The course went by faster than I thought it would! Working in the course and on my own course I have learned a lot about the process of developing a course and working in an online course. The reading, Seven Principles of Effective Teaching: A Practical Lens for Evaluating Online Courses, sums up and hits a lot of the points that I have experienced and learned throughout ‘my journey through teaching and learning.’
Principle 1 and 5: Good Practice Encourages Student-Faculty Contact and Good Practice Emphasizes Time on Task
– We have all heard the horror stories of online courses, where the students cannot contact the professor or the instructions were not clear enough to complete the assignment effectively. After participating in this course I have a good basis of how I want to communicate with students in my course. Establishing with them upfront what my expectations are for the course and providing them with plenty of ways to communicate not only with myself, but with the rest of the course.
Principle 2: Good Practice Encourages Cooperation Among Students
– The discussions in our course were informative and helpful in facilitating communication between students. After participating in them weekly and seeing examples of discussions in the courses for observation, I learned that a good discussion is not based on the content but how we share the information and effectively communicate with each other. Having Alex facilitate the discussions in the beginning, asking questions, telling us to dig deeper showed me how an instructor can participate in the discussion but not control the discussion. As the discussions progressed you could see Alex’s participation slowly fade and we were becoming the dig deepers and the question askers.
Principle 3: Good Practice Encourages Active Learning
– I don’t know where I would be without the feedback from the other students in the course. At first when I was developing my course I used a lot of drop-boxes that had students submit their work just to me and that was it. After some ideas from Alex and being able to view other students work in this course, I saw a lot of value in doing this. Working on the course reviews and reading the feedback from other student’s, I was able to see things that I had missed and things to work on. Changing this in my course, I started thinking of how students can use each others work for discussions or feedback. One assignment I had them originally doing was watching a video on population in China and if population controls should be used, write up a summary and then hand it in. Instead, I changed this to a summary and a discussion of these topics. It would be more beneficial to have students discuss this as it can be a highly debatable and thought-provoking conversation.
Principle 4 and 6: Good Practice Gives Prompt Feedback and 6: Good Practice Communicate High Expectations
– In our course, Alex provided a great amount of feedback that yielded a lot of results. Giving us examples of how other students completed their work and how students provided feedback was helpful. As you can see in each of our course designs the courses are remarkable with content, design and different practices that will engage students and foster a community. I have found that the feedback needs to be a mixture of information feedback and acknowledgement feedback. When I received my course reviews, it was rewarding to see that my hard work and time spent was appreciated. This helped me want to improve the course even more to make sure it was effective and engaging for students with the recommendations in the reviews. Being a students and feeling like my work is getting noticed and valued is a tremendous boost in wanting to participate in the course and in my course design.
Principle 7: Good Practice Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning
– This would characterize our individual courses that we have designed. Even though we had the same guidelines and expectations for our courses, we were able to add our personal touches and communicate our own voices in what we were presenting and teaching. Having us do this I gained so many ideas and inspirations from the courses that I have looked at.
Overall I can’t think of anything negative or that hindered my learning in this course because every experiences was something I have learned from. The course was developed in a way that the harder you work and the more you participate the better the experience and the more you will get out of it. I can guarantee that all of us were nervous and scared the first time we entered this course. The first day we knew that it was going to be a challenging, but we have made it to the end with a lot of rewarding experiences and a lot of lessons learned along the way.