(See also 'Industry' vs. 'Academia' I.)
ONE THING THAT STRUCK ME as i progressed through the Teaching Online course was that i felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of papers listed upfront in the course. The exemplars for Assignment 1 helped a lot in clarifying expectations of what needs to be done. So did the tutors' responsiveness to queries. However....
Looking back now, if i'm the instructor, i might re-design the course. M. and i put up a similar idea via simultaneous typing in a virtual chat last Wed. For an instant, we 'smiled' in cyberspace at the meeting of our minds as M. wrote, "i think we are talking the same language".
For she had written, "A lot depends on the motivation and preferences of the individual. Some individuals have the time/motivation to feel the commitment to work on group assignments. others might think -- I would really like to work on this assignment collaboratively, but I'm worried that I won't be able to devote the time, and don't want to let anyone down. So, it might be good to make collaborative activities, small bites."
And i had written, "For people unfamiliar with or not ready for academic studies, it would be good to start with one key paper and an e-tivity. More papers can be read along the way to achieve one or more goals in the activity."
Another thing that struck me during the course was: the three assignments (concept matrix, strategies & tactics, and reflective journal) have been very useful in helping us develop understanding and insights; but they are still very theoretical. i could have added a practical component to the assignments in the course towards the end of Module 2. For example, if there are 39 participants, they could be divided into teams of threes or fours. Each team is supposed to design an e-tivity (as in Dr Gilly Salmon's e-Moderating course) and to facilitate online discussions on a chosen topic (say, based on a paper) for two weeks. The team that generates the most interesting and insightful discussion then gets more points added to their individual grades.
This would take care of the need for course participants to "practise collaboration and teamwork" and for the course facilitator to actively facilitate "collaboration, interaction, communication and dialogue that improve learning". Doing this could be more practical and manageable than having to actively 'force' or 'entice' course participants to be active in all discussions.
(imported from Blogger.com, see also 'Industry' vs. 'Academia' III in InfoGraphicsDesigner.)