The new virtual classroom : proven techniques for maximising media for learning

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To see the slides for this talk, click on the links above. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Bindi Clements PhD, is an EdTech specialist with extensive experience in learning design for language and professional skills training. Bindi joined Wall Street English in October , and is responsible for instructional design development decisions, research into product efficacy, and ensuring qu ality and consistency of the instructional design of Wall Street English products.

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Teaching languages online is big business, and many language learning providers now provide some or even all of their classes via videoconferencing. But can you be sure that your face-to-face teaching skills will easily translate into the online environment? How can you make sure that you keep learners particularly groups of learners engaged, and give them plenty of opportunity to practice English?

Death to Learner Engagement One of the most common media for providing materials for online classes is via a PowerPoint presentation. Maximising online interaction I began to realise that there was something fundamentally different about communication in a virtual classroom as compared to a face-to-face classroom.

Set polls and quiz questions. Many videoconferencing platforms have an integrating polling function.


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Use polls as a starting point for discussion, or to check understanding of a language point. Use the chat box. The chat function can be a fantastic tool for teachers in the online classroom. You can use it as a teaching aid to reinforce instructions or backchannel with a struggling student with private chat. But also think about how you can integrate the chat function into activities, by getting students to share answers, opinions, ideas etc.

Leveraging the Virtual Classroom for Effective Learning with

Write on the board. This can be great for brainstorming ideas or eliciting vocab, or for getting students to find mistakes in a text, or identify words. The University was owned by the city, and local residents would pay the low tuition rates, receive their study materials in the mail, and listen by radio to live classroom discussions that were held on campus. Posin also was a pioneer in the field of distance education when he hosted a televised course through DePaul University. Charles Wedemeyer of the University of Wisconsin—Madison also promoted new methods.

From to , the Carnegie Foundation funded Wedemeyer's Articulated Instructional Media Project AIM which brought in a variety of communications technologies aimed at providing learning to an off-campus population. The radio courses faded away in the s. From to the Coordinating Commission for Higher Education in California funded Project Outreach to study the potential of telecourses. The study included the University of California , California State University and the community colleges.

This study led to coordinated instructional systems legislation allowing the use of public funds for non-classroom instruction and paved the way for the emergence of telecourses as the precursor to the online courses and programs of today. The widespread use of computers and the internet have made distance learning easier and faster, and today virtual schools and virtual universities deliver full curricula online. However, many of the techniques developed and lessons learned with earlier media are used in Internet delivery. The first new and fully online university was founded in as the Open University of Catalonia , headquartered in Barcelona, Spain.

In Jones International University was launched as the first fully online university accredited by a regional accrediting association in the US. Between and , enrollment in distance education courses increased rapidly in almost every country in both developed and developing countries.

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Ebook The New Virtual Classroom : Proven Techniques For Maximising Media For Learning

Levels of accreditation vary: widely respected universities such as Stanford University and Harvard now deliver online courses—but other online schools receive little outside oversight, and some are actually fraudulent, i. In the United States in , it was found that a third of all the students enrolled in postsecondary education had taken an accredited online course in a postsecondary institution.

The majority of public and private colleges now offer full academic programs online. Even engineering courses that require the manipulation and control of machines and robots [61] that are technically more challenging to learn remotely are subject to distance learning through the internet. Distance education has a long history, but its popularity and use has grown exponentially as more advanced technology has become available. By , online learning programs were available in the United States in 44 states at the K level.

Internet forums , online discussion group and online learning community can contribute to an efficacious distance education experience. Research shows that socialization plays an important role in some forms of distance education. E-courses are also a viable option for distance learning. There are many available that cover a broad range of topics. Distance education can be delivered in a paced format similar to traditional campus based models in which learners commence and complete a course at the same time.

Paced delivery is currently the most common mode of distance education delivery.

Ebook The New Virtual Classroom : Proven Techniques For Maximising Media For Learning 2007

Alternatively, some institutions offer self-paced programs that allow for continuous enrollment and the length of time to complete the course is set by the learner's time, skill and commitment levels. Paced courses may be offered in either synchronous mode, but self-paced courses are almost always offered asynchronously. Each delivery model offers both advantages and disadvantages for students, teachers and institutions.

Paced models are a familiar mode as they are used almost exclusively in campus based schools. Institutes that offer both distance and campus programs usually use paced models as teacher workload, student semester planning, tuition deadlines, exam schedules and other administrative details can be synchronized with campus delivery. Student familiarity and the pressure of deadlines encourages students to readily adapt to and usually succeed in paced models.

However, student freedom is sacrificed as a common pace is often too fast for some students and too slow for others. In addition life events, professional or family responsibilities can interfere with a students capability to complete tasks to an external schedule.

Finally, paced models allows students to readily form communities of inquiry [64] and to engage in collaborative work.

Self-paced courses maximize student freedom, as not only can students commence studies on any date, but they can complete a course in as little time as a few weeks or up to a year or longer. Students often enroll in self-paced study when they are under pressure to complete programs, have not been able to complete a scheduled course, need additional courses or have pressure which precludes regular study for any length of time.

The self-paced nature of the programming, though is an unfamiliar model for many students and can lead to excessive procrastination resulting in course incompletion. Assessment of learning can also be challenging as exams can be written on any day, making it possible for students to share examination questions with resulting loss of academic integrity. Finally, it is extremely challenging to organize collaborative work activities, though some schools [65] are developing cooperative models based upon networked and connectivist pedagogies, [66] for use in self-paced programs.

Distance learning can expand access to education and training for both general populace and businesses since its flexible scheduling structure lessens the effects of the many time-constraints imposed by personal responsibilities and commitments. Distance education can also provide a broader method of communication within the realm of education.

The distance educational increase in communication, particularly communication amongst students and their classmates, is an improvement that has been made to provide distance education students with as many of the opportunities as possible as they would receive in in-person education. The improvement being made in distance education is growing in tandem with the constant technological advancements. Present-day online communication allows students to associate with accredited schools and programs throughout the world that are out of reach for in-person learning.

By having the opportunity to be involved in global institutions via distance education, a diverse array of thought is presented to students through communication with their classmates. This is beneficial because students have the opportunity to "combine new opinions with their own, and develop a solid foundation for learning". The high cost of education affects students in higher education, to which distance education may be an alternative in order to provide some relief. Many textbooks are now available as electronic textbooks, known as e-textbooks, which can offer digital textbooks for a reduced price in comparison to traditional textbooks.