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Unit 3-1

Page history last edited by Gary Motteram 8 years, 4 months ago


Unit 3—Teaching in online environments: Introduction




  • To consider the affordances of online learning environments
  • To consider online teaching activity
  • To begin to explore the management of online tasks


Unit 3 Organisation and tasks

In unit 2 you thought about your insitutional settings and general considerations for online developments within those contexts. We have also already begun to think about relationships between affordances and the type of teaching and learning we might want to achieve. Here we take that further. We will look at some of the frameworks for practice in online contexts and the link between pedagogical thinking and implementation. This, of course, puts the spotlight on the teacher so we'll look at roles and what is termed 'teaching presence'.


There are four sections including this introduction:


  1. Introduction
  2. Managed learning environments
  3. Teaching for effective learning: identifying Salmon's five stage model
  4. Focus on online teaching 'acts' and the notion of teaching presence



Targetted reading for this unit addresses the following aspects of this topic:

  • features of online learning environments;
  • the challenges of online teaching;
  • frameworks for online teaching practice.



Our online explorations will take you to other learning environments and ask you to exchange your experiences of using these where relevant.




Three forum tasks invite you to:


  • discuss the features of online learning environments and share any experience of using / learning through these;
  • use Salmon's model of online teaching and learning to analyse your own learning experiences so far;
  • use Anderson et al's (2004) research to identify the concept of teaching presence in our course communications and share findings and thoughts.




To get you thinking about links between pedagogy and e-learning decisions about environments:


  1. Anderson, T. Toward a theory of online learning, in Anderson, T. and Elloumi, F. (2004) Theory and Practice of Online Learning, Canada: Athabasca University. Available at http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book/ch2.html. This identifies generic issues that we will be thinking about in this unit. Note the whole book is available online http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book/index.html and this site links to a related discussion board - a reflection on the changing nature of publishing and academic communities. 
  2. E-learning case studies from http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearningpedagogy/casestudies.aspx


I recommend you view one or more of the following clips and note how teachers talk about the rationale for their initiatives, particular affordances of the tools and environments; interesting keywords or ideas that resonate with you:


  • Fermanagh College: 'Explore new concepts' - rural setting - expanding the classroom - web based response - filming presentations
  • University of Central England: 'Solve problems'- Moodle (http://moodle.org/)- problem based learning scenarios
  • Kemnal Technology College: 'Making learning active' - LAMS (Learning Activity Management System http://www.lamsinternational.com/) - online collaborative learning activities


Note: These case studies are part of a larger JISC report Effective Practice with E-learning Bristol: HEFCE from 2004. I have provided a direct link here for you to download. It is lengthy but you can dip into sections and I'll make reference to some useful content in the follopwing pages. Although this has now been archived by JISC, and there is a more recent Effective Practice in a Digital Age (2009) it provides some useful snapshots of thinking as people move into using e-learning environments and tools in different settings. It provides a broader view of e-learning including use of distributed technologies in classroom and blended learning contexts - a reminder that we also aim to take this broader brushstroke (not simply distance learning) as part of our own explorations in this unit.


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