Monday, July 20, 2009

Engaging Learners with New Strategies and Tools

Strategies and Tools in Distance Education

Determine which technological tools and strategies are best for involving learners in building content knowledge, engaging in communication with peers and instructors, and working on authentic, collaborative, problem-based tasks in the online environment.

One strategy that's best for students is that they, Durrington, Berryhill, & Swafford (2006) build interactive relationships among themselves and with the instructor also helps bridge the physical and psychological gap that occurs in online courses. Doing this will lessen the stress of not knowing anything (pg. 190). Being in an online environments can have one feeling isolated and alone. Building relationships will allow the student to have someone that is experiencing the same things to a certain extent.

Also, to support student interactivity in an online environment, Durrington, Berryhill & Swafford (2006) state, the learning environment must be supportive, open, and respectful. The instructor should in the beginning of the course give a detailed syllabus outlining the expectations for each assignment and how you should interact with your peers. There should also be a discussion area that allows for questions where the instructor and peers can respond to one another. All people should participate in this area, the instructor should answers question. The instructors presence should be known within the course.

The instructor as well as the students should ask questions related to their posts. If the instructor poses the question, the question should be in such a way Durrington, Berryhill & Swafford (2006) that all students feel comfortable in responding. The instructor should challenge the student to do more research. In this online environment we don't think to send a private email showing appreciation toward an in-depth response that was given to a post. This will support future participation and enhance the quality and depth of overall interactions within the course.

Overall, the instructors presences needs to be active in order for the students to feel comfortable in an online setting. This type of learning is different than the traditional setting and it offers the same type of results. The students need to interact with one another and need to be kind. The online classroom is different in that the learners are not at the same place at the same time. Regardless of that learning can be achieved if the students are given guidelines and standard to follow. They should know that their interaction with one another is a key part of the online standard.
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