July 4, 2007

Reflections on my first online class

I’ve taken about 8 course online but had never taught one…until last night. I’m teaching an undergraduate class to about 12-15 students of which 8 showed up yesterday for our first synchronous meeting. I managed to access Elluminate from the University of Saskatchewan even though my class is taught out of the University of Regina. To be safe, I did not allow for simultaneous speaking and so conversation didn’t really flow as I would have liked. Maybe there are those who have used this feature successfully and can pass on their experience. The chat box did work fairly well at times. I may choose to use Skype for more fluid discussions in the future.

Most of the students are entering their 3rd of 4th year of education. It’s evident that most have had some exposure to using technology in their classroom and are keen to take things further. A few asked mentioned interest in finding tools that enable connectivity, questions about privacy and how to convince school boards/districts to invest and utilize technology. I laid out the big ideas of the course as follows:

  • Learning is social and connected
  • Learning is personal and self-directed
  • Learning is shared and transparent
  • Learning is rich in content and diversity

I really want these students to have a great time learning. To discover the power and importance of connected learning and begin the journey of helping figure out how to share it with their future students. We’ll be meeting each week to discuss a variety of issues. I’ve also connected with Jeff Utecht and his grad class to do some collaborative work. This sparked an interest with some students as well.

So the challenge for me is to provide six weeks of learning that challenges these future teachers to think differently about education. I alluded to them last night that I doubt whether much of their current experience is really preparing them for the change that needs to take place.

Do they know?

[tags]onlineclass, uregina,elluminate,jeffutecht[/tags]