Chapter 2 is adapted from “New Learners? New Educators? New Skills? ” in the Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning by George Siemens and Peter Tittenberger and is about Blended Interactions .
I especially liked the section on The Role of Educators in a Networked World. Four educator were included:
- John Seely Brown’s notion of studio or atelier learning
- Clarence Fischer’s notion of educator as network administrator
- Curtis Bonk’s notion of educator as concierge
- George Siemens’ notion of educator as curator
It’s best to read the linked chapter on Blended Interactions to read about these in depth. What I found to be important was that in every case
the established expertise of the educator plays an active role in guiding, directing, and evaluating the activities of learners.
The second part of the chapter introduced me to Techno Expression by Kevin Kelly and Ruth Cox.
Their main advice is to keep interaction in the front of your mind. The instructor should not be concerned only with uploading materials. Even though I have been teaching online and blended courses for many years, I got a few new ideas from here. One is asking students to review the syllabus, which is always done. But, then, ask each student to write one or two things from the syllabus which address their goals. Or, they could be given the opportunity to discuss the overall course outline, particular components of the course which interest them, etc. This assures they are familiar with the syllabus and that they relate it to themselves. I intend to do this the next time I teach my blended course (in January, 2013).
Other ideas about online interaction are more familiar to me and I use them regularly and usually recommend to faculty I am working with as an instructional designer. Students should share information about themselves, often in some kind of introduction discussion forum or in an ice breaker activity. Students may work in online groups to solve problems. And, of course, students will take part in substantive discussion forums about the subject of the course. In all cases, instructor feedback is essential. I believe it is essential for student learning and it is essential for retention. Students need to feel connected. Instructors need to do more than read what’s going on in the online sections of a course. They also need to post, offering suggestions, help, direction, and more.