The Advantages Of Independent Online Teaching


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The Advantages Of Independent Online Teaching

  1. 1. The advantages of independent online teaching: an experience report Régis Tractenberg, MSc. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – Institute of Psychology Leonel Tractenberg, MSc. Getulio Vargas Foundation 22nd ICDE World Conference Rio de Janeiro, 3 to 6 September of 2006
  2. 2. In this presentation we will… <ul><li>Propose the concept of what is an independent online teacher and report on the experience of working as such. </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest this is becoming increasingly viable due to the ICT low-costs and easy-to-use tools now available. </li></ul><ul><li>Point to the apparent advantages of this endeavor. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask some questions to you in the end...  </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>A private mathematics teacher, a personal trainer, a dance teacher, a private guitar teacher, or a business consultant who offer lectures, short courses, workshops and training programmes… </li></ul>Independent teaching (face to face) is not new
  4. 4. Independent teaching (face to face) is not new <ul><li>Independent teaching means having autonomy and the necessary competences to create, manage and deliver one’s educational services to the public. </li></ul><ul><li>An independent teacher is an educational entrepreneur, an autonomous professional who can live from his/her own business. He/she does not need to be hired by an educational institution and stick to its guidelines, curriculum or procedures. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The raise of the virtual workers <ul><li>Many professionals begin to offer their services and products directly on the web: writers, translators, photographers, consultants, programmers etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Do teachers have the opportunity to expand their work horizons in a similar way? </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Nowadays, on the Internet it is easy to find professionals who offer courses, advice, coaching services, e-books, videos and other learning materials on a variety of topics, ranging from art to writing skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Some of the courses and materials created by them are self-instructional. Others are tutored. </li></ul><ul><li>Some have some institutional accreditation and provide certificates; others rely on the authors’ reputation. </li></ul>New fellows on the block: The independent online teachers
  7. 7. The independent online teachers Definition <ul><li>Independent online teachers are independent teachers who offers their educational services through Internet. </li></ul><ul><li>The more they have control over the means of planning, development, implementation, management, marketing and evaluation of their courses, and the more they collect the full financial revenue generated by their work, then the more they may be considered independent. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Resources <ul><li>Discussion lists / forums (YahooGroups, Google groups) </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs - Blogger, Wordpress </li></ul><ul><li>Wikis – Wikimedia, TwikiWiki </li></ul><ul><li>LMS – Moodle, Nuvvo… </li></ul><ul><li>Iphones and IM - Skype, MSMessenger... </li></ul><ul><li>Video tools - YouTube, Google Video... </li></ul><ul><li>Etc. </li></ul>
  9. 9. The market for independent teachers <ul><li>As we are rapidly moving to a society in which knowledge is highly valued, information gets obsolete fast and educational paths are more complex, there is a growing demand for learning topics not covered by curricula of educational institutions. </li></ul><ul><li>Often, formal certification is less important than the knowledge and skills to be acquired. As a consequence, there is a growing market for independent teaching. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Our experience… <ul><li>In 2003 we used to work in a company which develops custom e-learning projects for big corporate clients. Our major challenge then was to train our staff and find qualified professionals to work with us. </li></ul><ul><li>So we offered 2 face to face courses on instructional design, hoping to invite the best students to join some of our projects. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: a laboratory of independent teaching. <ul><li>The face to face courses were successful and revealed a high demand for ID training in Brasil. </li></ul><ul><li>Later, in 2004 we left that job and started our own independent ID course, delivered online. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: Development and implementation <ul><li>TPID aims to offer a hands-on introduction to ID, enabling the participants to create their own projects which they may apply to their workplace. </li></ul><ul><li>It was designed for HR professionals, teachers and project managers who work with educational and training projects either face to face, blended or fully online. </li></ul><ul><li>7 weeks course, with 30 participants per class. Now it´s on the 15th class and had more than 360 participants. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: Minimalist approach <ul><li>The course design seeks for an online solution of high quality and low cost, that can be fully financed, developed and implemented by a single and totally independent online instructor. </li></ul><ul><li>Technological minimalism (Collins 1999, p. 9; Collins & Berge, 1994): </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;the unapologetic use of minimum levels of technology, carefully chosen with precise attention to their advantages and limitations, in support of well-defined instructional objectives&quot; (p.9) </li></ul><ul><li>Collins & Berge (2000): </li></ul><ul><li>“ Technological minimalism focuses on essential issues in education, providing a basis for evaluating distance delivery alternatives. From this essentialist perspective, students and teachers can concentrate on what matters most—teaching and learning.” </li></ul>
