Sunday, May 27, 2012

Are you ready to be an online student or faculty member?

For my Distance Learning course at Illinois State University, I had to take two quizzes this week.

As I took the first quiz, I worked hard at not answering the questions “the correct way” to make myself look good. Even so, I ended up with a “perfect score” for being a good match for being an online student. I found this to be interesting in that I have had discussions from two different angles in the past few weeks.

Moody Distance Learning
In one conversation, I was talking with other members of the leadership team at the college where I teach about a problem we were having with a particular student. This student was having extreme difficulty in their classes, and we were lamenting the fact that we did not have a process in place for determining whether a student would be a good fit for our online program or not. Although simple, this quiz would be a good initial screening tool to see if someone might be successful in taking classes in an online environment.

In the second conversation, I was discussing with my wife how many of my classes at Illinois State University were either online or hybrid. So, while I teach online college classes and while I am attending a “brick and mortar” university, I am currently an online student more than a face-to-face student.

Moody Bible Institute
The second quiz evaluated whether an individual was ready to be an online instructor. This too is a very timely resource for me to look at as the leadership team at the school where I teach is constantly in dialogue about how to evaluate the readiness of people to teach online. In my role, I teach and mentor new online professors; however, often times, I get people who may have been professors for years in a traditional setting, but then struggle with many of these specific issues that this quiz addresses. For our particular situation, I believe that we could personalize several of these questions and again have a much better screening process to see where prospective instructors are at. It would also be a good discussion starter with new teachers.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about either of these quizzes and how we can continue to improve on both finding the right students and the right faculty to make online learning the best that it can be!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

I have greatly enjoyed my online educational journey! I started out learning much of it as I went along...with little formal training. Over the past five years of teaching online courses, I've learned incredible things about my own teaching style as well as what makes online undergraduate instructors successful or unsuccessful.

As part of my doctoral studies, I'm now taking a course at Illinois State University that will give me more of the foundational elements of teaching distance learning courses. I'm so excited to learn more about the process which in turn will help me be a better online educator and a more effective trainer of and mentor to other online professors.

Stay tuned as I'll be updating my blog regularly over the coming six weeks!