Reflections on Instructional Technology and Media

Distance Learning January 29, 2007

I really like being a part of the NC Virtual Public School advisory board. At our first meeting on Friday, we got to learn about a study they have done on the online courses currently being offered to NC students. Some were good as is, some need a little fixing, and many need to be thrown out and re-created from scratch. I like the rigor being applied to the analysis of what will be offered to our students.

The rationale I keep hearing for creating an online school and developing these courses is to offer learning opportunities to schools and students who would not normally be able to participate in classes because of low enrollment in their current schools. I buy in to this. It makes sense that a wide variety of AP and honors courses should be offered to students across the state regardless of whether there are enough other students in their geographic region who wish to pursue the same studies.

However, I work in Chapel Hill – we are fortunate enough not to have the same needs for these courses as other districts. Our need for them typically stems from scheduling concerns rather than a lack of face-to-face offering.

A few months ago, I read a statement that charged “every student should participate in an online course before graduating from high school.” WOW – what a thought. What if our students took these courses, not because they are not offered in our system, but because they need to learn how to be students in an online environment? 

Think about how many people are now enrolled in some kind of online course, whether it is through a college/university or for professional growth purposes. I teach online courses for two area universities and typically have at least one student who is completely unprepared to be an online student. How I have wished that they had been able to be in a class online before that taught them the skills they need to be a succcessful online learner. I have seen plenty of lists of suggested traits of good online learners – but never on how we can teach our students these traits so that they can participate in the online edusphere.

What do you think?


Throwing Down the Gauntlet

I have the privilege of serving on the Advisory Board for the NC Virtual Public School. We had our first meeting on Friday and I had the pleasure of meeting fellow edu-bloggers Dave Edwards and Joe Poletti face to face. My excitement quickly turned to good-old red-faced shame when Joe called me out on my recent blogging inactivity.

“You got off to a great start but I have been waiting for you to update!”

OK Joe – no more excuses about time. If I want my teachers, technology facilitators, and administrators to join the web 2.0 world, then I really need to set an example. I am going to set a goal of at least one post per week. It is such a good way to work through my thoughts that it can only help me think about what I do and to DO it better.

On another note, the three of us discussed trying to do a monthly podcast reflecting on hot issues in educational technology. Hopefully more to come on this…