Collaborative Communities in eLearning: Module 1 Reflections

'Reflections' photo (c) 2006, aneye4wonder (Ineta McParland) - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The new knowledge and skills I gained during Module 1 were:

Each time I begin a new course online, I am reminded of the importance of MAKING time to create rapport with students.  As a middle school teacher, largely teaching in a face-to-face structure, I have tended to assume that rapport with my students grows rather organically from our natural day-to-day interactions. Our work in the first module made me (somewhat painfully) aware that while my assumption is true to extent, launching my courses at the beginning of a new semester by consciously and actively supporting the growth of community and rapport amongst students can only serve to create a more productive and supportive learning environment. Perhaps even more enlightening, though, was the epiphany that an online environment can, in many respects, help students develop community and rapport with each other more quickly than might be typical in a face-to-face class.
The knowledge and skills will benefit me as an online facilitator by…

Moving development of rapport and community to the top of the list for successfully launching an online course.
Other reflective thoughts…

Teach students how to read online! I am NOT anti-ebook!  I have a preference for reading in print, but I also read a fair amount on my iPad–iBooks or Kindle, generally.  I ordered a used copy of the textbook, but shipping was delayed due to the weather so I read the first two chapters in the ebook via the CMS.  The reading experience was tremendously frustrating, but I persevered and got it done.  While working on my good practice post, I needed to refer back to the text so I opened the textbook and resized the window.  To my surprise, being able to set the full page GREATLY changed the reading experience!  Perhaps scrolling to read a page may not be an issue for others, but for me to comprehend a text of any depth, I learned that it is vital for me to be able to see an entire page.  Who knew?!?!?  As a librarian, I have thought quite a lot about how reading on a page differs from reading on a screen, but in the drive to “do my homework” it never occurred to me that changing the size and orientation of the page in my browser window would have such a big impact on my reading experience!

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