I’m taking a MOOC. Maybe I should back up a bit. A few weeks ago I was looking over the course offerings at Coursera and one really got my attention. The title alone, “Advanced Instructional Strategies in the Virtual Classroom”, while not something that rolls off the tongue, met a need that I feel I have.
As we explore new LMS’s and I work to support blended learning among my colleagues, I have really been hoping to find something like this. The course description was enough to convince me to sign up:
This course will help you ‘up’ your game and develop the advanced level skills and techniques that eludes even some of the most experienced virtual teachers. We will examine the pitfalls beginning teachers run into and learn how to overcome them by focusing on the fundamentals that have the greatest impact on student learning in a blended or online environment. Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to hear from a variety of experienced K-12 teachers and be challenged to assess your own skills and apply what you are learning by creating a guide, assignment or resource that you will be able to use in a class that you teach or hope to teach someday soon. By the end of the course you’ll not only have a better understanding of the basics; you’ll be able to put them together like a pro and empower your future students to be voracious learners who are ready to go out and make the world a better place to live.
There was a great deal of conversation among the participants this week, and the focus was on “Handling Direct Instruction”. Some of my biggest takeaways were the way the instructor used various methods of making the content more engaging and accessible:
- We completed a cool ZeeMap with a list of all students including who we are, what we hope to learn, etc.
- Chris (@clonghb) introduced the idea of using a metaphor as a guiding theme for your online course. This is a great idea and the fact that he used basketball won him tons of points in my book!
- The quality of the video interludes was top-notch! Ireallywas struck by how easy it is to create this kind of video usingasmartphone and some simple software.
- I loved how he used categories for the video content (these tie in to the metaphor he using for the course) — “Around the Net”, “Catch It”, etc.
- There were tons of great readings and videos
Overall I’m having a great experience so far.