Monday, September 17, 2007

Week 4

This week a read several articles. The first was "Classroom Teaching Changes in Web-Enhanced Courses: A Multi-Institutional Study." This was a study of faculty from seven Learning Technology Consortium Institutions. Indiana University is part of the consortium but did not take part in the study. Rather than give a synopsis of the article I'd like to pinpoint a couple of quotes that I found interesting.

"... It is not the technology that has an effect; it is the way it is used." Since this article was about enhancing F2F course with Web enhancements, I found it interesting that the technology was not necessarily in the forefront. I think you could add many technological aspects to a course (i.e. online discussions, simulations, syllabus, etc.) and it may not enhance the course at all. The teaching methods have to fit the content for the technology to make a difference in student engagement. I firmly believe that students learn more if they are engaged but don't necessarily see technology as always being the the best way to engage students.

"Using PowerPoint in class also encouraged eye contact between faculty and students, increasing student engagement." I do not agree with this statement. Using PowerPoint may increase eye contact between faculty and students but I can't see how that increases student engagement. For a visual learner it might help focus their attention. However for many learners this could very well put them asleep. It depends on the skill of the faculty to engage learners, not the use of PowerPoint.

I also read "Motivation and Incentives for Distance Faculty." This was a literature review that was looking for two things: a profile of a distance educator and motivators that entice faculty to teach distance learning. The majority of the article dealt with the second objective. While they briefly discussed the first objective I felt that the literature probably didn't give a very good profile of a distance educator.

The study identified several intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors. Intrinsic motivators included self-satisfaction, flexible scheduling, and wider audience. Extrinsic factors included stipends, decreased workload, release time and new technology. The author found that the extrinsic factors while present in some universities were not prevalent within the high education community.

I also read "Teach in Your Pajamas: Becoming a Synchronous e-Trainer." This was an interesting article. It described some of the methods that could be used for online training and then linked each method to a F2F equivalent. She also gave tips and tricks of how to use each one. Since this would probably be how I will use the information from this course, I found this article very helpful.


pat cole said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your comments about technology not being the key to engagement but rather the creative use and encouragement of students to use interactive technologies. The articles I read really emphasized the role of the faciliatator as one that needed to take responsibility for encouraging and facilitating interactions no matter what technology was used

pat cole said...

Finally figured this out. An important learning curve. I had not activated the account even though I had posted. Go figure.