Online teaching credential programs with virtual student teaching- does this exist?

Discussion in 'Education, Teaching and related degrees' started by mdwolfsong, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    I agree with you, Matt, that the discussion boards in online classes lose some of the zing of a classroom discussion. I'm not too impressed with the standard practice of being required to post and then reply to two other posts. Somehow it appears that students are just jumping through the hoops without really engaging in much meaningful dialogue. I would like to see some more meaningful application of this format, and this is something that would probably be included in the online credentialing that mdwolfsong suggests.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2011
  2. mattbrent

    mattbrent Active Member

    I still don't think there is a need for online credentialing. A GOOD instructor would be able to easily adapt because he or she could create a good curriculum. The programs that you're referring to, such as the "Post an answer, and then respond to two people" concept seem to be instituted by the school, not the instructors, and those are college courses.

    I'm still not sure there are enough K-12 online programs to warrant a special license. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, though. In Virginia, for example, the only state run K-12ish school I can think of is Virtual Virginia, and that's really targetted for high school kids in rural areas. They only have maybe 20-30 instructors.

  3. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Definitely not instituted by the instructors in most cases.
  4. mdwolfsong

    mdwolfsong New Member

    I agree that the whole idea of having discussion boards in a course should be to enhance the course, not to give more busy-work. I went to an online school that required the 2 to 3 page essay for a main post discussion response and I hated it. It was just overkill in terms of the amount of work they were asking for when taking into consideration that each week, a student had to respond to two of those types of discussions, make 4 total classmate responses (also lengthy) and type up a 10 page paper. The whole idea of online learning is that it should fit into the students' busy lives, so how does overloading them with written work do this? I think this type of exaggerated workload comes about when institutions want to prove the rigor of their programs, but that is just my opinion.

    I am more interested in quality; not quantity. I just finished a class that, I felt, really did things right. The course was 12 weeks long. We had 3 discussion posts to make, but they did not have to be entire papers. One would focus on the project we were working on, the next focused on a theory or construct we read that week and the final thread was a journal thread, where we could reflect on what we had learned that week. The course project was not crammed into a two week timespan; rather, we worked on the project step-by-step throughout the entire 12 weeks. I loved this because I actually had time to let the ideas sink in without stressing out and having to move onto the next essay. My point is that a quality program is not necessarily marked by the amount of work given; rather, the careful consideration of the work given by the course developers.

    SurfDoctor, I haven't had too many online instructors that do the things I mentioned either, but I do teach at a school that requires us to have that level of interaction in the classroom. It has been good for me as an instructor because I have learned a great deal more about pedagogy than I would have had I just been in the course grading papers. At that school, I teach Human Growth and Development. The discussion assignments are the bulk of the coursework. The studnets work on a final project throughout the entire 5.5 weeks. So, in week 5, they simply revise all that they have written and submit the final paper to the drop box. Because the themes are so personal in the course, it ends up being a pseudo-self-therapy type of experience. I find that students share a great deal while reflecting on what they read in the textbook. That's the whole point, isn't it? I think a course is successful if a student can think about what he/she has read, see a connection to his/her personal or professional experiences, and comment on those experiences in an academic way. I always end the course feeling like we truly are a small community. There are online instructors out there who want to bring that human element to the online classroom, and I'm not just talking about posting your photo with your bio. The human element is conveyed in one's tone, in the caring and empathy that comes across in one's responses to students, in taking the time to even respond to students at all, etc... I also think that bringing this quality element to a program is the responsibility of the institution. The school that I mentioned requires all faculty to have this level of involvement; whereas, other programs do not monitor how often the instructor is active in the discussion boards.
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I'm not a college instructor and I never have been but I was thinking that the school should be setting minimum standards when it comes to issues like this. Are we saying that the school doesn't care about such matters? That it's up to individual instructors?
  6. mattbrent

    mattbrent Active Member

    But does the school even have standards?

    This summer I was asked to teach an online section of PLS 211 - US Government, which I have previously done in a classroom. When I was originally asked, the dean wanted to make sure I had the proper training to do an online course. When I told her I had an MSEd and that I taught for UoP, she just said "Okay." I suppose she was trying to make sure I knew what I was doing. After seeing the blackboard shell for the course that was designed by the previous instructor, I understood why. The previous course set up was simply "read the chapter, take the quiz, write a huge paper, take two tests." The instructor did NO teaching whatsoever.

    That's just not me. Sure, it'd be easy money, but that's just not me. I totally revamped the course. I had DQ's that were not mandatory... however, every student did them and continued discussion, which I took part in as well. I did video lectures, posted political cartoons and links to YouTube videos. I created assignments that were relevant to the material. My students did well, and I was fortunate to be asked to do the course again for this fall semester.

    I think the key difference was the course design. My community college apparently does not have a standard setup for an online course. That could be a Virginia Community College System issue though...

  7. armywife

    armywife New Member

    I've been trying to get an online teaching position with a K-12 school for awhile and no luck at all. I have my Masters in Ed and I'm certified in the state of Texas. I also have classroom experience. I have applied with K-12 (Virtual Academy) and Connections. I feel like this must be a tough field to get into. If anyone can point me in the right direction I sure would be helpful!
  8. Anastazia

    Anastazia member

    thanks for all of you for your very nice thoughts and comments....
    please keep sharing guys!!!

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