Monday, July 2, 2007

Blog #5

Online learning is very new to me. I will be taking my first online course in the fall. I enjoyed ETEC 524 (a web enhanced class) because of the face to face interaction with the professor so I'm not quite sure what to expect with this online course. I currently teach with the traditional classroom setting. After reading Chapter 5 from the textbook, I concluded that based on the research conducted, the impact distance education has for learning in an online environment is remarkable. I'm very excited about embarking on this new adventure for several reasons. First, I learn and work best independently. My preference is that of completing assignments by myself rather than with a group. With online learning you are surrounded by a virtual group of students each working independently, but they can easily add feedback and comments. Second, I prefer the time to think and process assignments, especially a writing task. I produce better work when given the assignment and expectations, then following a self-paced schedule for completing them. I enjoy working at home with email just a click away if I have any questions. Online learning will empower me through my motivation of wanting to succeed using this new venue available.

Online learning is a very popular trend in education due to the amount of technology available today. When searching for articles to include in my e-portfolio, I discovered numerous articles discussing online learning. As mentioned in the textbook, the articles cover every aspect from the changing roles of students and teachers to the advantages and disadvantages of learning online. I even found an article written in part by Dr. Wickersham titled, "Teaching Online: Three Perspectives, Three Approaches."

My first experience with eCollege has been through the ETEC 524 class. I am really impressed with all the capabilities it brings for online class enhancement. It was easy to access course information, notes, links, and assignments. This course management systems allows for many resources for the college professors with the ability of the dropbox, shared folders, gradebook and webliography. I look forward to other classes that use this format.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Blog #4

The information in Chapter 4 of the textbook was very interesting. I had never heard of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) especially a website, for example, devoted to primary source material. I will add this website to my list of online resources. It provides a virtual field trip for students needing to research archives without having to visit Washington, D.C.

I agree with the textbook on the subject of teaching the skills needed for students to access primary sources. It starts with the teacher in providing structure and direction while using the internet. I get frustrated at times when I can't find what I am looking for. Students need help in determining what questions to ask so that they can make good search decisions to find the needed information. When searching the NAIL archives, it is important for students to understand bias and subtleties. Students today want information to be handed to them with little thought required. The example from the textbook (searching for trail of tears instead of Indian removal) proves this point. It would be beneficial for teachers to give examples of how primary sources work.

Even with primary sources, students should evaluate the information found. The textbook suggests encouraging students to examine other sources, analyze their data, and access experts. By conversing with an expert, students gain a current base of information and can gain a better understanding of what they are learning. When students are interested, their learning becomes more meaningful.

How can I utilize primary sources to align with my educational technology philosophy? In my philosophy, I discuss the importance of a student centered learning environment. Accessing primary sources supports this learning theory. Once expectations are established, students take on the responsibility of gaining access to the information they are seeking. It also requires students to use higher order thinking skills when assessing the research. The teacher now takes on the role of facilitator.