In nowadays society, online learning has become more and more popular. Just like how Weller (2018) mentioned in the article about educational technology: educational technology has clear potential in higher education. Since the popularization of the Internet, there are more educational technologies to contribute to the implementation of online learning. As Weller mentioned, from Wikis in 1998 to now we use other online resources such as Khan Academy, online textbooks, it was a long journey. Although online learning brings students and teachers convenience, it is still problematic. In this reflection, I will discuss should an online course instructor-centered or student-centered, asynchronous or synchronous.
From my opinion, it is important to construct online courses that are attractive and less stressful for students. I personally prefer student-centered online courses. The reason for this it is simple: the students are the learning people. In online learning, instructors play the role of guiding students to learn. However, the speed of learning should be determined by students rather than instructors. For instance, the duration of the online course I took in TRU was 21weeks, so that I can design how fast I want to finish the course. It makes me feel less stressful and anxious because I do not need to worry about the due day is approaching. Therefore, student-centered course design can maximize the student’s willingness of learning. However, instructor-centered course design helps instructor manage students and course contents easier.
Another topic is should an online course be asynchronous or synchronous. Online courses are considered as asynchronous design. From my opinion, online courses can be divided to asynchronous design and synchronous design. There are both pros and cons in these conditions. Asynchronous course design stands for fixed course materials, but students can finish it in their own speed. Asynchronous course design helps students learn in their own speed. Some students prefer intensive learning, but some students prefer meticulous learning. Therefore, asynchronous course design is also a kind of student-centered course design. Again, just like I took an online course from TRU, students started taking the course in different time so that we followed our own speed and processes to finish the course. Synchronous design stands for fixed material and schedule for students. Synchronous course design helps instructor manage course materials and processes better, which filled the gap of asynchronous course design. Synchronous course design can make sure students are in same process and easier for instructors to monitor students’ progress. I personally prefer asynchronous course design.
There is also an important concept: connectivism. From my understanding, simply, connectivism represents that all knowledge and information are somehow relevant to each other. Siemen (2005) listed out the principles of connectivism. I know that knowledge has diversity and all knowledge is connect to each other somehow. The ability to connect knowledge together is more important than comprehension of knowledge. Connectivism has become an intermediary of online learning and students. It helps students to connect knowledge and information together. It can boost the quality and interestingness of online learning. For instance, in this course, the purpose of writing such a reflection is to learn and connect the knowledge about online learning together.
In conclusion, there are both pros and cons in both student-centered and instructor-centered, asynchronous and synchronous course design. I personally prefer student-centered course design. Connectivism helps students to connect knowledge together.
Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1).
Weller, M. (2018, August). Twenty years of edtech. EDUCAUSE Review, 53(4). Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2018/7/twenty-years-of-edtech