with an instructional designer for teaching strategies/ideas
  • Consult individually with instructional design staff at your institution
  • Investigate institutional support provided by the college or online program.

Why Do It?

Faculty may not want to teach future online courses if adequate technical support was lacking in their first online teaching experience (Lao & Gonzales, 2005).

Koehler, Mishra, Hershey, & Peruski (2004) suggest that traditional workshops, tutorials, and technical support groups are over-simplified approaches to dealing with the complex relationships between content, technology, and pedagogy. Their study proposes the use of design team approach and considers content, technology, and pedagogy as dependent on one another.

Faculty who teach online courses need to feel supported when dealing with course and student issues (Palloff & Pratt, 2001).

References:

Koehler, M.J., Mishra, P., Hershey, K., & Peruski, L. (2004). With a little help from your students: A new model for faculty development and online course design. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 12(1), 25-55

Lao, T. & Gonzales, C. (2005). Understanding online learning through a qualitative description of professors and students’ experiences. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 13(3), 459-474

Pallott, R.M., & Pratt, K. (2001). Lessons from the cyberspace classroom: The realities of online teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

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