What is learning and teaching to me?
Learning occurs all around us, in coffee shops, while talking on the phone, while searching for answers online, and yes, in classes (online and face-to-face). I do not believe that teachers are needed in order for learning to occur, however, teaching is evolving into a facilitation role of managed outcomes and facilitated knowledge acquisition.
Teaching is a communicative action with multiple delivery methods or modes. The real ART of teaching is to facilitate the learning process and to stimulate thought, connections to previous understandings, or even to encourage the extension of thinking beyond the boundaries of curriculum.
What does this mean for my teaching and the design of instruction?
The design of instruction is critical for the learner. Short bursts of information (questions, articles with “thinking points”, or case studies) will feed the appetite of today’s learner. Active learning that encourages networking or peer interaction and problem-based learning allows learners to engage with their peers while solving real world work related problems. The key to education is when the learners engage each other to solve problems that help them achieve outcomes. This group thinking process prepares students for their future work environment.
What do I already know about the topic of learning technologies?
On the day I received my letter from UNT accepting me into the PhD program in Learning Technologies, my mother gave me an envelope. This envelope was warn and full of treasures from my childhood. One item was an article from a 1982 newspaper, telling a story of a young girl who was attending computer camp in order to help her father write computer programs.
While I never really gained the passion for programming, I knew that computers and technology would change lives, especially in education.
On the subject of classroom technologies, I led instructional technology in a K-12 district and academic technology at the fourth largest community college west of the Mississippi. While some of these technologies (control systems) are not typically used in the online teaching space, I still find the information relevant to understanding systems as a whole.
When it comes to distance delivery of education, I feel very confident talking about all of the various systems (LMS) that are in the marketplace today, the infrastructure behind them and the team of DBAs, integration specialists, and developers required to support these systems. I have the war stories of birthdays spent on conference calls due to a load balancer failure and the need to flatten the network. But that is a story for another time.
In addition to systems, I have a comprehensive understanding of the needs of faculty training, systems support, and the need for faculty buy-in prior to launching any initiative.
Originally posted: September 18, 2012 – Blog rebuilt: April 20, 2014