So this post is to help me gather my thoughts.
- Online learning is an acquired taste - not for everyone - to use the really flawed VARK model for learning perhaps we need to add another learning style - E for e-learning. Would that make it VARKE, VEARK, who knows - I am sure some pedants attach importance to the positioning of the letters! Anyways - the issue is that we have many colleagues who have no e-learning skills and we are asking them to teach using it. Hmmmm.
- Students like socialising online - they are not used to learning online, they are also suffer from years of anti collaboration brainwashing courtesy of our education system. The knowledge is theirs, sharing is cheating or plagiarism......isn't it?
- The journey of NCSL with talk2learn is worth reflecting upon, they have moved from each section of a course having its own learning space, to having one large community of learners. Why? They need a critical mass of punters to make the discussions happen. Look and feel is very important - if students can't find things quickly then they will give up - operate a 3 click rule. If you want to 'encourage' reluctant lecturers, then giving them an empty space wont work - it is too intimidating. Provide a discussion, ask them to lead it. Do we need to pay lecturer rates to construct these things?
- Little communities cause repetition of work, facilitation of discussion online is time consuming, it should be planned for within a module, should be evenly distributed between lecturers and make a difference tot he learning of the students - other wise it's the tail wagging the dog.