Reflections on Teaching an Advanced Graduate Online Course in Educational Technology: Challenges and Successes

By Marina Milner-Bolotin.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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I have been a science and mathematics instructor for more than 15 years in three different countries (Israel, USA and Canada). During that time I have been using mixed learning environments, where in-class face-to-face interactions were supplemented by out-of-class online discussions. During Winter-2010 term I was offered to teach an entirely online course in the Master of Educational Technology Program at the University of British Columbia. Teaching online for the first time prompted me to reflect onthe nature of student engagement and learning in two modes of instruction: face-to-face and online. Furthermore, since the course focused on the applications of educational technology to science and mathematics teaching and learning, it offered ample opportunities to discuss and debate the effectiveness and impact of various digital tools in pre-service and in-service science and mathematics teacher training and professional development programs. In this paper, I highlight a few challenges I encountered as a novice online instructor and describe the ways my students and I attempted to address them. I also compare and contrast some of the general challenges faced by the instructors teaching in the online versus face-to-face learning environments. The paper concludes with a number of suggestions on the ways of increasing student engagement, learning and satisfaction with online courses.

Keywords: Educational Technologies, Online Teaching and Learning, Science and Mathematics Teacher Professional Development, Online Graduate Courses

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.11-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 566.911KB).

Dr. Marina Milner-Bolotin

Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

I am a science educator and I love and live science and science teaching. I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. I work with future teachers, helping them become effective in teaching science and in using technology to make science learning more engaging. I am also actively involved in science outreach activities: I work with “Scientists and Innovators in the Schools”, as well as with other organizations. In addition I am an active member of the American Association of Physics Teachers. I am also an adjunct professor at the Department of Physics at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada where I conduct physics education research applied to undergraduate physics learning and teaching. I study how physics teachers can use technology to help students learn more effectively. I am especially interested in interactive technologies such as electronic response systems, computer simulations, data collection sensors, etc. In addition I study the process of technology adoption by university faculty and what can be done to help them in this process.