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Distance Ed Class Reflections

Post your reflections from the distance ed class of 3/19 here at the end of class. As a reminder, here are the following 4 prompts you can reflect upon. Although you only need to reflect on 1, if the mood strikes you, I encourage you to post further reflections in your OWN blogs.

  1. One of the criticisms levied against distance ed courses is the difficulty teachers face in establishing a sense of community among remotely located participants. What strategies might an instructor employ to foster a sense of community?

  2. “Think of a class you have taught or are currently teaching. If you were to move 50% to 100% of the class time to an online format, what would the change require or involved? How would it require you, as a teacher, to change or adapt?” (Sánchez-Serrano’s, 2008, p. 173)

  3. According to Nancy, one of the Spanish language distance education teachers surveyed by Sánchez-Serrano’s (2008), “the online curriculum should be designed to match, as closely as possible, the needs of the environment and of the students, while not attempting to imitate its face-to-face counterparts as the perfect model” (p. 157).How should a curriculum for online language instruction differ from a curriculum for face-to-face language instruction?

  4. Reflecting on the group project you just completed, what are some of the greatest challenges instructors would face in attempting to set up an international telecollaboration in a face-to-face language class?


Mar. 20th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
greatest challenges - international telecollaboration
Perhaps the biggest problem I think that has to be addressed firsthand is the communication breakdown. It is imperative that if we are conducting classes from a distance, pre-planning is the first thing to have in mind; the reason is that perhaps it could be much easier to correct a technical communication problem than one of a disorganized classroom, even if we are not facing it. The lesson plans must be prepared with sufficient detail in order to not leave gaps through the chat/tellecollaboration; it is probably more frustrating to be online with nothing substantial to teach.
I think of this type of teaching like customer service (i.e. telemarketing); in that trade, scripts are provided to minimize errors in a sales transaction. If the information is shaky, the sale might not happen. The quality of the voice is very important, also. Is it a persuasive voice? Does the voice sound convincing or believable? The student is not seeing you, face-to-face. The only thing the student might relate to is YOUR VOICE. Can we convey instruction that way? The presence of a teacher is certainly diminished; that voice that comes out through a telecollaboration could make or break a student.
What about e-mail? Can teachers be taken seriously if there are too many abbreviation (i.e. LOL, K, etc) instead of grammatically words? This is just an idea; the telecollaboration resource might call for fine-tuning, at times.
Mar. 30th, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
Re: greatest challenges - international telecollaboration
Jose, I'm intrigued by your concern about the language of e-mail. Has it been your experience that teachers who use e-mail a great deal also rely on more informal language when corresponding with students?

I do agree with you that structure and substance is very important in distance ed contexts where there is little else to organize a lesson or activity. Can you see how this will require a great deal of advance preparation for distance ed teachers?


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