Hello. I’m Kathy Ireland, and I’m going to give you a brief overview of Online Classes.How does this topic apply to you? As an adult learner, you may take an online class to learn a new skill or earn credits in a graduate program. As a teacher, you may want to find an online class that meets the needs of one of your students, or you may want to consider a career shift and become a teacher or course developer in a cyber school. If you are a parent, you’ll want to be aware of all the educational options your child has, all the way from kindergarten to graduate school. (hit ENTER)
These are the things I’m going to be going over. Some of these topics we’ve been discussing the last couple of weeks so we won’t spend much time on them.For the Examples, we’ll look at a fancy course made with Flash, and a very simple one made with Moodle. In a few minutes I’m going to give you a resource sheet that lists all the companies and websites I’m going to mention in my presentation, and also all the reports and articles I reference. There will be some additional resources if you want to research this topic some more on your own. (hit ENTER)
First we’ll go over some definitions, and identify different TYPES of classes.And then we’ll spend a minute on the history of online courses. (Hit ENTER)(Hit enter) (Hit ENTER)
Asynchronous classes are classes when the teacher and learner are not engaged in real-time interaction. RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU’VE EVER TAKEN AN ASYNCHRONOUS CLASS. Synchronous classes, (or Virtual Classroom) are where the learner and teacher are both present at the same time and interacting with each other over the Internet. RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU’VE EVER BEEN PART OF AN SYNCHRONOUS CLASS, EITHER AS STUDENT OR TEACHER.(Hit ENTER) Courses are large chunks of learning that often include assessments. A single course is often part of a coordinated collection of courses, which would make up a curriculum or program of study. Courses often have a teacher associated with them, someone you can go to with questions. Tutorials, on the other hand, are shorter, often don’t have assessments, easily exist as a stand-alone unit, and usually don’t have a teacher associated with them. (hit ENTER)Brick and Mortar is just a term used by online schools to refer to physical, traditional schools. You’ll sometimes see this abbreviated as b+m. (Hit ENTER)The last term is Blended Course. A Blended course is any hybrid of the above. So, it could be a course that is entirely online, with part of it delivered synchronously and another part asynchronously. Or, it could be a course that is partly physical and partly virtual. Since we met one time online already, this class could now be considered a blended class. Blended classes are my favorite. When a class is 100% asynchronous, it’s easy for the students to feel very disconnected from the other students and the teacher. Having some real-time interaction even just once for a little bit each week can help everyone feel more connected. I took a non-credit class from HACC that was 100% asynchronous and the only way to communicate with the teacher was through email. I would have enjoyed it more if we could have also phoned him with questions or instant message, or if he had had virtual office hours occasionally. I soon felt so disconnected and bored that I ended up just printing the lessons off and putting them in a binder. I consider that a bad example of an online course. Let’s talk about some good examples. In one of Pennsylvania’s cyber school’s, the lessons are asynchronous, but the teachers offer an hour of real-time instruction once a week. Since the real-time sessions are optional for students, the teachers need to make them very engaging and enjoyable for students to want to attend. The teachers are required to have a certain number of students in their synchrounous sessions each week, so there’s a lot of motivation for the teachers to make that hour fun, interactive and engaging. These sessions are recorded, so students who missed them can view them later if they wish. For those of you who are teachers, how many of your students would attend class if it were optional? How would that change your lesson plans? Another cyber school, Agora, lets students instant message the teachers using yahoo whenever they have a question.In the cyber school 21st Century, the teachers have virtual office hours using Elluminate from 9 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday, and in the evenings from 6:30 – 8:30. This is really great because for a large portion of the day, whenever the students have a question, they can get hold of a teacher and talk about it real-time, using a whiteboard if needed. The students can use Bamboo pads like this to make writing equations easier and faster. The teachers in virtual office are REALLY friendly and welcoming. At the end they always ask “Is there anything else I can help you with?” and if not, they say in a really friendly way, “Thanks for stopping in. If you have any other questions, come back in.” If a child’s specific teacher isn’t available, (they could be in a meeting, or working one-on-one with another student,) other teachers always try to help, and usually can answer the question. Next, let’s look at the TYPES of online classes.(hit ENTER)
Here are some of the basic types of courses. (hit ENTER for each one, but don’t need to talk.)Can you think of any other types? (After the last one, hit ENTER one more time)
“Academic courses” further break down into: K-12 and College, A la carte and full curriculums, and Public and privateNow let’s look at the history of online learning.
( bring up http://docs.moodle.org/en/Online_Learning_History )I found this history on Moodle’s main site, when researching a little about the founder. If you notice the line at the top, “Let’s build up a complete history …” it was a collaborative effort. If you click on the History tab at the top, you can see the contributors’ names, and when they added what. Each of these items is clickable.
Next, let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of online courses.
You already know many of the advantages to online courses. Something that you may not know, is studies conducted by several universities, estimate that in a 6-hour school day, only 2 hours is spent on-task. This is why students who school at home over the Internet, often finish their work before lunchtime, which leaves them lots of time to pursue their hobbies and interests. Consistency means that every student will get the same experience every time. You don’t have to worry about a teacher being tired or grumpy some days. Accessibility means the students have more courses to choose from, the teachers have a bigger pool of students to draw from, and the students have access to more teachers, who could be located anywhere in the world.
