In this reflection I will look at three standards developed by the International Association for Online Learning (iNacol). Those standards are:
- Standard C: The online teacher plans, designs, and incorporates strategies to encourage active learning, application, interaction, participation, and collaboration in the online environment.
- Standard E: The online teacher models, guides, and encourages legal, ethical, and safe behavior related to technology use.
- Standard J: The online teacher interacts in a professional, effective manner with colleagues, parents, and other members of the community to support students’ success.
These standards are all related to course design and interaction with students, parents and faculty. Since the online class exists through the internet it is very important to stress basic internet skills, citizenship, and safety. The documents that we developed to cover Being a Digital Citizen and Digital Safety and Security are very important so that our students are able to navigate quickly and safely on the internet. When assignments are given that require the use of research it is always good to review search methods, and how to use materials found, including plagiarism and copy-write information. Reminding students that pictures should be used that have a creative commons licence and review of ways to access those pictures should also be included in the instructions for every assignment. Including this basic information on a document that can be linked for each assignment or in the rubric would make it easy for the student to make sure the work they are doing is ethical and legally compliant so that bad habits are not established that need to be unlearned at a later date. It is easier to teach these skills when students first learn to research on the internet so that they become the norm when researching.
Teaching students to use google suite or another online platform so they can collaborate from different locations, and during different times, should be an integral part of an online class as well as a very important life skill. Making the Class Rules clear at the start of class and referring to them as needed should make all forms of communication clear and help the class communicate clearly with each other and the teacher.
In my current online classes I have students participate in a discussion board daily so that each student is aware of ideas that others may have and get used to communicating clearly in that format. Students soon learn to interact with each other in a polite manner and exchange ideas, opening up the opportunity for me to extend the learning and introduce new materials and concepts based on what I am seeing comments about.
Since I teach science I also include opportunities to go outside and conduct simple experiments at least once a week so that students are not doing all of their learning sitting in front of a computer. I was just sent a picture by a former student of a tree that is now almost as tall as his house. The tree was planted as part of a project and reminds him regularly to look at the world around him to see what he can do to improve the world that he sees.
I found the participate units a good review as it has been awhile since I completed by online teaching endorsement and initially set up the format for my classes. It has been about three years since I looked at the online teaching standards and it was good to review them. It was helpful to start putting all of my school bookmarks into my personal google bookmarking site so that I will always have easy access to them.