OTL201 – Post 5

Post 5 – Integration

I admit to be somewhat surprised regarding the concepts learned in this course that have the greatest impact on student learning. In this module we learned that mixing text and graphics in a presentation is an effective as a means of holding student attention. Conversely, instructor created interactive media, a time consuming endeavor that would seem to have a great deal of potential as an effective learning aid, is not significantly better than other teaching aids that require less effort. As always, know your topic, introduce humour where possible, and address your students on a personal level are simple but effective approaches for facilitating better communications and improved learning retention.

Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes, and Garrison (2013) discuss practices that instructors can employ to improve social presence for distant learning students. These practices including posting video introductions to courses, setting appropriate norms for discussion forums, and providing clarity to students about requirements to complete the course.  In addition providing (some) flexibility as to how course outcomes are met is an important strategy for learners who may be balancing job, family and their studies.

Specific goals that I would like to achieve concerning effective use of media include:

  • Creating a library of libraries of useful graphics for presentations through targeted web searches (Specific, Achievable, Relevant)
  • Creating a few short (and well scripted) video tutorials for courses I am teaching (Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound)

Additional questions about student engagement and retention

  1. In the online classroom, where the student population interacts asynchronously, there will develop over time leaders and followers; how can the instructor effectively interact with these de facto leaders to facilitate a deeper learning experience for all students?
  2. What other Web 2.0 technologies can be used to augment the learning environment for independent study?

Answer to these questions may already have been explored in the last decade by the research community. it is my intentions to research some of the more recent educational research looking for answers to these questions.