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ASRafferty
07-19-2008, 05:42 AM
I'm so glad this forum was created!

In "real life" <choke> I'm the director of distance learning at a small college in New Hampshire. The nub (but not the whole) of my work is finding and coaching Subject Matter Experts through the writing of graduate courses for delivery online (totally asynchronous, no real time chat).

It will come as no surprise to anyone here that the biggest challenge I face is not in finding excellent teachers who know their subject cold. Rather, it's (you got it) finding people with all of that going for them who can write in the way that you have to in order to give of yourself, show yourself, online.

My big hiring mistakes have all had the same thing in common -- they all glide around classrooms like they've spent a lifetime in the theater (i.e., they're great "performers" and know their stuff so cold that they can hold students spellbound for three hours)... but ask them to commit that to paper, and it's just no go. We've always given our own graduate faculty first crack at writing these courses... usually disastrous, because they're as bad at writing what they do as they are good at doing it!

Asking for writing samples has been a waste of time... it's just plain not the same genre, and there's absolutely nothing to be gained from their last article in The Journal of American YouPickIts.

The same thing happens from time to time with the folks who tend the discussions in the class... they don't know how to show or give themselves to students in their writing... and that's what it takes when teaching and learning relationships have to happen and develop in print.

How can I "screen" those applicants with credentials and teaching success for their ability to function online, whose persona in print reflects an appreciation for the very specific art of being able to "talk" in black and white like they do in a classroom? Or am I doomed to a lifetime of having to endlessly edit the stuff of people who know something I need them to share, so that it doesn't put my students into a coma?

Anyone have thoughts on how to find these experts in their fields using some device for finding those who truly understand the culture around communicating online?

Sorry for being long... one last thing -- OF COURSE you can send me your resume (though I mostly need people with the doctorate)! Because (oddly enough), if you post here, I'll be able to see what you're like online! Our online programs are at http://www.onlinenec.com.

Thanks for "listening".... :)

Gehanna
07-19-2008, 06:41 PM
Hello ASRafferty,


The nub (but not the whole) of my work is finding and coaching Subject Matter Experts through the writing of graduate courses for delivery online (totally asynchronous, no real time chat).

I am of the opinion that online information should function only as a supplement for the teaching and learning of any subject.


My big hiring mistakes have all had the same thing in common -- they all glide around classrooms like they've spent a lifetime in the theater (i.e., they're great "performers" and know their stuff so cold that they can hold students spellbound for three hours)... but ask them to commit that to paper, and it's just no go.

Those of us who “glide around classrooms” are educators not “performers”. Performers entertain and educators teach. As an educator, I do not enjoy being compared to a performer even if intended as a compliment.

A significant challenge for those who write to educate is to make certain their writing does not inadvertently antagonize the reader. Failure to do so risks destruction of the learning process.


How can I "screen" those applicants with credentials and teaching success for their ability to function online, whose persona in print reflects an appreciation for the very specific art of being able to "talk" in black and white like they do in a classroom?

Teachers do not "talk". Those who are adept educators impart knowledge through the utilization of various mediums such as speaking and writing. It is no wonder you are having difficulty. You seek educators who excel in the utilization of multiple mediums. Very few "performers" can sing and dance.


Or am I doomed to a lifetime of having to endlessly edit the stuff of people who know something I need them to share, so that it doesn't put my students into a coma?

The magic eight ball says: More Than Most Likely.


Anyone have thoughts on how to find these experts in their fields using some device for finding those who truly understand the culture around communicating online?

Perhaps it would be better to find authors who understand how to best communicate an educator's knowledge in writing.

Non-Doctorally Yours,
Gehanna

dolores haze
07-19-2008, 06:52 PM
How about conducting the whole application, interview and selection process on-line. By the time you have selected the best candidate, you should have a very good idea that that person is able to be a scintillating educator via the written word.

Good luck!

Medievalist
07-19-2008, 07:15 PM
Speaking as an English lit and writing teacher (newly minted Ph.D. in hand) and a geek with more than twenty years software /technology experience, who's been on the 'net daily since 1989, and who worked for two years as the instructional technology coordinator for all of UCLA's humanities departments . . .

You Google 'em. You find out what online communities they're actually involved in, and how. You reach out to the people who are already active on the 'net, and participating in online communities.

If they really are teachers, they'll be teaching, one way or another, in their online presence.

And while it's possible to find someone who turns out to be brilliant teaching online, and has never been online, it's less likely than it is to find people already online.

You could frequent some of the IT blogs, too ... there's a small but active community of us blogging about instructional technology, and there's a host of academic bloggers in general.

We've got about fifty active academic Medievalist bloggers, alone, and we actually have now met at the major U.S. academic conference for medievalists for three years running, presenting on panels and socializing, both.

You advertise your openings in Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Ed, indicating that it's online. Some of us look for those jobs. In my fields, you contact people with active blogs and ask them to pass the word. There's even an entire professional organization for English comp and lit teachers who work /teach with technology, with an annual conference.

We're out there. Some of us are even [cough] looking for jobs.

ASRafferty
07-19-2008, 09:07 PM
Thanks, all... I'm still trying to get over my utter surprise that any educator would resent being called a brilliant performer. What a throwback to the days when "theater people" were ok, as long as your daughter didn't want to marry one! It reminded me of that hilarious scene from "My Favorite Year", where Peter O'Toole drunkenly dangles from a balcony... two tuxedoed gentlemen are chatting on the terrace a couple of floors above, and one finally glances over the rail and notices:

Stockbroker #1 (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0219223/): [looking over the edge of the balcony] I think Alan Swann is beneath us!
Stockbroker #2 (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0263975/): Of course he's beneath us. He's an actor!

However, my post was not about debating the value of online learning, but about the challenge of delivering in print what we do face to face (although I guess some assume I'm ineligible to call myself one of the "we" because I teach online, no matter how many classrooms I'm in and continue to be in). The forum is "Public Speaking and Education," and I find it ironic that I should have to make a case for the fact that public speaking online IS writing, and learning DOES occur here.

Anyway, Groucho told me everything I ever wanted to know about belonging to clubs, and references to "innies" and "outies" should, IMHO, be confined to conversations about bellybuttons.

Efforts to change the subject to the contrary notwithstanding, I think there's an art to being able to write effectively what you do (teaching or anything else) that shares something important with any good writing. So, thanks to Dolores and Medievalist for their good faith answers! I guess it's a simple conclusion after all -- there are no "bona fides" that automatically come with any profession, as far as the ability to write it goes.... and those who can do both well are worth their weight in some venues.

Gehanna
07-19-2008, 09:53 PM
As a woman, I would also not enjoy being compared to a man although this does not mean I think of men as being below women. My passion stems from my appreciation of differences. Attempts to create conceptual melting pots rob the world of amazing variety.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

Medievalist
07-19-2008, 10:00 PM
Hey

Let's just calm down, all right?

ASRafferty asked perfectly reasonable questions, and asked them in a courteous fashion.

And Gehanna, online instruction is here to stay, and for a lot of students, it's not only a better option, for many it's the only option.

It's also my other profession, and one that I care deeply about.

ASRafferty
07-19-2008, 11:30 PM
Attempts to create conceptual melting pots rob the world of amazing variety.

Exactly... and online learning is the most colorful conceptual salad bowl I've ever seen.

If you're not a good teacher, you'll be found out online a lot quicker than in a classroom. My mistake in my first post was neglecting to acknowledge the good teachers we do have... they can teach and they can write, and the amazing thing is that they can do them both at once, and superbly!

I just was wishing I could bottle that... so many good classroom teachers can't make it online, and I grieve that students who need to be there or choose to be there won't get to work with them.

