Reflection: iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Teaching
Standard A: The online teacher knows the primary concepts and structures of effective online instruction and is able to create learning experiences to enable student success
Having now (nearly!) completed this course, I believe that I have a clear understanding and knowledge of online learning; how to deliver, apply and extend student learning in an appropriate, professional manner. Furthermore, I can understand how critical it is not only to adapt the curriculum content to fit the type of course but also have realised that, as the facilitator, I need to stay abreast of new developments and tools in order to fully support and extend the learners.
Standard B: The online teacher understands and is able to use a range of technologies, both existing and emerging, that effectively support student learning and engagement in the online environment.
Due to my current role, I feel like this is an area of relative strength; I already have a PLN set up where I follow a number of current experts such as Larry Ferlazzo, Richard Byrne and Jeff Utecht. I also have a Delicious Account to store great online resources. I also am part of a Tech Teachers Ning where I actively participate in forums and I also teach (face to face) a number of classes where we explore current tools. This blog also acts as a space for me to reflect on good practice and specific resources on a regular basis...
Standard C: The online teacher plans, designs, and incorporates strategies to encourage active learning, application, interaction, participation, and collaboration in the online environment.
This brought some relatively fresh learning to me. In class, I differentiate to the needs of my students through individual support and differentiation by outcome. I realise that for an online course - that may be both synchronous and asynchronous - differentiation needs to be built in to the program and that all learning styles, abilities and confidence levels need to be catered for - scaffolded and supported by their fellow learners. By creating a program that encourages comments, advice and suggestions from other members, the learning is always fresh and authentic.
Standard D: The online teacher promotes student success through clear expectations, prompt responses, and regular feedback.
Providing clear expectations in any course - online, blended or face to face - is necessary for student success. Expectations - or essential agreements - for behaviour, involvement and quality of responses are key and this is supported through regular contact with the students and this is one of the areas that I would need to take extra care with. As a father, husband and full time teacher, I would need to allocate time to provide 'timely, constructive and personalised feedback.'
Standard E: The online teacher models, guides, and encourages legal, ethical, and safe behaviour related to technology use.
Essential Agreements of an online course would also include expectations relating to Digital Citizenship and acceptable use of online media. As well as modelling appropriate use when creating course content, I would ensure that there would be clear guidelines for using online resources and citing sources. This is something that I already encourage with my students and fellow teachers here.
Standard F: The online teacher is cognizant of the diversity of student academic needs and incorporates accommodations into the online environment.
I would say that this is just an extension of Standard C. Now I am familiar with the legal mandates and have used tools such as closed captions & transcripts on YouTube, I would be able to cater for most student needs. I realise that it is essential to get a realistic overview of student confidence & ability before the course starts - and I would use a Google Form (or similar) to collate this information.
Standards G & H: The online teacher demonstrates competencies in creating and implementing assessments in online learning environments in ways that ensure validity and reliability of the instruments and procedures.
There are a number of ways to administer both formative and summative assessments online to provide reliable data. Through a mixture of various online tools - and clear rubrics shared with the students beforehand - I will be able to implement a range of appropriate assessments that monitor student learning and progress in an authentic manner.
Standard I: The online teacher demonstrates competency in using data from assessments and other data sources to modify content and to guide student learning.
One of the main reasons for assessing student work is to inform future planning. This requires flexibility (the entire course cannot be planned completely ahead of time) as well as, relating to Standard D, constructive feedback which not only provides ways forward for the student but also enables the facilitator (me!) to personalise the learning for the individual students. At the same time, I need to provide time and opportunities for the students to evaluate their own learning, reflect on their progress and create personal goals and ways forward.
Standard J: The online teacher interacts in a professional, effective manner with colleagues, parents, and other members of the community to support students’ success.
As with face to face learning, good communication is paramount and liaising with students, parents and other relevant parties is a major part of this. I believe that this is something that I currently do well through email, blogging and use of social media.
Standard K: The online teacher arranges media and content to help students and teachers transfer knowledge most effectively in the online environment.
In an online learning environment, tasks and prompts need to reflect the tools on offer. There would be little point in teaching online but solely requiring written responses as the assignment - using various media and online Web2.0 tools should be expected. This is definitely an area of strength for me as I am comfortable creating content online and utilising media and Web2.0 tools effectively.
Creating and administering online and blended courses seems an obvious step for an integration specialist such as myself. Taking part in this course has allowed me to see the advantages of such methods while also encouraged me to question - and find solutions to - the drawbacks and challenges. It has made me appreciate the face to face contact that I currently have in a 'real' classroom environment and has encouraged me to be creative and find online alternatives to ensure that students still have an identity and personalised 'voice' online.
Providing different ways to assess student progress but also creating a structure and/or routine is very important and I know that I need to make time for providing constructive and timely feedback to the students - realising that this will be one of my major challenges - will only mean that I make more of an effort to do it.
Another focus would be to ensure that all students can access learning, and I now realise that, as the facilitator, I am responsible for this. Catering for all individual needs is essential especially in an online environment.
Above all, I have learnt that as well as providing structure and clarity when creating an online/blended course, it is essential to also allow for some flexibility to allow for students to follow their own inquiries and self-reflect.
Continuing my professional learning about online and blended methods is definitely a priority. I will be continuing to extend my understanding with my Google Reader feeds (or equivalent since it closes down very soon!) and keeping up to date with new Web2.0 Tool developments...
I feel that I am ready to extend my teaching to an online space, at least in an informal way. I am currently attempting to develop an online teaching course - for students and teachers - in order to support the new BYOED (Bring Your Own Educational Device) initiative at GWA; how to use the device effectively, how to personalise, how to access material, how to maximise learning potential etc.
2. Online vs. face to face Venn Diagram
3. Collaborative Presentation of Web2.0 Tools
4. Designing an online discussion
5. Establishing an Accessible Social Presence
6. Designing a comprehensive Assessment Plan
7. Online Course Syllabus
8. Reflection: iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Teaching
Hello, I am Tony Potts, the Director of Digital Learning, PK-12 ICT Coordinator, ICT teacher and technology integration specialist at GEMS World Academy, Dubai. Please feel free to ask me ANY questions...