It is already week 3 of the POT course and it feels like I am learning a new language and culture. Based on my reading of Ko and Rossen’s Online Teaching textbook, I conclude that online teaching requires more organization, research, and rigor. One must plan everything ahead of time with charts and set goals and objectives. The Instructor must make sure that the online material is up-to-date, accessible, entertaining, and interesting to students. The submitted discussions, assignments, and tests, should be constantly viewed and feedback should be given right away in order to keep up with each student’s progress. It is very important to constantly monitor time, content, and organization. In a classroom, one can easily test students and provide immediate feedback. When students work in small groups and the Instructor visits each small group, she is able to correct students’ pronunciation, writing, and comprehension. In a virtual setting, this process of giving feedback will be more tedious but maybe it will be more effective.
Online teaching, it turns out, might benefit the Instructor in the sense that he/she must constantly update and edit course content. In a real classroom, teachers do not receive immediate feedback on their teaching, but online the teacher will be looking at his/her own teaching along with the students. Viewing oneself from the point of view of students seems inevitable and crucial online. Perhaps this is the reason for which an online teacher should be extroverted and sociable. Text and communication via audio, video, and text is omnipresent online, so an Instructor must find a way to stand out among all the audio-visual and textual content in order to reach to students and grasp their interest.
There are a few things I need to consider before designing my course:
1) How to balance the writing with audio and video files so as to make the class fun and interactive.
2) How to make sure students actually read or listen to the lecture part of your class.
3) How to keep the student-oriented aspect of teaching alive in a virtual environment through the IM, forum, discussion, and email environments.
There are some ideas I have thrown out there and would need to experiment before actually writing up my class:
1) I think students would be more likely to watch a funny video or listen to an audio than to read a text, so I think the more audio and video components, the better.
2) It should work better if one has a multiple choice quiz after each short lecture to make sure that the students review the key elements of what they should retain.
3) The forum, IM, and discussion ideas are great for putting theory into practice right away. I do agree with the book that discussions should be closely monitored and limited in time and content. It would be difficult to monitor a discussion or chat session that lasts 12 hours and goes in many different directions. I think for a beginner instructor, this will be the toughest element to control and generate in a successful manner. Trial and error will hopefully guide me towards a good and practical solution.
4) The issue of plagiarism will definitely become more tricky online than in a classroom where I can make sure that it is the same students enrolled in the class that are taking the mid-term tests. Maybe it would be best to have students take a test in front of a webcam in order to make sure they are indeed taking the test and not their family member or friend.
Since I am a French 101 Instructor at MiraCosta College, I will begin by designing a beginning level French language class.
The goal will be for students to learn to read, write, speak, and hear everyday French conversations at the basic level.
The objective will be for students to communicate via speech or writing about everyday topics such as family, school, leisure, work, and to conjugate the basic French verbs in the present, imperative, and near future tenses.
I love using audio-visual materials in my classroom and teaching online will give me the opportunity to exploit all the great resources out there for learning French. One great site that contains many videos and exercises is University of Texas’ French Interactive page. Here’s a great video from YouTube about learning family vocabulary in French.