Gehanna
07-19-2008, 11:40 PM
I am calm. Conflict is my specialty. :tongue

Being serious now, It was not my intention to create conflict.

Earlier I wrote:
A significant challenge for those who write to educate is to make certain their writing does not inadvertently antagonize the reader. Failure to do so risks destruction of the learning process.

For obvious reasons, I do not provide written learning material. :D

There is value in online education. I do not think it should be done away with. What I wrote is that it should serve only to supplement the teaching and learning of any subject. I admit I do have a strong opinion that online instruction should not replace classroom education.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

san_remo_ave
07-19-2008, 11:52 PM
And Gehanna, online instruction is here to stay, and for a lot of students, it's not only a better option, for many it's the only option.


Indeed! I have a newly minted Bachelor's due to the online learning offered by the TN Board of Regents. I would never have been able to complete it otherwise. :D

ASRafferty
07-20-2008, 12:00 AM
Indeed! I have a newly minted Bachelor's due to the online learning offered by the TN Board of Regents. I would never have been able to complete it otherwise. :D

Congrats, Melissa! To me, it's all about widening the entrance gate, but that doesn't make the exit gate any easier to get through -- a wonderful achievement, hope there was a big party! :)

Gehanna
07-20-2008, 01:47 AM
Hello, I'm a nurse who learned everything I know online. Now bend over and don't be shy. This is my first time to. :D

OK, ok,... I'll stop being a pain now. lol

Sincerely,
Gehanna

ASRafferty
07-20-2008, 02:39 AM
Melissa, I don't know what prompted that jab just above at your degree, but pay it no mind if you can. Anyone with even a passing understanding of what you've done knows how hard you worked, and how proud you should be.



Earlier I wrote:
A significant challenge for those who write to educate is to make certain their writing does not inadvertently antagonize the reader. Failure to do so risks destruction of the learning process.

For obvious reasons, I do not provide written learning material. :D


See...no matter how bad things get, there's ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

Roger J Carlson
07-20-2008, 02:46 AM
I honestly don't know how you find good online instructors.

I am a content expert in Microsoft Access, having been awarded the Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) award for the last three years (one of only 200 people world wide). I have extensive web presence, not just here on AW but in my field. Google on "Roger Carlson Access database sample" and you'll find hundreds of hits from dozens of forums and on-line communities. My website (www.rogersaccesslibrary.com) has had over 1/2 a million visitors from 200 countries and all continents (including Antarctica). I taught database design at Muskegon Community College for 12 years (and I was the ONLY one to teach it for those 12 years). And I've written Access database articles for a nationally known magazine, so I know how to write.

Near the end, the college wanted me to teach one semester of it online. I quailed at the thought. For some classes it would be easy: read these chapters, write these papers, take these tests. But some classes, like database design, require a change in how the student thinks and the process is different for each student. Some pick it up very quickly, others struggle with the concepts.

I can't think how you'd teach it without direct human to human interaction. Every class is different and every individual in the class is different. I never know what bit of my expertise is going to be needed next. I can't imagine how I'd put that into written form.

Oh, I could create and teach a class with the same name and covers the same curriculum, but it wouldn't be the same class and the student wouldn't learn nearly as much even though they'd have the same college credit for it.

It's possible that the fault is with me. Perhaps I'm just a dinosaur that can't adapt to the new age. But I guess I'm with Gehanna in the sense that some things shouldn't be taught online. At least not by me, which brings us back around to saying that I don't know how you'll find good online instructors. Because by all lights I should be a good one.

Roger J Carlson
07-20-2008, 02:54 AM
What say EVERYBODY stop jabbing at EVERYBODY so we can have a civil discussion, okay?

Gehanna
07-20-2008, 03:02 AM
What say EVERYBODY stop jabbing at EVERYBODY so we can have a civil discussion, okay?

Agreed. :)

Sincerely,
Gehanna

ASRafferty
07-20-2008, 03:06 AM
I honestly don't know how you find good online instructors.
...some things shouldn't be taught online. At least not by me, which brings us back around to saying that I don't know how you'll find good online instructors. Because by all lights I should be a good one.

Roger, thanks very much for this. I absolutely agree that what can't be taught effectively online shouldn't be. You come from a level of expertise in your field that entitles you to an opinion about that. What puzzles me is the completely unfounded conviction in some quarters that nothing should be taught online... a very different conclusion than the one you reached after carefully considering what's required, what's at stake, the critical points at which real time interaction has to be part of the process or else it can't be done well... and, most important, your caveat above: "At least not by me....."

The only other thought I'd offer in response to yours is that, precisely because of the variations among students and their abilities, classroom teaching doesn't always succeed either. No matter which venue you're in, you do what you can with what you've got... but there is just as much you can do online as you can do in person -- you just do it differently.

It's not for everyone, teacher or student... our admissions process is as careful as our hiring process. I do think that there's an awful lot of underestimation of what's possible going on -- but I would certainly never argue that that anything and everything is possible online, any more than I would accept the contention that nothing's possible.

Cassiopeia
07-20-2008, 03:09 AM
I'm extremely grateful for online learning. It's a venue that allows me to have a life as a single mother and still continue working on my degree.

I would love to be an online instructor one day. I enjoy the written method of communication much more than public speaking. I can do well at either but I love the classrooms I have been a part of online.

I hope you find what you need! Good luck :)

Roger J Carlson
07-20-2008, 03:36 AM
My fear is that in the rush to get everything online, students in some areas of learning are being short-changed. If the class is designed poorly and the evaluation methods are not rigorous enough, a student can pass an online class without learning much of anything. Now you might say that this can happen in meat-space classrooms, and this is true, but I contend it's much harder to do when students meet their teachers face to face.

I agree with Medievalist that online classes are the future, but I don't think the infrastructure nor the methodology for effective online instruction has been perfected. Until it is, much online instruction (though certainly not all) will remain substandard.

But again, just because I can't create an online class that meets my standards doesn't mean it's impossible, just that it's impossible for me. I just have these misgivings...

Cassiopeia
07-20-2008, 03:44 AM
I understand your misgivings, Roger. For me, the difficulty is just where you say it is. Students can get by easier online. They can have someone else do the work if there is no final that takes place at a testing center. It is a bit more of the honor system, don't you think?

I worked very hard to get the marks I do but I am well aware of student cheating all the time. Both in and out of the online teaching system. In my Cultural Anthropology class I attended on campus I was pretty upset when a fellow student told me her 15 year old brother wrote her final paper and she was given a B+ for it. I did so much work for that final paper. I received an A but when I read hers, which by no means compared, I felt the teacher was not up to the standards she should have been.

So I think the problem exists in the educational system both on campus and online.

ASRafferty
07-20-2008, 04:08 AM
Good points, all, and neither shoddy behavior nor lack of standards and enforcement should be tolerated in either venue.

Identity authentication is THE #1 challenge online, no doubt about it. Proctored exams are required in many online programs, and the gap is closing in that regard. But I've been in classrooms a long time, and there's very little you can do about inconsistency between classroom presence and the quality of written assignments or final papers that could easily have been written by someone else. So it goes... you can't force anyone to value their education more than they do.

Interestingly, I find that, with my knowledge of students largely shaped by how they express themselves in writing, I pick up pretty quickly on plagiarism (witting or "un'), without all the software designed to help teachers do that. I believe it's because I'm a writer and I pay attention to writing... which brings me back to the reason I launched the thread.

I think it's the good writers and the lovers of language who hold the keys to making teaching and learning online what it ought to be, no matter the field or the course. I understand misgivings... but I think, given the state of K-12 education (in this country, at least), worrying about how successful online learning is feels a little like closing a porthole on the Titanic.

