The last pitfall (Ignore the ways students learn from each other) particularly resonated with me. The course I teach, ED 340, relies heavily on student-to-student learning as a way to support students with the classroom management piece of teaching. It’s important to get the classroom management piece right; we know that new teachers who struggle with classroom management are at higher risk for relying on more teacher-centered instruction (read: students quiet, teacher talks). They are also more likely to drop out of the profession altogether.
Right now, this student-to-student learning comes mostly in the form of instructor-facilitated problem-solving in the physical classroom (“How would you handle ______situation?” “How could ________situation have been prevented?”). It’s an important part of helping them feel more prepared to take over their own class, and one of the parts of the class that the students say they most appreciate.
But in the online component to my class, I’ll be honest – I almost fell for this pitfall. My first instinct was to load all of my course content (readings, responses, etc.) online, and to forget that some of this student-to-student learning can happen online. Our readings and my reflection over the last couple of weeks have helped me see that a better option is to re-design my class so that at least some of this problem-solving happens virtually.