Apparently I need this program very much. It seems I posted my week two blog on Type Pad but not where it belongs in the Pedagogy first Cohort 3 week two blog. So here goes again. I must have put it in the wrong place - perhaps as a response to Michele's post as shown below? I dunno. Jim, please reply to let me know if you are seeing this in the correct place if I have achieved success this time. I think I forgot to choose the category in week two.
I've only been teaching formally in a college classroom for three years and as such, I don't know that I can answer this at the level of the other posts I've read.
Fortunately, my parents were gifted educators and I did a tremendous amount of mentoring and teaching in my industry before I moved into the college classroom first as a graduate student and then as an instructor. So even though I have trouble finding scholarly words for what I think, feel and do, my students seem to be learning and engaged. Maybe you can help me speak about this more intelligently. That's why I choose this program for online teaching - I need to know more about pedagogy and on=line instruction.
Here goes. I'm a big fan of the teachable moment. That moment when people want to know something is the moment when they are most likely to be open to actually learning that something. I try to create as many of those moments as I can. Also, I try to be accessible and authentic, and I use the element of surprise - the most important element in entertainment - to keep their focus on the subject at hand.
I do lecture and I always try to provide a sound explanation for why the lesson I am offering matters. I try to be empathetic and frequently mention that I am a student with professors so I understand, having walked a mile in their shoes. I also have lots of hands-on activities because I am teaching a technical craft - video cinematography and editing. But I also try my best to demonstrate the skills they need to develop to be effective learners in my class. When I lecture, I frequently take notes on the computer as I lecture so that they can learn how to take notes in class. I project this on the computer and switch back and forth between my notes and the images/sounds we are discussing.
All of my students are called by their first name at least once during each class because I strongly believe that we need to be connected. They know that I am personally interested in their success and when they are absent or tune out, I let them know that I'm aware of it.
Going the extra mile to remove any obstacles that come between them and their opportunity to learn lets them know how seriously I am invested in their participation. Most of the students who don't want to be "smothered" by me, and surprisingly there are very few of them, know that I am so serious about their commitment to learning that they drop after the first class if they are really only interested in goofing around in class.
I write to them several times during the week in between classes. I post supplemental reading on Blackboard, send them an email if they don't show up for class and all of this motherly love seems to pay off. I also let them know that I want them to get from the course everything they expect and need. In this way my classroom is really like a one-room schoolhouse. They have a very wide range of skills and some students come with highly developed skills while others are rank beginners. I always try to have a WIFM "What's In It For Me" for every level, extra help for the students working slowly and supplemental work for the ones who are working at a higher level.
I require my students to write and this is surprising to them. They write notes in class, they write in preparation for every assignment and I expect them to build their vocabulary. Our classes are spicy sometimes, given that we are analyzing and creating stories with pictures and sound. Sometimes the projects are racey and very entertaining.
I must be doing some things right but I hope to learn enough about pedagogy to make it much better - SDICCCA internship helped tremendously. One of my students won the CCC media competition in May so they are doing terrific things. Blackboard is just the beginning for us and I am longing to use more interesting things in the classroom and to be able to reach out to them in between classes to keep my favorite subject alive in their minds when we are not together in the classroom.