Roger J Carlson
07-20-2008, 04:18 AM
Amy,

I'm sorry to have concentrated on the negative as that is not really the question you posed. But I re-read your original post and I see that your curriculum is asynchronous. I think this may be part of the problem.

Let me think out loud here for a moment and see if I can't make some sense.

Some classes only require that you acquire new knowledge. But some classes require you to learn new ways to think. I mentioned that database design is difficult because there are conceptual leaps that students must make before they can progress. The first few classes are the hardest even on campus because I can see that some are getting the idea and others are not. I don't know how I can tell, I can just feel it. So I try some different tack. Perhaps I present a different illustration. Perhaps I use the same one again, but go into more detail in certain areas. Every class is different, but because of the non-verbal feedback, I am able to adjust my teaching style on the fly.

And I guess that's what made the thought of putting my class online so intimidating. How can I write something that will make sense to everyone? I can't. But unlike a classroom setting, I don't even know that they're not getting it until perhaps weeks later. By that time, we are too far into the course to back up. Come mid-term I fear I'd be faced with the prospect of failing a bunch of students for something not entirely their fault or lowering my standards. Both prospects are equally repugnant to me..

Real-time interactive software is one way around this and the college used such a product. But still, the written word is so limited sometimes. The nuances of human interaction just can't be contained in it. And yet you say your curriculum is without even that limited feedback.

Granted, this is graduate level work and they should be able to be self-motivated, but again, I have my doubts about its effectiveness in some areas. I guess I haven't helped you much, but I hope I've explained where my misgivings lie and perhaps that will help you in some small way.

ASRafferty
07-20-2008, 04:48 AM
Roger, I can cut to the chase on those concerns, I think. Our program is asynchronous, but with requirements for participating in two discussion forums each week, and that participation has to include give and take with classmates as well as with the instructor. What you call "nonverbal cues" are "pick-up-able" online (which I realize makes no sense since its written, and therefore verbal... but it's the vocabulary that's failing me, not the reality). But if "subtext" and the ability to pick it up is at all real, that's how it happens. Not to mention the students who feel more free to yell for help online than they would F2F.

My course is ethics (across all programs -- in management, healthcare, public policy, criminal justice, etc.), basically a critical thinking course with an insistence that they see both sides of any question and be technically able to defend both, so that their conviction is grounded in reason... talk about having to change the way students think! And they HAVE to talk (write) to me several times a week... and I talk to them on the phone when they want real time (anytime!)... and, equally cool is that they talk to each other all week long, both "in class" and outside.

So... for whatever that's worth... teaching and learning online are not less subtle than the classroom... they just require different antennae.

Gehanna
07-20-2008, 05:07 AM
What puzzles me is the completely unfounded conviction in some quarters that nothing should be taught online...


That would puzzle me to.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

Medievalist
07-20-2008, 05:21 AM
You deliberately structure the online class, and the assignments and related assessments knowing that the class is either entirely online, or blended.

Either way, you have, via discussion forums, essays, IMs/chats, and email, enough data to know a student's skill set, thinking, and writing style.

Gehanna
07-20-2008, 05:32 AM
You deliberately structure the online class, and the assignments and related assessments knowing that the class is either entirely online, or blended.

Either way, you have, via discussion forums, essays, IMs/chats, and email, enough data to know a student's skill set, thinking, and writing style.

Really? That's interesting. I bet I know what you're thinking right now. :D

I apologize in advance. Just trying to make a point, albeit a crude one.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

san_remo_ave
07-20-2008, 05:55 AM
Hello, I'm a nurse who learned everything I know online. Now bend over and don't be shy. This is my first time to. :D

What's most entertaining about this comment is that my sister --the RN --finished her degree via distance learning because she was raising an infant and twin toddlers while working in the medical field to gain practical experience at the same time. She had no difficulty either passing certifications or in gaining real-life experience. A more talented, informed, and caring nurse would be hard to find.

Distance learning is nothing to laugh at. It's a practical and effective learning alternative for many non-traditional students.

san_remo_ave
07-20-2008, 06:07 AM
I understand your misgivings, Roger. For me, the difficulty is just where you say it is. Students can get by easier online. They can have someone else do the work if there is no final that takes place at a testing center. It is a bit more of the honor system, don't you think?

That's really dependent upon how the course is structured. I completed a BS degree with 60+ hours of online instruction --a necessity as I travel extensively for work.

Online learning does not necessarily equal zero human contact (or identity verification). Many courses I've taken required proctored exams and even in-person presentations.

ASRafferty
07-20-2008, 06:26 AM
You know, the irony is that any school that worked from the premise that students were there to learn and get the most out of what was offered would look a lot like "an honor system"...there would be no need for "policing."

Roger's point about pedagogy remains well-taken... but I'm less convinced of the argument that online lets the slackers through more often (see the comments above about structure). I have to wonder which system is really behaving as if it expects students to live up to the authentic purpose of obtaining an education.

san_remo_ave
07-20-2008, 06:32 AM
Our program is asynchronous, but with requirements for participating in two discussion forums each week, and that participation has to include give and take with classmates as well as with the instructor. What you call "nonverbal cues" are "pick-up-able" online (which I realize makes no sense since its written, and therefore verbal... but it's the vocabulary that's failing me, not the reality). But if "subtext" and the ability to pick it up is at all real, that's how it happens. Not to mention the students who feel more free to yell for help online than they would F2F.

Amy,

That's exactly the type of courses that I participated in for my degree. Most of the contact with classmates and instructors was online, but the feel was very similar to the interaction with folks here on AW. You really do get a feel for comprehension, voice, and capability very quickly.


My course is ethics (across all programs -- in management, healthcare, public policy, criminal justice, etc.), basically a critical thinking course with an insistence that they see both sides of any question and be technically able to defend both, so that their conviction is grounded in reason... talk about having to change the way students think! And they HAVE to talk (write) to me several times a week... and I talk to them on the phone when they want real time (anytime!)... and, equally cool is that they talk to each other all week long, both "in class" and outside.

I agree! Online learning can be very diverse.

One instructor used a virtual textbook --DVD's really! --for a science based course. I watched hours and hours of lectures with video and audio content. It was wildly entertaining because the speaker was a real character with the same interaction as an auditorium speaker with Powerpoint slides. And I found it more informative than a lecture because I could pause and repeat segements on demand.

Another instructor experimented with podcasts to break up the content and make weekly lectures more immediate and engaging than just reading text, text, text. It was a great concept --just very poor execution. The instructor disappeared in the virtual environment for about four weeks --no podcasts, no messages, no grades.... In my experience, this environment can foster lame instruction as well as lame student learners... :D

I haven't any very good ideas on how to critique/interview prospective instructors other than to ask for practical samples. Publishers ask for completed or comprehensive samples of work before they consider signing an author. Would a requested virtual lecture or two give you enough content to gauge effectiveness? As a student, I could tell pretty quickly from the written lectures how helpful a virtual instructor would be.

This subject is particularly fascinating to me because I also find myself in the role as educator/communicator at work. Since I engage with a national work force, I utilize many virtual tools to help facilitate information exchange and it's not unlike the virtual learning I experienced. We utilize conference calls extensively and I often thought this would be a good medium to employ to enhance the remote learning experience. Many of my workmates will go out of their way to call in to discuss something in real time than to read about it later, for example....

Online learning will continue to evolve, just as so many of our other communication methods are evolving (journalism, social networking, etc). And it can be fascinating and exciting and intimidating all at the same time.

Cassiopeia
07-20-2008, 06:37 AM
That's really dependent upon how the course is structured. I completed a BS degree with 60+ hours of online instruction --a necessity as I travel extensively for work.

