We were asked to post our aha experiences today in our online course on facilitating synchronous learning online course! I talked about Knowing Technology, Enabling, Engaging, Mindset, and Multi-Tasking. Learning can be frustrating and hard. Students must have motivation to continue. One needs a support system. Basically, one needs to know the technology and have people who can help, a university that will support that, one needs to engage students by doing what face-to-face educators say one needs to do: make the students do something, apply, reflect, think, etc. during the class – actually more often than in f2f. One needs to be passionate about the teaching or the content or the students or the goals. There is some frustration with multi-tasking – chatting regarding a problem, listening, doing an activity all at the same time! (It’s easier if you are not having a technical problem.)
I think in both f2f and online live classes the instructor must be a facilitator and get the students doing things and thinking, although I would say that there can be some excellent live lectures and some excellent videos online. In the worst lecture classes, however, the course ideas pass, as Mazur quotes a colleague saying, from the professor’s notes to the notebooks of the students without going through the brains of either. That still happens, and it can happen online, too. What needs to change in education is that we need to quit thinking that because we can tell the students the material they will learn it. An absolutely wonderful video is Eric Mazur’s Confessions of a Converted Lecturer, in which he tells his own story, backed up by pre- and post-test data.