Re-imagining Online Learning  

Presented by Brittany Pearson and Allison Seremjian

One of the major problems facing online learning today is meeting the same standards and requirements for 21st Century Learning.  Online courses need to include teaching skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, and teachers need to know how to effectively do that.

Quality of Online Learning

To ensure that the students of today can become the leaders of tomorrow online classes need to teach problem solving, critical thinking, and ensure that teachers know how to effectively teach these skills. It is important to understand that strong critical thinking can lead to strong problem solving skills. However, online these important skills can be overlooked, and every year online courses are becoming more prevalent. “As of 2009, 45 states had supplemental online learning programs or full time programs, and some had both” (Kennedy, 2010, p. 21). Classes that are taught online however are now outmoded. The quality of online courses needs to be examined, and classes need to ensure that students gain the most from every byte of education.

In the early stages of of online learning, regulations and standards surfaced simultaneously as the development and teaching of classes. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) sets five standards for teachers. The standards are: “one facilitate and inspire student learning, two design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments, three model digital age work and learning, four promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility, five engage in professional growth and leadership” (ISTE, 2008,p.1-2). These standards set a good basis for teachers, but do not ensure the quality of the courses offered online. To provide teachers with the correct support, they must be given examples of quality courses, and taught in seminars. To show the effectiveness of online courses, teachers could be taught in high quality online courses that are created to allow them to gain the student’s perspective.

To expand their horizons, students need to be challenged. Critical thinking ensures that students are engaged with the teacher and the content. The problem solving skills that the students develop can demonstrate to the teacher understanding and even mastery of the material. To provide this kind of online experience is expensive and time consuming, it does not happen by accident. “Faculty members need training and support in the development of online materials, and both faculty and students need support during the delivery of the online classes” (Perry & Pilati, 2011, p. 102). Not only do the students need the support, but teachers do as well. This is one way to ensure that the quality of online courses meets the quality standards of traditional courses.

Groups like Pearson Education, which focus on delivering educational supplies and support, have researched the perception of private sector leaders. They have found that online learning and its impact is becoming more and more positive over time. Seventy percent of private sector institutions report that there is growing demand for classes online (Entertainment Close - Up, 2011, p.1). This movement towards remote learning should bring focus to the quality of courses offered. Schools will need to improve courses to better compete with other schools, whether private or public institutions. To establish effective online courses the pedagogical strength, rigor, and standards must be upheld by the educators (Schrum, 2000, p. 44).

Even as the demand for online courses grows, the concern should always be for quality not quantity. Education in the online realm is a new frontier that will be ever changing. To safeguard the quality of online courses they should focus on critical thinking, and problem solving skills. In addition, educators should understand how to effectively teach these skills within an online environment. Once these ideas are part of the standard pedagogy, then online learning can be as, if not more, effective than traditional classes.

Resources:

ISTE Standards for Teachers. (2008). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/standards-for-teachers

Kennedy, K. (2010). Cross-reference of online teaching standards and the development of quality teachers for 21st century learning environments. Distance Learning, 7(2), 21-28. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.pr...

Pearson learning solutions issues online learning study. (2011). Entertainment Close - Up, Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.pr...

Perry, E. H., & Pilati, M. L. (2011). Online learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2011(128), 95-104. doi:10.1002/tl.472

Schrum, L. M. (2000). Guarding the promise of online learning. The Education Digest, 66(4), 43-47. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.pr...

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ISTE Standards for Teachers. (2008). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/standards-for-teachers

Kennedy, K. (2010). Cross-reference of online teaching standards and the development of quality teachers for 21st century learning environments. Distance Learning, 7(2), 21-28. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.pr...

New Media Consortium. (2013). The Horizen Problem. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2013-Horizon-Project-Summi...

Pearson learning solutions issues online learning study. (2011). Entertainment Close - Up, Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.pr...

Perry, E. H., & Pilati, M. L. (2011). Online learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2011(128), 95-104. doi:10.1002/tl.472

Prezi - Presentation Software. (2014). Retrieved from http://prezi.com/

Schrum, L. M. (2000). Guarding the promise of online learning. The Education Digest, 66(4), 43-47. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.pr...

TEDx Talks. (2013, January 10). Reimagining Learning: Richard Culatta at TEDxBeacon Street [video file]. Retrieved from http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Reimagining-Learning-Richard-Cu

Trainingmaterial. (2012, Jaunary 19). The eLearring Revolution [video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlJshzOv2cw

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