Teaching Online

Some Nuggets of Wisdom

In this post I highlight some great ideas on teaching online that I’ve read so far. What would you add to the mix?

“It’s meant as a challenge, not a prescription: ‘If We (Profs) Can Be Replaced by a Computer Screen, We Should Be!’ I am amazed at how often my pronouncement, made most recently at the Harvard Innovations in Learning and Teaching (HILT) Symposium, is interpreted to mean “All profs should be replaced by computer screens.” Not at all. What I mean is that, given how sophisticated online technologies are becoming, given how many people around the world are clamoring for quality and low-cost education, given how seriously people in the online educational business (like Khan Academy) are studying how people learn and what kind of help and interaction they need to learn, given all that, then, if we profs are adding no other value to our teaching but that which could be replicated on line, then, well, turn on the computers and get the over-priced profs out of the classrooms now.” — Cathy Davidson

“‘Face-to-face’ is a misattribution. It’s not the face or the body that conveys intimacy, but shared, dynamic experiences of time.” — Kathi Berens

“Every single presenter got up and told us the most wonderful methods for creating great, effective learning experiences. They talked about the brain and cognitive research and technology options and design methods. All three brought forth a wealth of ideas. And I’m grateful for what I learned. But not a single speaker used the methods she described.” — Edward O’Neil

“‘What’s new’ then about online education — particularly the versions that rely heavily on videotaped lectures? (Because, let’s face it, it’s not the instruction itself that’s that innovative. A videotaped lecture is still a lecture.)” — Audrey Watters

“The funny thing about teaching with technologies, online or even in a face-to-face context, is that if you focus primarily on the technologies themselves the important things can fade from view too easily.” — Bonnie Stewart

“To paraphrase the inimitable Jan Dabrowski, we shouldn’t set off on a cruise, and build the ship as we go. Educational campuses have libraries, coffee shops, cafeterias, quads, lawns, amphitheaters, stadiums, hallways, student lounges, trees, park benches, and fountains. Ample space for rallies, study-groups, conversation, debate, student clubs, and special events. Few institutions pay much attention to re-creating these spaces online. The work done outside and between classes (which we would argue is the glue that holds education together) is attended to nominally if at all. Imagine this scenario: a business student shares a table at the campus coffee shop with an English major. A conversation kicks off with the inevitable, “What’s your major?” When and where does this conversation happen in online programs? How can we facilitate the interdisciplinary dialogues that bring a campus to life? What spaces can we build online that aren’t quantified, tracked, scored, graded, assessed, and accredited? How can we use tools like Twitter (and other social media platforms) to build the hallways between our online classes? Many individual educators have begun to do this work, but we need a larger discussion about the future of online education that privileges these spaces as central and indispensable to learning.” Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel

Who’s Afraid of Online Education?

A Thought Experiment

    Adeline Koh

    Written by

    Founder & CEO of SabbaticalBeauty.com. Former English Professor.

    Who’s Afraid of Online Education?

    A Thought Experiment