ERIC Number: ED464319
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Nov
Interaction in the Online Classroom.
Teachers.Net Gazette, v2 n7 Nov 2001
In traditional face-to-face classrooms, teachers lead their students through discussions using strategies that promote reflection and further exploration of issues and topics. The same holds true in the online class. There are specific techniques and strategies used in facilitating learning through discussion in both types of classes. The discussion formats differ according to the Course Management System (CMS) used, and it is helpful to use a CMS with features that allow for collapsing and expanding message threads, read and new messages, and email alerts for new messages. In distance learning, the geographical physical isolation requires that students learn new communication strategies--communication strategies that will allow them to feel comfortable participating in text-based social interactions. One effective method is to pair students during the first unit of the class. An activity used frequently is to have student pairs "interview" each other and then post an introduction of their partner to the class. In a collaborative classroom, teacher and students share in both the teaching and the learning. The teacher provides guidelines for each discussion by designing activities that include problem solving, case studies, brainstorming, group activities, etc., and he/she maintains responsibility for guiding discussions and keeping students on track. When discussions stall, strategies such as brainstorming activities, opinion polling, debates, synchronous meetings, guest speakers, student moderators, and journal writing can jump-start them. Stages in CMC (computer mediated communication) evidenced in online classes include, in part, socialization, exchange of information, construction of knowledge, and development/application of knowledge. Each stage requires specific CMC skills, all of which necessitate specific instruction by an experienced online teacher. (NKA)
Descriptors: Class Activities, Classroom Communication, Computer Mediated Communication, Computer Uses in Education, Cooperative Learning, Discussion (Teaching Technique), Higher Education, Learning Activities, Online Courses, Teacher Role
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A