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Experiencing Online Classes as Student vs. Instructor

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Experiencing Online Classes as
Student vs. Instructor:
A Case Study
Linda Alexander
• The Case Study of “E” as Student and
• The Grad Student
• The Community College Student: Survey
• Social vs. Independent Learning?
• The Online Class: A Focus on the Social
E’s Likes/Dislikes As Both
Student and Teacher
• Likes: Flexible schedule; not place-bound
• Dislike: Online discussions often not
A Teacher’s Perspective: “Lost in Translation”
“In a classroom it is obvious for an instructor
when they are giving directions if the students
are not understanding something. It is clear on
their faces, yet online the instructor does not
know if the students are not understanding the
directions until they submit the assignment.
Then the instructor has to fix things.”
A Teacher’s Perspective
“I think that both the instructor and the students
are at a disadvantage because they are not able
to get to know each other and understand each
others’ needs and personalities. This means for
the instructor they never know the students’
passions and what they really need to work
on. For the students they do not know the
instructor, the instructors strengths and how
they could help them in life”
A Student’s Perspective
“Lack of relationships. Students do not really
build relationships with each other.”
A (Grad) Student’s Perspective
“I appreciate the convenience of having
all the materials for the class in front of me.
With classes that don't have any online
components, if we are given handouts, it is
easy to forget them at home or lose them.
With online classes, it is very easy to
refer back.”
A (Grad) Student’s Perspective
“It seems like teaching online always privileges the
visual components rather than audial or kinesthetic
learning styles. While I am not sure what type of
learner I am, it becomes a bit boring to only be
reading notes and different literature. Very rarely do
teachers go outside that form. So while some teachers
have posted audio recordings to listen to, most do
not. Also, because of the format, there are very few
activities for us to engage in.”
Community College Students: Asked
and Answered (n = 17)
Average number of online classes taken: 2.1
(excluded the response of one student who
reported a total of 20 online classes)
What do community college students
like about online classes?
Flexibility/Convenience (12)
Structure (5)
Avoid Traffic (4)
Online Discussions (4)
Less Stress (3)
Online Discussions Foster Participation
“I also like the ability to read other peoples
discussion topics and get their opinions on
various topics. The online forum allows me to
correspond with them very easily and I feel
more comfortable sharing my opinions online
versus raising my hand in class.”
What do community college students
dislike about online classes?
• Miss interacting and building
relationships with teacher and
classmates (12)
• Hard to remember deadlines (7)
• Tech issues (7)
“Social vs. Independent Learning”
How can social (cooperative)
learning be increased in an online
Online Discussions!
Conversational Moves
• Strategies that students can use to engage
more with discussion topics and each other
(Brookfield and Presskill, 2005)
• Guidance for follow-up discussion posts
Live Chat
• Guided chat with the entire class
• A lot like herding cats (but can be very
• The Case Study of “E” as Student and
• Grad Student’s Perspective
• The Community College Student: Survey
• Social vs. Independent Learning
A Final Thought
Social Learning is Possible
(Better?) in an Online Class пЃЉ
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