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