Online learning does not necessarily equal zero human contact (or identity verification). Many courses I've taken required proctored exams and even in-person presentations.*nods* Yes, I agree. When it's done right, it works really well. This has only been an experience with some of my classes.

I think if someone is intent on cheating they will no matter the venue. :)

ASRafferty
07-20-2008, 06:39 AM
Melissa, your post bears out what I mentioned earlier about its being so much harder for bad teaching to go on for long online... and, in spite of Gehanna's comments, the element of performance and entertainment in good teaching and successful learning is undeniable.

I suspect you're right about some sort of "sampling" being the answer... I just hate taking the "you got it or you ain't" approach with a medium this new.

san_remo_ave
07-20-2008, 06:50 AM
I think if someone is intent on cheating they will no matter the venue. :)

Amen! Where there's a will, there's a way, eh? :D


...the element of performance and entertainment in good teaching and successful learning is undeniable

From my personal experience, I agree. My POV is as both a communicator/educator as well as a member of the target audience.


I suspect you're right about some sort of "sampling" being the answer... I just hate taking the "you got it or you ain't" approach with a medium this new.

Yep. IMO, everyone learns differently. Therefore, the most effective methods for communication/education rely on a variety of methods.

Medievalist
07-20-2008, 07:22 AM
*nods* Yes, I agree. When it's done right, it works really well. This has only been an experience with some of my classes.

I think if someone is intent on cheating they will no matter the venue. :)

They really will.

I do very much make it as hard as I can for them, though.

And I structure all my classes, off, on, and blended, so there's no reason to cheat.

But woe betide the ones I catch . . .

Medievalist
07-20-2008, 07:24 AM
in spite of Gehanna's comments, the element of performance and entertainment in good teaching and successful learning is undeniable.

Some of the undergraduate classes I teach are large, very large, as in 300 to 700 students in a sophomore literature survey.

I want them to understand and know and love these texts, and I want them to be able to write and speak intelligently about them. And they were largely written to be performed, and so yes, by golly, I do perform.

Remember that the fifth part of Classical rhetoric is delivery . . . .

Cassiopeia
07-20-2008, 09:56 AM
They really will.

I do very much make it as hard as I can for them, though.

And I structure all my classes, off, on, and blended, so there's no reason to cheat.

But woe betide the ones I catch . . .I am so glad that you do. It is so discouraging to put in my best effort to see the cheaters slide by.

Gehanna
07-20-2008, 07:53 PM
What's most entertaining about this comment is that my sister --the RN --finished her degree via distance learning because she was raising an infant and twin toddlers while working in the medical field to gain practical experience at the same time. She had no difficulty either passing certifications or in gaining real-life experience. A more talented, informed, and caring nurse would be hard to find.

Distance learning is nothing to laugh at. It's a practical and effective learning alternative for many non-traditional students.

Hello san_remo_ave,

Congrats on your degree. I did not see your post when I made my post about the nurse. ASRafferty either dangerously assumed I was mocking you or she manipulatively utilized the situation in an attempt to discredit me. A similar situation occurred when she attempted to make me appear prejudiced against performers.

I do apologize for any ill feelings my contributions to this folly have caused you. I realize my apology does not excuse my behavior. This entire thread serves as an example of how important it is to carefully consider the perceptions we attempt to create in the minds of others. This especially holds true for educators.

The purposes of my comments were meant for illustration. Granted, I could have utilized more appropriate means of expressing my thoughts. I admit that many of my comments were obviously and intentionally rude. Many of ASRafferty's comments, either intentionally or otherwise, were passively rude. Either way, rude behavior is still rude behavior.

In attempting to find "those who truly understand the culture around communicating online", one must realize that there are a multitude of individuals who have strong opinions. These same people are also frequently motivated to explore their world in depth. In depth exploration requires questioning norms. Questioning norms is an undoubtedly uncomfortable experience for some but, necessary for those who do not form their opinions based on a set ideology.

Unfortunately, individuals who do look beyond the norms are often thought of very negatively. This is because their style of learning often leads them into areas where they are not wanted. I know this by means of personal experience. This combined with my crude writing style are facts I am well aware of. Does this mean I am less of an educator or less of a professional? Not according to the awards and letters of commendation I have received.

I believe that too many excellent educators are being dismissed for the purpose of providing online education simply because their writing skills do not reflect their teaching abilities. When I was working (online) with an author/editor, he was able to understand me and help me transform my crude writing into something wonderful.

To be an excellent writer does not require a doctorates degree. This is why I suggested having writers work with educators to fill the need for online education. If anything, I was attempting to promote the awesome talents of writers who are not necessarily educators.

The final thing I would like to point out is this:

I am not against online education however; ASRafferty seems to think I am. Interestingly enough, I am a registered nurse who utilizes online education to supplement her knowledge.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

Medievalist
07-20-2008, 08:32 PM
Congrats on your degree. I did not see your post when I made my post about the nurse. ASRafferty either dangerously assumed I was mocking you or she manipulatively utilized the situation in an attempt to discredit me. A similar situation occurred when she attempted to make me appear prejudiced against performers.

Gehanna you don't get to do this.

You've just issued a deliberate attack masquerading as a half-assed apology.

Look.

It's your responsibility as a writer to always consider your audience. And here, on the Water Cooler, there's a basic principle that you're just not seeming to comprehend. I'm going to quote from the Newbie Guide (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66315) section More on Respecting Your Fellow Writer (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1498432&postcount=2):


We've always, first and foremost, used "respect your fellow writer" as our guiding principle. It's a really good one, in general. I absolutely believe in it. And we're not going to be making a bunch of rules and regulations to quote, because that's a whole can of worms with its own set of special problems. (Edit and Admin wars on Wikipedia are a perfect example of how quickly and horribly that goes awry.)

It's really not complicated. Seriously. It means don't act like a jerk. You don't name-call, or bait, or sneer, or taunt, or generally be unpleasant to the people around you; at least, not if you want to stay here very long.

Gehanna, you don't get to attack people. You really don't. You especially don't get to when your comments are cloaked in the rhetoric of paranoia.

Apparently that initial swipe wasn't enough; there's more insincere apologetic prose:


for educators.

The purposes of my comments were meant for illustration. Granted, I could have utilized more appropriate means of expressing my thoughts. I admit that many of my comments were obviously and intentionally rude. Many of ASRafferty's comments, either intentionally or otherwise, were passively rude. Either way, rude behavior is still rude behavior.

Umm, no, actually, ASRafferty wasn't rude. She actually was inclusive in her comments. She carefully structured her prose to invite participation, and respond to the comments of others, without directly engaging you, or retaliating.

In case you haven't noticed, I am directly engaging you. For instance, this bit:



In attempting to find "those who truly understand the culture around communicating online", one must realize that there are a multitude of individuals who have strong opinions. These same people are also frequently motivated to explore their world in depth. In depth exploration requires questioning norms. Questioning norms is an undoubtedly uncomfortable experience for some but, necessary for those who do not form their opinions based on a set ideology.

while saturated with the jargon of academe ("questioning norms," "set ideology") doesn't actually have much at all to do with the initial post, or the conversation.

The initial post was a query about finding really good teachers who were really good teaching online. And, while you may feel that references to performance are insulting, they are in fact quite legitimate. There are lots of wonderful faculty who excel in the classroom in part because they are performing; they practically ooze personality. This is pretty much an established fact in college and university instruction, enough of one that it routinely comes up evaluations, dossiers, and tenure discussions.

You aren't, by the way, even approaching "questioning norms."

And then in this next paragraph, the logic completely unravels--note, please, the use of passive voice, an indication of a writer attempting to avoid responsibility.


