This week's assigned readings and blog posts provided me with myriad tools to consider. There are SO many out there can help make an online course more interactive and engaging for students. At this point, I would absolutely love it if someone would simply tell me which ones are best! Trying to figure it out on my own is practically impossible. Having had no previous experience teaching an online course, I rely on the research I encounter and experiences of colleagues who have taught online to guide me...but even then, there is no cut-and-dried answer. As is true in the traditional classroom, a teacher must use what she learns in methods classes and combine that knowledge with experience gained firsthand to make wise instructional decisions. I know what works for me as a learner in online classes, and I have seen a lot of online coursework taken by students in my school district. Figuring out what will work best will be based on the combination of these factors for now...and, in time, will refine itself through my own professional practice as an online teacher.
Again this week, I attempted to share a number of resources via Twitter -- both for my own reference later, and to share with colleagues and others interested in online learning. I must say: I'm a bit surprised each day to have more "followers." Twitter really is an amazing professional network, and the more I tweet, the more I realize this is a great way to share resources and ideas.
As in past weeks, I appreciate the colleagues who took the time to read and respond to my blog post. As the course has progressed, and as our ELA group has been working to structure a credit recovery for AKLN, our online conversations through blog posts and responses have focused on how we might create the most effective online course we can. I appreciated Aleta, Jon, and Naomi's comments on my blog focused on the course we are developing. They helped me to think about tools that will best support learning in our course.
While I read all of the blog posts by colleagues this week and commented on most, the folks that I believe I contributed most to were Aleta, Naomi, and Thomas. In each of these, additional discussion about teacher/student conversation and communication in online courses was the focus, and I was able to provide resources in terms of tools and research that (hopefully) helped them. In addition, I was intrigued by Helen's post, as it noted some ideas that were in contrast to research I read this week. It was great to be ale to share a resource with her that expanded on the specific topic she addressed in her post.
One of the most exciting tools I came across this week is one that may be cost prohibitive for many course designers (unless they have funding to produce seriously professional course materials). Knowledge Vision does so much of what I believe a great online course should do: Provide teachers with a way to customize a course, provide students with what feels like an authentic way to see and get to know the teacher through video, and support learners with accessibility tools that make learning more engaging and appropriate for specific student needs. I know of other tools similar to Knowledge Vision in the most basic sense (Present.me and Knovio), but Knowledge Vision seems like a complete package. I would love to know if there are others that are similar out there!