“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think” -Socrates
Isolation is a great obstacle to face when teaching an online course, especially with an increase of “non-traditional students” enrolling in them (Stewart 2008). Therefore, my philosophy of learning/teaching builds upon a constructivist approach with synchronous activities in order to keep the students at a distance engaged (Baker 2010). The constructivist approach takes into consideration the experiences and the background of the learner, which can vary in distance courses. The exchange of information between instructors-students and student-student will include a blend between Garrison, Anderson & Archer’s Community of Inquiry (social presence, teacher presence, cognitive presence) and Information Fluency (domain knowledge, critical thinking, presentation) models. Where the teacher presence is like the domain knowledge with an inclusion and respect of students own experiences and knowledge. The social presence is like the critical thinking part where students can question that domain knowledge and view/comment on their own perspectives online. The cognitive presence would be evident in the presentation of the student. “Dewey believed that through collaboration that respected the individual, students would assume responsibility to actively construct and confirm meaning (Swan et al 2009)”. That constant exchange of information and transformation of knowledge base is important to be fluid for all students. As I look back on this online course, I realized that a late post of mine or another student can pause that information flow. For the fluidity of the class, I will consider using the Remind app to have students up to date on discussion and peer feedback posts. That way the constructivist fluidity of information is consistent for all students.
My philosophy of learning really highlights the human dimension in Fink’s Interactive Nature of Significant Learning. That human dimension, I believe, can really help in the feelings of isolation, understanding other views, and aid communication skills. Students can “acquire a better understanding of others: how and why others act the way they do or how the learner can interact more effectively with others (Fink p. 36)”. This will include a strong welcome letter including course information and asking the students to come up with at least three questions to ask in a group video discussion, where students will also introduce themselves. With a strong instructor welcome video or welcome group discussion the students can feel connected with the teacher, as Fahy had explained the importance of teacher presence.
The platform that is best for my philosophy of learning is Canvas. The aesthetics and organization of it is way more pleasing than Blackboard or Google Classroom. My favorite way to guide discussions is still the use of Socratic questions. Teacher Miriam Wolf stated “I think the Socratic method it means that you’re going to have a whole bunch of ideas coming to the surface (Module 1: Inheritance, NPR podcast).”
There will also be example peer feedback discussions in the course to really add how critical thinking and reflecting can be used to build on the classes ideas or knowledge. Since I enjoyed exploring new multimedia tools, I will also include use of fun new multimedia tools, for example an assignment to use would be to submit a podcast reflection of that weeks questions. Whatever platform I use for the week, I will make sure I test it, use a screencast example of how to use it and most importantly, make sure it is approved by the school for any FERPA concerns (https://www.fordham.edu/download/downloads/id/1850/09_-_dos_and_donts_for_teachers.pdf) (Links to an external site.).
These are my views from what I have learned in this class. Since that foundation of knowledge is constantly changing, feel free to give me feedback on how you feel this is right or wrong.
Thank you for reading.
Baker, C. (2010). The impact of instructor immediacy and presence for online student affective learning, cognition, and motivation. Journal of Educators Online, 7(1), 30.
Stewart, D.P. (2008). Classroom management in the online environment. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 4(3), 371-374.
Swan, K., Garrison, D.R., & Richardson, J.C. (2009). A constructivist approach to online learning: The community of inquiry framework. In C.R. Payne (Ed.), Information technology and constructivism in higher education: Progressive learning frameworks (1st edition, pp. 43-57). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Westervest, Eric. NPR News. Education Podcast: 50 Great Teachers. Obtained from Canvas “Online Pedagogy”. Professor Owen Guthrie. Module 1: Teachers and Learning : Inheritance.