Unfortunately, individuals who do look beyond the norms are often thought of very negatively. This is because their style of learning often leads them into areas where they are not wanted. I know this by means of personal experience. This combined with my crude writing style are facts I am well aware of. Does this mean I am less of an educator or less of a professional? Not according to the awards and letters of commendation I have received.

Oh, well, I see. It's fine for you to cast aspersions on the teaching ability, and value of an earned degree that includes on-line instruction, but we are supposed to make exceptions for you?

Then there's this bit:


To be an excellent writer does not require a doctorates degree. This is why I suggested having writers work with educators to fill the need for online education. If anything, I was attempting to promote the awesome talents of writers who are not necessarily educators.

Oh for crying out loud. Do you see anyone claiming that a Ph.D. equates with writing ability? Of course not; heck my first job in publishing was revising and ghost writing scholarly monographs for Ph.Ds who couldn't write. And that's part of the original poster's query--she wants to find good teachers who can teach online and communicate via writing.

You've pretty successfully proved the original point that it's very hard to find teachers who, however good they are in the classroom, fail dismally at online communication.

san_remo_ave
07-20-2008, 08:59 PM
Gehanna,



I do apologize for any ill feelings my contributions to this folly have caused you. I realize my apology does not excuse my behavior. This entire thread serves as an example of how important it is to carefully consider the perceptions we attempt to create in the minds of others. This especially holds true for educators.

The purposes of my comments were meant for illustration. Granted, I could have utilized more appropriate means of expressing my thoughts. I admit that many of my comments were obviously and intentionally rude.

Thank you for your apology. I think it would have been more sincere if you'd avoided casting aspersions on others within it, but I do appreciate the gesture.

I'll admit that, while I did not take your remarks as personal slights, I did feel your attempts at humor were intended to disparage online learning as an effective means for formal education.

I have personal experience with both traditional in-class learning as well as online courses. Both require a tremendous amount of focus, determination and work.



I believe that too many excellent educators are being dismissed for the purpose of providing online education simply because their writing skills do not reflect their teaching abilities. When I was working (online) with an author/editor, he was able to understand me and help me transform my crude writing into something wonderful.

To be an excellent writer does not require a doctorates degree. This is why I suggested having writers work with educators to fill the need for online education. If anything, I was attempting to promote the awesome talents of writers who are not necessarily educators.

Great. Back to the topic I think the OP wanted to explore. How can an excellent, in-person educator translate the magic to an online experience when their writing skills don't accomplish the task? Your suggestion of teaming them with someone experienced with translating that excellence into strong online learning is a good one to help address the writing gap.

Unfortunately, some folks don't have strong reading comprehension, so how can learning be maximized with them? IMO, technology also offers other mediums to facilitate distance learning beyond written lectures. This is the decade of YouTube, Podcasts and a variety of other real-time communication means (WebEx, video conferencing, video IMs). These seem like cost effective and readily available means to capture that talent/passion/excellence for a distance learner.

Medievalist
07-20-2008, 09:06 PM
Unfortunately, some folks don't have strong reading comprehension, so how can learning be maximized with them? IMO, technology also offers other mediums to facilitate distance learning beyond written lectures. This is the decade of YouTube, Podcasts and a variety of other real-time communication means (WebEx, video conferencing, video IMs). These seem like cost effective and readily available means to capture that talent/passion/excellence for a distance learner.

A lot of the consulting I do with respect to distance learning/online learning involves helping educators incorporate content in ways that makes much easier for those using adaptive technology or who depend on one sense, sight versus hearing, or hearing versus sight, for most of their data.

JenNipps
07-20-2008, 09:09 PM
Pardon me for stepping in here a bit.

I've been following the discussion, which has been quite interesting for the most part, but not commenting because it's been a bit over my head.

The jabs between some of the participants have not gone unnoticed and have been attempted to be addressed behind the scenes. On the first page, Roger requested that the jabs stop. They did for a post or two, but immediately resumed.

That's not acceptable.

No jabs, no snarkiness, no insults, no attacks. Period.

Discuss the issue at hand; debate, even. But don't attack.

Stepping back out, now.

ASRafferty
07-20-2008, 09:09 PM
Lisa, thanks for posting yours.... Your post is a defense of integrity and the rules about mutual respect on AW.

I only dropped in to be sure that you aren't standing out there alone. I don't need any defense, you wouldn't waste your time writing one, and you said what needed to be said and deserve thanks and support for that.

As for Gehanna's post -- if the measure of good writing is the extent to which the truth comes through and shows unmistakably in one's writing, then I think Gehanna's a better writer than she knows. Anyone can see the truth battling its way past those words; however, throwing a little extra light on the truth never hurts, so kudos, Lisa.

Thanks, everyone, for some valuable lessons and demonstrations.

dolores haze
07-20-2008, 09:15 PM
I'm sad. This could have been such a valuable and mutually beneficial discussion. This is an online community of writers! We should be good at this stuff.

JenNipps
07-20-2008, 10:08 PM
In an attempt to get this back on track, and because I really do think there was some good stuff in it...

What should someone consider in (a) putting together an online curriculum or (b) looking for one in which to participate?

Medievalist
07-20-2008, 11:08 PM
What should someone consider in (a) putting together an online curriculum?

For me, the thing that I find most difficult in online teaching is the same thing I find difficult about posting here, other forums, or in blogging.

That is, how to make a point, but do it in a way that not only leaves discussion open, but that actually invites discussion.

Both Dawno and MacCannister excel at this; me, not so much. I do look at their methods, and try to emulate them, really!

But there's a technique to, well, coaxing a response (but not a particular "right answer" sort of response) that I still haven't quite mastered.

So my question -- and this is not something I'm asking just of educators, but of online community members in general -- how do you invite response?

Cassiopeia
07-20-2008, 11:08 PM
Unfortunately, some folks don't have strong reading comprehension, so how can learning be maximized with them? IMO, technology also offers other mediums to facilitate distance learning beyond written lectures. This is the decade of YouTube, Podcasts and a variety of other real-time communication means (WebEx, video conferencing, video IMs). These seem like cost effective and readily available means to capture that talent/passion/excellence for a distance learner.I have trouble with reading comprehension. I have found that my online classes that were accompanied with dvd's containing lectures for the class or having the local PBS station carry the lectures to be more rewarding. I retained a great deal more of what I needed to. It would be great if all my classes were like that.

ETA: As to how to leave it open for a response? I think perhaps leaving it open with a question might do it. I have to remind myself to discuss my thoughts not lecture my thoughts when posting in this type of venue.

ASRafferty
07-20-2008, 11:46 PM
?
But there's a technique to, well, coaxing a response (but not a particular "right answer" sort of response) -- how do you invite response?

You know, I think it's about being honestly convinced that there may be many answers, and being honestly interested in finding out what others think they might be. That's a genuinely difficult place to get to sometimes, when your job is to inform or lead others. But, like all speaking/writing, what's really in your head and heart drive what comes through your lips/fingertips.

Most of us are under lots of pressure to know, to do, to produce, all of which require us to be in control, and not unsure. Unfortunately, that genuine interest in finding out what others think requires time (to the point of patience and even leisurely waiting), and a soul that profoundly accepts uncertainty, willingess to ask, and valuing the ideas of others as the starting point, not the end point once they've convinced us we should. I think those are opposite pulls that aren't easy to reconcile.

Dawno
07-21-2008, 12:00 AM
Seems to me that since there are many ways of learning, there need to be many approaches to online teaching - voice, video, interaction. Wikis with polls and collaborative 'labs' - games, Second Life classrooms where the participants can interact via their avatars in real time...Web 2.0 has opened up an incredible opportunity to revolutionize education.

