Reply – Re: Topic #1: Introduction to the Online Learner
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Re: Topic #1: Introduction to the Online Learner
— by Emily Knutson Emily Knutson
I currently teach education courses at a community college.  We teach courses face-to-face, online, and also in a hybrid format, which is combination of online and face-to-face learning.  Online teaching is becoming more and more popular; however there are several students who would rather not take them.  Some students struggle with technology and the self-paced format.  The hybrid format is great because it does offer more of a flipped classroom idea.  The students are responsible for reading chapters, doing online discussions, and exams online.  The students then apply their knowledge during class through discussions and activities.  Even the face-to-face classes require some online learning.  I currently post all notes, activities, and some assessments online.

I feel that the needs of the students in the future will call for more online learning.  Most students work and have very busy schedules.  The online format allows students to complete their coursework while maintaining jobs and families.  We are currently working to use the Quality Matters Standards for Online Learning to make sure that our online courses are quality.  If we use a variety of formats that appeal to all learning styles, I feel that our whole program could be taught online someday.

The biggest challenge my school has with implementation is making sure that all students have access to computers and internet accessibility.  I have also had issues in the past with our online learning system syncing with a book publishing company system.  Also, making sure that students are taking the initiative to do the work and online learning is tricky.  If the students don't complete the work that they are expected to complete in a timely manner, it can complicate the entire experience.

The item in the module that stood out to me the most was the part where etiquette is discussed.  Setting up ground rules for respectful discussions is something that I am going to implement in the future.  Putting myself in the shoes of the online learner, and responding in an empathetic way also changed my thinking.  Everyone has different experience levels, it is important for me to understand that.