- What impact does technology and multimedia have on online learning environments?
When I was in high school, typing class was a much needed elective, especially to those of us that wanted to attend college and later get a good paying job. As a requirement for my very first job with the State of Florida, I had to take and pass a typing class in order to even apply. Now, because of technology, kids are basically born knowing how to type and operate many forms of technology. That is because technology has become huge part of our everyday lives.
Many students today, also choose to further their education via online learning for a number of reasons. The number one reason would be flexibility to attend classes and still work and care for a family without having to leave to attend a traditional college. Students today can customize their learning to their own needs because of the many advances in technology. Because online learning requires many different software programs, technology has a huge impact on the online learning environment. The technology and software that is available can create social relationships between learners and stifle the creation of a learning community in a classroom (Conrad & Donaldson, 2004).
- What are the most important considerations an online instructor should make before implementing technology?
Meeting the needs of the learners is probably the most important consideration an online instructor should make before implementing technology. In order to do this, instructors need to know the skill levels of their students. Students in online classes have a variety of technology skills, experience and software knowledge. Meeting the needs of learners means to establish a learning community that supports learners with confidence to work together and provide a clear direction that enables learners to take charge of their own learning (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).
Students should have a variety of ways to show their learning and submit their assignments. What program might work for one, might not work for another. If a student becomes easily frustrated with their online work, they are more apt to drop out.
- What implications do usability and accessibility of technology tools have for online learning?
There can be many drawbacks in an online environment and the instructors need to be aware of them to enhance student learning. Technology can fail at any time and alternative options should be communicated in case it does. There are also many different tools and options, both software and hardware that help make learning possible for everyone. Instructors should also take into consideration those learners that are trying to balance full time jobs, family and also online learning and be flexible when possible.
- What technology tools are most appealing to you for online teaching as you move forward in your career in instructional design?
The technology tools that are most appealing to me are email, chat tools and the various video conferencing software. I also like the Google Docs tools and the discussion boards and blogs that are involved in the online learning environment. Communication and collaboration are the most important aspects of online learning. By using discussion boards, wikis and blogs, students are able to learn from each other and work together on various assignments.
Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA
Conrad, R., & Donaldson, J. A. (2004). Engaged learning in the online environment. In Engaging the online learner: Activities and resources for creative instruction. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley amp; Sons, Inc.