With asynchronous online courses, you can go at exactly the right pace for you, so you aren’t bored and you don’t feel lostWhat’s also nice is that you can repeat whatever lessons you want, as many times as you want. However, can you think of any downside to self-paced learning?
Here are some of the disadvantages to online courses. (Hit ENTER)Lots of technical stuff is involved, not only the hardware and software, but your network and Internet connection, too.(Hit ENTER, ENTER)There’s obviously less teacher interaction of the lecture-type than there would be in a regular classroom setting, but there is sometimes more one-on-one student-teacher conversations. But the amount of teacher interaction can really vary a lot. In some classes there is no interaction, so that’s one of the things you want to ask about when selecting a course. (Hit ENTER)By less social learning, I mean the type of learning that happens by observing and listening to and interacting with your fellow classmates. It’s like Teacher Interactions: an online course could have lots of social learning built into it, or none. (Hit ENTER, ENTER)Not counting the technology, what do you think is the most difficult disadvantage to overcome? (There’s no right answer.)
Now I’m going to give you a handout that has some things to consider when selecting or designing an online course.You’ll see there are categories – Student Technology, Student Profile, Student Support, Student Interaction, and Course Content. Obviously this isn’t an all-inclusive list, but are some of the things particularly related to the learner that need to be taken into consideration. At the same time, I’m giving you the Resources sheet I mentioned. Note it has categories of:Tools, websites for Examples online courses, including professional development, Articles and Reports, Other Websites, Sources for Single Classes for K-12, List of PA Cyber Schools, some sources for FreeUniversity Classes, and some of my favorite books on education, which really put online learning in perspective.
We talked about most of these tools on our fieldtrip to JPL last week.
Connexions is particularly interesting because it’s so collaborative. The courses are already there, but teachers can edit them as they wishNote that Moodle is the only tool to show up on both lists.
And here’s some free software for making courses.
Bring up course in browser, go through a few screens, show collaborative dictionary, forum, bring up assignment, etc.
Open lesson sample in browser and go through a few screens: http://www.k12.com/take-a-peek/sample-lessons-k-8/Point out how K12 avoids grade labels on their courses to allow for individual progressionPoint out graphic templateuser choices on how to proceed through lessoneasy navigationability to print entire lessonpersonalization with student’s nameprogress through coursechanging schedulesupplemental worksheets can be printed off if you don’t have your workbook with youShow supplemental materials of history book, student pages and teacher guide.
We won’t have time to go through these, but both Connections Academy and PowerSpeakhave sections on their websites with demos, and the websites are on your resources sheet. On that sheet, there are also examples of online classes for professional development that you may want to take a look at.
Okay, so we know a lot of adults and children are taking online courses now, something that wasn’t even an option not that long ago. And according to the trends, the numbers are growing rapidly.
Let’s summarize what was covered. We’ve gone over some advantages and disadvantages of online classes, and things to consider if you are designing or choosing an class. You know some of the leading tools to create courses, as well as some that are open source. You saw some examples of online courses: one made with Flash and one made in Moodle. The statistics show that online education is here to stay, and is affecting students all ages, from kindergarten to senior citizens. Online education could be the biggest influence on educational since the industrial revolution. Now, does anyone have any questions? Thank you for your time.
PowerPoint presentation on Online Courses
Online CoursesOverview<br />“any time, any place, any path, any pace” <br />- slogan of Florida Virtual School<br />“School is where you are”<br />- slogan of a PA public cyber school <br />“Anyone can now learn anything from anyone at anytime.” <br />-- Curtis Bonk, in his book The World is Open.<br />
<ul><li>Definitions</li></ul>Asynchronous vs. Synchronous<br />Courses vs. Tutorials<br />Brick and Mortar (b+m)<br />Blended Course<br /><ul><li>types of online courses</li></ul>Background Information<br />
Study: Online Education Continues Its Meteoric Growth<br />By Jeff Greer<br />Posted January 26, 2010<br />“Online college education is expanding—rapidly. More than 4.6 million college students were taking at least one online course at the start of the 2008-2009 school year. That's more than 1 in 4 college students, and it's a <br />17 percent increase from 2007. ”<br />WHAT’S NEXT ?<br />“At last count, there were more than 1 million enrollmentsin K-12 online schools in the United States. And according to recent research, the number of students taking courses online will jump to more than 10 millionin the next five years.”<br />-- David Nagel, 10/29/2009<br />photo by Sean Mcgrath<br />
Photo Credits<br />http://www.flickr.com/photos/foreverdigital/2240673803/<br />http://www.flickr.com/photos/baking_in_pearls/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0<br />http://www.flickr.com/photos/olanchoaid/3771936163/<br />http://www.flickr.com/photos/sonrisaelectrica/3695743740/<br />http://www.freeclipartnow.com/society/law/<br />Students in GHCA’s computer lab, photo taken by Michael Surran. http://www.flickr.com/photos/extraketchup/748443511/ <br />photo by Sean Mcgrath<br />Doctors http://www.flickr.com/photos/interplast/55767480/<br />Pottery http://www.flickr.com/photos/deepchi/4234470878/<br />