By Jessica Balik
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Online Tools for Instructional Design
Today's session featured three scholars who are well-versed with integrating technology into online courses: Bethany Bovard, Instructional Designer and eLearning Developer at New Mexico State University; Alexandra Pickett, Associate Director of the SUNY Learning Network; and Nic Bongers, Instructional Graphic Designer for eLearning and Instructional Support at Oakland University. Moderating the panel on technologies for instructional design was University of Illinois Communications Professor Michael Cheney. The panelists communicated certain prevalent reservations about using technologies in online learning environments.
For example, Bovard explained the importance of discussing ethical and privacy issues with hesitant users. Although Twitter and other media tools have the potential to facilitate online discussion, many instructors and students worry about sharing too much with members in the class. Bovard believes it's important to address these concerns and to explain potential remedies, such as establishing filters or separate accounts for professional versus personal affairs. Pickett, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of implementing technology only as a tool to enhance teaching and learning, rather than as an end in itself. Similarly, Bongers noted that, to avoid getting lost in a technological sea, instructors must establish clear and concise visions about how they want to use the technologies they select.
Promises of Technology
The panelists also discussed some advantages of incorporating social media tools and more into online courses. Bovard emphasized how robust course discussion through Twitter, Facebook and Google+ can become. Pickett noted that, whereas students lose access to content hosted on learning management systems at the end of the course, their access can remain enduringly open when these alternatives are embraced. Bongers familiarized participants with less mainstream technologies, including Second Life and Google+ .
Today's panel was the third of eight weekly discussions of eduMOOC 2011. Next week's session, which anyone interested may join, concerns online learning apps and mobile devices. Check in next week for the Education Insider's report.
Interested in learning more about MOOCs? Read our recent post on edupunks, then join the discussion on Twitter using #edumooc3.