This week assigned reading “Online collaborative learning (OCL)” for Tony Bates was a very informative and useful reading. The article describes a networked learning approach. An OCL relies on building a supportive elearning community. I feel this is exactly what Kalyn and I need, in our course, as a communication strategy. As the chapter points out, it is key that instructors /facilitators of the online course are felt to be “present” [Dean L. stressed on that in his blog]. Therefore, an Instructional Design team must be active and present by asking questions related to current issues in online learning and/ or posting articles that will encourage instructors to share their experience and give feedback.
One of the most challenging tasks when designing an online course is Implementing a meaningful interaction method either between students or between students and instructors. Kayln and I choose discussion forums, course email and Zoom as methods of interactions. We have two types of forums: an announcement/new forum, and a peer support discussion forum. These forums can support students to “work together to create knowledge: to invent, to explore ways to innovate, and, by so doing, to seek the conceptual knowledge needed to solve problems rather than recite what they think is the right answer” [Harasim (2012)]. In a forum, instructors post questions, concerns, successes and challenges they have and other instructors can share their experience with the support of the instructional designers’ team.
The other challenge is how to encourage instructors to share and discuss despite their busy teaching schedule? After Kalyn and I got the course feedback, we decided on adding a zoom room and a scheduler.
This allows students to book appointments to meet with an ID using the Zoom room to address any concerns. Then maybe we can set a group chat time like in Twitter to discuss among the online community in the course and get other instructors opinions. Therefore, Instructors will relate the current topic to their own experience which will encourage and motivate them to share the knowledge they have. Another idea that we can implement in our course is that the ID team frequently arranges online workshops for instructors who have ideas, knowledge and new strategies teaching online. Instructors share these with their colleagues.
This will lead to another main strength to OCL as stated by Bates “when OCL applied appropriately, online collaborative learning can lead to deep, academic learning, or transformative learning.”