University of Regina EC&I 834 397

Module 5: Teaching In Virtual Educational Environments

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Teachers instructing in online or virtual environments have qualities similar to teachers in face to face environments. Terry Anderson (2004) identifies three qualities of an e-teacher: 1) must be an excellent teacher 2) must have sufficient technical skills 3) must have resilience, innovation and perseverance. Through the evolution of the Internet, we are beginning to see that these qualities are even more significant for teachers to possess, in order to successfully teach in virtual educational environments.

We also see principles for teaching in online environments different from those used in face to face settings. Janet Trieschman (2007) identifies six online teaching principles in the article, Teaching Principles Compared: Online Vs. Face to Face Teaching.

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As teachers and educators it is important for us to understand the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. The Web is shifting from a static environment (Web 1.0) where we are recipients of information to a collaborative environment (Web 2.0) where we are active participants of content creation (Delich, 2005). A short video by Barbara Barreda titled, School 1.0 vs. School 2.0 helps us to better understand this transformation occurring in teaching and learning.

This module will assist in the understanding of teaching in virtual educational environments as a result of the Web shift. The module is divided into three main sections including: Traditional Online Environments, Modern Online Environments and Future Online Environments. Each of the three sections represent specific periods of online teaching resulting in changes to technology, methodology and pedagogy. The key objectives that will be answered for each section are:

  1. What does it mean to teach in an online environment?

  2. What are the characteristics of effective online teachers?

  3. How does teaching compare between traditional and virtual environments.

You will be required to review each section in the module for a better understanding of what it is like teaching in online environments. There will be three discussion questions and one synchronous chat question for class participants to collaborate during the delivery of this module. A final assignment submission will complete the module providing us all with practical experience to understand aspects of online teaching. All activities and assignments for this module are due by Saturday, June 7, 2008.

The live or synchronous chat will be on Wednesday, June 4 at 8:00 P.M. in Chat room 1. The discussion topic for this chat session will be based on the question:

Isaac Asimov stated in the early 1930’s, “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.” Regarding the potential online education environment of the future, do Asimov’s words of the early 1930’s illustrate the direction, motive, and values needed in education for tomorrow? What characteristics and skills do you believe will be required by educators of the future?

If you have any questions or require support with technical aspects of this module please contact one of the following members from the Module 5 team: Nelson Dordelly Rosales or Kirk Kezema.