Reflecting on the information covered in this module so far, how might your instructional methodologies need to change in an online or blended learning environment?
I currently teach a seminar at UCLA that has morphed into a blended learning environment simply because I do not have an office where the students can meet with me outside of our assigned class time. As a result, I receive about twenty e-mails a week in which I give feedback on homework assignments, send makeup work for missed classes, and respond to their myriad of thoughts and questions. They appreciate that I call them all by name in the class and I love having the individual connection with each of them on a personal level through the e-mails. They all must pass the same basic material, but I am available to give support or to direct their thinking in the right direction when they need help solving the Problem of the Week (POW) or developing a lesson plan.
What skills and strategies might you improve or expand upon in order to best support student learning in a blended or online environment?
However, my experience with Shiloh University is completely different. The university is entirely online and I do not know the students who can live anywhere in the world. As a result, I am eager to expand my Socratic questioning skills and to be more comfortable as a facilitator in the discussion forum and not the one in charge. I want them to see how mathematics connects with our lives and can be applied creatively to solve problems, so I need to learn how to create problem-based math learning activities that the students can collaborate on together and build a sense of community within the class. I also need to expand my technical skills so I can create an interesting blog site and help the students present who they are to each other as well. With all of the quality math videos available online—such as those from the Khan Academy—I can spend my focus on other areas of directing the student research and learning. I want to impart to them a passion to learn and not just to be content to pass the class. I know this will be an expanding experience for me, but look forward to the challenge.