This does stray from your OP, but perhaps a good interview technique is to ask the candidate about their online life - what places do they hang out, how facile are they with 2.0 tech, are they open to new ideas about what educating online means?

As for what Medievalist said about me above (blush), my posts in the flaming banana pit to the contrary, I believe in open ended questions, pushing and prodding for more depth - there's the 5 why's (http://www.isixsigma.com/library/content/c020610a.asp) technique - for every answer dig more. Those last couple answers are much more rich than the one off the top of the head.

I also feel that allowing students to use the media they are most comfortable in will encourage deeper and more meaningful learning. Maybe it's using video, maybe it's MP3s - maybe it's a series of photoshopped graphics...who knows?

I may have read too much SF as a child and am now way too excited about seeing so much of it on the verge of coming true...;)

Dawno
07-21-2008, 12:06 AM
Sorry to come back with another post - but I thought I'd mention this - I had the opportunity last month to do a 'webinar' - 50 participants in a web-facilitated meeting place online. There were polls, IMs, a presentation I used and a great facilitator to help keep things organized. That's another thing you might ask the candidates about their experiences with - it's probably more common than some of the other 2.0 stuff - heck my company, which is a tech leader, didn't start using Wikis very effectively until just recently - but we use the heck out of WebEx, video conferencing and our new Telepresence tech.

Medievalist
07-21-2008, 12:16 AM
my company, which is a tech leader, didn't start using Wikis very effectively until just recently - but we use the heck out of WebEx, video conferencing and our new Telepresence tech.

And PowerPoint! Don't forget that . . . :D (I loathe PowerPoint when it's used ineffectively, which is, well, most of the time)

The Webinar stuff, and the increasing use of telepresence/live two way video is interesting. I've used specially fitted classrooms to do ESL/second language instruction, where we team up a second language class here, in the states, with a class in another country of native speakers trying to learn English.

It works well, it's loads of fun, and each time it's led to students in both classes to demand email/chat/discussion boards.

Dawno
07-21-2008, 12:28 AM
Lisa, by mentioning PowerPoint, is dragging a bit of an "in joke" into the thread. :) because she knows how much I absolutely LOATHE it.


Rant: I hate the way Power Point has turned business communications into a morass of 5 bullet points per slide to explain complex thinking.

If people would take the time to read a well written proposal, instead of insisting on the dang slides and then spending twice as much time as it would have taken to read a written proposal, to "drill down" into the stuff they don't understand on your slide because it's been reduced to absurd brevity for the sake of making it a bullet point...sorry, I shall go have a little lie down now...

Medievalist
07-21-2008, 12:36 AM
If people would take the time to read a well written proposal, instead of insisting on the dang slides and then spending twice as much time as it would have taken to read a written proposal, to "drill down" into the stuff they don't understand on your slide because it's been reduced to absurd brevity for the sake of making it a bullet point...sorry, I shall go have a little lie down now...

But this is exactly my objection to most PowerPoint/Keynote . . . what are they called? They call them "decks" at MicroSoft . . . presenations? Slide shows?

What I used to see all the time in corporate presentations, court cases, and trade shows -- a bunch of slides with bullet points, transitions and "cute" annoying graphics with a suit reading the bullet points aloud has now infected higher ed class rooms.

It's bad pedagogy, and inappropriate technology use . . . it's like the teacher who reads the text book aloud for page after page . ..

I do very much see a use for such presentations where the slides are used as a prompt or aide memoire, or to highlight the key points.

And I like that you can then provide the powrpoint to your students for later review, or give them a print out in advance so they can add notes/comments.

Williebee
07-21-2008, 12:44 AM
As an "Educational Technologist" working at the K-12 level, I can think of a couple of different tools that would benefit your group. First I would look for opportunities to make it cost effectively interactive.

Second Life, for example. Put your people in virtual classrooms together.

Video presentation. For those instructors who relate their material orally and visually, but can't get the communication down on paper, video them in a live classroom and archive it for later delivery to future classes.

You might also look at hiring "assistive writers" for your professors, to clarify and humanize their delivery. I'm betting you'd find some good sources here at AW.

Others have commented on ways of "pre-screening" your professors, such as looking amongst the online communities for qualified people.

The only other additional comment I would make is to encourage you to keep at your efforts. Online education is going to continue to grow, at an ever increasing rate.

To put it simply, students, like every other avenue of consumer, want more content, in shorter portions, and they want it available when they are.

Good luck.

Dawno
07-21-2008, 12:46 AM
And I like that you can then provide the powrpoint to your students for later review, or give them a print out in advance so they can add notes/comments.

I worry about even using handouts - it seems to me that it might encourage sloppy, or no, notekeeping - thinking that it's all there in the handout. I've been guilty of not taking good notes because I knew I could get the slides. Two months later I go to those slides and can't remember enough 'meat' from the discussion.

Now that's my own damn fault for being lazy, but if I had to listen to a good lecture that perhaps had some illustrative slides and maybe the occasional summary in bullet points, like my seminar classes in college - I'd be more inclined to take decent notes.

My company has gone way overboard in using .ppt to communicate - everything has to be in .ppt and the .ppt has to say everything (albeit in, as mentioned, severely truncated fashion) about your project plan or your update to the plan, etc., etc.

Educators! Revolt against the .ppt!!

*whew* back to that lie down...

ASRafferty
07-21-2008, 12:49 AM
This does stray from your OP, but perhaps a good interview technique is to ask the candidate about their online life - what places do they hang out,

Dawno, this in particular was wonderful! When I began teaching hybrid courses, I used to ask my students if they'd ever been in a chat room (we're talking around 2002), and no one ever admitted to it. I used to get past the dead silence by telling them how amazed it always left me that AOL had 38 million members (quite something at the time) but no one I ever met had ever set (virtual) foot in a chatroom.

Talk about not being able to see what's closest...it never occurred to me to ask faculty candidates where they hang out online. I'm mildly interested in the answer, but even more anxious to see how forthcoming they are with the answer -- both will tell me tons I want to know! Thanks so much for this great suggestion!

Medievalist
07-21-2008, 12:53 AM
You might also look at hiring "assistive writers" for your professors, to clarify and humanize their delivery.

What I did at UCLA -- and this was my then supervisor's idea, I just ran with it -- was to hire smart graduate students with an interest in technology and teaching, who had excellent teaching evaluations of their own.

I trained them -- teaching them basic html and css, and how to "steal" javascripts and adapt them, and how to use the (horrible) LMS we were saddled with, and how to use things like QuickTime pro and similar tools.

We also worked with them on evangelizing technology, and how to adapt the technology to the professor, the class, and the the content.

The grad students made all the difference in the world; faculty knew them, since we tried to assign grad students to a related area /department, and trusted them as advocates. And faculty also worked closely with the IT's, mentoring them actively as they worked on content for class Web sites and integrating pedagogy and technology.

ASRafferty
07-21-2008, 01:02 AM
You might also look at hiring "assistive writers" for your professors, to clarify and humanize their delivery. I'm betting you'd find some good sources here at AW.

Others have commented on ways of "pre-screening" your professors, such as looking amongst the online communities for qualified people.


Thanks... the "assistive writing" is a good chunk of what I do for my college's program, and I'm really encouraged that some observation here and in some carefully selected "elsewheres" may indeed get me in touch with more people I can be happy about in that regard. Thanks for your suggestions... good teachers who function well in this environment are exactly whom I'm seeking.

Medievalist
07-21-2008, 01:09 AM
I worry about even using handouts - it seems to me that it might encourage sloppy, or no, notekeeping - thinking that it's all there in the handout. I've been guilty of not taking good notes because I knew I could get the slides. Two months later I go to those slides and can't remember enough 'meat' from the discussion.

