Title

Ending the Silence: Using New Media Technologies to Overcome Alienation in the Virtual Classroom

Streaming Media

Submission Type

20-minute Presentation

Abstract

Students as well as faculty often feel alienated from their peers and the general functioning of online courses, shaped by expectations of in-person teaching etched into participants by a culture holding rigid expectations of proper classroom dynamics. Even with blended classrooms, while they allow relationships between participants to be grounded in physical space, they do not avoid the alienating potential of transferring those relationships online. However, as much as technology and the expectations associated with it has helped birth the “distance” in distance learning, it can also offer a solution. Regular and dynamic discussions, small peer groups, the use of visual media to spur discussion, as well as multiple channels of feedback, from announcements to Twitter, YouTube and other digital means, creates presence through technology. The result blends the intimacy the traditional classroom offers with the advantages of virtual communication. Course structures that provide an easy means to keep up on expectations and are built into the design are also critical. This creates a more dynamic and active online learning experience critical in building community, that feeling among students they are not just individuals working towards the completion of the course, but part of a greater whole. This presentation will cover techniques gathered from researchers and personal experience to build community in the online classroom, addressing longstanding criticisms of distance learning and best practices to improve the student learning experience and faculty satisfaction in blended or wholly online courses.

Session

Learning Spaces, Presentation

Start Date

5-18-2016 2:00 PM

End Date

5-18-2016 3:15 PM

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May 18th, 2:00 PM May 18th, 3:15 PM

Ending the Silence: Using New Media Technologies to Overcome Alienation in the Virtual Classroom

Students as well as faculty often feel alienated from their peers and the general functioning of online courses, shaped by expectations of in-person teaching etched into participants by a culture holding rigid expectations of proper classroom dynamics. Even with blended classrooms, while they allow relationships between participants to be grounded in physical space, they do not avoid the alienating potential of transferring those relationships online. However, as much as technology and the expectations associated with it has helped birth the “distance” in distance learning, it can also offer a solution. Regular and dynamic discussions, small peer groups, the use of visual media to spur discussion, as well as multiple channels of feedback, from announcements to Twitter, YouTube and other digital means, creates presence through technology. The result blends the intimacy the traditional classroom offers with the advantages of virtual communication. Course structures that provide an easy means to keep up on expectations and are built into the design are also critical. This creates a more dynamic and active online learning experience critical in building community, that feeling among students they are not just individuals working towards the completion of the course, but part of a greater whole. This presentation will cover techniques gathered from researchers and personal experience to build community in the online classroom, addressing longstanding criticisms of distance learning and best practices to improve the student learning experience and faculty satisfaction in blended or wholly online courses.