Monday, June 18, 2007

Comment on Teaching Naked.

This has been a week for colleagues sending me information about comments in other blogs. One that attracted my attention began with a posting: Teaching Naked: Why Removing Technology from Your Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. The title immediately attracted my attention. I thought this was another attack on technology in general.

What it turned out be was more of an anti PowerPoint position for college faculty. And that was fine, but it also reflected a very narrow view of technology. Seems the only technology applications considered were email, presentation tools, and online education. There was no consideration of simulation and modeling applications, audience response systems, or a range of other technology tools.

I also found the oft-repeated mantra that distance education is impersonal. What I’m finding is that many higher education faculty have not had very positive experience with online education. They have seen online education at its worst and don’t know that many of the problems they identify can be solved by well-designed online courses.

When I was at the Concord Consortium we put a stake in the ground about what we believed to be the basic elements for good online courses. The Concord e-Learning Model identifies the characteristics that make up effective asynchronous online courses.

I’d like to see someone take the time and effort to create and research effective synchronous online courses and identify the characteristics. There just hasn’t been that much thought put into synchronous online education. There’s this belief that what’s happening in the on-ground world is inherently best. Could someone do the research to prove, or disprove that.

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