Sunday, 5 December 2004

Levels of online courses; Where is yours?

Darren Cannell posted four levels of online courses. The characteristics that indicate the level of courses created are:
Level One:

An attempt to recreate the textbook style of teaching.

Level Two:

The recreation of a successful face to face course online.

Level Three:

It is a level two course in which the teacher recognizes the fact that they are teaching with the largest library in the world at their fingertips and have access to technology.

Level Four:

A level three course which recognizes the student might be able to choose the questions and the teacher assist them in using the technology and the Internet to find the answers.

I am not interested in Level one and level two. So, I suggest to analysis the last two levels like this:

Level 3 recognises the vast amount of information on the web. Here, the teacher will have great difficulty in managing "duty of care" as information arriving at the learners' screen is mostly out of the control of the teacher.

Level 4 recognises that the web is a communication medium as well. Allowing the students to choose questions and communicate the choice to the teacher who will assist in finding the answer.

The investment of effort (from the teacher's point of view) obviously increases as the level advances. Level three and level four involve a continuous effort on the teacher's part as the course is run. The "instructor-less" paradigm is completely throw out of the window - which is GOOD!

One question I would like to ask is why online course. What is the benefit, if any, to both the teacher and students? If no additional benefit over face to face, why change!

No doubt my knowledgeable readers will be able to name a long list of benefits, but suspect in close examination, these are more towards the students than the teachers. Hence, I would suggest there should be a Level Five. Level Five course is not necessarily a level four course, may not even be a level three course. Level five course should have all the achievement of level three and level four course. In addition, it would reduce the workload of teachers running such courses.

What are these level five courses? Let search or create one!

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