Reflecting on Teaching Online: Facilitating Online Learning Course

Participants are still joining the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on WizIQ. However, the 3-week course on teaching online: facilitating online learning (TOFOL) with its 1192 participants ended on June 23, 2012.  The final webinar broke a record high for me and perhaps for others because of the 929 participants who enrolled in the final webinar on active learning and sharing artifacts. The energy in the live class was inspiring. The participants had attended the live sessions, contributed to the weekly discussions, created artifacts and shared them with the world. It was clear that they had grasped the term active learning. They demonstrated that they knew the difference between active participation and active learning. The course had many aha moments for me. I would like to thank the participants who followed the course to the letter and got something as a result.

Active Learning
For those who wish to continue or who missed some of the sessions on teaching online and facilitating online learning (TOFOL), will be able to join the 4-week course on active learning. The method used in TOFOL is based on active learning.

Active learning means learning in a way that engages the learner with the content and other people. The other people may be the teacher, fellow students, or people outside the course. Active learning is a workshop that requires a change in attitude about what it means to learn. Both teachers and students will benefit from taking the course. Active learning is a weekly seminar for students and teachers. The sessions will focus on learning and how to become active learners. Teachers will learn how to promote active learning in and out of the classroom and students will learn how to become active learners.

Self-Reflections

What does it  mean to self-reflect and why do we encourage students and teachers to do it?

This is the message the participants received a few days ago:

The 3-week course is officially ending in a few days, but the process is not. You are invited to self reflect. Self reflecting is a powerful way to enhance learning and much more. I self-reflect after taking courses by asking myself these questions:

  1. What do I want to accomplish?
  2. How will I accomplish it after taking the course?
  3. Whom do I ask to accompany me on the journey after the course?
  4. What technology am I going to use for my reflective practice so I can publish it on the Internet?

Future Goals

1. What do I want to accomplish?
Assist teachers in creating learning environments meeting their learners’ needs using technology mediated resources if appropriate.
This was written as one essay, and has been cut and pasted to fit in these boxes.

What I accomplished in the course is very different than what I initially believed I would accomplish. I originally joined the course to learn strategies to improve the affective domain of active learning in online environments. I have developed some, not because of what has been shared by others, but through the very process of taking the class. Nellie, the level of interactivity in your online synchronous sessions builds community, but when I was unable to attend live, I felt less connected. The challenge I now see in building the feeling of community is the demand of a reply.
When I put out a question or idea and get no reply, the result is a distancing from the course material. In the cognitive domain, online is a natural fit, information seekers can pull information and interact with it at a pace they select, which brings in the behavioral aspects. Devising activities online is also organic, there are a myriad of options to have students engage in behaviors and we have seen many of then in the well crafted artifacts and assessments created during this course. With all the generating of information there was a one way push of information, to get it out there. There was proportionately less interaction.

I want to move ahead with the development of my course in Moodle and also explore moving my course and websites to Wiz IQ as mentioned by Nellie. I have a lot of work to do on the course and also need to spend some time mapping things out. My challenges are lack of dedicated time to do this. When there is paid work, I need to do that first. I keep putting course development on the back burner.

I’m still reading posts, but I wanted to really throw myself into this course as a way to really explore what it means to facilitate active learning, to promote active learning and to engage in active learning. I feel so privileged to be in the presence of so many wonderful teachers/learnings, so I feel I have thrown myself into the mix and learned a lot.

I’ve got some new ideas and I will be more motivated to continue my studies. I have to study hard to correct my grammar, to improve my spoken English, so on.
In the coming year I have to complete my masters of Education for which I have already enrolled as far as Personal goal is concerned. I also want to conducted at least three online classes with my students of grade 9 and 10. For this I would require guidance from experts like you. I want to enroll for online courses.
Rethinking the conceptual structure and syntax of disciplines, revisiting the subject content not in a sequential (as presented by a book) but aggregated around conceptual nodes in a network of carriers so logical connections, hierarchically ordered.

Provide appropriate materials to enable operations on the data and information (Control of cognitive processes).
Recognize and support the diversity of each student and meet the needs of ‘whole class group.
Locate a dynamic and diverse education characterized by an alternation of visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and types of approaches-analytical systematic and reflective-impulsive-global-intuitive,.

  • I would like to work out my lesson plans to include technology in my curriculum.
  • I believe that a well-planned approach will make each class more exciting for students and they will cooperate and participate to the activities with enthusiasm.
  • I want to make my classes online in my Moodle platform and in WiZiQ, and improve my blearning classes at the university and also teaching in Second LIfe. As the workshop’s name… to facilitate online learning that can prove to be good
  • I want to deliver a course using technology(Moodle)

Self- reflection

It is said that the term “Information and Communication Technology”, (ICT), is often used as an prolonged synonym for information technology (IT), but it usually includes some combined communications and the involvement in taking advantage of telephones, computers as well as obligatory software, packing- and audio-visual systems. All of these empower users to create, access, store, transfer and employ information. This means, ICT consists not only of IT but also telecommunication, broadcast media, all types of audio and video release and broadcast as well as net based control and going through functions.

