Monday, January 5, 2009

Online Teaching and Learning

Online Teaching and Learning continues to grow at San Francisco State University (SFSU). Today's students need us to accommodate flexible schedules, alternative course locations, different learning preferences, various levels of background preparation, unequal access to technology, and much more. Using the online environment can improve curricular and co-curricular success, by allowing us to share files, to interact and collaborate, and to assess progress as students, teachers, and experts in our disciplines. Currently, Academic Technology leads and coordinates development, training, and support for several different online teaching and learning tools, including Learning Management Systems ( iLearn ), Streaming Media Solutions ( CourseStream ), and Electronic Portfolios .
Academic Technology promotes Univeral Design for Learning (UDL), or "Teaching Every Student." Many people equate this with accessibility for students with disabilities, but it really is about teaching every student. Almost every online accessibility accommodation strategy designed for students with disabilities also helps additional students. For example, English language learners frequently use screen readers that were originally created for people who are blind or who have visual impairments. The non-native speakers benefit from hearing the text spoken out loud as they read a passage of text. Overall, UDL assists students with disabilities, certainly, but also assists students who are non-native language speakers, students with different learning styles, students with different levels of Internet connectivity and access to technology, and even students who require more assistance with self-motivation. We will share effective practices and examples with you, and hope that you will share yours with us.
Both classroom and online technology connects people in ways that improves the probability of learning success, but it still takes people to make it work. There is a human at the other end of each web page, discussion thread, chat entry, blog, or wiki contribution! Now more than ever, online learning environments provide opportunities for interaction and collaboration. The sonic boom of social networking echoes around the world, as more and more people enter MySpace, Facebook, ELGG, and other social networking sites. What does this tell us? For one thing, it tells us that people want technological ways to communicate their ideas and opinions to a small community of friends, to the entire world, or any sized group in between. Despite the medium (or media), people are seeking human interaction. The bigger questions for educators are "How do we tap into students' energy around social networking and channel it into meaningful, networked learning?" and "How do we create a culture of expression that encourages students to consider what they say, how they say it, and who might see or hear it?" Together, we will answer these questions.
Last, but not least, the academic horse drives the technology cart, not the other way around. Academic Technology employs several instructional designers to support online teaching and learning. We help you as faculty, students and staff to make choices about which technology solutions will help you meet your goals, whatever they may be. Then we will help you reach them, support you as you surpass them, and maybe even ask you to help your peers down the road. Welcome to Online Teaching and Learning at San Francisco State University!


MOIN JAFRI said...

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Elena said...

Thanks for such an informative and interesting writing. I agree with you online learning atmosphere provide opportunities for interaction. We are living in technology-age and therefore, it has become easy to get online education.