Learning online is not easy for me. I am easily distracted and find it difficult to focus for any length of time on a lesson. My reading comprehension is generally poor in an online environment so I have to do reading assignments multiple times (much more than usual), but even then the information doesn't always stick. With that said, I keep seeking out online courses because I know that with practice I will get better at it.
After taking this course in online and blended learning, I have a much better understanding of the ins and outs of online teaching and learning (iNACOL Standard A). It has helped me become a better online learner AND a better blended learning instructor. The grounding in theory and practice seems to have given me a more settled routine to approaching online learning.
When I look at that iNACOL standards, I can see there are a few areas where I am successful. For example, Standard B requires the teacher to know and understand the use of current and emerging technologies to support student engagement in the online learning environment. Though I am relatively new to the online learning environment, I have confidence in my ability in the following areas:
- The online teacher is able to select and use a variety of online tools for communication, productivity, collaboration, analysis, presentation, research, and online content delivery as appropriate to the content area and student needs.
- The online teacher is able to apply troubleshooting skills (e.g., change passwords, download plug-ins, etc.).
- The online teacher is able to identify and explore new tools and test their applicability to their content areas and students.
- The online teacher is able to establish standards for student behavior that are designed to ensure academic integrity and appropriate use of the Internet and online written communication; teach students that copyright laws are created for a reason.
- The online teacher is able to model and comply with intellectual property policies and fair use standards and reinforce their use with students.
- The online teacher is able to provide resources for students related to intellectual property and plagiarism.
Speaking of practice, though I don't believe I am failing in any of the iNACOL standards, there are some areas where I really need more practice before I can say that I am confident in my ability. For example, in Standard C, while I am confident in my ability to create and implement a student-centered course, I am not as confident in my ability to create a relationship of trust or facilitate the development of community. As I in previous course responses, Standard D's requirement to provide prompt feedback is difficult for me. My communication skills are appropriate, but I am not good with timely.
I am good with observational data in a face-to-face environment, but wonder if I will adequately catch student difficulties in the online environment as discussed in Standard I. To develop my skills in this area, I have started using electronic exit tickets in my classroom. Reading responses online will help me in this area.
Overall, I feel confident in my ability to teach in a blended or online environment, but I am aware there are several areas where I will need to continue to develop my skills.