A Reflection on Teachers' Experience as E-Learners

A Reflection on Teachers' Experience as E-Learners

Tony Cunningham (School of Real Estate and Construction Economics, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland), Claire McDonnell (School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland), Barry McIntyre (School of Business and Humanities, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Ireland) and Theresa McKenna (National College of Art and Design, Ireland)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-814-7.ch004
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This chapter explores the insights gained by a group of teachers from their lived experience as e-learners participating in a blended module on designing e-learning. An understanding of the student perspective on online learning was obtained, but we were also able to reflect on our participation in the module on the basis of our other roles: as teachers and potential e-tutors, and as course designers. As a result, important considerations were identified for the design and facilitation of online courses. These include the support provided to online learners, particularly over the first few weeks; appropriate assessment methods; the facilitation of online collaboration; access to the Internet; time management; and contextualising and scaffolding learning activities. Some issues relating to the implementation of effective e-learning in higher education institutions were also considered. Our lived experience as e-learners was invaluable to our development as e-tutors and module designers, and this approach is strongly recommended to achieve effective learning on how to be an effective online tutor and facilitator and how to design and develop online programmes and activities that make full use of the strengths of online learning.
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What is Blended Learning?

Throughout this chapter, the term blended learning is used to describe course delivery in which a combination of face-to-face and online teaching and learning take place. Holmes and Gardner (2006) state that the rationale behind this approach is to improve traditional learning environments by incorporating e-learning where appropriate. Thus, e-learning is employed to complement other methods, not replace them, and should only be used if it enriches and enhances what is already being done (Charlesworth & Vician, 2003). Singh and Reed (2001) maintain that variation in the blend selected allows a programme of study to be tailored to the particular needs of the learner: “Blended learning focuses on optimizing achievement of learning objectives by applying the ‘right’ learning technologies to match the ‘right’ personal learning style to transfer the ‘right’ skills to the ‘right’ person at the ‘right’ time” (p. 2).

There are several other interpretations of what blended learning involves, including one that views it as a blend of different types of Web-based tools and media only (Whitelock & Jelfs, 2003); another proposed by Driscoll (2002) describes mixing several pedagogical approaches that may or may not include instructional technology.

In a recent review, Sharpe, Benfield, Roberts, and Francis (2006) recognise that blended learning is not easy to define. However, they recommend that the use of the term is continued because this lack of clarity allows teaching staff to develop their own particular meaning appropriate to their context. They also contend that academic staff are reassured by the implication that face-to-face contact with students is preserved in a blended learning approach. Oliver and Trigwell (2005) are of the opposite opinion, however, they argue that use of the term should be discontinued because of the problem of clarity and also because none of the interpretations include the perspective of the learner. They suggest that a move toward a student perspective would be facilitated by employing a variation theory research framework. We believe that the expression blended learning has now entered into relatively widespread use and that it is not practical at this stage to abandon it. However, the issue raised by M. Oliver and Trigwell of the need to incorporate the student perspective is a very important one and will be addressed further in this chapter.

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Table of Contents
Charles Juwah
Roisin Donnelly, Fiona McSweeney
Chapter 1
Sabine Little
This chapter has been composed as a piece of reflective practice, and as such traces and researches the development of a new technology-rich... Sample PDF
"Oily Rag" or "Winged Messenger": The Role of the Developer in Multiprofessional Teams
Chapter 2
Rhona Sharpe, Jillian Pawlyn
This chapter reports on an implementation of blended e-learning within three modules in the School of Health and Social Care at Oxford Brookes... Sample PDF
The Role of the Tutor in Blended E-Learning: Experiences from Interprofessional Education
Chapter 3
Diana Kelly
This chapter makes a case for the importance of preparing e-teachers by requiring them to have an experience as an e-learner. The chapter begins... Sample PDF
Modeling Best Practices in Web-Based Academic Development
Chapter 4
Tony Cunningham, Claire McDonnell, Barry McIntyre, Theresa McKenna
This chapter explores the insights gained by a group of teachers from their lived experience as e-learners participating in a blended module on... Sample PDF
A Reflection on Teachers' Experience as E-Learners
Chapter 5
Catherine Manathunga, Roisin Donnelly
Professional development for academic staff in higher education is receiving increasing attention. The focus has been on providing an opportunity... Sample PDF
Opening Online Academic Development Programmes to International Perspectives and Dialogue
Chapter 6
Louise Adele Jakobsen
This chapter, written from experience in implementing e-learning in further education through various roles, identifies key issues relating to... Sample PDF
Embedding E-Learning in Further Education
Chapter 7
Catherine Matheson, David Matheson
This chapter considers some of the major questions around access and accessibility, beginning with the most basic: just what is meant by access and... Sample PDF
Access and Accessibility in E-Learning
Chapter 8
Morag Munro, Barry McMullin
This chapter examines some of the tensions that may exist between e-learning and accessibility in higher education, and aims to redress the balance... Sample PDF
E-Learning for All? Maximizing the Impact of Multimedia Resources for Learners with Disabilities
Chapter 9
Ursula Wingate
This chapter proposes online preinduction courses as an innovative method for preparing students for learning in higher education. It is argued that... Sample PDF
Enhancing Students' Transition to University through Online Preinduction Courses
Chapter 10
Pankaj Kamthan
The discipline of software engineering has been gaining increasing significance in computer science and engineering education. In this chapter, the... Sample PDF
A Methodology for Integrating Information Technology in Software Engineering Education
Chapter 11
Gordon Joyes, Sheena Banks
The focus of this chapter is on the use of technology in the teaching and learning of research methods in masters’ and doctoral programmes in higher... Sample PDF
Using Technology in Research-Methods Teaching
Chapter 12
Richard Walker, Walter Baets
Blended learning occupies a prominent place within higher education teaching strategies, yet there is no clear definition for what we mean by this... Sample PDF
Instructional Design for Class-Based and Computer-Mediated Learning: Creating the Right Blend for Student-Centred Learning
Chapter 13
Ann Donohoe, Tim McMahon, Geraldine O’Neill
The primary purpose of this chapter is to explore how online communities of inquiry can be developed to facilitate students to engage in reflective... Sample PDF
Online Communities of Inquiry in Higher Education
Chapter 14
Nick Pratt
The aim of this chapter is to explore e-learning and e-teaching from a social perspective in order to show how the use of new technologies, like... Sample PDF
Using Multipoint Audio-Conferencing with Teaching Students: Balancing Technological Potential with Practical Challenges
Chapter 15
Timo Portimojärv, Pirjo Vuoskoski
This chapter will illustrate a combination of problem-based learning (PBL), information and communication technologies (ICT), and leadership in the... Sample PDF
The Alliance of Problem-Based Learning, Technology, and Leadership
Chapter 16
Steve Millard
This chapter sets out a number of ways in which effective use of the online discussion board in a virtual learning environment can contribute to the... Sample PDF
The Use of Online Role Play in Preparing for Assessment
Chapter 17
Simon Wilkinson, Heather Rai
This chapter focuses on the use of computers for online summative assessment, in particular for objectively marked items. The aim of this chapter is... Sample PDF
Mastering the Online Summative-Assessment Life Cycle
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