I'm one of those people who are very much audio-driven. I tend to remember what I hear, so in order to teach note-taking, I had to figure it out for myself.

One of the things I found I had to do with not only the "intro to writing/lit" classes, but even the classes for English majors, that is, for sophomores and above, was model how to take notes, and how to tell from audio and visual cues what was worth writing down.

Later, when I started teaching corporate classes in online communication and business writing, I discovered I had to specifically deal with when to take notes, and how.

Now, when I'm essentially told by a client or or supervisor that I have to provide "slides," I design them with the knowledge that I will also provide an outline, either of the slides, or something much like an agenda, with an eye towards encouraging not only note-taking, but active participation, either "live" or after the fact.

Rolling Thunder
07-21-2008, 02:21 AM
I'm visuary-driven. That means I'm one of those 'slow people' who teachers roll their eyes at and ask 'Do I have to draw you a picture?'.

Yes. Please, thank you. A slide show or movie? Even better! Listening to a lecture is pure torture for me. My brain turns everything into pictures so it's impossible for me to keep up. Now, give me something to read instead and I'm quite happy. I can reformulate the ideas words provide into visual pictures quite nicely.

This is why the internet is the greatest thing ever devised...and why I consider the telephone the work of the devil. ;)

Williebee
07-21-2008, 02:29 AM
Educators! Revolt against the .ppt!!

Amen. Death by powerpoint is the worst kind of lazy, IMO. Especially since so many teachers put every point they want to provide up on the powerpoint, and then read them to the class. It's like the photocopied bulletins in church. You're teaching the students that they don't have to think, that you are going to spoon feed it to them anyway.

ASRafferty -- Have you ever worked with Moodle? (http://moodle.org/) Open source, easy to use, and customizable class to class, course to course. (Slightly off topic, but a tremendous educational tool.)

Medievalist
07-21-2008, 02:53 AM
ASRafferty -- Have you ever worked with Moodle? (http://moodle.org/) Open source, easy to use, and customizable class to class, course to course. (Slightly off topic, but a tremendous educational tool.)

I heart Moodle. I had to admin Blackboard and WebCT, both of which are dreadful.

It pains me that things like LiveJournal are so very much easier to use than the software schools license. vBulletin, the software which you're post with right now, in comparison to opensource discussion boards is pricey in the extreme, is ever so much more flexible than any of the extremely price "solutions" for higher ed.

ASRafferty
07-21-2008, 03:20 AM
ASRafferty -- Have you ever worked with Moodle? (http://moodle.org/) Open source, easy to use, and customizable class to class, course to course. (Slightly off topic, but a tremendous educational tool.)

I'm working with it now, have been for the past two years... we've outsourced the development, but we provide the content and work with the ID team to come up with "anything but text." Moodle, of course, is what the developers make of it, and we have some lovely advantages and some idiotic bugs that seem to outlive cockroaches. Net it all out, and it's not the worst... but again, I only judge from the functionality and the front end I have, courtesy of the developers.

Our next caper -- some games, decision-trees, and interactive case studies. I've already got the clips from "Wall Street" and "Pirates of the Caribbean I" in my ethics courses, and that makes everyone happy for those units. :)

san_remo_ave
07-21-2008, 03:25 AM
I heart Moodle. I had to admin Blackboard and WebCT, both of which are dreadful.

Blech on WebCT. That's what TN Board of Regents uses. Horrible stuff, though it got the job done.

I'll admit that I use ppt all the time. I work with a great many 'D' personalities (DISC profiling, if you've ever done it --basically they are very aggressive, outspoken and 'bullet' readers. Give them a detailed brief and they will crawl out of their skin to escape the torture).

I recently found a nifty little Mac program called iShowU (http://www.shinywhitebox.com/home/home.html) which allows you to record a selected portion of your computer screen, in real time with full action and voice over. In space saving QuickTime format. I pre-recorded a ppt presentation and a separate software demo (point and click here, now point and click there). I think the software cost me a whopping $20 or something. Because it captures anything on your screen, if you wanted to record yourself with the camera, play music in the background or surf the web, all of it is captured (even Windows programs running on a virtual drive --I tried it!). Wicked cool and I'm getting a lot of positive feedback from the participants about the quality and usefulness.

This is the kind of cool stuff that makes it easy to raise the level on how we educate and communicate.

ASRafferty
07-21-2008, 03:32 AM
vBulletin, the software which you're post with right now, in comparison to opensource discussion boards is pricey in the extreme, is ever so much more flexible

My husband used vBulletin to put up a discussion forum for one of the federal training centers at which he taught. I never got to spend enough time over his shoulder to see it up close... but I think it's interesting that we see it supporting so many forums like this -- it's instantly recognizable, very intuitive and easy to learn for the end user. I wonder if what I'd pay for vBulletin would balance out to what the developers putting our program up with Moodle are getting.

Medievalist
07-21-2008, 03:37 AM
My husband used vBulletin to put up a discussion forum for one of the federal training centers at which he taught. I never got to spend enough time over his shoulder to see it up close... but I think it's interesting that we see it supporting so many forums like this -- it's instantly recognizable, very intuitive and easy to learn for the end user. I wonder if what I'd pay for vBulletin would balance out to what the developers putting our program up with Moodle are getting.

Heck yeah. A license for vBulletin for a single installation is 180.00 year.

You don't want to lease; buy the license, which allows you to stay with the current version you have when the license runs out, indefinitely.

You do need to have Apache, MySQL or one of the other "standard" databases, and PHP.

And it's fairly easy to sort of insert it into Moodle.

JenNipps
07-21-2008, 03:39 AM
What I used to see all the time in corporate presentations, court cases, and trade shows -- a bunch of slides with bullet points, transitions and "cute" annoying graphics with a suit reading the bullet points aloud has now infected higher ed class rooms.

It's bad pedagogy, and inappropriate technology use . . . it's like the teacher who reads the text book aloud for page after page . ..

In college, I actually had two ... classroom supervisors (sorry, I won't call them teachers or professors) who honestly did read the book to us page-by-page, even after assigning those exact pages for us to read in the class session before.

I've never truly understood why people think the slide presentations are such an effective tool. However, I am the first to admit that might very well be because of my eyesight. I can't usually see the slides to make heads or tails of it, so I take my own notes.


I worry about even using handouts - it seems to me that it might encourage sloppy, or no, notekeeping - thinking that it's all there in the handout. I've been guilty of not taking good notes because I knew I could get the slides. Two months later I go to those slides and can't remember enough 'meat' from the discussion.

...

My company has gone way overboard in using .ppt to communicate - everything has to be in .ppt and the .ppt has to say everything (albeit in, as mentioned, severely truncated fashion) about your project plan or your update to the plan, etc., etc.

For some reason, I got into the habit of ignoring handouts unless/until the presenter specifically refers back to it during the presentation.

One place I worked for wanted me to do presentations with PowerPoint. It was a non-profit organization working with deaf/hearing impaired clients and half the staff were either deaf or severely hearing impaired. I could understand their reasoning for it, but it was still...difficult to do it since I dislike it myself.

I had a point here, but I've forgotten what it was...

ASRafferty
07-21-2008, 03:52 AM
I recently found a nifty little Mac program called iShowU (http://www.shinywhitebox.com/home/home.html)

That sounds pretty cool...maybe things like that are part of the key to corralling great faculty -- enabling THEM to build some of their own stuff...makes the writing part easier to take if there's fun along the way too.

On my list to check out, thanks!

Medievalist
07-21-2008, 03:54 AM
That sounds pretty cool...maybe things like that are part of the key to corralling great faculty -- enabling THEM to build some of their own stuff...makes the writing part easier to take if there's fun along the way too.

