ION | Illinois Online Network

Conferencing Strategies for Teaching at a Distance Discussion Questions

Question 7

What role does the student play in defining the learning outcomes in the onground learning model? How does this change with the online learning model?

The student has a critical role in defining the learning outcomes in an online course. The online student should be willing to contribute to the course by relating his/her life, work, and educational experiences to the course content. In this way, each student contributes to the group, making the learning experience more personalized for himself, yet at the same time, broadening the scope of the materials for others. Another important point is that due to the accelerated nature of the online learning process, the online student must be highly committed to the course, and "needs to want to be there, and needs to want the experience." How this relates to defining learning outcomes is through participation and interaction on the part of the student. No longer merely a receiver of information, the student must actively participate in the course process. In a truly successful online course where discussion and collaborative learning provide the basis for content delivery, the students are the main players! The instructor (now called facilitator) does have a major role in the course, but that role has changed dramatically from the on-ground paradigm. The facilitator, facilitates, leads, prompts, and organizes, but the students are the ones who, through critical thinking, and effective communication, actually create the most meaningful input for the course.

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