Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thoughts at the end of my Distance Learning course

I’m thankful to have been able to take this Distance Learning course. As an online professor and as a mentor of online professors, I’ve learned several things that will be quite beneficial to both those I mentor and myself. It is rewarding to study concepts and practical tools that will apply quickly to the work I do.

I haven’t done much with online course evaluation previously, and this week, I’ve been able to evaluate peers’ courses that they’ve designed for this course. That has been helpful to me to think through how things are laid out and how I can keep improving my own course design. It has also reassured me that I know a lot about online education.

While I was able to design part of a course (Introduction to Online Teaching) in Wikispaces, I wish that I had been able to make a course in Blackboard or ReggieNet (ISU’s version of Sakai) since they are the Course Management Systems that I work with professionally. However, I wasn’t able to get that to work from my end. I have also learned that there are many more resources about online learning than I was aware of. 

One of the resources that has been helpful to me has been a series of videos from COFA at UNSW. I highly recommend these to other online instructors!

One of the things that I learned from this class is the need to keep experimenting with new online tools. I think that I’ve been afraid at times to jump into a piece of new technology and “test drive” it in a course because it might not work perfectly or because I might have students who understand it better. In the future, I will try more things and celebrate those tools that work well for me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Things I'm learning in my Distance Ed course

I am really enjoying my Distance Education class at IllinoisState University!

I went into the class thinking I knew more about online education than I probably did. I’ve found the concepts that Dr. T. has introduced to be stretching mentally for me as I’ve worked to learn about and then apply technologies that are new to me. I’ve felt overwhelmed at points and I think this class might work better as a full semester course instead of being taught in six very short weeks.

I am developing more confidence in the online course content that I’m producing as I move through the class. I am becoming more involved with several RSS feeds that I get on Twitter (@ajbeaty)and Google Reader so that I am able to stay current with changes in distance education. I was also exposed to more information about mLearning which is an area that greatly interests me as it relates to options for global theological education.  

While I have experimented with doing some audio and video messages for online classes, I will use the Yodio audio recording tool often in my future classes. I’m already evaluating how I can integrate it into the mentoring that I’m doing. The three schools where I’ve taught online courses each utilize a specific college-wide course management system. I’m evaluating how I can incorporate some of the skills that I’m learning in this class to improve courses in those schools…even if they are in a “more rigid” environment.

One thing that I’ve learned that will stay with me is the need to keep on top of the rapidly changing field of distance education. I need to keep reading, watching, researching, and questioning on a consistent basis in order to not fall behind the current trends.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Distance Learning Podcast Reviews

Here are some of my thoughts about a couple of podcasts that I reviewed for my Distance Learning class at Illinois State University. I'd love to hear your thoughts on either Blackboard 9.1 or e-Books!

Here are my thoughts on an audio file: Podcast Reviews

Here are the podcasts if you'd like to listen to them firsthand: New features and details of the BB SP8 upgrade. And...Do you like books, or do you like reading?