After the course I am planning to use ICT to:

  •   provide greater flexibility and choice of lessons with new teaching techniques
  •   to communicate information with higher quality lessons
  •   to make learning more exciting and engaging for all learners
  •   to create a safer and more sheltered learning environment

Accomplishing My Goals

2. How will I accomplish it after taking the course?

Work with teachers / trainers through online courses, the community of learning network

In the online course I am teaching, Education Law (Syllabus posted in my introduction), I am struggling to build the connections between students. They work together in wikis and creating group presentations, but there is the surface level interaction of ‘nice’ responses. In the hybrid Curriculum Development class, I have already taught the group of students in person for a semester (Spring 2012) with discussion boards used to extend the conversation. Now, Summer 2012, students are moving past the nice and having really meaningful discussions on the course website. So I am left with more questions than answers as to how to build the community up to a place where it is safe to go beyond the nice conversations in an online only environment.

My starting place is to build in more feedback loops for students so they know better whether they are meeting my expectations as far as course assessment, pacing and level of interaction. While I will do this for the first time this weekend, about half way through the Education Law class, I believe that it would be valuable to do it 2 to 3 times during a regular semester. I hope to have the opportunity to teach Education Law again online in the future, and I will build this into the course from the beginning, with short student reflections on their performance as well as or in the place of some of the content-based reflections. That will permit me a springboard to launch into a meaningful discussion of performance rather than students receiving a critique. It is the same type of critique I do on my own teaching, service, and scholarship.

I will explore changing my hosting service. Don’t want to put time into developing too much in Moodle 1.9 since i want to upgrade and also possibly move the course.

Although I have mapped out the course to some degree, I need to spend more time on that. I also need to learn to use Camtasia. I have the software but have done little with it so far.

To continue to think about learning and to begin to implement what I’ve learned here in the courses I design for our faculty/students/potential students at my school. Basically I believe I’ll accomplish my goal of continuing to throw myself into active learning, because I feel like the momentum is up, and also because to be as successfully as I hope my school will be, I need to continue to dance towards the future. Besides, this type of learning/facilitating learning really feeds the soul. 🙂

I’ll continue to follow how many courses I can to improve my listening skills, to get some new ways to learn a language.

As far as my Masters in Education is concerned I think it won’t be very difficult as I am into same profession and I had gone through the syllabus.
For online courses I would dedicate at least 45 min everyday for the online courses which I would enroll.

  • Particularly interesting is the delicate and time of sharing projects with other colleagues to study and work.
  • The comparison, reflection, critique, testing activities, verification, and “returning” as arranged.
  • The possibility of the same activity in two or more distant schools and make twinning
  • the possibility of building a database to collect the material produced and to document and publish the procedures and results of assessments.

I will review everything that has been covered in the course and experiment different way to approach my teaching presentations.
The workshop has given me new ideas and knowledge about online learning. Great interventions, kept in my HD and use some in active learning, put ideas to work, do by doing

I will set goals and learning objectives.

After the course I am planning to use ICT to:

  •   provide greater flexibility and choice of lessons with new teaching techniques
  •   to communicate information with higher quality lessons
  •   to make learning more exciting and engaging for all learners
  •   to create a safer and more sheltered learning environment

Nellie’s project helped me to understand and identify my needs as the teacher/learner.

I plan to use technology regularly and consistently to:

  •   support my professional projects
  •   track students ‘progress

I believe there are some younger colleagues in my Department who I could possibly work with to develop my practice.

3. (Collaboration) Whom do I ask to accompany me on the journey after the course?

Colleagues involved in similar flexible skill developments projects meeting on a specially designed forum (on basecamp.com) for this purpose

I am most accountable to myself in the form of semi-yearly reflections that are used by my university to help me grow at a professor. The requirements are slim, but the opportunity to have scheduled reflective writing that builds a portfolio of reflection is great. As an educational leader I take praxis very seriously and try to model those best practices in reflection. While I am committed to this introspection, I am also conscious that I am an employee of a strong state university system, and some of my very honest critique could impede my career development out of its appropriate context. If I am “cleaning” the reflection to make it viewable by the world at large, I am debasing the essence of my reflection. If I have a blemish, I want to write about the blemish, the possible causes and how I can work to remedy that blemish. I do not want to spend time putting makeup on the blemish, aggravating it, while I am trying to figure it out.

Nellie has a lot of experience as do others in this course. Diethild has also been helpful. I hope we can continue communication with others when this course is finished. There is a great resource of information here.

My faculty, our students, many of the folks who I’ve met in this and previous courses and lots of folk I haven’t met yet who share my interests and goals.

