At school, there’s been a lot of talk about what can be done differently with an online course management system (particularly Moodle, since one new faculty member has extensive experience with it) and to what end. Having heard what some of my colleagues have done with asynchronous discussion online outside of class, Jim Vanides’s experiences with online instruction seemed to fit right in:
In my “spare” time (not related to my work at HP), I teach an online science course designed for elementary teachers. … I have previously taught the same content in the form of face-to-face workshops offered through an NSF-sponsored “local systemic change initiative” grant that funded teacher professional development in the Silicon Valley (California). Converting these workshops into an online (asynchronous) instructor-led 6-week course has been a fascinating experience. The content was identical, but I had to entirely redesign the learning experience. What was more surprising was the difference in discourse – in some ways, the discussions were BETTER than when I taught the same material face-to-face.
If you’re interested, check out the May issue of ISTE’s “Learning and Leading with Technology” magazine. My article, “Online Learning that Works“, is a free PDF download until September.