  14. 14. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: Tools, medias and marketing <ul><li>Server: cheap shared hosting with Fantastico installer. </li></ul><ul><li>Moodle: discussion forum, HTML texts, .doc texts and evaluation questionnaires. </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing: online groups and Google. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: Methodology <ul><li>Merril´s First Principles for Instruction (2002): </li></ul><ul><li>real and contextualized problems, </li></ul><ul><li>activating previous knowledge, </li></ul><ul><li>concrete examples, </li></ul><ul><li>guidance and feedback, </li></ul><ul><li>integration of knowledge to the learner's world. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: Activities <ul><li>Reading theoretical texts, examining examples of instructional projects, answering writing aid questionnaires, receiving the comments of the instructor, following other participant's projects, and discussing topics in the forums. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: Learning evaluation <ul><li>By the end of the course, each participant should present his/her instructional plan where they provide a complete front end analysis and the description of an adequate solution for learning needs which were identified initially. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: Course evaluation <ul><li>In September 2005: 15 classes, >360 participants in total </li></ul><ul><li>Near 180 respondents to COLLES scale: </li></ul>
  19. 19. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: Course evaluation <ul><li>Instruments: project assessment and participants follow up. </li></ul><ul><li>1/3 – Complete the course with excellent results. </li></ul><ul><li>1/3 – Complete the course partially, but reveal good learning results. </li></ul><ul><li>1/3 – Unknown: drop outs and lurkers. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: Course evaluation <ul><li>Instrument: questionnaire </li></ul><ul><li>Strong points: </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher's attention, reading materials, course activities, and Moodle. </li></ul><ul><li>Weak point: </li></ul><ul><li>Participants ask for more interaction among themselves. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: Course revisions <ul><li>Banished chat sessions. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced the amount of texts and activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Corrections in reading materials, and added explanations in specific points. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite students evaluation, decided not to increase interactions among the class and thus the amount of messages to avoid overload. </li></ul><ul><li>Included activity for sharing job experiences. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: Our comparison with the face to face version <ul><li>The online version had participants from different parts of Brasil, and two other countries: Portugal and the UK. </li></ul><ul><li>The online course, which is fully asynchronous, allows students and instructor to interact at their most convenient time. </li></ul><ul><li>In the face to face course the instructor activities concentrated in the exposition of contents and in the proposition of activities, while in the online course most of the time is devoted to give feedback to the participants on their projects development. </li></ul><ul><li>By the end of the face to face course, the participants presented their projects using power point slides and had limited time to explain their work, while in the online course the demands are greater since they have to produce the full text of their instructional plans and make those available for all in the class. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: Our comparison with the face to face version <ul><li>In the online course the workload for the instructor in much higher than in the face to face delivery: 105h distributed in seven weeks, with a commitment of 3h per day, while the same course at the classroom, demanded 30h distributed in 5 daily sessions. These hours included the time used to commute, and getting the classroom ready. </li></ul><ul><li>However, the asynchronous characteristic, the space flexibility offer advantages that compensate the increased workload. The online course costs were less than half of the face to face version's implementation. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Theory and Practice of Instructional Design: Comparison with the face to face version <ul><li>The lower expenses allowed us to reduce the enrollment fee to 60% of that charged in the face to face delivery mode. </li></ul><ul><li>At the same time it was possible to increase the individualized attention given to each student, and thus improve the overall learning results. </li></ul><ul><li>Without having to share the revenue with an intermediary institution the value generated by a class with 30 participants reaches higher than the average income of a university teacher in Brasil. This suggests that independent online teaching is an attractive alternative for education professionals. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Advantages? <ul><li>Mobility and schedule flexibility. </li></ul><ul><li>Higher payback. </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction with course ownership (content, teaching methods, forms of delivery etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>For the students: higher amount of attention and feedback, lower fees. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Questions… <ul><li>Do independent online teachers have a future? </li></ul><ul><li>If they do have a future, how would they relate among themselves and also with traditional institutions? </li></ul><ul><li>What are your thoughts? </li></ul>
  27. 27. Contact us <ul><li>Régis Tractenberg </li></ul><ul><li>Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Leonel Tractenberg </li></ul><ul><li>Getulio Vargas Foundation - [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>