This is a learning process for me, for sure. On Tuesday’s class, I wanted to make sure that the learners knew where my message board was, and that they knew how to post messages. I realize that my instructions need to be CRYSTAL clear, and I need to provide links within my instructions (it is not enough to say “go to the message board link on the left side bar”).
All learners but one could locate my webpage. I had not considered the possibility that, at this point, there would be *anyone* who could not locate my webpage. I realized that she had been relying heavily on another student to help her in class, so I stood beside her and guided her through the process. I did not touch her mouse at all (that can be too much of a temptation, to just take the mouse and click the link myself, but how is she going to figure out how to do this at home?) This learner has not yet turned in any of the assignments, but she is not the only one.
Got the Right Stuff?
Prior to registration, learners were told that a requirement for this program was that they needed to have a reliable computer, internet access and an active email account. One of our learners has none of the above. She, too, has yet to submit a single assignment. She claims that she can use her cell phone to read articles, view videos etc. This is problematic, especially given the amount of independent e-learning that is supposed to take place outside of the classroom. I suggested that perhaps this was not suited for her needs, but she promised to access public library computers to do the assignments.
There is still a noticeable division of skills within the class. This is evident whenever we are attempting to “produce” something in the classroom time. Yesterday, I had the learners create “blogs” using either blogger or wordpress. WordPress, obviously, is more ideal for our purposes, but you still have to be able to navigate the site. Most were able to create an account and compose their first blogs AND, not only that, send me their links.
I’ve opened a Blended Learning Blog favourite folder on my Internet Explorer, so from now on, all I need to do is to open the learners’ sites to check their understanding/comprehesion of any given task. Before this, I’d asked learners to send me emails. Blogging is preferable for many reasons, namely the following:
1. Blogs allow learners to keep all of their writing in one place.
2. Instructors have immediate access to the sites and can provide comments.
3. BLogs can be kept up after the program and can be an awesome tool for improving written communication skills.
4. Even being able to create a blog account, set it up, access it, and write something is a huge technological advance for at least half the learners.
The challenge this week is going to be the D2L platform, but I think we are ready to take it on.