  • I will be really happy to listen to Nellie more and I hope to find a way to listen to Pete Sharma.
  • For online courses experts like you and other members in the course
  • I would describe this experience to my other colleagues.
  • I want to put the material in publications
  • I would put some pictures on facebook or other social-network
  • I will continue to stay in touch with other professionals with a common area.
  • I would like in schools and in the ‘University had advertised this experience

I hope to be able to stay in touch with Dr. Nellie Deutsch who I believe can be a good mentor after being the course teacher.
Well… I belong to Planet FATLA.org, a foundation for the Technological Upgrading in Latinamérica, with teacher with similar interests, and also have things going on in Second Life with FATLA 3d and Edunation. But will be very glad to join some of the teachers in this course… also with CO13 to learnmore Maybe will be able to find someone special who can acompany me in this journey, which has already started, this iis for me one step ahead… one at a time

I want colleagues(teachers) to accompany
I think about taking actions which will also help me work towards gaining the skills and knowledge needed for my learning and teaching.
For example I can work with my colleagues who use technology in interesting ways with their students.

In addition to this I am going to become active participant in online communities which should widen my use of technologies, for example learning platforms and email.

Generally speaking my professional attributes, skills, knowledge and understanding of how to become an updated modern teacher are defined by the professional standards.

4. (Tools) What technology am I going to use for my reflective practice so I can publish it on the Internet?

No intentions to ‘publish’ as it is all under development within a ‘manageable’ group of interested persons – using closed groups / group on invitation on the web (ning / basecamp / doc share )

As an untenured professor on the tenure track, I am not planning to publish my reflections (beyond this one) on the Internet.
I recently read an amazing article in the Chronicle of Higher Education where a tenure-seeking professor was hoping that their university would recognize blog writing as scholarship. They made very valuable points, and I am not closed to the idea, I am also not rushing into it. Anything I put out on the Internet I would want to be able to maintain, with a 4/4 teaching load and promising scholarship opportunities as well as service obligations, I am not ready to make that commitment. I worry that not jumping in fully make me somewhat of a spectator, but my paddle is in the water, and I will continue to work so that my students have a positive online experience in all three domains, the cognitive, the behavioral, and especially, the affective.

Moodle for my course.

For my reflective practice, I’ll use wikispaces for now.

I’m going to head back to my blog, but I think I’m going to do a short present.me presentation to embed in my blog about active learning and the journey towards facilitating learning more effectively.
I prefer to use Second Life but I’ll use more WizIQ because there people can access easier. I am not so sure about moodle yet. I prefer live sounds, voices, communication.

Thank you very much Nellie!

Reflective journal through my blog
All technologies can be used to disseminate good practices. I’d like to create a database and a community to share material. I’d also like to make a publication with all our work.

If you decide to make a publication I ask you to tell me how much it costs.
Certainly the social network (facebook. ..) but also the simple cell, the LIM, the hi-pad, hi-phone …

In Italy there are schools where there aren’t technologies and teachers have no training.
Students, on the contrary, are very good with all the technologies, they are also “digital natives”.
– Right now, I am thinking about creating a website for a project based classroom activity and I will include different technology tools such as Animoto, Voicethread, digital books and comics.

I have created a blog called Education Online with Edublogs… there I will publish some of my previews works and my interests and dreams, and will give special attention to the reflective practice considered here …still under construction, hope to have some support from some of the members of this workshop.

I can use the ‘Journal’ in Moodle
As for the last research – “What technology am I going to use for my reflective practice so I can publish it on the Internet?” – I am not ready with the full answer.

I need more practice, so I am going to take more courses and do more reading as well as learning.

Concluding Remarks

I have facilitated thousands of classes both blended and fully online. The experiences are always rewarding because online facilitation offers opportunities for teachers and students to connect for learning (see my book). The online environment is truly open  to learning because of the technology and the emerging attitudes to active learning and sharing that comes with technology and online learning.

WizIQ Education Online

The technology is making learning easy for those who are willing to let go of the old technologies and embrace the new.  I invite you to join me in making technology work for students and teachers. You can make a difference in the quality of technology used for education at WizIQ by trying out the live classrooms and courses and sharing your feedback. The team at WizIQ care about the process of learning as they cater to both teacher and student needs.


Dr. Nellie Deutsch is an education technology and curriculum consultant, faculty at Atlantic University in the MA transpersonal and leadership studies, teacher trainer, researcher, and writer. She organizes Moodle MOOCs and online conferences. She earned her doctorate in education and educational leadership with a specialization in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix Her dissertation research (available on ProQuest & Amazon) focused on instructor experiences with integrating technology in blended learning contexts in higher education around the world. Nellie offers free teacher training courses on teaching with technology, action research and Moodle for teacher courses to new, veteran, and future teachers who wish to teach online, face-to-face or in blended learning formats. She also provides online courses to teachers and ICT people on how to be administrators of Moodle websites. She integrates Moodle and WizIQ live virtual classes in all her courses.

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