On my list to check out, thanks!

There's also the Ambrosia OS X program SnapZPro (http://www.ambrosiasw.com/utilities/snapzprox/).

dolores haze
07-21-2008, 03:58 AM
Oh my! I am learning such a lot.

Do you know what would be really cool? An online class in how to set up an online classroom. Is there such a thing? Does anyone know?

I'm going back to work in September for a rural non-profit. We have sites spread hundreds of miles apart. Getting everyone together for trainings and meetings is a nightmare. I am getting so many ideas about how to use technology to solve that problem.

Medievalist
07-21-2008, 04:02 AM
Do you know what would be really cool? An online class in how to set up an online classroom. Is there such a thing? Does anyone know?

I do that for corporate groups :D I've done it for UCLA too.

But yes, there are classes like that. Mostly the best places I've learned about how to teach online have been at conferences, talking with other teachers.

There's a group of people who teach composition with computers and a journal, for instance, with about twenty years of experience using computers/digital tech to teach. I'll post links if people want.

And the NCTE conferences, and the International Medieval Conference in Kalamazoo have lots and lots of presentations/panels on how to teach online.

san_remo_ave
07-21-2008, 04:09 AM
Do you know what would be really cool? An online class in how to set up an online classroom. Is there such a thing? Does anyone know?

I'm going back to work in September for a rural non-profit. We have sites spread hundreds of miles apart. Getting everyone together for trainings and meetings is a nightmare. I am getting so many ideas about how to use technology to solve that problem.

Dolores,

Hah! This is what I do frequently --corporate communication/training across the US with 150 offices (sometimes global offices as well).

Do you mean a real-time classroom or one that users can access 24/7?

Ongoing classrooms (for semester classes), I think Medievalist has noted some mainstreat ones.

WebEx allows for a virtual classroom, but it's on demand so I open the room 15 minutes before a meeting, upload my files (ppt, Word, what have you). It allows for the presenter to use pointers and draw on the screen as they go along. You can also share your computer screen to demo something on your desktop. And you can turn over 'control' to another person who can control the slides and share their own desktop, etc. You can also preload polls and participants can use a chat area during the session.

However, I'm finding that some of the folks who can't make these sessions are falling by the wayside, so I'm experimenting with tools like that iShowU to post a pre-recorded 15minute brief on different content to see how it's received. It's not real-time but it is on demand. Once I got over the the agony of hearing myself in playback mode ;) it was pretty neat.

Dawno
07-21-2008, 04:11 AM
Instructional Technology courses are part of a lot of college catalogs. Your local college extension might offer them, dolores.

san_remo_ave
07-21-2008, 04:14 AM
Ooh, sorry. Regarding training on how to do training... I've seen demos of how to use the WebEx software but not a formal training.... hmmm....

ASRafferty
07-21-2008, 04:33 AM
I did some freelance work for this guy a couple of years ago... he has some interesting stuff going on (and not just because I wrote some of it! :) ) You can amble around his pages on your own and find some interesting things.

http://www.idea.org/index.html

dolores haze
07-21-2008, 05:17 AM
Do you mean a real-time classroom or one that users can access 24/7?


I can think of several different applications for both, but I have a LOT of learning to do.


Instructional Technology courses are part of a lot of college catalogs. Your local college extension might offer them, dolores.

Thanks. I'll have a look around. Last time I checked (about two years ago) there was nothing 100% online, but there was an 80% online with a horrible commute for the other 20%.


I did some freelance work for this guy a couple of years ago... he has some interesting stuff going on (and not just because I wrote some of it! :) ) You can amble around his pages on your own and find some interesting things.

http://www.idea.org/index.html

I had a quick look. It looks great. Thanks!

Williebee
07-21-2008, 05:28 AM
There are a number of screen recorders out there that work really well.

Last year I began to do "how to" videos for anything that I got more than 3 or 4 help desk calls for. "How do I set up my email?" "How do I move folders?" "How do I use ......"

It's taken some conditioning, but it is beginning to show some nice benefits.

Medievalist
07-21-2008, 05:39 AM
I started really seeing the potential for screen recording a couple years ago because of Apple's online video tutorials. And now I notice that there are companies that specialize in hosting how to software tutorials for software companies.

I also am very much impressed by the www.lynda.com tutorials for software.

My faculty used to want to do "talking head" sorts of videos, largely as a labor saving device, I think, but I prefer to have a better reason.

t0neg0d
07-21-2008, 10:44 PM
I have a background in both classroom instruction (The Learning Tree - mostly technical-centric training) and CBT/WBT - from developing the WBT administration systems used by the US Air Force, GHC, etc (as examples), to extensive studies in and the application of the most effective way to present information via computer/the web.

I found it interesting that one of the points discussed in this thread (effective communication via distanced learning) started a misunderstanding which turned into a semi-heated argument. The poster that "offended" tried their best to state what they did in the joking manner it seemed to be intended and was received in multiple ways--from understanding to offense. It seems ironic that the question of the effectiveness of communication via the web was answered by example rather than discussion and definitely gives me something to consider.

As far as Power Point, its effectiveness seems better suited to business presentations than it does to learning, considering the amount of tools specifically tailored to teaching/learning online.

Gehanna
07-21-2008, 11:36 PM
You made an excellent point t0neg0d. Your response opened my eyes and I appreciate you very much for it.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

Medievalist
07-22-2008, 07:05 PM
As far as Power Point, its effectiveness seems better suited to business presentations than it does to learning, considering the amount of tools specifically tailored to teaching/learning online.

Err . . . the PowerPoints used in business are in fact being used with the assumption that the audience is going to learn something.

And, while I am not a PowerPoint fan, my objections are not to the tool, but rather to the way the tool is used.

Medievalist
07-22-2008, 10:56 PM
The SF/Fantasy publisher Tor just yesterday opened its new community-driven Web site at http://www.tor.com.

What's particularly interesting is that they're using one of the open source CMS (Content management Systems) frequently used in higher ed, Joomla (http://www.joomla.org/).

They chose Joomla specifically because of the close integration between the content, and ways of connecting to and commenting on the the content, according to one of the threads at Tor. They wanted to encourage give and take and tie that communication to their content. It's interesting watching a new community form, from the ground up.

Roger J Carlson
07-23-2008, 06:29 PM
This is a little off-topic, but I found this Powerpoint presentation today. It's what the Gettysburg Address might have been like if Powerpoint had been around. Enjoy!

http://norvig.com/Gettysburg/index.htm

ASRafferty
07-23-2008, 07:28 PM
LOL.... wonderful. Hope you caught the talking heads show (maybe Anderson Cooper on CNN?) last night... someone was arguing that great oratory does not a President make, and cited Lincoln as an example! I thought the other 4 on the panel were going to commit punditicide.

Still, it's interesting to consider how we know Lincoln was a great orator....



This is a little off-topic, but I found this Powerpoint presentation today. It's what the Gettysburg Address might have been like if Powerpoint had been around. Enjoy!

http://norvig.com/Gettysburg/index.htm

Williebee
07-23-2008, 07:35 PM
Joomla is a blast.

It's being adopted by school systems all over Illinois these days. A really nice way to "share the load" for content responsibility.

Medievalist
07-23-2008, 10:04 PM
PowerPoint is good for literature instruction (http://home.nyc.rr.com/dradosh/ppaol.html), too :D

talkwrite
08-06-2008, 10:44 PM
A couple of years ago the two local community colleges were giving courses on online pod casts to faculty. They allowed adjunct instructors like myself to attend. - Taking a deep breath , I ventured into these courses.