Aleta May for 1-16-14 blog.
Essential Question: What theories or research can inform your current practice of distance learning?
According to Raddon (Ross, Gallagher, & Macleoud, 2013), current practice of online distance learning cannot be defined simply being away from institutional space. Selwyn states that there should be a focus on engagement and participation that is flexible regarding time, place, and how distance learners acquire new skills (Ross, Gallagher, & Macleoud, 2013). The theory of Transactional Distance is based on John Dewys idea of transaction, transaction between people which is not one-way (Moore & Kearsley, 2011). The basis of Raddon and Selwyn’s thinking is Transactional Distance. It involves dialogue. Having attended many college courses within a physical campus setting, I think back on my role as absorber of knowledge dispensed by one who actually distracted my notetaking by my awe at their ability to seemingly “read the book” in their mind’s eye as I admired their undeniable intelligence in that area. Although this goes to teaching strategy and philosophy, it also depicts the “limits” on learning in a space set up for lecture. Lecture can be transmuted to the online environment, but the educator is faced with the question of whether students are learning and engaged since there is little visual contact. Then it could be said that distance learning contributes to constructive learning between students (student-student), as well as between the teacher and student.
Massive open online courses(MOOC’s) have provided an place to test the “new learning theory for a digital age,” () connectivism. Four principles for learning of connectivism are: autonomy, connectedness, diversity, and openness. As opposed to behaviorism, which is highly structured and controlled by the instructor, the individual not only is valued, but is shared. Everyone has something to add to the learning experience. The most important part of this way of networking, combining creativity, and learning from each other is that there is not a “lone genius” (Ross, Gallagher, & Macleoud, 2013). During my experience with the online Reading Specialist program, I have met so many people through Elluminate, discussion threads, and then in person. What have I gained through this that will follow me throughout my career and life is confidence. Through distance learning, I have connected with educators across the state of Alaska whom would not have had the time to share in the depth we shared. Our breakout discussions in Elluminate created an atmosphere of meaningful talk; we were brave and others in the class could not hear as they might in a physical room of cacophony. There was not one person who continually raised their hand to playback for an instructor who sought particular responses that summarized a point in the lecture. This branches off into learning strategies, yet it is significant that I could be me and explore my learning and adjust my thinking in a safe learning environment.
Moore, M. G. & Kearsley, G. (2011). Distance education: A systems view of online
learning, 3rd Ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Ross, J., Gallagher, M. S., & Macleod, H. (2013). Making distance visible: Assembling
nearness in an online distance learning program. The International Review of
Research in Open and Distance Learning, 14(4), 52-66.
Tschofen, C., & Mackness, J. (2013). Connectivism and dimensions of individual
experience. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance