Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Module 6 - Learning in a Digital World

Being a fellow "techy", I can definitely say that technology has had a vital impact on my life and my education.  Sitting in class hearing a lecture is often difficult to me because I become bored easily and lose interest.  During my third year of college, I discovered distance education and changed up my way of learning completely.  I began checking for my required courses and seeing if distance education was an option.  When it was, those sections were the ones that I chose.  I wasn’t a fan of having to watch videos and what not, so once I was able to work with an interface such as BlackBoard and WebCT, I was sold that distance education was definitely the way to go for me.  My life is very busy, so having the power to interact and get the same end result with an online environment helps me meet my needs without being stressed with cramming travel to and from campus into my schedule.

When it comes to education, I think that working collaboratively with groups should be a requirement.  It allows students to interact with others, gain new perspectives on particular topics and also creates a better understanding through courses.  Another plus to having students collaborate is that it is very relatable to the real world since we constantly have to interact at work and throughout our everyday lives.  Through teaching and learning I have also learned the importance of pacing and setting deadlines.  This allows the student and the teacher to progress through the curriculum smoothly and prevents a huge back up of assignments at the end of the course.  I have seen the importance of connectivism lately in my course work thanks to networking with others through social media and other mediums.  I have been able to learn many new things from connecting with others and have found that I can often talk with other classmates to get answers rather than having to contact the instructor in many cases.

4 comments:

  1. Distance Learning is a great alternative when you are so busy. Since you are a "techy" you have an advantage over many students in the online environment. I agree that collaboration is a key component in most work places, and as we have seen from our courses, in higher education as well. I found it interesting that piecing out the work was not considered collaboration. I can see Dr. Moller's point, but it's a starting point in an online class. Then the discussions, resources, and examples flow from a common base. Conversation is more difficult in some ways when you are not face-to-face, so that makes collaboration harder, but no less important.

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  2. Ashley,

    Your early experiences with distance learning were very different from my own. My first distance course was a set of videos we had to watch, a midterm, and a final. It was not a good experience, and left a bad taste in my mouth. I was very hesitant to begin another online learning experience, but it is the only way that I can fit school into my schedule now. Thankfully, I've had a much better experience with online learning with Walden! Looking back, I realize that one thing that was lacking from my first course was collaboration. I never spoke to another person in my course, and I can honestly say I don't remember anything I "learned" in that course. How was collaboration used in your distance courses through other institutions? Have you found that collaboration is more effective online or face-to-face? I still feel like collaboration in my face-to-face courses was more rewarding.

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  3. Ashley,
    As a teacher, I can see the benefits of collaborative learning. Through collaboration, students learn how to appreciate diversity, and be tolerant of others whose perspectives vary from theirs. However, I expect that teachers will face some limitations in their efforts to promote collaborative activities in the classroom. Standardized testing is very much an individual activity; and until the way in which students, teachers and schools are evaluated, there will restrictions on collaborative activities in the classroom

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