I think you have hiot the nail squarely on the head: that is exactly the problem, TIME. There appears to be a growing number of early online teaching/learning (OL) adopters who are now becoming 'early droppers', in that they are getting out of OL after a few years of excperimenting with it. They are fnding that they simply don't have the kind of didactic relationship they need to be able to sustain the practice of OL over a long period of time. Now that the adrenaline has subsided, they find themselves in what I can only term ' a lousy job', spending hours and hours wading through huindreds of messages, trying to sort out students who are increasingly feeling isolated and short-changed. Not a good place to be in. So THAT is why I started using the virtual classroom in the first place, to recreate the natural flow of conversation inherent in quality education. It DOES require a sacrifice on the part of students and faculty in having to be online at the SAME time ...BUT ... aren't we used to that? (Set scheduling for our on-campus teaching). And students are too. But what I find great about the hybrid approach is that my students and I can be virtually anywhere.
So, in a nutshell, this is where I am at: spatial freedom is a gain over the exigency of on-campus presence. I truly appeciate that as do several of my colleagues who travel a lot for their research. We can maintain our teaching commitments AND explore wonderful research opportunities. But the much-vaunted temporal freedom of 24/7 OL is, IMHO, a sham; it runs the risk of ruining the educational experience (but it did seem like a good idea at the time..). So I'm seeing a return to traditional values of real-time faculty-student, and peer-to-peer dialogue. And of course I maintain a website for asynch resources and between classes discussion but I no longer have the time to spend hours pouring over countless messages and trying to create some semblance of order out of chaos. Don't like it, won't do it.
Dee and Michael,
I’ve been teaching in a hybrid International Executive MBA program for many years. The courses typically begin with a few live sessions during the students’ 2-week “residential” period. Then we have 6 months of asynchronous online sessions. I love the online sessions; they proceed to deeper levels than is possible in the limited time of a live class. My sessions last for four days, and most students add about one posting per day. In this program, I have taught introductory financial accounting, introductory cost accounting, and management control systems. I use slightly different types of assignments and questions in the introductory courses versus the strictly case-based MCS course. Like Michael, my students prepare with readings and group assignments.
A few years ago, I tried a similar approach for a couple of weeks in a live evening MBA program. Although the students told me that they preferred live sessions, I found that the quality of the discussion was quite high—same as in my IXMBA courses.
For me, the key to active and high-quality discussions is setting up separate threads for different topics. I ask questions to start each thread, and then add comments as needed to prompt consideration of additional issues. The only downside for me is the time; I spent much more time on an online session than on an equivalent live session.
From: For college professors globally, to dialogue about course design. [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
On Behalf Of Thomas Michael Power
Sent: Monday, June 21, 2010 7:03 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: RE : Designing Better Learning Experiences: Updates on Website + Question
Yes, indeed. I started teaching online using a combination of a basic website and a virtual classroom about 10 years ago. Rather early on in online learning, I realized that developing a full-blown website was prohibitively time-consuming and simply an exercise in futility since updating it in a timely fashion became a virtual impossibility. I also realized that teaching online asynchronously was... well, boring. I missed the spontaneous debating, the back 'n forth, the warmth of verbal contact that had mad eme become a university professor in the first place. So I lessened my dependance on asynch and added the synch classroom and have never looked back. I now teach graduate courses only and I get the chance to work with highly-motivated students from across the country and even overseas. They are all present and accounted for, every Tuesday afternoon from 4:30 to 7:30 PM with a 20-minute break in the middle, just like on-campus. Students tell me that the much-vaunted 24/7 online course ends up being 0/0 since, for some reason or another, they say they never seem to get around to doing the work required in an online course. They say they feel isolated and unmotivated.
In a nutshell, I try to run my seminar just as I would on campus. Students do have some individual work to do before class - reading - but they tend to do it because they also have a team assignment that requires they do it. The peer commitment seems to make it all work in that they come to class prepared to debate, discuss and examine concepts and principles embedded in the readings and discussed within their teams, in either synch or asynch mode.
I've added some references below for your perusal.
Dr. Michael Power
Professor & Programs Director - Educational Technology
Faculty of Education - Université Laval
Founder of www.bold-research.org Research Network
Director of Research www.CNIE-RCIE.ca
Deputy Director (Education) http://geoeduc3d.scg.ulaval.ca/
Member of the Board of Directors www.cirta.org
2320 rue des Bibliothèques
Quebec City (Québec) G1V 0A6
Phone : (418) 656-2131 #5467
Fax: (418) 656-2905
Email: [log in to unmask]
Website (FR/ENG) : http://www.fse.ulaval.ca/Michael.Power
Major article (ENG): http://jolt.merlot.org/vol4no4/power_1208.htm
New article (ENG): http://www.jofde.ca/index.php/jde/article/view/649
2008 book (FR): http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120138
2009 book (ENG): http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120161 (09/09)
2010 talk (ENG): http://cider.athabascau.ca/CIDERSessions/sessionarchive
2010 talk (ENG) http://edtechtalk.com/node/4722
Professional site: www.facebook.com (Thomas Michael Power)
Instant messaging: www.twitter.com (drmichaelpower)
I just wanted to alert you that the page on "Design Forms & Tips" (under "Resource Downloads") has been re-organized and several new items have been added.
Does anyone have a "success story" they would like to share on the listserv? Posting this would allow people to ask questions about how it works, and what problems they had to overcome.
Michael Powers emailed me a month or two ago, about an online course which he designed to include both synchronous and asynchronous activities that seemed to be quite valuable.
Michael: Would you mind sharing that with people on the listserv?
We would love to also hear "success stories" from others as well!
L. Dee Fink
234 Foreman Ave.
Norman, OK 73069
Email: [log in to unmask]
**National Project Director: Teaching & Curriculum Improvement (TCI) Project
**Senior Associate, Dee Fink & Associates Consulting Services
**Author of: Creating Significant Learning Experiences
**Former President of the POD Network in Higher Education (2004-2005)