Apr 21 2012

Can F2F education be replicated in the online environment?

The course I am revising is a course I am currently teaching on campus. I often find myself thinking about how to best replicate my on-campus instruction and assessment in the online environment. However, as I am learning more and more through this course more I am seeing that they really are separate environments. While the course objectives and student learning outcomes may be the same I think I need to think less about replicating the on-campus experience and thinking more about how I can work within the online environment given the tools and resources provided to meet the objectives and learning outcomes specified.

The greatest challenge for me, as some of you have already mentioned, is having to have all 10 weeks ready to go before the term starts. With my on-campus classes I of course have a course outline that I follow, but I am constantly fine tuning as I go. The thought of not being able to do that is somewhat daunting. In one sense having a whole course planned out and set to go from day one sounds ideal, but on the other hand I find myself often wondering if once I put the course in place am I going to think of a better way I should have implemented something?

Connecting with the students is both different and similar. Email is a primary means of communication between an instructor and student both online and with F2F education and it certainly has its pros and cons. It can be quick and convenient for addressing something and a lot less efficient for other things. In some ways I feel like I get to know online students more through their written communication. Although F2F contact tends to help me to make stronger connections with students. I like the idea of Skype office hours and Google groups for F2F contact within the online environment.


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6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Can F2F education be replicated in the online environment?”

  1.   Shannon Riggson 23 Apr 2012 at 1:36 pm     Reply1

    This post reflects the concerns of many new online instructors. It is a huge shift to go from the calendar of preparing on-campus courses to getting an entire course ready before the term begins. I won’t re-hash the many reasons for doing so — your post suggests that you understand those reasons already. But, I will say that the support you’ll find in Ecampus will make your course development a more collaborative process than an on-campus course development usually tends to be. That kind of collaboration does take time, but it also takes some of the heat off of you. (At least, that’s what we hope!)

  2.   Karen Watteon 24 Apr 2012 at 4:03 pm     Reply2

    The last part of your posting references that ‘personal connection’ that can sometimes be harder to achieve in an online environment. Some instructors find it helpful to post a video greeting at the beginning of the term — a welcome to the class. Some also post short videos of themselves introducing the material for each week. These are easy ways to create a connection with the students — make the instructors more ‘present’ and ‘real’ to the students. Ecampus can help you in producing these types of videos. Office hours via Skype, etc., then allow the students to connect back to you in a form outside of the written word.

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