In today’s education system, it is very common to see that students are sitting at a desk, listening to a teacher’s lecture, and taking notes in preparation for an exam or quiz. However, one size does not fit all students as it has happened to my daughter and many parents like me are looking for alternative ways for their kids’ education. Even though their reasons are varying, their aim is common: Satisfying academic quality and safe learning environment. I consider the online course to be a useful resource to support homeschool student’s learning process.
In my master’s program, I was required to design an online course. Since I had never created an online course before, the first week of the class was chaotic. I was overwhelmed by how much work I was required to do. But the course was managed very efficiently, feedbacks were very prompt and clear. The chosen materials were very educative and informative. I truly enjoyed taking this class and I have learned a lot of things throughout the course. I created an online course for my homeschooled daughter that would mainly incorporate the kinds of activity that naturally took place in a classroom environment. I hope my reflections will be helpful to parents who might be questioning whether an online course is suitable for their homeschool student. There are many theories lend themselves to a development of online learning environments. I know four of them are used very widely:
-Merrill’s Principles of Instruction
-Gagne’s Nine Events of Instructions.
It is a perfect tool which could be shaped according to the learner’s needs and interests. It allowed me to take ownership of my own plan and strive for progress. I always have seen myself as a facilitator. I have tried to assist my daughter’s learning by providing the wide variety of resources and have given her the freedom to construct knowledge for herself. Now, she can have access to her course anytime, anywhere, and she only needs a computer and internet access to complete her work. Everything is at her fingertips. I think the most important feature of online learning is the time factor that helps her perform better. She can review topic explanations and videos repeatedly till she has the solid understanding of the topic. Basically, if I were to summarize what I have learned I would have understood that:
1-Preparing online course takes more time when compared to teaching in the classroom. The instructor should be clear and meticulous because if instructions are not clear, students may be confused, may lose self-confidence, and may not gain the real objectives.
2-For online instructors it is crucial to breaking down expectations into bite size learning goals and check them regularly how to see how well students mastered those goals.
3-Scaffolding is the key point for learning. In the online course, an instructor should provide extensive support to a student, but gradually remove that support until the learner can apply the concept autonomously.
4-Consistent communication and timely feedback are very important. Prompt feedback can solve many issues from the very beginning.
5-There are many tools that can be used in the online course but are not always necessary. Keeping things simple is very important. The used LMS should be user-friendly and easy to navigate. The chosen tool should work as you expect. I know all parents are busy with the daily whirlwind, however, too many instructions and complex tools can cause misunderstanding for student and parents.