Reflections on online teaching

Imagine a person teaching an online course. Imagine further that the students in this course are tremendously thoughtful and responding with impressive depth and seriousness to the set of tasks in the course.

Imagine further that the instructor in this course had some thoughts to share with the students that included insights he/she has gained from the interactions, and that these insights include both mathematical insights and pedagogical ones (having to do with the pedagogy of the course itself).

What would be the best format for this person to share these insights? Hypothetically speaking?

It occurs to me that in such a situation, some constraints might include wanting to honor and welcome discussion of these insights (including critique), while not wanting to be overbearing. And that they might include wanting to highlight these thoughts without obstructing the narrative flow of the pre-established tasks.

Your thoughts?

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10 responses to “Reflections on online teaching

  1. No way out, no way out, no way out. . . .

  2. Sorry, MPG, I don’t follow. Little help, please?

  3. Seminar. Interesting idea, Nik, and one which I had not considered. I shall throw it in the hopper as I mull this over. Thanks!

  4. No worries, For more equity of contribution, a Google Hangout could be useful?

  5. Depends on the format of the current interactions. Are they responding in a way that everybody can already see everybody else’s submissions (e.g. blackboard) or are they submitting these tasks directly to you (and you alone)? If submissions are public, what is the layout?

  6. FFS. You’re the teacher, right? The course is optional, right? Your students wouldn’t have signed up for just anybody. They’re in the course because they see you as a resource. So what’s the argument for withholding that resource? I don’t really understand the angst. Become who you are!

  7. I don’t really understand the angst. Become who you are!

    You have read the title of the blog, right, Dan? I wouldn’t exactly describe the underlying emotion here as angst, but whatever we call it is what I am.

    And I accept your combination kick-in-the-ass and compliment.

  8. Sorry, you lost me at “Imagine further that the students in this [online] course are tremendously thoughtful and responding with impressive depth and seriousness to the set of tasks in the course.” Once we’re in a fantasy world, almost anything would apply.

    If this is a real scenario, with students in a course already responding “with impressive depth and seriousness,” why change anything?

    Of course, one would need to know a lot more about the structure of the on-line course before a meaningful answer is possible. Is this a canned-video MOOC? a webcast lecture? a weekly chat room? an all-computer drill program? How many students are currently in the course? How do they communicate among themselves (or don’t they)?

  9. I think an online seminar would be great. Invite all participants and see who comes. Scheduling is challenging but not insurmountable.

    I also think an asynchronous posting within the course would be good (as Dan suggests). There is lots to be learned from this experience and sharing your insights and inviting comments might bring out some really interesting stuff. A level of trust has been established so participants would be willing to share.

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