Monday, October 21, 2013

Biology eAcademy: What Inspired Me to Teach Online

English: students online
What Inspired Me to Teach Online - by Bob Giacosie

Evolution of a dynamic classroom.

1. Follow role models using the lecture method
2. Entertaining questions from students and then using the socratic method
       Students had to explain what the instructor was just talking about. He did this as a form of his own self-assessment as a teacher.
3. Short discussions in class
      These short discussion s were meant to facilitate critical thinking and teach problem-solving skills.
4. Adding research based written assignments
5. Began to use cooperative learning strategies/group learning-teaching/learning strategies.
      Students would chose topics and research for seven weeks and then do a presentation. When we are involved in our own self-learning we learn better. It became one of the most popular courses on campus.

The Path to Offering Online Courses
1. Research the fear of Math and Science
2. Teaching college faculty to be better teachers
3. We need to do more than put a warm body in the classroom - we need to improve teaching and learning of science.
4. His early thinking on online learning is that there was no way they could be competent.
The face-to-face expereince could not be reproduced. Then 10 years ago a friend had a daughter who went to an online high school.

He became a proctor for her exams and then began to tutor the student. He was very impressed with the content and rigor - it was equal to the work of his best teachers.

He also found that there was an academically rigorous chemistry class at Dominguez Hills.

He looked at commercial colleges and was not impressed. He found that online courses from RA accredited brick-and-mortar courses where very different and taught by well-qualified, experienced faculty. Non-accredited degree mills.

His frustration with Dominguez Hills was that despite that there were a lot of online courses, there were none in sciences. He began to look at other online programs from across the country: they were poorly taught, poorly constructed, and very expensive.

Real teachers, well-trained teachers, who know how to engage their students are better able to translate their class room experience to the online format.

At Dominguez Hills, inadequate workload allocations didn't allow frequent enough offerings for the students. The courses often conflicted with other courses the students would need for their major. The students needed a more flexible schedule. Online classes were an answer to this.

The Reaction?  Who teaches science online? He was allowed to teach two online courses. He found the student-student interaction to be very important. The courses had high enrollment - students like the course because it was convenient to their schedule. He brought all of the principles of engagement from his face-to-face class into his online courses.

Important Components to the Course
1. Flexibility for the students in all aspects of the course
2. Detailed class notes/worksheets keyed to a great text
3. Written assignments based on the latest scientific literature
4. Opportunities to engage in discussions and exchange ideas regarding research and literature.
5. Regular and extensive communication with students through email and phone on all aspects of content and process

He does not just use tests - he always uses discussion forums in online Biology courses. The students need to be able to communicate what they learn.

He says that you cannot teach an online course with high enrollments. He said that he would never teach an online course with 120 students.

His objective for going online was to serve his students in ways that he couldn't any longer.

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