Lots of material to review on this thought. I think as more and more users are experiencing online learning, better observations and data can be collected. However after looking through the Nine steps to quality online learning by Tony Bates, 10 Principles of Effective Online Teaching: Best Practices in Distance Education, and Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice to the Online Classroom, I decided to see what they had in common and how they related to the subheadings, Rigor, Relevance and Relationships. I use one of my favorite tools, Wordle and created a word cloud using the information from the articles, separated into the three categories as I saw how the strategy could best support my user.
As I reflect on the visual the overall connections are even more powerful than I originally thought. First there is the connection to face to face learning with my three categories, Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships. They need to be intertwined, threaded throughout the learning process. One process does not occur with out the other. Online learning seems to be no different.
Looking at each category separately reveals that learning is connected to rigor. When delivering online education, one must remember how learning occurs. Building rigor into a course for all learners requires careful consideration as to why an element is included into the design of the course. That flows nicely into the second category, Relevance.
Relevance in an online course in this word cloud speaks more to the expectations and practice. Knowing where I should end up when the course is complete is important for the learner to have some direction, to understand what is expected of them and of the instructor.
Hmm, yes that leads right to relationships. Relationships can be fostered online. Even when you have never physically met a relationship can develop. Providing feedback, getting to know ones’ peers, having two way dialogue can all contribute to creating relationships. We are experiencing this right now as we share our ideas in this MOOC.
The difficulty in creating good online content is knowing how to balance all of the “best practices” in a way that is beneficial for you the instructor and the student, and maintaining a manageable work load. You cannot just dump a face to face course on line and may of the face to face practices need to be shifted to account for the multitude of avenues to create, share and deliver information. Rigor depends on the learner, relevance depends on the instructor, and relationships can bring the learning to a completely new level.