This journal entry is about reflecting on the selected quote: “Persevering at online learning is also affected by computer and information literacy, time management…online communication skills…self-esteem, feelings of belongingness in the online program and the ability to develop interpersonal skills with peers…” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 199).
I learned that online learning is the trend for most adult learners and companies globally. According to the eLearning Industry written by Christopher Pappas, “it’s estimated that about 46% college students are taking at least one course online…. by 2019, roughly half of all colleges classes will be eLearning-based” (2013, para. 5). Pappas also indicates that online learning has positive effects when utilized by many companies such as employee retention. In addition, he mentions that many companies use the online survey to obtain feedback from customers that would help employers improve their service. As a result, this helps augment the company’s productivity or business market. (Pappas, 2013). This quote caught my attention because, in my situation alone, I can relate to the fact that online learning has given me the opportunity to still be able to work my full-time job and have the flexibility to study or complete my assignments in my own time, for instance. Since this is my first time taking an online course, I have learned to become self-sufficient and disciplined particularly in submitting my assignments within the time frame prior to the course expiration date.
Imagining what it would be like for me to teach online would have its challenges and advantages. One of the challenges that I could think of would be how to ensure that students remain motivated to complete the online course. Basing it on the PIDP 3100 online course that I’m currently taking, my instructor has posted short videos that describe each category or assignment. It also has links to various resources that students could access, which I find very useful. Another challenging aspect of online teaching would be how to encourage students to stay disciplined and focused, using time management especially for those students who work full-time. I would also worry about the adult learner’s knowledge in computer. However, the PIDP 3100 online course has a great resource in finding information that makes the students feel less intimated and/or feeling at ease when trying to follow the course outline.
In addition, I felt that I would require further support and receive proper instructor training from the school I would be teaching. There is an article I found written by Therese O’Neil, describing the outlines for an instructor-training program. I believe this article is very informative because it provides an educator the three out of the 24 benchmarks to teaching/learning, which is the recommendation made by the institute for Higher Education Policy such as follows:
- Student interaction with faculty and other students is an essential characteristic and is facilitated through a variety of ways, including voice-mail/or e-mail
- Feedback to student assignments and questions is constructive and provided in a timely manner.
- Students are instructed in the proper methods of effective research including assessment of the validity of resources (2006, p. 3).
Reflecting on the above, I realized that teaching online may not be for every instructor. I do concur with O’Neil’s statement, “A good classroom teacher is not necessarily a good online teacher” (2006, p. 5).
After reading a few articles on online teaching and how this changes the roles of the adult educators, I felt that there were a lot of factors to consider. The teachers, of course with the help of the school’s web designers, needed to ensure that they delivered or presented the course well to the adult learners wherever these students may be in the world. I thought that the course outline on the school website must be designed in a user-friendly atmosphere where students could easily access information or data in order to complete the course assignments, etc.
One thing that I thought was really fascinating about having to teach online would be how to remain connected to the adult learners. After my research on this subject, I now have a different appreciation of the online instructors. It appears to me that it involves a lot of time and work especially when working with students from different time zones. For instance, students from the east coast i.e. Toronto are three hours ahead of us here in Vancouver. If they are able to meet with the instructor online after seven in the evening, that would be ten o’clock our time. What about the ones who could only meet over the weekend? In this case, the instructors need to be dedicated in making themselves available to their e-learners.
I realized that online teaching may not be suited for the kind of lifestyle I have. I may have difficulty maintaining my work-life balance because I play a lot of seasonal sports. These sports alone require time and effort. When considering teaching online, I think it is important that instructors understand its advantages and disadvantages prior to taking on the role. The instructors must learn to assimilate the online teaching mentality and be aware of the varying needs of the adult learners. As well, the online instructors need to be prepared to guide the adult learners and be present and flexible. The closest thing I could incorporate this online teaching to my future instructional method would be creating a class blog where all students could either submit or share their assignments or findings to the rest of their peers. At present, I do encourage my students to submit their paper assignment via email, because I like the idea of keeping “green”, preventing wastage of paper. Consequently, I enjoyed learning about how the process of online learning/teaching works. This whole experience gave me a different perspective of online teaching in a positive way.