Another dot in the blogosphere?

Online ≠ bad

Posted on: January 20, 2022

This tweet thread and the ensuing conversation needs to be a blog post.

Distilling the wisdom from the tweets, effective online design and implementation could result from:

  • Sufficient time to practice (≈ two years)
  • The intrinsic desire to improve by learning from successes and failures
  • Getting academic qualifications for instructional design (ID) of online courses
  • Providing online facilitators with the resources they need (not what administrators or vendors want them to use)

The two-year tinkering and improving period sounds reasonable if the online educator is new to teaching. After all, we would not expect a beginning classroom teacher be exemplary from the start.

Getting a Masters in ID (mentioned in one conversation) might be too much to ask of faculty who already have their research, service, and content focus. But I do not think that it is unreasonable for leaders to enable professional development opportunities so that their teaching staff are better at facilitating learning online.

The final bullet point is about support from management and leadership. Instead of planning with spreadsheets and increasing class sizes, they could find out what teaching staff actually need.

I argue that they do not need clunky LMS designed by programmers and bean counters. The Apples and Googles of the world listen to and work with educators, and provide simple and intuitive tools, e.g., Google Sites, Google Classroom.

The point is not to reward vendors for feature bloat or pedagogical incompetence. Listen to your educators and partner with those who also listen to them.

Don’t paint online learning as bad and with the brush you used when you were a student and there was no pandemic. Try the broad strategies outlined above and then evaluate the quality of your online courses.

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