There’s something I found interesting in the study of Stacey and Wiesenberg, it states: Teachers expressed beliefs that the online mode was helping students to become more self-directed and teachers to be more facilitative and innovative. It seems to be beneficial for students because are becoming more independent and teachers are taking this new role of facilitators. After reading Kanuka’s chapter I could identify myself with basically 4 philosophies of teachings. The ones that are bigger it’s because I have more ideas I identify with. Those are the progressive and humanist.
I don’t share many thoughts with the behaviourist philosophy, but I do think students have to be active in their learning. And one way of giving them reinforcement, like the theory says, is through the feedback they receive.
Secondly, the analytical philosophy, this one has more aspects I agree with. Rationality is something students need to develop to learn, they have to learn to think critically. Another aspect that this philosophy emphasizes is learning through discussion. If we think of online learning this takes places in learning communities, forums, blogs, etc. Where everybody shares their opinion and exchange knowledge.
Next, the progressive theory is quite interesting because they intend to connect the learning to the real life. So, what we learn, we have to be able to apply it in our life. The teacher acts as a facilitator and it’s the student that develop their skills. Cooperation is necessary to progress in the learning. Interaction not only takes place between students and teacher, but among students too. There are many course management systems that allow this interaction to happen.
Finally, the humanist orientation, I like that the student is the one responsible for their learning, they are given freedom to pursue their individual growth. The methods are mostly used are experimentation, discovey and group dynamics. I think the first two are perfect for online learning, because there are many resources on the net to explore. However, I don’t think working on groups is like the most common way of learning online. There can be interaction but I think it would be asynchronous. I think is hard to work with group dynamics in an online context. Does somebody have any suggestions about this?
As a summary, from my point of view, the most important factors in teaching are that students can interact with both content and other students. The learning has to be meaningful and useful for their real lifes, practical and pragmatic. And the teacher has to be a facilitator, giving them the tools to develop their knowledge.
Kanuka, Heather (2004). The Theory and Practice of Online Learning, Chapter 4. Athabasca University. http://www.aupress.ca/books/120146/ebook/04_Anderson_2008-Theory_and_Practice_of_Online_Learning.pdf
Stacey, E., & Wiesenberg, F. (2007). A study of face-to-face and online teaching philosophies in Canada and Australia. Journal of Distance Education, 22 (1), 19-40.