Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A fine balance

In a recent issue of Online Cl@ssroom, columnist, Errol Sull reflected on the considerations of adopting new tools in an online course. In light of my own online classroom experience, and his suggestions and reminders, I have put together a few rather broad ideas for consideration:
Prepare to learn with and from your students. Provide a (monitored) sounding board via a discussion for students who might need a bit of encouragement or direction when using new technology for a project. Be flexible but firm when you introduce a new tool. Applaud if they discover something new or problematic. Teaching students to think and solve problems, is never out-of-date.
Seek help! Each new piece of software, is likely to have a corresponding blog, forum, or email newsletter. Take advantage of these. Sometimes you can find tips and ideas that don’t come with the software guides.
Keep students in mind. Technology choices should never be about less time teaching, but rather time used more effectively.  Students will continue to need you, no matter how cool the tools, to answer questions, focus and motivate, reduce anxiety, and hold the flashlight when they need help.

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