My name is VeLisa Tyson. I am currently enrolled in an online course, EPDP 640. I totally love online learning and am using what I've learned so far in this course to enhance my job as an English teacher.
My background has been varied. I had worked in several positions until I was laid off by one of the major communications companies. I decided to invest in ME. Once I made that decision, I returned to school at Governors State University. I am so proud of my achievements.
As a returning adult learner, I've received a B.A. in English and I'm gainfully employed. I also feel that some of the time I spent in the classroom, an online course would have been a better option and just as vital for me. As a mother of two small children, getting my BA took a lot of time from them. I would pick my children up from day care and continue to GSU after dropping them off at two different locations. I had traditional classes from 4:30pm to 10:20pm, Monday through Friday for almost 2 years. I also took two classes at Prairie State. I had a horrendous schedule. I know that online courses would have helped to end the struggle much sooner. Did I mention I had a full time job at the time. I left work at 3pm running to feed and love my babies for a few moments and then off to get the education that would make our lives better. In the midst of this struggle I dealt with a divorce and cancer. The good news is that I made it.
This course will give me the tools to help some struggling young person to get their diploma, to make their dreams come true,. I believe online teaching and learning is a tool of empowerment.
EDPD 640 Introduction to Online Teaching
Online learning requires a LOT!! "Well, I think that I've successfully submitted my picture for the class album. Yikes!!! I went through the tutorial. That was fun!!! I listened to Jan go over the instructions, which I thought was pretty neat! And yes, I created my first blog!!! Yipee!! That was a LEARNING experience, but fun!!
For week #2, I read everything I should have and submitted my thoughts on Constructivism as well, as the High Tech, High Touch topic. That was interesting. I didn't get a chance to participate in a "Live" session when scheduled at the time appointed, but I have now.
Wow!! What an incredible journey it has been navigating through the streams of an Online Class. The second half of the journey has been just as unique as the first half. It has challenged, prodded, pushed, and led me to explore new worlds. I approached these new worlds with a bit of trepidation! Even as a 21st Century instructor, supposedly on the cutting edge, I was encouraged by my wonderful teacher and group member to rise to the occasion to expand my knowledge base. I couldn't have done it without you guys!! So, before I began to share, let me thank you!! Thank you from bottom of my heart!!
We started with digital portfolios. I had actually created something similar to this on my job. But what I learned caused me to go deeper into possibilities. I remember so vividly the discussions from this subject. We expressed our concerns on communicating on this new level with so much theft identity. However, we were assured by our teacher and others, that our identities were safe. The E-portfolio had many interesting websites and examples for us to emulate. This assignment was very interesting.
Next, we explored the learning theories. How do we learn? That is a good question that requires a good teacher to know how to address the different styles of learners. You can not effectively teach f2f or online if you don't understand how a student learns. These tools equip us to reach the little candle of knowledge within each student causing it to burst into a brighter flame.
We explored three approaches: Cognitivism, Behaviorism and Constructivism. We revisited the various theorists of these learning styles. Each has something to offer. My favorite is Gardner. I truly believe in the Multiple Intelligences. By the same token, I know that Vygotsky and Skinner have merit also. As I said in the discussion, the successful teacher studies her students to find out the learning style they conform to and then builds on that while encouraging the student to explore other methods. There is no right or wrong learning style.
Interestingly enough, the learning style of the instructor is critical. On my job we did a 4-Mat training for ourselves to discover our learning strengths and weakness. We then gave the same survey to students. The purpose was to know what we were facing and to build, again, upon what the students brought to the table. Of course, that's in a f2f situation. As an online instructor, you must prepare for all learning styles, without the benefit of body language helping you to understand or give you feedback. You miss out on physical feedback, but you must capitalize on what the student sends back to you.
Another assignment we had was to create a Wiki page as a group assignment. I had not ever created a blog, until this class. I most certainly hadn't create a Wiki!-:) I had seen these things in the news and on websites, but I had no clue how to "create" such a technologically involved component, capable of enhancing learning. I'm happy to say that I'm no longer a spectator, I'm a participator.
I found very quickly that all I needed to do was look at what was presented, read the instructions and expand my horizons. It was quite easy. The assignment in this second half came together just as fluidly as it did for the first group assignment. The information superhighway is full of educational websites and resources to attract the attention of any type of learner that you have.
As we're coming to a close on the second half, I can honestly say that I have been empowered with knowledge. Not just for myself, but for the children that come to me on a daily basis seeking guidance in their quest for knowledge. With the doors of opportunity opened for me, I can show them new and exciting ways to learn. And in the end, that's my goal- to impart knowledge.
The second half is almost over. I think the hardest project has been this one. It's fun, but scary!! Basically, you take EVERYTHING you've learned and share it via the web!! It really measures your failure or success in this class. I'm not an expert in this new-fangled technology, but I've given it all I've got.