Roles and Responsibilities of the Online Learner


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  • Thank you for taking out of your busy schedule to meet with me. My name is Jason Rhode. For the next few minutes, please imagine yourself as an new online instructor eager to learn more about how to be as effective as possible teaching online. The focus of this brief presentation is to explore the roles and responsibilities of the online learner and to provide some practical suggestions for how to structure the online learning experience with a rich collaborative learning environment.
  • Roles and Responsibilities of the Online Learner

    1. 1. Roles & Responsibilities of the Online Learner Jason F. Rhode, Ph.D.
    2. 2. Types of Interaction in Learning <ul><li>Interaction with content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Textbooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instructional presentations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Projects, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interpersonal interaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>With the instructor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With fellow students </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. The Learning Web (Palloff & Pratt, 2001, p. 140) Student Peers Instructor Content Technology The Learning Web Instructor Student Peers Technology Content
    4. 4. Characteristics of Successful Online Learners <ul><li>Have basic computer skills and access to technology </li></ul><ul><li>Open minded attitude </li></ul><ul><li>Not hindered by the absence of auditory or visual cues </li></ul><ul><li>Self-motivated and self-disciplined </li></ul><ul><li>Willing to commit significant time to their studies weekly </li></ul>
    5. 5. Characteristics Successful Online Learners <ul><li>Team players – can and do work collaboratively </li></ul><ul><li>Critical thinkers </li></ul><ul><li>Have the ability to reflect and acknowledge those reflections </li></ul><ul><li>Hold a belief that high quality learning can happen anywhere and anytime </li></ul>
    6. 6. Elements of Online Communities <ul><li>People </li></ul><ul><li>Purposes </li></ul><ul><li>Policies </li></ul><ul><li>Computer Systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Preece, 2000) </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Two Additional Elements of Online Learning Communities <ul><li>Collaborative Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Reflective Practice </li></ul>
    8. 8. The Community Puzzle (Palloff & Pratt, 1999, p. 30) Faculty Guidance Teamwork Mutually Negotiated Guidelines Community Facilitation Collaborative Learning Active creation of knowledge & meaning Interaction & Feedback Focused Outcomes Shared Goals Buy in from Everyone
    9. 9. Student Roles in Online Learning Communities <ul><li>Knowledge Generation </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Process Management </li></ul>
    10. 10. Student Responsibilities in Community Formation <ul><li>Openness </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Honesty </li></ul><ul><li>Willingness to take on responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Willingness to work collaboratively </li></ul>
    11. 11. Openness <ul><li>Sharing details from work and life outside of school </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Posting introductions and bios </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating a social space in the course </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Judicious use of chat for socialization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modeling openness and humor </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Flexibility <ul><li>Developing an understanding of the nature of online learning and a willingness to “go with the flow” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Willingness to give-up control and allow learners to take charge of the learning process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involving learners in co-creating learning opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Orienting students to the roles of the instructor and learners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflection opportunities </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Honesty <ul><li>Being willing to give and receive feedback and share thoughts and concerns as they arise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Model open, honest communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Orient students to appropriate communication skills and giving and receiving substantive feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Orient students to the realities of online learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide opportunities for feedback, such as posting papers to the course site with the expectation that feedback will be given and received. </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Willingness to Take the Responsibility for Community Formation <ul><li>Demonstrating responsibility by taking charge of discussion and other learning activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rotate or share the facilitation role with students by asking them to take charge of a week or two of the online discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rotate leadership of small groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use a “process monitor,” a student who comments on group process </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Willingness to Work Collaboratively <ul><li>Demonstrating the ability to work with peers in discussion as well as in collaborative small group activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish minimum posting requirements and monitor those for compliance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grade on participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Post grading rubrics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use collaborative small group assignments </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Tips to Achieving Maximum Participation <ul><li>Be clear about how much time the course will require for students and faculty in order to eliminate potential misunderstandings about course demands. </li></ul><ul><li>Teach students about online learning. </li></ul><ul><li>As the instructor, be a model of good participation </li></ul>
    17. 17. Tips to Achieving Maximum Participation <ul><li>Be willing to step in and set limits if participation wanes or if the conversation is headed in the wrong direction. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember that there are people attached to the words on the screen. Be willing to contact students who are not participating and invite them in. </li></ul><ul><li>Create a warm and inviting atmosphere </li></ul>
    18. 18. Community – from an Online Student <ul><li>In understanding the notion of online community, I think we must recognize the fact that no matter how attractive the option of being a sponge, it does not build community. Corals build community by each secreting their resources to build the reef and mutually supporting the group.  </li></ul><ul><li>- Santhi </li></ul>
    19. 19. References <ul><li>Berge, Z. L. (1995). Facilitating computer conferencing: Recommendations from the field. Educational Technology, 35 (1), 22-30. </li></ul><ul><li>Bonk, C., Kirkley, J., Hara, N., & Dennen, V. (2001). Finding the instruction in post secondary online learning: Pedagogical, social, managerial, and technological location. In J. Stephenson (Ed.), Teaching and Learning Online: Pedagogies for new technologies , London, Kogan Page. </li></ul><ul><li>Hiltz, S. R. (1998) Collaborative learning in asynchronous learning networks: Building learning communities . Paper presented at the WebNet 98 World Conference on the WWW, Orlando, FL. </li></ul><ul><li>Illinois Online Network (n.d.) What makes a successful online facilitator? Retrieved August 3, 2004, from </li></ul><ul><li>Maor, D. (2003). The teacher’s role in developing interaction and reflection in an online learning community. Education Media International, 40 (1), 128-136. </li></ul>
    20. 20. References <ul><li>Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (1999). Building learning communities in cyberspace: Effective strategies for the online classroom . San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. </li></ul><ul><li>Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2001). Lessons from the cyberspace classroom: The realities of online teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. </li></ul><ul><li>Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2003). The virtual student: A profile and guide to working with online learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. </li></ul><ul><li>Preece, J. (2000). Online communities: Designing usability, supporting sociability. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons. </li></ul>
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