Online Learning

Professor Linda Rahmoller shares her experience with creating and teaching in the web-enhanced, hybrid, and online course environments and how these platforms help with instructional design.

How to Thrive in the Web-Enhanced, Hybrid, and Online Course Environments

Our students reflect trends across the higher education realm. They are individuals with multiple responsibilities—work, family, and school. We know that students do not thrive in a vacuum environment where one size fits all. With that thought, I would like to share some experiences with creating and teaching in the webenhanced, hybrid, and online course environments and how these platforms help with our instructional design. Additionally, I would like to discuss some frustrating experiences.

Let’s start with the following positive fact: In the electronic environment, our syllabi can be uploaded. Students can no longer “lose” them or even “forgot” my name, my contact information or my email account. The Moodle site also provides a depository of all reference materials, assignments, and other course data. If students are absent, we can simply refer them to the class site.

Moodle enables us to support the vast array of learning styles applied in the classroom, whether active or thinking, sensing or intuitive, visual or verbal, with assignments and other resources.

For the students who need prompt feedback, online weekly quizzes can immediately provide them with a grade and the references to specific textbook pages for further clarification. The online environment offers numerous opportunities for students in the lower-division courses focused on the acquisition and comprehension of knowledge. All that invaluable learning experience can be further scaffolded in their upper-division courses.

Forum discussion postings provide opportunities for analysis, synthesis, and finally evaluation of course core objectives. Forum postings also allow for a wider diversity of student responses: instead of hearing just from the class extroverts, the introverts are required to participate. Moreover, we can require students to use secondary sources to augment their discussion posts. It exposes them to alternative sources outside the class textbook, encouraging them to use the Library and Learning Center databases and other academically valid resources. Additionally, online classroom responses are typically more reflective because the students do not have to respond to a question or comment immediately. Students can monitor their grades throughout the quarter, so we no longer have to answer the question, “What is my grade?” They will receive emails from their instructors once assignments have been corrected, encouraging them to check the class site frequently for further updates or additional information.

Last but not least, the Moodle logs provide us with documentation. To students who are concerned whether they have submitted all assignments, the activity completion section on Moodle checks off assignments once they are uploaded. The teacher can tell whether student has viewed a resource, taken the quiz, or uploaded the assignment. The logs tell us by student, by date or by activity what has transpired in our classroom environment. In other words, there is a visual and undisputable check confirming completion. Course modality describes the method(s) in which class content is delivered.

 
Traditional:

Courses meet in class based on scheduled times and course content and activities are delivered in the classroom setting.

 

Web-Assisted:

Courses meet in class based on scheduled times. Course content and activities are generally conducted in the classroom, but certain activities and/or additional course content may be delivered/conducted using the Moodle course management system.

 

Hybrid:

Courses meet both online and in class according to a described schedule. Content and assignments are conducted in both modalities. Online: Courses are conducted entirely online through the Moodle course management system. All activities are conducted electronically.

 

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