Considering Online Course Delivery: A Graduate Learning Technology Student Perspective
Why have we moved so many courses online?
Mobile platforms provide flexibility to a growing global market of adults seeking to improve skill sets needed within a 21st century workforce. Cellular applications used to access online learning content, along with the deliver of MOOCS, offer students convenient approaches to learning online. Globalization combined with an emerging demand from a previously absent third world population within the post secondary market will continue to push for increased access to online learning. Improvements in communication technologies along with increased access in rural environments allow for new markets and platforms to fulfill an ever increasing demand to online education.
Online learning platforms include the following choices to training and higher ed institutions.
Canvas is a free, very sleek and is attractive to users. It is a very user friendly, providing simplicity. Social media can be integrated within the system, which is very appealing to students and instructors.
Schoology is an excellent approach to online learning and offers many advantages to students to include a simple and collaborative user interface. Did I mention that it is also FREE? Mobile applications are limited with this feature.
Moodle includes a great new mobile app platform and continues to offer access to quality LMS to a growing online learning population. Moodle’s layout and mobile features has greatly improved and continues offer quality LMS options globally for FREE.
As students, do you feel like online courses are as good as face-to-face courses?
As a student, having an instructor, human, actively participating within the course is a must. The relationship between a teacher and a student is the most important factor in determining success. Online courses can be as good as face to face courses when the instructor encourages online dialogue and communication within the course environment. Video face to face weekly meetings, along with a simple and organized approach to delivery can provide this option. A true learning community must exist in either learning environment. This is why MOOCS will not completely replace instructors as students need a quality learning experience.
What are the major differences between online and FTF courses for you as a student?
A major difference between online and FTF courses is the frequency of interaction within the learning community. Again, a MOOC does not provide frequent quality dialogue. Students must be more disciplined when participating in an online environment, questioning and seeking solutions. It is easier to do so within a face to face environment. Learning curves exist when trying a new LMS platform or when updates to existing platforms occur. Instructors can mitigate these issues by posting help features within the course.
Whether you have taught one or not, what do you think the differences are for the instructor? How do we know if the formats require different skills or result in different learning outcomes? Do we?
Instructors should choose features and integrate files that work across mobile platforms. In addition, providing recordings to assist students who may need to refer back to information during the course is helpful. Learning curves are perhaps larger for instructors, as technologies and LMS platforms change constantly. University and corporate institutions should consider providing support and training options regularly to share best practices within the organization.
Some links that I found interesting regarding the growth of online learning are located below.