Innovations in technology will continue to come our way at an ever increasing rate. The world of mobile devices is already taking a strong hold on the education community. Take a look at a bit of this video clip to get a glimpse of our potential not so distant future.
Feeling inspired? Overwhelmed? Unless retirement is in your close range plans, even if you don’t completely embrace the educational uses of the new technology coming our way, you’ll at least want to explore them enough to understand the potential and feel a certain level of comfort. How does one do this in a world where time is scarce and our comfort with technology level is hovering somewhere near the lower end? Let’s begin with small but steady steps. For starters, here are four possibilities that are worth your consideration.
Best practices blog
Since you’re reading this, you’re already on the right track. As it is now, the Distance Education folks are contributing to this blog, but we would like to expand this concept to hear strategies from online instructors and others in the realm of online education. If you have a teaching strategy, best practice, or innovation to share, we’d be happy to hear from you. If there are a number of people willing to share, we could create a new section of the website to showcase instructional innovation. Please let me know if you have something you would like to share.
Faculty learning community
If you take nothing else from this post, please consider this concept. The world of online teaching can be lonely in terms of interaction with peers. A learning community offers a chance to meet with colleagues periodically to share concerns, ideas, and strategies for effective teaching and learning, in this case focused on the online environment. It’s a community of practice that provides an opportunity for reflection, collaboration, and innovation. I plan to organize a couple of these communities in the near future (starting spring or fall term), one virtual, and another face-to-face.
If you might be interested in participating in one of these communities, or would just like to learn more, please let me know, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty Focus: Higher Ed teaching strategies
This is a collection of insightful articles with practical strategies written by leaders in our field. You can browse by section, e.g. “Online Teaching.” For a sample article, take a look at “Creating a sense of instructor presence in the online class” (January 7th).
Twitter for professional development
This is fresh in my mind since I just returned from the ITC eLearning conference. Conferences are the main time I engage in reading and contributing to twitter conversations. I’m not interested posts about food, room temperature, or weather conditions, but I find that sharing links and key points through twitter truly enhances the conference experience. When colleagues are posting to twitter about the presentation they’re attending, it gives me the opportunity to gain from their experience as well as from the session I’m attending. Yes, it does involve a bit of multi-tasking, but there can be a rather engaging back-channel conversation, and this can make the whole conference experience more engaging. Furthermore, you don’t even need to be at the conference to benefit from these twitter posts.
I hope you’ll consider exploring twitter sometime. You can search for specific conversations in your field, e.g. a search for #elearning2014 will bring up the posts about our recent ITC conference, or a search for “gregkaminski” will bring up my recent posts. I’ll provide more details about using twitter in a future post, but if you’d like to know more right away, feel free to contact me.