John Dewey said that “education is essentially a social process” (See Experience and Education, 1938, p. 58). He was right. People are sharing, viewing, liking, and responding to content on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Scoopit, and YouTube in numbers unheard of in the past because of the Internet. We are finally free to learn 24/7 on the Internet with others from around the globe.
I always believed that I needed someone to share what I had learned or I would forget it. I began by sharing information with my parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, and students when I became a teacher. I was drawn to the Internet when it first came out because it made sharing information easy and very effective.
Teaching and learning online became a very important part of my life in the early 90s as I began to use the computer to teach and learn. Teaching blended and fully online courses not only changed the way I teach and learn, it transformed me as an individual. Learning can only be possible in a social environment. Today’s students need constant challenges in order to focus in the classroom. Teachers need to engage students in experiential (hands-on) learning activities that promote social skills via teamwork, higher-order critical thinking skills via inquiry and problem-based learning, and technological skills so they can grow as individuals and become effective learners.
I realized early on (late 80s) that teaching in a physical class was limiting. Learning has no time or place. It happens 24/7. I started searching for a learning management system that would facilitate instruction and learning. I found Moodle course and learning management system in 2003 and WizIQ live virtual class in 2007. I have not looked back.
Moodle allows me to connect with students 24/7, but not in a live class that is similar to the face-to-face class. Not being able to see my students in real time bothered me. I wanted to reach out to them, but emails and discussion forums just didn’t do it. I found chats limiting because we couldn’t share audio, video, image or text files and engage in solving problems on a whiteboard.
WizIQ in Moodle
WizIQ came to the rescue with a online whiteboard where we can share files and engage in discussions and problem solving using the writing tools, the chat, mice, and webcams. WizIQ allows my students and I to engage in quality learning. I now use WizIQ live classes into all my Moodle courses. WizIQ can be integrated into Moodle, Blackboard or any other websites.
Moodle for Teachers (M4T)
I developed free online workshops for individual and groups on how to use Moodle. Participants may choose self-paced or time-based (4-6 weeks) programs with full facilitation. The courses take place on a Moodle website called Moodle for Teachers. The aim of the M4T workshop is to provide participants, who have never used Moodle or who would like to enrich their previous Moodle experiences, with the knowledge and skills to navigate a Moodle course, access resources, activities, and blocks from a student perspective and practice the same Moodle features in a practice course and later on their own courses on IT4ALL as teachers. The participant who wish to get a certificate of completion are required to follow the tasks and develop a lesson or course on Moodle. 2.5. In addition, participants get a year of mentorship from an experienced Moodle teacher and administrator.
The courses are completely free and available to anyone who joins one of the 3 annual Moodle MOOCs on WizIQ (February, June, October). During the MOOCs participants learn about teaching and learning online, life skills, and how to teach with Moodle and WizIQ.
The Moodle learning workshops include both asynchronous (not dependent on time) and synchronous (time dependent) learning environments. Participants watch video tutorials, post to the discussion forums, and practice Moodle tools with the roles of a student and teacher with a Moodle course of their own. I hope that those who take the courses will follow authentic learning and allow their students to create artefacts, such as videos, and engage in teaching, too.
Research for Quality Education
The goal of the Moodle for Teacher courses is to help educators ensure the quality of online learning through systematic instructional design of online and blended online courses (BOL) and instructor training on online pedagogies. This can be done by participating in research studies on online learning. Teachers, who take the Moodle courses are encouraged to conduct action research projects on best practices and challenges involved with using Moodle and WizIQ and share the information with others worldwide. By learning collectively, we can improve instruction and learning.
The Moodle and WizIQ workshops are designed to engage the participants in theoretical and practical aspects of online learning and teaching with a learning management systems and tools that allow them to share and engage in social learning activities. By the end of the course, participants, who do the tasks, acquire the knowledge and skills needed to engage in blended online learning (BOL) or blended learning (BL) courses and run their own Moodle and WizIQ courses and teach in live online classes using WizIQ moodle virtual classroom. As online learners, participants quickly understand what it means to be an online learner from the student’s perspective, so they can prepare their future courses with the learner in mind.
Workload & Format
Participants are required to be active at least 10 hours a week on theoretical and practical aspects of online learning. They engage in creating artifacts and video tutorials in order to practice what they learn through the use of screensharing (jing, screencast-o-matic, present me, screenr) and authoring tools (Youtube, Vimeo, Bliptv, Vocaroo). Learning online is very rewarding for those who give it a chance.
Join the February 2014 MOOC on WizIQ