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Reflecting on Choosing Online Tools for Instruction

June 21, 2013

Online Learning Tool Reflection

I enjoyed the readings and assignment this week as we begin to explore tools that will be used for constructing an online learning experience. One thought that struck me as I read through Ko and Rossen (2010) was the wide variety of tools that can be mixed and matched within single modules to achieve learning objectives. It really opens the door for a diverse learning experience that exceeds what is possible in a physical classroom with space and time constraints.

As I work through the readings and assignments I realize that materials should not be translated directly from the physical classroom to the virtual. Rather, they need to be restructured to make best use of the additional features available online. The instructor must consider learning objectives, goals, and how they can be met through a mixture of features available through the learning management system. In some sense, this parallels a master chef mixing ingredients to make a complex four-course dinner.

Chapter 7 of Ko and Rossen (2010) concludes with an extensive section on information literacy and using web resources. I appreciated the description of many online resources, and the fact that they identify information literacy as “one often-overlooked aspect of planning course activities” (p. 214). However, I am disappointed that the authors did not recommend using institutional library collections including comprehensive databases of peer-reviewed academic journals. One can assume that the typical reader of this book works in an institution that provides some type of online library resources.  In fact, my library provides online access to over 50,000 journals in 100 online databases and more than 100,000 ebooks that can be downloaded to computers or ereaders. This curated collection provides essential academic material to students that is often unavailable through general web sources. Additionally, the authors should have discussed the important role of librarians in providing instruction on information literacy skills. Teachers can ask librarians to present on these research skills through online courses in the form of presentations, videoconferencing, or tutorials.

I chose to explore the videoconferencing tool (Dawley, 2007) because I hope to use this tool in the coming year with our new online MSN program, for which I am the liaison librarian. I will use videoconferencing for research skills instruction with classes, demonstrations, individual research and reference consultations, and virtual office hours.

Dawley, L. (2007). The tools for successful online teaching. Hershey: Information Science Pub.

Ko, S., & Rossen, S. (2010). Teaching Online: A Practical Guide (3rd ed.). Routledge.


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