Been thinking about the “course” I’m working and really there isn’t a course, only an idea of the need to resolve a problem.
At our very small community college we have widely dispersed students with minimal educational experience, low tech skills and, except at election time, zero presence in the minds of educational funding agencies. We also have dedicated teachers who are very adept at connecting with these students in a way that’s hard to describe beyond calling it a relationship of concern, respect, dedication and other things people don’t train for in a conscious way.
Were life here to go on unchanged:
- Students who prefer to learn in their tiny home communities among people they know would continue to be served by traveling teachers or video conferencing on bad winter days.
- Teachers who have experience in distance learning’s history of failure to have an impact on their students’ lives would continue to do as they have done which includes seeing online delivery as inappropriate and a close cousin of distance and its failures.
Life changes, and like it or not, online delivery is here. And appropriate or not, e-learning APPEARS to be the ideal solution. So ideal that no one even has to think about it! Why hesitate, just jump in.
Hesitate they have and the first way past this was to train our instructors in online teaching skills. Yes? Well, four years into this alternative only a few have responded and they still have to deal with students who haven’t caught up to the technology. Clearly we aren’t recognizing a problem and are blindly using the wrong fix.
Implementation of online learning isn’t the same as acceptance. We have the means, the funding and even a whole pile of theories to work with but without acceptance where are we? Forced acceptance? Not productive in a fragile situation where the people needed to carry the flag are unconvinced and the recipients (if, in fact, these are two parties and not just one relationship) are tenuously attached to the former system that is now to be turned upside down right in front of them.
So here I have a class that I’ll call “You woke up one morning and realized the internet is where you’d always taught and learned and was just as normal as could be (and please tell me how I managed to get you to believe that).”
Before I work on design I’m going to spy on Ralene Friend’s Facebook posting.